Looking for a good book? I can’t promise I read one this year you’ll be interested in reading, but below are short reviews of what I’ve read so far this year. If you’re still looking, check out what I read in:
This is one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time. It’s crazy long, so if a long book frightens you I’d suggest reading it on an eReader.
At the end of the day, this book is full of everything Wild West. Indians, cowboys, gun fights, whores, cattle, death and struggle. The characters are remarkably lovable, and sadly before I knew it the story was over. If the idea of the Wild West has ever fascinated you, you MUST read this book. I sort of want to read it again…
When I read the back cover of this book and the endorsements on the front cover I thought I’d really love this book. Turns out I couldn’t wait for it to end. I kept waiting for something, anything to happen, and by the time if finally did the book was pretty much over and I just wanted it to end so I could move on to a new book.
There was a big part of me that didn’t want to love this book. The hype of it all. Are these books actually good? I mean, millions of people like the Twilight series, so we know that just because the masses are on board doesn’t mean a book is any good.
Turns out I had nothing to fear. This was one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a while. I devoured it and found myself trying to find moments anywhere that I could keep reading. Suzanne Collins created a world I never could have dreamed of with characters that you can’t help but want to fight for. The minute the book ended I had to force myself to stop and take a break since the urge to immediately begin reading book two was so strong. I can’t wait to see what happens next in this horrible world Collins has created.
The only lasting question I find myself having is, am I as a reader intended to be just as bad as the creators of the Hunger Games? I was so captivated by every twist and turn in the games, wanting to see what would happen next, just as the creators of this horrible game intend and just as Katniss despised. It just keeps having me wonder if the reader is supposed to feel a little guilty for loving the drama of it all. Wouldn’t Katniss actually want us to be disgusted by it all instead of wanting more?
The first Stephen King book I ever read was IT in the 6th grade. Afterwards I became a fan of Stephen King and his severely twisted mind and spent a large portion of my junior high days attempting to read everything he wrote. Even with my love of Stephen King it took me a really long time to ever marginally enjoy this book. Maybe it was the fact that it was so centrally focused about a car, a killing, black hole, vortex like car (and I’m not a car person) that kept me from getting into it. Maybe it was the fact that the book I finished before it was the Hunger Games, thereby promising anything you read afterwards will disappoint. All I know if that it didn’t have the usual Stephen King feel to me. Not until the very end at least, and by then I was more interested in finishing it so I could move onto a new book.
WOW. When “Hunger Games” ended I had no idea what the following two books could hold. Would they simply follow Katniss and her life as a victor? Would Prim end up in the games? I assumed that the only logical step for book two would be watching the struggle Katniss faced as she mentored two children from her district she might never see again.
Clearly that isn’t what Collins had in mind! This book was just as engrossing for me as the first book. I found I couldn’t stop reading until I knew what was going to happen next. With the ending of book two I won’t pause to jump into book three. I feel like I know how Collins will resolve these massive issues that have cropped up, and yet, I fear she wont pick a happy ending for this characters. Don’t mind me while I dive in.
This is one of those series that when it ends you find yourself sitting there wondering where you go from here. I have loved books since I was a little kid, and yet it has been longer than I can remember that I read a book that hooked me in so deep I actually spent 9+ hours in a single day just trying to finish the book without getting bored.
I will admit that as the book went on I found myself becoming more and more irritated with Katniss as a character. I wanted to really empathize with Katniss considering how much she’d been through over the course of the books, and yet, I found myself empathizing with Peeta before Katniss. Was that intended by the author? Am I off base?
Either way, I loved the story, it felt more like watching tv than reading, and I am actually sort of sad that I don’t have a book four to jump right into.
I wasn’t as in love with book #2 in The Greek Detective series. Maybe it’s because the book I finished before this was a marathon devouring of the Hunger Games, and anything after that roller coaster would be hard to feel captivated by. This time around I found myself distracted, the Greek names hard to keep straight, and halfway through the book I had a realization. The fat man is God. Not the all loving God of the new testament, but the fat man definitely reminds me of the all vengeful God found in the old testament.
