Monday, October 29, 2007

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Truman Capote's In Cold Blood is another book that I checked out of the library in honor of Banned Books Week about a month ago. Thankfully, I have enjoyed this one much more than the last one I read, Beloved.

Although In Cold Blood is a highly researched account of a real murder and trial, it is told in story form. Capote gets you into the killers' heads, which is quite a feat in and of itself. He also weaves real sources into his telling of the story: letters, statements, and other documents. Although he does not say specifically who he interviewed, he also makes a reference in the beginning of the book to certain interviewees, without whom the book could not have been written (or at least, not so completely).

I seem to remember classmates reading this book, possibly even in high school, but somehow I never read it until now. Being a literature major, I'm actually quite shocked that I never did. I have to say that I think this is one of the masterpieces of modern literature, and well worth the time it takes to read it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Girl, Interrupted by Susana Kaysen

iconiconAfter finishing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I was finding it difficult to think of reading anything else, so I deliberately chose a book that was short and would be less involved: Girl, Interrupted by Susana Kaysen, one of my choices for Banned Book Week. (Yes, I'm reading my Banned Book Week books rather late.)

I wasn't disappointed with my choice. Girl, Interrupted is made up of many short essays, some of them only a couple of pages long. While doing an excellent job of illustrating how disjointed her experiences in the hospital were, it also was much less demanding of me as a reader — a good thing after the suspense and high involvement of Harry Potter.

iconiconAlthough the movie Girl, Interrupted was based heavily on Kaysen's book, there was of course a lot of drama added that wasn't present in the book itself. The book is more of a look at the wrongs done by the system: Kaysen was sent to the hospital after a brief (i.e. 20 or 30 minutes) exam by a doctor she had never seen before in her life, diagnosed with a condition that could be applied to 95 percent of teens, and lost nearly two years of her life as a result.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

The last Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is by far my favorite of the seven. I finished Book 6 — which I did end up liking much better than I had the first time, by the way — late Saturday night, and immediately started reading Book 7. By the same time Sunday night, I had finished Deathly Hallows — I just couldn't put it down! I figure I read the entire thing — all seven-hundred-some pages — in about nine hours, tops.

There are a lot of things I could say about Book 7...but knowing that a lot of people probably still haven't read it, I don't want to give too much away. Suffice it to say that it was a perfect ending for the series. J.K. Rowling tied up all the loose ends quite nicely. I especially like Snape's role in the book...though what that is, I won't tell you.

It's hard to put into words how I feel now that Harry Potter has ended. However, this cartoon by Debbie Ridpath Ohi says it better than words ever could.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

When I posted last (about Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), I stated that I had been less impressed with the sixth Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when I read it shortly after it came out. This time around, however, I'm liking it quite a lot.

...So much, in fact, that I'm already about halfway through the book. I expect I'll finish in another couple of days, after which I'll start book 7 at last!!!!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

I'm back to reading J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, in the hopes of someday making it to Book 7. I'm sure most people just picked book 7 up and read it cold, without refreshing their memories on the first six. However, it had been six or seven years since I read the first four, and I don't remember 5 or 6 very well either.

In any case, I'm glad I decided to read the entire series before reading the newest (and final) book. I had forgotten how much I loved Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I read this book shortly after it came out, finishing it in about a day and a half, as I remember. Of course, it was summer then, and I was still in college, which meant that I had a couple of days to devote primarily to reading.

I haven't seen the corresponding movie yet — we haven't seen many movies in the theater this year, and we had others (Bourne, Transformers, The Brave One) that were a bit higher on our list of must-sees. However, now that I'm almost finished with Order of the Phoenix, I'm really wanting to see the movie.

Next — and hopefully without any further interruption — I'll be reading Book 6. I seem to remember not being quite as impressed with it as I was with Book 5, so we'll see how they compare when they are read back-to-back.