Adult Book Reviews
I love dual timeline novels, as long as they are well done. This one alternate between Jenni, who is a ghostwriter who prefers to dig into other people's lives rather than deal with her own past, and Klara, a Dutch woman who was interned in a camp on Java during WWII. Jenni is an interesting character, but I felt like she was more of a foil for Klara's amazing story of survival. Very powerful book, one that will linger in my mind for quite a while, I'm sure.
Very interesting inside look at the world of show dogs. You follow the progress of Jack, the Australian Shepherd, but the author also gives you a brief history of dog shows in general, different breeds, and even the evolution of the dog from wild animal to domesticated pet. Well written and fun to read (I finished it in just a couple of days), this is a great book!
Not my favorite of the series. SO many characters, I had a hard time remembering them all! I understand it must have been nice to have Flavia visiting his home country (the author is Canadian), but I preferred the books set in Bishop's Lacey, England.
This was my first Sara Gruen book and it was thoroughly enjoyable. I have not read many books from this time period set in Scotland, so it was interesting to see how they were living their lives. I liked the characters (well, except for Ellis, but I loved that I disliked him so much). A slight mystical element rounded out a truly good story.
Accounting the death and rebirth of the heroine Natalie's love life, this book grants a portrait of delicacy that is both poignant and awkward--in a good sense. Subtle hints are expertly woven in with seemingly random facts that set the stage and build the characters to their climax. This whimsical and yet realistic tale of romance is a far cry from the brazen romantic novels that litter the shelves. "Delicacy" recovers a classic sense of romance in its honesty and unhurried pace, drawing the reader in to an intricate life story filled with metaphors and tasteful symbolism. Lyrically written and wonderfully charming!
A very unique perspective of North Korea. Kim's descriptions are hauntingly beautiful and poignant. I found this book hard to put down once I started, the suspense of Kim's situation will pull you through her story. I became so attached to the student's stories that it made this book both gut wrenching and heartfelt.
For fans of his series, this novella may be a disappointment. It does not continue the main storyline, but focuses on Auri and her life in The Underthing instead. It is a short, quick read, but is beautifully crafted. It really lets you into the broken mind of Auri as she goes about her life, one day at a time. Rothfuss fully admits this book isn't for everyone, but I think his fans should at least give it a shot.
As an introvert, reading this book felt like coming home. There were many times when I so identified with the feelings and behaviors Susan describes it was like looking into a mirror. Cain examines different facets of personality and why we as a society value certain traits over others. She also looks at what introverts can offer to businesses and in leadership positions. Great read for introverts and extroverts alike!
I put off reading this book because I didn't want to read yet another sad story about someone's rough time growing up. Finally, after seeing all the wonderful reviews about it, I decided to go ahead and read it. I am ever so grateful that I did.
John Elder Robison grew up having Asperger's before it had a name or had been widely recognized. In his book, John tells the story of how he figured out how to fit in with "normal" people without knowing why he didn't see things the way they did. The book is often hilarious, especially in terms of how John worked his way through various phases of growing up not being able to pick up on social cues then mastering self-developed workarounds to succeed in life.
I recommend this book to all adults, those who have Asperger's, who have relatives with the syndrome, or not because sooner or later, you're likely to encounter and try to communicate with someone who does. That's why I'm so glad I read this book. Asperger's isn't a disease, it's a way of perceiving that is different from most just like a left handed person has to learn to live in a right handed world...sometimes things don't fit right and adjustment needs to be made. Try using left handed scissors if you are right handed and see right away what Aspergians deal with in a "nypical" (neurotypical) world. The book is a GREAT read on its own, but has the added bonus of understanding. Such a rare gift in a book these days.
Your Brain: The Missing Manual is the book for "the rest of us" who don't want to or can't take in all the medical jargon that usually infests books about how the "little grey cells" work.
Matthew MacDonald takes the information about how the brain functions and breaks it down into usable chunks. He gives a brief but thorough explanation of several functions the brain performs in simple English, then explains how the brain's owner can make the best use of how the brain works. An analogy would be that instead of someone trying to explain what's under the hood of that great car, he shows you the control panel and HOW TO USE the car. Chances are, you don't need to know how many cylinders there are, what kind of oil it uses etc. because all you plan to do is USE the car and maybe do a bit of maintenance. Matthew MacDonald's approach is that of someone explaining just enough of how the brain functions so that it can be used more efficiently and to the owner's benefit. I heartily recommend the book, especially to staff and teens who could use the problem solving techniques the author includes in the book for learning, school problem solving, etc.
From the technical aspect, it was fantastic. The prose was warm, conversational and casual, yet intelligent. The characters were well developed and complicated, yet relatable and amiable. The plot was marvelously weaving in and out within itself and came together seamlessly. It was an easy read, yet I took so much away from it. From a personal and emotional aspect, it hit every human emotion so directly and so real, I fell in love with the narrator and every person he encountered during the story.
Many times, I felt I was seeing so clearly from Ben's eyes and connecting so well, and the same with many of the other characters. They were all so human.
