Books I like and books I don't

Here are some books that I've read or are reading. My reviews are a bit on the short side. One day I may expand them a bit, but I doubt I'll ever have enough time.

Bringing down the House by Ben Mezrich
A Game of Thrones (Song of Ice and Fire) by George R.R. Martin
One up on Wall Street by Peter Lynch
1984 by George Orwell
Raymond E. Feist books
The Da Vince Code by Dan Brown
The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan
John Grisham books
Tom Clancy books
Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien
Melanie Rawn books
David Eddings books
The Shannara books by Terry Brooks
Rama series by Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee
Issac Asimov books
Ethics for the New Millennium
Harry Potter books

- Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich -
This is a book about one of the former members of the MIT Blackjack team. Who are they? They guys devised a BRILLIANT system of team play that allowed them to count cards and avoid getting kicked out by casinos. The book tells the story of one of the members "Kevin," and how he gets brought into the team and whne he decides to leave. At various breaks in the story, the author interviews former associates and friends of Kevin. It's a great story and definitely makes me want to go to Vegas.

Verdict - Recommended.

- A Game of Thrones (Song of Ice and Fire series) by George R.R. Martin -
The Song of Ice and Fire series is apparently very popular among fantasy people, which is why I picked it up. I, however, am not a fan of this book. My biggest problem with the book is that it contains my biggest pet pieve: The main characters are stupid.

The book also contains a second element I really hate in book and films: Too many unlikely events, that make no sense realistically, that occur for no other reason than to create conflict or drag out the story line

I couldn't bring myself to finish this book, so I don't think it's fair for me to give a solid thumbs down. I give it a 90% thumbs down. Lemme just say again, the main characters are STUPID.

Verdict - NOT recommended.

- One up on Wall Street by Peter Lynch -
This is a great book! For those of you that don't know, Peter Lynch was the manager of Fidelity Investment's Magellan Mutual Fund from 1977 to 1990. During that time the mutual fund rose 2700%. This book is about his investment style and philosophy. What he looks for in companies and how he evaluates them. I really enjoyed it and thought I learned a lot. If you're an investor, I highly recommend reading this book.

Verdict - Highly recommended.

- 1984 by George Orwell -
I'm sure most people have heard of, or know the gist of what happens in "1984." This book is about a world where the government has absolute control. Not just absolute control of laws and such, but of what people believe. It's a grim view of the future, but it's still interesting and a classic.

Verdict - Good.

- The Riftwar Saga, The Serpentwar Saga and other books by Raymond E. Feist -
These are some of the first novels I read, so I'm surprised that I completely forgot to include these when I originally wrote this page.

Anyway, the Riftwar Saga consists of Magician: Apprentice, Magician: Master, Silverthorn and A Darkness at Sethanon. This is the good series. It's got good characters, lots of action, etc, etc.

I can honestly say that every Raymond E. Feist book I've read that is NOT one of the above four sucked. These books are (Prince of the Blood, King's Buccaneer and the books of the Serpentwar Saga) I dunno what happened. It's like he fell into the David Eddings syndrome and he's just writing books so he can milk the characters and settings as much as possible.

Verdict - The Riftwar Saga is good. Prince of the Blood, King's Buccaneer and all the books of the Serpentwar Saga suck.

- The Da Vince Code by Dan Brown -
I liked this book a lot. The book does a great job of grabbing you and forcing you to read just "one more page." The thing I disliked about this book, are the last few chapters. It almost seemed like the author got lazy or got tired of writing and just decided to end it, and in doing so wrote a pretty crappy last few chapters.

Some people may find this book very sacreligious. If you believe very strongly what you were taught in Sunday school, then you probably won't like this book.

Verdict - I like this book a lot and recommend it.

- The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan -
I used to think this series was pretty damn good; Then I got to book 8 and realized "Hey, he just keeps writing and writing and it's getting pretty damn boring. WHEN IS IT GOING TO END." Don't read it. Besides never ending the series, the characters are pretty damn annoying. Especially the female ones.

Verdict - Don't bother with this series

- Most John Grisham books. -
I forget when I stopped reading his books. My favorite is probably The Rainmaker. In my opinion the ones to avoid are: The King of Torts and The Street Lawyer.

