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Thread: Reading!

  1. #1041
    It's odd how some books I read end up connecting so well with others I've recently finished.

    Mary Coin by Marisa Silver. I bought this hardcover book to help the school's book faire at B&N, and its connection to The Grapes of Wrath. Based on Dorothea Lange's famous photo "Migrant Mother," it creates a fictionalized history of the woman (Mary) with her family, Lange (Vera dare) who photographed her, and a college history professor (Walker Dodge) who finds out some background about the iconic picture. It follows all three in their separate time periods, with some unexpected plot details that emerge. It began the way I thought it would, but the last 1/4 of the book surprised me; I liked it.

    The Jim Plunkett Story by Jim Plunkett and Dave Newhouse. The football star wrote this autobiography the year after he won the MVP of Super Bowl XV. Very simple in style, but with interesting references and minute details of specific key games in his college and pro career. He mentioned G of W and the Central Valley region of CA where he grew up.

    For the summer, I don't expect to read as many books as I have in past summers, but I've passed the 3000-page mark, with 11 books so far.
    "That's what Sheev said."

  2. #1042
    Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina. Had to travel out of town last month, so I picked up a used copy. Read 3/4s or more of it while I was gone but just finished with the last story. Enjoyed it. Liked how the stories were tied together by the cantina scene.

    Hitler's Raid to Save Mussolini. Interesting take on the events that led to Il Duce's removal from power and the German raid to rescue him. Good background on the political arena in 1943 Italy. Lot of maneuvering behind the scenes by all parties involved.

  3. #1043
    Quote Originally Posted by Bel-Cam Jos View Post
    It's odd how some books I read end up connecting so well with others I've recently finished.
    In Elmer Kelton's The Day the Cowboys Quit, he writes a fictionalized story of an actual strike by cowboys in Texas in the 1880s. I'll admit I picked if off the library shelf for other reasons (title sounded kind of funny, I hadn't read a 'K' author in a while nor a western), but since I had read another strike book (Steinbeck), I wondered how they'd differ. Most strikes are emotionally begun, rather than logically, and this was no different. Strikes often lead to meaningless deaths; same here. There are rarely clear heroes and villains over the time period; ditto. I liked his characterization, and the protagonist seemed to be caught in the middle all the time, with tough choices to make.

    With all the hubbub about Paula Deen, I thought I'd read her memoir (co-written with Sherry Suib Cohen), It Ain't All About the Cookin'. As sad as it is to say, I can see how someone would feel the way the media has portrayed the star. She is of the "speak yo' mind" group of people (she writes in the book as if she's speaking, and uses yo' as a possessive pronoun), but maybe should rethink what she says. The first 50 or so years of her life were pretty rough at times. I admire her dedication to her dreams, family, cooking style, and region; but she doesn't seem aware of how her actions or words could be taken negatively by other people. I have even seen news reports quoting this memoir, and not out of context, either. I don't think she deserves to have so many pile on the dump-Paula-Deen bandwagon, especially since she has apologized. Oh, the book has recipes at the ends of most chapters.
    "That's what Sheev said."

  4. #1044
    Quote Originally Posted by Bel-Cam Jos View Post
    With all the hubbub about Paula Deen, I thought I'd read her memoir (co-written with Sherry Suib Cohen), It Ain't All About the Cookin'. As sad as it is to say, I can see how someone would feel the way the media has portrayed the star. She is of the "speak yo' mind" group of people (she writes in the book as if she's speaking, and uses yo' as a possessive pronoun), but maybe should rethink what she says. The first 50 or so years of her life were pretty rough at times. I admire her dedication to her dreams, family, cooking style, and region; but she doesn't seem aware of how her actions or words could be taken negatively by other people. I have even seen news reports quoting this memoir, and not out of context, either. I don't think she deserves to have so many pile on the dump-Paula-Deen bandwagon, especially since she has apologized. Oh, the book has recipes at the ends of most chapters.
    I saw once on the Food Network special on "where their chef's came from" and it showed video of Dean before she was on the network and while she had a southern accent it was nowhere near as strong as it is now. Kinda funny how that was turned on when she rose to fame?!?!

