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The Left Hand Of Darkness – A Review

Posted on February 2nd, 2013 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Left Hand Of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin

Read by: Anna/Copley Teen Room

 This is the story of Genry Ai, a man on a mission from his home planet as an Envoy to a distant place known as Winter, in order to include the cold planet in a growing intergalactic civilization. Genry is not used to such a cold climate, where temperatures are often below zero, or people whose gender is androgynous but for once a month. It takes a lot of getting used to. Never-the-less, he does his best to understand and comprehend the world around him. When it seems all is going as planed for Genry, things come crashing down around him. His only “friend” is named a traitor by the king and must flee. Genry Ai visits a neighboring country in hopes that he can persuede them to open the doors of trading with other planets, and thus, bring the other countries with them. But these people have other plans for him. When an unlikely hero arrives to save his life, the two begin a long, harrowing, and solitary journey through ice and snow to keep them both safe and alive. Along the way, they learn what it means to have a friend, to be a friend, to give up one’s life for a cause, and most of all, what it means to be human, even when humanness is different.

I originally picked this book up because I was interested in the androgynous gender of the people who live on Winter. I like to see how different authors write such characters. But upon starting the book, I began to doubt whether I would actually like the book or not, despite several friends raving over it. This book starts off very slow. It doesn’t kick into “high” gear until about half way through the book. And that’s high gear for a slow pace on an ice covered mountain. However, that being said, I highly recommend this book. Yes, it starts slow, but when you get to the end, you’ll realize just how much every page is worth it. LeGuin doesn’t go into great detail about the sexual practices on Winter, but she gives you enough ideas to paint yourself a rough picture. If you like cold temperatures, perhaps you like to go skiing, and perfer to spend time in climates where you can easily catch frost bite, then this is a book for you. You’ll feel the snow and ice deep down in your bones as you read.  But there’s a warmth that will grow there, the further along you read. Ironically, as the winter weather piles on higher and higher, the inner warmth of friendship will bloom to keep you going until the very end. This is a very thought-provoking book. Originally written in 1969, this book is just as relevant today, as it was back then. Warning: Tissues might be required near the end.

My Summer Reading List for 2012

Posted on May 29th, 2012 by Anna in Books, Reviews - Staff

I know most of you reading this will have to read at least one or two books over the summer for school, right? I might not be going back to school next fall, and teachers might not be handing me a list of books I have to read this summer, but a lot of the books on your list are great books. And so, I’ve decided to join you in reading books/authors from the Boston Public Schools list for 2012. Some of the books on this year’s list are books I’ve already read, by authors I love, so instead of rereading the same books, I’ve chosen related books that I’ve been meaning to read for awhile but haven’t gotten around to.

As soon as I’ve finished reading a book, I’ll post a review of it here in the blog so you can check out my progress and see what I thought of each book.

 What am I reading this summer? Here’s my Summer Reading List:

 FICTION

 The following are on, or are related to, books on the BPS Summer Reading List for Grades 9-12.

 -Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clark (Sci-Fi/Fantasy list)

The Overlords came to Earth and brought peace and prosperity with them… but then they began to take the children away from their heritage in the first step to eliminate the human race!

 This is a classic science-fiction novel that I’ve been told all sci-fi writers need to read. Thus, it makes sense that even those who don’t write sci-fi, but love to read it, should read this book too. I’ve never read anything by this author before, but occasionally I like to dabble in writing sci-fi stories, so I’d like to check it out, and hopefully improve my writing by enjoying a good book.

 

 -Doomwyte by Brian Jacques (Sci-Fi/Fantasy list)

A young mouse, Bisky, and his friends seek a fabled Redwall treasure: the jeweled eyes of the Great Doomwyte Idol, which leads them to the realm of the fearsome Korvus Skurr, the black-feathered raven…

 This is book 20 in the classic fantasy series Redwall. Brian Jacques is my favorite children’s/YA author, and the prequel to this series,  Mossflower, is the book on the official Summer Reading list. It is also my favorite, and most read, book in the entire Redwall series. As I have yet to read Doomwyte, I’ve chosen it for my summer list. When reading this series, there are a total of 22 books, and it does not matter in what order you read them!

 

 

 -Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey (Sci-Fi/Fantasy list)

Chosen by the Companion Rolan, a mystical horse-like being with powers beyond imagining, Talia, once a runaway, has now become a trainee Herald, destined to become one of the Queen’s own elite guard. For Talia has certain awakening talents of the mind that only a Companion like Rolan can truly sense. But a conspiracy is brewing in Valdemar against the Queen by unknown forces. Talia must protect her and the heir, before danger can strike!

 The official reading list includes Magic’s Pawn, the first book in The Last Herald Mage trilogy by the same author, which I read and loved immensely.  Arrows of the Queen is the first book in her trilogy The Heralds of Valdemar, and while only a few of the characters are the same, it is set in the same kingdom of Valemar as The Last Herald Mage trilogy. I’ve been curious to see if it’s as good as the other, which is why I’ve chosen this book.  

 

 

 -Odd Hours by Dean Koontz (Mystery/Suspense list)

Odd Thomas is a young man with a faithful companion in his dog named Boo. Though they are anything but ordinary. Odd can see the spirits of dead people who are reluctant to move on from this world. And Boo is one such spirit. In the past he has been haunted by nightmares that have come true. In the small California town where he’s currently living, he’s been having the same repeat nightmare. Will it lead to someone’s death? Or will Odd be able to save another’s life?

 The Mystery/Suspense list includes Odd Thomas, the first book in the Odd series about a 19-year-old boy who can see dead people. Odd Hours is the fourth book which I have yet to read, thus, it is one of my reading choices this summer.

 

 NON-FICTION

 Three of the non-fiction titles I’ve chosen were on a Summer Reading List in 2011 when they caught my eye. Since then, I’ve been looking for an excuse to dive into them, even though they are no longer required reading for school. Those books are:

 

-A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo

A memoir of the Vietnam War.

 

-Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden

A minute-by-minute account of the first sustained firefight involving American troops since the Vietnam War in 1993.

 -Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff

This is a true tale of survival, adventure, and the most incredible rescue mission of World War II.

 

A Little Big Life by Dean Koontz

This was a last-minute addition to the list in place of The Iron Jackal by Chris Wooding, which is not in print in the states yet. This book is a “Memoir of a Joyful Dog” and is written by the author of one of the fiction books I’m also reading, so I thought it would be fitting to read this joyful little tome.

 

So, in total, I have chosen to read 8 titles this summer between June 1st and August 31st. I’m not sure how far I’ll get, or in what order I’ll be reading them, but check back here for any reviews I post to see where I am in this list and what I have left to go.