Rick Riordan is a very famous YA writer who has written two series about modern teenagers with one mortal parent and one parent who happens to be a Greek god. (It happens.) They go on adventures, save the world, train at their godly summer camps (they exist), and blow up ancient monsters. This has been the general and very enjoyable gist of all of Riordan's YA books up until "The House of Hades." This newest installment in "The Heroes of Olympus" series is told from the perspective of 7 demigods on a quest to stop the evil goddess Gaia from taking over the world and to save two of their friends from dying in the Greek hell of Tartarus. It was a very action-packed story, of course, but it was different from its predecessors in that it had more of a conscience. For example, the two heroes who were banished to Tartarus, Percy and Annabeth, are at one point forced to fight a mob of demons who force them to feel the curses of every enemy and person whom they have ever caused pain. At another point, one character who had so far been a bit of a joke developed into a leader, and another demigod who had always seemed dark and aloof for no particular reason suddenly revealed a whole new level of depth. When I first noticed this pattern developing, I was very upset because I had been reading these books since fifth grade and thought they should remain lighthearted and semi-mindless. But as the story went on I warmed to this new installment of the demigod saga, and I can now safely say that well into his second-of-a-kind series Rick Riordan is still kicking butt. I encourage you all to scarf this book down. It had all the explosiveness and irreverence of its predecessors, with a little added morality to it - and really, what's so wrong with that? :) -Carly
Ok, my only excuse for this long-ass hiatus is that I started college, and what with exams, essays, friends, newfound independence, and minor dramas, I nearly forgot I had a blog until this week.
But I'm back now, and here to tell you about the best books and stories I read during my last semester.
1. Citizen: An American Epic by Claudia Ward - A multi-media masterpiece about modern racism, with a particular focus on microaggressions.
2. Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward - The story of a young girl coming of age in an impoverished area of Mississippi, on the brink of one of the great natural disasters of the last decade.
3. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison - A classic allegory of the racial justice movement in America.
4. Beloved by Toni Morrison - Possibly my favorite book ever, Beloved is based on the story of Margaret Garner, a woman who escaped slavery with her children and, when recapture seemed inevitable, killed her children to their being returned to slavery. Shor…
I love the cover of this book. Look closely - it's a little skeleton man clasping his hands over a cup of black coffee. I don't know what it means, but it's delightful.
Anyway, I read this collection of short stories in Spanish - El cuento hispanoamericano - for a class I am taking this semester, but it is also available in English. According to my professor, it's a unique book in that it offers the best representation of Latin American short stories throughout modern history, with details about literary movements and authors as well. I liked some stories better than others - "The Tree" by Maria Luisa Bombal and "The Ruby" by Ruben Dario were my favorites - but even the ones I disliked, such as "Secret Love" by Manuel Payno, were included because they were representative of a certain movement or regional style that was worth acknowledging.
My only issue with this book is that a story I just mentioned, "The Tree,&…
Beautiful writing and intensity of feeling were the major traits of this novel. It is set in an abandoned Italian villa after World War II. The villa is inhabited by a Canadian nurse, Hana, and a war patient whose entire body has been burned black. Hana has chosen to nurse him alone rather than return home. The patient is erudite and appears to be English. Two other men, an Italian thief and a Sikh sapper, stumble upon and move in with them eventually.
These five characters slowly reveal the traumas of their lives to one another. But the most captivating story of all is that of the English patient, who narrates in bits and pieces his life in the desert and the love affair that changed it. The speaking style of the patient is tense, intimate, and precise. For example, while at the edge of a great loss, he "feels that everything is missing from his body, feels he contains smoke. All that is alive is the knowledge of future desire and want" (157). This descr…