I haven’t been reading many picture books in recent months, but I’m really glad I read this one.
The pictures are wonderful. They sophisticated and fun...moreI haven’t been reading many picture books in recent months, but I’m really glad I read this one.
The pictures are wonderful. They sophisticated and fun, and I think they’re beautiful. I love the colors, the details, and the art style, which is reminiscent of the Impressionists.
The story is maybe a little too simplistic, but it does illustrate a fine point, and I did smile at the end, and I enjoyed the story. It’s definitely one I’d recommend for enjoyment and for lessons about how we’re all interdependent and that everything we do can have a greater influence on others, and ourselves too. (It’s a sort of version of the Butterfly Effect.) I also appreciated how there are scenes from around the world.
For me, it worked on every level. I found it very entertaining and emotionally touching.
I wish this book had been out when a friend had her daughter Amelia over 22 years ago. It would have made a great gift. I think Amelia Bedelia were the only Amelia books we could find at the time.
It’s been months since I’ve read much, unfortunately, and even though I keep adding books to my to read list, most languish there. My friend Chrissie...moreIt’s been months since I’ve read much, unfortunately, and even though I keep adding books to my to read list, most languish there. My friend Chrissie has given me some wonderful book suggestions. The books I’ve read, I’ve liked a lot. Many of her recommendations remain on my to read shelf. This one, I read almost as soon as I learned of it, and I’m so glad that I did.
This book contains two short novellas. I borrowed the book to read the second one “Oscar and the Lady in Pink” but since the book came with the other novella, I decided to read that too, especially after Chrissie said it was an even better book, and I also liked that story slightly more, so I feel very lucky both were in one book.
As an lifelong atheist, I wouldn’t have thought I’d have liked these stories, because they basically ask the reader to believe in god, but I found them enchanting, maybe because even more, they ask the reader to believe in life, with all its suffering and its pleasures, and all told with a perspicacious sense of humor. They’re among the most life affirming stories I’ve ever read. I wasn’t 100% wild about the very ending of the second novella but my displeasure wasn’t enough reduce my star rating.
I’m so mad at myself that I didn’t note and mark down quotes as I read. There are so many beautifully communicated lines.
“Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Koran”:
This is incredibly special. I found it delightful and so sad and so very hilarious too. In its relatively small number of pages it somehow is able to look deeply into a friendship and into other relationships as well, and do so over many years. It’s a skillfully and beautifully told story. At times it broke my heart, it touched me throughout, and ultimately I found it incredibly uplifting. I’m so glad I came upon it in the same book as the novella I wanted to read. There are so many layers to this story. It’s a real gem.
“Oscar and the Lady in Pink”:
Great idea! Great minor twist at the end. As with the first novella, it’s very sad and very funny. Sometimes at the most somber times there would appear a line that had me burst into laughter. Another gem, and I love cancer stories so this one was right up my alley.
I don’t want to say too much about either book. I’m glad I knew very little about the stories before I read the book, just enough of each one to whet my desire to read them.
This book would be an excellent choice for my read world book club. We’re often looking for shorter books and always looking for books of substance. I read quickly, one novella one day and the other one the next day, and yet I was able to fully savor both.(less)
My “recommended for” list is too long for its field: for all passionate and competent people who would like to create another site similar to the best...moreMy “recommended for” list is too long for its field: for all passionate and competent people who would like to create another site similar to the best Goodreads had to offer, all business people and people who teach business students, all readers, all writers, all people who care about freedom of speech, everyone who cares about valuing other human beings, all current & past & future members of Goodreads and other social networking sites
Even though I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I’m resentful that I stayed up half the night reading it and that I let my buddy read book languish. I’m feeling irked that there was a need for this book to be written and published.
Thank you to the author(s) for publishing this book!
Goodreads has meant the world to me. I’ll always be grateful for friendships I’ve made and books I’ve found to read. And I can’t help it, even as I read this book, a part of me still loves Goodreads. That attitude also shines through in some of the writing. Most of this is not bashing; it’s people caring. If the contributors didn’t care, they’d have simply walked away. It took passion and zeal to write this material. These are people who deeply care, or cared at some point.
I was incredibly dismayed when the Amazon buyout was announced. I let my feelings be known, on the site, to the head honcho PTB, and everywhere. I stopped recommending the site (previously begging and bullying people into joining) at that juncture.
