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Posts Tagged ‘Good Book’


Book: Knitting with Balls by Michael del Vecchio
Pages: 150
Entertainment Rating: 3/5
Snooty Rating: 4/5
Total Rating: 7/10
Books Read Total: 27/50
Pages Read Total: 4942/15,000

I got this book from the library in hopes of finding something to knit for my brother for Christmas (how forward thinking of me, right?) This book is wonderfully thorough! Much like the Stitch ‘n Bitch books this one has all the information you need from start to finish, but written in “man” language. Occasionally the wording is a little bit cheesy and over-the-top but it’s mostly endearing. I especially enjoyed the breakdown of different yarn weights, the tips and tricks (I never thought to use a card or post-it to mark my place in a chart!), the how to knit continental or english, and the bit in the back about altering patterns. The actual projects didn’t do much for me, but I did check them out, and they offer a great range from basic onward and cover a variety of techniques. This book would make a great gift to anyone (male or female) who’s looking to start knitting more. It’s also a good source for quick guy-gifts (unless that guy is my brother!)

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Book: The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
Pages: Audiobook
Entertainment Rating: 5/5
Snooty Rating: 5/5
Total Rating: 10/10
Books Read Total: 24/50
Pages Read Total: 4220/15,000


Book: Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Pages: 572
Entertainment Rating: 5/5
Snooty Rating: 2.5/5
Total Rating: 7.5/10
Books Read Total: 25/50
Pages Read Total: 4792/15,000

Pullman is fabulous. Each time I experience his storytelling I think about it for days afterwards. While listening to this audiobook (narrated by Pullman himself) I was also reading Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons and couldn’t help but draw parallels between the two. While I recognize that Brown and Pullman play in two different arenas I think that in terms of depth of character and thought-provoking plots Pullman definitely has the upper hand. While he does have the advantage of a trilogy’s worth of pages to build his story I feel he has been true to those pages and made use of each of them. He’s neat. He cleans up after himself, if you know what I mean. While Brown (miserably, albeit with some witty bits) shoves a weak love subplot in to attempt to add some depth to his action packed adventure, Pullman captures the anguish and complexity of what love really is, but without disrupting the story in any way. As I said, he’s neat.

I am by no means “hating on” Brown’s book. I read all 572 pages in a matter of days (a feat for someone as busy as me) and I hated putting it down each time I forced myself to sleep. Brown can tell a suspenseful story, to be certain. There are no good places to stop, and when it comes to plot twists he has a field day. Still I find that when I’m on the hunt for content the most surefire place to find it is in a Young Adult or even a children’s book. Somehow these authors have taken responsibility for the power they have to captivate young and old alike, and they have put it to good, thought-provoking use.

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Book: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Pages: Audiobook
Entertainment Rating: 5/5
Snooty Rating: 4/5
Total Rating: 9/10
Books Read Total: 21/50
Pages Read Total: 3875/15,000

Sara Gruen has a vivid set of characters, to be sure. Jacob Jankowski recalls the most influential year of his life, one that began his career as a circus veterinarian, from his confines in a nursing home at the age of “90, or 93”. He alternates between venting his frustration at being trapped in an old man’s body, and vividly remembering his past experiences. I am 100% in love with this old man. Gruen did an exceptional job of wrenching my heart in every direction, aided no doubt by the fabulous voices of David LeDoux and John Randolph Jones. A moving, informative story not only about the circus but also about the Great Depression, growing old, and elephants. This book opened up an entirely unfamiliar topic for me, and I’ve enjoyed reading about it since I finished the book last week.

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Book: A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah
Pages: Audiobook
Entertainment Rating: N/A
Snooty Rating: 5/5
Total Rating: 10/10
Books Read Total: 18/50
Pages Read Total: 3188/15,000

This book will blow your mind. It will probably give you nightmares, and if you have any soul at all it will make you cry. It will make your stomach turn, your heart ache, and your palms sweat. There will be times when you absolutely must put the book down and walk away, but I promise you it is worth it. I cannot describe this book to you in any way that will do it justice, but I beg you to read it.

From the website:
A gripping story of a child’s journey through hell and back.

There may be as many as 300,000 child soldiers, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s, in more than fifty conflicts around the world. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them. He is one of the first to tell his story in his own words.

In A LONG WAY GONE, Beah, now twenty-six years old, tells a riveting story. At the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he’d been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts. Eventually released by the army and sent to a UNICEF rehabilitation center, he struggled to regain his humanity and to reenter the world of civilians, who viewed him with fear and suspicion. This is, at last, a story of redemption and hope.

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Book: The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Pages: 380
Entertainment Rating: 5/5
Snooty Rating: 5/5
Total Rating: 10/10
Books Read Total: 16/50
Pages Read Total: 3188/15,000

From Amazon.com:
“Fields of white opium poppies stretch away over the hills, and uniformed workers bend over the rows, harvesting the juice. This is the empire of Matteo Alacran, a feudal drug lord in the country of Opium, which lies between the United States and Aztlan, formerly Mexico. Field work, or any menial tasks, are done by “eejits,” humans in whose brains computer chips have been installed to insure docility. Alacran, or El Patron, has lived 140 years with the help of transplants from a series of clones, a common practice among rich men in this world. The intelligence of clones is usually destroyed at birth, but Matt, the latest of Alacran’s doubles, has been spared because he belongs to El Patron…[Spoilers]”

Goodness this woman is great! It’s extremely rare that I keep reading books from the same author unless they’re in a series. (Tom Robbins and John Steinbeck are exceptions) Nancy Farmer has my undivided attention! While her books are technically “Young Adult” I’m finding that I don’t feel the least bit guilty reading them instead of the work required for my various GE courses. I took this book out of the library on Tuesday, and I finished it last night, despite attending all my classes and spending a great deal of time in the studio. I couldn’t put it down! I carried it (hardcover) around in my bag all week, catching bits here and there when I had a free moment. The characters and the plot are captivating and exquisitely crafted, though the ending leaves room for another book. I just discovered that there’s a sequel to Sea of Trolls called Land of the Silver Apples that must have just been released, so maybe that’s where she’s headed with this one!

LOVED IT!

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For the YA Challenge.

Book: The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
Pages: 455
Entertainment Rating: 5/5
Snooty Rating: 5/5
Total Rating: 10/10
Books Read Total: 15/50
Pages Read Total: 2808/15,000

“The Sea of Trolls is a historical fantasy novel set in a fictional version of 793 C.E. in Anglo-Saxon England, Scandinavia, and Jotunheim. It begins when Jack, a young Saxon boy and the protagonist, is accepted as the village bard’s apprentice. Jack loves learning from the bard who teaches him to better see, hear, and sense the world around him. Jack is content until Northmen invade his village…” Wikiplot

I absolutely cannot say enough good things about this book! I read the first 100 pages or so last night and the rest of it today. All 350 pages or so. I had to make myself put it down when my body demanded that I eat something (that may also be because I can’t taste anything so I don’t want to eat). This book was just so…tight. Well constructed. Engaging. I’m amazed I hadn’t heard of it before, because it could kick Harry Potter’s ass. Rich in mythology and magic, the author does a beautiful job of addressing all the many beliefs existing at the time and it seems to me she remains unbiased about them all (though I think we all know Norse gods were a lot more fun). I was impressed by the appendix in the back, as I hadn’t realized just how much research went into this book. In retrospect it makes perfect sense.

GREAT BOOK!

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