Reading this made me really want to go back and read Gilead which I started but didn't have time to finish. This book is told in a very different voicReading this made me really want to go back and read Gilead which I started but didn't have time to finish. This book is told in a very different voice though, since it's narrated by Lila. Gilead has a very scholarly tone...I remember loving how he talked about his cat, insouciant Soapy. Anyway, this book was very wandering and the end I felt like, sort of just petered off. But you can't beat Marilynne Robinson for imagery. I really liked when Lila paraphrased one of John's sermons "'Let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.' He said it meant that when you did a good things it should seem to come from God, not from you. It should not feel to other people like your goodness, and it should not feel that way to you, either. Any good thing is less good the more any human being lays claim to it. " How beautiful!
I also liked what I could gather about the nature of their relationship. On the one hand it was very bizarre--like John decided to marry some reckless homeless and wild homeless person. But on the other hand it was very romantic. I love how she described how nice it was just to touch him and sit next to him. And how she snuggled with his sweater....more
This book is over-rated. I did like how she approached the time traveling issue--how when you aren't in your present you have no free will, how you caThis book is over-rated. I did like how she approached the time traveling issue--how when you aren't in your present you have no free will, how you can't take anything with you. But making it a genetic disorder was so implausible. I wished she hadn't attempted to manufacture an explanation for it. Anyway, I also liked how the chronology of the book was arranged--it some parts it follows the timeline of Clare's life, but it some parts Henry's. And sometimes you read about the same event twice from different perspectives.
However, the language in the book was over the top and unnecessary. I can understand that swearing is sometimes necessary in serious works of literature. But this just seemed trashy. What normal adults refer to their own bodies in that way? Gross. I didn't even find their relationship that romantic--which is what I was really hoping for when I picked up the book. It came across as more dark and demented than romantic in my mind.
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE READ THE BOOK: BTW What is up with the Gomez thing? Gross and random. And why in the world was Clare friends with Celia? She even invited her to the wedding?! Also I got bored with her dream sequence chapters. It's sort of like when I have a weird dream and try to tell it to other people because it seems deep in my mind because it's my own weird dream. But in reality everyone else is bored out of their minds....more
This is almost a five stars book. The creativity and sense of voice in this book is spectacular--you'll find yourself feeling like Bernadette is an olThis is almost a five stars book. The creativity and sense of voice in this book is spectacular--you'll find yourself feeling like Bernadette is an old friend whom you love despite her eccentricities. This book has it all: it's funny, but sad and serious at the same time.
SPOILER ALERT I just wished for a little bit more from the ending. It ended at a point that Bernadette didn't even know about the baby or that her husband was no longer working for Microsoft. I really didn't like the whole baby element. Bleh. If only Soo-Lin was just neurotically making it up. I didn't really love how Audrey's character ended up, however. ...more
Should I haven given this five stars? Maybe. This was a very powerful book--I read it in one day. Perhaps it isn't the most beautifully written or litShould I haven given this five stars? Maybe. This was a very powerful book--I read it in one day. Perhaps it isn't the most beautifully written or literary book, but I loved it anyway for the story it told. It certainly carries an emotional impact. Anger, Sadness, Sympathy...but most importantly, Hope. The following are some spoilers: I found myself ANGRY that Laura's mother wouldn't leave her father--and that her grandmother told her mother she wouldn't let the family stay with her. ANGRY that her mom told everyone to just pretend that nothing happened. ANGRY that the police and others didn't intervene. I also strongly related to Laura and her sister's longing for a normal family--and so sad that it never worked out for Laura. I felt not anger but sadness about Maurice's circumstances and about the devastation of substance abuse. But the most important about this book is that it ends with hope. ...more
I thought this book was pretty boring, but I was reading it for a book club so I persevered. I suppose the historical backdrop made it somewhat worthwI thought this book was pretty boring, but I was reading it for a book club so I persevered. I suppose the historical backdrop made it somewhat worthwhile, but I wasn't invested in the main character and the conflict throughout the book was unfocused and kinda just stupid at times....more
This book is one of the charming sorts--a wholesome book and a well-told story. Auggie has a severe facial deformity which in the book I believe is caThis book is one of the charming sorts--a wholesome book and a well-told story. Auggie has a severe facial deformity which in the book I believe is called a "difference." The book details the story of his going to a public school for the first time but shares different character perspectives as the story unfolds. I really enjoyed seeing the perspectives of the other characters and thought this was a very touching book while managing to be quite funny at the same time. The ending was a bit cheesy, but I liked it anyway....more
So, this book was thrilling enough, I suppose. I read it, I was mostly entertained. But much of the plot was thin or frankly inconceivable. Read KarenSo, this book was thrilling enough, I suppose. I read it, I was mostly entertained. But much of the plot was thin or frankly inconceivable. Read Karen's review below. And I thought the twist ending was stupid and didn't really jive with a lot of parts in the book. I was NOT entertained by the ending. And can I just say, that it seems like there are NEVER any stand alone YA books these days? Why must everything be a series?! So, read it if you want a fun quick read, but don't try to analyze too much.