I became a bit less active on the site for that reason, and had also actually become a bit less active for other reasons. But I’m still considered an active member. 10,000 books, nearly 4,000 ratings, over 2,200 reviews. The second most frequent poster in the Feedback group (where I regularly used to spend hours a week helping people and the site), still #11 all time U.S. librarian (for a long, long time the #1 librarian, spending even more hours there, really it was like an unpaid part time job, but I loved Goodreads when it was an independent site with a “mom & pop” feel), regularly on the top lists: reader, top reviewer, best reviewer as well as top librarian; I think I’m still on the all time U.S. lists. Of course, it means nothing to me now, given that many of my friends and other members who frequented those lists are gone, either absent entirely or with all content removed. I’ve also moderated quite a few groups, including a couple “big” groups, that also took a lot of my time. User input also apparently means very little to Amazon-Goodreads. Against my better judgment I have stayed. I used to love to help out. Not so anymore, at least not usually. When I was very involved on the site, I loved every second of it, all time given freely and happily, and part of it was I felt as though I was giving back to site that gave so much to me.
I used to be a huge Amazon customer, even though I didn’t like many of their business practices and continually considered boycotting them. I spent many thousands of dollars there (not just on books or things that can be purchased in bookstores as I’ve always preferred the library and independent bookstores) starting in 1997 (I think) and until earlier this year. After deleting all the many addresses I’d had things send, and my payment information, I deleted that account.) But I’m still here. For now at least. And I know what seemed like a big deal to me, meant nothing whatsoever to Amazon. I’m fine with that. Amazon is just a store.
Then the September fiasco happened. I was so numb I could not do what this author group did. I was so stunned (not surprised, but dismayed) that I for the most part stopped posting. By the time I started to read the “huge thread” there were hundreds of posts, and it took me all day to catch up because hundreds more kept pouring in. By the time I’d almost caught up, finally, I decided not to post for 2 reasons: 1. It was obvious that Goodreads did not care and was not going to respond, and 2. The many brilliant members had said everything I’d have wanted to say. I felt I had nothing further to offer. I then went on to like reviews, blog posts, etc. of the protestors, followed them as best I could as they moved on. Against my better judgement, I’m still here. This disaster has brought out the worst aspects of my personality: resistance to change, avoidance and fear of loss, and other similar things I won’t bother to go into in this review. (I’m determined to work on this part of myself!) I’m in awe of what many of my old and some new Goodreads friends have done managing this catastrophe. However, in some ways it’s all the more depressing to have witnessed what’s been done to such valuable members.
I feel sad and infuriated. Reading all the sections in this book, it’s so obvious Goodreads doesn’t get what they’ve lost, what they’ve ruined. Even if they do, the place is still ruined. I know some don’t care and some think such statements are an overreaction, but I care and I don’t think what I’m saying is hyperbole.
What’s kept me going on the site are my friends and groups, and members like the creator(s) of this book. So many members have kept me from falling into despair with their posts, reviews, etc. I’ve laughed out loud at the absurdity that’s happened on this site. So many members (including all this book’s contributors) are brilliant thinkers, writers, and thankfully comedians too. They remind me of why I so adored this site, and give me reason to appreciate what we had. It’s a tragic situation because in my opinion there were viable alternatives to keeping Goodreads the respected and highly enjoyable place it once was. I rarely am able to write in an amusing manner, but I’m sure capable of appreciating those who can see the humor in the sorrow, as I am of reading people’s expressions of all deep emotions, and since I care greatly about Goodreads and what it offered, it’s all the more poignant to read all these pieces.
As I said above, I was never attached to Amazon, but Goodreads used to feel like my online home. I do care about what we’ve lost on the Goodreads site. It was an incredibly special, one of a kind place. So, going from what it was to what it’s boecome (and what I’m afraid is coming) is a huge loss.
While I’d love an alternate site that appeals to me more than the current ones, to tell the truth, I’ve lost all trust in online sites. Perhaps I never should have trusted. It’s the internet after all. But Goodreads felt so different, so exceptional.
So, I wanted to wait to read the paperback edition of this book, but I bought the PDF, and I decided I couldn’t wait. (I have my reason(s).) I will still read the paperback. The PDF was difficult to read on my computer. For some reason it was “jumpy” and it was hard to go page by page, making it hard not to skip through parts of the text, though thank goodness for the hyperlinks. The file was easier to read on my phone, but then kept freezing.
