Thursday, December 29, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
- Sophie Kinsella -
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
I guess I'm mostly mad that my expectations were set really really high and then I was left feeling disappointed. If I take a neutral step back and revisit the book, it was ok overall, I wouldn't recommend it, but I can see the appeal of it for some.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
- Darger Family -
In my mind there were three parts to this book. The first part was the Darger family explaining why they wanted to 'go public' on this semi-illegal socially shunned lifestyle. What sorts of things they have done so far, like radio shows and Oprah (yes, Oprah!). And, what they hope to achieve by coming out. Already being a liberal minded person, it was like preaching to choir.
I found this book was great to read in conjunction with watching Big Love. There is a bit of jargon used in the book and on the TV show that we don't hear much in life - righteous, priesthood holder, LDS, Fundamentalist. I found since I've watched most of Big Love I already had a good idea what these words meant. So, strangely, I'd recommend watching TV over reading in this case - to really be able to put the jargon into context.
I did not find the writing in this book to be all that wonderful. The stories were not that dramatic and didn't leave that big of an impression on my mind. But, I think it would be a great book to read in a book club. It brings up so many issues that could be discussed.
- Should Polygamy still be considered illegal? Should it be legalized?
- Is it even ethical?
- Have your views on Polygamy changed after reading this book?
- Compare and contrast the gains and losses of polygamy for the husband and wife(ives).
- Large families, like this one of 20 odd members. Beneficial or a hindrance for children?
- How would you deal with one of your children coming to you one day and saying they are marrying into a polygamous family?
- Compare and contract this book with Big Love.
Even though I'd recommend this book for a book club, I wouldn't say it's a 'read'. There are many books out there that are a better read than this one.
Rating: Do not read
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
- John Grisham -
Thursday, September 8, 2011
- Suzanne Collins -
Sunday, August 28, 2011
- Suzanne Collins -
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
- Suzanne Collins -
Monday, August 8, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I took this book out of the library thinking it was going to be a bland 'how to' book on basic survival skills. To my surprise, and delight, it was much more. It is part journal and part 'how to' blended together to put the skills into context. This made for an enjoyable read with all of the practical knowledge to boot. But wait, there was more. The personal accounts of Mark brought in a spiritual philosophical dimension on how natural living effects the soul, the idea that nature is not an adversary, even the concept of time. Reading this book not only filled my soul with more respect and appreciation for the natural world but a desire to reevaluate my own thoughts and slow down life a bit...and of course, try out some cool survival skills!
Most of the book is structured as a journal (ie Day 1). Mark keeps us updated on what skills he used, what they made, or maybe what they caught for dinner. I'm happy to report that there are not many repetitive or mundane journal entries. Each day seems to bring on new challenges or observations of nature. There were a few too many pages on mice tracking or vole sightings for my liking, but that's just me. The journal did progress from a practical account of day to day 'chores' to a much great much broader view of the natural world and humans place in it. By the end of the adventure/experiment the entries had turned into full out rants, blasting society's evils and praising the unforgiving world of nature. I got the impression Mark was not going to be headed home, but instead staying in his leaf/stick debris hut and coming that 'hermit' of the woods that we've all heard about in urban myths.
The prologue and epilogue pull everything together. They are must reads in this book. Mark admits that he has changed a lot since he went on this survival quest. He alluded to a feeling that he was slightly ashamed or embarrassed about some of his rantings. I do commend his apology for breaking a few laws (trespassing, poaching, etc) and agree that to survive he had to do a few illegal things.
Overall, I thought this was a superb blending of 'how to' with an in-context story making for a wonderful read.
RATING - READ
Thursday, July 7, 2011
ADVENTURES IN SOLITUDE
- Grant Lawrence -
RATING : READ!
- Robert Ludlum -
Wordy! This book just has too many words. It could be a quick two or three hundred page fast movin' action packed paperback, instead of the 600 page mammoth it turned into. Now, there were many scenes that put you on the edge of your seat and kept you turning those 600 pages. There were the expected car chases, the identity changes, the occasional explosions and gun battles that I was expecting (and hoping for). But, there was also so much more...pages to read that is. Pages and pages of dialogue that seemed to drag on and on and on...like one of those phone messages you might get, you know that ones that time out they are so long...
Hey! Hello? Oh, you must not be home? Oh well, it's me. Me! Haha. Calling on my cell. I was calling to set up a meeting time. So, I'll leave a message I guess, haha. Call me on my cell and hopefully you will get me and won't have to leave a message and I won't have to call you back and leave a message haha. Anyway, again just had a moment so I thought I'd call. You know I forget sometimes, so when I do remember I just call. But, looks like you are not home...
You get the idea, a whole lot of blabbering, repeating, and droning on. At points while reading I wanted to yell at the book, "get to the point already! Or, at least move on to a car chase or something!"
I also found the entire storyline a bit too unbelievable, even for an over the top spy thriller. In this novel an assassin has been murdering top Hong Kong business men and diplomats, all the while leaving the calling card of Jason Bourne. The copy cat had to be stopped. The FBI/CIA guys get together and form a plan to motivate the real Jason Bourne to come out of retirement (aka witness protection program) and take on this killer. He is the only person in the world with enough skill to do it.
