December 31, 2014
Beware! Soppy blogger notes ahead!!
When I first started this blog, I had a couple of goals in mind. The biggest was that I wanted to encourage reluctant readers to give reading another try. I thought that if I blogged about a variety of genres and used books both contemporary and 'dated' that I would appeal to a larger audience. I wanted to share my passion and enthusiasm for the written word in the hopes that it might inspire others into nerding out over literature. I had no idea that I would find the practice so rewarding or that I would look at it as a profession rather than a hobby. Yet here I am 3 years later reviewing books and loving it. My hope is that I have somewhat attained that big goal. I hope that some of you found your way here on a whim and decided to stick it out and read right along with me. For all I know, you guys have been reading the same books as me all along. (If so, please comment and tell me about it because I love reading your comments!) At any rate, I just wanted to say thanks SO much for reading the blog and I can't wait to continue this journey with you guys in the years ahead!
Oh yeah and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
December 26, 2014
So who knew that a utopian society could turn dystopian so quickly? Turns out that separating society into neat little factions doesn't solve all the problems of the world. In fact, trying to put people into neat little boxes creates an oppressive regime that is bound to spin out of control when members try to assert their individuality. The main character, Beatrice (or Tris if you will), is compelling and instantly relatable to the reader (at least to me she was). I found myself turning the pages as quickly as possible to find out if Tris could persevere and overcome the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in her path. The end of Divergent created a need in me to explore more of this world that Veronica Roth crafted. I hope you guys will travel on this journey with me...unless of course you're not interested in young adult dystopian fiction then I guess you'd better wait around until I've finished this series. Either way, I'll be seeing you on the other side. :-)
I have to admit that this one took me a little longer to get completely swept away. This does not mean that this book was in any way inferior to the first. Actually, I think the problem was that I had an idea of where I thought the characters were going and it didn't quite jibe with Veronica Roth. :-P That being said, by the midpoint in the book I was hooked again. This book was darker than the first (believe it or not) because the fight is not just about factions but about secrets. Those in the highest level of government know a secret and Abnegation was prepared to tell the entire population...until Erudite decided that it was too dangerous. That's what prompted the fighting (and Jeanine Matthews wanting to wield control over everyone). The Divergent, in particular, are impacted by this information but we won't know exactly to what extent until the next book in the series. Here we go again!
This book brought a major change in formatting as the author started to alternate the narrative voices (if you're a longtime reader of the blog you know how I feel about this narrative device) between Tris and Tobias. Because I had grown accustomed to reading things from Tris's perspective it was difficult for me to get into the rhythm of Tobias. For the majority of the book, I wasn't fully convinced that Roth had a good grasp on his 'voice'. The reason for this shift in formatting became clear as the action of the story was divided between the two characters and to stay with Tris would mean missing out on half of the picture (which would have made it impossible to flesh out the ending of the series). This series reminds me of Harry Potter in that as the books continue the story becomes gradually darker and the maturity of the characters is accelerated due to some (or many) struggle(s). That should give you a hint as to how this series ended. I don't want to give it away but I will say that I charged through the ending hoping that I had somehow misread what had happened or that some kind of sci-fi scenario to occur which would then fix everything. Did it? Well, I guess you'll have to read Allegiant to find out.
In my review of Allegiant, I mentioned that at first I didn't feel Roth had a grasp on Tobias's 'voice'. I didn't feel that way after reading Four. Would it surprise you to learn that Divergent originally started out from his point of view? Four is a collection of stories which helps to explain just how Tobias Eaton transformed from a lanky teenager in Abnegation grays that no one noticed to a Dauntless front runner who couldn't be forgotten. I, for one, really enjoyed this quick read (clearly as I finished it in one day) and I felt like it delivered exactly what Roth promised: a glimpse into the mind of a character that kept all his cards close to his vest. I especially liked seeing the scenes from Divergent with Tris through his eyes. If you're a fan of the Divergent series, I think this is worth picking up and giving a whirl.