When I finished, I almost felt like keeping a secret so that I could have the experience all to myself, but I feel like many other people could find something within this story to help them through whatever life is throwing at them.
I am a fan of true crime, but I have never actually read a true crime book. I just watch alot of Investigation Discovery! I read several reviews of "God'll Cut You Down" and they were all positive. So I had to read it. What an intriguing story about a murder in Mississippi. John Safran was able to convey what living in Mississippi is like - the haves, the have-nots, politics,etc. It made me sad and afraid to realize that people are still upset over the Civil War. That really stuck with me. But the story of Richard Barrett and Vincent McGee is still a mystery as to what really went on and what lead to murder. I just wish we could know about their secret lives and if that was the real motive behind the murder. A really great true crime book! I couldn't put it down!
A classic whodunit. Campy but fun. I'm not really a mystery person, which is probably why I didn't give it 5 stars. I found myself getting bored with the whole process about 2/3 of the way through. But I really liked the ending.
Once I finally got a hold of the Irish dialect, it just ended, leaving much to be desired. I don't feel like there was any resolution, or even a point to the entire story.
Glad to have stuck with Palahniuk after reading the Pygmy atrocity. This one was classic Chuck. Shocking, slightly disturbing, darkly humorous, unexpected.
Murakami's quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. This story was exactly what my soul needed. It was so human and it kept me out of my head. When it ended, it left me with so many questions, but as much as that usually bothers me, it was the most perfect of an ending as it could be. Because that's what life does, it leaves you with unanswered questions.
It was an easy read, very down to earth language and kept me interested the whole book through. But when I finished it, I didn't feel accomplished at all. I don't think I really took anything away from it. And that was a little disappointing. I do love how Darnielle's songwriting style transfers over to a novel; Darnielle is a great writer and I loved lyrical way that his story came together.
Not even close to some of Palaniuk's best works. The voice was irritating and childish. Couldn't connect to any of the characters or the storyline. Even though I'm used to Palahniuk using shocking themes, but it was like he was trying to justify the use of rape and really pushed the humor of the dildo to the point where I didn't care anymore. I just wanted to get to the ending in hopes that he would redeem himself (since my favorite thing about him is the crazy endings in his writing) but this was so saccharine and Disney-esque I disliked
I was excited to read this book when I found it on the shelf. The excerpt on the back of the book had beautiful descriptive language, and it indicated a storyline full of dragons and adventure. Unfortunately the best part of the entire book was on the back of the cover to tempt in readers, but the rest of the book did not live up to it's promise. The author was attempting to write a fantasy novel, but it read like a romance. The characters were flat. They behaved in ways no person outside a romance novel would behave. Many of the conflicts set up to create tension and plot lines just fell away with no challenge to the main characters, as if the author was not sure how to resolve them in one books time. The jacket indicated that the author holds an MFA and a phD. She doesn't write like it. Stay away from this one unless you are a fan of sappy romances.
The epitome of classic mysteries. A thoroughly enjoyable whodunit. Generally, mysteries aren't my thing, but I very much enjoyed this book.
Molly Wizenberg, creator of the popular blog, Orangette, has written an intriguing story of her life centered around the kitchen. No chapter is longer than 5 pages, followed by a recipe or two around which that chapter is written. I want to try them all - from Burg's (her father) Potato Salad to Fresh ginger cake with caramelized pears. I'm inclined to purchase this book .... for the recipes alone!
This book first interested me because the author's husband is still active duty Army, stationed here in Colorado Springs. The sub-title is "Irrevernt confessions of an Infantry wife." I wondered how she could get away with writing such a book, since military dependants are advised that anything said or done could reflect adversely on their sponsor's career. And yet, she writes candidly and humorously. I admired her insistence that she is an "Army brat," who grew up to become an "Army wife," not a "military spouse." The language gets rough in some chapters, but, as an "Air Force wife" myself, I had to keep reading, to see what she said next. Of course, all names have been changed to protect "the innocent, the not-so-innocent, and those who remain in The Fight." Ranger on!
This was a book club book. It wouldn't have been on my radar otherwise. That's what I love about my book club, I often get to read good books I would otherwise miss. Which makes me think of how many other great books there are out there that I'll never get the chance to read. Anyways, this book was very good. I definitely recommend it. It takes place in Denmark and Lithuania so I was a bit confused on the geographical aspect, but that's my fault, not the book's. The author crafts an engaging storyline with well defined characters. This book is translated, so I bet it's even better in the original language, read by someone who knows the culture and geography.
I laughed out loud a few times, so there's that. Sagat's dirty, of course, but he also has heart. It took me a little while to get into his mindset, but once I was there I thoroughly enjoyed it. I recommend listening on audio because he reads it, which is great.
That something so important could come out of the holocaust is amazing. I can imagine Dr. Frankl studying and analyzing the psychology of survival in his head while a prisoner, and then finally writing and publishing his greatest achievement. Logotherapy is a sound explanation on the meaning of life. Great book.
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