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My Reviews

 
Epic, Fun, Adventurous
Lengthy, but engaging. A detailed world of magic in a believeable setting.

I very much enjoyed reading this book. Ms. Clarke's use of footnotes throughout the book was an excellent way to flesh out her world of magic and its history. The characters seemed a bit flat, but the story itself was so engaging that any lack in characters could be overlooked.

The book starts off slowly, and you enter a world where there USED to be magic, but it has since disappeared, and the only 'magicians' left are men (and only men) who study magic of the past.

Although magic does finally return to the world, we are still left to wonder at its loss for it is never fully explained.

I would strongly recommend this book. It may be difficult for a book group to read due to its length, however, this should not deter an individual who has an interest in books in the fantasy genre. It is definitely well worth reading.

Johnny Mad Dog : A novel by Emmanuel Dongala, Maria Louise Ascher
 
Grittier than I expected... well written, but explicit enough that I would not recommend it to everyone

Well written, interesting, and gritty. This book gives a view of the underside of war... the dark, ugly underside of it... where children fight without a clear understanding of why they are doing it other than for their own survival.

 
Unconvincing, Insightful, Interesting
Not particularly enjoyable to read since the characters made such poor choices, but interesting to discuss. Some book club members quit reading the book part way through because of frustration. Othe

"The Mermaid Chair" was a dissapointment after reading "Secret Life of Bees". Whereas the characters in SLB were pulling together to help one another and were striving to do their best in a difficult world, the ones in TMC gave in to temtation very quickly and communicated with one another so poorly that it was difficult to understand their choices. They seemed to not really care about one another despite the fact that they professed caring. Their lack of respect for one another made it difficult for me, as the reader, to respect them and their choices. The mother her friends allowed the daughter to believe that the pipe she had given her father had caused his death in a fire even though they all knew otherwise. The daughter threw her relationship with her husband of many years with barely any explaination to him, the monk tossed aside his vows of celibacy to have sex with a MARRIED WOMAN... all of these choices were difficult for me, as the reader, to accept as coming from loving people. But we were expected to believe that these good people would have really done these things? Perhaps they would have, but the characters as they were portrayed were not believable in these choices.

Middlesex: A Novel by Jeffrey Eugenides
 
Interesting, Dramatic, Epic
Loved this book!

I first picked this book up because Jeffrey Eugenides had won the pulitzer prize. I couldn't put it down because the book was so engaging. World War II, Detroit motor companies, 1950's societal pressures... it is all strung together in this book that spans generations. I absolutely LOVED it. Our book group is reading it now, and our book group meeting is tomorrow. From what I hear, my book group was all reluctant to begin the book, but once each of them started it, they all became engrossed. It is a beautiful book that does NOT dissapoint.

 
Not just sex...

Our group had a fascinating discussion concerning this book. It looked into the ideas of the intellectual life verses the physical (sex) life. The upper class vs the working poor. The industralization of England. All these themes were woven together into an amazing book!

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
 
Romantic, Interesting, Beautiful
Entertaining, and brings up interesting issues concerning 'waiting'

Of our 8 regular book club members, only one person did not like this book (she had trouble suspending her disbelief in time-travel). The rest found it engaging and entertaining. It provided us with a very interesting discussion of the themes and characters in the book. I highly recommend this book for a book group because it is entertaining and provided us with good discussion fodder.

 
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
Interesting and entertaining

A very satisfying read. The book was interesting and well researched. The ending was well crafted. I highly recommend this book.

Baby Jack: A Novel by Frank Schaeffer
 
Dealing with loss and regret after losing a son to the Iraq war

An engaging and quick read. The son, Jack, came from a privileged and self-centered world and his loss forced the members of his family to reexamine their life views. The part at the end where we see Jack's family through Jack's eyes (after his death) reminded me of The Lovely Bones... where we saw the afterlife through the eyes of an adolescent girl... but in this we see the afterlife through the eyes of a Marine.

The Shack by William P. Young
 
Insightful, Inspiring, Life Changing
Disliked this

I found the writing boring. I skipped chunks of overwritten description and found Mack's motivation thin. The dialogue was also rather contrived. Skimming is the best way to finish this book if you are in a book group that chose to read this it.

On the positive side, the author can write coherent sentences and the grammar was good.

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