I’d previously read much of the included material in other places, and appreciated it just as much during this reread. I skimmed quite a bit since I know I will be reading the paper edition and since I felt I’d pretty much already read it. That said, I’m so glad it’s in “legitimate book” form, down for posterity, along with many professional articles, blog posts, reviews, etc.
The contributors here are intelligent, thoughtful, written beautifully, and the book is put together nicely. I thought I was keeping up with what was going on, but I learned a few new details.
The only reason I gave it 4 and not 5 stars is I wanted more. Over the weeks and months I’ve read a lot more, and I noticed the absence of other writing I’d read of these and other members and others expressing their feelings about the changes that have taken place. I missed what wasn’t included, particularly all the pieces by members who made me laugh out loud, even when I was most sad. My only other quibbles are the amount of blank white space, and also what I consider too much blaming of the messenger. Some highly visible people on Goodreads are not the ones who make the major decisions about how the site is to be run.
I’m grateful and honored to be a part of this community. To the author(s): I and so many others greatly appreciate your efforts, and it’s perplexing why Goodreads is not in your/our corner.
I always want to be able to read your writing and I’m spreading myself wide in order to stay in touch. Unfortunately, no place (for me) comes close to measuring up to the old Goodreads. My hope is that passionate readers will start a site just as wonderful, and programmed so any loss of internet neutrality will not adversely affect interested users. I doubt I’ll ever feel truly comfortable in any new site; my confidence in online places is greatly diminished. (I had a bad experience a couple decades ago at AOL which I’d kind of forgotten until all this happened, but AOL always felt impersonal at the top, and Goodreads felt genuinely comfy.)
Thank you for this book and leaving me wanting more. Thank you for expressing your thoughts and feelings, ones I can identify with, particularly since even some of my most treasured Goodreads friends do not feel as I do, and do not understand, and I think are getting understandably tired of my grumbling and obsessing about what I want to do with my online reading life. I’m a tad bitter. It’s hard to feel torn in opposite directions. Reading this, it helps me deal better with my feelings but it also reactivates all my sadness, disappointment, and fury.
And I’m eagerly awaiting the paperback so I can reread it in a format more comfortable for me. I have no money in my budge allotted for books right now, but it’ll be my pleasure to make an exception for this book.
What’s saddest?: Goodreads used to be a place where its content had huge value and its reviews were for the most part trustworthy. That’s pretty much over. That’s the real calamity. What a shame! And all due to greed and an overreaction. It’s almost funny.
Sorry for the rambling. I guess I’m still in the venting stage. And those who know me well know how sleep deprived I am, which is always a handy excuse. At least I was on topic. I’m always on topic. Apparently I suffer from a deplorable lack of imagination.
By the way, the Goodreads Choice Awards for 2013 is currently taking votes in the first round of voting. This book is eligible for write in votes in the Nonfiction and the Debut Goodreads Author categories. I sure wish there was a Business category and maybe some sort of social-cultural category too. I voted for this book in both Nonfiction and Debut Goodreads Author categories. I’d be especially delighted for this book to move on to the next round in the latter category. Having that happen is a long shot, but it would make me very happy. Currently there is a way to download the book for free and it can also be purchased from Lulu for only.99¢. I think this book and its author(s) is worthy of the award. This is as “Goodreads” as it gets.(less)
Thank you to Da Capo Press for giving me the opportunity to read and honestly review this book, and for getting it to me a bit in advance of publicati...moreThank you to Da Capo Press for giving me the opportunity to read and honestly review this book, and for getting it to me a bit in advance of publication. I’m always excited by new vegan cookbooks, and good vegan cheeses are kind of the last food to be veganized in an appealing way. Copies were provided to me and my co-moderator at the Vegan Cooking & Cookbooks group at Goodreads, plus a copy was provided to us to offer a giveaway to our group members.
It’s a great book: it has a good layout, gorgeous photos of the food & recipes, and there is not as much accompanying text as in some books, but what’s there in entertaining and informative, and enjoyable to read. There is not an overload of information but there are many helpful extras included.
I LOVE the book’s dedication: “To all the animals – so you know that you have not passed this way unloved.”
The recipes actually start in the Cheesy Vegan Pantry section, not typical of most vegan cookbooks.
As someone who doesn’t typically like too much fuss in the kitchen, I really appreciate how at the recipes, the recipe for that cheese and a store bought version are both mentioned as acceptable to use. (I do like a couple vegan cheeses I can buy in grocery stores/eat in restaurant meals.)
