Posts Tagged ‘Books’

Book Review:The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

AuthorNeil Gaiman 
TitleThe Ocean at the End of the Lane
Narrator: Neil Gaiman
Publication Info: [New York] : Harper Audio, 2013.
Previously read by the same author:

Summary/Review:

This novel is a mix of fantasy and horror, as a seven-year-old boy’s life is turned upside-down by a supernatural being that invades his home by way of his body taking the form of the superbly creepy Ursula Monkton. Fortunately, the equally mysterious but benevolent Hempstock women live on a farm nearby, and he’s able to go to them for aid.  The book is full of mystery and atmosphere, and captures the feel of childhood when new things can be a source of joy and discovery and the familiar can suddenly be horrific.  Neil Gaiman’s narration on the audiobook is excellent as his diction and delivery add to the feel of a child experiencing the horror and mystery.

Favorite Passages:

“I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I took joy in the things that made me happy.”

“I lay on the bed and lost myself in stories. I liked that. Books were safer than other people anyways.”

“Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences. I was a child, and I knew a dozen different ways of getting out of our property and into the lane, ways that would not involve walking down our drive.”

“Monsters come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are things people are scared of. Some of them are things that look like things people used to be scared of a long time ago. Sometimes monsters are things people should be scared of, but they aren’t.”

“Oh, monsters are scared, said Lettie. That’s why they’re monsters.”

“I’m going to tell you something important. Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. The truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”

“Different people remember things differently, and you’ll not get any two people to remember anything the same, whether they were there or not.”

Recommended books: Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, and The Boneshaker by Kate Milford.
Rating: ****

Book Review:A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

AuthorGeorge R.R. Martin
Title: A Storm of Swords
NarratorRoy Dotrice
Publication Info: Random House Audio (2012)
Previous books in the series: A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings
Summary/Review:  The high fantasy series continues with the grim and deadly doing of Westeros, a place where weddings are more dangerous than battlefields and being a king doesn’t offer much job security.  Dotrice’s narration continues to make the series for me, providing an old-time storyteller’s feel to the tales of adventure, intrigue, betrayal, and occasionally friendship and love.  I’ve watched the tv series, and it appears for the most part that the tv series has only depicted events up to the end of this books, so I look forward to reading the next two published books completely unspoiled.
Rating: ***

Book Review:The Journey That Saved Curious George by Louise W. Borden

Author: Louise W. BordenAllan Drummond (Illustrator)
TitleThe Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey
Publication Info: HMH Books for Young Readers (2010)
Summary/Review:

This brightly-illustrated book tells the true story of the creators of Curious George, Margret and H.A. Rey.  Much like their monkey creation, they had to escape from some sticky situations.  The couple lived in Paris on the verge of World II and made their escape from the city by bicycle hours before the German army marched in.  It’s a fascinating story, and this book left me wanting to know more.

Rating: **1/2

Book Review:The Bluffer’s Guide to Beer by Jonathan Goodall

Author: Jonathan Goodall
TitleThe Bluffer’s Guide to Beer
Publication Info: Bluffer’s (2013)
Summary/Review:I received this ebook through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program.  Presented as a guide to faking knowledge among beer snobs, this book presents a snapshot of the beer brewing process, insights into different beer cultures around the world, and a bit about each of the most notable styles of beer.  It’s full of fun facts and suggestions for enjoying new types of beer.  While full of comical suggestions on how one might interject beer facts into conversation, this book is actually full of a lot more detail than I’d ever remember (especially if I’d been drinking for a while). It makes a good introduction to beer and beer culture.

Recommended booksBeer: Tap Into the Art and Science of Brewing by Charles Bamforth
Rating: **1/2

Book Review: The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean

AuthorSam Kean
TitleThe disappearing spoon : and other true tales of madness, love, and the history of the world from the periodic table of the elements
Narrator: Sean Runnette
Publication Info: Tantor Media, 2010
Summary/Review:

This book is a history of science based on the periodic table.  Kean goes through the elements discussing their discovery, the stories of the scientists who discovered them, and the element’s place in human society.  A lot of the book is anecdotes about chemists, but they’re good stories.  There are also a lot of interesting connections, both among the elements and the people who work for them.  A nice, easy-to-read popular science and history work that enlivens the periodic table for even the most curmudgeonly humanities major.

Recommended books13 things that don’t make sense by Michael Brooks, Lost Discoveries: The Ancient Roots of Modern Science–From the Babylonians to the Maya by Dick Teresi, and Connections by James Burke.
Rating:

Book Review: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

AuthorGeorge R.R. Martin
TitleA Clash of Kings
Narrator: Roy Dotrice
Publication Info: Random House Audio (2011)
Previously read by the same author: A Game of Thrones
Summary/Review:

The second installment of A Song of Ice and Fire was gripping to my ears as I plowed through the audiobook.  Despite the title, there is not much clashing for most of the novel, but there is a lot of moving of chess pieces around the board.  There’s also a grim portrait of the effect of war on the ordinary people in Westeros.  Having watched the television series, I notice that it diverges more from the source material than in A Game of Thrones, but not so much that I’d wonder why they make the changes.

Rating: ***

Book Review: The Librarian (Book Two: Unhappily Ever After) by Eric Hobbs

AuthorEric Hobbs
TitleThe Librarian (Book Two: Unhappily Ever After)
Publication Info: Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 2012
Summary/Review:

This sequel picks up from the cliffhanger ending of the previous book.  Having made changes within the story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Wesley and Taylor discover that the real world has been changed as well.  They had back to the library to correct what they’ve done, and find themselves in the dystopian world of Oz under control of the Wicked Witch.  This novel is grimmer in tone than it’s predecessor with violence in Oz and tensions among the lead characters.  There’s also an interesting shift from Wesley to Taylor as the primary protagonist.  I thought this book improved upon Little Boy Lost and that Hobbs’ sometimes-pedestrian writing and shallow characterizations are picking up as well.  I look forward to the next installment which will be set in Alice’s Wonderland.

Recommended books: Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde, Band of Demons by Rob Blackwell, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.
Rating: ***

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