The fat man is all knowing, he tells people he is not employed by the police force but instead works for a higher authority, he seems to come and go from island to island without needing a paycheck, and the people he calls friends are often the purest of purest. When he dislikes the way someone is behaving he gives them warning, allowing them time to right their wrongs and repent, and when they choose not to, despiste his warnings, horrible things happen to them. I’m interested to see if this concept grows and builds with each book, or if by the 7th book or the 7th deadly sin I’ve grown tired of the routine of the fat man warns bad people not to be bad, they don’t listen, he makes bad things happen to them so the good can prevail. Only time will tell I guess.
The back cover of this book pulled me in instantly because the author refused to tell you much of anything except to say that two women’s lives would become intertwined in a way you wouldn’t imagine, and he couldn’t spoil it. This is a heart-wrenching story of two women that are brought together in a complicated and painful way with an ending I never could have predicted. Same as the author, to write more would be to give away too much.
I found the book intriguing, and I wanted nothing more than for things to finally work out for Little Bee. After finishing the book I found I wanted to read more of Chris Cleaves work. Highly recommended.
I fell in love with Josh and Brent with the launch of their reality show The Fabulous Beekman Boys two years ago. The book The Bucolic Plague helped to fill in the two or more years before the show began and help fans of the show come to understand how Josh and Brent went from randomly purchasing the Beekman to deciding to create their company Beekman 1802. It rounds out the story of how Josh and Brent came to dedicate their lives to farming and living at Beekman full time.
But this books isn’t only for those who already know of the Fabulous Beekman Boys. This book reminded me of Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle in the way it inspired me to live a different life. Here were two men working in New York City, apart of the grind, successful, but still missing something.
With the purchase of what was planned as a weekend home, suddenly the reality of living on a farm, of learning about heritage vegetables, raising and killing their own meats, living what they called their “full life” suddenly outweighed their desire to be fashionable New York city boys. I understand that desire to checkout from the 9-5 and put your effort into the soil. In my few years of urban gardening I too have felt the pull to just throw all my efforts into a more “simple” life. What they’re doing, attempting to make a living on a farm is so idyllic, so amazing, and something I’d love to be attempting myself.
The fact that they’re also hilarious, smart, quick witted gay men doesn’t hurt the appeal of their story either. 🙂
This is a great book to read if you’ve ever been interested in the whole farm to table lifestyle, or if like me you dream of one day leaving your 9-5 and spending your days farming. Also, a lovely extension of the wonderful Josh and Brent if you’re a Beekman fan like myself.
I was bit with the gardening bug when I bought my house in 2009. Sure the house was impressive, but the backyard is what spoke to me. Yard for days — receiving a perfect amount of 8+ hours of daylight in the summer. My first summer garden was a disaster as they usually are, but by summer #2 I was ready to do more. Grow more. My second summer was an amazing experience as I watched everything from lettuce to cauliflower to the biggest sunflowers I’d ever seen reach maturity. But even though I’d grown vegetables and enjoyed them, I still felt like I was doing everything blind.
I received my copy of Food Grown Right, In Your Backyard yesterday and spent the next hour devouring it. I’ve sense left my huge backyard in Olympia and am gearing up for my second summer gardening in Alaska (again my first blind gardening summer being a COMPLETE disaster). This book is created mostly for gardening in the Pacific Northwest so I’m unable to follow the extremely helpful month-by-month garden guide in the back of the book, but I still feel like my mind was blown open as I read through the book.
Soil maintenance and fertilizer has always baffled me as I stood looking at nursery shelves. Which one was best? Which one did I actually need, and which was simply a marketing ploy? Finally I read something that laid out my choices and options in easy to understand language! Container gardening is my only option at my house and I was THRILLED to see how many tips, tricks and ideas Food Grown Right offered me. I know with this book as my trusty guide I can do this!
