Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michalel Chabon

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
Michael Chabon
2000, Picador, New York
0312282990
636p.

When Sammy Clay's cousin arrives from Prague during WWII they embark on a comic book writing partnership creating the superhero The Escapist.

I kept expecting something incredible (or indeed amazing) with this book but it never happened. I found it to be a bit bland and lifeless which was very disappointing. I get that it's a big, expansive American novel, yet, at the end of reading it, I don't feel illuminated, or even like I've been on a journey.

Some of the vignettes were beautiful - like the scenes of Joe's relationship with his escape-artist mentor - but they were lost in the quagmire of the rest.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

A Thread Across the Ocean: The Heroic Story of the Transatlantic Cable by John Steele Gordon

A Thread Across the Ocean: The Heroic Story of the Transatlantic Cable
John Steele Gordon
2002, Simon & Schuster, London
0743231279
215p.

The story of the concept, manufacture and laying of the Transatlantic Cable in the nineteenth century.

Wow. An amazing story. It has geography, electrical theory, economics, history, maritime history, war and science. I can't fathom how this was conceived and executed with the technology they had at the time. So many setbacks, and still they strove on. This truly is a heroic story.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Never Say Die by Tess Gerritsen

Never Say Die
Tess Gerritsen
1992, 2006, Mira, Chatswood
1741161329
207p.

Willy Maitland travels to Vietnam to search for her father who was shot down during the war. But someone wants to stop her from discovering the truth about what happened.

I was very disappointed with this. The story and characters are clich├ęd and uninspiring. And the writing style is amateurish. I realise this was early in Gerritsen's career and it just shows how far she's come.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Antarctica on a Plate by Alexa Thomson

Antarctica on a Plate
Alexa Thomson
2003, Random House, Milsons Point
1740512073
385p.

Alexa decides to give up her city-based web-design career to fly to Antarctica and be the cook for a small base.

This was an interesting memoir, however, I was expecting to be wowed by the majesty of Antarctica, but that didn't come through.

Link to journal at bookcrossing

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

The Dead and the Gone
Susan Beth Pfeffer
2008, Marion Lloyd, London
9780152063115
308p.

Alex is a Puerto Rican teen living in New York City when as asteroid hits the moon pushing it out of its orbit and closer to the earth which has devastating consequences. After Alex's parents go missing in the initial disaster, he must care for himself and his two sisters to ensure their survival.

I didn't think this was as good as the first book. It seemed a bit contrived - like the first book was such as success so the author tried to duplicate it. It was still a good read, but it lacked the magic (and utter heartbreak) of the first book.

Link to journal at bookcrossing