What I've Read

Friday, October 17, 2014

Book Review: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I won't lie to you. I probably would never have read this if my boyfriend had not been so incredibly passionate about it.

I would have missed out on a story that may very well do for my adulthood what Harry Potter accomplished in my youth.

Things I loved:
-Kvothe's character development was astounding. Seeing his past self and his future self side by side gives such a significant juxtaposition between then and now.
-The side characters are just as amazing. They have depth and breadth and lives that are just as complex as Kvothe's, and Rothfuss treats them with human respect.
-The story was beautiful, intricate and detailed yet still wild and unkempt, just like traditional oral epics. There is a method to this madness.
-The world. Rothfuss has created a mysterious world full of familiar faces that I just wanted to learn more about (and I will continue to in book 2).

Things I did not care so much for:
-Repetitious phrasing (usually in descriptions). When Rothfuss said something he liked, he returned to it.
-References back to foreshadowing
-There were some typos and grammatical errors (but that's more on the editor than the writer)

I loved this novel and I'm ready to get back to this world.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Book Review: The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon

The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive EnergyThe Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy by Jon Gordon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this as continuing education for my school per request of my principal. This is a solid 3 star book, and I'll tell you why. The beginning was good, but toward the end, it started to feel too fluffy. I would have liked to see some real challenges overcome through being positive and patient. I mean, it's likely I missed the point.

I've always considered myself a positive person and a great many of those rules are applicable in life as well as within my faith. I think a true cynic would get nothing from this book, but I still agree with the premise.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Book Review: Still Life by Louise Penny

Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #1)Still Life by Louise Penny
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I feel like my review is probably NOT the most accurate because mysteries are generally not my cup of tea, however, Still Life is the exception. Still Life is like a strong cup of Earl Grey with just enough kick and a little sugar thrown into the mix.

The beginning was slow. I'll tell you that right off, but so many first novels in series are slow. The world, characters, and environment have to be set up, understandably. Once you get past the set-up, however, there is no turning back.

The characters are flawed and beautiful. It is quite rare that one finds a novel with characters who are so inherently human that you understand them, even to the point of committing murder. More than anything else, however, Still Life is about relationships. There are breathtaking and sometimes poignant romantic relationships, complex mentor/mentee relationships, and relationships among friends and neighbors in a small town. There are quirky and enigmatic side characters whose stories I so DESPERATELY want to know!

On a technical note, there were some grammatical errors and typos, but Louise Penny's style makes them almost unnoticeable. She switches seamlessly from one perspective to another- sometimes with as many as three or four perspectives on one page. It makes for a fast-paced read.

I will continue this series because I've fallen in love with Three Pines (and who doesn't have at least a little crush on Jean Guy Beauvoir?)

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Book Review: Book Love

The Book Hacker is back! Sorry for my temporary absence. In the past few months, I've experienced a break-up, got a new (and AMAZING) job, relocated my entire life, and attempted to adjust to all of it.

I'm so excited that this is my first book to review since my sabbatical. I highly recommend it!

Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent ReadersBook Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers by Penny Kittle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've only been on the teacher side of the desk for four years, but I'm thoroughly convinced that this idea is what's going to change education. It would have changed my education for sure. Penny Kittle clearly knows the students of today.

Not only does she enlighten on her philosophy, but she also elaborates on practical ways educators could apply this in the classroom. My whole classroom format will change because I read this book and I believe my students will be better for it.

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Not a Drop to Drink

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can
play along!

Just do the following:

Grab your current read.

Open to a random page.

Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

From Chapter Twelve of Mindy McGinnis's Not a Drop to Drink

In the dark field, it felt to Lynn like predators 
would see Lucy not only as the easiest target 
but also as Lynn's weakness as well. 
She hoped Lucy could feel the affection 
coursing through her fingers, 
even though the grip on her tiny wrist was iron. 
As I've mentioned before on Twitter, but not on here, I am SO excited about this novel! I got to visit the Dark Days panel at ATBF a couple weeks ago and let me tell you, Mindy McGinnis is incredibly charming and an absolute delight in person. Her dark YA novel sounds like one I can really sink my teeth into. I just got it from Amazon today, so I'll let you know how it goes!

My current thoughts.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Book Review: Peter Pan

Peter PanPeter Pan by J.M. Barrie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've read this before but it's been ages. I love the tale of Peter Pan and Wendy, of the Lost Boys and poor, arrogant Captain Hook, and reading it again via audio certainly gave me a new appreciation for the Boy Who Will Never Grow Up and the Girl Who Wanted to Grow Up.

It's a beautiful story, and the audio, narrated by Jim Dale who also read the Harry Potter audio books, is breathtaking. I wish I had heard this before I read it in book form because it truly is one of those books made to be read aloud. Jim Dale does every single voice differently and is able to capture these personalities with skill and imagination.

Reading this is truly like a return to childhood, to a self you forgot you knew.

Just like Peter, this book awaits children and adults everywhere who may have forgotten the beauty of imagination and the power of hope and joy.

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I know other reviewers have used words such as "blase" (which, to be fair, is quite 'blase' in and of itself) to describe this novel, but let's get down to the nitty gritty of it all. I know it's the "hip" thing to not like the books everybody else is reading and, honestly, before I picked up one of John Green's novels (this is my first, but NOT my last) I figured he had to be overrated.

I. Was. Wrong.

Write that in your datebooks because I don't say it often, but I was very wrong in my prejudgment of this novel.

The characters are charming, poignant, and painfully real. In the face of tragedies too huge for most adults to experience with a smile, they manage to insert light, carefree, intellectual humor. I laughed as much as I cried in this novel, and let me tell you, that's saying something. Green does not romanticize the struggle with cancer, but rather gets deeper into the fact that no matter how old a person is, he or she has an identity. No matter what their struggle, they have a sense of humor and the ability to be a beautiful soul. The love story here is one of the truest and greatest I've ever read, perhaps because of the short time frame, perhaps because of the circumstances. I don't know. Either way, it's a book I will use in my classroom and recommend to anyone I meet.

... I can't really think of any, unless you include massive emotional upheaval and tear-wrenching catharsis.

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