Even with three years of gardening under my belt I’m still learning with this book. From helping me to conceptualize exactly how to organize a garden with short term, mid term and long term plants (why did I never think of this!?!?), to the oh-so-helpful section towards the back of the book walking me through each family of plants. Sure I love tomatoes, but these will not grow in Alaska without a greenhouse. Food Grown Right is helping me move on from this disappointment and realize all the amazing veggies I CAN grow successfully here in Alaska.
Every year you learn something new from gardening and most of the time it’s through trial and error. But this is the first summer I’l heading towards where I don’t feel like I’m heading in blind. I have the tools I need with Food Grown Right to make this the most successful garden ever, and I can’t wait to get started.
I wish there was a half star option because I would have given this book 3.5 stars instead of 3 stars. Personally I found the plot heartbreaking and incredibly interesting, but as the book continued I found myself less and less interested in the intertwining story of Oskar’s grandfather. I found myself wanting the sections narrated by Oskar to continue and the sections about his grandfather and grandmother to hurry up and end. There is eventually real power and beauty in the relationship between Oskar and his grandfather, but I wish it had been navigated slightly differently.
The struggle that Oskar is facing in trying to understand his father’s death, to find meaning in his loss and to learn how to grieve are extremely powerful, but as the book continued and I managed the dance between Oskar’s story and his grandparent’s story I found myself losing steam.
After the book ended I instantly began downloading the movie because I’m interested to see if the directors agreed and found Oskar’s story and Oskar’s struggle to be more powerful and if they would give more weight to his internal battle. This is an unusual story and touching angle regarding one of our countries national tragedies. Worth a read, and would be interested to hear your take on the book.
I LOVED this book. It was truly adorable.
A story of the fictitious island of Nollop found 21 miles SE off the coast of South Carolina, and home to Nevin Nollop, the supposed creator of the well-known pangram “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” There is a statue in town celebrating their famous Nollop, and as the tiles from the sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog,” one by one the citizens of Nollop are banned from writing or even looking at each newly fallen letter.
The story is a little strange at first, fictional country, people unable to use letters of the alphabet all because they fell off a statue, and after reading the back cover you think, “Why don’t they just say, ‘F-you I’ll keep using the letter ‘p’ thankyouverymuch.'” But what’s so brilliant about the book is how the author Mark Dunn is creating a dialog about censorship, about government control and how small groups of people can make sweeping change for a nation. All using hyperbole.
By the end of the book I found myself needing to read almost out loud to myself to understand what in the world these characters were trying to say to one another! It must have been really difficult for the author to write at times! And even though it was humorous at times, I like the way Mark Dunn was addressing some very weighty topics.
A very fast but very enjoyable read.
My heart broke throughout this story. Both as a mentally handicapped version of himself, through his journey into a genius level IQ and back. No one station being wholly fair or right for Charlie.
Daniel Keyes makes such an interesting point in how one can be alienated both in cases of extremely low intelligence, as well as the highest reaches of intelligence, and that what truly makes us feel fulfilled are our close relationships and the company of others no matter where we fall on the IQ scale. Having finished the book in the grips of a cold I find myself unable to articulate anything other than the profound sadness I felt as the book wound down. The suffering and disappointment one man faced is almost too much to bear. Definitely a book I would have loved to read in college for the group discussions that would have arisen.
I have a hard time remembering most anything from the ages 8, 9, 10, 11, and Haven Kimmel is able to conjure up the most simple memories while also articulating perfectly what it feels like to be a child at that age.
“I nodded. Once on the porch I decided I could get everywhere faster if I jumped, so I leaped down the stairs and hopped like a frog down to the corner, and from there I just took off running.”
Lines like that are on every page, making this book so fun to read. While reading this book you find yourself trying to tap back into that youthful version of yourself. Trying to remember a world where jumping like a frog felt important, a time where you believe the old lady on the block was a witch, and where your biggest worry was if you should play in the tree house or ride your bike up and down the block. A Girl Named Zippy is a fantastic way to try to tap back into the ten year old in all of us.