PS Don't you think three stars should be "it was okay" instead of two? Wouldn't that make more sense?...more
I would NEVER have picked this book up if it hadn't been selected by my book club--but I'm glad it was. This book is a fantastic blend of humor and scI would NEVER have picked this book up if it hadn't been selected by my book club--but I'm glad it was. This book is a fantastic blend of humor and science which will induce a series of "Did you know...." comments directed to whomever happens to be nearest to you when you are reading. Oh, and don't skip the footnotes--they are mostly full of snarky jokes and pointing out punny names like Dr. Crapo. One of the best things, is that she also carefully documents all the studies that she consults at the end of her book in the bibliography--so anyone with further questions can research for themselves
Some of my favorite tidbits:
**There is a product called Devrom which reduces the stinkiness of farts. Readers Digest refused to let them advertise in their magazine. Not mentioned in the book, the company that makes Devrom is actually located in West Valley City! **There is such a thing as a fecal transplant. We are learning about how important the bacteria in the gut is for regulating weight and all sorts of functions. If you are invaded by an evil gut bacteria such as Clostridium Difficile it can even be fatal. Unfortunately, we don't know enough yet about what the good gut bacteria are (partially because they are difficult to study because they are anaerobic and die in the presence of air and partially because it's hard to find funding for this research. Of course, since there are no drugs involved, the research isn't being financed by big pharma companies) so they just transplant a healthy person's poop into your colon and let the bacteria do its thing. **In the 1970s a man died when gases in his colon ignited during a colonoscopy. **According to Roach's research fiber is actually over-rated and was more of a fad. This blew my mind. See page 262. I wanted to know more about this one. **On page 324 she explains that gastroenterologist Alexander Khoruts (University of Minnesota) and microbiologist Gregor Reid and suggest that probiotic products on the market are mostly worthless because the bacteria in them is aerobic (can survive in oxygen) and most of what we need is anaerobic. Sad. ** Roach also shared one of her sources interesting theories on how the fire breathing dragon myth started. Some ancient cave people came upon a big snake that was incapacitated due to just eating a large meal. So they killed it and brought it back to the cave for an ancient version of turducken. But when they tossed it near the fire, someone stepped on it, causing digestive gases to blow out the mouth, and of course igniting in the nearby fire. ...more
This book surprised me. Every time it was recommended to me I thought, "Yeah, yeah, I already know what the languages are--why do I need to read the bThis book surprised me. Every time it was recommended to me I thought, "Yeah, yeah, I already know what the languages are--why do I need to read the book?" However, I thought reading the book was quite valuable. As a side note, it's also very accessible so you needn't worry about undertaking a big time commitment or mental effort. I thought the book offered practical suggestions about improving and re-thinking relationships--and I actually enjoyed reading it. There are a lot of anecdotes and narrative elements that make the book more engaging than what one might expect....more
This book is dangerously similar to the other Ibbotson I've read, A Countess Below the stairs. Both have an independent but impoverished noblewoman whThis book is dangerously similar to the other Ibbotson I've read, A Countess Below the stairs. Both have an independent but impoverished noblewoman who falls in love with some guy who's engaged to someone else. Weak plot, right? However, if you're in the mood for something light and fun, this makes a good read. At least the writing quality is top notch, even if the plot isn't. I love Ibttoson's sentence fluency and diction....more
I couldn't decide whether this deserved one or two stars. On the one hand, I was entertained and very gripped while reading it for sure. But the end lI couldn't decide whether this deserved one or two stars. On the one hand, I was entertained and very gripped while reading it for sure. But the end left me feeling completely cheated. There is a series of characterizations about the person who ends up being the murder that are COMPLETELY out of character and absurd. The whole book ended up feeling like this cheap game of cat at mouse. I had forgotten why I stopped reading these things in 8th grade. Now I remember....more
IT was fall break and I needed a cute and fun book to read. I was just browsing at the library and this one fit the bill. I picked it up largely becauIT was fall break and I needed a cute and fun book to read. I was just browsing at the library and this one fit the bill. I picked it up largely because I loved Flipped by the same author, and also enjoyed Running Dream (though not quite as much as Flipped.) I think perhaps Wendelin and I are kindred spirits. In her bio at the back of this book she writes "her hobbies include the 'three R's': reading, running, and rock 'n' roll." Um...I've totally used that line before, I swear. Anyway, this book played up the rock 'n' roll part of her interests, and I enjoyed that part of the book. I have to say, I didn't know much of the music mentioned--I feel like I need to look some stuff up now.