Anybody who knows me and has shared meals with me can attest that I’m a picky eater. So I have to state upfront that most cookbook readers and most eaters are likely to enjoy the recipes more than I would. Many of the ingredients often included in the recipes I don’t like. If you like any of the following you’re likely to rate this book higher than I did: mustard, pimentos, alcoholic beverages used in cooking/alcoholic beverages, vegan sour cream, vegan cream cheese, cheesecakes, vegan mayo, vinegar, sweetness in savory dishes, capers, coconut oil, oh, and I know there are more, including vegan cheeses/cheeses in general. A part of me still loves the book. Some of the recipe names are so fun and creative, and how can’t I adore a book that has an entire chapter dedicated to mac ‘n’ cheese?! Though I do have to say many of the recipes in all sections tend toward the sophisticated more than the family, although I know plenty of kids will love them too.
Metric Conversions Store-Bought Vegan Cheese Resource Guide Resource Guide for Cheese Tools Acknowledgments Index
The parmesan cheese recipe looks excellent to me, but most of the others I’d probably opt for the already prepared store bought versions, or other versions.
The recipes that looked best for my taste are, not in any order of preference: Parmesan Cheese, and maybe the Nooch cheese and American cheese, Cheesy Broccoli & Potato Soup, Powwow Mushroom Soup, the Parmesan Croutons, Thyme of Your Life Baked Broccoli, Spaghetti Squash with Browned Buttery Nutmeg Sauce, You Say POtato I say PoTAto Gratin, the Twice-Baked Ricotta Potato Skins, the Black Bean & Jalapeño Tacos, Build Your Own Quesadilla, Pita Pizza in a Pocket, the Avocado Corn & Black Bean Dip, Cheddar Chips, the Dynamic Jalapeño Popper Duo, My Friend Alfredo, Baked Cauliflower Parmesan Penne (I’d make it with vegetable multi-colored whole wheat fusilli!), Lemony Parmesan Linguini, Tomato Gratin with Cheddar Crumbs & Basil Chiffonade, Triple Your Pleasure Fondue, All You Can Eat Pizza Buffet, and there are also a few other possibilities.
Sadly, this is probably the last book I’ll take as a copy to review. Given all that’s been happening on Goodreads the last 6 months, starting with the Amazon buyout announcement, and now the new policies posted on September 19th, I’m not sure what I’m doing about posting any future book reviews. I’ll probably post blurbs for now, but I don’t want to be obligated to review books at Goodreads, so I won’t be accepting any more books in exchange for writing a review. I’m truly sad about this. I’ve accepted books from Da Capo Press before this one, and they’re a quality publisher. I will keep reading their books. A huge thank you to Da Capo Press and Lindsey Triebel for giving me the opportunity to read this book. I will lend it out to others who will appreciate it, and perhaps also review it at various sites. I like supporting authors too. In fact, I know several authors as true friends and unless/until things deteriorate further, I might keep reviewing their books; I’ll definitely keep buying/reading them. My lifelong love for all sorts of books will continue.
Any local friends who’d like to borrow this cookbook? Please let me know and we’ll make arrangements for me to get it to you.
I’m on (mostly) online hiatus, for another couple of weeks, but I came in to review this book.(less)
I read this book’s Audible Macmillan audiobook edition. I’ll be reading the hardcover edition too. It’s a wonderful choice for an audiobook. The narra...moreI read this book’s Audible Macmillan audiobook edition. I’ll be reading the hardcover edition too. It’s a wonderful choice for an audiobook. The narrator, Morven Christie, is superb. I’d have never otherwise gotten the pronunciations correct if I’d read a paper edition, but I yearned to see what people and place names, and other words too, looked like on the page, and the hardcover edition has a map. I love maps in books. Not having maps is a real downside of audiobook editions, for me. My real world book club is going to be reading this in April and I’m going to be rereading it, and reading the hardcover edition. I enjoy being read to, but my current lifestyle isn’t conducive to audiobooks. I thought I’d be able to lie in bed and listen, but I often had to rewind by 30 seconds or more, too many times to count, and it turns out that I’m too sleep deprived to stay alert when at rest and listening to a book, even with black or green tea as an aid. I think I might be able to get into audiobooks if I ever regularly have at least an hour minimum sessions on treadmills or at least an hour uninterrupted in a car, things common in my past but not recently and not likely in my near future. I think with my current lifestyle the only way I’d read more audiobooks would be to simultaneously read a paper edition, but whatever word deviations occurred would drive me slightly nuts.