I usually find it hard to agree 100% with the reviews publishers place on the cover of books. But this time after reading Lucky by Alice Sebold I agree 150% with what I found on the backcover,
“A rueful, razor-sharp memoir… Sebold tells what it’s like to go through a particular kind of nightmare in order to tell what it’s like–slowly, bumpily, triumphantly–to heal.” — Sarah Kerr, Vogue
I am not usually drawn to books about hikers. Although I am a hiker myself, those who write books about hiking, who wax poetically about the wilderness and solitude usually turn me off. Even though those are the very things I too love about hiking. Something about it always feels a little pompous.
Wild is not your typical hiking book, and it’s NOT anything like Eat, Pray, Love — just another story of a girl lost looking to be found. Cheryl Strayed writes with such humility. She went off to walk the PCT with no training, no experience, and without knowing a thing about backpacking. She is doomed to fail, and throughout the book she’s open and realistic about all her mistakes. Her growth shines through, but softly. Her lesson of, “I LEARNED SOMETHING ABOUT MYSELF AND DEALT WITH THE DEATH OF MY MOTHER ON THE PCT” is a soft lesson, even though it’s a very profound one.
I loved this book and found quite a few quotes from it I couldn’t help but highlight. A wonderful read. Strangely enough, even through her struggles and talk of utter misery she faced, it made me want to go backpacking.
I have to be honest, I have developed a loathing of all things French. So when I began the book and realized it was a French translation, and a overly wordy, flowery, FRENCH book, I can’t lie to you, I wasn’t impressed. My loath of Frenchness comes from a personal issue with a certain individual who’s claim that all things French are better were a cause for some of my original distaste, but as well the speed of the book bothered me. Only when the book reached the 3/4 mark did the characters start to interest me, engage me, intrigue me. Until that point I found myself reading page after page to simply get through the book. I must finish a book, no questions.
In the end I wasn’t impressed. Although the book got better towards the end and the characters livened up, I found myself irritated with the characters and their over the top proclamations and tendency to dribble on and on about things like Tolstoy. I mean yes, he’s a fantastic writer, but I don’t read books to have characters lecture me as if I’m in a college English class again, I read books for a story, to fall in love with characters, plot, language and place. This book felt like it was posturing to me to be smart when all it felt was dull.
How can you not love this snarky character?
I found his essays to be entertaining, and there were only one or two where I wish he’d been near me so I could have rolled my eyes and told him to stop being so damn dramatic all the time. Yeah, yeah, New York was so much cooler back in the days. We get it.
I did love how on topics like the raw food movement he’s able to give his classic Bourdain critique, but also acknowledge that this is a specialty and that the chefs doing this, and doing it well have reason to be celebrated. Even if he refuses to take part. Most definitely a fun vacation read.
I can see why this book was made into a movie. It’s a touching story of a horse and the painful life of not only being tossed from owner to owner, but also suffering and surviving as a military horse in WWII. That said, although this makes for a wonderful movie I’m sure (haven’t seen the movie yet), this didn’t make for a good book. It was wildly short, and written with the complexity of a 6-8th grade reading level. Which is fine, if I’d been in the 6th grade.
I still want to see the movie, because of my deep love of horses, and I’m assuming this will be one of the few instances where I can say that I loved the movie much more than the book.
I am not a climber, nor a mountaineer, and I have absolutely no desire to take up either sport, yet I couldn’t put this book down. Art Davidson does a phenomenal job of taking a reader to Denali in the middle of the winter while a group of young climbers attempt to summit. I thought Art did a fantastic job of bringing the reader to the mountain and giving us a glimpse into what it means to find yourself trapped 17,000 ft high, with no means of rescue. You can’t help but fall in love with these young climbers and although you know at least Art will make it out alive (I mean, he lived to write the book, right?) I still felt myself holding my breath as I read. How would they get off the mountain? When will they find food? Will they all make it?
