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A book is a literary compass that has the potential to direct our thoughts and actions:

"Everything we read stimulates our mind to think, and what we think determines what we desire, and desires are the seedbed of our actions. Given this iron law of human nature--from reading to thinking, to desiring, to acting--we are shaping our destiny by the ideas we choose to have enter our minds through print." - Fr. John Hardon, S.J., The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan

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"Every soul that uplifts itself uplifts the world." --Elisabeth Leseur

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Disappointed by Tim Powers' Novel Declare

I finally had to abandon Tim Powers' supernatural spy novel, Declare. I read over 200 pages into it and just couldn't go any further. I really enjoyed Powers' earlier novel, The Anubis Gates, and I had high hopes for Declare after reading reviews. But the book didn't evoke any emotional reaction from me at all. I never really connected with Hale, the main character, and I didn't care for the way Powers' narrator alternated back and forth between the 1940s and the 1960s.

I think part of the problem was my unfamiliarity with many of the historical references in the book. If the characters or the story would have captivated me more, I would have done a little research into the history, but it just wasn't worth the time. As a point of comparison, when I began reading Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander series, I only had a surface knowledge of nautical terms and Napleonic history, but I was so interested in Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin that I bought companion books to help me understand the story better. I had no such desire with Declare.

I was intrigued by the religious elements in the book, but not enough to keep reading. Fans of spy novels may have better luck with it than I did.

Disappointing.

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posted by Nick Senger at 5:26 AM

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