Saturday, December 11, 2010

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

Kitchen is a beautiful work that is comprised of two short novellas. Within the pages of this delightful book, you will discover characters that have suffered unimaginable loss, but in their pain and despair, find hope in their lives, and in the process regain the ability to look at the world with child-like eyes filled with magic.

4 out of 5 stars

The Key to Rebecca by Ken Follett

A German spy covertly enters Cairo during the Second World War. His mission: intercept British military plans so he can transmit them to Rommel, the legendary desert fox. A British officer, however, soon discovers the spy's plan, and the ensuing chase is filled with cloak and dagger action, romance and deception. This book is a fun read, though like a John Grisham novel the interesting plot is weakened by cheesy writing, clunky scenes and predictable twists. If you are looking for literature this novel is not for you. If you want to pass a weekend at the cottage, however, or if you just want to have some fun reading historical pulp fiction, then this detective book could be just what the doctor ordered

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Cuentos de Nueva York: El padre que se fue y otros cuentos de Leonardo Greven

En este libro de cuentos cortos, Leonardo Greven desrcibe un Nueva York de los años setentas, lleno de sueños y lagrimas, amor y crimen. Aquí encontramos un hombre que regresa a su casa despues de haber abandonado su familia hace cuatro años. También conocimos un hombre que predica en el centro de Manhattan, el ultimo inquilino en un edificio que se esta deteriorando – en un barrio lleno del color gris y un espíritu viejo – y un hombre en un enredo amoroso con una mujer mucha más joven.

3 de 5 estrellas

Humans (Neanderthal Parallax) by Robert J. Sawyer

Robert J. Sawyer is a gem in Canadian science fiction. In this second book in his Neanderthal Parallax, Sawyer continues his brilliant story of Ponter Boddit, the Neanderthal scientist that lives in an alternate earth in a parallel universe. In the first book of the series -- Hominids -- Boddit accidentally discovers a portal into our world, where Homo Sapiens, instead of Neanderthals, rule the world. In this second book in the series, Boddit continues his adventures with Mary Vaughan, a geneticist from this world. In this remarkable story, Sawyer thinks about such issues as crime, justice, god, interior decorating, and how human love can transcend the Homo Sapien and Neanderthal divide.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer

Robert J. Sawyer is one of my favourite science-fiction writers. With Hominids he once again proves why he is one of the most brilliant sci-fi thinkers around. In this highly enjoyable book, Sawyer creates a parallel universe where Neanderthals have become the dominant “human” species on the Planet. When this parallel world find a way to cross into our universe – where homo sapiens are the dominant species – the result is wonderful thought experiment that touches on such themes as religion, physics and what it means to be human.

4 out of 5 stars

The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart

I am not sure what to think of this book. On the one hand, the premise is fascinating: in an attempt to deconstruct the human personality, and create a totally random person, a psychiatrist decides to base his life decisions on chance by throwing dice, and then following – without exception – the orders that the dice dictates. On the other hand, the character (and author?) is such a selfish, self-obsessed asshole, that his clever insights seem like mere parlour tricks rather than scientific insight.
So we are faced with this question: If a potential genius is, at the end of the day, an insufferable jerk, does that still make him a genius, or can we ignore his "wisdom" on the grounds that his experiment is not a path to knowledge, but rather an excuse to forego all responsibility? Not sure what the answer is, but this question fills the pages of this book.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Marriage of Sticks by Jonathan Carroll

A hip young woman sees an uncanny old woman in a wheelchair by the freeway in the middle of nowhere. Back home in New York, she marries an older man. They move to a large old house along the Hudson River, and she begins to see ghosts. Then, as in vintage Carroll, things get really strange. This may well be Carrolls best fantasy novel.

3 out of 5 stars

Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff

Jane Charlotte has been arrested for murder.
She tells police that she is a member of a secret organization devoted to fighting evil; her division is called the Department for the Final Disposition of Irredeemable Persons—"Bad Monkeys" for short.
This confession earns Jane a trip to the jail's psychiatric wing, where a doctor attempts to determine whether she is lying, crazy—or playing a different game altogether. What follows is one of the most clever and gripping novels you'll ever read.
3 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

This classic novel is science fiction at its best. First published in 1895, this brilliant book easily stands the test of time. A marvellous journey that takes the reader 800,000 years in the future, and then millions of years further to the end of the world itself.

4 out of 5 stars

The Cat's Pajamas: Stories by Ray Bradbury

A fun collection of short stories. The writing ranges from the brilliant ("A matter of taste") to the so-so ("All my enemies are dead"), though overall it is a enjoyable weekend read.

4 out of 5 stars