A/N: I'm going to start fresh with the next blog post as I want to keep this one strictly about this series. I'll be posting that within the next week. :-D
December 15, 2014
December 10, 2014
For a complete change of pace, I'm next going to read Zoe Sugg's debut novel, Girl Online. This book is written in a blog style format as its protagonist is a blogger who shares her deepest fears, feelings, and future hopes with strangers online while maintaining a pretense with those she interacts with on a daily basis. I'd say the work is semi-autobiographical as Zoe herself started out as a blogger and like her character she suffers from panic attacks. I've been hearing a lot of mixed reviews on this one so I'll try to get back to you as soon as possible with my thoughts on it. :-)
November 20, 2014
Lily Dale: The Town that Talks to the Dead wasn't quite what I expected (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). As the author is a former journalist, I expected heaping loads of skepticism.There was a fair amount but there were also fleeting moments of unchecked belief. More questions were raised than actually answered which I believe is the point. Spiritualism (the main topic of this book besides the town itself) can not be definitively proven (what religion can beyond a shadow of a doubt? that's why faith exists...) and yet the people in this town have an unshakable belief. While immersing herself in their customs, Wicker observed and participated in events that she could not explain through rational means. Was this spirits communicating beyond the grave? Were these people really capable of reading a person's future? Is it all a big crock of bull? Or is there something else going on here? If you're intrigued by the supernatural and/or want to learn more about a religion that has been popular since the 1800s then this is probably the book for you.
And now to the book that I've been saving for my trip. I'm delving back into the genius mind of Russell Brand with his newest book, Revolution. If you're at all familiar with Russell then you'll know that he's very politically and socially minded. He stays abreast of current issues (anyone watch his YouTube series Trews?) and has an opinion on virtually everything. This book highlights his plan for a new kind of society in which the people are truly in control and The Man is just a distant memory from the past. I have no doubt this is going to be quite a ride.
November 15, 2014
So rather than dwelling on a book that I decided to abandon I've chosen a book on a completely different track. I'm going to be reading Lily Dale: The Town That Talks to the Dead by Christine Wicker. This book discusses the history of a town called Lily Dale in New York which spiritualists believe is ripe with ghosts. This is a true story of people who believe so strongly in the presence of the dead among the living that they travel from miles away to consult mediums there to talk to these figures from the past. I like that the reviews on the back are from lesser-known news sources such as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Fort Worth Star Telegram yet this is a national bestseller.
November 6, 2014
Jane Austen lived during the Georgian era in England and her stories are a reflection of the time and the places she visited. She tended to focus on the areas she was most familiar with unlike many of her contemporaries who decided that far flung locations were much better suited for novels. Jane Austen's England: Daily Life in the Georgian and Regency Periods by Roy & Lesley Adkins takes a look at this time period and focuses on all aspects of the country. From wedding practices to the stratification of the classes this is a comprehensive look at all the minutiae not covered by Austen herself.
November 3, 2014
And because I felt like I just needed more Poirot in my life I checked out a short story entitled Wasps' Nest which I thought might keep me occupied for a few days. However, when it said 'short story' it meant incredibly quick. I finished that bad boy in about 15 minutes on the train home this evening. It was so short I have no idea how to even review it. Basically, there's a man named John Harrison (Star Trek Into Darkness, anyone?) who Poirot visits out in the country. He tells him that he's on a murder case...a murder that hasn't been committed yet. Dun Dun DUUUUUN. Yeah go and read it. It's a quick, delightful read (and I was still surprised by the conclusion because apparently Christie is a wizard).
Then I decided that I wasn't done with mysteries, detectives, and crime because I resurrected a book I had started a zillion years ago but got too distracted to finish: The Sherlock Holmes Handbook by Ransom Riggs (see Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children & Hollow City for more by him). This book is the Holmesian-How-To-Manual (that sounded ultra cool in my head) which explores the methodology of the fictional detective as well as current forensic science practices. Basically, if you're a Sherlockian then this is the book for you. We shall soon see!
October 29, 2014
I ordered a few Halloween-y books which I was hoping would arrive before I had finished Bridget Jones's Diary but unfortunately they haven't come in yet. No matter! I snapped up a Hercule Poirot mystery, The Clocks, written by the indomitable Agatha Christie (of which I'm a huge fan). This mystery revolves around a murdered man who is found surrounded by
October 25, 2014
I've had a book on my TRL for ages now and it's finally become available at my library so I snatched it up without hesitation. If I gave you a few bullet points about it could you figure it out?
- It was made into a movie.
- There's a character with the last name 'Darcy'.
- It focuses on a year in a single woman's life.