- Most Tom Clancy books (I've read from Red October to The Bear and The Dragon). -
When I first started reading his books I really enjoyed them, despite his occasional babbling about nothingness. I never let his conservative rantings bother me, so that wasn't a big deal. But then I realized what a damn racist jackass he is. So after The Bear and The Dragon, I vowed never to read another of his books again.

Verdict - Don't bother with any of his books

- Tolkien (The Hobbit, The Fellowship, The Two Towers, The Return of the King). -
The styles of these books is a little different. I'm not sure if it's something strictly Tolkien, or if it's just the style of Tolkien's time. The Two Towers was probably my favorite. In my opinion, he tends to skimp a lot on the details. Scenes tend to jump from one to another, and issues are resolved without much explanation. The overall story is a good one, I just don't like the way it's told.

Verdict - A good read.

- Melanie Rawn. -
They suck. They all suck. Especially the series that starts with "The Dragon Prince" or something.

Verdict - Don't bother with these books.

- David Eddings. The Belgariad Series (5 books), The Mallorean (5), The Elenium (3), The Tamuli (3). -
I read these several years ago. The Belgariad and The Mallorean being the best series. Unfortunately, the Elenium and the Tamuli seem to have the EXACT same story! I did happen to read Belgarath the Sorceror, which is suppose to be a prelude type of thing. I hated it. There's nothing new in the book, it's just a rehash of everything you read in the previous books. What really annoyed me is that he changes certain facts mentioned in previous books (for example, how Beldin first gets his powers). Basically what he's doing is trying to squeeze the Belgariad series for all their worth. So, needless to say, I didn't bother with Polgara the Sorceress.

Verdict - If you absolutely have to read Eddings, only read The Belgariad and The Mallorean.

- Terry Brooks. All Shannara books (9 so far?) and A few Magic Kingdom books and a few of the Word and the Void series -
Well, the original three Shannara books were ok. The Elfstones, being my favorite.The Scion series that followed was ok.

However, the most recent Shannara books (The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara) are GREAT. I LOVED the Antrax book. The blend of Scifi and Fantasy is excellent. My only probably with the series so far is that it's too short! I think I'm used to more detail from all my reading of Tom Clancy and Robert Jordan, two authors who apparently like to read their own writing.

I never did finish the Magic Kingdom Series. I do remember I loved the first one, Magic Kingdom for Sale, SOLD.

And I also never did read the last book of the Word and the Void series.

Verdict - Good reads. But the "Voyage of the Jerle Shannara" books are WAY too short.

- BladeRunner -
Forced upon me in Phil 238. This book is CRAP. The main story is good, but too much unexplained random shit happens. It sucks, that's all you need to know.

Verdict - Burn every copy you come across.

- Rama Series and Bright Messengers Series by Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee-
Well, first of all, I really liked the first book Rendezvous with Rama. After that I hated all of them. The characters are such DUMBASSES!!! UGH, especially the nun from the Bright Messenger series.

Verdict - Read Rendezvous with Rama. And stop with that book. I wouldn't touch the other books with a long stick.

- Issac Asimov -
I've read the entire Foundation series, INCLUDING the damn out of print "Foundation and Earth", which btw, took me FOREVER to find. The first 4 books, Foundation, Foundation and Empire, Second Foundation and Foundation's Edge are really good. Forward the Foundation, Prelude to Foundation and Foundation and Earth SUCK!!! I suppose you DO have to read them just for the sake of fully completing the series, but they still suck.

I've also read the Robot series, which I enjoyed and would also recommend. Just to be clear, the movie "I, Robot" has NOTHING to do with the book!

I also look forward to reading the Empire books.

Verdict - Just read the first 4 good books, and Foundation and Earth. Avoid the preludes.

- Ethics for the New Millennium by The Dalai Lama -
I don't remember where my mom got this book. She just left it on the table for a couple of weeks. Finally I picked it up one day and asked if she read it. And she said no, and that I should read it so I could explain it to her. Since I had nothing to read at the time I grabbed it and left it sitting on my desk for several weeks. At the moment I'm still stuck in the middle though...

- Harry Potter series -
I love Harry Potter. It may be a book ment for kids, but this series is by FAR one of the best I've ever read. My personal favorite is #4, The Goblet of Fire. Hopefully, the quality of JK Rowling's story telling won't fall as she continues to write.

Verdict - A must read!