Unfortunately, I judge books by title. I remember seeing this title a few years back and dismissed it. I thoughThis is a review of the audio version.
Unfortunately, I judge books by title. I remember seeing this title a few years back and dismissed it. I thought the title sounded ridiculous. Who wants to read about a group named after potato peels?
Well, lucky for me, this was highly recommended by my local librarian. Though she has only read it--never listened. Well, I can say that it's one of the best audio books I've ever listened to. The voices are so animated that they make the characters come to life. I adore Isola--she's hilarious!
It is a happy read but the fluff is balanced out by the bleakness of the time period: the aftermath of World War II in England and Guernsey. I highly recommend this for anyone wanting something adorable, funny, entertaining, but still peppered with bits of darkness. ...more
The local bookstore staff recommended this book and said everyone who's read it thought it was funny--and that she'd find it odd if someone didn't thiThe local bookstore staff recommended this book and said everyone who's read it thought it was funny--and that she'd find it odd if someone didn't think so. I'm apparently an oddball--I found this quite disappointing for a recommendation as a humorous book. However, it's not a waste of time--the story is structured playfully. So if you were planning to gift this like I was at first, don't gift it blind--there are psychological themes/stories that are meant to be funny but potentially triggering. Do you want to imply that your eccentric friend is a menace to society? Don't gift this book--she might waste time trying to figure out if you were trying to insult her.
I liked the themes and structure in this book: a child's first-person narrative combined with a behind-the-scenes perspective from the grown-ups through emails, faxes, patient reports, letters, etc. There are no chapters--everything is organized through dates even though the story is not chronological. The characters are quirky and you get to know them via dialogue, dialogue and their actions--much like a show. I enjoyed getting to know different facets of each character through multiple perspectives--this was done beautifully. Reading this book has showed me how writing for TV (which I understand Semple has done) translates to a novel. To me, this is how the book redeemed itself and the only reason I'd recommend it.
Unfortunately, the story somehow didn't quite pull itself together for me. I finished it with the feeling that it left a lot to be desired and by golly...did I waste my time? I had to do a quick analysis before I decided no--I've never quite read a book structured like this and I'm glad I did. But still dissatisfied. ...more
While it's safe to say that Henry Alford certainly KNOWS his manners, it's also safe to say that he's no gentleman bc he seems to mind his vast knowleWhile it's safe to say that Henry Alford certainly KNOWS his manners, it's also safe to say that he's no gentleman bc he seems to mind his vast knowledge of manners only when it suits him. As it should not be (or should be?)
Don't read this book in one sitting--especially if you're like me and can get really into a book and absolutely no patience for whinging. Alford's whinging (decidedly NOT venting) is so recurrent you'll be tempted to toss it (and if you don't know me, you should know that I find such treatment of a book absolutely vile). So my advice is to read this one essay at a time: the whinging will be much easier to shrug off as the humorous dressing-down of others. Read this way, I spent quality time giggling. As far as learning my manners? Well, I have been given a tip on how to best hail a cab and now understand how "no problem" is not a gracious way of saying "you're welcome." Can't say much otherwise...
There are better books on manners and better books in the humor genre. If you haven't covered all the iconic titles by authors in either category and on the fence with this one, I'd give this a pass. ...more
The WAY you read this book really affects whether or not you enjoy it. By "way," I mean, keeping this book with you to read for those 5-10 minute streThe WAY you read this book really affects whether or not you enjoy it. By "way," I mean, keeping this book with you to read for those 5-10 minute stretches of waiting you get throughout your weekly routines. Bc otherwise, that whinging tone everyone is annoyed with will get to you....but not so much if you read it more sparsely--like it was meant to be read as a weekly column.
I would carry this book with me to read during my short work breaks a couple times a week. Hence, took me weeks to finish. My overall thoughts, now that I've finished?
Well, it feels a tad outdated--especially the numerous examples he uses when complaining about how digitized our culture has become and how difficult it was to adapt to. This is understandable, since this book was published in 1999 and I would say most writers and journalists are likely more comfortable with using computers in this day and age.
There IS a noticeable whinging tone to this book.
There is some wisdom found throughout his essays. It's appreciated but nothing you can't live without.
