Monday, May 22, 2006


Whenever I go on vacation I try to bring a book that somehow relates to my destination. So when we went to Mexico a couple weeks ago (look for pictures on the fam website soon!) I was in the market for anything set in Mexico, written by a Mexican author, or at least had loose ties to something hispanic, and I settled on Isabel Allende's latest novel, Zorro. Even though Allende is a peruvian raised in Chile, and the book is set in California and Spain, there were actually some direct ties to our vacation. For example, the characters spend some time in the Caribbean--we were on the Yucatan peninsula--and I saw a restaurant named after the famed pirate Jean LaFitte, who makes quite an impression late in the novel. So that was enough to satisfy the geeky compulsion to read books that coincide with my surroundings.

Zorro is about young Diego de la Vega, his formative years and how he became the legendary masked crusader. It's a pretty fun story with lots of colorful characters, exciting adventures and ties to real history. It's an impressive re-imagining of the legend, and it's pretty fast-paced so it didn't get boring. I really liked that the author worked some strong female characters into Zorro's backstory, and she provided some insightful glimpses into social customs of the day and cultural conflicts between the old and new worlds. The best thing about the book is probably the richness of detail--it's very easy to picture everything as it happens.

But... I was still pretty glad to be done reading this book. I enjoyed it quite a lot at first, but after a while it started to seem really dorky. I don't know why, exactly. Sometimes the writing is kind of clumsy--maybe that's all it was. (At one point I began to wonder if I just thought that House of Spirits was a well-written book, because this one really didn't seem up to the standard that I remembered. But no, I really think this one comes off more amateurish). Anyway I still recommend it if you just want something light and fun. It's good, but not great.

Friday, May 05, 2006

three in one

I like books! So I checked out the hugest pile ever from the library!! The first was Uglies. It was way sweet, and its the first in a trilogy so i got the library to order the 2nd one. It's Earth in the future. Normal humans have slightly died out, and now are dying out more, because when they reach they age of 16 they get a surgery to make them not Ugly (normal looking)anymore. The surgery makes their eyes big and doe-like, their lips big, etc. And pretty much they look like Angelina Jolie. The main character is Tally. She's mischievious and gets in to trouble. Which threatens her chances at surgery. But then she meets a hot guy living in the Smoke (where uglies run away to, when they don't want the surgery) and he tells her the ugly secret about the surgeries. It is grand and action packed. I just kept wanting to read it forever. Like Harry Potter or something!! Crazy! Anywho, so the next one, is Girl, 15, Charming but Insane. It's a British novel about Jess Jordan. She's 15 obviously, and hilarious. It's freaking funny! There's one part where she stuffs her bra with bags of minestrone and then a guy grabs her boobs, since they're so big, and they pop and squirt soup everywhere! It's completely silly, but cute. Next is Double Helix. It was kind of hard to understand sometimes, because it's very science-y, but very good!! The kid, Eli Samuels' mother has Huntingtons disease (they slowly go insane) and he then he gets this job at Wyatt Transgenics. But his Dad has quite a bit of hatred for Dr. Wyatt, but won't tell Eli why. Then Eli meets Kayla Matherson, who is staying with Dr. Wyatt. And slowly, Eli uncovers one layer after another of the truth about Dr. Wyatt's genetic-engineering experiments and their connection to his parents, Kayla, and himself. Plus it has a sweet hang-on-the-edge-of-your-seat ending. So there you go. Some sweet books. YUP! Alrighty! Love ya, DANLEE