This is a general update as the title says of books I’ve read recently but have decided not to write a long review of. The books are: The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner, The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket, Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, and Solaris by Stanisław Lem.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I thought this book was ok, but what really did it for me was that I listened to the audio book, and let me tell you, Tom Hiddleston’s voice is either God’s gift to readers or a curse. His voice simply makes you melt, but then it also sometimes distracts you from what he’s saying and you find yourself focusing only on his voice.
All in all, fun.
Food for thought from The Red Necklace
- “There is nothing to fear except the power you give to your own demons.”
- “All she had to protect herself against him was silence, the one skill in which she had become an expert.”
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Every now and then I like to read something that reminds me of what it was like to be a child reader – and this book is great for that. Lemony Snicket’s (Daniel Handler) writing style is SO MUCH FUN even when the events he describes aren’t fun at all. I am sure I will read more of these “Unfortunate Events” pretty soon.
- “…you know that a good, long session of weeping can often make you feel better, even if your circumstances have not changed one bit.”
- “They didn’t understand it, but like so many unfortunate events in life, just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t so.”
- “There are many, many types of books in the world, which makes good sense, because there are many, many types of people, and everybody wants to read something different.”
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The first books was MUCH better! This one just did not meet the expectations from the first book. There is less of that “raw” crazy person atmosphere that I so loved in the first book. I will read more of these, but maybe I’ll wait a while.
- “I often find myself in situations where it seems to me like everyone else has read the instruction book”
- “You’re driving me NORMAL!”
- “I am ever-ready to confess my shortcomings, too, and a quick round of soul-searching forced me to admit that I had never been any good at all at breathing water. As I hung there from the seat belt, dazed and watching the water pour in and swirl around my head, this began to seem like a very large character flaw.”
- “I know family comes first, but shouldn’t that mean after breakfast?”
- “Quickly, Watson, the game’s afoot,” I said, but Deborah was not in a literary mood.”
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really like Science Fiction which takes its time to explain the “Science” behind the “Fiction” and this one does so a couple of times throughout the book. This then also means that Lem does not underestimate the brain power of his readers (unlike Card in Speaker for the Dead). He gives you excerpts from scientific reflections of the characters in the book and expects you to find your way around neutrinos and radiation.
I particularly liked that almost empty and mechanic atmosphere of the descriptions here. Lem knows that “waxing poetically” has no place in novels like these and he sticks to the almost academic tone. But he does, within the confines of that tone, give great food for thought about the nature of human beings, our “humanity” and talks about the ethics of exploration.
The reason why this book did not get a 5 star rating is that it did not reach the level of Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey or that of Sagan’s Contact.
As a final comment, some of you might think this book sounds familiar, and that might be because you’re a fan of SF (or reading in general) or it might be that you remember the George Clooney movie of the same name.
Wisdom of Lem
- “We have no need of other worlds. We need mirrors. We don’t know what to do with other worlds. A single world, our own, suffices us; but we can’t accept it for what it is.”
- “We take off into the cosmos, ready for anything: for solitude, for hardship, for exhaustion, death. Modesty forbids us to say so, but there are times when we think pretty well of ourselves. And yet, if we examine it more closely, our enthusiasm turns out to be all a sham. We don’t want to conquer the cosmos, we simply want to extend the boundaries of Earth to the frontiers of the cosmos. “
- “We are humanitarian and chivalrous; we don’t want to enslave other races, we simply want to bequeath them our values and take over their heritage in exchange. “
- “Man has gone out to explore other worlds and other civilizations without having explored his own labyrinth of dark passages and secret chambers, and without finding what lies behind doorways that he himself has sealed.”
- “In a way all the gods of the old religions were imperfect, considered that their attributes were amplified human ones.”