Sunday, May 19, 2013

March & April Book Reviews

Better late than never, here are my book reviews for both March and April:


1. Ru - Kim Thuy: This is a beautifully poetic book. The story flows back and forth from past to present as we see the story of a girl as she relives the experience of fleeing from Vietnam to a Malaysian refugee camp before her family progresses to Quebec. The story is beautifully written and flows poetically. One of the best written books I've read in a long time.

2. The Professor and the Madman - Simon Winchester: This is the story on how the Oxford English Dictionary came about. Sounds dull but it actually has some fairly interesting points to it. It focuses on two of the major collaborators; one who put the dictionary together and one who submitted many of the words and explanations that ended up in the dictionary. The remarkable fact is the the man who submitted so many words did so while he was institutionalized after committing murder. There are certainly some dull parts to this book so I'd say only follow through if you are interested in the subject matter.

3. Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn: Super easy read that you will finish in just a few days. It's a story of a missing wife who isn't who she seemed to be. Her husband goes from trying to find her to trying to find out what she was really up to before her disappearance. It's a bit of a thriller/mystery. I found the ending to be a bit disappointing as it didn't seem to gel with the rest of the story. Give it a try and tell me what you think of the ending.

4. Carnivorous Carnival - Lemony Snicket: This is the ninth book in the series and I'd have to say it was my least favourite. There was nothing remarkable about this tale that made it stand out more than the others. Alas, if you've already started the series based on my reviews of the other books then you'll have to power through this one to keep up with the rest of the series!

5. Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey - Trenton Lee Stewart: This is book 2 in the series. It's a very cute idea for a series of books and I think most kids 8+ would enjoy it.  In this book the kids must go on a journey alone to try and find a missing Mr. Benedict. Their trip takes them on boats and trains while they encounter many of their old foes. It's a series I recommend for anyone who enjoys a cute tale of adventure.


1. World War Z - Max Brooks: This was an awesome book! I found it to be a pretty accurate account of what I thought would happen in a zombie apocalypse. It's done in the format of interviews with average citizens, politicians, military personnel, etc. The story is told in such a factual way that makes it believable and entertaining at the same time. It's a fun read!

2. The Fault in our Stars - John Green: A sweet friend mailed me this book as a thank you gift. Hazel is a teenager who is battling cancer and meets another cancer survivor at group therapy. Together they start a bittersweet romance which revolves around a book that Hazel is obsessed with. Because it's a short, quick read I don't want to give away too much. If you enjoy books like Gone Girl you will enjoy this one.

3. Postcards From the Edge - Carrie Fisher: I loved this book! I had no idea that Carrie Fisher was so witty. The story starts in rehab as we follow a celebrity trying to recover and then moves to her career after she gets out. It's funny, smart, and well written. It makes me want to see the movie AND pick up her other books.

4. I am So The Boss of You - Kathy Buckworth: What can I say? Simply, I like the way Kathy thinks. So much of this book made sense to me it made me wonder why more people aren't adopting this parenting style? It's hilarious, relevant, and original. If you want a good chuckle at a new way to parent your kids then pick it up and you'll soon start thinking WWKD (What Would Kathy Do?).

5. 419 - Will Ferguson: I was surprised that this book started out in Calgary and I knew all the streets that were mentioned. It's about a daughter who is trying to figure out what happened leading up to the death of her father. We find out that her father was conned into an internet scam. We've all received those emails of someone in Africa needing to move money, escape the country and wanting to pay for help, or we've won a lottery. The daughter decides to try and track down the con artist and it takes her to Nigeria. It's interesting to learn about the person behind the con as well as the daughter trying to track him down. After reading this you'll never look at those emails quite the same again!

6. Just So Stories - Rudyard Kipling: This is one of the 501 Must Reads. It's a collection of tales he wrote to amuse his daughter. There's stories like the camel got his hump, and how animals like a zebra go his stripes. My favourite was the one about how dogs, horses, etc became tamed but how the cat outsmarted all the beasts and man to  be tame, yet be their own self at the same time; it's super cute. I'd suggest this to be a good book to read to your kids ages about 8 and up.

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