Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Reading Challenge of 2010: June

4:14 PM
Halfway through the year and I'm halfway through my Reading Challenge of 2010! So is my book buddy Becca. We are doing pretty awesome. Here are my reads from June.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Steig Larrson
The much anticipated third installment of Larrson’s Lisbeth Salander series arrived at the end of May. Buying it on my Kindle was the first thing I did that day. I already read and loved the previous two Salander novels and couldn’t wait for Hornet’s Nest to release. And I was not disappointed. Larrson with his gifted dedication to the details and the craft of a scene, put together another splendid tale of corruption, lies, deceit, espionage, vindication, and truth. Salander, on the heels of a life-threatening injury at the end of The Girl Who Played with Fire, spent the majority of the novel in the secure lockdown of a hospital, with her murderous father just a few feet away. The story was primarily carried by Mickael Blomkvist, and his journalistic endeavors. While trying to prove Salander’s innocence, without her help, he unknowingly uncovers a conspiracy buried so deep in the Swedish government that his own safety is now at risk. While some of the background drags a bit, the plot itself does not. And once Salander is back where she belongs, behind a computer screen, the story flies. With Larsson’s unfortunate and unexpected death, this may be the last installment in the Salander world, but I hope it is not. As she has become one of my all-time favorite literary characters.

Fever Dream by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Fever Dream is the latest saga into the world of the enigmatic Special Agent Pendergast. Preston and Child have released nine others, which I have read and loved, so I was very much looking forward to the latest which released in May as well. Preston & Child have several books with several reoccurring characters, but the ones with Pendergast at the forefront are by far my favorite. He has such a unique way in following leads, finding information and pursuing justice. Fever Dream gave us a glimpse into Pendergast’s past, and the tragic loss of his wife in a hunting accident. Pendergast learns 12 years later that her death was no accident, but was in fact, murder. Pendergast sets off to solve the crime, and partners up with another Preston & Child favorite character, Lt. D’Agosta from the NYPD. The two of them make an unlikely pair as they hunt leads from Africa to New Orleans to Siesta Key and the bayous of Louisiana. For a book with a slow start, it sure had a jam-packed middle and ending. The mystery twisted and turns in ways I didn’t see coming, and ended with a satisfying, and intriguing, conclusion. As always, Pendergast the man, is a mystery himself, and I very much enjoy just discovering him.

1984 by George Orwell
This is another of those classics that everyone reads during high school, and yet I never had to. So I picked it up now! I can see why its such a classic. When Orwell wrote his classic political commentary in 1949, he depicted the future [which is now the past] of 1984. And what a future it was. Instead of our 7 continents there 3 are superstates. And they are always at war. Big Brother is the leader of Oceania, and he is always watching. Departments that control the government are the Ministry of Love, the Ministry of Peace, the Ministry of Plenty and the Ministry of Truth. Our main character, Winston Smith, is a faithful employee at the Ministry of Truth. Smith gets ready for work each day in front of his telescreen, which allows Big Brother to watch every single person in Oceania at once. He works hard as a historical revisionist. His job is to go back and make sure that printed and recorded history lines up with what is happening today. He participates in Hate Week and the daily 2 Minute Hate, the only expression of emotion citizens have. On the outside, Winston appears to the model citizen, but on the inside he’s committing one of the most dangerous crimes of all, thoughtcrime. Smith becomes enamored with the past and tries to find out more about it at any cost. Eventually his crime and illicit love affair are discovered and Smith is imprisoned and tortured. The torture ends and Winston is reintegrated to society, brainwashed to accept the Party's doctrine and to love Big Brother. It’s such a creative story, and for the most part was totally captivating. It was entertaining to read about the government operated and recognize we employed some similar techniques. I can see why Orwell and this book are held in such high regard.

About the author

Joy Muldoon is a full-time missionary and part-time blogger. Read about her travels, adventures, and missions here!