Marco's readings

Reading is one of my favorite hobbies. This page lists all the books that I have finished reading in 2004.
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Arrow's Flight (Heralds of Valdemar, #2)
by Mercedes Lackey (1987)
My review: As for the previous book of the trilogy, the plot feels a little episodic at times. Despite the limitations, the book is entertaining and uplifting, a great example of the 70s/80s woman fantasy movement. The story features many of the themes that will make Harry Potter a success: an unpopular child that is rescued from an unloving family and sent to a school of magic when she discovers her magical powers. (★★★★)
Started: Dec 08 2004 Finished: Dec 31 2004
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
by John Berendt (1999)
My review: This book is quite hard to describe: it starts as a diary, a Savannah city guide, a travel book. Soon it turns into dirty-linned airing and mystery book. A surprising and interesting book. (★★★★)
Started: Dec 18 2004 Finished: Dec 29 2004
A Room with a View
by E.M. Forster (2005)
My review: This is one of the best books I ever read in my life. It is moving to see Leonora waking up inside Lucy. The book is about the struggle between stiff social conventions, symbolized in the book by Victorian English society, and the ability to live life as its fullest following your heart, symbolized by the Italian society. Definitely a must read. (★★★★★)
Started: Jun 01 2004 Finished: Dec 07 2004
Digital Fortress
by Dan Brown (2004)
My review: Another fast-paced intriguing book by Dan Brown. I find it less interesting than the previous two. I think I am getting used to his style and his books read less and less original. I liked the coded greeting at the end of the book. It toke a little bit to crack it but... it is just a cesar box code, and the numbers can be substituted with letters (hint: use chapter numbers). (★★★)
Started: Nov 11 2004 Finished: Nov 14 2004
Uncle Tom's Cabin
by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1999)
My review: This is a great masterpiece: it is powerful and moving, intense and breathtaking. It reminded me how important freedom is and how much we take it for granted every day. It also made me understand this country better. (★★★★★)
Started: May 01 2004 Finished: Nov 11 2004
Dark Rivers of the Heart
by Dean Koontz (2000)
My review: I was at the airport minutes away from a long international flight, when I realized I forgot the book I was reading at home. I run to the closest book store to get something for my trip. The selection was very limited, and I ended up getting Dark Rivers of the Heart, because years ago I had read a book from he same author and I liked it. Well... I did not like this one at all. (★)
Started: Aug 02 2004 Finished: Oct 18 2004
The Little Prince
by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (2000)
My review: A touching little masterpiece. (★★★★)
Started: Jan 01 2000 Finished: Aug 01 2004
Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar, #1)
by Mercedes Lackey (1987)
My review: This is the first book set in the Valdemar universe. The author was still a little young and inexperienced, the plot feels a little episodic at times. Despite the limitations, the book is entertaining and uplifting, a great example of the 70s/80s woman fantasy movement. The story features many of the themes that will make Harry Potter a success: an unpopular child that is rescued from an unloving family and sent to a school of magic when she discovers her magical powers. (★★★★)
Started: Apr 30 2004 Finished: May 02 2004
Little Women (Little Women, #1)
by Louisa May Alcott (2004)
My review: I found this book fascinating. It is uplifting to read about people that were able to made sacrifices to improve the life of their loved ones and the world. I found quite disconcerting to learn about the condition of women at that time. Austen's book gave me an idea of the situation, but the English writer at least was condemning the situation. On the contrary Louisa seems to believe in a society where the goal of a woman is to get married and where young girl should spend their time to prepare for the duties of the marriage. (★★★★)
Started: Apr 16 2004 Finished: Apr 30 2004
Deception Point
by Dan Brown (2002)
My review: Quite enjoyable fast-paced sci-fi thriller full of plot twists and surprises. (★★★)
Started: Apr 09 2004 Finished: Apr 15 2004
A Tale of Two Cities
by Charles Dickens (2003)
My review: Seemingly unconnected events are adroitly waved together to form this captivating classic. (★★★)
Started: Mar 04 2004 Finished: Apr 07 2004
Magic's Pawn (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #1)
by Mercedes Lackey
My review: This book has many of the plot elements and virtues of Harry Potter: an unpopular kid, not loved by the family that is raising him, discovers to be a "chosen" with magical powers. It is taken into a college of magic, when he became powerful and popular. What makes this particular book interesting is the touching description of the path towards self-acceptance and self-respect of the main character. (★★★★)
Started: Feb 28 2004 Finished: Mar 03 2004
The Picture of Dorian Gray
by Oscar Wilde (1998)
My review: I read this book translated in Italian many years ago and I did not like it at all. I guess I was too young or the translation was poor. I read it again, this time in English and I have been surprised: the book is full of wit! Many authors has hitherto wrote about the relationship between moral and moralism. Dorian is the man that free himself from the moralistic preconceptions of society, but he cannot handle such a freedom and he loses himself. (★★★★★)
Started: Feb 22 2004 Finished: Feb 28 2004
by Ken Follett (2006)
My review: This is the third Follett's book I read and so far my favorite one. It is as fast paced, enjoyable and historical accurate as usual but this book succeed in creating very memorable and well-rounded characters, that manage to fascinate and capture your interest. (★★★★)
Started: Feb 15 2004 Finished: Feb 21 2004
The Blackwater Lightship
by Colm Tóibín (2005)
My review: This is an amazing book. It is the story of three women, grandmother, mother and daughter. It is the story of two sick men that are going to die, father and son. Death and sickness are the main catalyst of the plot, which is centered in the complex emotions of the three women at war with themselves. (★★★★★)
Started: Feb 09 2004 Finished: Feb 15 2004
Wuthering Heights
by Emily Brontë (2002)
My review: I really had high expectations before start reading this book, based upon readings of small sections of the book in high school. I was intrigued by a story that shows how love can turn into a curse, consuming an entire existence. I probably set my expectations too high, and as a result, I was a little disappointed. Still, it is a great classic that it is worth reading.
Started: Jan 24 2004 Finished: Feb 09 2004
Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen (2000)
My review: This is by far the best Austen's novel. (★★★★)
Started: Jan 07 2004 Finished: Jan 24 2004
Code to Zero
by Ken Follett (2005)
My review: I am a big fan of Ken Follett, and this is quite an entertaining book, but it pales in comparison to some of his other books. The historical setting this time is the cold war, and the space race between Russia and the Unites States. The book is an hard to put down suspenseful read, with a lot of unexpected plot twists. (★★★)
Started: Jan 07 2004 Finished: Jan 12 2004
Angels in America
by Tony Kushner (2007)
My review: Quite a literary achievement! The characters are painfully human, with all their weaknesses, fears, and dreams. The storytelling is innovative, modern, captivating. The plot is adroitly sewed, so that all the different threads come together to create an awe inspiring, powerful, touching, and intense masterpiece.. (★★★★★)
Started: Jan 06 2004 Finished: Jan 07 2004
Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Brontë (2003)
My review: The book is in part a gothic novel, in part a fairy tale, and it has incredibly modern element in it. It is interesting to compare Jane Eyre with Elinor (from Sense and Sensibility) as a way to understand the evolution of women conditions in England. I found particularly interesting the first Mr Rochester wife, an avatar of the hidden Jane, an embodiment of everything that Jane does not want to show because it is not proper. (★★★)
Started: Dec 23 2003 Finished: Jan 06 2004