I hadn’t read anything by popular author David Baldacci, so when I saw this book in my favorite genre I thought I’d give it a try. This strategy paid off when I discovered Nora Roberts’ fantasy trilogy Morrigan’s Cross. It is a very fast-paced read with a rather different world, some sort of apocalypse, I believe, with perhaps magic or maybe its technology. Things are Not as they seem, it took me awhile to figure out how this universe/world worked. The main character Vega Jane (an orphan of course) sees her coworker being chased by tracking hounds followed by the City Council members. Her friend is headed into the Quag – wherein there are only monsters and no sane member ventures into. Yet things are Not as they seem. Vega Jane’s transformation seemed a lot more believable than a number of heroes, I’m Not sure why. I cannot wait for the sequels!
There is a lot of moralizing. Moralizing of a sort that I agree with, we should Not abuse horses, nor other animals. And I think showing kindness to other humans is a standard by which we ought to judge others (if we are going to judge them at all). But I am surprised that this is a classic, it might as well have been titled, 50 ways Not to abuse horses. That said given the great positive influence this title has had on the treatment of horses and animals, I am glad of its impact. Plus the story had a happy ending.
A sweet tale told at the end of Mrs. Poole’s, the cat’s, life about growing up on a sailing ship, travels, shipwreck, but then most of the time is spent with Griffin, the son of the lighthouse keeper. Griffin is tender and different, just like his Uncle Daniel was. I’m guessing this to be a metaphor for being gay. Griffin’s mother loves her son, and through that love is able to reconcile herself with her brother who has also always been different. Charming, though Not as delightful as Rutledge’s Diary of a Cat. Next up Rutledge’s Cats Love Letters.
There is a reason we don’t carry this title…yep, its Not that good. Remind me to never read a book, just because the cover looks really good. They say you cannot judge a book by its cover, well, thats Not entirely true. If the cover features a knife dripping with blood, you know chances are good, that its just NOT a “cozy mystery”. But I digress.
Main character, Jimmy Zoole’s has had a wretched year: his best friend died, his acting career is dead, his apt has been burgled repeatedly, his promising manuscript for a novel gone with burglary #3, his girlfriend just broke up with him, and now his cat has died while at the vets. Its being capped off with burglary #4 on New Year’s Eve. Zoole catches the burglar in the act ties him to the kitchen counter, and vents by hitting the burglar. I thought it would be lots funnier. Yes I knew there’d be some black humor. But I thought the burglar turning around and helping Zoole after being hit repeatedly stretched credulity.
The cover (the black one) looks like it’d be a hilarious read, a little quirky… Not for me. Yet this book, was turned into both a play and a movie, perhaps I’m being harsh.
Sinner? well I usually think of someone much worse than Cole’s character. It seems something of a boast to label oneself as a sinner with his few “crimes”. I wish I found out more about Sam and Grace – I don’t really care that much for Cole and Isabel, they are Not as interesting as Sam and Grace, but perhaps their story has played out, maybe it really played out at the end of v1 of the Trilogy. Isabel became less and less likeable, really annoying as if parents getting a divorce entitles her to be bitchy and mean. And I guess Cole’s great self-doubts justify him falling in love with such a mean person. Much more romance, much less action. Trite. But if we categorize this as a romance, then it is a much better romance than the majority of romance type novels I’ve come in contact with.
An enjoyable book. Main character Miranda starts the story off, telling how her neighbor and best friend Sal, quit hanging out with her, after he got punched, as the two were walking home. A number of other 6th graders enter her life, as space is opened up. These include AnneMarie, whose best friend Julia “broke up” with her. Collin joking fellow who’d always been in the background, Marcus the kid who hit Sal, and even Julia, AnneMarie’s long-time best friend. It also describes Miranda’s relationship with her Mother (single mom) and Mom’s boyfriend Richard. The heart of the story is how Miranda navigates her friendships. There is also a time travel mystery, as she receives notes from a
person who has already seen the future. The question is who is doing the time travelling. All the clue are laid out for you, but I didn’t think it was obvious. Minor quibble – I didn’t think the explanation for Sal’s jerky behavior really made sense. But overall enjoyable!
Another book by Leigh Rutledge. This one is a Dear Abby type series of letters that cats (& 1 dog), have written in to Dear Tabby. Tabby answers a range of questions from how to get your humans to change the stupid funny name they’ve given the cat, to love of birds. Rutledge, seems familiar with the types of letters that might get written in to an editor, including portraying diverse reactions to a given topic. Dear Tabby is above all funny, with sharp sarcasm ending most replies. Now on to find more cat titles by Rutledge.
This was a delightful, enjoyable read. It is the tale of an old jinni, released from his flask after 1000’s of years imprisonment. He is released by a tinsmith in New York at the turn of the century in New York. At the same time, a golem created to be the wife of a ship passenger who dies en route to New York, struggles to pass as human in New York in a nearby neighborhood. I really enjoyed this tale of historical fiction with a touch of magic. You get a lot of backstory on several of the characters. I heartily recommend this title.
