Do you think you had a difficult childhood? Blame your parents for problems in your adult life? If so, you need to read this book and stop feeling sor...moreDo you think you had a difficult childhood? Blame your parents for problems in your adult life? If so, you need to read this book and stop feeling sorry for yourself. Seriously.
Jeannette Walls and her three siblings had it much worse than 99% of the population and yet managed to find their own happiness and success without bitching and moaning.
Walls recounts her childhood filled with extreme poverty, outright neglect, an alcoholic father and quite probably bi-polar mother without a single ounce of self pity. (less)
The NERDS crew has moved on to middle school. As if that wasn't bad enough, their new principal reminds me more than a little of Dolores Umbridge. Thr...moreThe NERDS crew has moved on to middle school. As if that wasn't bad enough, their new principal reminds me more than a little of Dolores Umbridge. Throw in a virus that turns the infected into supervillains and you have another action-packed, hilarious addition to the series.(less)
First of all, that book cover is terrible. It screams, "1993!" The novel itself holds up pretty well more than 20 years after publication. Although re...moreFirst of all, that book cover is terrible. It screams, "1993!" The novel itself holds up pretty well more than 20 years after publication. Although references to saving everything on disks are dated, overall Roessner doesn't get into too much technology that dates her. (Although possibly if I was more tech-skilled, I would feel differently.)
The book opens 29 years after The Vanishing -- a morning when 10 percent of the global population woke up to find the other 90 percent had simply disappeared without a trace. In those nearly three decades, the survivors have mostly grouped up into communes, cults, and gangs, with a few older people still maintaining their homes and desperately waiting for their vanished loved ones to return.
The novel focuses on a commune of sorts living in the Wincester Mystery House, where they've continued to build in the same haphazard fashion. While they try to solve the mystery of how and why the Vanishing occured, the "Housers" also have to deal with a cult that believes those left behind lacked faith and if the non-faithful are eliminated, the newly faithful will join the vanished.
Sci-Fi isn't a genre that I read often, especially not written for an adult audience. Some of the sciency-stuff and battle-planning made my eyes blur a bit (which just reflects on me as a reader, not the book), but the prose and the characters, which it seems like often suffer in this genre, are excellent. While there's an understandably large cast, the main characters are all fleshed out and believable. The differences between those who survived the Vanishing, the first generation (now young adults), and the second generation (strikingly independent children), are fascinating. (less)
The 4-star rating is an average of my 3-star rating and my boys' 5-star rating.
One thing that I really like about Michael Buckley is that he writes f...moreThe 4-star rating is an average of my 3-star rating and my boys' 5-star rating.
One thing that I really like about Michael Buckley is that he writes female characters that are smart and strong. Although the Sisters Grimm series features a female main character, this is the first book in the NERDS series to focus on a female secret agent, Matilda Choi. She's been my favorite team member and she lives up to my expectations in this volume.
Damn. Harriet Burden is angry. She's angry at her father who never showed any affection, her unfaithful art-dealer husband who refused to promote her...moreDamn. Harriet Burden is angry. She's angry at her father who never showed any affection, her unfaithful art-dealer husband who refused to promote her work because he didn't want to be accused of nepotism. Since both of them are dead, she turns her anger on the art world as a whole for having undervalued her for being female, for being large and unfeminine, and now for being old. She hatches an elaborate plan to prove that she is a good artist and that she has been discriminated against for these reasons. She will exhibit her work under three young, male identities (using actual people) and then reveal the hoax, humiliating the art critics, agents, buyers, gallery owners, etc.
This novel is written under the premise that Harriet had died, having been unsuccessful in proving that the hoax really was a hoax in all but one of the cases. An editor has assembled excerpts of Harriet's prolific writing, as well as writing and interviews from her adult children, friends, critics, and various other players in the story. Of the three men who she says exhibited her work as their own, one has disappeared, one freely admits that it was Harriet's work, and the last has possibly commited suicide after publicly denying that his work was Harriet's. It's left to the reader to piece together who is telling the truth.
I don't usually read a lot of "angry woman lit," (Is that a genre? If so, does Where'd You Go, Bernadette also qualify?) but I also recently read The Woman Upstairs. There are certain parallels between the two novels, and while Harriet and Nora Eldridge are very different on the outside, I think these two work as interesting companion pieces. Both women have been unsuccessful in the art world and feel betrayed by people they've trusted. Both books deal with installation art with a lot of quirky little details.
The Blazing World has a much wider scope, with the many perspectives and a dazzling array of sources Harriet quotes from her extensive reading. Harriet is publicly angry, considered by more than a few to be mentally unstable. The Woman Upstairs is a quieter, more intimate novel, just as as Nora lives a life of quiet desperation. (less)
The unnamed narrator really wants a pet, "a bird or a bunny or a trained seal." Unfortunately, her mother says no to all those options, and after a lo...moreThe unnamed narrator really wants a pet, "a bird or a bunny or a trained seal." Unfortunately, her mother says no to all those options, and after a lot of nagging, agrees to a pet who doesn't need to be walked or bathed or fed.
When our narrator goes to the LIBRARY, she finds this:
Et voilà! Her sloth arrives by Express Mail.
She names the sloth Sparky (of course) and as you can imagine, much excitement ensues. Here is just a small taste of the adventures she has with her sloth:
But then, over-achiever, braggart Mary Potts comes to visit and finds Sparky lacking.
So, what's a sloth-loving girl to do?
Will Sparky come through as promised? Or will our narrator realize that the Mary Potts of the world can go suck eggs?
This is a thoroughly charming little story with sweet watercolor illustrations. (less)
Julian's voice was missing from Wonder, an absence that I felt. This additional short completes the story for me. I wanted to strangle Julian and his...moreJulian's voice was missing from Wonder, an absence that I felt. This additional short completes the story for me. I wanted to strangle Julian and his parents at times, but I feel he explains and redeems himself in the end.
I'd love to see this included in future editions of the main book and hope that teachers who have their students read the novel will also have them read the bully's perspective. (less)
Max is a sweet little wolf who really wants to be a florist.
Max only likes meat purchased at the store, which he'll be able to do with the money he e...moreMax is a sweet little wolf who really wants to be a florist.
Max only likes meat purchased at the store, which he'll be able to do with the money he earns selling flowers. When his big, tough wolf father takes little Max hunting, Max jumps out of the bushes to warn their potential prey.
This is a problem that keeps his father up at night plotting ways to make his son like hunting and dislike flowers.
Will Max's father succeed in his plans? Or will he end up eating various inedibles (his hat, pillow, and grandmother's china) in his frustration? Will he eventually learn to accept cute little Max for who he is?
When the mysterious visitor disappears just as mysteriously as he...moreWhy did the chickens build a wall?
Clearly, that prickly little guy is a big threat.
When the mysterious visitor disappears just as mysteriously as he appeared, the rooster rallies the rest of the chickens to build a wall to keep out all infidels.
The other barnyard animals (including the world's largest rat) are perplexed by this obvious over-reaction.
But the chickens persist with their plan to build...
...to the neglect of all other duties, including egg laying, with the tyrannical rooster urging them on. (Apparently, humans either don't exist in this world or are too intimidated to interfere.)
Will the chickens succeed in keeping out the hedgehog? Or will all their hard work be for naught?
Originally written in French, this is a humorous indictment of xenophobia. Children will most likely just see it as a silly story about barnyard animals, especially considering that everyone knows chickens are pretty stupid.
The ending is a bit abrupt, but it's a good story with that exception. The illustrations are, quite clearly, wonderful. (less)