This book is clearly an amazing read for climbers and mountaineers, but it’s also a fascinating read for anyone who enjoys adventure, drama, the outdoors, or anyone who wonders what it’s like to be the sort of person who puts everything aside to stand on the top of a tall mountain. Great read.
The reviews for this book have been harsh. Although sometimes I can have an issue with an author jumping around in a story for no reason, in Girls in Trucks the changes felt fresh and realistic. Because as much as this is the story of one woman, it’s also about a group of women joined together because of where they were born, and what family they were born into. I tend to have a soft spot for books about southern women, only because they seem like another species to me, so I enjoyed this book for nothing else but allowing me to take yet another look. A realistic, open, sometimes ugly look at that.
It’s not the most profound thing you’ll ever read, but it’s fast, and interesting, and I couldn’t help but enjoy myself as I breezed through chapter after chapter.
This is definitely a fun read into the life of a New York child, teenager and eventually woman. The writing isn’t exactly deep, but the essay style writing is quick and self deprecatingly funny. At times I couldn’t help but find Susan’s outlook on life and especially her expectations on the workforce to be trite, but overall I enjoyed the book. Most definitely a summer read.
Book 6 of the Longmire series is exactly what you’ve come to expect. Dry humor, twists and turns, murder and relationships all wrapped up in Craig Johnson’s winning style. Val and Walt, JUST BE TOGETHER ALREADY! Having also started watching the new show “Longmire” it was interesting to read the book while comparing character traits to the choices the show made in casting. I must say, the Walt in my mind, and the Walt in the show are exactly what I imagined.
This is the sort of book I read in a single day. Stealing time to sneak away and read for just another hour. It zips by and you’re right there with Walt trying to understand how in the world this one will get wrapped up. Another fun read.
Faith of Cranes: Finding Hope and Family in Alaska is so much more than a story of sandhill cranes. More than a story of conservation. So much more than a story of someone running from progress and hiding out in Alaska. Author Hank Lentfer does a wonderful job of weaving themes such as progress, conservation, hope, family, nature, and place into one cohesive story that feels more like you’re listening to Hank tell a story while sitting around a fire.
The only thing that kept me from giving this book a 5 is at times I had a hard time identifying with Hank’s overwhelming feeling of despair towards our changing planet. As someone who considers myself invested in the struggle between progress and the environment I was shocked to feel disconnected with Hank’s despair. As he would talk about the fear of what might happen to our planet, or the struggle he feels when his tiny town receives a paved road, I found myself losing him. I can understand how this might be something one would ponder, yet, to let change and progress overtake you, to cripple you, to make you feel hopeless is something I can’t understand. Change is inevitable, but to think you could ever avoid it, or stop change is naive. There are things we as Alaskans can do to keep our state beautiful, and I don’t agree that simply putting our hands up and enjoying what we have, while we have it and looking away from the things that worry us is the way to live.
Ultimately it’s an interesting perspective, one I was happy to read and ponder. How do we deal with problems we can’t fix, how to we find hope where there feels there is none, how to we love things we know we might lose? Hank’s writing is so beautiful I felt I could see Gustavus exactly has he lives it, even though I’ve never been to the southeast. A wonderful read, and would make for a great book group discussion.
I worried that I not only wouldn’t enjoy this book based on the premises, but that I would actually hate this book. I am not a numbers person, and although I work with websites, I am most definitely NOT a programmer. At first I found Karim dull, distant, straddling the line of aspergers. Yet Teddy Wayne does a wonderful job of slowly peeling back the layers of Karim as he softens and changes day by day. New experiences bring new responses, and my favorite moments have to be when Karim is able to perfect a sarcastic line.
Watching the character grow, adapt, experience new things while wrestling with his morality over his program becomes deeply interesting. By the end of the book I found I cared for Karim as a reader and when it ended I wished there was a way to check in on him in five, ten, twenty years. Unexpectedly lovely read.
The premises of this book is just one single story line. Girl is given up for adoption, father returns to her hometown, how will this all play out? Well badly of course or why else would you write this book?
