Marco's readings

Reading is one of my favorite hobbies. This page lists all the books that I have finished reading in 2006.
This page is built leveraging the goodreads.com API.

Presagio triste
by Banana Yoshimoto (2003)
My review: Ho sempre amato Banana Yoshimoto per la sua capacita' di comunicare emozioni, stati d'animo e sentimenti con poche minimaliste pennellate. Questa e' la storia di Yayoi e del suo viaggio alla ricerca della sua memoria e vita perduta, ben conscia che cio' che trovera' nell'altra sponda di Lete distruggera' la sua vita com'era, ma che e' ormai impossibile evitare tale passo. (★★★★★)
Started: Dec 29 2006 Finished: Dec 30 2006
Il cammino di Santiago
by Paulo Coelho (2001)
My review: Questo libro e' una accozzaglia enorme di superstizioni e insensataggini prive di senso. L'unico tema interessante che spicca tra deliri mistici e' quello dell'incapacita' dell'uomo di affrontare una sfida per paura di perderla e ritrovandosi cosi' costretto a non progredire. (★)
Started: Dec 22 2006 Finished: Dec 29 2006
The Story of the Night
by Colm Tóibín (2005)
My review: I read and really liked Toibin's Mothers and Sons a couple of years ago, hence I decided to read more of his work. I was not disappointed. He's a great storyteller, able to communicate in a very powerful way emotions and feelings. He's able to create extremely realistic and credible characters. (★★★★)
Started: Dec 02 2006 Finished: Dec 21 2006
The Tao of Pooh
by Benjamin Hoff (2003)
My review: Well, he said at last, it is a very nice house, and if your own house is blown down, you must go somewhere else, mustn't you, Piglet? What would you do, if your house was blown down? Before Piglet could think, Pooh answered for him. He'd come and live with me, said Pooh, wouldn't you Piglet? (★★★★★)
Started: Nov 19 2006 Finished: Dec 01 2006
The Red Badge of Courage and Other Stories
by Stephen Crane (2006)
My review: War stories are not my favorites, but I realize how interesting is to narrate the story of a man fighting a war. The demonic and godly nature of men fight within each soldier while the battle rage outside. What I found quite interesting was the realistic portrait of people feeling and behaviors during such major historical events. They are not Greek heroes, they are human, full of fears, weaknesses and courage. (★★)
Started: Oct 12 2006 Finished: Nov 29 2006
Oathbreakers (Valdemar: Vows and Honor, #2)
by Mercedes Lackey (1989)
My review: The book is less fragmented than the previous volume of the series, and as fun to read. It's not a masterpiece of the female fantasy movement, but I enjoyed reading it. (★★★★)
Started: Sep 29 2006 Finished: Oct 11 2006
The Oathbound (Valdemar: Vows and Honor, #1)
by Mercedes Lackey (1988)
My review: The book reads like a series of short stories featuring the same characters. Despite the episodic structure, the book is quite entertaining. It's not the masterpiece of the female fantasy movement I was hoping for, but I enjoyed reading it. (★★★★)
Started: Sep 19 2006 Finished: Sep 29 2006
The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #1)
by Lemony Snicket (1999)
My review: The book is extremely cynical and it presents life as a series of unfortunate events. This said, it was a fun book to read. I guess I'll end up reading the whole series. (★★★★)
Started: Sep 23 2006 Finished: Sep 24 2006
Great Expectations
by Charles Dickens (1998)
My review: This is the most interesting Dickens's book I've read so far. It is more modern in style: the "classic" omniscient narrator is here replaced by the main character himself, an snobbish anti-hero. It is a pleasant book, engaging, often humorous. The plot is pretty sad in itself, very autobiographical. I found it interesting in the its portrait of society and of its dynamics. As in Austen's Persuasion, the book describes an interesting change in English society, the moment in time when people were suddenly able to raise themselves in society, being rich without being born a noble. ()
Started: Jul 29 2006 Finished: Sep 19 2006
Exit to Eden
by Anne Rampling (1996)
My review: I was given this book as a present from a friend. I confess I was expecting something very different from the author of Interview with the Vampire. I was expecting the typical erotic tension of a gothic novel, but the book gives you a way more than that. I enjoyed it. It is the story of Lisa, a woman raised in a claustrophobic and moralist Catholic family that believes to have reached freedom escaping into a world of fetish. In reality the baggage of her childhood are still with her, as she soon realizes when she find herself unable to feel and love. A lot of people can probably relate to this story: the world is full of people that, at first, may seem sexually liberated, even daring, but that are still fighting their sense of guilt and inhibitions inside. (★★★)
Started: Jul 21 2006 Finished: Jul 28 2006
As Meat Loves Salt
by Maria McCann (2003)
My review: If you never felt in love, get scared of it, and lost the person you loved, do not read this book, it won't make sense to you. If you have been driven mad by the loss, and you have tried to not let it go using your fingernails, losing it because of it for good... if the searing pain is not abated yet, do not read this book, because the demon of loss and despair will tear your soul apart. It is rare to find a book able to shake you deeply all the way to your core. This is one of them. This is the author first book. It is sometimes slow toward the middle, but the author is always adroit in communicating what is not said or admitted through the cunning use of powerful little gestures, word choices and signs. It is the final though that turn the book into a masterpiece and shows how such a talented writer Maria is. I am looking forward her next book. (★★★★★)
Started: May 29 2006 Finished: Jul 20 2006
Sword and Sorceress III
by Marion Zimmer Bradley (1986)
