Finding George Orwell in Burma was an interesting read. Prior to this book I knew littleThis review was originally posted to Jen in Bookland
Finding George Orwell in Burma was an interesting read. Prior to this book I knew little about George Orwell and little about Burma. I found this book to be really interesting. I loved the how the author went through and visited the same places Orwell lived when he was there. She kind of did a tour of the country through the lens of Orwell when he was stationed there.
This books gives you the history of Burma, from British Imperialism through about 10 years ago, with comparisons to Orwell's works and the state of the country. It is interesting how if you visit you probably wouldn't have seen anything really bad. The author says at one point early on how she spoke with some tourist after visiting Burma and how they said something like they don't understand why people think there are civil rights violations. The people are all so happy! It was really interesting how the places tourists are allowed to go have this happy facade to them, or at least they did. It is hard to understand how these people survive, how you live in this state where you suspect everyone of informing on everyone, and still just go on with your life. It was interesting to see the author show some paranoia now and again while on her travels and really just what it might be like to live there.
One of the most striking things I learned is how this country used to be so wonderful, full of natural resources, doing well, just really seemed like a great place. Then this new regime took over, took over all businesses and everything, and just destroyed it. It used to be a rich country, and now it is very poor. They sealed up the country and now it is likened to the Lion King when Scar took over. It used to be this great place, lush and green, and now it is kind of a wasteland. It is sad. It is really sad.
Throughout the story the author follows in Orwell's footsteps. She compares the cities and what they are like today to what they were probably like when he was there. Lots of history, lots of comparison with his works, just a lot of interesting details that I enjoyed reading.
I really liked all the people you meet along the authors journey. I liked all the meetings in tea shops, how they are such a big part of the culture there. I love how people hoard their books, trying to keep them from falling apart. I love one of the first people you meet in the book says how he retired at 20 and for the past 40 years has just been living with his books. I loved how even though there is this oppressive regime in place, where you cannot print certain things in the papers and such, the people learn to use that. They learn to figure out what is going on by what they don't see. It is a really interesting read. Some horrible events are talked about, but then the people you meet through the story are just amazing. I would love to read a follow up story and see what it is like there today. With the elections in 2010 and everything it seems like things have been changing. I just wonder how much things have really changed and what the people we met in this book think of the state of things today. Really this book made me want to learn more which is always a good thing. Really a great read....more
I had a very hard time getting into Sharp Objects. In fact, I never really did. I just finished it to see what would hapAlso posted to Jen in Bookland
I had a very hard time getting into Sharp Objects. In fact, I never really did. I just finished it to see what would happen and if I were correct in my thoughts on who the murderer was. I didn't expect to be right since I have not been able to figure out the ending of the other two books by the author, both of which I really enjoyed.
Camille gets sent back to her hometown to report on the death of two young girls. She stays with her family who are all crazy and messed up. A lot of people in the town are just...really most of the interactions with most of the people are so strange. It is like a town full of strange people. Pretty quick I had my suspicions as to who the murderer was. It never really changed throughout the book, even though the author tried to make it seem like someone else close to that person was doing it. I never really bought that, even though they were responsible for other harm and death to someone else.
I never really connected with any of the characters and I think that might be why I had a hard time connecting with the book in general. As I said everyone is so strange. I couldn't identify with most of the people in the story. I couldn't quite grasp why they were so odd for me, why everything that happened was so off for me. Camille's mom just seems crazy, her step dad like he is just in his own world, her half sister is ferocious and scary, everyone just...I wouldn't want to spend any time in this town. The detective brought in from out of town to help with the case...well he wasn't really any better. I could never get a feel for him, or as I said already anyone. It was very confusing for me as I didn't get it.
The one thing I did like about the book was Camille's obsession with words. I found that very interesting. It was interesting how she started just writing down everything, how she would then cut words into her skin, how she clung to words. It was my favorite part of the story. I didn't like Camille though. She was so weak and needy. I understood why, but she never really seemed to grow or anything. She was just all over the place for me and I didn't understand why she did some of the things she did.
