Archive for September 2009
I was in danger of going through a reading drought. It felt as if I wasn’t able to finish anything I started, and it felt as if I wasn’t able to read as much as I wanted to! however finally! I managed to get one done! I also noticed, when I recieved this book, I was surprised to see that I got this cover then the ones I’ve seen around book blogs. At first I actually thought the library gave me the wrong book but, I was wrong it’s just another edition. Update: The wonderful staff at Random House has informed me, that it’s the UK version I have for the book, the one on the right, is the version you probably see in bookstores if you live in North America.
Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross covers the legend of Johanna, or “Joan” as she was known, who poses as a man to be able to attend the schola (school) in order to learn more. At this time during the Dark Ages, women weren’t even allowed to go to school or even learn how to read (somehow, it was a very bad dangerous thing). Thanks to her older brother Matthew, Joan discovered a thirst and joy of learning to read and write, and to exchange theories and reason with other learned men. Eventually all this learning leads her to become the local physician at an abbey and from there, she’s in for an extraordinary adventure.
Joan is portrayed as a very strong and stubborn character. However because of her stubbornness it takes her farther ahead than any woman could have done during those times, and for that, I think it’s a very admirable trait in her. It’s because of this, she was able to overcome anything to do what she wanted to do the most; which was to learn. This is one of the most strongest female characters I have ever read so far and although she does have faults, she quickly overcomes them and does not relent. Even when she’s tempted to leave with Gerold (her romance interest) she still remains steadfast to her duties to the the people in Rome. Although I found it frustrating at times, especially when things start to take a turn for the worst, it’s still an admirable trait in the face of adversity.
It’s hard to feel any sympathy for any male characters in this novel. Although Gerold might be different but not as much as it all comes to the bottom line: the men in this novel prefer the women pregnant, barefoot, and in the kitchen. Their ignorance is so blatant you wanted to grind your teeth to stop yourself from wanting to jump in to wring their necks for thinking that way about women. However, it’s a very realistic account, for I have no doubt that’s how they thought that way (unfortunately some still do to this day).
The plot in this book flowed perfectly and had it’s good amount of climaxes and action. I was immediately sucked into the story from the beginning. I really did enjoy reading the parts on how Joan went through her journey to eventually becoming Pope. It was indeed a very nice story to read and I’d have to say it was like watching a very exciting adventure because you were always in fear of what would happen if she were to be discovered a woman. I really liked the inner politics within the Papal ranks. They’re twice as devious and conniving than the royal courts I’ve read in previous books. The writing in this book is historically accurate in my opinion, as it gives you a good look and feel as to how it felt like to live back then in this time period.
The only criticism I have is there are a lot of latin religious terminology (especially areas of the religious buildings and ranks of the papacy in Rome) which were hard to get through. I found myself looking a lot of the words up as to what this certain word referred to, and as to what was this rank in the papacy. A glossary would have helped as I had no prior knowledge in this aspect in history. The Author’s Note however, was indeed informative and a very interesting read.
Overall a great novel about a strong woman who faced the odds to do what she loved to do: read and learn. I recommend this book, it’s a wonderful read. You may even be tempted to read some background information on Pope Joan as I did (I went straight for Wikipedia the moment I finished the book)
I give it an 8 out of 10.
Here is the Monday combo for this week:
Do you listen to music while reading? Does this change if you’re reading in or out of your house? Do you have a preference of music for such occasions?
- It depends. If I am upstairs, then I do sometimes because the TV is on too loud and I can’t concentrate. At least with music, I can drown out the voices. If I’m downstairs, I listen to music as well but it’s mostly classical and it helps me concentrate. It’s mostly classical I can listen to, but sometimes I listen to my own mp3 player and it’s my own mix of music. I prefer classical though.
In my Mailbox this week:
Private Papers of Eastern Jewel – Maureen Lindley (from publisher)
No Wind of Blame – Georgette Heyer (publisher)
Pendragon’s Banner – Helen Hollick (publisher)
Dark Places – Gillian Flynn (won in contest)
The Postmistress – Sarah Blake (Barnes and Noble first look book club)
The Magic Thief – Sarah Prineas
The Thief Lord – Cornelia Funke
(yes just two at the library, I’m going through moderation) :P
I’m halfway through on some books this week. Maybe today I could try and finish at least one:
Pope Joan – Donna Woolfolk Cross
Bending Towards the Sun – Leslie Gilbert-lurie
these two are catching my attention the most. They’re very interesting! also, I started a bit last night on Dark Hours – Gudrun Pausewang which caught my attention too but it was very late at night and my eyes were closing.
