Monday, June 23, 2008

Odd Hours by Dean Koontz

This is the latest book in the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz. I found an interesting article by Koontz about writing this series of books. In this short passage, he describes how the Odd Thomas character just came to him and his plans for a six or seven book series.

Odd Thomas is back. This book takes place after he leaves behind the monastery of the last book and helps Elvis find his ultimate peace. This story, set in a California beach town, occurs in a very short amount of time. Basically, Odd saves the world from a terrorist, nuclear threat, with the help of some new friends, including a return appearance by Frank Sinatra.

STRENGTHS OF ODD HOURS: I continue to like the character of Odd Thomas. His humanity and humor help make him likable. I also enjoyed his interactions with both the living, including an aging movie actor, and the non-living, Mr. Sinatra who is pivotal to the plot. The book is a quick read and Koontz keeps the action moving.

WEAKNESSES OF ODD HOURS: The entire action of the plot occurs in a very brief amount of real time which does not allow Koontz much time to further develop Odd's character or define his relationships with the people around him. I like the character enough that I wanted to see him grow and that was not possible in this story.

Overall, I'd give this one four stars. It was a very fun read. My review is somewhat brief because I don't want to give away too much of the twisty, turny plot. However, I wouldn't recommend that someone start the series with this novel. It might be confusing if you don't already know about Odd. I'd love to know what anyone else thought. If you've reviewed it, leave me a link and I'll add it to my review.

Here's a link to CJ's review. She gives some great quotes and details so check her out.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Booking Through Thursday - Clubbing

School's out so now I can rejoin the blogging world. What better way than Booking Through Thursday. So here's today's BTT question:

Have you ever been a member of a book club? How did your group choose (ot, if you haven’t been, what do you think is the best way to choose) the next book and who would lead discussion?

Do you feel more or less likely to appreciate books if you are obliged to read them for book groups rather than choosing them of your own free will? Does knowing they are going to be read as part of a group affect the reading experience?

This one is bringing back some really bad memories. Yes, both my husband and I were part of a book club for a while. It was not a great experience.

The first book the club selected was The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl. It was selected by the self-appointed leader of the group. Now, to be fair, the group was his idea. Unfortunately, this is not a very good book, but the leader spent the whole first meeting going into excruciating detail on Dante's Inferno because he thought it was essential to understanding the book. It may also have been that he had taught a course on Dante as well.

It took the group three meetings over four months to finish the book. I hated the book so much that I tried listening to it in the car just to finish it so I wouldn't be left out.

The same person selected the next book which was short stories by Flannery O'Connor. I've read a lot of her stuff since I took a Southern Literature course in college. Unfortunately, this book club meeting felt like a bad college course where the professor is always right. This particular meeting ended in an argument between two very strong willed people who had very different opinions about a story. Neither of them could be wrong so it got very uncomfortable.

Needless to say, this book club failed quite quickly. It also soured me on the idea of book clubs. I like to read what I want to read and don't always want to finish a book I don't like. This particular group felt too "college-y" to be fun.

A group of teacher where I work may start a book club next school year. I'm hopeful that will be a better experience because we are not leaving book selection to one person but the school librarian is going to give everyone input. We'll see how that goes.

So do you have a book club horror story to share?