June 27, 2003
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5) by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5) by J. K. Rowling: the fifth, and longest, installment in the Harry Potter series.

This book was very different from the previous books in the series. Lots of moodiness from Harry (of course he is a fifteen year old boy; which of them are not moody?), far more injustices and horror than the previous books, and a general darkness that the other books just did not have.

Despite all of this (and the death of a major character, though I won’t say whom), I still enjoyed this book and would come home from work and just read for a while.

Lots of readers have said, however, that they don’t feel that this book was on par with the rest of the series and I do agree. Lots of the “magic” (pun intended) that the other books have really wasn’t here - almost like Rowling’s writing style had changed in between books. I think a lot of it had to do with the subject matter and the darkness of this book compared to the previous, but I did miss that certain something.

All in all, I would definitely recommend this book simply because by this point, I am so wrapped up in the characters that there is no way I simply cannot find out what is going on with them in their world.

June 23, 2003
Neuromaner by William Gibson

Neuromaner by William Gibson: rarely have I had a book disappoint me as much as this one has.

This book won the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the Philip K. Dick - the first novel to ever win all three sci-fi awards. It coined the term cyberspace. And yet, I found it incredibly uninvolving.

I think my main problem with the book is that when it started out, I felt slightly lost - like I was in a country where they spoke English, but the English was a little different from my own. This made me try and fit it into stories I already knew creating an amalgamation of Strange Days, Johnny Mnemonic (also written by Gibson), and The Matrix. I appreciate the fact that by not explaining the past or the present to the readers Gibson presents the novel like it is an accepted reality. I believe, though, this is why I never really was able to get into either the stories or the characters. Trying to get the simple, everyday concepts ("What the hell is a coffin? Why’s he sleeping in it?") made it more of a task to read the book in turn making it harder to accept the characters and understand their motivations. I just desperately wanted it to end so I could move on to something else.

Let me say, however, that there is definitely wonderful stuff in this book - hell, the first line is great. It probably gets better with each read since more will make sense from the get-go, but my frustration and disappoint with the book will probably cause me never to give it another go.

June 14, 2003
Terms of Endearment by Larry McMurtry

Terms of Endearment by Larry McMurtry: a book about the lives of a mother and daughter, but where the plot just isn’t of major importance.

I’ve never read anything by McMurty before, but my friend Dan kept going on and on about how much he loved him so I borrowed Terms of Endearment. I’m very glad I did because I fell completely in love with the characters immediately, especially Aurora Greenway.

The novel is about two women - Aurora the mother and Emma the daughter - and how they effect each other and how their lives entertwine. Aurora is headstrong and selfish and hard to get along with, but her daughter loves her anyway. Emma never puts herself ahead of others and is easily taken advantage of at times, but Aurora still loves her as well.

This doesn’t mean, however, that their relationship is smooth. They have many issues with each other, but at the end of the novel, it’s obvious that they have gotten to a point where none of that matters - only their love for each other does.

I mentioned earlier that this is a book where plot just doesn’t seem to matter. The whole novel seemed to be about character development, if that makes any sense. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the book seemed to exist to further the personalities, not to reach any kind of a resolution, though that does happen.

I would highly recommend this novel and can’t wait to try the rest of McMurtry’s work as well.