Bite Size Reviews: April 2017

April 11, 2017 Bite Size Reviews 9

Greetings Bookworms!

I meant for this recap to post in March, but Hubs and I were felled by the plague. Poor dude got strep throat and pink eye, and while I only had a cold, I couldn’t take much of anything to relieve my symptoms because I’m incubating a human. So I mostly just drank a lot of tea (caffeine free) and whined. Oh. And used those nose strip thingies for snoring. Those are pretty great. But I digress. I’ve been reading so much! And I’m so terribly far behind! Here are some of the things, not in any particular order.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher- Oh Carrie, my darling. You are so missed. And not just by your impossibly cute dog. I listened to the audio version of this, narrated by Carrie Fisher. It was an excellent choice. And hearing passages read out of 19-year-old Carrie’s diary by her actual real-life daughter? So good. I’m so glad that in addition to her film work, Carrie left behind such delightful, witty, heartfelt commentary in her written works. Although, on a side note, this is the book in wish Fisher details her affair with Harrison Ford. Which is fine except that I’ve never found Harrison Ford particularly attractive because he reminds me of a neighbor/family friend from childhood with whom I always had a very sibling-y relationship. This book definitely didn’t change that perspective.

The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen– This was the final installment of the trilogy which I reviewed HERE and HERE. YA Science Fiction/Fantasy is a hit or miss genre for me, particularly when it comes to trilogies. This one, for example, had me super stoked for the final installment, only to have a last minute plot twist kind of wreck the whole thing for me. This isn’t strictly a time travel series, but there’s some consciousness sharing that goes on which definitely gives it that time travel flavor. And all the potential pitfalls that go with the manipulation of the time/space continuum. I’d be happy to discuss my issues with anyone who has finished the series. In fact, I kind of need to hash it out. Help?

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman– I read this for my IRL book club. It takes place during WWII in Warsaw, Poland, and if you know even the tiniest bit about the Holocaust, you’ll know that Poland was not a particularly pleasant place to be. It focused on a Polish family who had once run the zoo (most of the zoo animals were lost to combat and/or theft by the Nazis) who did what they could during the war to keep Jewish folks safe. It was the WWII equivalent of being a stop on the Underground Railroad. It was a very interesting true story, but going into the book, I was totally expecting a novel and it turned out to be non-fiction. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I was expecting more emotion and fewer facts about insect collections. I also kind of wish I could un-learn some of the insights into the Nazi mindset that this book taught me. Knowing it in an abstract way is one thing, but having the details spelled out in pseudo-scientific language? Troubling, to say the least. If you’re Jewish and have a hard time reading about this period in history? Skip it.

Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson– Who doesn’t love a story about a quirky kid? In this novel, a young woman working in publishing is sent to play nanny to a reclusive writer’s eccentric son. Frank is a dapper little gent, dressing more like Charlie Chaplin than your average 9 year old. What starts off seeming like it might be a simple caper in the antics of an unusually artsy kid takes some unexpectedly emotional twists and turns. Overall, a charming story.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich– Get your tissues ready for rage-tears. An adolescent boy’s mother is sexually assaulted. Dealing with the emotional trauma is tough enough on the family, but since the assault took place on Native American tribal lands, the seeking of justice becomes extremely complicated. RAGE TEARS. Like, if you thought that all the crap perpetrated on Native Americans ended back in the day, you’d be really, really wrong. Intense, excellent read, but if sexual assault is a particularly difficult issue for you, you might want to skip this one.

Alright y’all. There’s the quick and dirty of some books I read a while ago. What have you been reading?

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9 Responses to “Bite Size Reviews: April 2017”

  1. Jenny @ Reading the End

    STREP THROAT IS TERRIBLE. I never ever get sick like go to the doctor sick, but when I do it’s very likely to be because of GODDAMN STREP. And pinkeye is maybe even worse because although it doesn’t cause me to have a fever and such, it DOES force me to switch from contact lenses to glasses, and glasses dick up my depth perception and then I fall down the subway stairs. So, all the sympathy to y’all for this catastrophe of sickness.

  2. Ashley Z

    I have a copy of Be Frank With Me from a professor who thought I’d enjoy it because he loves to hear about my crazy kids! I can’t wait to read that one!

  3. Rhian

    Amongst other things I have been reading a delightful children’s series – Friday Barnes, Girl Detective. The hook that got me was on the back of the first book “What if Sherlock Holmes was an 11-year old girl?”. They’re not a particularly challenging read (I’m just a *bit* outside the age range!) but they are well written and lots of fun.

  4. shanayatales

    Ugh, strep throat and pink eye! He must going through an awful time, poor thing!

    We have had several rounds of illness this Winter & Spring, and at times it just feels like it’s never going to end, the sickness just gets passed from one person to the other, like some crazy gross ping pong game! Sigh..

    Princess Diarist has been on my list, and your review makes me lean towards listening to it, instead of reading it, which is more doable for me at the moment.

  5. A.M.B.

    I’m sorry you guys were sick! I hope you’re feeling better now. Carrie Fisher’s book is on my TBR, but I keep thinking it will make me sad. I’m avoiding sad books these days. There’s too much sadness in the world.

  6. Shoshana Keller

    The first book in the Tearling series was SO good that I continued to read more, despite the fact that I have a hate on for book series, the second was “meh”, but the cop out ending of the final one? It left me with a visceral rage. It was like Johansen wrote herself into a corner, and didn’t know how to get herself out. I cannot remember the last time I’ve ever been that angry at the end of a book. Had it been originally presented as a time travelly kind of series from the get go, I might have been more generous with my feelings, but it wasn’t. It came out of left field, and absolutely ruined what could have been an absolutely wonderful series.

  7. Megan M.

    Oh, man. I have learned some things about Native American legalities from watching “Longmire” and it is indeed rage-inducing. We have really, truly wronged them and it is so sad.

  8. Michelle

    I always wonder what people think of the final book in the Tearling series! I personally loved it and thought it was creative and totally unexpected, but I knew when I read it that it was not going to be a popular ending.

    I hope everyone in your house is healthy now! It is miserable getting sick when you are incubating.

  9. DoingDewey

    The end of The Fate of the Tearling kind of ruined it for me too!! Let’s talk 🙂 You can DM me on twitter or email me at DoingDewey [at] gmail [dot] com

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