The Giver is one of those books that I always thought I had read when I was younger, but didn't really remember much about. I decided to reread it due...moreThe Giver is one of those books that I always thought I had read when I was younger, but didn't really remember much about. I decided to reread it due to the movie coming out, but after having done so it turns out I don't think I ever actually read it the first time. It's a young adult dystopian future novel written long before The Hunger Games made those all the rage. I can definitely understand why movie people decided now was the time to finally make this book into a film.
We're never really clued in to what happened to change society so much in the future to try and protect itself from the past, but in this future everything is given to a sort of sameness with collective societal memories of the past erased except for The Giver who must contain all those memories. Jonas is a young 12 year old boy who instead of being assigned one of the regular jobs found in this community as would be expected at his age is instead assigned to become the new keeper of the memories. Receiving these memories will alter his life and his perspective on his community forever.
Given everything I've always heard about this book I expected to like it much more than I actually did. I know it's aimed at a younger audience, but it still felt very slight to me. There were some good ideas within it, but I left feeling like it wasn't developed fully. I gather there are now more books that follow up this one, though given the 7 year break between the first and second books I'm guessing it wasn't originally intended to be a series. Though I don't know that for sure. Perhaps I would feel differently if I read all 4 books where presumably the story is fleshed out a little more. (less)
I read this book in preparation for the movie, which is due out soon. The Foxman clan is back together for the first time in many years for their fath...moreI read this book in preparation for the movie, which is due out soon. The Foxman clan is back together for the first time in many years for their father's funeral. Now they find out that their father's final request is that the family sit shiva, which means spending the next 7 days locked in the house together . Judd, who is the narrator of the book is simultaneously mourning the death of his father and the demise of his marriage due to his wife's affair with his boss. Now trapped with his mother, two brothers, sister and their families long held resentments come to a head and secrets are revealed.
I enjoyed Tropper's writing even when I found the characters hard to take at times. It's definitely one of those novels with at times whiney and self-absorbed characters that drive some people nuts. If that's you then I would avoid this book. I thought the book was well written enough that I didn't mind them. I will be interested to see how well it works as a movie. (less)
Harmon is a music lover and avid record collector. In this series of essays he uses songs as the basis to tell stories about his life, music history,...moreHarmon is a music lover and avid record collector. In this series of essays he uses songs as the basis to tell stories about his life, music history, and what was going on in the world at the time the song came out. As a fellow music lover I really enjoyed the premise of this book despite the fact that I didn't know many of the songs he used as the starting off point for his essays. I loved his introduction about music and the art of creating mix tapes. I did greatly prefer the essays that were more personal in which he told stories about what particular songs meant to his life at specific times to those that were more esoteric or covered non-personal topics. I'm not sure how much appeal this book would have to people who aren't greatly into music, but I'm sure fellow music lovers can identify with many of the things Harmon writes about. (less)
Zee Devohrs and her husband Doug live in the carriage house on the grounds of her parents large mansion once home to an artists' colony. Doug is tryin...moreZee Devohrs and her husband Doug live in the carriage house on the grounds of her parents large mansion once home to an artists' colony. Doug is trying to earn his way into a tenured faculty position by writing a book about an artist who once stayed at the colony but hits a brick wall every time he tries to get any information about that time from Gracie, Zee's mother. The novel moves backwards through time revealing more of the story of the house and its inhabitants until you discover the secrets that everyone has been trying to conceal.
I like the conceit of the book, but I really just couldn't get into that much. I didn't care about the characters and although I didn't see the reveal coming I also wasn't that interested in it either. (less)
The authors interviewed 115 low-income families to find out about their experiences with the Earned Income Tax Credit. They compare the EITC to tradit...moreThe authors interviewed 115 low-income families to find out about their experiences with the Earned Income Tax Credit. They compare the EITC to traditional welfare asserting that the EITC is a more effective program especially in light of restrictions placed on welfare. They share the stories of the families that receive EITC and look at how they spend the money they receive.
This book seemed like something that would be right up my alley, and while in general the topic was I found the book itself to be very repetitive. I'm pretty sure the same information could have been conveyed much better in a 20 page journal article instead of being dragged out into a 300 page book. I just felt like the authors were saying the same thing over and over again.(less)
When they were six Richard's best friend Melanie went missing and was presumed dead. Every since she disappeared Richard has felt her presence with hi...moreWhen they were six Richard's best friend Melanie went missing and was presumed dead. Every since she disappeared Richard has felt her presence with him in a sort of shadow like form. Now ten years later Melanie has been found and returns, but if she's alive than whose ghost has been haunting Richard over the past decade? In his search to find out the truth he uncovers more than he bargained for.
I didn't care much for this book. I didn't think the characters were all that interesting and the horror aspects of the book didn't really do much for me either.(less)
Oh man was this a hard book to read, but so worth it. Lies We Tell Ourselves is set in Virginia in 1959. Sarah Dunbar and her younger sister are a cou...moreOh man was this a hard book to read, but so worth it. Lies We Tell Ourselves is set in Virginia in 1959. Sarah Dunbar and her younger sister are a couple of the few students who are chosen to integrate the previously all-white Jefferson High School. Linda Hairston is a firm believer in keeping segregation alive and aims to get her school back. Forced to work together on a school project the two discover that they may have more in common than they thought.
Talley does an excellent job of portraying a very difficult time in our nation's history that still has lasting effects to this day. I read this book before everything happened in Ferguson, but looking back on it now it's hard to think that we've come very far from the horrible physical and psychological brutality put upon kids who were just trying to gain access to an equal education. The subject matter makes it a very difficult read, but an extremely important one. It's so hard to think that people can be this awful to other people, but they were and they are. Hopefully this book can help open some eyes to the horrendousness of discrimination whether regarding race or sexuality, both of which are addressed in the book. (less)
Melinek writes a memoir about her time as newly minted forensic pathologist training in the New York City medical examiner's office. She shares many s...moreMelinek writes a memoir about her time as newly minted forensic pathologist training in the New York City medical examiner's office. She shares many stories about how forensic pathology works and what you can and can't tell from a body. She shares stories about deaths ranging from the mundane to the extremely bizarre. Although I really enjoyed the book up to this point too, the most compelling part of the narrative comes from her stories about working in the aftermath of 9/11, which occurred just a few months after she was on the job. I found the whole book to very interesting and a great look into a profession I don't really know anything about other than the fake stuff I've seen on television. (less)