Turns out the author got REALLY EXCITED about the idea that we all have secrets, that we’re all damaged, that bad things happen to good people because dear lord, before you know it everyone and their mother’s deep dark secret was on display. She’s got an eating disorder, she was molested, he’s a sadist, he’s heavily disturbed, omg they’re in the porn industry (WHAT??), and on and on and on and we’re still going, on.
There was a story there. An interesting one no less. And I feel like it got lost with all the other muck. Sure, I was interested, but in the way I am interested while I watch Real Housewives of New Jersey.
I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I mean, could it really be as “mommy porn-like” as people were making it out to be? I mean, how could a book selling this fast, being placed on every bookstore’s front table have THAT much sex in it?
Oh, it can my friends. And it does. That’s all this book is. Smut, escapists, soft-core porn. It’s a Playboy article, with 300 pages. The characters are flat, they do the same thing over and over (both plot wise and sexually) and it’s all very, bla. Sure you whip right through it, and in the beginning I will admit I was a little surprised and intrigued as it’s not the sort of thing I often find myself reading, but by the end I was over it. Over the same old sex scene, over their tired, will it happen, wont it happen relationship.
Will I read the other two books? Sure. It’s a trilogy. Am I chomping at the bit? Hell no.
I wanted to like this book, I really did. I don’t know if I just wasn’t in the right head space, but I didn’t connect with Annie Proulx’s characters. Things felt hallow, disjointed, and I expected so much more from a Pulitzer winner.
“Steve Jobs thus became the greatest business executive of our era, the one most certain to be remembered a century from now. History will place him in the pantheon right next to Edison and Ford. More than anyone else of this time, he made products that were completely innovative, combining the power of poetry and processors. With a ferocity that could make working with him as unsettling as it was inspiring, he also built the world’s most creative company. And he was able to infuse into its DNA the design sensibilities, perfectionism, and imagination that make it likely to be, even decades from now, the company that thrives best at the interestion of artistry and technology.”
As an Apple fan since the early days, reading this book was like taking a trip back in time. I couldn’t get enough. As each chapter unfolded and I was able to see how my favorite pieces of technology came to life, how decisions that changed the technological landscape were decided on, I actually felt closer to my products as suddenly I saw even more closely how much thought and insight, and even love went into each and every decision.
Walter Isaacson had a difficult task ahead of him to make this book. To tell the story of Steve Jobs, and Apple, and to have it be interesting, thoughtful, realistic, raw, and mostly real, and to ultimately shed light on a difficult genius that most hardly understand. This book is massive, and yet I didn’t want it to end. I am so glad this book was written, and one can’t help but wonder what this amazing mind could have created next if he was still here.
A must read.
I made the mistake of reading a few reviews of this book before I jumped in. One hit me, saying that they felt (Jen!) that it’s becoming difficult to believe any human being would be so hard-headed to continue time after time to put themselves in such reckless situations. Having not yet read this new book I reflected upon Walt’s previous encounters, and felt that although he was sometimes a stubborn ass and often refused backup, I had mostly gone along quite easily with his encounters.
But as I got into Hell Is Empty Jen’s words rang in my ears. NO ONE WOULD DO THIS. No one. No one would continue on, continue to push. No sane cop or Sheriff could be respected if they acted this way. I know this is a story, one that must be dramatic and wild to be entertaining, and he needed to be alone in the wilderness for the story to carry out in this way, but it was hard for me to shake those comments as the story got more extreme and then downright unbelievable.
In the end I love Craig Johnson and his hard-headed ass of a hero Walt, but I have to admit that I hope in his next book there’s just a smidge more restraint. If he continues on this path Walt will be jumping off mountains next and we’ll all be scratching our heads.
This was a perfect plane book. It was fast with an unusual story line and as I sat there wishing I was already at my destination, it kept me thinking of other things. Overall is wasn’t a work of great literature, but I enjoyed the place I was able to escape to on that flight with Anita Shreve’s characters.