Anyway, this book was obviously very cheesy, but it was entertaining. There were also some slightly more serious aspects about family and communication, so it wasn't so overflowing with the cheddar that it wasn't enjoyable. I felt like the end left the teensiest bit to be desired, but I won't spoil it....more
I read this book for book club. The book wasn't quite what I was expecting which perhaps is why I thought it was just okay. I felt that the plot was rI read this book for book club. The book wasn't quite what I was expecting which perhaps is why I thought it was just okay. I felt that the plot was rather disjointed and the themes as well. However, the book does use vivid characterization which is nice....more
This was a rather engaging memoir--at first I thought it was a work of fiction. This book is very well-written and takes us into the magical world ofThis was a rather engaging memoir--at first I thought it was a work of fiction. This book is very well-written and takes us into the magical world of Paris and music and antique pianos. I skipped a few of the more technical chapters on the inner workings of the piano, but overall this was a good read....more
1) This was a somewhat entertaining Victorian "sensation" novel, but I have to say it was definitely too long, and not that sensational. However, if y1) This was a somewhat entertaining Victorian "sensation" novel, but I have to say it was definitely too long, and not that sensational. However, if you love the Victorian novel, it's still worth a read. More thoughts below, but be warned of spoilers.
SPOILER ALERT!!! 2) I sort of hoped for something more dramatic in the revelation of Anne Catherick's parentage. I mean the idea that she was an illegitimate child seems the most benign of possibilities. I thought maybe that her father was in on the conspiracy...or that she was actually a secret twin that was hidden away because of her mental defects, even though she was the true heir. 3) I felt cheated in that we don't get to see what really happens when Laura and Walter are reunited at the grave. 4) Walter must have married Laura under the false name of Anne Catherick because her identity had not yet been proven. This wasn't addressed in the narrative (when EVERYTHING else was) and what would have been the necessity of correcting the marriage license after her true identity was re-affirmed. 5) At the end when Walter is essentially requesting Laura's hand in marriage from Marian, Marian says I kept you apart once for both of your benefit, (My page 656). However, it obviously was NOT to either of their benefit that they were kept apart. 6) I feel rather bad for Percival Glyde's mother--that she was unable to divorce her husband who ill-used her. I guess she essentially had a happy life anyway. Because of the helplessness of her circumstances, I also feel a small amount of sympathy for Percival...but not really. His situation is pitiable, but his behavior was so contemptible and mercenary, that I really can't feel sorry for him. 7) It is interesting to reflect on the Victorian nature of the novel. One of the critical comments at the end of my edition points out that Anne, Marian, and Laura represent different types of Victorian women...
I don't really like Laura much. She seems boring and pawnish. Maybe this is because we don't get a narrative from her perspective?
