Playing Catch-Up Again!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I have had a hard time staying on top of my book reviews this month -- it's been crazy with weddings and baby showers and work and everything. Still, I hate to leave things un-reviewed. So here are my recent reads, rapid-fire:

This Star Won't Go Out by Esther Grace Earl

This book is a compilation of the writings, emails, and journal entries of Esther Earl and her family and friends. Esther had thyroid cancer, was a friend of John Green, and The Fault in Our Stars is dedicated to her. The book itself was fairly uneven and jumped around a lot, but the story disguised within it is touching.

3 stars

Warnings: None

Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin

This follow-up to The Happiness Project is a second happiness project undertaken by Rubin, focusing specifically on her home life. I liked it, but not nearly as much as her first book.

4 stars

Warnings: None

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

Don't let the title deceive you -- this is a great book. It is middle grade fantasy, but it isn't the pink unicorn fluffiness you would expect from the title. Instead, it is the story of a group of girls living in a rough, mountain territory who are being trained as potential brides for a prince. Survival is difficult and they find their education to be of use for more than just catching a royal husband. I thoroughly enjoyed this short, charming read.

4 stars

Warnings: None

The Wonder Weeks by Hetty van der Rijt

This is the best parenting book ever. I recommend it to everyone. It doesn't have stringent theories or rules -- simply explains your child's developing mind through the age of 20 months and gives strategies to help your child develop, as well as explanations for times of difficult behavior. It is GREAT and I recommend the whole book, but you can also purchase by the chapter if there is a particular phase that is troubling you more than others. (The writing can be repetitive, but the information is so valuable it didn't bug me one bit).

5 stars

Warnings: None

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

This is a graphic novel memoir of the author's life in Iran (and for a time as an expat in Austria). I found the story so interesting, and loved the unique medium of seeing it through comics. Some of her personal stances at the end of the book soured it for me a little, but still, a fascinating tale.

3 stars

Warnings: Language, drugs, violence, reference to sexuality (but no images)

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

This feminist classic was a very interesting read for me. It definitely inspired thought, although at the end of the day my experience of marriage and motherhood is certainly different than the protagonist of this book. Still, enjoyable and certainly ground-breaking for its time.

4 stars

Warnings: Reference to sexuality

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

This is a quirky, punny little novel. I never read it as a kid and knew that I needed to at some point in my life. It reminded me of the Thursday Next books. Not my favorite, but certainly worthwhile.

3 stars

Warnings: Might die of the puns

The Mother in Me by Kathryn Lynard Soper (Ed)

A collection of essays on motherhood by the authors of Segullah. I love Segullah, and found a few of these essays moving, but expected more from this book, I'll confess.

3 stars

Warnings: None

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Miller

This book is melodramatic and dark. But also very addictive.

3 stars

Warnings: Violence, language, sexuality

In Bloom by Matthew Crow

This is another teenagers with cancer book. I was definitely intrigued by the subject due to my line of work. The writing was excellent and subtly humorous. I had a hard time connecting to the characters, however, and felt the book needed a stronger plot.

3 stars

Warnings: Off-the-page sexuality, language, mature themes

Stiff by Mary Roach

This book is about all the different things that human cadavers can be used for. It is very fascinating and very, very disgusting. I listened to it while I ran in the dark at 5 in the morning, which is probably not wise. It was very interesting but I can't say I enjoyed it, necessarily.

3 stars

Warnings: Graphic descriptions of various things happening to human bodies

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