Extra Books – June 13 to 19

  • Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
    • Published: July 2005
    • Genre: Magical fantasy
    • Why I picked it up: Rereading the series
    • Rating: 3.5 stars
    • Challenges: Harry Potter 2011 | 100+
    • My Thoughts: 
      • Spoiler alert!! Snape kills Dumbledore – what a fantastic, dramatic, shocking twist. So good. I was never sad about the whole thing, and I had it spoiled for me the day the book was released, but it’s still a great climax which is not the word I want to use but I can’t think of the right one. 
      • The scene with Harry and Dumbledore in the cave…I dunno, that scene never felt very real to me, but it’s kind of terrifying if you can properly believe it. I just have a hard time imagining Dumbledore acting like that, which I suppose is kind of the point (to show how serious and dramatic, etc. the whole situation is) but it just didn’t work for me. Probably because I would be too freaked out if I properly believed it. 😛 

    Michael Pollan – The Omnivore’s Dilemma

    Author: Michael Pollan
    Title: The Omnivore’s Dilemma
    Published: 2006
    Publisher: Penguin Press
    Length: 408 pages
    Genre: Non-fiction (investigative)
    Why I picked it up: Interest in these sort of ‘food books’
    Rating: 3.5 stars
    Challenges: 100+ | Foodie’s 
    Buy: Barnes and Noble | Chapters | Check your local bookstore!

    I was in the midst of writing this post and then I found out that I am to get a third roommate. This is the worst news in the entire world, for a variety of reasons I don’t need to go into here, but now I am too distraught to work on this and I need to go for a walk. XP So, look! Here are the notes I make. Can you understand any of them? I will refine them later when I stop panicking…

    Fun fact tidbits such as ‘Originally, “corn” was a generic English word for any kind of grain, even a grain of salt – hence “corned beef”‘ – I always wondered about that

    ‘And I wondered if Billy gave much thought, in those late-night hours rolling up the miles on Interstate 80, to how he got to this point, and about who he was really working for now. The bank? John Deere? Monsanto? Pioneer? Cargill? Two hundred and twenty bushels of corn is an astounding accomplishment, yet it didn’t do Billy nearly as much as good as it did those companies.’ Talk about corn subsidies.

    But a solution is considered wildly impractical by the cattle industry and therefore the USDA. (re: germs and such in slaughterhouses). THERE, AUGH, THIS IS STUPID!

    ‘Each weed strip is as smooth and flat as a tabletop, levelled with a laser so that the custom-built harvester can snip each leaf at precisely the same point.’

    ‘He reminded me taht his meat would be considerably cheaper than it is if not for government regulations and the resulting high cost of processing – at least a dollar cheaper per pound. “If we could just level the playing field – take away the regulations, the subsidies, and factor in the health care and environmental cleanup costs of cheap food – we could compete on price with anyone.”” so sad 🙁

    Andrew Weill, the Marriage of the Sun and the Moon
    Big, sprawling, vast, covers a lot, explore meat more in depth, ethically wise, lots of good references that sound interesting

    William Cronon’s nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West

     Sidenote – miffed about ‘young reader’s edition,’ ‘”Originally written for adults and now adapted for teens,’ what the hell, we’re not stupid, we dont’ need a seprate edition.

    Ursula Le Guin – A Wizard of Earthsea

      Author: Ursula Le Guin

    Title: A Wizard of Earthsea
    Published: 1968
    Publisher: Parnassus Press
    Length: 183 pages
    Genre: Fantasy
    Why I picked it up: On my TBR list
    Rating: 3.5 stars
    Challenges: 2011 TBR Pile | 100+
    Buy: Barnes and Noble | Chapters | Check your local bookstore!

    [Apologies for this rushed review, busy this week. It’s tough to blog properly without regular internet access :/]

    This is the first ‘traditional fantasy’ book I have read in quite awhile. I got frustrated with the genre a few years ago and kind of gave up on it, but I’ve heard so much about this book I added it to my 2011 TBR Pile. I was not pleasantly pleased with it, but at least pleasantly not disappointed.

    What I liked best about this book was that it was just about Ged, and the problem he created. It wasn’t the whole world at stake, nobody was depending on him. There was a hinted at risk if Ged wasn’t able to beat his demon, but that wasn’t the point. The purpose of the story was that Ged had to save himself. In that way, it was a nice, simple, small story, not a sprawling epic. A fun read, a good bed time story. I wouldn’t say it rivals LotR, but perhaps more so Narnia. It’ll be interesting to see what the next two books in the trilogy will be about.

    Random notes I made while reading: The words dark/darkness were used awkwardly. Sentences like ‘Since the darkness of that night he had only experienced darkness’ should not be allowed to exist. Also, what’s up with women only being common witches, who can’t do much? And the only ‘powerful’ female is cunning and evil. There’s no commentary on that, it’s just how things are. I hope that comes up in later books. The place names and the maps were kind of ridiculous. I didn’t really pay attention to them, and that didn’t really matter. Too many, too many. I like the compact cast of characters. They all seemed solid and believable and pretty likeable or ‘enjoyable to read’ (I don’t know what I’m saying…). I’m sure we’ll Jasper again…I liked most of the dialogue, though there were some strangely awkward bits. There were also passages of description I liked, but nothing too spectacular.

    Overall, a solid story, a fun and light read, but it didn’t impress me as much as the hype lead me to expect.