December 17, 2011

Good morning!!!

Yayyyyy!  The semester is over which means that I'll be back in the world of books again!  Oh how I've missed the oblivion of a fantastically written tome!  I'm going to start off my weeks of freedom by delving back into Emperor of All Maladies which I just know is going to rock this first week of vacay.

Results soon!!

November 10, 2011

Long time no update!

Well, hello there!  I'm so sorry that I haven't updated in forever but it's been busy with school and such.  HOWEVER, I have finished Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach and declare it to be absolutely delightful and worth the read.  I must reiterate my earlier sentiments that if you can't handle detailed descriptions of gore and a wit that is very macabre you'd best stay away from this book.  If you're like me and really enjoy books that talk about really interesting and sometimes gross things then get to reading!

I'm now reading (completely for my own enjoyment I might add) Serial Killers & Mass Murderers: Profiles of the World's Most Barbaric Criminals by Nigel Cawthorne.  I'd like to blame my obsession on the tv show Criminal Minds for my interest in this read but that would be a lie.  The truth is that I've always loved true crime and all that is macabre so this book fairly leapt off of the shelf at me.  The title pretty much tells you exactly what you're in for when you read this book.  It discusses some of the most prolific serial killers and the heinous crimes that they committed.  Some of the criminals you'll find within its pages: The Boston Strangler, Ted Bundy, Doctor Death, etc.  Each chapter starts off with how many people were killed, the modus operandi (look at how fancy I am!), and if the killer was caught and since sentenced to death.  If you're interested in what makes up the mind of a killer then you'll probably like this book.  I have to be honest that I don't find it all that well written but the meat of the story is what I'm after so I can look past that for the most part.  I should be finished with this one fairly quickly and when I am I will be sure to let you all know my thoughts on it. :o)

Until next time, happy reading!!

PS It just so happened that I've been reading these rather ghastly books around the time of Halloween.  Sheer coincidence, I swear!

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EDIT: Because I just can't help myself here's a booktrailer that I created for Stiff.

October 10, 2011

This junk is rough!

I've come across a snag.  I'm back in school for the fall semester and as I should have predicted I've been too busy to read for leisure.  Soooo I'm going to have to talk about the books I'm reading for class for a while.  Luckily, I now own Maladies so I will be able to get back to it. 

Alright, so I'm currently reading a young adult book entitled  Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach.  When you're in the business of reader's advisory you learn that young people (and boys in general) tend to like those books that are more gruesome and feature grotesque storylines.  This book delivers that along with some great potty humor.  If you don't have a strong stomach and aren't into jokes about the dead then I don't recommend you pick up this book.  I chose this book specifically for our assignment on creating booktrailers.  Booktrailers are created to entice potential readers to pick up and read books that you (as the librarian) particularly recommend.  I'm still in the process of reading the book so I'm not sure yet how I'm going to structure the trailer (although I know it's going to be full of humor).  I'll keep you all updated. :oD

Until then, hang tight and keep reading!

August 16, 2011

still here!

Just wanted to let you guys know that I'm still here!  This book I'm currently working on, The Emperor of All Maladies, is a beast (in an extremely good way) and I'm not done yet.  :o)  As soon as I've finished you can be sure that I'll let you all know what I think (I'm about 3/4 of the way through and it's fantastic thus far).

Stay tuned!

August 7, 2011

Seems like there's not enough hours in the day sometimes...

I just finished up Robopocalpyse and it was awesome (and terrifying).  The thought that machines could rise up against the human race and nearly obliterate us doesn't seem all that hard to believe.  It wasn't a particularly long or arduous read and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  The structure of the book reads like diary entries except they are told from the point of view of various Robs (robots).  The descriptive prose made the story come alive and had me practially blowing through the pages.

After that fun read I decided to head down a completely different path and picked up The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee which chronicles the disease that is cancer.  I have lost quite a few people to this heinous disease and a book that essentially breaks it down to a narrative format intrigued me.  It just came out and so I had to place it on hold to make sure that I got it.  I only have 3 days to read it and it's 470 pages long.  This a true test, people!  Here I go!!

EDIT: I was able to renew the book so now I can read at my leisure (and a good thing too as I haven’t even broken 100!).

August 2, 2011

Whoooops!

Here I was thinking that I had updated this yesterday!!  Well, I finished World War Z.  I have mixed feelings about it.  It was very imaginative and well-written.  The sheer enormity of the event that Brooks was creating is staggering when you think about it.  First, he had to make the reader believe that the living dead actually walked the earth (or dragged themselves along as the case may be).  Second, he had to create entirely new civilizations that resulted from the huge war that occurred as a result of the zombie infestation.  Third, he had to pull all of this information together in such a way that it wasn't just hard "facts" but a narration of events.  So for this, I applaud him.  However, I am one of those people who really shy away from the use of "coarse language".  One could argue that it makes the tale more believable as the particular cast of characters in this book would likely use such language.  For me, I don't think that it would have detracted from the story if these words were cut down if not eliminated entirely.  Of course, if this doesn't bother you (which it probably doesn't cause I'm really nitpicky sometimes) then pick up this book and dive into a story that just might knock you dead (ha ha ha).