The plan is to kidnap his wife, whom you may remember as the tough as nails Canadian economist from the first novel? The plan goes a bit haywire after Marie escapes. Jason turns crazy thinking his wife is dead...all making great fodder for an explosive story. Unfortunately, the story gets bogged down with the long drawn out conversations between the government/FBI/CIA folks and the Hong Kong government guys. There conversations try to tell a bigger story about the Chinese wanting to cause a major crisis in Hong Kong so they can take it back over. However, there is a real chance this will turn into a something much bigger - WWIII!!
A big far fetched you say? I was lost too. After reading the 300 or so pages outlining the collapse of the East I was really bored, annoyed, and had eye strain. This, consequently, left me with the feeling that this book was really slow and not that good overall.
Another bone I have to pick with Ludlum is that error on Canadian geography! He writes that Marie is a tough ranch girl and their family has a ranch in Calgary. Makes sense, there are ranches out in Calgary. Calgary is in the province of Alberta which is wide open ranch country. Where the mistake comes up is that Ludlum keeps mentioning the ranch is in Ontario (not Alberta!) Every time he wrote something about Marie being a tough Ontario ranch girl I would cringe. I'm still left wondering how an editor did not catch something like this?
Rating: Do Not Read*
*Unless you are working on increasing your page count, let's say if you are in a contest such as 'who can read the most pages this month'.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
- Farley Mowat -
This book is just full of surprises. After his return from WWII, Farley meets up with France and gets married. This is a surprise to me since I've never heard of this lady. I didn't even know he was married? Anyway, FM can't stand the city (Toronto at the time) and manages to buy 10 acres from a friend for $50 or $500, don't quote me but it was cheap. The land in way out in the country, lot 4b on cty ln 10 off RR#30 just past the old burned out yurt...you get the idea? There is barely a road, there is no house, there is no electricity, not even cell phone coverage. Farley takes the spring and summer to put up what sounds like a solid log house. Made with his own hands, a shovel, and a jeep. The next year he takes on the land, which sounds like it was pretty worn out from previous logging and farming. He starts a giant garden, gets a few chickens, and starts reforesting the land. During these first couple of years he writes his first book - The People of the Deer - and sells a few magazine articles. His breakout success with this book brings more confidence and more ideas, pretty soon he has a few books on the go. One of these book ideas, eventually leading to And No Birds Sang, takes him and his wife on a European Vacation. Not the fun Griswold type (we're pigs), but, to reconnect with the battlegrounds and experiences he had during his war years. Then, to my surprise he starts a family?! Another shocker! I never knew he had kids? But, a little boy is born a year or so after the Europe trip. Then Farley promptly takes a voyage on a boat down the St.Lawrence river out to Nova Scotia, where the story suddenly ends. There is some foreshadowing that implies the trip was a bad idea and it would probably ruined his fragile marriage and new family life.
The book was laid out in an interesting way. Farley tells his writing story mostly through letters he had with his editor and his agent. Now, I know writers can be a bit strange and unconventional, but, Farley has to take the cake on this one. In most of his letters to his editor he writes very unprofessionally. He dismisses most of the changes his editor suggest (even if predicted to sell more books), which is normal I suppose. But, then mentions how he could write more if he wasn't always spending his time on that garden. How if he was just sent an advance, even $500, he wouldn't worry about him and his wife starving this winter. Or, he pushes that he should come meet with the editor, if of course they would kindly pay for travel food hotel. Then there are letters that he chats about the weather or some other topic that has nothing to do with writing. He rambles, he swears, he rants, he criticizes the government...in letters to his editor.
There seemed, to me at least, to be a theme running through the book - independence. Mowat shares stories about his homesteading, stressing how his eventual goal was to be self-sufficient. Then there is the a big section about a trip he takes to visit some old army friends who live in the northern part of Hastings county. These people were not part of mainstream society. They were living off the land; fishing and hunting. Farely's stories brought out the best in these rough outliers lives and I felt his tone bordered envy. Then there was his boat trip. What can be more blatantly isolating than being secluded on a boat in the middle of a large body of water...that's one way to get away, especially if there is a strong current pushing you. It was pretty clear by the end of the book that Farley was trying to get away from something at this part of his life. What? I'm not sure, but, that's what good writers do, leave you hanging...and/or encourage you to buy the next book! Or, leave you thinking? Was he running from his war memories? his wife? responsibility? growing up?
Friday, May 13, 2011
P.S. What made me first pick up this book was Anthony's shameless promotion of it on his great travel/food show No Reservations. Funny though, the jokes on Anthony - he promoted his book, which I got free from the library, from his show, which I also got free from the library...oh boy, I'm quite the cheapskate!
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
- Jamie Oliver -
Never thought I'd do a write up about a cook book. First off, I'm not what you'd call a cook or a wannabe cook or even an occasional dabbler in the culinary arts. No, I microwave tea ('nuff said). So, to now be praising a book on cooking seems very odd. But, this is no ordinary book full of recipes and detailed instructions on bake times and temps. No, it's a bird, it's a plane, ...it's Jaime Oliver!
Jamie's charismatic personality and passion for food is palatable in this book. Even though there is very little writing it felt like every word made an impact. The short & sweet stories describing dishes are filled with the right mix of humour, british slang, and Jamie's own strong opinions (pushing organics, quality food, and that obvious disgust for over processed food)
Even though I am no cook, this book makes me want to run out and buy some 'simple' ingredients (or better yet, just grow some on the windowsill), throw them in a pot, cook for an hour and wow my friends and family. Jamie makes it sound so simple! I'm seriously thinking this book could/should be filed under 'motivational' books in some library somewhere.