September 29th, 2010

mysteriousparis

Looking forward to the next book in the series

Originally posted at mmarques.vox.com on Mar 1, 2007.

John Scalzi's The Ghost Brigades is a fun romp with a light dose of philosophy, but it's no Old Man's War. TGB is the sequel to OMW. But it's not the sequel I expected.

OMW focussed on John Perry and eventually included Jane Sagan as another central character. It started on a personal scope and then broadened to issues and the stars.

TGB had a fantastic opening about an inanimate object. But then the first people mentioned left me cold. And then the entire opening seemed almost irrelevant.

Once we got to Dirac's story, however, the book picked up pace and became the enjoyable romp I'm coming to expect. Once again, Jane Sagan plays an important role. I just wish there were more of her in this book.

The last few chapters hint at some upcoming events that I'd love to read about, so I think I'll end up reading the next book. I just hope we get to see what's happened to John Perry.
mysteriousparis

I can't really recommend

Originally posted at mmarques.vox.com on Mar 21, 2007

Small g: A Summer Idyll. This book was a gift. Someone that Patricia Highsmith was the author of The Talented Mr. Ripley, and thought I might enjoy this book.

I haven't read any of Highsmith's other work, but the best I can say about this book is that it was entertaining enough to finish. Mostly, I loved to hate the really horrible villain.

The problems with this book? First, the characters are almost never portrayed with any emotional depth (and most of that depth is towards the end). They are a bit cliche. When the characters have serious problems, if they aren't part of the central plot, they are glossed over.

Also, I felt like the book didn't know what type of story it was telling. It starts out as a murder mystery, but the mystery slides into equal footing with a "slice of life" story, and in the end disappears like soap bubbles.

I might have put up with these problems, if it weren't for the contrived resolutions to several problems, and the ending wrapping up too easily for the characters. There were all sorts of potential conflicts set up that never happened.
mysteriousparis

An entertaining book

Originally posted on mmarques.vox.com on Apr 9, 2007

I just finished Scott Griffin's My Heart is Africa, the story of his flight to and around Africa in his Cessna. Yes, he actually flew from Canada to Africa in a prop plane.

This book is an entertaining memoir of his experiences. It starts with his flight to Africa. It introduces you to the people he met, briefly covers his work with the non-profit Flying Doctors of Africa (he neither a pilot nor a doctor for them),and recounts his adventures in Africa.

I bought this book after hearing Scott Griffin speak at my library. He claims not to be a writer, but the pacing is easy, and the description marvelous. I felt like I had met the people and seen the landscape.