Tuesday, June 30, 2015

2nd Quarter Book Report Part 2

Here it is, Part 2 of the 2nd Quarter Book report....
If you are confused, the following posts will bring you up to speed.
The whole list is found here,
The First Quarter report is here
Part 1 of the 2nd Quarter link is here...

I was really lucky in this quarter to read books that really resonated with me and this next one exemplifies it perfectly...

#14.  A non fiction novel

A General Theory of Love by Drs. Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon

How to describe this book?  It blends poetry and literature with hard and detailed science...  It goes into great length in the power and fragility of the limbic brain.  I struggled at times with the discussion of the animal testing and the cruelty it described, so if you are at all sensitive to that, be forewarned.  However, the underlying message of this book can not be missed---connections matter.  The connections we form with our parents, partners, and people around us, they matter,  A LOT, and modern life is telling us that we don't need them, but we do.  A definite must read.

#37.  A book with a color in the title.

White Oleander by Janet Fitch

The prose started out like poetry, beautiful and haunting, but quickly became manipulative and just wrong.  I get there are issues with the foster system, and I understand that some parents are not meant to be parents and are cruel and unkind, but do they all have to happen in ONE book.  The main character, Astrid, is 12 when her very messed up life falls even farther apart.  Her mother, Ingrid, a selfish *****, is there ever was one is convicted of murdering her ex boyfriend and Astrid is put into the foster care system.  The book is well written, the writing style enjoyable to read even if the content wasn't.  So, I say to you, be forewarned and proceed with caution.

#38.  A book that made you cry.
Nobody Don't Love Nobody by Stacy Bess 

Read, just please read, this book.  The author, who was a teacher at Salt Lake City's Homeless shelter school, weaves stories of her student's heartbreaks and setbacks with a paradigm shift for the rest of us...   It never gets too preachy or unrealistic about the problems, but it poses some hard questions for you to answer.  Please just read this, and really take to heart pages 221-228.....

#10.  A mystery or thriller

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

I LOVE this book, so my review may be a little slanted in that direction, but hey, it's my blog, and I can be biased if I want to.  This book is a nod to the Gothic classics, ironically of which I'm not a huge fan, especially Jane Eyre.  It is set up as a book within a book with the main character, Margaret, unraveling the mystery as the reader is.  

#29.  A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit. (Ireland)

Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy (updated)

I had seen the movie with Minnie Driver years ago and as I read this book, memories and details came flooding back to me.  It took me a while to let go of the movie and enjoy the book.  1950's small town Ireland and Dublin then revealed itself to me.  The is a story of friendship, duh, and of a young woman finding her own....  The ending is SO much better than the movie, I gained quite a bit of respect for the main character, Bennie, with it...

#32.  A trilogy

Phillip Pullman's His Dark Material's Trilogy

Book 1 The Golden Compass
It took me a bit to get into the story, I had seen the movie when it came out a while ago and it is just wrong when compared to the book, but when I fell into the story, it FLEW!  A parallel universe, animals that are a part of you, corruption, and friendship drive this story.  It reminds me of the C.S. Lewis series 'The Chronicles of Narnia' where you might read it as a child and only see a fun story, but if you read it as an adult, you realize the stories are full of symbolism and allegory.

Book 2 The Subtle Knife
Well, I am officially hooked on this series and flew thru this book.  I read it on a flight from Atlanta to Salt Lake City....  I always love book 2 of a trilogy, due to the fact that you have all the background, you understand the situation, so now you can get to the heart of the matter.  Characters grow and make big decisions, plot lines start to come together, and you get a glimpse of the future.  You've probably noticed that I haven't talked much about the actual story line and it is for good reason...one of the reason the movie messes the The Golden Compass up so bad is that it introduces things in trying to simply reduce the time to tell a story when they really need to be revealed at the right time...  Writing a book review is somewhat like that, I don't want to ruin a wonderful story by revealing things too soon....

Book 3 The Amber Spyglass
My least favorite of the three....it got a little chaotic with elements that did not seem to be needed and some of the characters got a little cliched, but my main issue is the force used to drive home the point of the trilogy.  During books one and two, it was there, but subtle, in this one is was like a sledgehammer to the side of the head.  The subtlety worked better in my opinion.  I am recommending the trilogy despite my reservations with the third book, however.

#16.  A book from an author you love that your haven't read.
Wicked Charms by Janet Evanovich

This book is pure fluff;  this author is pure sugar, but sometimes, in life, you just need that.  This is the third book in a series that spun off of her popular Stephanie Plum series.  Lizzy and Diesel are on the hunt for stones that represent the Deadly Sins, yes those deadly sins, and in each book of the series they are on the trail of the greed stone.  If you have ever read a book by Janet Evanovich, you know there are crazy supporting characters and in Wicked Charms, there are a Broom, with an attitude, and Carl, the bird flipping Monkey.  It's screwball comedy that wouldn't work in a long book, but in this fairly short novel it's ok.

#3.  A book that became a movie. (will be released 12/15)
 In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Phillbrick

A non fiction book, that read like a thriller, of an event that inspired Herman Melville to write 'Moby Dick', that is the simple way to describe a complex and interesting book.  Mr. Phillbrick pulls from multiple sources and the survivor's accounts to piece together what happened.  He is balanced in his criticism and praise, yet also understood the basic danger of whaling in the 1800's.  A definite recommendation!!!!

If you've been paying attention, you've probably noticed that in the first two quarters, I've read quite a few books.  This challenge has 52 books, and I have only have 19 left.  I have a feeling that I will finish early, but that's ok, because my to read list is kind of long.......

With my nose still in a book,

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