October 21, 2014
The Lost City of Z focuses on the mystery of Colonel Percy Fawcett's disappearance in 1925 as well as the myth that there was an ancient civilization which he called 'Z' that was as yet undiscovered in the heart of the Amazon. I've talked before about the rhythm of a story that covers multiple time periods. This book handled the jumps extremely well. Grann covered Fawcett's explorations into the Amazon (prior to his last trip) which made him into a world renowned expert on the area and the Indians that inhabited it. He also discussed the various
You might remember when I reviewed Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Well, my next read is a prequel to Treasure Island entitled The Adventures of Ben Gunn by R.F. Delderfield. Did I just blow your minds? Were you unaware that this even existed? I have a dear friend (and frequent reader of the blog) to thank for sending this my way (literally in this case). This is the story of the man named Ben Gunn in his own words (as written in narrative form by Jim Hawkins) as he explains how he came to become a pirate. I don't know about you guys but I bet this is going to be one doozy of a story. Ahoy, mateys! (You know I had to do it.)
October 10, 2014
October 4, 2014
Because apparently I'm obsessed with WWII and death, I've decided to read Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory by Ben Macintyre. As I mentioned in a previous post regarding Alan Turing, Britain was a major player in the intelligence game during the war. This particular book focuses on a strategic plan to fool the Nazis into thinking that the Allies would be entering Italy through Greece when in fact they would be coming in through Sicily. The problem was that it was known to all parties that Sicily was the most logical choice for an entry point so the ruse had to be very, very good. It was a multifaceted plan but one of the key elements was Operation Mincemeat. The plan was cooked up by two intelligence offers who had very little in common: Ewan Montagu & Charles Cholmondeley (pronounced Chumley if you're wondering). The plan was to drop a dead body disguised as an officer with falsified documents that would hopefully be turned over to the Germans. Does this sound like a James Bond movie? Well, that's because it was originally thought up by Ian Fleming himself. Yeah, now you're getting why I had to read this book aren't you?
Author's Note: I've read another book by Ben Macintyre and if you're interested in reading about that one you can go here.
October 1, 2014
I didn't even realize until just this moment that my next book is also a memoir (oops?). The Removers by Andrew Meredith is the story of how Andrew's life came completely undone when he was 14 years old. This is the year that his father lost his job due to a scandal and his life was totally altered. Not long after, he joins his father in a new business venture: corpse removal. O_O
I kept these brief for 2 reasons 1) I really want you to read Eat Pray Love and I don't want to spoil anything and 2) I feel like if I go any further with a preview of The Removers I'm likely to spoil this one too. :-D
Let me know if there's any books out there you'd like me to review!
September 28, 2014
September 22, 2014
Doctor Who: Enemies of War by George Mann
The (Great) Time War rages on and entire planets are destroyed in the crossfire. The Time Lord who no longer believes he deserves the moniker 'The Doctor' crash lands on a planet ravaged by the Daleks. He meets a member of the resistance named Cinder and the two of them race against the clock, i.e. the Time Lords (see what I did there?) back on Gallifrey and the Daleks, to stop mass genocide. For those of you who wanted more background on the War Doctor that was introduced in Day of the Doctor then this one is definitely for you.
Doctor Who: The Crawling Terror by Mike Tucker
A quiet English village set in the present day is re-visited by the monsters of WWII. (Yet another book which mentions Alan Turing and his exemplary code-breaking skills by the way.) The Doctor and Clara land in Ringstone but they initially think that they've arrived at the wrong point in time...that is until they see the dead body caught in a giant spider's web. What exactly is going on in this little town that could create larger-than-life insects and arachnids? It might take more than just a bit of cleverness to work this one out (in fact it might take a little bit of time travel). If you're scared of bugs then I would recommend you stay far away from this one. :-D
Doctor Who: The Blood Cell by James Goss
I have to admit that I found this one rather chilling. I suppose that's because the entire story takes place in a prison that was built on an asteroid far out of reach of any neighboring civilizations. The Doctor is Prisoner 428 and he is definitely causing a ruckus amongst the Guardians and especially with the Governor himself (the Warden). He insists on escaping his cell and wandering wherever he pleases. Even when the Custodians (creepy faceless robots) are dispatched to dissuade him (I'm being delicate here) from breaking the rules, he persists in saying that there is something very wrong inside the prison. Actually there's something very sinister indeed occurring within the walls which keep everyone out...and everyone (and everything) inside.
