There's no point telling what the book is about, because the whole thing is too unlikely. But the Spouse saw a documentary on the subject, which was eThere's no point telling what the book is about, because the whole thing is too unlikely. But the Spouse saw a documentary on the subject, which was excellent, and my response to hearing about a great narrative is always to read a book. And then, there's nothing like reading about a shipwreck to put your own troubles into perspective.
So, seventeenth-century shipwreck off the coast of Australia turns into a scenario that makes Lord of the Flies look civilized. Read it because Dash gives you enough of the background to place the historical events into context. Read it because the whole time you'll be yelling out "no WAY." If you read this first you'd understand why the European stories of the day were full of unlikely incidents and implausible timing. The subtitle points to the narrative focus and I disagree with the author's conclusion of "mad", but at least they're upfront about the body count.
When they say "worse things happen at sea" I always thought the meant slowly starving as a castaway on a desert isle, I never realized it was in reference to other people. Way.
What Alice Forgot - Liane Moriarty The mystery is what happened to Alice's marriage. Alice, suffering from a concussion and subsequent amnesia is theWhat Alice Forgot - Liane Moriarty The mystery is what happened to Alice's marriage. Alice, suffering from a concussion and subsequent amnesia is the one trying to figure out who she is and how it went wrong. Another marvelous book full of kids and after school activities and how destructive it is for a marriage when gender roles make one person the breadwinner and one person the parent. And yes, it is also very white and heteronormative and upper middle class suburban, but again, Moriarty takes seriously the business of having and rearing children, and that is important. Plus now I basically see Reese Witherspoon playing the lead role in every one of the books and I like Reese Witherspoon, so that's okay. I only have one Moriarty book left to read, and then I am going to be very sad for a while. Library copy ...more
This is a book about zoonoses, diseases that come to humans from other animals. It is scary, sure, because there are always new microbes out there reaThis is a book about zoonoses, diseases that come to humans from other animals. It is scary, sure, because there are always new microbes out there ready to go rampaging through our vast society. It is also rather comforting, both the methodical search for vectors and reservoirs, the details of transmission and treatment, the stream of breakthroughs that enable researchers to locate and sequence. And through it all, Quammen maintains a casual, light conversational tone, reassuring the reader that sure, horrible new diseases can (and will) spring up seemingly out of nowhere to spread around the world, but that also we have been pretty good at controlling those sorts of outbreaks.
There's quite a lot about Ebola here, written before this summer's outbreak. It should prove very comforting to everyone whose loved ones are not currently infected. I heap praise upon him for pointing out that it isn't nearly as grotesque as Preston painted it in The Hot Zone.
The only part I really disliked was the pure fiction of The Voyager, which was too long and added nothing. This was particularly annoying as I was nearing the end and racing to finish quickly before the future biologist usurped in entirely.
I don't usually comment on covers, but I will say that Chip Kidd managed to make a very disturbing one....more
In a Sunburned Country - Bill Bryson What Bill Bryson taught me about Australia: everything wants to kill you, whether or not it is animate, let aloneIn a Sunburned Country - Bill Bryson What Bill Bryson taught me about Australia: everything wants to kill you, whether or not it is animate, let alone conscious.Everything. And all of the critters are weird, many adorably so. We’re big on quakkas at my house. And Bryson is at his funniest describing a deep and embarrassing sleep he fell into. Oh, and the country is too damn big to see more than just a tiny bit, especially since the most inhabited parts, that is, the cities, are all dotted along the perimeter, and the middle is all desolate wasteland filled with dragons. No, wait, the dragons were from Novik. When I got to that description of Bryson sleeping, I felt compelled to read some aloud to Veronica. When she later read the same book, she was compelled to read part of that aloud to me.This might be an important finding about compatibility, or humor, or something.
Another entry in the up-all-night category. Three girls celebrating their last day of school, staying out all night looking for love, adventure, excitAnother entry in the up-all-night category. Three girls celebrating their last day of school, staying out all night looking for love, adventure, excitement. Do they find all this and more? Of course. Are there ominous bad guys? You betcha. Lives are changed, relationships are begun and ended, and there's plenty of time to talk about art, too. Lots of visual art, and poetry as well.
I love this kind of story, and this rates up there with Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick. And let me just say that I'm happy to see that in the more recent novels, it isn't the Manic Pixie Dream Girl who's causing all the trouble (although I love those 80s movies, too, like Into the Night and Desperately Seeking Susan).
Adorable. Veronica read it first and thought it was very like Sarah Dessen, and I agree. Amy Lee is sixteen, living with her mother after the divorceAdorable. Veronica read it first and thought it was very like Sarah Dessen, and I agree. Amy Lee is sixteen, living with her mother after the divorce in a second-hand shop, hanging with her best and only friend Rebecca. And then she finds a locket, meets a ghost and everything is changed.
Well, of course I loved the extensive references to the 80s: the music, the movies, the clothes. Fun stuff. And I loved the relationships: Amy's devotion to Rebecca, her interactions with other Asians at her school, her closeness with her mum (despite the lack of hugging). But even more than that, I loved the skeptical approach she takes toward the new ghost in her life. I love that her friends and her mum seeing her going through a weird phrase and do something about it, I love that she questions the existence and motives of the ghost as much as Hamlet does.
There is charm here, and the sweetness of daily life, and the difficulties, and an ending that doesn't try to tie up everything in a bow. I didn't actually get to blow out any candles, but for my birthday wish I want a new book by Marr every year....more