Sunday, December 27, 2015

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy

This retelling of Hansel and Gretel puts a Nazi twist on the classic fairy tale.

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel is more historical fiction than fairy tale though. Hansel and Gretel are two Jewish children hiding from the Nazis in the woods in Poland. They are taken in by a "witch," and the reader is invited to imagine the lives of one small village during WWII. Find out what the bread crumb trail and witch's oven were really about.

Although the story is dark, you can't stop wishing for a fairy tale ending. It was one of my favorite books I read this year.

P.S. This book counts as my Retelling for the Eclectic Reader Challenge.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

This is the third book in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. I had heard that it wasn't as good as the other 2 books, but I still had to find out what happened to Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist.

I struggled for about the first 100 pages of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson. I was expecting the fire and drama of the first two from the series, but felt bogged down by a lot of mob talk and cop talk that didn't interest me. After I made it through those pages though, I was rewarded with an exciting conclusion to the series.

P.S. This counts as my Book Set in a Country Starting with the Letter S (Sweden) for the Eclectic Reader Challenge.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

2016 Eclectic Reader Challenge

Sign me up for the Eclectic Reader Challenge again in 2016! I like how the challenge helps me get books off my shelf and into my head. Here are the categories for next year, and the books I have already that I can use:

A book about books (fiction or nonfiction):

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel by Robin Sloan

Serial killer thriller: Killing for Company: The Story of a Man Addicted to Murder by Brian Masters

Paranormal romance:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance-now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! by Jane Austen

Enchanted, Inc. by Shanna Swendson

A novel set on an island:

The Last Summer (of You and Me) by Ann Brashares

Coastliners by Joanne Harris

Investigative journalism (non fiction): Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer

Steampunk sci fi: Serenity 2: Better Days by Brett Matthews, Joss Whedon

(Okay, I read a whole battle on a message board about whether or not Serenity can be considered Steampunk. In the end I would lean toward no, but it definitely has Steampunk elements and I've been wanting to read this graphic novel so...)

Any book shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize:

Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Psychology (non fiction): The Minds of Billy Milligan by Daniel Keyes

Immigrant Experience fiction: What is the What by Dave Eggers

YA historical fiction:

The Foretelling by Alice Hoffman

Crows and Cards by Joseph Helgerson

A debut author in 2016

Any books you recommend on my list? Want to play along with me?

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone peace, love, and happiness today and in 2016!

What’s In A Name – 2016

I'm signing up for the What's In A Name Challenge officially for 2016. I participated unofficially this year and had fun clearing a few books off of my tbr pile. Here are the categories and the books I have on hand that I can use:

A country:

The Australia Stories by Todd James Pierce

Lives on the Boundary: A Moving Account of the Struggles and Achievements of America's Educationally Underprepared by Mike Rose

An item of clothing:

The Shoe Queen by Anna Davis

Any Place I Hang My Hat by Susan Isaacs

Under the Duvet: Shoes, Reviews, Having the Blues, Builders, Babies, Families and Other Calamities by Marian Keyes

In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

An item of furniture: Frida's Bed by Slavenka Drakulic

A profession:

Ranch Schoolteacher by Eulalia Bourne

Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Bartender's Tale by Ivan Doig

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

City Girl, Country Vet by Cathy Woodman

Mr. Darwin's Shooter by Roger McDonald

The Nanny Diaries by Emma Mclaughlin

The Last Witchfinder by James Morrow

A month of the year:

The March by E. L. Doctorow

The Door to December by Dean Koontz

A title with the word ‘tree’ in it:

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burn

The Drowning Tree by Carol Goodman

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Do you see any on my list that you recommend? Do you want to play along with me?

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro

Earlier this year I read When We Were Orphans with my book club. We read Never Let Me Go by the same author awhile ago, and everyone else loved it. I thought it was just ok, but I thought maybe Ishiguro deserved another chance.

I immediately liked the main character, Christopher Banks, and following him as a child living in Shanghai. I loved reading about his friendship with his neighbor, Akira, and the games they imagined together. Unfortunately Christopher is orphaned when his parents disappear, which brings us to Christopher's story as an adult. He has become a famous private investigator, and has decided it's time to solve the mystery of his parents' disappearance. That's where the story turned for me. It became uninteresting, bizarre, unlikely, and hard to follow.

My book club had the same complaints as me. I think I'm done with Ishiguro. I really want to like him because of all the good reviews he gets, but we just don't click.

P.S. This book counts as my PI Crime book for the Eclectic Reader Challenge.