Overall, I much enjoyed an insider's POV of how living can be different on the other side of the pond. ...more
I could not put this book down--I finished it all in one day. You will find Pratchett to be just as amazing as he was with The Wee Free Men.
Tiffany AI could not put this book down--I finished it all in one day. You will find Pratchett to be just as amazing as he was with The Wee Free Men.
Tiffany Aching is 11 years old in A Hat Full of Sky and has become Miss Level's apprentice upon Granny Weatherwax's recommendation (ah, but it's Mistress Weatherwax to the rest of us, only Tiffany can get away with calling her that). She's got a lot to learn about what it means to be a witch, and a lot to learn about how to be true to herself.
One reviewer of The Wee Free Men mentioned that Pratchett likes to tackle meaty questions with silliness of a high order. I love and appreciate this about him--this is the sort of stuff children should be exposed to early on....more
This is a great "wake-up call" for anyone obsessed with vanity, fashion, celebrities, and beauty. Written and illustrated by a fashion/beauty junkie wThis is a great "wake-up call" for anyone obsessed with vanity, fashion, celebrities, and beauty. Written and illustrated by a fashion/beauty junkie who has lived through many decades of changing fashions--this book offers humorous words of wisdom regarding beauty, self image, and the more important things in life.
You know how in childrens books where there are lots of pictures with paragraphs here and there? This is pretty much the same format except it's for adult women.
This book, I think, works best as a coffee table book bc it's something that can be finished within minutes. It would also make for a good conversation starter. I personally hang onto this to remind myself that conventional beauty and fashion are always changing--and is best enjoyed when not taken too seriously.
This book is my new favorite. I am now officially a fan of Terry Pratchett, the Wee Free Men and Tiffany Aching. In fact, I have already purchased theThis book is my new favorite. I am now officially a fan of Terry Pratchett, the Wee Free Men and Tiffany Aching. In fact, I have already purchased the other Tiffany Aching books and will be starting Hat Full of Sky tomorrow.
Reading this felt soooo refreshing. You get to read about colorful characters: namely, a smart and tough 9 year-old girl hanging out with 6-inch-tall ruffians. You can count on Pratchett weaving his humor absolutely everywhere. And there are tons of delightful little details that makes the reading experience all the more richer. For example, you can count on Tiffany thinking seriously on the meaning of words throughout the book. Like here, when Tiffany sees a cave filled with gold:
"Glint, glisten, glitter, gleam.... Onomatopoeic, she'd discovered in the dictionary, meant words that sounded like the noise of the thing they were describing, like cuckoo. But she thought there should be a word meaning a word that sounds like the noise a thing would make if that thing made a noise even though, actually, it doesn't, but would if it did. Glint, for example. If light made a noise as it reflected off a distant window, it'd go glint! And the light of a tinsel, all those glints chiming together, would make a noise like glitterglitter. Gleam was a clean, smooth noise from a surface that intended to shine all day. And glisten was the soft, almost greasy sound of soemthing rich and oily. The little cave contained all of these at once...."
And I could go on and on about other details...but why should I do so, when I could be spending time reading the sequel?
I will say I couldn't get into the early Discworld books, which was what I tried to start the series with. The Wee Free Men is more cohesive than the one's I've tried. Also, like Tolkien's Hobbit, this book can stand alone on its own.
I was surprised to find myself enjoying ALL of the essays in this book. That's not usually the case for me when it comes to a David Sedaris memoir.
ReaI was surprised to find myself enjoying ALL of the essays in this book. That's not usually the case for me when it comes to a David Sedaris memoir.
Reading this makes me wonder if he'll attempt to read the Japanese translation of his work (if there is one). Or whether he's still a nonsmoker.
I love how Sedaris portrays himself as ordinary and yet not so ordinary. Everyone has inane thoughts but these are normally dismissed or forgotten quickly. But Sedaris is a master at latching onto the inanity and transforming into something insightful, entertaining, and humorous. And he'll do it, no matter how uncomfortable or vulnerable the topic is. Each of his essays is almost a lesson to me on what it is to be human--to him.
I read Naked not too long ago, and there is such a stark contrast between the two books. Though I thought the self-deprecating humour and self-loathing was integral to Naked, I couldn't honestly say it felt like a pleasant experience. I definitely recommend When You Are Engulfed in Flames....more