Friday, February 4, 2011

book butterfly reviews -- january

It's actually amazing that I read as much as I did considering I started Nursing School last month--by the way, 86% on my first test yesterday, woot woot! I really wish more books were available on CD through my library, cuz school is a good 25 minutes away. I've found a few I'm allowed to download onto my computer for free, but they are incompatible with my 2nd generation ipod shuffle--it's just too old and archaic. :(

That being said, here's what I thought of the books I read last month:


Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Album liked it (my current rating)liked it (my current rating)liked it (my current rating)

Weird thing about me: I never read book jackets--I like to be surprised and sometimes book jackets give away too much plot--so I had no idea what this was about when I picked it up. I was briefly startled to learn it was about a man dying from ALS...startled, because at the time I was a CNA for a man with the same muscular disease. I was a bit afraid to continue reading, worried that it would be too depressing and sad considering how close and personable I've gotten with my client, but decided it was in my best interest to proceed.

Turns out he'd also read it, liked it, seen the movie, etc. I liked the book...there was nothing not to like. But it's mostly just a collection of "Be a good person", "Don't take your loved ones for granted", "Live life with no regrets" -type anectodes. You knew how it was going to end, and there wasn't really a plot to speak of, just the general decline of this man's health as he recounts memories and accolades to his past favorite student.

My opinion is, the author wrote this for himself, so he wouldn't forget Morrie, his life, and his teachings. I wouldn't put it in my must-read list or anything, but it was pleasant enough.

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo liked it (my current rating)liked it (my current rating)liked it (my current rating)

This was an all right book. I kind of liked how it was divided into several books, each dedicated to a character in the book, his or her background, and motivation for acting they way he or she did. The writing was simple, perfect for children, and the resolution was sweet for all the characters involved.

I don't think it's anything I'd ever read again (I admit to getting bored at times while reading it) but it was worth reading once.

The End (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #13)

The End (A Series of Unfortunate Events #13) by Lemony Snicket liked it (my current rating)liked it (my current rating)liked it (my current rating)

This author really is crazy creative and uses alliteration to a really amusing extent! He is so talented and witty, throwing in little tangents here and there to break up the story of the Baudelaires' misfortunes. I enjoyed the writing style immensely.

The story however...ehh...after 13 books I really hoped for more of a climax, more of a resolution, and honestly, I really was hoping for some good news. The narrator tells us all along that there will not be a happy ending, but I really WAS hoping for the kids' parents to be alive at the end, or for them to find a perfect caretaker, etc. Not so much.

It does get wrapped up with some interesting surprises, and their parents' words do end up saving them, but I'm not sure I'd recommend this 13 book series to anyone based on plot. Writing style, sure. Plot, not really.

I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story

I Lost my Love in Baghdad by Michael Hastings liked it (my current rating)liked it (my current rating)liked it (my current rating)

The title is really just the hook to get you in. I'd say only 25% of it is dedicated to the autobiographical love story of Andi and Michael, the rest is about Middle Eastern politics, how Michael became a reporter, life in Baghdad, and all the many horrible things he saw while over in Iraq.

I was a little disappointed at first to realize that this was just another war book, cleverly disguised as a romance of sorts, but once I got past that, I decided to keep reading to gain a better education (at least one view's worth) of life in the middle of a war zone.

It was hard to read, but I'm glad I did. (Actually I listened to it on CD, read by Michael Hastings himself) It gave me a better appreciation for our soldiers, for the oh-so-NOT-black-and-white situations associated with the current war, and just how awesome our own country is.

Caution: the F-word is Michael's favorite. He uses it quite liberally, especially the chapter in which Andi dies.

Witch & Wizard

Witch & Wizard by James Patterson liked it (my current rating)liked it (my current rating)liked it (my current rating)

I actually give this 3.5 stars because I really did like it, just not quite 4-star worthy. Like most of my friends who have read this, I got a little bit confused with the different layers and the prologue/epilogue accounts, but I assume that will all get ironed out in the second book. (which, currently, I am on hold #166 at the library, holy toledo).

I listened to this on audio book, and the narrations of Whit and Whisty were read by male and female actors, which made the book very easy to follow along with. Also, this audio book was really well done with a mingling of voices and sound effects. It kept me better engaged as sometimes my mind has a tendency to wander.

I'm curious as to why authors of this variety always make their characters clueless regarding their powers in the beginning--Harry Potter, the Narnia kids, Percy Jackson, etc. Whit and Whisty's parents obviously knew the kids were magic--why not raise them that way, teach them early on so they can be working on their skills before the Big Bad Men come to take them away? I don't get that.

So all the books I read last month earned 3 stars--nothing I'd totally rush out to recommend to my friends. *shrug* What about you, what are you reading? I've been in the middle of three others for a while now (one for me, that frankly I just don't have any time for), one that's my 'bathroom book' (ahem), and one that Dan and I read aloud when we're driving around town and I don't have a textbook in my hands. If I'm lucky, maybe I'll make some headway on those three this month. :)


*lindsey said...

I read the Bagdad one, ehhhhhhhhhhh. I didn't expect much because I bought it at the dollar store, but it just seems like he hurriedly wrote the book 3 weeks after she died to capitalize on it.

leaner said...

I read Witch and Wizard a while ago. I was upset that it would have a sequel. I love James Patterson's writing style and maybe I should read the second book. Let me know if its any good (you know, when you read it finally.)