Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Story of My Life by Clarence Darrow

Book:  The Story of My Life 

Author:  Clarence Darrow 

Grade:  B

Recommended To:  Monkeys

This book is about what you would expect.  A story about this dude's life who was relevant a long time ago and who no one really knows about now.   My aunt got this book for me as a must-read classic. 

But, this book was also extremely funny.  This guy wrote an I-Don't-Give-A-Shit book.  And I loved it.   He's balls to the wall about laying his "truth" out there.  He rants about how the educational system is completely flawed, including how learning latin, greek and even mathematics is completely useless. 

The absolute funniest chapters are about the Scopes Money Trial.   Darrow mocks the religious fundamentalists ruthlessly.  I recommend just reading the Scopes chapters.  There are about three at page 250 in the book and I was laughing out loud on the train.

I'm not sure if Darrow intended to be funny, it is likely that when he sat down to write his life story, that he had no concept of a 20 something attorney giggling on the metra, but even if that wasn't his goal, he achieved it.  His writing was so straightforward and honest that you couldn't help but chuckle.  His story is also very egotistical.  Darrow knows that he's the best and has no qualms about it. 

His writing was often choppy, unedited, and difficult to follow.  But, this is why I recommend reading just the few funniest chapters.  

I'd check it out if I were you. 

Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Kindle touch

Kindle touch

You have to live under a rock to not know that Amazon is releasing new Kindle editions in the coming weeks and that they have dropped the prices drastically on said Kindles.

Actually, if you live under a rock, then you likely aren't reading this blog, and you probably don't care about e-readers.

Either way, I picked up this beautiful new Kindle touch for a mere 99 dollars and it is set to be delivered sometime after Thanksgiving.

I was hesitant about e-readers.  I love holding books, turning actual pages, and the smell of a brand spanking new book.  But, then I started walking 2+ miles to the train and back and it became burdensome to carry Diana Gabaldon around with me.  She's a heavy read.  I would post pone books that I really wanted to read because of the sheer weight of the physical book.  Enter the Kindle.  This puppy is light and I will likely just use it for the really weighty stuff.   Like Stephen King's new 960 pager about the Kennedy assassination.

Stephen, I love you.  But, my back hurts when I have to carry you around.

I'll let you know how it goes when I get it.  I decided on the touch because there is no reason not to get the newest and best edition.  I also have a touch phone and I'm used to just poking at something until I get what I want.

Do you prefer e-readers over actual books?  Or are you a physical book holdout?  Let me know in the comments!

Happy e-reading!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thunder over Kandahar by Sharon McKay

Book:  Thunder over Kandahar 

Author:  Sharon McKay

Grade:  C

Recommended To:  Young Adults 

I ordered this book from PBS and was waiting foreverrrr to get it in the mail.  Finally it came and I think it is a young adult novel.  I must have been aware at some point what the book was about, but after waiting months, I forgot.  Turns out that is is about two teenagers who live in Afghanistan and who escape.

I'm still not completely sure that this book is "young adult" but it has super big print, poor editing, extremely simple sentence structure, and is about two 14-year-olds.  So, all of these clues lead me to believe that it is actually a book for children.  I'm disappointed because of this.  I was not at all made aware that this book was actually for young adults.

Plus, I don't really like books that are overly dramatic.  If you are going to read Thunder over Kandahar then you should stop reading this post now because there are going to be spoilers.  First, these idiot parents move their daughter from England to Afghanistan during the US occupation, the kid has to wear a hijab and a burka for the first time ever. Culture shock anyone? Then the mother is attacked in the street, and oh, guess what, the dad refuses to leave, even though there aren't any hospitals that will treat women.  Then, the daughter is attacked for something completely unreasonable and they parents talk about leaving, but don't.  Then, the parents are shot in the street.  See where I'm going with this?

This book is approximately 200 pages long and there have been three violent incidents in half the book.  The drama doesn't end there, but you'll have to read it to find out.  I don't want to spoil everything.  The most shocking thing about this book was how dumb the parents were.  Oh Hey, let's bring  our adolescent daughter to a war torn country where there aren't any schools.  And YOU get the parent of the year award!

How infuriating.

Anyway, if you are looking for something fast to up your book total on Goodreads (not that I would ever do that) then this is the book for you, but don't expect to be impressed.

Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

World War Z by Max Brooks

Book:  World War Z

Author:  Max Brooks

Grade:  A +++

Recommended To:  That Guy on Fox who thinks it is the end of the world.  Glen Beck? 

I haven't been this excited about a book in a long time.  I was initially extremely doubtful about World War Z.  Many of my friends had read it and raved about it, and I brushed it all off as Zombie hysteria.   I was wrong.  It isn't the first time I've misjudged a book, but I'm not sure that I've committed such a serious error in judgment to date.

World War Z is the best book I've read this year.  It is original, interesting, extremely captivating, and terrifying.  All at the same time.  The book is a collection of stories about humans who have survived the Zombie infestation.  These people range from regular families to the vice president of the United States.  The narrator is a youngish male who travels the world recording the oral histories of people who survived the world war against the zombies.

This book is more about the human experience than it is about Zombies.   There is a Great Panic that sweeps the world when the Zombie infestation becomes widespread.  It is easy to imagine the panic and fear that would come with any type of plague or biological disease.  It is also easy to imagine the secrecy of world governments, the huge rumors and profiteering that would result, and the ability of the human race to overcome. 

The sheer scope of the book was excellent.  The amount of research that Brooks put into this novel was astounding.  He easily moved from the average American family to a Japanese teenager who did nothing but surf the internet.   He also captured the military, political, and and social ramifications of the infestation.

I can't say enough good things about this book.  It was extremely well written - the style was concise, accurate to the various voices, and was not over played.  Either Brooks has an extremely talented editor, or he is a very very good writer.  Either way, this book is worth every single word.    It has been months since I read a book that I tried to read slower because I wanted to savor every word.

Check this book out.

Happy Reading!!