I guess I must be in a mood for war because I'm now reading Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson.  I think you can figure out what this book is about by the title but just in case...The basic premise is that technology rebels against us.  All of those handy gadgets that the human race depends on to get us through everyday tasks (cell phones, toasters, cars, etc.) turn against their makers and...  Well, I'm not sure what happens yet but (without giving too many details) I'll read it and let you know what I think!!

I hope you guys are getting something out of these posts.  If you're enjoying them (or not) please feel free to offer feedback.  Also, if you're looking for a recommendation I'd be happy to scour my vast library and find something for you. :o)

July 25, 2011

It was a busy week...

I finished up Notes from Underground and loved it.  It had just the right amount of snarkiness and introspection to do it for me.  I enjoyed the narrator's voice throughout and his observations about humanity were both insightful, delightful sinful, and hilarious.  While he talks about himself constantly you never really know the real man behind the words.  He contradicts himself at every turn and keeps the reader wondering what he'll say next.

To continue with my classical reading I next read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.  I have to say straight up that I went into this with high expectations and Stevenson did not disappoint.  I turned the pages of this book so quickly I swear I got page burn.  The characters felt so real and I had to know what was going to happen next.  This book is both a thriller and an insightful look into the duality of man.  I definitely recommend it.

The next read is World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks (Mel's son) which was lent to me by my good friend, Eric.  It's a chronicle of the zombie apocalypse.  I think that might say it all.  I'm going to try to start it up tonight but I'm not sure I'll be awake long enough.  It's been a looooong week! :o)

July 17, 2011

Trips Ahoy!

Fortuitously for all of you I took a plane ride today which included a lengthy layover...hence I finished Isaac's Storm.  As always, Larson is able to flesh out a story that keeps you wanting to turn the pages.  He brought Isaac Cline to life for me.  A man so consumed with weather and yet completely missed the signs that pointed to a huge hurricane headed toward his town, Galveston.  I liked the parts that focused on the people of the town very much.  Larson has a way of making the characters seem as if they were narrating their stories right to you, the reader.  However, I have to say that the technical jargon that was used to describe the storm made my eyes cross.  If you like reading about longitudes, wind velocity, and the height of waves (I still don't know what an ebb surge is) then have no fear!  It wasn't my favorite of the Larson books that I've read but I didn't hate it.


For a change of pace I picked up Notes From Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky.  I haven't gotten a significant way into it yet but from what I've read I'm going to like it.  The narrator, who remains anonymous, is snarky and full of spite (for himself and everyone else).  I like the way it's written and it makes me giggle when he talks about how everyone is really terrible on the inside (why try to fight it?) and he more so than others.  It's a pretty short read so I'll hopefully be able to update you all on what I think in a few days.

July 13, 2011

Ghosts, Curses, and Snobs oh my!

In the blink of an eye, I finished Ruined by Paula Morris.  I would just like to thank Mrs. B. for the great recommendation.  Not only were the descriptions of the neighborhoods of New Orleans vividly vibrant but the people that she created were astonishingly real.  The main character, Rebecca, is a girl from out of town (shout out New Yorkers!) who can't seem to fit in at her high school (ahhh scary flashback!) where Them (keep away, Fox Mulder) rule.  This is not your typical ghost story, people.  If you're looking for a story about family history, secrets, and a city that seems older than time itself then this is the book for you.


Now to continue my love-fest of Erik Larson I've checked out Isaac's Storm which is all about the famous hurricane during (you guessed it) the beginning of the 20th century in Galveston.  The story revolves around a man, Isaac Cline, who swore he could predict weather patterns and he claimed no hurricane was on its way to the fair city of Galveston.  I'm guessing based on the name of the book (and the book jacket) that he was wrong.  Without divulging any secrets from the book, I'll let you guys know my thoughts just as soon as I've gobbled it all up.

Keep those pages turning, readers!!

July 11, 2011

Can you dig it, man?

Well, I sure can!  Charles & Emma was absolutely wonderful!!  I practically inhaled it.  If you have any interest in what Charles Darwin the man was like (or more importantly his wife, Emma) then you need to read this.  It really gave me an insight into what a struggle he had writing such a monumental work (and still controversial to this day!).  No matter the differences in opinion on religion, his wife and he had a really strong marriage and through ups and downs this never changed.  I don't think I'm doing this touching book justice.  I guess all I can really say is that the love that these two people felt for each other is conveyed beautifully by the author and it fleshes out a character from history that has always seemed one-dimensional to me.  I got tears reading it (in a good way) and I highly recommend it!