Overall it was a very strange read for me. The killer was who I thought it was from the start. I just could never get into the story or identify with anyone. I really have no real feelings toward the book. I didn't hate it, I didn't really dislike it, I didn't love it or even like it either. It is one of those books that will just fade into the background for me. Very odd. ...more
Another great Lily Bard Mystery. I love Lily. She is so much fun to read and see all the things she just happens to findAlso posted to Jen in Bookland
Another great Lily Bard Mystery. I love Lily. She is so much fun to read and see all the things she just happens to find. I also really like Jack and am glad he is still a part of the story. I think Lily and Jack are great together. They both are kind of prickly at times, they both have some dark in their past, they so cute together! They both kind of back off when things get too real and close and it is so much fun to read.
In this story Lily goes back home for her sisters wedding right before Christmas. Jack turns up in town as well to see Lily and to work on a case of a missing child (who has been missing for 8 years). As I was reading this one I realized a lot of people tend to die in these books. Lily gets herself into bad situations and is always there when something is happening.Lily's family cannot really deal with her since what happened to her so she doesn't go home much.
Lily is worried that her sister's fiance might have the stolen child. Someone had sent a photo to Jack's mentor and since the mentor is now in the hospital the task of solving the case lies with Jack. The photo shows three little girls and one of them is the stolen one. The sister's fiance's daughter is one of the girls.
Lily is really cute trying to help Jack solve the case. She told herself not to ask him for anything, and in return not to do anything without being asked, but she tries to help however she can. The ending usually makes me feel a little bad for Lily. Like poor her she is in this crazy situation, and she really doesn't mean to be usually. I cannot wait to read the next one.
Shakespeare's Trollop is the fourth book in the Lily Bard Mystery series. I thought the first book was okay, the secondAlso posted to Jen in Bookland
Shakespeare's Trollop is the fourth book in the Lily Bard Mystery series. I thought the first book was okay, the second and third I really liked, but this one was a little disappointing. I pretty much knew who did it right from the start and even though I didn't put everything together for why, I got the gist of it.
Lily is out one day and finds a car in the woods with Deedra dead in it. Deedra sleeps around and Lily is quite critical of her for that. There was a lot of talk of how she was just asking for it by sleeping with so many men. I really didn't like that. It was just....it bothered me.
The other issue with this book? Not enough Jack! When he is in it it is awesome, but he is gone on a case for most of the book. I do love Lily and Jack. They are so cute together and I am glad they are going to keep being together. I would have been so sad had they broken up. They both have their pasts, and they are just so cute! I love them.
As for the rest of the story it was just okay. As I said I knew who did it pretty much right away, though I didn't quite figure out why exactly they killed Deedra. It was an alright story, but just not as good as the last two. ...more
Gender and sex and all of that interests me. People who get sex changes interest me as I have no idea what it would feel like to be a different personGender and sex and all of that interests me. People who get sex changes interest me as I have no idea what it would feel like to be a different person in my skin. I just cannot imagine what it would be like, so I like learning more on the topic. This book was really amazing and horrible to think that this is a true story. This is the story of a boy who had a botched surgery and the doctors and parents at the time decided to make him into a girl as they thought that was best for him at the time. The entire time he was growing up he had what seemed like very traumatic sessions with the doctor who was convinced that is he was raised as a girl he would feel like a girl/think like a girl/be a girl. This goes back to the whole nature vs nurture and this doctor was convinced that nurture would win out. This case was also perfect for him as the boy was part of a set of twins and the other twin was raised as a boy. The doctor published papers full of lies to back up his argument and the poor boy was the one to pay the price for all of this. When he tried to talk to the doctor about how he felt like a girl he would get yelled at and such….it just sounded horrible. I cannot imagine what it would have been like to be this kid. Unfortunately I wanted something really horrible to happen to the doctor, like end up in jail or something, but alas no such luck. If you are interested in this subject matter this is a great read. ...more
The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman was an interesting read. Most of the time I thought the wholThis review was originally posted to Jen in Bookland
The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman was an interesting read. Most of the time I thought the whole schtick was cute, but sometimes it got a bit tedious. For example after some chapters there is a "Revision Notes" chapter and those I could have done without. For the most part I just skimmed them as they were tedious and didn't add a lot that I cared about to the story.
This story was an interesting idea for a romance novel. Take the author/main character and make her tell the story as if she is writing it talking to herself and the reader at times. She comments on what should be included at this time in a normal romance and whatnot. She has her handy dandy romance writers phrase book to look at for inspiration when describing things and it was humorous at times. For example she goes on about breast at one point and how there are so many different descriptions for them.
"I hardly ever think of breasts ever, and here they are just bursting out at me from every page of the phrase book."