  5. #1045
    Passed the 5000-pages read mark for the summer, with this 18th book, The Casual Vacancy. Now, why did I choose a book set in the English country, about the inner workings of a small town's city council? After reading the first 1/3 or so, and the characters are often two-faced hypocrites involved in theft, drugs, lying, domestic abuse, suicide, adultery, hacking, and more? Well, that lady who wrote the Harry Potter series wrote this one, too. It went from one of the most awful books I'd read, to a decent one by the end, where most, if not all, of the plotlines were tied together nicely, even if the subject matter itself was ugly.
    "That's what Sheev said."

  6. #1046
    Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race The World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougal. This is a re read from a few years ago and its still great. Want to learn about why we were meant to run and how it helped develop humans? Check. While there is a nice chunk of phisiology (not to the point you can't follow) the main point is the story of the author learning to run in a way he won't hurt himself and in the process a 50 mile race in the Copper Canyon of Mexico with the worlds best tribe of runners.

  7. #1047
    The library's summer reading theme is "food," so I've read a few food-related books to fit it. And the other book was a gift; the giver knows the author.

    Weston Ochse's Blood Ocean is a post-apocalyptic novel set on a floating city, like Waterworld. The main character is Hawai'ian and a part of a crew called the Pali Boys, who are looked down on by the other nationality crews. The beginning was bad, really bad, but around the middle, when wondering if this protagonist would even LIVE, it got very interesting, before dying down some by the end. Overall it was above-decent, quite graphic, but still strong in characterization and description.

    Melinda Wells' Killer Mousse is a mystery, centered around a new cooking show hostess, whose previous time-slot host dies while tasting the new host's "Killer Mousse" recipe. I found the characters to be flat, with dull dialogue, and the whodunit aspect easy to discover. She describes specific intersections in the LA area when talking about locations (JediTricks, you probably would know which billboards or stores are right there ). It was just a quick, so-so read.

    This makes 20 books read in the summer (more than I thought I'd read), and almost 6000 pages.
    "That's what Sheev said."

  8. #1048
    Two crummy ones, sadly.

    Anne Rice's Merrick. I hadn't ever read any of Rice's work before, and after this, I may not read any more. Overly wordy, repetitive, and dull flashbacks (I'd guess more than half the book is memory), with characters I couldn't care less about. Lestat, that vampire from her Interview book, gets mentioned a lot, but will he actually appear in the story? The ending just sounds like a buy-my-next-book "cliffhanger." Ugh.

    Josh Lieb's I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President. The title interested me, the cover's blurb from Jon Stewart piqued my interest, and the fact that it is listed as a YA novel told me it wouldn't be too bad. Wrong on all fronts. I was reminded of A Confederacy of Dunces (which was a SSG recommendation to me, plus the Final Jeopardy! question yesterday), but not in a good way. The narrator is arrogant and selfish, and the book made me sick to think that even with this farce and over-the-top style, people might do some of those things. I think it is quite inappropriate as a young adult book. Sad.
    "That's what Sheev said."

  9. #1049
    Just finished an historical novel about the samurai Miyamoto Musashi called Child of Vengeance. One of the best books I've read in a long time. The author (I think his name's David Kirk or something fairly mundane like that, but am not looking at the book at the moment) does an amazing job of writing a novel that jives with what I know of the historical figure (there may be a couple of details changed somewhere) and provides motivation for various things he did and choices he made in his life, while simultaneously would be great reading for someone unfamiliar with him while filling it with "Easter eggs" for people who do know who he was and have read The Book of Five Rings.
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  10. #1050
    I'm not one given to hyperbole, but I think that this book (quite a long one, but easily read in short chapters with photographs throughout) should be read by everyone, and I mean every person, as long as it's in their language, of course. Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum compiled A History of the World in 100 Objects from BBC radio episodes. It isn't what you might expect from a list-of-important-whatevers book (where they take popular or well-known things), but in chronological/thematic order it gives the history of 100 objects that the British Museum has in its displays and archives, many of which aren't "fun," "pretty," or "exciting." What makes it so key for me, is it gives the significance of this particular object to its creator, its culture, its geography, its connections to other cultures (often in the same time period), and its use or purpose. You learn history, literature, religion, anthropology, sociology, music, art, geography, geology, and probably other -ologies I can't recall now. The writer's tone and style isn't overly academic, judgmental, or preachy, even making some pop culture references where helpful. One of the best books I have read in some time. I hope to use this not only in my own classes, but I hope to be able to present it in one of our school's all-staff collaborations; it fits just about every subject area taught. There is also a softcover version due out in September, so I would likely buy that one.
    "That's what Sheev said."

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