What's next on the agenda?  My dear friend (and fellow librarian), Mrs. B. has recommended I read Ruined by Paula Morris.  This is another young adult novel but this one is a work of historical fiction (at least I hope it is or else I'm locking the windows tonight).  It's set in New Orleans and is about a girl who encounters a ghost.  I'm told the detail is incredible and that it will knock my socks off (I might have paraphrased this somewhat).  I will get started on it right away and report back here with my findings just as soon as I'm finished.

Keep reading!!

July 8, 2011

Case Solved!

First, I want to say that I might be in love with Erik Larson.  It might be too soon to tell but this is two books that I really enjoyed now.  Thunderstruck kept me riveted right until the very end.  Extremely well-written and interesting.  Also, I find the footnotes absolutely enthralling (and humorous).  Read it, people!!

Now for the disappointing news...I started up Faceless Killers and I'm going to have to pronounce it unpalatable.  Hear me out!!  Let me start off by saying that I had high expectations going into this and I think that might partly be why I'm so distraught right now.  I was expecting something dramatic and mindblowingly gut-wrenching.  Instead I get choppy sentences and confusing passages where I have no clue if the person is narrating their thoughts or speaking aloud.  This could all be due to poor translation, however.  Maybe if I was Swedish and reading the original my socks would be rocked right off of my feet.  But I'm not Swedish and my socks are decidedly stuck on (or they would be if it weren't so atrociously hot and humid up here).  I made it forty pages in and to the fourth chapter but I'm going to have to call it quits. 

This is the moment in the blog when I let you in on a secret: if you don't like a book you don't have to plod your way through to the very end.  That's right, folks!  If you've started up a book and you find yourself just wishing that the darn thing was over with already, you might want to just put it down and start something new.  Sooo I'm going to read Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman.  You can probably guess from the title that the book is centered on Mr. & Mrs. Darwin.  What you don't know from the title (or maybe you're familiar with this book and this is all redudant to you) is that this is a nonfiction book for young adults.  WHAT?  Yep, I do believe if you read my intro you will see that I bounce around to all different areas of literature.  I have heard great things about this book and it was on my wish list for forever.  From what I've heard, the story centers on Charles Darwin's wife and how her place in his life shaped him as a man and as a scientist.  I've always found Darwin interesting (I did after all major in Anthropology) but I know almost nothing about his life outside of academia.  I'm going to start this thing up tonight and I'll let you all know how it goes!!

Library, here I come!

So, I'm headed to the library after work today to pick up Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell.  This is the first in a series of stories about a Swedish detective (these have been translated into English obviously) named Kurt Wallander. 

There are two reasons why I'm going to check this out:
1. I love crime novels.
2. I've been watching the British miniseries called Wallander with Kenneth Branagh which is fantastic!

I have to finish up Thunderstruck but I think I can manage that tonight (I'm so close to the ending that I can taste it) and start up this new one.  I'll keep you guys posted on what I think!

July 7, 2011

Hello! Welcome!

I would like to start out by saying that I do not profess to be some know-it-all when it comes to book recommendations.  You will not always (or maybe never) agree with what I say but that's the wonder of the blog isn't it? ;o)  However, I have been asked recently to give recommendations and because of this I thought it might be a good idea to try out a blog.  So let's get started!

I'm currently reading a fantastic bit of nonfiction entitled Thunderstruck by Erik Larson.  The book focuses on the beginning of the 20th century and two men in particular.  One of these men is trying to do something that is deemed impossible: create a form of transatlantic communication, i.e. wireless.  The other is an unassuming doctor who may or may not have commited a heinous crime.  Larson is a master at writing really compelling nonfiction books.  He weaves the story in such a way that you forget that you're reading about something that actually happened.  I personally enjoy reading the bibliography in the back because the notes he writes about some of the sources used makes me giggle.  I'm almost done with this one and so far I would say that it's a definite must-read!

I just finished another piece of nonfiction which was recommended to me by a librarian chum of mine: The Devil's Gentleman: Privilege, Poison, and the Trial That Ushered in the Twentieth Century by Harold Schechter.  It just so happens that this book is written about the same time period as the book above.  This read centers on two murders (and a third attempted) commited in NY by poison delivered in the guise of mail ordered medicine.  One of the interesting facets of this story is that at the time of this crime a phenomena was launched that still pervades today: yellow journalism (gossip rags).  The crime and the subsequent trial were plastered on the front of the papers and the main suspect was proven guilty even before the start of proceedings (seems familiar huh?).  It was a definite page turner but the ending left me feeling somewhat disappointed.  I would recommend it, however, because it's informative and it blows your mind just how much times have changed yet remained the same.

Well, that's the first entry.  Please let me know if you need recommendations and/or what you thought of the start of my blog!!