Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Girl Who Played with Fire

By: Stieg Larson 5/5

So the drama continues, we keep delving deeper into the lives of Mikael and Lisbeth as 2 gruesome murders happen, and one that most don’t mind. Lisbeth seems a lot more mortal in this book, and Mikael becomes a bigger hero. This book seems to be even more disturbing than the first one, and I believe the 3rd book will even out do this one. It does leave you hanging and wanting to know more, which is why my next stop after work is Title Wave books to buy the book second hand and hardcover because I want to read it so badly.

I love how capturing and enthralling these books seem to be, and enjoy reading what happens next in ever part of the books. The characters are so well formed, sometimes there are so many well formed characters that you assume they would have a bigger role in the whole plot of the story. Way to go Larson! Can’t wait to crack open the next one!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

By: Stieg Larson 5/5

What a surprisingly great book to read. A historical mystery located in Sweden where you meet Lisbeth Salander and Kalle Blomkovist. A twisting turning plot of the Vander family where you explore a family tree that is interconnected and full of mysteries. Of course the two main character's paths meet, together they solve the mystery of Harriet Vander.

Lisbeth is a little tiny weird girl, that while taciturn she can say a lot with her facial expressions, Blomkovist is a ex-writer for the financial expose magazine Millennium, until he find a proposition that he can not turn down. So he ends up in Hedeby solving a 36 year old mystery.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sea of Poppies

By: Amitav Gosh 4/5

A little confused. This is how I feel after finishing the last sentence of the last page of the last chapter. Did I miss something? Though like I always, I realized after I completed the book that there was a glossary for all the words that I didn’t know.

Sea of Poppies is a lot of little stories and backgrounds of characters that come together in the very end, on the mystical journey on the Ibis a grand ship sailing from Calcutta, India to the Muarice Islands.  This book takes you on a journey of a lexicon of words I had never heard of before. Fantastic. It also bears to mention that this is the first of a trilogy so therefore that might have a reason for the ending the way that it did.

This is the story of Paulette, une petite coquette fille; Deeti the housewife that finds love with a coolie; of Jodu the boy that matures and finds love; Neel the educated Zemindar who has been over thrown by the powerful Benjamin Burnham. This book takes place around 1830s, when India was still under British rule, where Opium was the daily life of everyone and the only source of living. Though with China closing off the boarders of opium trade, the new import from India were slaves.

The Ibis turned into a ship for indentured servants. This is where the characters find themselves intertwined. It is certainly the story of loss, in each and every one of the Characters, Jodu, Paulette, Kalua, Neel, Zachary, Mr. Crowle; and everyone else on that ship. It shows how much a person can stand, how much can one endure and how life, even limited, can find a sliver of happiness.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of the books which the next one comes out at the end of 2010!

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The things I don’t understand are Baboo, he is a hijrah, what is his ultimate goal in life? And what is the thing that I missed about the eyes?!?!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Shanghai Girls

By: Lisa See 5/5

Lisa See of course does it again! Loved loved loved the book that kept me engulfed in the story of Pearl and May the two sisters that find their way to America.


Lisa See has to have a deep understanding of women’s bonds, and especially of sister bonds. She did her research and worked hard to portray the trials and the difficulties experienced by Chinese during those times. Every moment of the book had been in that place and that time, and there was never a dull moment.

The descriptions of China and the process to that brought them to America was so heartfelt and endearing, that I could almost feel physical pain from reading all those descriptions.

As an immigrant myself, I can understand the torment of keeping traditions and wanting a new life. I was more like Joy, than Pearl or May, as I came to America young, but I can see the struggles that my mother faced trying to deal with a new way of thinking and holding on those things that were most dear. Another similarity is the communism factor, we ran away from it too, to a country of opportunity, the difference was that our faces didn’t betray us right away, the racism wasn’t as hard as the Louie family had. That is not to say that we didn’t experience racism.

Love the book and I am glad that Lisa See wrote it, as Peony in Love wasn’t nearly as good as Shanghai Girls or Snowflower and the Secret Fan! 


By: Bram Stoker 4/5

This book has had a daunting pressure on me to read as it is one: considered one of the classic must reads and two: as a Romanian you must read what it portrays us as.
The last pressure is probably the greatest as I am a former descendant of Vlad Tepes aka the former ruler of Romania, aka Dracula. So before going into my dialogue on Dracula the book a little Romanian history.

Vlad Tepes as a fierce ruler and was also known as Vlad the Impaler for his very industrious techniques in impaling the know Turkies people when invading his land. He ruled from 1456 to about 1462 at the age of only 25! He was tough and as soon as he got his hands on a TURK he killed him, took his body and put a stake through their bodies and put the stakes on the street, where bodies would line the streets. This technique didn’t only apply this to the invaders, but to his own people that stole, raped, lied and were treacherous. During his rule, a money bag could be found on the street and no one would pick it up for fear of being considered a stealer. This is how he earned his name … Dracula. The name derives from dracu which in Romanian means devil, and the –ula at the end is assigning the devil name to him.

This bring us to Brahm Stoker many many many years later when he wrote Dracula in 1897, almost 435 years later than Vlad Tepes. Upon hearing of the devilish and romanticized Transylvania (which coincidently is where I am from), he wanted to set a book on it. So he wrote Dracula.  Stoker did well in researching this book and the beliefs of the time, especially because rumor still followed in the late 1800s. So upon reading the book I was pleasantly surprised to hear the names of the towns from my childhood, and the  descriptions of the land which were very vivid and accurate even though Stoker never went to Transylvania himself. The descriptions of the Carpatheians  (Carpati) Mountains were wonderful. This book must have sent chills to people reading it at the time. It is filled with awe and with the darks beliefs of devils and religion.  So my expectation in reading the book was that I would be terrified to the core!

Not so… It was amusing, it was a nice story but did it terrify NO! That might be in part one, I was listening to it on audio, and two, that in today’s society what we fear is very different than based on the religious superstitious of those days.  The very beginning was great where Jonathon Hawker’s story, though I think it dwindled because there was a lot that just didn’t captivate me, and that again might be in part due to audio. The story does pick up again and you become engrossed in the ploy of the book, and Dracula’s play.

Things that I found interesting is that they called Dracula a count, and they didn’t say the name Dracula till the very end.





I don’t know if Vlad Tepes is buried in a grave that is labeled Dracula, but it might have been possible that the Romanian Orthodox would have buried him in a Christian way and named the grave as that.  According to Wikipedia “He was taken back to Wallachia and buried. In the early 1900's Vlad was unburied for research. The researchers found nothing. Remains were found around his grave, and was thought to be the prince's remains. He was reburied and then left. When another dig took place years later, his grave was found destroyed and no remains were found.[17] The other theory is that Vlad is buried at Snagov, an island monastery located near Bucharest”. From childhood I feel like I remember visiting both grave site possibilities with the first one being very well gated.