Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Review: In the Shadow of Dragons

In the Shadow of Dragons
by Kathleen Cunningham Guler
Bardsong Press, Steamboat Springs, Colorado (2001)

The second book of the Macsen's Treasure Series follows the path of Marcus ap Iorwerth and his wife Claerwen in the quest of Britons' kings.
Myrddin Emrys (also and better known as Merlin the Enchanter) is the other main character in this book, because he is the son of the king Ambrosius.
The druid Myrddin feels the danger looming on his father and asks Marcus for help; this time the couple (Marcus and Claerwen) works together.

The title referrs to Marcus' underground job as a spy, working in the shadow of the kings, and the Red Dragon (or Y Ddraig Goch) is the symbol of the people of Britain opposite to the White Dragon, symbol of the Saxons.

Marcus manages every dangerous actions, apart from the last one (maybe the most important one?).
Claerwen, in this second book, is almost in the background, more woman and mother than warrior.
Myrddin acts as Virgil with Dante: carrying a candlelight (or the fire in the head), and showing to Marcus the Hell's path toward the peaceful future with King Arthur.

A question: Where did Padrig's wisdom ended up in this book? (He's my favorite character).

Friday, March 19, 2010

Review: Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen

Dodo Press, 2007

It is 'truth universally' known that Elizabeth Bennett married Darcy.

And what about Mr. Bennett? He's my favorite character: lost in his library, not so much talkative just when it is important and needed.

At the beginning of the book, all characters are talking about what happens after his death; but Mr. Bennett is headstrong and he doesn't care about it.

When Mr. Bennett seems won and lost because he doesn't manage to find Lydia (because eloped with Wickham); he becomes the winner again: he takes the most important decisions, the marriage of Jane and Elizabeth, asking their opinion without pride or prejudice.

And poor Catherine de Bourgh: nobility is no more valuable, at the end she has to bow the head before all these socialists. Pity!

A quote by Elizabeth: 'We all love to instruct, though we can teach only what is not worth knowing' p. 299.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Review: The Joseph Road

The Joseph Road
by Jerry White
NavPress Publishers, 2010

Jerry White tells the biblical story of Joseph and his journey in Egypt; all this compared with the nowadays ordinary life people. Joseph's life is a fight between dreams (always they say the future) and destiny (with God's sign).

Style: the book's narrative is easy to follow as White is a popular speaker and keeps your attention high all through the book.

The Joseph's story is interspersed with the events of White's personal life; usually I don't like authors talking about personal failure or success, White this time has changed my mind: he tells his story without pride or recrimination, following, as Joseph, his own path because already marked, although not all the dreams become reality.

The Joseph Road is also fun when White reports excerpts from the Egyptian Gazette (maybe from Jerry's personal library).

Reflection questions at the end of each chapter helps you to bring this book again and again.

I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guide Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Review:The Alphabet Challenge

The Alphabet Challenge
by Olga Gardner Galvin
ENC Press, 2003

I received this free ebook from ENC Press on Librarything's Member Giveaway

Some people in the future talk about the discrimination resulting from the first letter of the last name; the best is when the last name starts from A to N, between M to Z there are the Pariah. The ABChallenge group try to create disorder in this alphabetical order.

It takes a lot to understand this book, because the narrative style is full of dialogues. Lot of people talking. It's hard to follow this characters.

Some reader could drop this book after some pages, usually I read the book until the last page (or letter, even it's a Z) hoping for revival.
The Alphabet Challenge has been an hard challenge to finish it and so I founded the AABRRTUAB (All About Book Reader's Right To Understand A Book).

Gardner Galvin tells the story of Occam's razor: between different problem's solutions cut with a razor the complicated ones and take the easiest. Maybe this could be the theme of the next Gardner Galvin's book.

Another clue about this book is the theme of the satire: the author attacks something of which disapproves (here the alphabetical order and the need to establish bodies of people to defend some right) using irony and wits.

A final quote: 'Nobody has the correct answers all the time.' p. 80