Having traveled around both Vietnam (where we toured the "Hanoi Hilton" and the War Remnants Museum) and Cambodia (where we silently tread the groundsHaving traveled around both Vietnam (where we toured the "Hanoi Hilton" and the War Remnants Museum) and Cambodia (where we silently tread the grounds of the killing fields) a few summers ago, I developed a vested interest in learning more about the Vietnam War (and subsequently the Cambodian genocide) and wondering, like with W entering Iraq, why the hell we were inciting mass casualties overseas for pretty much no legit reason.
This book (which I listened to) solidified my anti-war sentiments to an outraged degree, as it is a fascinating, "page-turning" account of Daniel Ellsburg's efforts to expose the wrongdoings of American presidents and government officials to cover-up all of our international unjustifiable wrongdoings. Highly recommended for those interested in history, war, and espionage....more
There is so much I want to write about this book, connecting to my own experiences, that I actually already outlined an entire blog post for the firstThere is so much I want to write about this book, connecting to my own experiences, that I actually already outlined an entire blog post for the first time in forever; but, I wanted to make sure to post this review first because the book just officially released two days ago (a librarian's dream to be privy to a book pre-publication!).
There is so much I want to say about this book because reading Elisha's words, while waiting to hear the results of my mom's PET scan she had yesterday, unearthed connections I've been wanting to write about for several months surrounding my mom's cancer resurfacing and being investigated by my school for reading a poem about her experience enduring chemo treatments (the poem also mentions Trump, don't get me started). (I learned a new word from this book: Irascibility, "marked by hot temper and easily provoked anger," and can now sum up a part of my psyche that admittedly overruled many thoughts throughout the past few months in regards to these two seemingly unrelated events.)
I met Elisha at Printers Row on Sunday after attending the memoirist panel he was a part of (which I prioritized attending because Mr. Romano was the moderator) and subsequently bought his book after talking to him about coincidences: his wife's name is Elise (she also has curly hair), she apparently taught at NYU (didn't know this until I read the book), the feelings of trying to navigate the level of life-and-death intensity that come with having no control over a person you love having cancer, and we were both in NYC on 9/11 (and briefly bonded over how it's still, to this day, 15 years later, virtually impossible to describe how weird and isolating it all felt if you were in fact present to experience "it" first-hand).
I don't know anyone who hasn't in some way been affected by cancer, but even if you are one of the lucky few, I still highly recommend checking out this beautifully-written volume, which seamlessly interweaves the author's personal memories of other notable moments in his life and the connective lessons therein. Most people I know could devour the 143 pages in one sitting, but I recommend savoring it one breathless chapter at a time. ...more
"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." -Desmond Tutu I almost cried during this book a few times"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." -Desmond Tutu I almost cried during this book a few times because it is so timely as far as what our broken country represents right now with the injustice of police brutality against unarmed black Americans. Jason Reynolds puts the Black Lives Matter movement in perspective for young adults to comprehend in a way that shows not just the importance and necessity of the movement, but also touches on how white people don't think there is still racism and fully support cops as "just doing their job."
When I ordered "Between the World and Me" for my high school library at the start of this past school year, I wish I would have waited and ordered this book first. Although the former has been wildly popular amongst my peers, "All American Boys" will, I imagine, be more likely to fly off the shelves next school year. Then, for those wanting to learn more, I can suggest Coates' book as an in-depth follow-up.
I almost rated this book 5 stars (and I still wish Goodreads gave a half-star option); I get why he ended the story where he did because the final scene is a dynamic one, but I felt like maybe there needed to be additional conflict/resolution beyond that as well.