I was incredibly curious so I looked up information about the main character as I was reading, so I knew some of what to expect. This book stayed true to the real story. Of course, some of what was written had to be conjecture, but I bought the author’s theory, and naturally what the characters said was made up, but even a non-fiction wouldn’t have been able to provide that kind of information.
My opinion about capital punishment wasn’t changed one whit. I don’t think anything could change it, but this book strongly validated it.
The book is marvelous. I got an excellent feel for what Iceland was like circa early 1800s. It was almost too realistic. The sense of isolation and doom came right through the pages and wrapped itself around me. I literally kept turning up my heat as I couldn’t tolerate feeling physically cold while I was reading it.
It wasn’t the ideal book for me to read right now. I’m certainly glad I didn’t read it over the holidays. I enjoyed how it was told from the point of view of so many characters. I loved watching how certain characters’ attitudes and opinions changed over time.
The last chapter seemed a bit rushed to me but perhaps that was apropos.
I was shocked about how ever-present religion (Christianity) was in that time and place, how brutal life was for even the luckiest humans and animals, how survival itself was such arduous work.
The story is beautifully and skillfully written. I particularly enjoyed the exceptionally fine writing, made particularly impressive by the author’s fairly young age. I’m not surprised she’s getting her PhD. The characters are incredibly believable and the ways the reader gradually learns about them is exceptionally well done.
I know I’ll always remember Agnes. I’m glad I read the book. It’s an amazing book.
Despite all this I did consider giving it 4 stars, but given its excellence and the powerful effect it had on me, I can’t give it less than 5 stars.
I’m no longer finding reviewing much fun, and posting reviews in 4 places, along with other information such as shelves, and book editing at one place, well it all feels exhausting rather than enjoyable. Editing would take way too much effort, so I’m afraid my frequent typos and other mistakes will remain as is in virtually all my reviews. Ditto my omissions; I often think of more to say after I post a review but I think those things, however important they might feel to me, are going to have to remain unsaid.
I highly recommend the book and also strongly suggest readers have fun, amusing, or otherwise distracting things planned for after every reading session.(less)
This is so brilliant! Why didn’t I think of this?! Now I do want to steal the idea. If I can find the “right” books, I can see taking photos and makin...moreThis is so brilliant! Why didn’t I think of this?! Now I do want to steal the idea. If I can find the “right” books, I can see taking photos and making greeting cards using this technique. It would also be fun to leave books around for others to find so I can see if they see the message presented; I’m often so unobservant that unless I was looking for it I might not notice.
I normally love books for their contents, not their covers, and only occasionally for the titles, but I love art too, and this is inspired art.
Sorted books refers to books placed so that they say or mean something. I need to give a few samples of the included book clusters in order to adequately describe them:
A few examples:
Animal Dreams – Secret Gardens – Where the Sidewalk Ends – No Boundary – Where the Wild Things Are
Dyslexia – October 57 – October 75
Indian History for Young Folks – Our Village – Your National Parks
and the last one in the book:
Hope and Have – The Life That Counts
There are so many wonderful ones, some funny, some profound, almost all very smart, and I’d love to reveal a bunch of them, but it’ll be more fun for people to read the book and discover them for themselves. (I didn’t “get” several, including the few foreign language ones that were included.)
So now I’m looking at my shelved books and trying to figure out how to play with them, and yes, I’d love to make some greeting cards to send to friends.
I borrowed this from the library. If there were even more book clusters shown it’s the kind of book I’d love to own. It’s a perfect coffee table type book, because you can open it anywhere and appreciate what’s on the page.
Thanks again to Melody for alerting me to this book. Reading it these last few days has been a perfect experience for me, one worth savoring.