Doctor Who: Silhouette by Justin Richards
An adventure with Jenny, Madame Vastra, and Strax (plus The Doctor & Clara)!! I do have to say that these are absolutely brilliant characters that I'm happy to see in a book adaptation. They have so much versatility and they're so different from one another that it keeps the story moving along at a wonderfully brisk pace. In this book, there are mysterious murders being committed throughout Victorian London and at first they don't seem to be interconnected except for one thing: the victims all visited the Carnival of Curiosities. What does origami, rage, and a man with a silver topped cane have to do with one another? Ah but you'll have to read this one to find out!!
So there you go! I hope that this kind of formatting worked for you. I had a lot of fun immersing myself in the Doctor Who Universe for the last week to read all of these. :-) Next up is another sci-fi adaptation but of a film this time: Star Trek Into Darkness by Alan Dean Foster. If you've ever read a book based off of a film (such as Star War) then you know that a lot of details are fleshed out in the novel which make the entire world seem more tangible and real. I'm hoping for that in this book. I read the adaptation for the first movie in the new universe franchise and it was really good so I have high expectations for this one. Stay tuned for that review!
September 16, 2014
A quick little blurb on each of them to whet your appetite.
Doctor Who: Enemies of War by George Mann
The War Doctor faces not only the Daleks and their newest weapons but also his own people in his quest to put an end to the Great Time War once and for all. However, he doesn't have to face them completely alone. He has a new companion named Cinder and she's determined to stay by his side no matter what dangers they face. She might change her mind when she sees exactly what the Daleks are creating...
Doctor Who: The Crawling Terror by Mike Tucker
The Doctor (#12) and Clara land in a sleepy little village town called Ringstone in Wiltshire. At first, The Doctor believes the TARDIS made a mistake and landed them at the wrong time in history. However, it quickly becomes apparent that the past has caught up to the present when giant insects and arachnids start terrorizing the villagers and all means of escape are cut off by massive spider webs...
Doctor Who: The Blood Cell by James Goss
When will people learn that there's really no point in trying to keep The Doctor locked in a cell? The most dangerous criminals are sent to a prison housed on an asteroid far removed from all colonized worlds. The Governor starts to suspect there is more than meets the eye regarding this 'Doctor' who keeps trying to escape and he might be right because after his arrival the murders begin...
Doctor Who: Silhouette by Justin Richards
When mysteries which seem to have no connection whatsoever (a locked room murder, a boxer killed by an undertaker, The Carnival of Curiosities, and a rich industrialist) end up being inextricably linked who could possibly put all of the pieces together? This is a case for The Doctor, Clara, Madame Vastra, Jenny, and Strax! Is anything really what it seems?
Are you guys ready?
September 14, 2014
August 31, 2014
August 27, 2014
As I've mentioned before, I have quite a long TRL (To-Read List if you're new here) and I've been steadily trying to knock books off of it. This next one has been on it ever since I heard about its release earlier this year. The Bees, by Laline Paull, is the story of a bee (nope the title wasn't misleading) who defies the conventions of the hive when she challenges the Queen. It is a story of a female heroine of the bee persuasion (I might be chuckling as I write this) who chooses her own path even in the light of fierce opposition. Considering my fascination with insects (and arachnids), it was really a no-brainer that I would read this but I do have to say that I'm incredulous as to how Paull is going to pull this off. We shall soon see!
August 25, 2014
As I mentioned in my last post, I picked up both of Rachman's books when I was at the library. His first book, The Imperfectionists, was an international bestseller (not hard seeing why as his second book was mind-blowingly amazing). This book centers on an English-language newspaper that's on its last legs. However, the story seems to be about the individuals working at the news agency who are all living distinct and complicated lives. I AM ALREADY ITCHING TO GET STARTED.
I hope you guys are having a fantastic Monday and I look forward to meeting you back here shortly for more reviews!
August 22, 2014
There's an author that's been on my radar for a while now (thanks to the many literary newsletters I subscribe to) and I'm happy to say that I've picked up both of his novels to review. The first one is his newest, The Rise & Fall of Great Powers. The author is Tom Rachman and he's being hailed as "one of the most exciting young writers we have". The story revolves around a woman with the odd sounding name of Tooly who is herself an odd sort of person. She owns a bookstore in a small town in Wales where she spends the majority of her days reading. However, it's her past that takes up a good chunk of the book and its mysteries are unraveled in pieces as the story progresses. At about a quarter through, I can already feel my excitement building for the astonishing conclusion (which I'm sure is going to be astonishing based on the nuggets already revealed). Review to be posted shortly!!
