Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Voyage of QV66 by Penelope Lively

The Voyage of QV66
Penelope Lively
1978, Mammoth, London

A post-apocalyptic book about a group of animals who set off on a voyage in a little boat through the flooded remains of England. They are trying to find London Zoo and have many adventures along the way.

It's a cute book. I like how it was told from the point of view of the dog, and only gave hints as to what happened to the humans, without being a cautionary tale.

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The UFO Phenomenon by Time Life Books

The UFO Phenomenon
Time Life Books
1987, Time Life Books, Morristown, NJ.

Encyclopaedic look at the UFO phenomenon from the 1940-1980s. The book details some stories of close encounters, hoaxes, culture and theories about unidentified flying objects.

This book has a lot of very pretty pictures, but is a little light on the content. I realise that it's an encyclopaedia so is only going to give a glossy overview, but this was a bit too dry and dull. The illustrations however, are spectacular. It's a gorgeous book.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Five go off to camp by Enid Blyton

Five go off to camp
Enid Blyton
Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1948

The Famous Five - Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy the Dog - go off on a camping trip, and end up having an adventure with spook trains, black marketeers and gingerbread.

What a smashing story! As a child, I had a video of this episode from the 1970s TV show, so it was great to be able to read the original book.

And it made me hungry for gingerbread.

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Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

Special Topics in Calamity Physics
Marisha Pessl
2006, Viking, London

Blue van Meer is a bright girl who has spent most of her life travelling around America with her university professor father. When they settle in a town for her final year of high school, unusual events begin to take place.

This was a fantastic book! It was gloriously pretentious - woven together beautifully and with such ease. Sure it was a little bit slow in places, but it was one hell of a ride.

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Friday, May 9, 2008

Objective: Bajor by John Peel

Objective: Bajor
John Peel
1996, Pocket Books, New York

The Deep Space Nine crew encounter The Hive - a large ship which came from another galaxy and destroyed one of the Bajoran colony worlds and is on it's way to destroy Bajor itself.

This was another interesting Trek book. It's refreshing to read one where the 'bad guys' are not bad at all. The Hive inhabitants are great aliens with inventive technology. And the tie-in with the Cardassians and Bajorans was well established.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Man of my Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld

The Man of my Dreams
Curtis Sitenfeld
2006, Random House, New York

This is a coming-of-age novel about a young woman learning about life and love. Hannah is a shy girl who struggles to find her place in the world.

The characters in this novel are similar to those in Prep, so much so, I wonder if it's slightly autobiographical. Like Lee in Prep, Hannah has low self-esteem and is exceedingly selfish in the way she sees other people. I enjoyed reading about these characters - I can see aspects of myself in both of them, in the way they think and how they view the world.

This book is very honest and full of little 'real' scenes, which are beautifully poignant. The honesty can be uncomfortable, but that's what makes it a great book - you want to keep reading.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Grounded by David Bischoff

David Bischoff
1993, Pocket Books, New York

The Enterprise investigates an emergency on a scientific station on an uninhabited planet with unusual properties. There, the ship becomes affected by an alien presence, and the crew must find a way to dispel it or the Enterprise will be destroyed.

This was written well and it was an intriguing story. I thought some of the dialogue was not great but that's a minor thing - I liked that the book was written in a few different voices and styles. There was just enough science to be interesting and not boring.

And I think that this is one of the only Trek books I've read that could be enjoyed by non-Trek fans.

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