Friday, April 30, 2021
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
But, on a whole, this book is very silly and nonsensical and I am... not a fan. There's no actual point to the story, aside from "will Alice ever get to be a normal size again?" and it turns out to all be a dream, so even that isn't an actual point. And I just don't enjoy pointless stories.
|(Mine from my Instagram account.)|
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: G. Nothing unacceptable for kids here.
This is the 19th book I've read and reviewed for my third Classics Club list.
Monday, April 26, 2021
Friday, April 23, 2021
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Sunday, April 18, 2021
Have you ever wanted to know what Beverly Cleary's own childhood was like? Was it anything like that of any of the kids she wrote about so vividly, like Ramona Quimby and Henry Huggins and Ellen Tebbits? Well, this book is your chance to find out!
In fact, bits of Cleary's own childhood, as related here, did make it into her books. Playing "brick factory," getting called a "nuisance" by a teacher, making stilts from tin cans, and other little details like that are here. But Cleary's own childhood was not so carefree and innocent as the ones she wrote about. She grew up during the Great Depression, and her family struggled like most in America in those days. Her mother was something of a cipher, and tried to live vicariously through her teenage daughter. An uncle tried to molest her. Cleary made friends her mother didn't approve of, had to move several times, and gradually discovered she had a talent for writing stories other people wanted to read.
This book follows Cleary from toddlerhood through the end of high school. She published a second volume of memoirs that I suppose picked up where this left off. I might try to read that one, but I didn't particularly love this book, even though it was a fast, engrossing read. I mean, I did enjoy it, but not enough to want to reread it, you know? I'd rather reread one of her fiction books for kids. Though maybe her weird mom would not be in the other memoir so much? She bothered me, to be honest.
Particularly Good Bits:
To this day, I cannot outline fiction. I find that an outline limits the flights of imagination which are the joy of writing. I write and then rewrite, bringing order to the second draft (p. 263).
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG-16. Cleary talks about things like never having sex explained to her, dating a man in his twenties when she was in high school, and her uncle's attempts to molest her -- things that are NOT something I would read to kids, tweens, or younger teens. Don't think this is a book you can read aloud to your kids.
This is the 18th book I've read off my TBR shelves this year for #TheUnreadShelfProject2021.
Saturday, April 17, 2021
Friday, April 16, 2021
Well, what Holmesian wouldn't want to read a version of it where that's really Holmes?
So, I was excited to learn that Nicholas Meyer had written a book that mashed the two together. I've long been a fan of Meyer's book The Seven-Per-Cent Solution and hoped he would do the story justice. And, for the most part, he did. Holmes was very Holmes-esque, I like that Irene Adler got to play a part that didn't involve her trying to seduce Holmes (because I'm tired of pastiches that use her that way), and I liked seeing the events of The Phantom of the Opera from a different perspective.
But Holmes isn't the Rat Catcher. In fact, the Rat Catcher never shows up at all. I mean, I guess you could say Holmes kind of steps in to take his place in a way? But... it wasn't how I was hoping, so... I will have to reread this sometime without my expectations in the way, and I think I will be even more pleased with it then. Which doesn't mean I didn't like it now, because I did! A lot. Enough to keep it on my shelves.
Particularly Good Bits:
It is often so with human nature; we take for granted and disparage our greatest gifts and years to be accepted in capacities for which others might be better suited. Clowns long to enact Hamlet, doctors to write novels, and in my case here was a detective determined to play the violin (p. 46).
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG for some mild innuendo, peril to many characters, and several fairly creepy scenes, as befits anything about the Phantom of the Opera.
This is my 17th book read from my TBR shelves for #TheUnreadShelfProject2021.
Thursday, April 15, 2021
But wow, Austen's sarcasm is in beast mode here. She says that Mrs. Ferrars "was not a woman of many words: for, unlike other people in general, she proportioned them to the number of her ideas" (p. 434). Way to sock it to both Mrs. Ferrars and people in general, eh? And then she says, of the display of wealth that John and Fanny put on, that "no poverty of any kind, except of conversation, appeared (p. 436). Wow. You can almost hear that one sizzle.
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
My favorite thing about Yesterday or Long Ago is how it revolves around a friendship between two young women, Rinity and Amya, who are completely loyal to each other. So often, female friendships in fiction get used to set up tension when they both like the same guy, or one of them gets more successful at her job than the other and jealousy breaks up their friendship. But none of those sorts of clichés happen here -- hooray! Instead, Rinity and Amya are kind, considerate, and truthful with each other. Sure, they do disagree at times, but "will they stay friends?" is not a plot point at all, and I loved that.