I hope you guys are enjoying your last few weeks of summer (or maybe you're like me and in denial that it's concluding at all) and you're reading HEAPS AND HEAPS of books. :-D
EDIT: I was just sent the link for Horrorstor's book trailer so I thought I'd share! :-D https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfrwSkUQEQo
August 19, 2014
Next up is Horrorstor (imagine the last 'o' has those little dots over it) by Grady Hendrix. I'm already impressed with the book based on its packaging (yeah, yeah don't judge a book blah blah blah) because it looks like a retail catalog. The reason for this is that the setting for the book is a furniture superstore called Orsk. When five employees agree to spend the night in the store to discover who is causing havoc each night they discover more than they had bargained for. O_O It's a horror story in a furniture store! (I am genuinely wary of mannequins so I really hope they don't turn out to be the baddies in this.) I can't wait to report back to you guys with my review!!
August 15, 2014
This next book was recommended to me by a dear friend/adopted Grandpa who told me it was right up my street. (He's probably right.) The book is called Curse of the Narrows by Laura M. Mac Donald and it chronicles the horrifying disaster that occurred in Halifax, Nova Scotia on December 6, 1917 and the days that followed. When a munitions ship collided with another ship at harbor the results were absolutely catastrophic. Not only was there a massive explosion but a tsunami and snow storm were also triggered. Mac Donald utilized resources left from the explosions's official historian as well as other primary documents from the period to craft this nonfiction work. I can't wait!
August 10, 2014
Have you ever been looking over the books on your shelves and seen one that you had no recollection of obtaining? Well, that happened to me but I've finally recalled why/when I got this one. The book is The Seven Lives of John Murray: The Story of a Publishing Dynasty by Humphrey Carpenter and I picked it up in 2010 when I was going to London to study Library Sciences. Apparently I didn't get around to reading this one but found it interesting enough to keep. This is the biographical tale of one of the biggest publishing houses in the world from 1768 - 2002. It was begun by Carpenter but unfortunately he passed away before its completion and therefore it was edited and finished by Candida Brazil and James Hamilton. According to the back cover, there were many controversies and sagas surrounding this most esteemed publishing house which involved Jane Austin, Byron, etc. Ummm yes please!
August 3, 2014
The next book up for review is one that I was so excited about that I actually pre-ordered it as soon as I heard that it was coming out...and then it languished on my living room end table doomed to dust and sadness. :'-( And then today I decided that it was time to read it!! XD The book in question is Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin. Besides being an absolute mouthful this book has all the earmarks of being one that completely knocks my socks off. Longtime readers of the blog might remember when I first found out about the awesomeness that is Erik Larson and his gift of writing the narrative nonfiction. (If you haven't read The Devil in the White City you are seriously missing out.) This book is about an American ambassador sent to Berlin with his family. At first, they're all caught up in the glitz and glam of the Third Reich until the horror unfolds before their very eyes. I'm already filled with suspense. O_O
I hope you guys are having an absolutely amazing weekend and that your week will be even better. KEEP READING!!
July 31, 2014
Next up is Brida by Paulo Coelho. I'm sure many of you have heard of this author and some of you may even have read some of his work such as The Alchemist (which is fantastic by the way). This story is about a woman exploring the depths of magic and her place in the magical realms. Fans of Coelho know that he is a master at beautifully weaving tales full of awe and spirituality. I'm sure this will be an effortlessly executed novel which will touch the innermost regions of my heart and soul. I'll be sure to let you know in my next blog post!!
For those of you just visiting me for the first time, WELCOME!! For those who have been around from the beginning, HEY THERE BUDDY!! I hope that you'll do me the great honor of officially 'following' my blog so that you'll be updated whenever I make a new post. Also, I'd really appreciate it. :-) Until next time, HAPPY READING!!
July 26, 2014
"Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past me I will turn to see fear's path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."And luckily for us, this is just the beginning of the series. >_<
I can't remember if I've ever mentioned it here (or anywhere) but I have a keen interest in the Romanovs, specifically Anastasia (that sounded less creepy in my head). The next book to be reviewed is The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne (remember The Boy in the Striped Pajamas?) and it just so happens to center around a man who is bodyguard to the Tsar Romanov's son. Georgy Jachmenev has been living in England for many years with the weight of heartbreak and scandal pressing down on him. Now in his old age, he makes a trip back to Russia and memories from his past are brought into sharp relief. I'm already keen to get started!!
