Posts from the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Review

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (novel)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Corbin DesJardins, teen blogger

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams is an amazing science fiction book for people who like comedy, action, and aliens. 

The story starts with Arthur, a young man who lives in England. He awakes one day, goes through his morning routine, then goes outside and lies in the dirt. Arthur is in the middle of a battle to keep construction workers from destroying his house to make an intersection.

Ford Perfect is an actor. Or so he pretends. Ford is actually an alien. And in a few minutes the Earth will be destroyed to make an intersection. IRONIC. Arthur and Ford have been friends for 5 years and would like to save Arthur from the repulsive, disgusting, revolting Vogan ship which is about to destroy the world.

Ford beams up himself and his poor unsuspecting friend to the Vogan ship. That’s when Arthur finds out Ford is a writer for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The Vogans find the men on the ship and release them into mid space. Read more…

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‘StormBreaker’: James Bond at 14?

Cover of "Stormbreaker"

Cover of Stormbreaker

A Book Review

By Corbin DesJardins, teen blogger

Anthony Horowitz’s StormBreaker is a story about a 14-year-old English boy with an everyday life, normal problems, and an uncle in the banking business. But since when do bankers go on trips all over the world and come back with strange injuries?

Alex Rider lives in England with his uncle Ian Rider.  Alex’s parents died in a plane crash when he was just a small baby.  Now the police have arrived in the middle of the night to inform Alex that his uncle had a car accident and died.  The police said Ian Rider wasn’t wearing his seat belt.  Alex knows his uncle wouldn’t drive down the drive way without his seat belt on.  When Alex sneaks into the junk yard to find his uncle’s car, he finds bullet holes in the side and knows that it was no accident that killed Ian Rider. Read more…

‘The Hunger Games’: A Sister’s Sacrifice

Cover of "The Hunger Games"

Cover of The Hunger Games

A Book Review

By Corbin DesJardins, teen blogger

The Hunger Games is a widely read book written by Suzanne Collins. The book is now a major motion picture that brought in millions and millions of dollars.

The book takes place in North America, which has been split into 12 districts. Seventy-five years in the past a civil war went on between the Capitol (the people completely in charge) and all of the districts. The war was soon over, and the Capitol won. Each year, to prove to the districts that they are in charge, the Capitol has the Hunger Games.

During the Hunger Games, the Capitol randomly picks two tributes: one male and one female between the ages of 12 to 18 from each district to compete in an arena. But the tributes don’t compete in sporting events. The tributes are given weapons and forced into a fight to the death. Read more…

Book Review: Good Omens

Cover of "Good Omens"

Cover of Good Omens

By Mandy Webster

Good Omens. Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Ace Books, New York. 1990.

Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens is a hilarious satire of Armageddon in which the world is salted and peppered with the devil’s and God‘s minions, each doing the work of his or her own respective master.

One of my personal favorite minions is Raven Sable, of the Newtrition Corporation which owns, among other things, the Burger Lord franchise. Sounding suspiciously like a real life McDonalds, the burger franchise is testing out Newtrition’s latest MEALS™. Manufactured with CHOW™, only with added fat and sugar, the theory behind MEALS™ is that if you ate enough, “you would a) get very fat, and b) die of malnutrition” (138).

But I digress… Here’s the premise of Good Omens: In preparation for the Apocalypse, the devil’s infant son is sent topside to be switched with the newborn son of the American Cultural Attaché to Britain. But the devil’s plan goes seriously awry when Sister Mary Loquacious (of the Satanic Chattering Order) misplaces the Anti-Christ, and the little bugger accidentally goes home with the Youngs who decide to name their new spawn Adam. Read more…

Book Review: Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

The front cover of Lamb: The Gospel According ...

Image via Wikipedia

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. By Christopher Moore. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2002. Print.

By Mandy Webster

After thousands of years, the mystery of Christ’s whereabouts from the time he was 12 until the age of 30 has been solved. Christopher Moore’s Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, is Biff’s often hysterical account of the life of Christ during this oft-debated period.

Throughout this novel, Moore explores such deep theological questions as the divinity of Christ and free will, using modern language sometimes reminiscent of a contemporary television sitcom. Moore manages to integrate a high level of intellectual humor throughout most of the novel. For me, Lamb has earned the cliché, “laugh out loud.” In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that Biff himself had coined the phrase to begin with.

I’m not normally one to cry or laugh out loud when reading any book, but the sarcasm and irreverent humor used to create humor throughout Lamb definitely had me going. For example, when Joseph asks Biff, whose name translates roughly as “smack upside the head,” (p. 9) if he wants to become a stonecutter, Biff replies,“I was thinking about becoming the village idiot, if my father will allow it.” Read more…

Book Review: The Finkler Question

Man Booker Prize

Image via Wikipedia

By Mandy Webster

The Finkler Question. Howard Jacobson. Bloomsbury USA, New York. 2010.

The Finkler Question, by British author Howard Jacobson, is a long, dull, back-tracking read I wouldn’t recommend to anyone (Finkler or non-Finkler.) I don’t know if I would even waste my time reading this review if I were you. That is, unless you are a critic. The critics apparently love this Man Booker Prize winning pain in the arse. Anyway, this was my original reaction to The Finkler Question.

I had to read this book for a class I’m taking on Literature and Humor, and I struggled to get through that first section. We were to have read the entire novel by the time we met for class this past Saturday, but I only managed to get through Part I. By the time I arrived on campus, I had given up on The Finkler Question and decided to just wing it through class. But after discussing the book with my fellow graduate students, I decided maybe I should give Finkler a second chance. Read more…

Wit, By Margaret Edson

Wit (play)

Image via Wikipedia

By Mandy Webster

W;t. By Margaret Edson. New York, NY: Faber and Faber, Inc., 1999.

Just finished reading Wit, the Pulitzer Prize winning play by Margaret Edson, and I was simply blown away. Edson gives us a glimpse into the end of cancer patient, Vivian Bearing’s life in this startlingly funny story.

Vivian is a 50 year old professor of seventeenth-century poetry who believes herself a major asset to the academic world. Yet, when she finds she is suffering from stage 4 ovarian cancer, she becomes just another cancer patient in a robotic medical system.

I wish I had time to write a full review, but am pressed for time today. So I’m going to just share this trailer from the movie of the same title, starring Emma Thompson. My only complaint with this trailer is, it only shows the heartbreaking side of the story… the trailer completely misses out on the main theme of the play, which is apparent from it’s title, Wit.

Both heartrending and humorous, Wit left me asking some hard questions about how we treat our fellow humans within our health care system. Read more…