Book Review - Xenocide by Orson Scott Card

Xenocide (Ender's Saga, #4)Xenocide by Orson Scott Card

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I still maintain that Speaker for the Dead is the best of the Ender series and that the books get progressively "worse" after that book. That said, I enjoyed Xenocide much more this read-through (listen-through?) than I had previously, mostly because I understood and took interest in the science more than I ever had before.

Knowing what I do about Orson Scott Card and his religious and political beliefs (or at least professions) took a little of the joy out of this book, and more so than the others. I found myself frequently wondering <i>what he was trying to say</i>. Before I had been able to suspend those thoughts and get lost in the story, but they came to the forefront this time.

When I started listening to this books again (I do it about once a year), I didn't intend to read through the whole series, knowing that I could feasibly stop with Speaker and be done, and that I didn't like the other books as much. But as usual, the story drew me in, and even though I KNOW what happens in the long run, I wanted to hear it all again.

If you've never listened to the Ender books, I highly recommend it. The voice acting is phenomenal and really brings the story to life.

My third time through, and I still couldn't just stop with Speaker. I had to finish out the series, and I'll say that I appreciated Xenocide more this third time around, and Children of the Mind was actually the story I rolled my eyes through. I guess you do get something different out of a book every time you read it (or listen, as it were). I once again applied what I know about OSC and his beliefs to the telling of this story, and while I was still irritated at times, I also found myself analyzing and questioning and being generally curious about how much of the story does align with mormonism or OSC's personal dogma.

I'll still call this a three-star book, but I am glad that I have read it again (and again), if only to see how I as the audience have changed.

I almost didn't continue the series this year, but went ahead anyway since I didn't have any more audiobooks lined up and I like to have one going at all times. Also, I couldn't seem to leave Ender, though he features far less prominently in this book that the first two. Once again (though mostly later in the book), I found myself beset by OSC's sneaky dogmatic ideals working their way into the inner personal monologues of his characters. *sigh* Someday, I'll learn that two books is really enough, that I know the rest of the story and don't actually have to keep "reading." There are so many good things out there waiting to be listened to.

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Book Review - What is God? by Etan Boritzer

What Is God?What Is God? by Etan Boritzer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book describes one of the Big Questions (What is God?) as a question asked by everyone everywhere and answered in many ways. It is a little demeaning toward Christianity (describing their god as an invisible old man with a long white beard who lives in the clouds), and I don't like the way it TELLS at the end what god "is" (everyone and everything, and you) rather than making a suggestion and leaving it up to the child to decide what sounds or feels right.

Still, it was a nice response to my son's questioning after hearing about God from some Christian acquaintances, and a stepping stone for perspective. We're combining it with other kids' world religion-type books and various mythologies to attempt to give a balanced overview.

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Book Review - The Earth is Flat! by Mary Atkinson

The Earth Is Flat!: Science Facts and Fictions (Shockwave--Science in Practice)The Earth Is Flat!: Science Facts and Fictions by Mary Atkinson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The title of this book certainly caught my attention! Is someone really trying to push this drivel off on children? No, they are using an OLD misconception to show how science changes.

My 5-year-old son and I really enjoyed reading this book, which gives a brief overview of the question at hand (is the earth flat?) and how it was approached in ancient times. Many scientific terms are introduced, as well as philosophers and scientists of those ancient times. Mythology is discussed as a precursor to science - a way people explained the world around them. There are brief overviews of many different branches of science, from astrophysics to alchemy and chemistry, as well as information on the scientific method, experimentation, and what is in my opinion the most important lesson in the book - that science changes because scientists are constantly questioning and revising based on new information.

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