July 20, 2014
"Life is not a postcard of life, life is essential and about detail, minutia and trivia."
"If I should die think only this of me, 'I thought it would be funny.'"Brand displays a strange dichotomy of reverence toward women to an unattainable perfection and a misogynistic viewing of them as simply a means to a (happy) end(ing). This sequel, Booky Wook 2: This time it's personal, was everything I thought it would be and more. Its main focus is his continuing rise to fame and his sex addiction. He continues to astound me with his insight and irreverence. The ending is bittersweet but I'll leave that a mystery so as to whet your appetite. ;-) I look forward to hopefully reading more from him in the future.
Up next is Dune by Frank Herbert which according to the cover is 'Science Fiction's Supreme Masterpiece'. Well, that's a bit presumptive isn't it? I've seen the film and I bought this book several years ago where it's languished on my sci-fi/fantasy shelf ever since. I figured it was time to see what all the hype was about. The story centers around a boy named Paul Atreides who seeks to stop a villainous plot against his family. I should mention this is set on a planet that is not earth that is beset with all number of monstrous creatures and alien lifeforms (YES). I'm going to get cracking on it immediately!
July 14, 2014
You might remember when I reviewed Russell Brand's My Booky Wook. If you don't I encourage you to click on the title of the book which will take you to that entry so you can catch up. Basically, it was a fantastic read and I somehow managed to finish it while on Thanksgiving holiday at all of the theme parks in Florida. *inspirational music playing* Therefore, I have high hopes for Booky Wook 2: This Time It's Personal. According to the book jacket the follow-up is going to focus on the sexual mayhem that only a sex addict can get up to and how the power of love (awkward now isn't it?) can cure all. I have a feeling this one will be anything but boring.
Update coming your way soon but until then happy reading!!
July 9, 2014
Further in the vein of technological advances, my next read is Turing: Pioneer of the Information Age by B. Jack Copeland. I became aware of the name Alan Turing when I saw the trailer for The Imitation Game which is all about how he and his team at Bletchley Park cracked the Enigma code during WWII. It's a shame but I don't think many people are aware of this man despite his many accomplishments. Computers are based off of his invention the Universal Turing Machine. He was a leader in the field of mathematics, artificial intelligence, and biology. However, his genius was overshadowed for several years because he was convicted of homosexuality, chemically castrated (his choice instead of imprisonment), and then committed suicide by cyanide poisoning. More recently, there has been talk regarding the reversal of charges against him -- years too late. I have a feeling this one's gonna be a tearjerker, guys, so get those tissues ready!
July 6, 2014
June 27, 2014
Eaarth: Making a life on a tough new planet by Bill McKibben details the consequences of dragging our feet on the issue of global warming. Changes are already occurring and as a result our once familiar planet has evolved into something entirely different: Eaarth. Now that this is our new reality, McKibben says that the only course of action is to alter our society to confront it head-on. Environmental studies and sustainability are both topics I find fascinating so I'm sure this is going to be a page turner.
June 24, 2014
For a while now, I've been wanting to delve into the world that P.L. Travers created with Mary Poppins at its center. Apparently I wasn't the only one with that same idea because I had to wait for months to get the first book in her series on my tablet: Mary Poppins. The story focuses on the children of Mr. & Mrs. Banks and their eccentric (but delightful) new nanny, Mary Poppins. I know already that it's going to be a bit different from the movie because 1. There are 4 children not two. and 2. Mr. Banks is not portrayed any kind of way like the movie version (he's imminently more likely than the mother at least at this point). I expect that I'll find it just as enjoyable (or more likely more so) than the film and I'll update you all just as soon as I've finished it. :-)
June 16, 2014
And now onto the main event: World of Trouble, the final installment in The Last Policeman trilogy by Ben H. Winters. If you've been following along on this blog, you'll know that I read the first two of this trilogy The Last Policeman and Countdown City and really enjoyed them. The books follow a detective by the name of Hank Palace whose world is literally crumbling around him because an asteroid is on a collision course with earth. In this last installment the asteroid is just days away from impact and society has degenerated into fear and paranoia. Most people are in underground bunkers with their stores of food and water. And then there's Hank. Hank is determined to keep doing his duty despite the fact that he no longer has the title of Detective. There's one more crime to solve and he's going to solve it even with death nipping at his heels.
