Kids, Mystery, Non-fiction, Science Fiction

5 reviews in 5 minutes

Note to self: Don’t ever make a commitment to be more diligent in writing reviews.  That will just guarantee that life will increase in pace until it becomes completely frenetic and you can barely see straight.

Having recently just made a big out-of-state move, I am currently despairing that I will ever get back into any routine.  So I’m going to try something different for this post.  Reviewing 5 books in 5 minutes per book.  They won’t be super thorough or insightful, but at least I will get something written down before I just throw my hands up in the air and say, “Forget it!”  I’m setting my timer now.  Ready….go!

It feels like a guilty pleasure whenever I check out another installment of Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell series.  But I do love them, and when you’re dealing with the stress of selling your house and moving, it’s nice to have something fun to keep you company.  King’s The Game was one of the more interesting of the Mary Russell books I’ve read, especially following so soon on the heels of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children.  Russell and Holmes are sent to British India to try to find an agent who has disappeared — who it turns out is none other than the title character for Rudyard Kipling’s Kim.  I have never read Kim before, and now I feel like my literary experience will suffer until I do, so I’m adding it to my list.

Locked Rooms, another Mary Russell novel, picks up right where The Game left off.  Russell and Holmes have left India, but have decided to travel to San Francisco before heading home to England.  Russell is determined to handle some issues regarding her American father’s estate there, but never expects that the journey will cause her to face some very unpleasant memories about her childhood and the deaths of her parents and brother.  As she and Holmes dig deeper into her past, the details surrounding their deaths seem more and more suspicious, and someone is willing to kill to stop them from learning the truth.  Russell’s character suffers quite a bit in this novel, because she is so weighed down by her past and trapped in her confused thoughts and emotions.  But this also allows Holmes’ character to get more involved and we even get a whole section told from his perspective.  Another highlight was getting a glimpse into the flapper lifestyle of San Francisco in the ’20’s.

I have checked out Imaculee Ilibagiza’s Left to Tell multiple times, but couldn’t force myself to open it, despite Jenny’s high praise for this autobiographical account of a woman who survives the Rwandan Holocaust.  I finally got up the courage this last time, and once I got started I couldn’t pull myself away.  Wow.  Everyone needs to read this book; to be reminded of the horrors that human beings are capable of when they let fear drive them to behave like animals.  It was also a very inspiring account of this woman’s faith and the miracles that she witnessed even in such a  hellish experience.  It’s not one that I will forget for a long, long time.

Orson Scott Card’s Empire is a lighter, action-packed political thriller depicting a slightly futuristic United States that is plunged into civil war.  It is fast-paced, with some unexpected twists and an ending with little or no resolution that sets it up for subsequent novels.  I don’t know how many more he has written, but I think I’ll have to check out the next one.  The premise was a little hard to swallow for me (that the contention between the political far right and far left could escalate to the point of war), but he gave a compelling little essay at the end that explains why he doesn’t think we’re too far from that kind of conflict.  Gives a reader something to think about, at least.

I was thinking that Jenny had recommended Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin, but I couldn’t find her review on RHE so I’m suddenly not sure.  In any case, my thanks to whoever brought it to my attention.  This was a very delightful children’s tale told in the style of a Chinese proverb about a young girl who goes on a fantastic quest to try and change her family’s fortune.  Along the way some wise lessons are learned, wonderful stories are told and interwoven into this larger tale, and delightful illustrations add to the authentic flavor of the experience.  The ending is bright and hopeful for all the characters that you’ve come to love, and I couldn’t help feeling like I was a better person for having read it.

And…..done.  Hmm, that was actually kind of fun.  Hard to know what to focus on when you’ve only got five minutes, but it was kind of a cool exercise.  I will just try to ignore how much I left out and pretend that I did these great books justice!


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3 responses to "5 reviews in 5 minutes". Comments are closed for this post.
  • Jenny says:

    Great idea! I need to do this, but I don’t even know when I would have five minutes. Yes, I can do it. Do it, Jenny. Sorry, inspiration speech to myself will be continued elsewhere.

  • Jenny says:

    Oh! Forgot to say that we own the Grace Lin book but I haven’t read it yet. We found it at a book sale and my daughter loved it.

    And, the sequel to Card’s book Empire is Hidden Empire and that book made me sob like a baby. I liked it even more than the first one. Talk about stuff to think about.

  • […] myself to write four or less sentences about each book.  I stole the idea from Caren, who used her 5 reviews in 5 minutes rule to get caught up.  Unfortunately, I have more than five reviews, so I have to come up with my own […]