It was fun, and at first I really was enjoy it. After a while though the whole schtick got to me. So the premise of the story? Kate is an average looking girl, taller than most and wears coke bottle glasses that magnify her eyes. She has had a crush on her brothers bff, Richard, forever and he comes home with the brother and another girl for Christmas. Things change and the Kate and the boy fall in love. Pretty straightforward romance with the interesting style. For the most part it was a good read. Kate's one bff is the worst, and you wonder why Kate is even friends with her. She ever writes how you will be questioning it just as you are which again was an interesting idea. The friend, Ashley, threw herself at Richard every two second even though she knew Kate was interested in him. She is written like she throws herself at every guy so Richard is not really different. He tries to hold her off though.
So most of the book was okay, cute romance read, but the end? Oh the end completely ruined it for me. Don't read on if you don't want to know what happens. Okay so before Kate and Richard get together Ashley ropes Richard into going to the annual New Years Eve party with her. Kate had already said she would go with an exchange student so she wasn't free to ask so Richard just said okay to the bff. So once Kate and Richard get together why don't they call off their respective other dates? Why doesn't Richard at least call off his date with the Ashley since she is horrible to be around? Everyone knows she will just be all over him the whole night, Kate is not friends with her anymore, why would she push Richard to still go with her? I didn't get that at all. It made absolutely no sense. Why wouldn't Richard refuse to go with Ashley? He knows what will happen! Why would you want to put up with someone throwing herself at you all night and not getting the hint? And Kate? You know your friend is just going to be making a pass at him all night, it doesn't matter if she knows you two are together or not, so why would you want to just stand around and watch that? Lame. But whatever, Richard can just keep shutting her down right? Right.
Until he doesn't. Until Kate sees Ashley trying to get Richard to make out with her, sees the friend kissing him and at first he tries to push her away, but she is adamant about it. Then he finally gives in and starts kissing her back. Yep, Richard cheats on Kate with her once bff who he doesn't even like. Yeah. Great guy that one. You two have been together for like a week and already he is making out with someone else. Sure the other girl started it, but you're telling me you couldn't put a stop to it? Seriously? And Kate is obviously upset, won't speak to him for a few days, then he does something small that makes Kate just melt and forgive him. Ugh. Maybe this would be okay if they worked it out in a better way or if they were going to be together at college or something, but no they are going to be in two different places. So I am expected to really trust that if some other girl throws herself at Richard he won't give in? I mean really there would be no other option if some girl started kissing him. He would just have to give in and go with it as...yeah I didn't like it at all. So it is not even a happy ending. I couldn't even pretend that they would be together much longer. Not good.
For as much as I thought the rest of the story was cute the end with the cheating and lame reconciliation just ruined all my good thoughts about the book. It was an interesting idea, but not really a great story. ...more
Ubik was my book club book for this month and my first time reading Philip K. Dick. It was a fun read and I enjoyed it. Most people in book club thougUbik was my book club book for this month and my first time reading Philip K. Dick. It was a fun read and I enjoyed it. Most people in book club thought that this was not his best work so I will have to check out more in the future.
I started reading Ubik late one night. I was tired and probably should have just went to bed, but I wasn't quite ready. I thought I will just read a chapter or two and then go to sleep. Well that lasted a few pages and I gave up. I told my husband I am either really tired or this is just nonsense. I think it was a little but of both. At first it was confusing what was even happening, but I quickly got with the program and started enjoying it. Well no, that is not completely true. The first part, before the big explosion, I was just kind of eh on. It was alright, but it was just alright.
After the explosion, when everything started to go backwards in time, then I really started enjoying the story. I loved how you could see everything reverting back to an older model and such. It was a lot of fun to read and really not like much else I have ever read. It also made you question a lot, what is really going on, are they dead or alive, how is this all going to work out. It was an interesting concept with the half-life and talking to the dead, but only for a set amount of time you could speak with them. Don't want to use up all your time at once. Not that I think I would really want to be in this half-life state, but an interesting idea none the less. It is all very entertaining, but also made me think. Watching all of the characters and what was happening and trying to figure it out was just a lot of fun.
The you get to the end and you are just like alright, perfect, this makes sense and you are happy. Till you read the last chapter and it just calls everything into question again. What is really going on? That is part of the fun I think. Not really knowing and trying to figure it out for yourself. How do you know if you are alive or dead? How does anyone? It was just an interesting read and I will have to give more of the authors works a try.
