Reading List 2017-Part 2

11. Crash—Michael Robertson

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This is my Amazon review for the book:
I like post-apocalyptic books, and I get that they’re going to be dark and harsh. But…this one felt like it was written by a man who wasn’t allowed to swear as a child, and who simply decided to unload all of the pent up language into his books.
Yes, I get that in a world like that, swearing isn’t going to be that uncommon. Heck, it isn’t uncommon now. But I honestly felt like story development was ignored for the sake of dropping as many f-bombs as possible.
The characters are one-dimensional, and you don’t really find yourself caring if anyone survives other than the dog. And that was not a pleasant part of the book…skip the book if you like animals at all.

12. World After—Susan Ee

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The 2nd book in the Penryn and the End of Days series, that started with Angelfall. It’s sometimes hard for a young adult novel to keep up the speed and not get bogged down in romance or some such, but she does a great job with this one. There’s a splash of romance, but it is mostly about the fight to save humanity from the angels, especially in light of the new experimentation and monsters the angels are creating.

13. The Spy—Paulo Coelho

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I actually didn’t realize that this book was about Mata Hari when I picked it up. Saw the title, saw the author, and went with it. But it was really good.
The book is written as a long letter from Mata Hari to her lawyer, to be read after her death, explaining why she did what she did during her life. Then there is a reply from the lawyer, never meant to be read by her, as they knew that she would be dead too soon for that, explaining why her trial went the direction it did.
The book is a novel, and I’m not knowledgeable enough on the subject to know how accurate it is, but if nothing else, it is interesting.

14. The Canterville Ghost—Oscar Wilde

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Oscar Wilde’s story is about an American Minister’s family who is willing to move onto a haunted English estate, because they aren’t afraid of any ghost.
The book is surprisingly funny, with the American Minister offering the ghost a lubricant so his chains aren’t so noisy, and the kids playing pranks on the ghost. I listened to the story last year, and just read it this week. There are parts of it that make me laugh out loud. But there are also some dark parts, referring to the reason that the ghost is forced to haunt the estate instead of resting in peace. It’s a great book, and is a classic you should definitely read. Bonus, for those who don’t like reading classics because they’re too long…it’s less than an hour to read :~)

15. With the Eyes Shut—Edward Bellamy

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A short story of a Utopian existence in the future where reading is no longer necessary because all reading material is read to you by miniature phonograph machines. Considering that the book was written in 1898, it is scary accurate. No, we don’t use tiny phonographs, so the details are a little different, but he was amazingly close to the mark. It makes you wonder what other inventions we are on the cusp of finding, if we only continue to imagine.
It only takes about half an hour to read this short story, and it made me laugh out loud at the end. I’ll definitely be reading some of his longer books.

16. Dog Gone—Pauls Toutonghi

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I was not a fan of this book. I really wanted to be. I have decided that I need to read non-fiction books about animals if I want to write my own, and I found this one at the library the other day.
But, while the actual rescue part of the story was heartwarming, there were other parts that made me mad. In one place, the author stated, “It’s a tribute to the dog’s big heart that he seemed ok to his owner.” No, it’s an owner’s job to see if their dog is sick. If someone else walks in and sees immediately that your dog is ill, you should be at least somewhat aware that there’s something up. This is the owner who, when his dog ate an entire bowl of bread dough (which can kill dogs), and was acting sick, said that it didn’t matter, because the dog had drank more alcohol than what was being produced in his gut from the yeast and sugars.
When it came to the dog running away, I realize that things can happen when you take your dog out. But if you know your dog doesn’t come when called, you don’t take him out on the Appalachian Trail and take off his leash. My dog Leaf has issues with running off. I love her, but I know that if I turn her loose, I won’t see her for a while. I would never take her off the leash in an unfamiliar place, because that could be a death sentence. It’s not responsible dog parenting. But that’s exactly what is done in the book. The guy doesn’t want to stifle his dog’s spirit, and almost kills him. It made me sad.
Yes, I am pretty passionate about this. The family in the book obviously loved the dog, but they just weren’t very smart about it.
And the writer’s style was off-putting as well. It felt like there wasn’t enough to the actual story to fill a book, so he filled it by talking about current events of the time the story was taking place (that had nothing to do with the story), and using insanely picturesque language. Personally, I would say that spending a paragraph describing a puppy peeing on you is a little over the top, but that’s just me.
If you want a general feel-good book, this one would be ok. It wasn’t a terrible book. I finished it. But there were just a lot of parts that bothered me.

17. Alys—Kiri Callaghan

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A retelling of the story of Alice in Wonderland. This was a Kindle download, and would have benefited from a little bit of editing. The story was really good, though more for older readers instead of the usual Alice in Wonderland audience, because it contains suicide, domestic abuse, public execution, and general violence.
If you like Alice in Wonderland and want a book that is similar enough to feel like it takes place in the same world, but different enough to feel like you’re not just reading the same book, this is a book for you.
It seems like the start of a series, but so far, there aren’t any others out. It is, however, a story in itself. It could continue, but you won’t be left on a cliffhanger.

18. Alister Cromley’s Fairweather Belle—Shane Portman

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Sort of has the feel of a book like The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. But not as enjoyable. There were parts that were pretty amusing, but in general, I was glad that it was only a 20 minute read or so.
It’s supposed to be a “bedtime story for adults to tell”, and would be a good one to read in bed when you’re settling in for the night.
It isn’t a must-read, but it was pretty good.

19. Twilight—Stephenie Meyer

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Listened to this one, because it has been a while since I’ve read the series. Don’t judge me… :~) I actually rather enjoyed the series before all the hype, sometimes I have to remind myself of that, because otherwise, I just remember the series being taken over by jr high girls and moms who didn’t make it very far out of jr high.
The romance is definitely overdone and sappy, but the books are light and fun to listen to, especially if you have other things you’re doing at the same time.

20. The Untold Story of the Talking Book—Matthew Rubery

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It’s actually quite fascinating, especially if you are like me, and you listen to audiobooks all the time, to read the history behind them. And the debates that still rage (in certain circles) about whether or not audiobooks can really be called books. Can listening ever be truly considered reading? I would say yes, but there are many who say no.
It’s crazy to think that, nearly a century before the walkman was invented, people talked about the “metal automatic book of the future”, in which an automaton with books recorded on tiny metal cylinders would be placed in one’s hat and connected to the ears by wires, thus enabling one to listen to a book while out for a walk along a busy street. What on earth would they think of our phones and mp3 players, connected to our ears by wires, and not even needing cylinders to be changed? These predictions were made when phonographs were used to play the “talking books”, and they were too expensive for the average consumer. As well as being far too big to put into a hat.
I may go more into the whole “book vs audiobook” debate in another blog, but won’t put my opinion in it too much. The book itself was very interesting, though too repetitive. Full paragraphs were pretty much repeated, and the author spent too much time explaining the aims of the book, and the aims of each chapter. In that way, it read like a high school paper. But the subject matter kept me reading to the end. Also, the author mentions a number of books that sound interesting, so I have a list of books to read. “With the Eyes Shut” was one of those.
The book closes, saying “Audiobooks are for those of us who hate reading. Audiobooks are for those of us who love reading.” I agree…

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