First up is 1984 by George Orwell. I feel like I'm the last person on Earth (or at least the last person in America) to have read this book. I think most people are assigned it in high school. Somehow this has been on my list of books for several years and I'm finally just now getting around to it. Since most people have already read this book, I don't feel like I have to say much. Let's see, if you've ever wondered where the term Big Brother came from and haven't figured it out yet, read this book.
I'm kind of glad I waited until I was an adult to read this one because I think I caught a lot more than I would have if I'd read it when I was younger. Orwell has done a wonderful job of constructing a totalitarian world that makes the sane people feel insane for noticing the government's constant hand in the daily lives of its people. Our world may not be as dreary, but we certainly have the televisions telling us what to think and how to behave on a constant basis. This book will make you wonder where we're headed...
Oh, interesting side note: I never knew George Orwell was a pseudonym. His real name was Eric Arthur Blair. How crazy is that?
OK, next up is Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin. I read this book because my boyfriend's mom gave me her copy after she'd finished and I knew it would be a quick read. I personally was not a fan of this book. Not only was it typical chick lit, but the heroine of the story is sleeping with her best friend's fiance. Granted, her best friend isn't super great, but still. I don't know how you can get a heroine out of a situation like this one. In addition, I didn't feel like the main character, Rachel, grew as a person by the end of the story. I kept waiting for her to finally speak up for herself or call out her best friend on her bad behavior, but she never does. *SPOILER COMING* Even in the end when Rachel finds out her best friend had been cheating on her fiance the whole time with the guy she's supposed to have been dating, Rachel still feels bad and let's her best friend freak out at her without saying anything. This book just left me feeling empty and hating the way some women let their friends (and the rest of the world) treat them. I don't plan to pick up another Emily Giffen book anytime soon.
My last mini review is of Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams. It was a book I really enjoyed, but that I didn't think I could do justice with in a book review. Nymeth at Things Mean A Lot did a way better review, so I suggest you hop on over there and take a look at what she had to say about this one. As for me, I wish Adams was still alive so he could update this book.
Last Chance to See was written in 1990 and is about an around-the-world trip Adams took with a zooligist in search of critically endangered species. We are introduced to the white rhino, of which there were only 22 left when Adams visited, the Komodo Dragon, several species of endangered birds and a the baiji dolphin (which I'm fairly certain became extinct a couple years ago when the Yangtze, it's only known habitat, was dammed by China)
Adams uses his well-known humor to add some lightness to this heavy subject. His writing reminds me much of Bill Bryson, and made me wonder if he was one of Bryson's early influences. The book was well written and an intriguing subject. Despite its being nearly 20 years old, I think this is still a great book and important to read for those of us who are concerned about the environment and our effects on it.
More info about Last Chance to See:
A Year of Books (check this one out for updates on the animals in the book)
Things Mean A Lot (check this one out for a great review)
Another Chance to See (a blog about what's being done for these animals today)