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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Reading Challenge Day 12: Pittacus Lore's Lorien Legacies

When you love reading books, there will be times that you'll encounter better written books than that of you used to read. There are of course books of quality that will transcend time and be forever etched in your minds and hearts. But there will be books that you'll wish you didn't love on the first place. So for Day 12 of the 30 Day Reading Challenge, the book (or rather the book series) that I used to love but not anymore would be Pittacus Lore's Lorien Legacies.

I Am Number Four
The book series focuses on the race of Lorien, gifted alien race that has the destiny to save their planet and defeat another race of Mogadorians. However, Lorien was destroyed and the nine chose children are sent to Earth to survive. As they grow, they start to develop their Legacies, their supernatural abilities.

Unfortunately, the Mogadorians had tracked them here on the planet and in order to survive, they must be united with each other again. But for John Smith (Number Four), survival is only second to preserving his new home, Earth.

When I first read I Am Number Four, I was instantly hooked. The premise is very original with the notion that Mogadorians can only hunt the nine by order. However, John Smith is a dull narrator and he present certain situations without urgency and importance. And it doesn't help that the writing is a little amateurish (Not that I can write better, infact I write a lot more worse) when compared to other books that I've read. Overall, I forgave the first book and gave the second a chance.

Luckily, the second book, The Power of Six, is better. I think the introduction of another narrator is a big improvement. And I loved it!

No such luck the third entry, The Rise of Nine. Although Six's narration is good, mixing it with the other two doesn't really work that well. Sometimes, scenes are confusing as we shift from one narrator to another.

My excitement for the series is strong enough for me to but the fourth to be released in August, however, it's not that strong enough to compel me for a second read of the series.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Reading Challenge Day 11: The Books I Hate

Hating a book would be like self torture, why not skip what you know will be painful. However, no matter how we avoid them, we sometimes are coerced into a situation where we are required to read an entire book, no matter how we hate doing so.  (BUT, before I roll,  would like to clarify that my hate for these books are relative to my own taste. I would like to simply express my own opinion. If you do not agree with these opinions, feel free to leave a comment.) So, for Day 11 of the 30 Day Reading Challenge, the following are the books I have read and have hated:

  • E. L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey
  • Bob Ong's Alamat ng Gubat - Bob Ong is my favorite Filipino writer. However, I find his first fiction to be a huge miss. I know that this is suppose to be satirical, but I find the jokes about politics and the Philippine society to be humorless and unconvincing. However, Ong redeems himself with his second fiction, the universally loved MACARTHUR.
  • Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull - I know I know, who wouldn't love someone who breaks conformity and freedom from routine. However, I did not like the use of the metaphor of seagulls. I know I may sound illogical, but I just hated this book.

Well, may be not hate hate it, but reading them did not bring any pleasure in my side. I'll add more once I remember the other books of if I've read more books.

Reading Challenge Day 10: L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

When one would say classical, I would automatically say that its old, boring and outdated. No matter how good a classic is, I really find a hard time adjusting to its prose that I end up taking too long to finish it. But once in a blue moon, a classical book simply grabs you and compels you to finish reading it. With that, for Day 10 of my 30 Day Reading Challenge, my favorite classic book is L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Dorothy lives a dull life at Texas. However, when she is pulled to a world of Oz, full of wonders and dangers, she longs to get home. And she only can with the help of the of the powerful wizard in the Emerald City. While perils are on the way, Dorothy meets unexpected friends, all of whom aims to visit the wizard and "fix" them.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is not just a simple adventure story, it is also finding the best out of oneself. Dubbed as the first fairy tale of the West, the prose is simple enough for the young to still appreciate its story without struggling to understand words used in it. For me, this is immortal for its wonderful message that everyone may be imperfect, but still be a perfect friend.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Reading Challenge Day 9: Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

I always had hated the idea of reading self-help or preachy books. I find them unnecessary. I really do. But for Day 9 of the 30 Day Reading Challenge, I choose Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten as the book that I thought I wouldn't like but end up loving.

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
Here Fulghum engages us with musings on life, death, love, pain, joy, sorrow, and the best chicken-fried steak in the continental U.S.A. The little seed in the Styrofoam cup offers a reminder about our own mortality and the delicate nature of life . . . a spider who catches (and loses) a full-grown woman in its web one fine morning teaches us about surviving catastrophe . . . the love story of Jean-Francois Pilatre and his hot air balloon reminds us to be brave and unafraid to “fly” . . . life lessons hidden in the laundry pile . . . magical qualities found in a box of crayons . . . hide-and-seek vs. sardines—and how these games relate to the nature of God. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten is brimming with the very stuff of life and the significance found in the smallest details. (via GoodReads.com)

Preachy books are never my thing, however, I tried reading this because Bob Ong is very vocal that this is one of the books that had influenced him. And after reading the collection, he was right. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten is a great read! Although it may take some time to adjust to its prose, but once you do, you'll love it! Infact, I have read more than 3 times already.