P.S. The audiobook is fantastic (Rashad and Quinn are narrated by different voice actors, both great)!...more
I found this book in my library collection when creating a display for National Poetry Month, a day after returning from a week in Cuba. I liked the afI found this book in my library collection when creating a display for National Poetry Month, a day after returning from a week in Cuba. I liked the afterword--bio info, historical notes--more than the actual poetry, but I definitely appreciate what the author was trying to do. Learned about a specific time period in Cuban history that I had not learned anything about while actually in Cuba, so that added even more questions to my long list. ...more
Purposely brought this book to read in Cuba, where Hemingway wrote it once upon a time. Embarrassed it took this long to finish it, but maybe that spePurposely brought this book to read in Cuba, where Hemingway wrote it once upon a time. Embarrassed it took this long to finish it, but maybe that speaks to my feelings about it, which were mostly, "eh" and "I don't want to eat fish anymore."
I did find interesting and read aloud to coworkers over lunch yesterday a passage on "sin": "I have no understanding of it [sin] and I am not sure I believe in it. Perhaps it was a sin to kill the fish. I suppose it was even though I did it to keep me alive and feed many people. But then everything is a sin. Do not think about sin. It is much too late for that and there are people who are paid to do it. Let them think about it... But he liked to think about all things that he was involved in and since there was nothing to read and he did not have a radio, he thought much and he kept on thinking about sin. You did not kill the fish only to keep alive and to sell for food, he thought. You killed him for pride and because you are a fisherman. You loved him when he was alive and you loved him after. If you love him, it is not a sin to kill him. Or is it more?"...more
I really love how Ruta Sepetys has dedicated her writing career to historical fiction surrounding events that no one really knows or learns about untiI really love how Ruta Sepetys has dedicated her writing career to historical fiction surrounding events that no one really knows or learns about until they engage with her stories and afterwords.
(I will admit I had a harder time following this story as an audiobook because the point of view changes so often, but I do think if I had read it in print format, my 4-star review would be accurate.)
WOAH just learned something (right after posting this) about one of the characters that connects to her previous book, "Between Shades of Gray," and knowing that almost pushes this to a 5-star review ...more
The memoir, recommended to me by Gary Anderson, is a brutally honest self-reflection, beautifully written by Darin Strauss, who unintentionally at ageThe memoir, recommended to me by Gary Anderson, is a brutally honest self-reflection, beautifully written by Darin Strauss, who unintentionally at age 18, struck and killed a female classmate who swerved her bike in front of his moving car, how he strived to "live for the two" from that point forward, and how her death continued to affect his life and relationships.
A fascinating look at Dahmer before he was known for being a serial killer, written by a high school acquaintance. The illustrations are fantastic, anA fascinating look at Dahmer before he was known for being a serial killer, written by a high school acquaintance. The illustrations are fantastic, and what is revealed about his upbringing almost makes one sympathetic. ...more
There are a lot of dark lessons about life and what matters in this book. This probably was exacerbated by the fact that I read the story in its entirThere are a lot of dark lessons about life and what matters in this book. This probably was exacerbated by the fact that I read the story in its entirety while home sick and feeling defeated.
What also didn't help (*spoiler alert*) is that derivatives of my name are rarely found in literature, song lyrics, touristy tchotchkes, but in this book there is an Elise, who when it is time to sacrifice what matters to her, is forced to slit the throat of a dog. Ugh. ...more
At one point in this book, there is a brief scene that takes place in Normal, IL, which is funny because my primary reason for reading this is that itAt one point in this book, there is a brief scene that takes place in Normal, IL, which is funny because my primary reason for reading this is that it got voted onto the 2017 Abe Award list during the reading panel meeting I attended last month IN NORMAL, IL. I wonder how many of the readers knew this at the time.
Anyway, I've been meaning to read a book by Andrew Smith for awhile, and I'm glad I finally did (well, listened to it). I was happily surprised that I liked it. The freshman English team was going to add it to their summer reading list (which they're basing off the new Abe list), but I forewarned them this morning about the number of times the use the words "boner" and "fuck" (a lot) because the main characters are 17. Because of the parental culture at our school (don't get me started), they are removing it from the list. But our meeting was sure humorous for 30 minutes with all the "b" jokes/innuendo floating around. ...more