So! what’s everyone else reading today?
It is strongly recommended you read Infected first, as it gives you a lot of background information – especially on one of the main characters, Perry Dawsey. That being said. You won’t be dissapointed with reading both books.
Contagious follows right after Infected. You have Perry Dawsey, a survivor who knows all about these destructive alien parasites, who helps the US Government fight these things before it gets out of hand. When things start to blow out of proportion and the virus evolves to survive, things start to get complicated and it all starts with a small little girl named Chelsea.
Wow. This novel was great! I liked how it provided more background information on the aliens and their hidden agenda towards Earth it gave the story more depth and the story is well rounded out. As in Infected, I also liked how there are scientific terms and theories, but it was easily explained and not complicated to understand. We all know some science fiction novels have a lot of technological jargon and you’re left wondering if you’re reading an encyclopedia on physics or rocket science. Here, everything is kept at Science 101 which is good, at least the reader is not stuck with having to go back to their college notes. I also liked the idea of the virus being able to evolve and to adapt so no matter how hard the government tries to fight it, it somehow gains the upper hand I thought it was an interesting way of keeping the story going.
The use of Chelsea in the book is very well done. It makes the story more eerie and creepy by using a child – a very beautiful and innocent like girl to become one of the most horrible creatures I’ve ever read in my life. You also get to see Perry Dawsey evolve from a psychotic raging killer doing down the downward spiral to a more calculated one, but with good intentions thanks to Dew.
There is a lot of action in this novel. It’s so fast paced and well done it’s almost as if you’re watching a movie instead of reading. There are also a few military terms here and there but it shouldn’t really bother the reader if they’re not familiar with the terminology (same with the science terms). There is a lot of gore and swearing for those that aren’t keen with that sort of thing. Other than that, this is a very pleasing sequel, is there room for more? well, I suppose it’s up for the reader to decide. Personally, I wouldn’t mind wondering what happens to the characters but then again perhaps it’s better if it stays with two books instead. It could go either way I guess.
Overall a wonderful, fast paced, sequel to Infected. A great read for sci fi action lovers anywhere. If the gore and swearing don’t bother you pick up both books and read them straight through. You won’t be dissapointed. Also, in this book is one of the most wonderful, awesome, feel-good “tell-offs” I have ever read in my life between Murray, President Gutierrez and Vanessa. I will never forget that part in the book. (If you’re curious, read the chapter: “Murray and Vanessa, BFF” to find out)
I give it a 10 out of 10.
What’s the most enjoyable, most fun, most just-darn-entertaining book you’ve read recently?
(Mind you, this doesn’t necessarily mean funny, since we covered that already. Just … GOOD.)
- I would have to say it’ll be The Light of Burning Shadows by Chris Evans. Now THAT was an exciting book. It was an interesting mix of magic and Napoleon era warfare. There was lots of battles, plenty of magic, and even some swashbuckling humor to add to the mix. Think of Richard Sharpe adventures (if you have read them) mixed with fantasy. It’s a great book (even the first one of that series is good too). Pick it up if you feel like having some entertaining action to read. :)
I got this off of Should Be Reading. Thought it would be nice to participate in honor of BBAW!
Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack? depends sometimes chocolate, sometimes chips (yes..I accompany junk food with things I love to do)
Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you? The idea of writing in books horrifies and makes me cry. The majority of my books are in immaculate wonderful condition. I’d like to keep it that way thank you very much.
How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open? Bookmarks. If someone dog ears my pages I’ll rip them apart limb from limb.
Fiction, Non-fiction, or both? Both! although for non fiction I prefer history.
Hard copy or audiobooks? Hard-copy.
Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point? I can put it down to any point. Although I prefer reading it until the end. It has to be extra horribly written or very boring for me to put it down.
If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away? No, I ask the hombre. He’s got the dictionary in his Ipod and he wants to be cool using it.
What are you currently reading? Uh, you mean what’s near me right now? Contagious by Scott Sigler however I’m also reading about 5 or so more books at the same time.
What is the last book you bought? Aw Jeez you’re seriously asking me that?
Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time? I can read more than one at a time.
Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read? I like reading Sundays, all day. The only time I have peace and quiet.
Do you prefer series books or stand alone books? Both.
Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over? Not sure, it depends on my mood I guess.
How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?) Are you talking about the ones on my shelf or the ones surrounding my bed area? the shelves are all organized by series.