Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ten Tiny Book Reviews

Something is wacky with my Google Docs today. Skipping letters. Typing so s-l-o-w-l-y. Muy malo.

So I just got frustrated with the whole thing and decided to write tiny little book reviews. Please forgive me. I promise I will do better next time.

Rick Sammon’s Field Guide to Digital Photography: Quick Lessons on Making Great Pictures
All the adjectives apply. Digital. Field. Quick. Great.

The Book of Awesome: Snow Days, Bakery Air, Finding Money in Your Pocket, and other Simple, Brilliant Things by Neil Pasricha
From the website. Pasricha names a few of his favorite things. Small moments.

Let’s Bring Back: An Encyclopedia of Forgotten-Yet-Delightful, Chic, Useful, Curious, and Commendable Things from Times Gone by Lesley M. M. Blume
You know how people are always wishing they’d bring back hats? Lesley M. M. Blume has been thinking about the things she misses a LOT. Enough for an entire book.

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
The Corrections was a bleak novel about unhappy, unlikable people. So is Freedom. I was not in the mood for Freedom; I didn’t think I was going to like it and I didn’t. That doesn’t mean it is not a good novel, possibly even a great novel. I just was not in the mood for a huge book filled with disfunctional people.*

Madre: Perilous Journeys with a Spanish Noun by Liza Bakewell
My family calls me “Madre." I was, consequently, eager to read this book, a book that centers on a single word, "madre." Imagine my horror, then, when I discovered in the very first chapter that this word is often a very, very ugly word in Mexico. Oh dear. Quite disconcerting. I’d envisioned a book of happy stories about "madres." I read on, nevertheless fascinated with Bakewell's stories about this word. (BTW, “Madre” does have some positive connotations. Sigh. Thank goodness.) If you love language, and especially if you love the Spanish language, you will enjoy this book.*

The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time by David L. Ulin
A long essay, really. Honestly, if you are taking the time to read this book, you are probably cheering for Ulin on every page, as he shares with us, those who live to read, all the glorious joys of reading. Sadly, I just don’t see those who should be reading this book (you know who you are, you video game fiends, you tv addicts) saying to themselves, I will repudiate my Nintendo 64 and my tv and read a book about why books matter so I can vituperate myself about how I am squandering my life by spurning reading.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
Loved this story told from the point of view of a young boy who must leave Berlin and go with his family to Poland when his father is assigned to run the camp at Auschwitz during WWII. Our naive main character befriends a boy who is startlingly like him (they even share the same birthday) except that this new friend is on the other side of the fence.

The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger
Graphic novel of a woman who discovers a bookmobile that appears sporatically and only at night and which contains all the books the woman has ever read.

The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia by Paul Theroux
A very early Theroux (copyright 1975). I had not noticed Theroux’s snarky tone until it was pointed out to me repeatedly by my fellow bloggers while I was reading this book. I like it, nevertheless.

How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O’Neal
No mistaking Ramona Gallagher’ life for that of June Cleaver. Ramona got pregnant at fifteen, raised her daughter on her own, became estranged from her family over a business tiff....Okay, you get the picture. Now Ramona is all grownup and soon to be a grandmother herself, but the problems go on and on, much like the problems we face daily in our troubled world. All of the problems are ameliorated by the delightful smells of baking that permeate these pages. Just a nice little piece of chick lit. With recipes.

That's it for me for this week. I'm off to read the day away. What are you reading today?

*Thank you to the publishers who sent me these books.


  1. I like your ten tiny reviews. I may emulate your style :) Too many books to review and post!

  2. Thank you for some leads on delicious reads. And thank you for sticking with it. Google sometimes acts up. I once had the problem you described. Geek Squad said I had to clean out long-ago comments, dump some pics, and otherwise do some housecleaning. I got a little too energetic and dumped too many comments. Anyway, it all worked. Good luck!

  3. Hmmmm. Well, it looks like if you hated Freedom, then I'm going to have to try it. ;)

  4. Hello: My mailbox was filled this week with books! Go check out my mailbox to see what I am reading and will be reading. The Lost Art of Reading and The Night Bookmobile will undoubtedly end up in my stacks sooner or later.

  5. Short and sweet - I love that and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is on my list! Finishing up The Postmistress and starting a new one, but I haven't decided which yet.

  6. I have been on the fence regarding Freedom and I think you've helped make my decision not to read it. However, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is one that is on my list to definelty read. Enjoy your Sunday!

  7. I won't read Freedom for the same reason. I don't need to read about dysfunctional people. I don't have the patience. Madre is on my reading list for next month. I can't wait to read it. I've read the similar thoughts on The Lost Art of Reading. Have a great Sunday!

  8. I like the idea of tiny reviews for those busy times :)

    I am reading India Black by Carol K Carr

    happy reading

  9. Dear Deb,
    Thanks for that nice review.
    Warmly, Liza (Madre author)

  10. Love the tiny reviews- sometimes short & sweet is all we need and you did a great job with all of them! Thanks for sharing!

  11. I enjoyed the tiny reviews! Have a great week!

  12. Wait. Audrey Niffenegger wrote a graphic novel?? And the word Madre is bad?? You are BLOWING MY MIND!

  13. I'm curious about Freedom. So many don't like it yet say it's a great book. I like dysfunction so perhaps I'll like it more than I think I will.

    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was such a powerful read. That ending took my breath away.

  14. I agree with you completely, Ti. The ending of Striped Pajamas took my breath away.

  15. These reviews are lovely! I need to read "The Boy In The Striped Pajamas". It is one that slipped by me. And I agree with you and Vasilly about Freedom, I don't need to read anymore about dysfunctional families!

  16. I also thought the Boy in the Striped Pajamas was good. I want to read Annexed right now. I'm also intrigued by the Audrey Niffenegger one you mentioned. I'm currently reading Delirium by Lauren Oliver.


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