June 12, 2014
Because I have absolutely no restraint when it comes to entering any 'book place' I came back from a visit to the library with Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James. I feel like I heard about this book when it originally came out but for whatever reason I'm just now getting around to it after a recommendation showed up in my email. The main characters of this murder mystery are those beloved individuals from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Really that's all you had to say to me and I would have been intrigued. Frankly, any fan of Jane Austen and/or mysteries would be hard pressed to pass up a book with such a titillating blurb.
June 8, 2014
I have to admit that this next one caught my eye when one of my favorite bloggers, Jenny Lawson, who you might remember from my review of her book Let's Pretend This Never Happened. She mentioned that she was going to give Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey" by Margaret Powell and it piqued my interest. I find this topic very interesting because I can't imagine living on either side of this divided line. I most certainly wouldn't have been a mistress of a household and I would be a horrendous maid of any kind. What did the "help" really think of their lords and masters? Were they as keen to be of service as they were meant to be by their employers? I suppose that's exactly what I'll be finding out!
June 4, 2014
Following this delightful romp, Room by Emma Donoghue is a story narrated by a 5 year old who grows up trapped in a room with his mother who has been held there by a man for seven years. The story was apparently inspired by a real life case of a woman who was help captive by her father in their home's basement for 24 years. The book received multiple honors and a film adaptation of the novel is in the works. I have high expectations for this one but something tells me that I won't be disappointed. Review up soon!
And don't forget that summer time is all about BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS!!
May 31, 2014
The next book was recommended to me by my best friend and once you hear the title I'm almost sure that you'll agree it's right up my alley: The Gospel According to Dr. Seuss by James W. Kemp. On the surface this might appear to be a lighthearted takeaway from a beloved children's author but it's actually quite a bit more. This book discusses the illustrations in his stories as reflections of biblical principles. That's as much as the book jacket reveals to me so I'll have to give you more information in my review of it. Oh the anticipation!!
May 28, 2014
I felt that I needed a bit of a break from the macabre so I moved on to Roald Dahl's delightful story entitled Danny, the Champion of the World. As I said in my review of D is for Dahl there are no official biographies of the illustrious author himself but a few of his children's stories are odes to his past and this is one of them. The story centers on Danny and his father, William, who it must be said is one of the greatest fathers known to man. It is a thank you note to all of the fathers who take the time to really get to know their kids and who share parts of themselves in return. A lighthearted tale of a boy who came into his own and at the same time learned to love his father even more (which was quite the feat since he loved him quite a lot). As you'd expect with Dahl it's full to bursting with whimsy and imagination and I dare you to read it and not feel buoyed up with joy.
Finally after I've waited for over 2 years for it to be available in the public library I am proud to say that I'm reviewing The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. A book both lauded with acclaim for its wit and tenacity as well as decried for it's controversial topic, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian naturally rose to the top of my TRL (To Read List). Unfortunately, (fortunately for everyone else) everyone else seemed to have the same idea and it's been checked out and unavailable every single time I've checked for it...until today! I nabbed the one copy available! Okay so let me give you a little peek into the subject matter. Alexie's book chronicles the story of a boy named Arnold who was born with fluid on the brain which left him with a host of issues ranging from an oversized cranium to a stutter. Added to these difficulties, he makes the choice to transfer off of the reservation and into an all-white school where he hopes he can get a top notch education. It is a story of struggle, persistence, and acceptance of one's culture and self. I cannot wait to review this one for you!!
May 21, 2014
For those fans of either Doctor Who or Sherlock, you'll be familiar with the name Mark Gatiss. He's known as both a writer (and actor) in each of these series but he's also written books...many of them quite naughty. This one isn't (I don't think). The title is Doctor Who: Nightshade and it's set during the time of the Seventh Doctor (played by Sylvester McCoy) and his companion Ace. The Doctor in his companion arrive in a small village which seems to be plagued by something sinister. A large number of deaths have occurred there throughout history and many people are starting to have visions/hallucinations. Is there something supernatural occurring here or is it more extraterrestrial in nature?
May 20, 2014
PS TB is still a major threat to humanity and kills large numbers of people every year.