8) I am somewhat puzzled by their financial position at the end of the novel. Wasn't her fortune gone? How did they have enough money to keep up the estate? Perhaps if I go back to the beginning it will explain that there was an income associated with inheriting the estate. However, they still wouldn't be getting much it seems. It seems like whatever money was associated with Blackwater Park wasn't enough for Percival. My understanding was that he had access to that money....he just couldn't take out a loan on the value of the estate without providing his credentials....more
I liked this book overall I'd say. Jacobs makes his quest for health fairly entertaining with lots of quirky little tidbits. (I loved the Nature's PlaI liked this book overall I'd say. Jacobs makes his quest for health fairly entertaining with lots of quirky little tidbits. (I loved the Nature's Platform. Bwahaha.) He definitely makes you call into questions habits such as how much time per day we as Americans sit--even if we are "active." The treadmill desk idea is rather fascinating. However, I'm not sure that I really got a lot of "take away" from this book. In fact, I got a little depressed because I feel like I will NEVER eat "healthy" if that's what he eats in the book. For lunch everyday he eats this superfood garbage salad with no dressing. It sounds disgusting. Furthermore the end was a little depressing and anti-climactic.
I wanted to know a little more about some of the things he tries--in some ways this is definitely a book of breadth not depth. But, overall it was a fun book....more
This story is a powerful one that will make us a little more grateful for what we have and a little more aware of our obligation to reach out to suppoThis story is a powerful one that will make us a little more grateful for what we have and a little more aware of our obligation to reach out to support others. I liked that this book, while dealing with terrible circumstances, was not graphic, depressing, or pessimistic. Rather it is a story of hope and triumph--and it even has a little humor too. :) It's a very quick and easy read--no need to be intimidated. I confess I never made it through Unbroken because I got so depressed. This book starts at the bottom and ends at the top, so it's more palatable in my mind....more
I listened to this on cd for a road trip, and I enjoyed the African vibe--the accent of the narrator and cultural backdrop of the novel. Who knew youI listened to this on cd for a road trip, and I enjoyed the African vibe--the accent of the narrator and cultural backdrop of the novel. Who knew you could drive over a snake on the road and pick it up in your car? There were some nice descriptive moments and choice words and phrases too.
However, I did not like it as much as I expected. I think I was expecting it to be humorous, but I didn't really find it so. There were a few wry moments, but there were actually some depressing parts and one particularly disturbing part. I was not impressed with the mystery elements--many of them were not all that mysterious and predictable. Likewise, the plot structure was a bit odd--there was a long back story about Ma Ramotswe, a long back story about her father, and a series of episodes of different mysteries. Some of the plot points didn't seem to wrap up well either. I suppose some of them may be addressed in subsequent novels, but some scenes seemed totally disconnected from everything else in the book.
SOME SLIGHT/VAGUE SPOILERS FOLLOW I also must object to a few plot points--she trusts one potentially dishonest man claiming she can tell he is telling the truth--when someone earlier in the book totally lied to her and played her. (The latter was one of the very unsatisfactory cases for me.) She also gets a favor from a powerful moss-boss type character by granting him information about a business man working near him--but the book says nothing about what the information was or what this poor guy did to deserve being thrown under the bus. Furthermore, I don't think she seems especially perceptive. In one of the lamer cases a woman asks her if her husband is unfaithful and to provide evidence. So Ma Ramotswe gets a photograph of herself kissing the unfaithful man! And she acts surprised that the wife is angry at her! Any woman with a basic understanding of human nature would realize that a woman doesn't want to pay a detective to add to the list of women her philandering husband has been with. She wants to know what is already going on--not make it worse.
