Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Couple of Quickies

OK, I've got a couple of non-reviewed books staring me down. For a number of reasons, I didn't feel I could do a full review on any of these so I'm clumping them together in little mini reviews for you.

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?

Other reviews of 1984:
Books Love Me

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)


Heather J. said...

Hi! Just wanted you to know that I also read Last Chance to See after reading Nymeth's review. What a fascinating book! If you like, you can check out my review here.

Liz said...

Last Chance to See sounds very interesting, particularly as I've recently finished reading a book about life behind the scenes at the San Diego Zoo. It's called "My Seven Years in Captivity" and is just an unusually entertaining collection of real-life zoo stories by an ex-zoo publicist who obviously loved his work. It's great fun.

Stephanie said...

I just read Emily Giffen's book Baby Proof, but really disliked it. Sounds like this other one isn't so good either!

Laura said...

Nope, I'm the last person left who hasn't read 1984! I am planning to read it very soon for a challenge I signed up for--I've been planning to read it for a very long time!

I've been wondering about Giffen's book. I still have 2 more chick lit books to read, and I've seen hers around quite a bit. From the sound of this one--I definitely don't think I'll be reading it!

beastmomma said...

I waited to read 1984 until I was out of school as well. Here is my review:

I thought the book was terrific.

C. B. James said...

I loved Last Chance to See... I'm glad to see so many people are still reading it.

1984 is darn good, too. It's sad to see that it's still relevent.

Thanks for entering my contest. Thisredhead was the winner.I hope you enjoyed the read-a-thon.

Stop by my blog again for more contests.

Nymeth said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed Last Chance to See. And thank you for your kind words about my review :) I really wish he were still around to update it too.

It sounds like I really need to read Bill Bryson!

1984 is one of my favourite classics, and it's almost scary to see how relevant it remains.

kristen said...

I completely agree with your review of Something Borrowed!

However, I did really enjoy Baby Proof -- it is not as predictably "chick lit" and questions society's expectations of women.

Anonymous said...

I'll be honest. I don't think that I knew that Orwell was his pen name either. I guess I'm not as smart as I think I am. ;)

I've heard about that Adams book. I'll have to look for that one too soon.

Angela said...

that something borrowed book sounds like it was based directly on my life. but with less herpes. or, maybe more, i actually haven't read it. If more, i think i can sue for royalties, right?

Michelle said...

I haven't yet read 1984. I know I should, and I will eventually I just haven't gotten around to it!

Dewey said...

I agree that 1984 is better read as an adult, but I feel that way about a lot of the books assigned in school.

Josette said...

Hi, don't worry, you're certainly not the last person on Earth to read 1984! I just finished the book last night and was I glad to finish it.

Hmm, what you said is true. The media like the television and advertisements are just telling us what to do. Now I get it. I'm trying to apply 1984 to daily life. Reading the book also helped me understand my Mass Communications classes better.

Here's my review of the book. :)