Irresistible was a good read. I have been reading the authors Lone Star Sisters series and lovingThis review was originally posted to Jen in Bookland
Irresistible was a good read. I have been reading the authors Lone Star Sisters series and loving it so I was hoping for something just as good. I wanted the fun storyline and characters I can't help but love. It was a good read, but something was missing to make it a great read. I enjoyed it, I liked everyone, it was just missing that extra oomph to make it amazing.
Elissa is a single mom who has not have the best of luck with men. She always makes terrible decisions where they are concerned so she is determined to not date until her daughter is out of the house. Yeah, until she is 18 at least. Which is understandable, but not really realistic in this situation. She made some poor decisions when she was younger that lead her to not have contact with her family and really when that all came out I thought oh honey. You are just wanting to believe the bad instead of actually trying to fix things. Family dynamics are complicated, but I didn't really connect with all of the characters as much as I would have liked. Therefore I didn't care as much as I could have.
Walker is an ex-marine who is living upstairs from Elissa for a little while. He just got out of the military and is not sure what he wants to do with his life now. He doesn't want to get involved with anyone as he thinks he is just not cut out for that. He was a good guy though and quickly became friends with both Elissa and her daughter. The more time they spend together the harder it is to stay apart. They both like the other so can they both figure out how to make this work?
As I said it was a good read. There was nothing wrong with it, but it just wasn't as good as most of the authors other books. Nothing that made me want to go read the rest of the series. It was fine, I liked everyone I just didn't love everyone. I don't know what was missing as it was still set up like the other books, but something was. A good read, a light read, but not my favorite from this author. ...more
Autobiography of a Face was an interesting read. I can't imagine what Lucy went through when she wThis review was originally posted to Jen in Bookland
Autobiography of a Face was an interesting read. I can't imagine what Lucy went through when she was a child. At first I was enjoying reading the story, but as Lucy got older and the story went on I started enjoying it less and less. Probably because it was more and more about Lucy hating herself which I didn't really connect with through the writing.
At age 9 Lucy was diagnosed with cancer. She had to have a surgery to remove part of her jaw followed by two and a half years of chemo and radiation therapy. Man all the medical things, the chemo, everything sounded terrible. I know I have watched shows where people have cancer and things like that, but none of them describe chemo the way Lucy did. It is like they all try to put on a brave face, where this book tells it like it is. It must be so hard to watch someone go through something like that, or to be the one who is in that situation. Really I felt bad for her. She is so young and has to go through so much. That and her family doesn't seem to be very supportive. After her first chemo appointment the mom is disappointed in Lucy for crying. I was just like geez, this family needs to get it together. If there is anyone that could use a supportive hug, or really just support, it is Lucy. It almost seems like from Lucy's point of view her family was upset with her for being sick. I just can't imagine going through something like this at this age and not having the loving support of my parents. That would make it so much worse and sure doesn't help with the emotional scars this leaves Lucy with.
"I felt my mother was disappointed in me. I hadn't gone straight to bed last time - why was I doing it this time?...
'I know it's hard, but you can't get depressed by it. Don't give in to it. You were not so bad last time, so make sure that what you're feeling isn't just in your head.'"
That is some supportive parenting. It just makes me feel that much more for Lucy and what she went through. Really she says that there were issues at home, but as to what and how bad it was at home I am not sure. We never really get to see that so it is hard to understand why everyone was the way they were, or what exactly she went through at home.
I will say the parts with the medical procedures and her time in the hospitals were the best parts of the book. I really felt like I understood and could sympathize with her. Also I had never heard of this pedestal procedure. That sounds kind of terrifying and I don't question her not wanting anything to do with it. Really this book made me think more about what people with cancer and other illnesses go through. I have been lucky in my life so far to not have first hand knowledge of this, but my heart does go out to those who do. It must be incredibly difficult.
The rest of the book is more Lucy's struggle with her own self worth and image. She thinks she is ugly and that no one will ever love her. I can imagine that the kids in school were horrible to her, but I never really felt like I got to see that. You get bits and pieces, but it doesn't seem as bad as I imagine it really was. Like it wasn't a cake walk, but I didn't really get all the emotions involved like I had hoped. That was the issue by the end. It starts to get more and more of Lucy just going on about how she is ugly, how her face is hideous, how if she had a perfect face everything would be fine (only it isn't when she is 'normal') and I didn't really connect with the emotions that were told. I didn't really feel what she was feeling and going through when it was just her telling us the emotions. It...like I still did feel for her as I kept imagining what it would have been like. How people would have treated her and such, but the writing itself didn't connect me to it as much as I would have liked.