I listened to this as an audiobook on a road trip. I'd say it was a good choice. Sure, it's "fluffy" but isn't that kinda what you want on a road tripI listened to this as an audiobook on a road trip. I'd say it was a good choice. Sure, it's "fluffy" but isn't that kinda what you want on a road trip? I mean, I love The Grapes of Wrath, but I sure wouldn't want to listen to it on audio. I thought the book was pretty funny (and I liked it far better than Tina Fey's bio). ...more
I listened to this on audio. It wasn't as good as I dreamed it would be, but it was an all right audio--especially for fragmented listening. I wasn'tI listened to this on audio. It wasn't as good as I dreamed it would be, but it was an all right audio--especially for fragmented listening. I wasn't on a road trip--I just listened to and from work. Parts of it were a tad TMI, but there were a few funny moments. For some reason, for me, one of the most memorable moments was when she describes her first job after college working at the YMCA. Also some of her feminist perspective was interesting--on how comedy used to be a male-dominated world. Side note--she makes a big deal about her scar at the begininng of the book, and I didn't even realize she had a scar. I had to look at the photo of her as a kid on the box. Also she claims she got cut in an alley and makes a big show of not going into more detail about it (and acting like she's all annoyed by people who make a big deal out of it). All it did is make me curious about it--and also make me pretty sure she lied about being cut in an alley....more
I read this a while ago, but as I remember, I didn't like it was well as the first one. Zuzana annoyed me a bit in this one, and I felt like Karou wasI read this a while ago, but as I remember, I didn't like it was well as the first one. Zuzana annoyed me a bit in this one, and I felt like Karou was acting stupidly. Why did she allow herself to get sucked into Thiago's little game? The love story also becomes a bit soap-opera-esque, and I was disappointed about what happened with Ziri (trying not to have plot spoilers here.) As with a lot of second books in trilogies, in some ways, the whole book seemed like an elaborate set up to the third book (which is not out yet. Boo.) However, I did enjoy reading more about Akiva's side of the story, and I definitely plan on reading the third book when it comes out, which, according to Laini Taylor's blog, should be in April 2014....more
This book was all right. It's target audience is younger readers--perhaps sixth or seventh grade, which is perhaps I wasn't a bit more enthused. I appThis book was all right. It's target audience is younger readers--perhaps sixth or seventh grade, which is perhaps I wasn't a bit more enthused. I appreciated that it described the realities of war without being too graphic, and I enjoyed many of the characters we meet along the way, especially crazy Friedrich. The book has a definite anti-war message. In some ways the movie had more impact, but I enjoyed the parts that the movie left out, including Joey's perspective....more
This in a lot of ways this is a typical young adult "who dunnit." I figured out the "who dunnit" before the big reveal, and I was annoyed by the red hThis in a lot of ways this is a typical young adult "who dunnit." I figured out the "who dunnit" before the big reveal, and I was annoyed by the red herrings along the way that were not fully resolved after their initial distraction.
What sets this book apart is the character details. The likeable protagonist, Hope Long, struggles with fitting in and dealing with her negligent mother. Once her brother, Jeremy is accused of murder, she struggles to prove his innocence. The descriptions of Jeremy’s uniqueness, and Hope’s perspective were some of my favorite parts of the book. I also liked the setting: the rural town of Grain, Ohio. The setting is a fairly important to Hope's identity which is demonstrated in her conversation with Chase about blue collar vs white collar life. I enjoyed hearing Chase's justification of his love for Grain and his descriptions. I think it would be fun to pass Amish buggies on the road and see hitching posts at the post office. ...more
At first I was turned off by the cheesy invented slang that the author uses, but I ended up really liking this book. It's definitely a YA book with siAt first I was turned off by the cheesy invented slang that the author uses, but I ended up really liking this book. It's definitely a YA book with simple writing and a lot of "done before" elements, but I enjoyed the sci-fi exploration of the potential future effects of global warming. The descriptions of life on the ocean floor were intriguing: the architecture, the needed technology, the wildlife, and the effects on the citizens such as “the shine.” I was entertained through the end....more
This has been one of my favorite book club books thus far: I love “smart” YA literature. The characters are intelligent and playful, and the writing iThis has been one of my favorite book club books thus far: I love “smart” YA literature. The characters are intelligent and playful, and the writing is well-developed and colorful. I appreciate books that actually have some finesse in the language and vocabulary used. Similarly, I thought Taylor's use of mythology was highly engaging, and her descriptions were impeccable. I loved the way she described the chimera and brought readers into her rich world of fantasy. Of course, I also enjoyed her descriptions of modern-day Prague and Morocco.
I will warn you though, you’ll want to read the sequel right away, and the third in the trilogy isn’t out yet. Also, I thought the book was too sensual for high school students. ...more
This book was billed as a thriller, but frankly wasn't suspensful until the very end when it came to resolution quite quickly. The high school studentThis book was billed as a thriller, but frankly wasn't suspensful until the very end when it came to resolution quite quickly. The high school students seemed to enjoy it though....more