As previously stated: I have of late, rediscovered the overwhelming joys of MEDIA (read: books and movies) which I did not have time for in college. Except for the required of course, some of which have remained on my list of excellents. Others however, I burned. Like Watt. Forgive me Samuel Beckett. I just really, really hate you. What an utter waste of paper that book is.

So I thought I'd share some of my thoughts on recent viewings/readings. DISCLAIMER: SPOILER ALERT! If you're planning on reading/seeing any of these in the near future, you may not want to read my opinions...

PS, not included in part two (though it applies): If you have thoughts/feelings/comments to these books and/or movies, chime in, I'd love to know if I'm way off on my thinking, or a pretty dang good critic (which I will believe no matter what you say).

B O O K S
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NOTE: I am an avid reader. LOVE books to death. My taste in books differs sharply from that of movies, and I'm a little bit less of a critic (unless you course you just absolutely can't write. *cough* Stephanie Meyer *cough*, and then I just abhor you).

Ian McEwan's Atonement - Grade: B. The beginning of this book is really, really slow. And I almost stopped reading. But I'm glad I didn't. The story gets really good. This is one of the better novels I've read of late, and I know why they read it in Lit classes now.

Brian Jacques' Voyage of Slaves (book 3 in the Castaways of the Flying Dutchman series) - Grade: D. I'm so sad I didn't like this book. I remember loving one and two, but this one just fell flat for me, and Jacques' writing seemed really weak compared to his other works.

Lois Lowry's The Giver - Grade: A+. Definitely one of my all-time top of the pile, favorite books. If you have not read this book, go do so immediately. I'd read it once before in 7th grade, and remembered liking it, but couldn't remember enough to keep me away, so I went back for another perusal. Now I own it because it's just phenomenal.

Mitch Albom's The Five People you Meet in Heaven - Grade: C. This just really wasn't what I was expecting...at all. Maybe that ruined the experience for me. I just didn't really think it was that funny. Interesting concept, but didn't payoff for me.

Stephen King's The Green Mile - Grade: D. This one may surprise some of you. But I just really didn't like this one. I'm not completely failing it, because in it's defense, I didn't actually finish. I had it in the 6-book serial version, and was excited because the books were little and could be read quickly. But the first one was kinda boring, and I tried twice to get into the second one, but my interest was not had, and I never went back. So mainly the grade is for failing to even engage me as a reader.

Brian Jacques' Rakkety Tam (Book 17 in the Redwall series) - Grade: C. This was my second go at this one, and I managed to get all the way through this time. Alright story, nothing extraordinary, just another tale to get Mr. Jacques' more money I'm thinking.

Brian Jacques' High Rhulain (Book 18 in the Redwall series) - Grade: B+. This was one of the better books in the series I've read. I don't remember all of them, since there are so many and I've been reading them forever, but this one was not the same old, same old rewritten in a new way. There were riddles, puzzles, a new island, and an overall engaging storyline reminiscent of the Mossflower days. So I was quite pleased with this one.

Jeanne DuPrau's City of Ember - Grade: A. This was a great book! I read it in one sitting because it engaged me, the story was excellent, and I loved the premise. Now I wonder if the movie is true to this or if they ruined it... but the book is a good one for kids and adults alike. I loved it!

Brian Jacques' Eulalia! (Book 19 in the Redwall series) - Grade: C. Again, this was just like a different way to do Salamandastron or Lord Brocktree. I've read this story before! I'm thinking Jacques' is running out of ideas. Although I do remember some "bigger" words appearing in this text that I was quite pleased with, as opposed to his writings in the past.

Paul Aster's City of Glass (novel and graphic novel versions) - Grade: C. I'm on the fence on this one. I read it, and it left me baffled. It's either completely brilliant, but I don't know why, or it's just preposterous and I know why so well that I hate it. This is one of those books that you feel warrants deeper scrutiny, a more thorough reading, but you refuse to do so for fear of finding there isn't actually anything there to be descried.

Currently I'm 46 pages into C.S. Friedman's Black Sun Rising, the first in the Coldfire trilogy. My little bro Jared suggested it as a phenomenal read akin to my favorites from Dragonlance. So far, I don't know. It seems to be sci-fi parading as fantasy, and I don't feel like much has been explained to me. But in the book's defense there are 443 pages to go... so there's still time for improvement. And it's only book 1.

Next on my reading list: Cormac McCarthy's The Road, which I have heard only good things about, and they are making a movie of.

I love freedom! How did I survive without such rich sustenance in my life? I have no idea.

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