Highly recommend for artists and book lovers and readers and writers.(less)
This is the type of book I most enjoy after I’ve seen an exhibition and I read this cold, without really knowing anything about the artist. There are...moreThis is the type of book I most enjoy after I’ve seen an exhibition and I read this cold, without really knowing anything about the artist. There are a couple excellent, essays and a short interview with John Waters, but the captions for each art piece don’t have the kind of extra information I like to read. While some of the works are shown so that their scale is obvious, and I did appreciate that, I don’t think they captured the power and feelings seeing the museum exhibit would. Seeing the exhibit first and then revisiting the art in the book would probably have felt more satisfying than just reading the book. Most of the art is not my cup of tea though, so if I’d seen the exhibit, this might not have been a book I’d have felt compelled to then read. It’s too narcissistic in my opinion, even though I understand the wanting to work mostly alone thing and know that’s why most of the photos are of the artist. Many of the pages’ art subject matter were so horrifying I just wanted to turn the page, as quickly as I could. But I have to admit the art was brilliant in a way as it gave me a lot to think about, and some of it, a relatively small amount, was enjoyable to view. I’m not sure how much I’d actually have a good time, but if a Cindy Sherman exhibit came to one of the museums where I keep a membership, and there was no additional charge, I’d probably go see it. I’d have to be in the right mood though. I actually know a couple young people who are artists and whose art (much of it photography) sort of reminds me of Sherman’s. I have to assume she’s been an influence on them. I’m going to ask. I’m a huge fan of art books, but I can’t say this is one of the many that’s brought me pleasure. I think I recommend this book for readers who are already fans of the artist or maybe those who often appreciate disturbing and/or unusual art that has the potential to make them feel and think. This wasn’t the right book for me at this time. 2 ½ stars(less)
My hardcover edition already has J.K. Rowling noted in the author information for this book. For her sake, and for the fun of it, I wish she hadn’t be...moreMy hardcover edition already has J.K. Rowling noted in the author information for this book. For her sake, and for the fun of it, I wish she hadn’t been outed, but for my sake, I’m glad because I read this because it’s by J.K. Rowling. I likely wouldn’t have found it/the series otherwise, at least not for a long time. Here, the main protagonist and plot summary aren’t things I’d have probably found appealing enough to seek out. (That would have been a mistake on my part.) I’m so behind on all but a very few of my mystery series books and overbooked in general, so this book probably wouldn’t have attracted me on its own, though if trusted friends reviews raved about it, I’m sure I’d have at least added it to my to-read shelf. I’m glad I own a copy, although I did start by reading a library copy.
I tend to like cozy mysteries much more than hard boiled mysteries, but this is hard boiled “lite” and is closer to soft boiled, in my opinion. Anyway, while not a cozy, I loved it.
Maybe the book is not “amazing” but I’ll try to explain why I feel it deserves my 5 star rating.
This was an ably told mystery story. It’s very cleverly done.
She played fair. There were lots of possibilities for what happened, and why, and who the culprit might be, and I didn’t guess correctly for almost sure until near the end, but she gave adequate hints all along to accurately predict who and their reasons. She didn’t cheat the way many mystery writers do.
I didn’t think I’d be interested in or care about the people, but I did, so much.
My reading experience was very enjoyable, much more than I’d expected from reading just about the main protagonist(s) and victim/victim’s world.
I enjoyed the many characters, the many red herrings, the many possible suspects, and the wondering if there were to be any guilty people at all, although I kind of assumed the truth about whether or not a murder had occurred.
I loved the quotes at the beginning of chapters and their literary quality and how apropos they were.
I appreciated that each section’s chapters started with chapter 1, as it made it easier to keep track of where I was in the book regarding chapters and sections.
I knew some of the English English (vs. American English that I use) and learned some more of those words, which I always find fun.
The storytelling is stellar, as it has been in every book by this author.
I got a kick out of the paparazzi comments and those about the public’s fascination with celebrities, especially knowing that the very famous J.K. Rowling is the author, and that is wasn’t written by an unknown, new author. I’ll bet she had fun writing those parts.
Robin is a character I really enjoyed and she was a perfect balance for the main character of Cormoran Stike, who, much to my surprise, I grew very fond of. She’s a wonderful character for mystery book fans, particularly women. In some ways I could really identify with her.
I am very eager to read the next book in the series. I’m glad it will be out next year.
I immediately loved the Harry Potter books, though with those I went in with a lot of information, already knowing the term muggles, and knowing some facts about Fluffy, etc. The Casual Vacancy took me a number of pages to become engaged, but then I thought it was brilliant, and once I started enjoying it, I did thoroughly. I found this book appealing almost immediately and I got more and more engrossed as I read; by the end it was incredibly difficult to put down. I’m in awe at how all these are such different types of books, in many ways. What they have in common is fine writing, fascinating characters, and highly skilled storytelling.
