Marco's readings

Reading is one of my favorite hobbies. This page lists all the books that I have finished reading in 2003.
This page is built leveraging the goodreads.com API.

Prey
by Michael Crichton (2003)
My review: This is a great summer reading, to relax at the beach without having to think to much.
I enjoyed it in particular because it discusses technologies similar to what I was working on in grad school (UAVs swarms). (★★★)
Started: Dec 19 2003 Finished: Dec 22 2003
Holidays on Ice
by David Sedaris
My review: Well, this was not exactly a Christmas reading, but you won't regret reading it. Some of the short stories are little jewels of sarcasm and irony. My favorite one is "Season's greetings to Our friends and Family!". That's really something! (★★★★)
Started: Dec 19 2003 Finished: Dec 19 2003
Delitto e castigo: Parte I - II - III - IV
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1982)
My review: Era da molto che non leggevo un libro in Italiano e da molto che non leggevo Dostoevsky, e devo dire che questo libro m'ha fatto proprio pentire di aver fatto passare tanto tempo. Dostoevsky e' un genio: la descrizione dello stato morboso in cui si trova Raskolnikov e' incredibilmente realistica ed inquietante. Uniche due note negative del libro: il fatto che solo a meta' il tema del superuomo compaia e il finale aperto... (★★★★)
Started: Oct 01 2003 Finished: Dec 18 2003
Angels & Demons (Robert Langdon, #1)
by Dan Brown
My review: I really enjoyed the book. It made me go back in time, to the time when I was working at C.E.R.N. in Geneva at the LHC project. In one of the first chapters the main character visits the building where I used to go to do my laundry, he walks in front of the building where I lived and he ends up in a lab close to LHC itself. Even if almost all the Italian quotes are wrong (bad grammar, incorrect word choices, etc), even if the scientific background is not as solid as the author would like us to believe... I liked it a lot. (★★★★)
Started: Dec 01 2003 Finished: Dec 04 2003
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)
by J.K. Rowling (2002)
My review: This is by far my favorite Harry Potter book. The tones change, become darker, and more mature. Suddenly what was just a very entertaining story turns into a book with a message. (★★★★)
Started: Nov 13 2003 Finished: Dec 01 2003
Chocolat (Chocolat, #1)
by Joanne Harris (2000)
My review: The worst thing that happened to this book, was to be made into a movie. The movie was not bad, but it pales in comparison. There is something magical, awe inspiring in Joanne Harris's writing. Her characters come alive, and feel so real with all their limitations and missteps. The plot is captivating and touching. It's really a little masterpiece. (★★★★)
Started: Nov 01 2003 Finished: Nov 12 2003
3001: The Final Odyssey (Space Odyssey, #4)
by Arthur C. Clarke (1999)
My review: This is the conclusion of the saga started with 2001. Despite having none of the epic grandeur of the first installment, the book is very entertaining. I found particularly intriguing the author take on religion and spirituality. (★★★★)
Started: Nov 07 2003 Finished: Nov 08 2003
Dragons of a Vanished Moon (Dragonlance: The War of Souls, #3)
by Margaret Weis (2003)
My review: The plot becomes more and more intriguing in this last volume of the war of the souls trilogy. (★★★)
Started: Sep 29 2003 Finished: Oct 01 2003
Dragons of a Lost Star (Dragonlance: The War of Souls, #2)
by Margaret Weis (2001)
My review: I was a little thrown off by some inconsistencies with some previous Dragonlance books, the book is quite enjoyable. I found myself reading in the middle of the night just to see what was going to happen next. (★★★★)
Started: Sep 26 2003 Finished: Sep 28 2003
Five Quarters of the Orange
by Joanne Harris
My review: Incredible and amazing. This is one of the best book I have ever read. The story is captivating, evocative, powerful and realistic. The characters feels real and alive. The author is an expert, powerful, and incredible storyteller. (★★★★★)
Started: Sep 19 2003 Finished: Sep 25 2003
2061: Odyssey Three (Space Odyssey, #3)
by Arthur C. Clarke (1997)
My review: Fifty years after the alien message forbidding humans to approach the moon Europa, an expedition to Halley's Comet is forced to violate the prohibition in the name of mercy. Though it is entertaining, it lacks the epical tones of the previous volumes. (★★★★)
Started: Sep 16 2003 Finished: Sep 19 2003
Girl with a Pearl Earring
by Tracy Chevalier (2005)