This is the story of Alma Whiteacre a scientist of moss and evolution. It starts with her father’s life, an unscrupulous lad, who starts prospering by stealing botanicals.
His life is interesting, though he is not a likeable character. The next 3 segments of the book cover Alma’s life, a very intellectual but very lonely life. Her mother and secondary mother figure, are all about being tough, and stoic. Her father is pretty self-centered, and behaves however he pleases. An interesting, if uneven read.
I read about this bestselling title in the book Globish He is the biggest selling English language author in India. In 2010 Time Magazine listed him as one of the 100 most influential people of the world (along with Barack Obama and Steve Forbes). I’d never heard of him before. the story takes place over the span of about 8 hours, examining the lives of 6 call center employees, most of whom are adults. It was an ok book. Not bad, but Not something I’d recommend.
This was a far more interesting history of the world, or most any history than I’ve previously read. The downside, is that I will have difficulty remembering all the individual facts. The narrative was constructed more like Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader including Harper’s Magazine Index-type lists of comparative statistics that really make you think. Much more attention is given to Asia, Africa and South America than your standard Euro-centered histories of the past. Did you know that the Khan that Marco Polo visited was the same Kubla Khan mentioned in Coleridge’s poem? I listened to this title and thus missed some formatting and organization that would have been communicated on the page. Apparently, they had sidebars that listed who-or-what was up at a given point in time, who/what was down. They also had important events listed within a given time-period. These interesting tidbits didn’t translate as readily to the audio version, they needed more verbal placemarkers, such as these highlights apply to this time period. Still I really enjoyed this book, and will look for more Mental Floss titles.
This was a delightful tale written in the form of diary entries by a cat. The cat introduces us to the various neighbors on the block. These include a squabbling mother & teenage daughter next door, an agoraphobic older woman desperately trying to get her shoes to walk her more than a few feet down the block, a crazy cat lady, with a house full of cats, and an abused young boy and his unsparing father. There is humor a-plenty, though its Not all fluff. I really enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading Rutledge’s other titles.
I’d been looking for a cat book available in MP3 downloadable format (so many are in the aggravating & useless WMA format) so when I found one in MP3 format and that Amy Tan had written it, I was delighted. It is a brief tale of the ancient heroic cat Sagwa who had changed the emperor into a less self-centered ruler.
After reading the book The Smartest Kids in the World: and How They got that Way, I started wondering how much can pedagogy be taught, and how much of it is just having a good personality. And by “good personality” I was thinking of the charismatic “hail fellow well met type”. I should have remembered that people with “hail fellow well met” type of personalities, usually get more credit than they deserve see the book Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Should teachers be required to get a good education or does getting a degree in physical education, qualify you to teach math in high school. How much can training benefit a teacher?
Science reporter Ben Carey provides us with a user’s manual for how our brains work.
Some of the methods I learned from this book seemed intuitively correct, but I didn’t know why they worked; other methods were new to me. I did know that studying for two hours straight is less effective than studying one hour on one day and then another hour a couple of days later. The deeper we have to dig to retrieve a piece of information, the more likely it is to stick. This explains why comprehensive exams are better for you, though less popular. I did know that when you reach an impasse, you should stop, take a break, then go back to the problem. I’ve advised my husband to do this, but now I have evidence to back me up.
I didn’t realize how important it is to mix things up, what author Carey calls interleavement. Drills are fine, but you don’t want to spend a long period of time on the same one, or same type of problem. For example when practicing music do some scales, then some etudes, then play a piece through, then work on tone, then go back to scales, etc. Carey posits that this is really critical in math because you need to be able to figure out which type of formula to apply to different problems. Often in school, students do fine on an individual section, but then fail the comprehensive test because now they have to select which formula to apply. Another way to mix things up is to study in different places and under different conditions, though if you can study in the room where you will take the test, this will assist you when you take the test, but not in the long run. You want to know if you are merely studying to pass a given test, or want to retain the knowledge for the long run.
I enjoyed the way Carey wove together academic research studies with real world applications. I liked this book a lot, and wish more of my teachers and professors had imparted this type of knowledge.
This is a short biography of a African American born into slavery, then emancipated with his family, who loved working with horses, and ended up owning his own stables and showed horses at major events. Bass was able to overcome a number of racial barriers because of his great skill with horses, and because other people, whites, stood up for him. He was a quiet, gentle man, and one wonders if an African American with a different temperament would have succeeded in his place.
This book, was Not as well written as others, the tension was problematic, where I just wanted to skip ahead, and Not endure the will this person succeed at jumping high enough, or some such thing. I suspect Garth Nix didn’t contribute as much as Sean Williams, having read Nix before. Still I’m looking forward to the next in the series.
Overweight teen Cat takes on a high school science project where she takes up the diet and physical habits of hominins. In the process she loses lots of weight, dates a number of guys, and tries to recover from an old emotional injury.