Three things I didn’t like:
I hate that Strike smokes. (The heavy drinking seems to be a British thing?) I don’t care if smoking fits his character. I fervently hope he gives it up in a future book.
And, “oriental woman” – really?! This is not supposed to be historical fiction. How did that term get in there?! (Now I can’t even remember the context. Perhaps that’s how a particular character would have expressed themselves?)
And, I’m sad. I love J.K. Rowling and her work. The Harry Potter books mean a great deal to me. Yet, in my opinion, she showed once again in this book that she’s got tremendous fat prejudice. Fat slurs come up, and some of her less desirable characters tend to be the ones who are fat. I admit I might be off about this, but I’m thinking not. (I’ll have to dredge up some memories and ask some friends who’ve also read all her books. I am thinking of some striking exceptions so this is more a note to myself.)
Just recently I read 2 comic novels in a row, both with some mystery components actually, and that was a lovely comfort reads period. I’m about to read another book in a mystery series I’ve loved for years. Come on library!: Get it from your vendor asap! Reading 2 mysteries (almost) in a row are also great comfort reading for me. I’ll remember this one. It’s memorable.(less)
I love the premise of this story and found it hilarious, tinged with a bit of sadness until the very happy and funny ending. The illustrations definit...moreI love the premise of this story and found it hilarious, tinged with a bit of sadness until the very happy and funny ending. The illustrations definitely fit the story and were also properly amusing, but except for the adorable dog, I can’t say I found them aesthetically pleasing. The dog and its expressiveness is great though. I really loved Lester; he’s a wonderfully unique character. I like the story’s message of a person finding a good fit for themselves and its potential for discussing how to react to unwanted but well-meaning gifts, but mostly it’s just silly and fun. Thanks to Goodreads friend Melody for alerting me to this book.(less)
I haven’t been reading many picture books lately, but with large groups of college students above and below me (don’t get me started) while I can’t fo...moreI haven’t been reading many picture books lately, but with large groups of college students above and below me (don’t get me started) while I can’t focus on my current novel, I was able to concentrate on a picture book, and thanks to Goodreads friend Kathryn for encouraging me to read this particular book, and due to it being due at the library Monday, I just read it, and I’m glad I did.
It’s a fun book, funny and sweet and perceptive. It’s got terrific art (having the illustrator being the same artist who did the pictures for the book This Moose Belongs to Me was also reason I was interested in this book) and the large picture one page from the end is really wonderful.
1 star off for the page with the “happy farm” and the one with the zoo, but mostly because I don’t like the idea of art being graded with letter grades when the artist is at the crayon stage in the early school years. I’m okay with it in college and high school, especially for art majors where I suppose it’s a necessity.
Despite my few reservations, I do highly recommend the book, either for read aloud (one to one or for groups) and for independent readers too, if their reading skills are sufficiently advanced to be able to read slightly atypically written letters in various colors.
I love the message of the book, even though it is extremely didactic, and the humor and the pictures are wonderful.
So, this weekend I might try to read more of my “extra” books = picture books, art books, etc. I really enjoyed reading this one. It’s a winner.(less)
I’d like to see the 2 documentaries and given how overbooked I am, perhaps I should have just seen them and not read this book, but I’m glad I read it...moreI’d like to see the 2 documentaries and given how overbooked I am, perhaps I should have just seen them and not read this book, but I’m glad I read it. I plan to see the films too, and take a look at the several websites listed in the book.
I knew life was unfair by the time I was 7, and never screamed out the commonly used line by children that (something) isn’t fair, but some things are utterly ridiculous. What happened to the author is one of those things.
This account was more horrifying that most fictional horror tales. The more prison memoirs I read, the more I’m appalled. I’ve been against the death penalty since I was a kid, and the more I know, the more I’m convinced that even incarceration should be just for those truly dangerous to society (many penitentiary workers would qualify!) and then they’d better make sure those imprisoned really are guilty of the crimes of which they’re convicted.
I’m wondering if the real killer(s) have been brought to justice, or if they’re known. One man was briefly mentioned in this account but I don’t know if there has been any follow up with that.
Our “justice” system needs an overhaul, at least in many places. Our punishment system is abysmal and there really is no excuse.
I appreciate that this book is an autobiography and covers his early life and not just the period starting with his arrest and incarceration.