Do I believe after all that family turmoil that everything would wrap up so nicely into this perfect package? Of course not. Life is never that simple, unless of course you’re starring in a Lifetime Movie. Which, gee, I can’t believe this isn’t one yet.
I love Tina Fey, love her. Always have. This is one of the fastest I’ve ever read a book before, buying it at the airport and finishing the book by the time my flight touched down at the end of the day.
I agree with other reviews in that this is definitely not a memoir, this is a collection of essays. It slightly follows a path of her life in the early days and I LOVED her stories about being in theater in high school, but once she graduated college things were all over the place. One minute it was about 30 Rock, the next SNL, then back to 30 Rock, then pre-SNL. There were some great lines in there, and one where I didn’t see it coming and actually spit out a little of my drink on the book.
One thing I do wish though is that the book had been a real memoir and not a collection of stories because there is so much more I’d love to know about in depth. I’d love to know more about being a writer at SNL, about getting 30 Rock off the ground (Tina, stop trying to say 30 Rock is unpopular, do you not remember all the Emmy’s you’ve won?), and how she went from a normal kid who liked theater to a successful comedic writer and actor.
Overall this is a funny, super fast read that will probably appeal 99% to women and 1% to men. But that’s ok, us ladies enjoy having Tina in our corner and we don’t need the boys approval anyway.
I can’t write a review as eloquently as Publisher’s Weekly about this lovely book, so I’ll just quote them.
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
What perfect timing for this optimistic, uplifting debut novel (and maiden publication of Amy Einhorn’s new imprint) set during the nascent civil rights movement in Jackson, Miss., where black women were trusted to raise white children but not to polish the household silver. Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan is just home from college in 1962, and, anxious to become a writer, is advised to hone her chops by writing “about what disturbs you.” The budding social activist begins to collect the stories of the black women on whom the country club sets relies–and mistrusts–enlisting the help of Aibileen, a maid who’s raised 17 children, and Aibileen’s best friend Minny, who’s found herself unemployed more than a few times after mouthing off to her white employers. The book Skeeter puts together based on their stories is scathing and shocking, bringing pride and hope to the black community, while giving Skeeter the courage to break down her personal boundaries and pursue her dreams. Assured and layered, full of heart and history, this one has bestseller written all over it. (Feb.)
The first three-fourths of this book had me mesmerized. As a fan of the Harry Potter series, and a childhood fan of series like the Golden Compass, a magical night circus where two students unknowingly battle each other to create a world unlike any other was a lovely world to enter. I easily envisioned this white and black only circus where anything was possible, and once again the little girl in me just wished magic really was in fact, possible.
And… then the love story part kicked in. Oh how I could care less. Bla bla, give me more magical rooms and magical twists, and what do you mean no one in the circus ages, HOW FASCINATING TELL ME MORE!
A quick and enchanting read, if you just focus on all the magic and pretend the whole silly love story isn’t happening there in the end.
As a dog lover to the nth degree I was extremely interested by the findings shared by Alexandra Horowitz. This book made me think a little more about why it is that one of my dogs is a constant and never stopping licker. It helped me to think from the point of view of my very anxious dog. To think about why she’s nervous and to think how to make her more comfortable not in a way I think a human might need comforting, but how she as a dog will feel more secure.
This book is a lovely look at removing the human emotions and attributes we place on our dogs, and looking at them as what they really are. Domesticated animals we share our lives with.
My only quip was that it’s a hard book to ingest in large chunks. I would find myself on a Saturday morning excited at the idea of curling up with my book and some coffee for hours, and after about 20 pages my mind was overloaded and wandering. The prospect of a couple relaxing hours reading a book weren’t happening. Thankfully any frustration at information absorption was remedied when I got to the last chapter. As much as this book is a look at the science of dogs and why they do what they do, in the final chapter Horowitz brought it full circle and reminded us simply of our love for these animals and the amazing thing it is that we are able to share our lives with them.
