Thursday, December 29, 2011

Miles to Go

     I picked up Miles to Go by Richard Paul Evans on purpose.  I'm not a fan of his writing, but I wanted an uplifting book for the holidays.  Reading it reminded me of why I'm not a fan of his writing.  It should have been an uplifting book.  It had all the parts of the formula: sad story, characters overcoming hard times, a happy ending.  The problem was it had all the parts of the formula.  All of his books follow the same formula and when I read them, I get bored.  There are no surprises, no suspense, no mysteries.  I can't even cheer for the characters because they lack personalities.  They are cookie cutter gingerbread people without any unique decorations.
     His writing is also bland.  He likes to tell the story, rather than show us.  This subtle change makes a huge difference to the reader.  When I hear about the characters and what they feel, rather than experience it with them, they are removed from me.  I am just the reader, rather than a part of their world.  When I am part of their world, I care deeply about them and want to know what happens to them.  Writers do this by showing us what they are going through, rather than just saying things like, "She was depressed."
     There were great things about this book.  I loved some of the quotes the characters said.  They sounded like inspirational posters.  The trouble was without an interesting character to connect the quotes in my mind, the quotes were easily forgotten.  I also enjoyed the story on the Good Samaritan experiment.  I was so intrigued by this story, I Googled the experiment to find out more.
     Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to make me like the book.  I didn't even feel like talking about the book when I was done, and you know how much I love talking about books I am reading.
     It was an okay book, but like the characters, it will be easily forgotten.  If you are looking for an inspirational read for the holidays, pick up a Mitch Albom book.  His books will be ones you will not forget.  

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Last Olympian

     The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan is a fitting ending to a wonderful series.  I am sad to see the series come to an end.  It has been a pleasure to spend the last two years with Percy, Annabeth, Grover, and Tyson.
     In this book, all of the pieces from the earlier books come together in an epic battle between the Titans and the Olympians.  Although strength and prowess play a role in the battles, the true heroes are successful because they are able to persevere, see the good in one another, and join together to fight for their cause.
     I was intrigued by Prometheus.  He was an interesting character and I am still not sure if he was trying to help or hurt Percy.  I loved the way Prometheus gave Pandora's Box to Percy to test Percy's view of humanity and hope.  I would love to read more about Prometheus in other books.
     Although the characters are growing up, they still kept the internal qualities that I loved about them.  I enjoyed the ending of the book because each character was given an ending that he/she deserved.  No one was overlooked or pushed to the side in a quick ending.
     I loved the way all of the human characters were given redemption, even though they had turned to the dark side.  It was an uplifting view that all of us make mistakes, but all of us can redeem ourselves and make a difference in the end.
     Rick Riordan is an amazing writer.  I love his characters, his creativity in creating a world unlike anywhere else I have ever been, his humor, and his uplifting view of the heroic qualities in all of us.  I am a better person for having read his books.