"No matter how philosophical my ideals, I boiled every equation down to these simple terms: was I lovable or was I ugly?"
Since a good chunk of the book is her struggling with her self worth and self esteem and since I wasn't as connected to the emotional part as I had hoped it just started to get to be a bit much. Really I kept reading just waiting to get to the end, which was a bit rushed I think. **slight spoilers I suppose** It was like it was trying to have a sort of happy ending, sort of uplifting, but I didn't really buy it. For the entire book you read how Lucy is not happy with her face, then suddenly she kind of is okay with how she looks because she suddenly has a revelation. Sure. As much as I had really hoped that we could see Lucy actually become okay with herself, grow, be happy even, I didn't believe that she ever really was. I wanted her to be able to get to a good place after all that she had been through, but it just was not to be. Then I looked up her to see what happened after the end of the book since it just kind of ends. Unfortunately she died of a heroine overdose at age 39. Very sad, but based on the book and how much she doesn't think she is lovable because of how ugly she is, not that surprising. I had really hoped that something good would have come of all of this, that she had found her peace and happiness, and maybe now she has. A really sad story with a sad ending. I just wish the emotional parts would have engaged me a bit more. Thinking about the story, what happens, even now is so sad. I just wish the writing would have always backed that up for me....more
Must Love Mistletoe was a fun, cute holiday read. A great start to my holiday reading
Bailey's family has always owned and run the local Christmas store. She used to love it as a child, but then everything changed when her dad ran out on her mom and her. She now hates Christmas, doesn't want anything to do with, especially with the store. That is why she moved away and never comes back if she can help it. Especially not for Christmas. Only this year her mom needs her. She needs Bailey to run the store because she can't. She is too upset that her current husband left her just like Bailey's dad did.
Finn was the resident bad boy who used to spend summers with his grandmother who lives next to Bailey. He never wanted anything to do with the town, only then he met Bailey and everything changed. He wanted to be better for her, he loved her, but she ran out on him leaving him broken hearted. When his grandmother's health is in decline he decides to move back and help her out. After all she did so much for him as a kid and he loves her.
It was a lot of fun watching these two try and figure things out after all this time. Bailey still is attracted to Finn and likes him, but she can't go there. She refuses to let herself fall for someone who will just hurt her eventually. I mean look at her mom. And Finn still likes Bailey, but he is angry. He doesn't even know why she left him so long ago. Obviously he didn't mean as much to her as she did to him.
The sparks fly between these two and oh I loved it! I didn't really like how Bailey thoughts on some things, like how you cannot seem to enjoy sexy time, you can't make any noises to let your partner know you like what he is doing because then you will be a slut. You should just lay there with your eyes closed and act like it is nothing...sounds super lame to me. I don't even know why she thought that is the real issue. Why can she not show the person she likes that she likes what they are doing together? But other than that this was a really cute read. ...more
Under the Skin drew me in right away. The first 60% or so was amazing. I kept wondering what is reThis review was originally posted to Jen in Bookland
Under the Skin drew me in right away. The first 60% or so was amazing. I kept wondering what is really going on and Isserley was so strange. I loved reading about her, but then after the big reveal it just fell short. Afterwards I just thought oh, okay. It was just a bit disappointed in the rest of the book.
Isserley picks up hitchhikers every day. Only muscular male hitchhikers. She makes some small talk and makes sure no one is waiting for them and if not she abducts them. She doesn't look like much of a threat, just a tiny girl, so they never see it coming. The way she goes about it and how she is so weird I just loved. For a while it is just like what is happening? Why is she abducting these men? Why do they have to be muscular men? What happens to them once she drops them off at the farm? Why does Isserley wear her crazy glasses that hurt her eyes? Why does she have this strange self image problem? What has she been through to get to where she is now? It is all very mysterious and fun to read.
The problems start once it is revealed what is going on. At first it was just made me shudder. Then it just kind of fell flat for me. How it all ended and such was just not as good as the first parts. By the very end it was just like oh, okay. It just...I just wish it would have been better. I like the idea a lot, but the final execution was just not as good....more