Saturday, March 30, 2013

Virtual Book Club- April 2013!

The Art of FieldingThe Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Jaime, Michele, and I started a virtual book club, and if you feel like reading along with us, our April book is The Art of Fielding.

(My dad definitely did not read this, it was published in 2011.)

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Avoidance

Why am I reading all books my father didn't read when I have hundreds of his books upstairs and my entire goal here is to read his books? Sounds like a good question right?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this one in less than 48 hours because now I had gotten caught in the story from the first two books. It's very entertaining and sad. The ending is satisfying but not sticky sweet. I fell for these books despite my resistance because they're not "literature." Ah well,I can't live on only vegetables.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Book of Drugs: A Memoir by Mike Doughty

The Book of Drugs: A MemoirThe Book of Drugs: A Memoir by Mike Doughty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm pretty biased in Doughty's favor because I'm a fan of all of his music. On the other hand, maybe I'm also biased in the other direction because I take some of his scathing criticism of his fans a little personally. So take what I say however you will.

He writes well, and he writes honestly. He betrays even his darkest thoughts. I believe there is goodness in truth, and so there is goodness in this book.

But, but, but: Though he is harsh on himself by admitting every thought, it's tricky because he's not precisely sorry for the bigger moral transgressions. It's not the drugs that are a gateway to worse things, but falterings in morality. We have to hold ourselves to a high moral standard-- not out of snootiness or superiority-- but so we can be happy with ourselves and each other. Maybe he's trying to reach some of this at the end, but it sort of feels like a slapped on cheery ending. It doesn't really sound like him.

Still a big fan.

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2)Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the one where Harry torments the Dudleys all summer- fun! We meet Dobby! Everyone drives an illegal flying car! Professor Lockhart is super annoying. The Chamber... I forget the chamber.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the FliesLord of the Flies by William Golding
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this as a kid because it was assigned in class, and I did not enjoy it. Does anyone really enjoy straightforward allegories? It was both boring and horrifying at the same time. And despite being an allegory, or maybe precisely because it was, it didn’t persuade me of anything philosophically.

Because it is so horrifying (particularly for kids) it is far more memorable than most other books I read as a child.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

The Last LectureThe Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I recently reread this because I've been reading memoirs written by people facing death (The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying, When Breath Becomes Air, The Year of Magical Thinking, It's Okay to Laugh). I didn't remember it as well as I remembered the video of his lecture. This is more of an inspirational positive-thinking-working-harder-than-everyone business book and a book for his children.

There is some, but not a lot, of discussion about what one should do with one's life. He thinks you should be passionate about your work and work hard, but this didn't really resonate with me especially considering his job was teaching and creating virtual reality technologies. That's cool, but is he really glad he spent all that extra time at work even though his life was shorter than average? Maybe some people love their work that much, but I would hope it would be mostly people in helping professions. Perhaps he thought his job was helping people? Or maybe he thought it was the most fun pastime ever?

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Friday, March 8, 2013

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

A Walk to RememberA Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I understand I'm supposed to think this is cheeseballs, and that I've been emotionally played. But I don't care. I found the plotline to be completely predictable; it was pretty obvious what was coming. Zero surprises. But I don't care.

I love this book because this is the best description of the experience of real love I've ever read. And as often as not, this is often how real love goes, it just sometimes takes longer.

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

HatchetHatchet by Gary Paulsen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kind of Island of the Blue Dolphin for a boy stranded in Canadian wildness for two months instead of a girl stranded on a Pacific Island for 18 years. The focus was on his survival with the occasional flashback to his parents' drama back home. I think it's a fun book for kids- though scary in some parts. Doesn't hold up well for adults.

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Carrie by Stephen King

CarrieCarrie by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is written in the entertaining style of a true crime being investigated after the fact. King focuses on the cruelty of high school students without any kind of deeper focus on this cruelty. We know that Carrie has been teased for years but none of the details thereof, that she has one particularly cruel incident that several girls are involved in at the beginning of the book, and the big scene is really caused by one rogue mean girl with a bad-boy boyfriend. In addition, Carrie suffers abuse from her fanatical Christian mother.

It's not a very focused thesis, but it does seem prescient in light of the many school massacres that have occurred starting in 1999. I actually tried to look up the number but it turns out there were so many school shootings in America going as far back as the 18th or 19th century that I gave up. Maybe it wasn't quite so prescient?

I first read this in middle school or high school but recently reread it. Review from 3/2018.

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Monday, March 4, 2013

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very stressful read. Even though I knew how it would turn out, I was still so stressed the entire time because some other character was going to be murdered in the worst possible way. And it's all children! The horror.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary

Ramona the Pest (Ramona, #2)Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I like this one much better than the first one. Ramona is 5 years old and starts kindergarten. This time she gets into milder but funnier trouble than in the first book. Her older sister Beezus is only a minor character in this one. The author does a great job of capturing the perspective of a 5-year old child.

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