The first edition will be a little rough, so I suggest grab the 15th Anniversary Edition, as it is more streamlined. What is great with Fulghum is that he doesn't preach about changing lives by giving up sums of money or becoming somewhat a superhero, but asks us to pause and appreciate the small things in life. That God is indeed in the smallest of the details.

Fast & Furious 6 Goes Faster - Movie Review

Who would like to see a movie with thin plot and no regard for the sanity and logic of its movie audience? Who would like to spend time and money on a movie with nothing else to offer other than impossible car stunts? Oh yeah, WE ALL DO!

Since Dom (Diesel) and Brian's (Walker) Rio heist toppled a kingpin's empire and left their crew with $100 million, our heroes have scattered across the globe. But their inability to return home and living forever on the lam have left their lives incomplete. Meanwhile, Hobbs (Johnson) has been tracking an organization of lethally skilled mercenary drivers across 12 countries, whose mastermind (Evans) is aided by a ruthless second-in-command revealed to be the love Dom thought was dead, Letty (Rodriguez). The only way to stop the criminal outfit is to outmatch them at street level, so Hobbs asks Dom to assemble his elite team in London. Payment? Full pardons for all of them so they can return home and make their families whole again. (via IMDB.com)

The entire Fast and Furious gang is back, the interaction with the characters benefiting from their experiences together. Some acting may be very wooden still, but hey, it's Vin Diesel talking, who cares!

The cinematography at times is a bit shaky, but overall it was satisfying, as it gives the scene its overall feeling of urgency. The script is thin, but the stunts and the set pieces are soo impossible that you can't help it but abandon all logic and simply enjoy the movie.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Reading Challenge Day 8: E. L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey

If you have asked me this three years ago, I may have answered Stephenie Meyer's Twilight. However, for Day 8 of the infamous 30 Day Reading Challenge, I find that the most overrated book ever published is none other than E. L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey.

Ana Steele, a college senior, is swept into a dangerous game of love and sex when she meets the handsome and extremely successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey. However, this wealthy man has many strange fantasies, and Ana reluctantly agrees to fulfill these with him. But is love enough to tame a hungry beast?

I have read the first book of the trilogy just to check what the fuss is all about. And man, it was really a struggle to finish through it. Very dull and poorly written, I think this is the worst book ever published, more so, the worst book to be this popular. It makes the Twilight series look like shining beacon.

I will not waste any more words for this (heck, I wouldn't even bother placing its book cover in this post). But I say this to you. AVOID THIS BOOK. You'll do yourself a great favor.

Reading Challenge Day 7: Sylvia Louise Engdahl's Enchantress from the Stars

There are many underrated books, book that had not gained the attention the material deserves or simply overshadowed by books that are less of quality yet somehow became popular (I am looking at you, Shades of Grey). So for Day 7 of the 30 Day Reading Challenge, the most underrated book for me is Sylvia Louise Engdahl's Enchantress from the Stars.

Elana, a trainee for an advanced civilization called the "Federation", is unfortunately caught in a mission to save a planet from invasion. The tricky part, both Younglings (races of the primitive and their the invaders) must not know that there are more advanced civilizations other than them. So, after dire consequences, she must disguise as an enchantress to guide a young peasant to save his planet. Georyn leads a simple life. But all of that must change when a dragon begins to plague the kingdom he lives in. And in order to defeat the beast, he and his brother turns to an enchantress for help. To medical officer Jarel of the Imperial Forces, the planet Andrecia is a big mystery. Even more when he begins to interact with its people and when he encounters a female specie of the planet, who seems more mysterious than the stars. But in Andrecia, things are not as easy as said, and to gain peace and success, one must make ultimate sacrifices.

Wow. This is one of the first few novels I read early on, and still remains as one of the best I've read. I wouldn't be surprised if you haven't heard of it, as I believe it lacks the attention the book rightfully deserves.

The novel is told in three different perspective of the different level of advancement of the worlds. Elana's narrative focuses with hope, faith and love despite the dangers her people encounters. Georyn's point of view on the other hand is told in a fairy-tale like fashion, as his people believe in dragons and magic. And Jarel's weave all three through his point of view which is full of curiosity and passion.

I read this when I was in high school and never got to see a copy of it in local bookstores. I later learned that this is now out of print. A shame. People ought to read books like this rather than spend time with useless ones. If you see a copy, take it. I promise that you'll have a great time reading it. Or if you are not into reading, sell it to me. I would like to have my copy of the book that taught me that reading is a wondrous thing to do.

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