My review: I was very interested to learn more about the feminist fantasy movement. I discovered the existence and the historical importance of this movement only recently, even if I grew up reading novels of Marion Zimmer Bradley and Jennifer Robertson. This anthology of short stories is a good introduction. It is rather interesting that all the main authors belonging to this movement lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and I find rather intriguing to be living where my favorite childhood authors wrote the stories that kept me enthralled as a child. As a grown up I can now appreciate the courage of some of the plots, how the movement revolutionize a sexist and macho-oriented genre and helped bring forward the image of modern women, free to express themselves and pursue their dreams. (★★★★)
Started: May 20 2006 Finished: May 28 2006
Hard Times
by Charles Dickens (2003)
My review: A powerful and captivating classic novel. It was meant to lure readers to purchase Dickens's weekly magazine. It worked, and even today it is hard to put down the book. It reminds me a little of Voltaire's Candid, a book meant to discredit a particular philosopher. Leibniz in the case of the French writer, Malthus and the materialists in this case. It is a very successful description of the Industrial English suburbs, of the horrors of the life of the "hands" and the hypocrisy of the new materialistic approach to life. (★★★★)
Started: Apr 29 2006 Finished: May 19 2006
The Secret Garden
by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1998)
My review: Some books that are meant for children turn out to be some of the most touching and powerful books ever written. This book is one of them. (★★★★)
Started: Apr 25 2006 Finished: Apr 28 2006
The Dragon's Son (The Dragonvarld Trilogy, #2)
by Margaret Weis
My review: I enjoyed the book but the themes suddenly changed from the previous book. There is almost no mention of the intense love of Bellona and Melisande, almost as if the author was afraid to have risked too much in the previous book. This is a little disappointing. (★★★)
Started: Apr 09 2006 Finished: Apr 24 2006
Persuasion
by Jane Austen (2004)
My review: It is interesting to observe the evolution of the author (and of the English public) perception of nobility and self-made men through Austen's book. The critique of the British nobility was just hinted in Emma's book dedication, but is one of the central theme here. (★★★★)
Started: Mar 30 2006 Finished: Apr 08 2006
Draconian Measures (Dragonlance: Kang's Regiment, #2)
by Don Perrin (2012)
My review: The Kang's regimen series is not one of the main books of the Dragonlance saga, but one of the many side plot lines. Surprisingly it is one of the best and most entertaining ones, and I strongly recommend it. (★★★★)
Started: Mar 26 2006 Finished: Mar 29 2006
The Hours
by Michael Cunningham (2002)
My review: This book is an extraordinary literary achievement. It is the story of three women, each of them living in a different place and time. Their stories are though intertwined and the choices of one impact the one of the others. It is a story of depression, suicide and every day miracles that helps people to hold on and go on. Intended as a tribute to Virginia Woolf, this book manages to even surpass the original. (★★★★★)
Started: Mar 12 2006 Finished: Mar 25 2006
Walden
by Henry David Thoreau (2004)
My review: When I finished this book I was so relieved. It is a hard book to read. Even if some of the ideas presented in the book are quite interesting, they are repeated and rehashed so many times that is hard to keep reading.. I think this is one of the few books that would greatly benefit from abridging. It is amazing, as a final remark, how modern and how closely related to modern society this book is. What was true then, seems to be even more true today: men work to cumulate treasures without having any time to live their life, men want to explore farther and farther without even starting to try to understand themselves. (★★)
Started: Feb 25 2006 Finished: Mar 11 2006
Mistress of Dragons (The Dragonvarld Trilogy, #1)
by Margaret Weis (2004)
My review: It is hard to put down this book when you start reading it, but this does not come as a surprise given that was written by the skillful Margaret Weis. This book really does stand apart from her other ones. The themes and the tones are different, more complex and interesting, closer to the ones of feminist fantasy writers like Marion Zimmer Bradley. (★★★★)
Started: Feb 25 2006 Finished: Mar 08 2006
The Doom Brigade (Dragonlance: Kang's Regiment, #1)
by Margaret Weis (1998)
My review: This is not one of the main books of the dragonlance series, it is one of the many spin offs around it. This said, it is one of the most entertaining ones, and I strongly recommend it. (★★★★)
Started: Feb 21 2006 Finished: Feb 24 2006
The City of Falling Angels
by John Berendt (2006)
My review: It's strange to follow the author while he guides you through familiar places of your youth, while he introduces you to people and events you are familiar with. All the pieces, all the events that were happening years ago while I was there now appear in a book. It is strange to re-discover them and to re-experience them under a new light. I really liked to immerge myself in this vivid and realistic portrait of what I used to call home. (★★★★)
Started: Jan 11 2006 Finished: Feb 20 2006
Dreamcatcher
by Stephen King (2002)
My review: I should have guessed it was not going to be a masterpiece when I bought this book from the "extreme sales" section of a local bookstore. It is by far the worst King's book I have read. On top of being full of gratuitous profanities, homophobic statements and intelligent design arguments, the plot is weak and stale. All the psychological introspection King is famous for does not appear in this book. (★)
Started: Dec 06 2005 Finished: Feb 02 2006