Another thing I loved was how Rinity used storytelling to calm herself down, to get herself through stressful situations, and even to explain herself to others. I identify strongly with that habit. Also, Amya sews, and so do I, so that was a fun connection for me too.
Both girls fall in love with men far above their social station, and trying to figure out how to tell the men the truth about where they come from is the biggest problem they have for a while. But then Rinity gets tangled up with a shady man who claims to know who her real father was, something she's always longed to know, and everything gets pretty worrisome for a while... but, like I said, you always have a sense that things will end well, which makes the darker parts not too dark.
|(My photo from my Instagram account.)|
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher and was in no way obligated to review it.
This book will be released on May 12. If you want to know how and where to pre-order it (and receive some pre-order swag!), please check out the author's blog for that info. Even though I got to read an ARC, I'm ordering a physical copy myself because I know I'll want to reread it, and I want it on my shelf.
You can add it to your to-read shelf on Goodreads right here.
Particularly Good Bits:
She fought to keep her words a hiss, keenly aware that they were in the Library and the books wouldn't like it if she yelled (ch. 4).
She couldn't just keep reading books and pretend reality didn't exist (ch. 15).
She pushed that hope away, though she knew that wasn't how hope worked. It was a pesky thing that had a habit of sticking around far longer than she wished and refused to be killed no matter how hard you tried. It was tenacious as ivy and twice as stubborn (ch. 27).
She wasn't a girl in a storybook. People often assumed she didn't, but she did know the difference between reality and stories (ch. 29).
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG for some perilous moments and lots of kissing. But sweet and innocent kissing, nothing racy. No bad language; very mild violence and peril.
This is my 16th book read from my TBR for #TheUnreadShelfProject2021.
Monday, April 12, 2021
Sunday, April 11, 2021
Friday, April 9, 2021
Four siblings (John, Susan, Titty, and Roger) visit the Lake District in Great Britain with their mother and baby sister while their father is busy working. Because this is the early twentieth century, they get permission to sail out to an island and camp there for several weeks, and have many adventures, both on the island and on their boat, the Swallow. They make friends with two sisters who sail their own boat and call themselves the Amazons, and after having a merry war, they make peace and continue having adventures together. Believable, jolly, sometimes exciting adventures that I just loved.
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: G. Clean, wholesome, and sweet.
This is my 18th book read and reviewed for my 3rd Classics Club list, and my 15th read off my TBR shelves for #TheUnreadShelfProject2021.
Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Monday, April 5, 2021
Thursday, April 1, 2021
In Recipe for Persuasion, Ashna Raje is slowly losing her late father's restaurant. Calling her relationship with her mother "strained" would be laughably underestimating their emotionally fraught battles. A few years earlier, a therapist "diagnosed her with PTSD resulting in acute clinical depression and anxiety" (p. 92), and Ashna battles her way through a lot of resulting issues throughout this story.
Ashna is convinced she can untangle the mess her life has become herself... until the last person in the world she ever wants to see again steps back into her life. She and Rico Silva, world-famous soccer star, were high school sweethearts, and when they end up paired together on a reality cooking show, everything in Ashna's life unravels faster than she can imagine.
The thing with unraveling a mess is that you can create something new and orderly out of it, once you finish the painful process of untying all the knots. Which Ashna eventually can appreciate, but it takes her a long time.
This book was a lot of fun, since I love to cook, but it also kind of left me wrung out for a day or so. Just so you know. I liked it better than Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors, mostly because I liked Ashna much better than the heroine of that one. But neither of them are books I'd re-read.
Particularly Good Bits:
The downside of choosing cowardice was that there was only so long you could hide. Problems were patient. They always waited you out (p. 22).
"Being who you're not takes too much energy" (p. 270).
In every part of her life, that was all she ever wanted to be, forcefully the same on the inside and the outside. Able to say what she wanted to say, able to do what she wanted to do, able to think of herself as she wanted to be thought of (p. 387).
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: R. Very R. Discussion of marital rape, lots of suggestive dialog, a love scene that is pretty graphic until it fades to black, lots of thinking about sexual topics, and quite a bit of bad language. I skimmed several parts that went beyond my comfort level.