My review: With precisely 35 canvases to his credit, the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer represents one of the great enigmas of 17th-century art. The meager facts of his biography have been gleaned from a handful of legal documents. Yet Vermeer's extraordinary paintings of domestic life, with their subtle play of light and texture, have come to define the Dutch golden age. His portrait of the anonymous Girl with a Pearl Earring has exerted a particular fascination for centuries, and it is this magnetic painting that lies at the heart of this novel. Girl with a Pearl Earring centers on Vermeer's prosperous Delft household during the 1660s. When Griet, the novel's quietly perceptive heroine, is hired as a servant, turmoil follows. First, the 16-year-old narrator becomes increasingly intimate with her master. Then Vermeer employs her as his assistant, and ultimately has Griet sit for him as a model. I was disappointed by the book. Chevalier vividly evokes the complex domestic tensions of the household, ruled over by the painter's jealous, eternally pregnant wife and his taciturn mother-in-law. But... At times the relationship between servant and master seems a little anachronistic and some epiphanic scenes do not work at all. (★★)
Started: Sep 02 2003 Finished: Sep 15 2003
Sense and Sensibility
by Jane Austen (2003)
My review: I enjoyed the book, but I was disappointed by the ending: the happiness of Elinor, and the end of the relation between Marianne and Willoughby conform to archaic society rules of convenience. (★★★)
Started: Jun 01 2003 Finished: Sep 01 2003
Le Rose di Atacama
by Luis SepĂșlveda (2002)
My review: Il viaggio, il vagabondaggio per il mondo, e' il filo conduttore delle storie raccolte in questo libro. Lo scrittore narra le vicende di personaggi anonimi e marginali incontrati per il mondo, uomini e donne che hanno in comune l'aver fatto della propria vita una forma di resistenza. Un amico cileno che ha diretto la rivista Analisis, prima barricata della lotta contro Pinochet. Un cantante che ha partecipato alla Primavera di Praga. Un cameraman olandese ucciso dall'esercito del Salvador. Uomini che non hanno mai sperato di uscire dai margini, ma che per una volta sono affiorati, con le loro storie, dal buio dell'oblio. Come le rose che, in un solo giorno dell'anno, ricoprono il deserto di Atacama. Certi racconti non sono male, altri scivolano sul pateticamente melo'. (★★★)
Started: Jul 12 2003 Finished: Aug 01 2003
H/H
by Banana Yoshimoto (2003)
My review: Due racconti che trattano della morte mostrando i diversi modi con cui la si puo' affrontare e mettendo a fuoco il contrasto tra la sofferenza della perdita, la tentazione di sprofondare nel dolore e una inarrestabile voglia di rinascita. (★★★)
Started: Jul 10 2003 Finished: Jul 11 2003
The Eve of the Maelstrom (Dragonlance: Dragons of a New Age, #3)
by Jean Rabe (2002)
My review: The conclusion of the "Dragons of a New Age" trilogy is as fast-paced and entertaining as the previous two instalments. I still miss the "classic" Dragonlance settings, and I do not like the changes introduced with the last editions of the Dragonlance campaign, but this did not prevent me from enjoying the book. (★★★★)
Started: Jun 27 2003 Finished: Jul 09 2003
The Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge, #1)
by Ken Follett (2002)
My review: In twelfth-century feudal England, a master builder plans to erect a towering cathedral. But, unfortunately, he lives in a world of rigid class structures where corrupt kings and queens rule, and the common man shows eternal promise. Around the construction site swirls a cast of characters in a story of betrayal, revenge, and love. Another epic masterpiece by Ken Follett.
Read more about the Kingsbridge series here: http://goo.gl/5MUZW3 (★★★★)
Started: May 16 2003 Finished: Jun 26 2003
The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2)
by J.R.R. Tolkien
My review: While the first volume was often too slow paced and fairy-talish, this second one is fast paced, action-packed, and hard to put down. (★★★)
Started: Feb 07 2003 Finished: May 15 2003
Year of Wonders
by Geraldine Brooks (2002)
My review: The book is based on a real story: in 1666 a small town in England is hit by the Plague. The town decided to close itself out from the outside world to avoid spreading the disease. As more and more people die in the village, the tension start rising, bringing forth the best and the worst of the human nature. The plot is gripping and fascinating, but what sets the book apart is the stunning emotional characterizations of the various protagonist. (★★★★★)
Started: Dec 22 2002 Finished: Feb 06 2003