To give you all a glimpse into my mind, the next book on the list is just as up my alley as The Remedy. I'm reading D is for Dahl: A gloriumptious A-Z guide to the world of Roald Dahl by Roald Dahl, compiled by Wendy Cooling, and illustrated by Quentin Blake. Roald Dahl is, simply put, one of the greatest children's authors of all time. If you haven't read any of his books then you are truly missing out on an extraordinarily delightful reading experience. Who can think of a more beguiling adventure than a tour through a chocolate factory such as in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Who could possibly be nastier than the Grand High Witch from The Witches? The man was a genius and when his books were joined by the illustrations of Quentin Blake the characters fairly leaped off of the page and into the imaginations of children and adults the world over. Therefore, why wouldn't I want to read random facts and trivia about the man himself (with the bonus of QB illustrations littering the pages)?!
May 14, 2014
It's no secret to those of you who follow this blog on a regular basis that I'm a science nerd. What you might not have picked up on is that I'm also a huge fan of the works of Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes for those uninitiated to the skills of the deductive genius). So it probably won't come as a surprise that the next book on my reading list is The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis by Thomas Goetz which satisfies both of these interests. At the height of the tuberculosis epidemic, there was rumor that a cure had been created in Berlin. A part-time writer and full-time doctor went to discover if the cure was fact or fiction. This man was named Arthur Conan Doyle and he was extremely sceptical that Koch had indeed found a way to combat the disease that had already decimated millions of people. This book is their story.
Incidentally, this is my 100th post. I want to thank all of you who read this, comment, pass it on, and generally give me encouragement. I love this blog and it means so much to me that you're reading it. :-D Here's to a 100 more!!
May 7, 2014
Well, here's another one that I've had on my wish list for quite a while: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. You guys already know my love of this author and when I got wind that he had written an adult fantasy novel I had to jump on it. As you may or may not be aware, Gaiman generally sticks to the young adult audience and hasn't written for adults in 8 years so this was a HUGE deal among the reading community. The story centers around a narrator who travels back to his hometown only to discover that the women he had met as a child were still living there...unchanged. I started it this morning and even though I'm only through the first chapter I already know this is going to make it to my list of favorites. :-D
May 1, 2014
Next up to bat is I Am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee by Charles J. Shields. Most people have read the classic To Kill a Mockingbird but almost no one knows anything about the novel's author, Harper Lee. This novel seeks to rectify that and the best part is that it was adapted for young adults. Harper Lee is one of those authors that slips into obscurity after writing a piece of literature that just refuses to do the same. Lee seeks to illuminate the rather
April 23, 2014
This is my first year participating in World Book Night and I couldn't be more excited. World Book Night promotes reading to those populations who are nonreaders and/or do not have access to reading materials. 29,000 volunteers around the world will be giving out a total of 500,000 books (FOR FREE!) to people and encouraging them to become lifelong readers (and learners!). Each giver has a box of 20 books to pass out. My book is Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children which you'll remember I reviewed last year. I am so excited and nervous (this is New York so you never know what might go down) to be participating in a cause which I firmly believe can be life changing for all of those involved. If you want more information on this momentous event (in celebration of Will Shakespeare's 450th birthday!) please go here.
SPREAD THE JOY OF READING!!!
April 20, 2014
I am forced to admit defeat. First, I believed that I was reading the same poetry I had previously read excerpts from and that is definitely not the case. Second, it turns out that Duo Duo specializes in abstract poetry which I do not have the capabilities to decrypt. In short, I can make neither head nor tail of these poems and despite almost finishing one of the books I just don't want to read any further. Now I certainly don't want to discourage any of you from continuing your poetry journey but I just couldn't do it.
On a happier note, I got a copy of That Hideous Strength from my library (yay renewed library card!) so I'll finally be able to finish The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis! This one is set on Earth and follows two people involved with the N.I.C.E Institute which is actually a front for an evil supernatural force. So they ask for help from our favorite hero, Ransom. I AM SO READY!
April 15, 2014
Because it's National Poetry Month I've decided to read two books of poetry. Both were originally written by Duo Duo and translated from Chinese to English by Gregory B. Lee. The first is titled The Boy Who Catches Wasps which is a collection of Duo Duo's poetry from across his career beginning after the massacre in Tiananmen Square. The second is Looking Out From Death which was the first collaboration between Lee and the poet and is the first collection of his poetry in English. I first became aware of Duo Duo when reading The Spy where selected passages were used at the beginning of several chapters. IT'S POETRY TIME!