Good book for dog owners, and just know you’ll need to take it in slow pieces.
I was shocked to read page after page of Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi. Not simply because I was reading about someone with an eating disorder, but because I was reading about someone with an eating disorder who was writing with such honesty, and writing of a place within the disease, from the matter of factness of that time in her life where she believed the things she was doing to herself were completely acceptable and normal.
Portia did a fabulous job of writing about and alluding to the issues that she was attempting to rectify and control with her eating disorder, speaking to the issues she was burying by striving for the perfect weight, without preaching to the reader. By the time she sat down to write this book she had of course realized that her issues with her sexuality and the importance her mother put on beauty as a child, on top of the pressure to succeed in Hollywood were what fueled the eating disorder, but as she wrote she wrote as the Portia who hadn’t made these connections yet. She wrote from the Portia who was in the dark, and I think it made her story more compelling because we the reader experienced what it was like to be in that dark place with her. Only at the end coming to the other side.
It was a shockingly honest portrayal of what was clearly a very dark and difficult time in her life. I hope it helped others to read that she struggled so much and yet eventually found peace.
This is a truly quick read that is more essay collection than novel/book. The three main women in the book are kept mostly at arms length from the reader, introduced often via stories of their other friends relationships which was a style I hadn’t encountered all that often. There were some good lines between the women, moments where I heard my friends and I cracking sarcastic jokes at one another, but overall the book was fluff chick lit. A definite vacation beach read.
This book is exactly as you’d expect it to be. Brash, easy to read, humorous, scandalous, and exactly the characters you watch every week on Deadliest Catch. The story gave fans of the show a look into the lives of our favorite Hillstrand boys before they were on tv, and frankly it made me terrified of the idea of ever having boys. Johnathan and Andy’s poor mother. It’s not the most literary work, but their ghost writer did a good job of capturing each of their essence, letting a reader look deeper into the live of a crabber, and still managed to leave Andy and Johnathan as the brash crabbers people fell in love with on the show.
If you’re a fan of the Deadliest Catch, it’s definitely worth the quick read. Especially if the show isn’t currently on and you need a little DC fix.
This is a sweetly dysfunctional story of a gator wrestling family in the middle of the Florida swamp. Russell did a great job of creating the Bigtree family, and I found myself sort of wishing this strange swamp amusement park actually existed. I followed along, even accepting when Russell took the plot and vered it towards the mythical and magical, but I was really disappointed in the ending. After building up these characters and their strange lives for so many pages to simply end with a little three page wrap up felt wrong. I would have rather had it end and be left wondering than the lackluster ending the book had.
The entire time I was reading Rowing Into The Son I just kept shaking my head. Why would they choose to do this? To make this journey? To sacrifice and suffer for so long? And yet, even as my mind was baffled by their adventure, it began to understand their reason for wishing to row across the Atlantic. To be the first Americans to row from North America to Europe. To beat a record, to win a race. The struggles of the crew, physically, emotionally, and from their simple lack of food kept me wanting to read more, and more, and more. It’s amazing to think what the crew went through, and how hard they fought to keep going even when it would have been much easier to simply abandon the dream and accept the assistance they so desperately needed.
This is a great book for anyone interested in an adventure. No previous rowing experience, required.
I have to admit I have a weird fascination with polygamy, and the Mormon religion. This book was a perfect blend of my interests. The combination of a murder mystery in a polygamist community, set against the “historical” look at Brigham Young’s infamous 19th wife helped to fill out the book, and each side of the story complimented the other perfectly. This is the kind of book that captures you for hours at a time, both because of the topic, but because of the vulnerability of the characters. A well written, well “fake-researched” (most of the historical documents presented in the book are based on real documents and communication, but adapted for this story), title that I couldn’t put down. Must read.
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Dying for even more Accidental Olympian book nonsense? Well, would you like to hear a funny story about how goodreads made me look like an idiot? You do? Great. I hope you enjoy every minute of my humiliation.