I don't relate to the spiritual practices so important to the author and I'm uncomfortable with some of his judgmental attitudes, and derogatory things he writes about some people, some who I can see deserve it but many who I don’t think do, but his perspective is very interesting, though I don’t think he’s always rigorously honest with himself, including re his “suicide attempt” though I’m glad he survived.
It was an eye opener to read about all described here.
While this book is thought provoking and infuriating, I mostly hope it's a catalyst for change in the "justice" system.
I think this book should be required reading for all who work in the prison system and the court system, all law enforcement officers, all college students who plan to work (even tangentially) in the field, and this would also be a great “scared straight” kind of book for high risk youth and young adults.
Maximum security prison areas in American prisons would be considered by us to be cruel and unusual (and inhumane) punishment if we were to evaluate them in any other country. It’s bad enough that people guilty of their crimes are there. The fact that there are innocent people there, including some on death rows, including some of those executed, should have every reader wanting to lobby for change.
And shame on so many people who are written about in this book.
I wish nothing but the best for Echols and others in similar situations.(less)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though I don’t think it was perfect. I found it riveting from beginning to end. The writing is lyrical, the story...moreI thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though I don’t think it was perfect. I found it riveting from beginning to end. The writing is lyrical, the storytelling skillful, the characters compelling.
I liked the historical sections the most, but I fully warmed up to the contemporary sections and thought how they were connected was brilliantly done.
This is a wonderful story that shows the power of good and caring teachers, the positive influence of mentoring, and the healing that can occur when talking about one’s life story.
This is a novel for adults, but it often reads like a young adult or even a children’s novel. I would have enjoyed this book at ages 12 and 11, and maybe also at 10 and 9, but there are a few scenes many might think makes this a book for only readers 14 & up. I’d particularly recommend it to high school and college, and maybe middle school/jr. high, students who are inadequately cared for in any way and for foster youth and aged out foster kids.
This is a marvelous book for readers because there are 2 main characters who are both book lovers and readers. Fans of Anne of Green Gables and/or Jane Eyre (also orphan stories) will particularly appreciate these two characters. Anyone who enjoys orphan stories will probably appreciate this book.
I really liked that Molly identifies as and tries to be vegetarian.
I have to say that I wish that the adults in Vivian’s last home had made a different choice about her name.
Readers interested in genealogy and history will most likely appreciate this book.
The portaging project had particular meaning for me right now, and my guess is that it would have resonated for me as early as when I was 12, and many times throughout my life. Having such a project assigned in school is something I’d definitely have found helpful.
I’ve been reading tons of books that have characters who lead incredibly bleak and difficult lives. I guess writing about dire situations makes for good storytelling. What I don’t and didn’t like here is how, yet again, characters with horrific backgrounds with incredibly difficult lives and horrendous losses, somehow manage to end up well off and victorious and more adaptable than I’d expect as a common outcome. I guess stories about people who sink into failure and end up with as grim lives as does happen doesn’t make for an enjoyable novel, but if I could write I’d be tempted to write such a story anyway. I’m sure most readers would hate it but I know at least a small percentage of people would appreciate having it to read. So, especially toward the end, I found some of what happened too predictable, and that’s most of the reason for the half star off.
I was emotionally invested throughout, and deeply moved, but it wasn’t until the last 10 or so pages that my tears started flowing.
I loved the included extras in the paperback edition I read. The acknowledgements are particularly informative and show how much research went into writing the book. The PS section has information about the author, an interview with the author, a section about the real history of the orphan trains, that includes wonderful photos, and a reading group guide with discussion questions all contributed to the book.
I’m now interested in reading more about the orphan trains and about Maine’s Native Americans.
What shone here for me were the unique and lush illustrations, both the large and colorful ones and the miniature gray tone ones. I love their intrica...moreWhat shone here for me were the unique and lush illustrations, both the large and colorful ones and the miniature gray tone ones. I love their intricacies and their style. Just lovely and fun to view. The pictures make the book, and they’re worth the read.
The story and its message about fear and lack thereof/facing fear is okay. Actually, I’d recommend this mostly to dog lovers, many of all ages who might find this book humorous, although I suppose it could make for a good read or gift for anyone about to embark on a new endeavor or change they might find scary and might need or want to face. The very young might like it since here it’s the youngest character who’s the bravest.
I did think it was weird that the fearful older people in the household allowed the youngest member to venture outside.
5 stars for the pictures and 3 ½ stars for the story