Monday, December 26, 2016

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

I received Hag-Seed as an Early Reviewer. It is a retelling of The Tempest by William Shakespeare. I tried reading The Tempest first because I thought it would help me understand Hag-Seed. I hadn't read any Shakespeare since high school, and it wasn't as easy as I remembered. So I abandoned The Tempest and started Hag-Seed.

Hag-Seed is the story of a man who has been usurped as artistic director of a theatre festival. He goes into a self-imposed exile and begins planning his vengeance on the men responsible for his downfall. After several years he gets a new job teaching prisoners Shakespeare, where he finally realizes how he can give retribution with a production of The Tempest.

I loved how the story kept me guessing about how you could really exact revenge on some people with a play. On its own it is an enjoyable story. After reading the book I went back to The Tempest and the play made more sense. Although the book helped me understand the play, reading the play after helped me appreciate a few of the details that I at first felt were a little tidy at the end of the book. I had way too much fun figuring out which character in the book was which character in the play.

I am thankful for The Hogarth Shakespeare project for keeping Shakespeare alive and loved.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Library of Luminaries: Frida Kahlo: An Illustrated Biography by Zena Alkayat & Nina Cosford

This is a cute little picture book biography about Frida Kahlo. Even though I feel like I know the basics about "one of history's most celebrated artists and feminist icons," I still read a few new Frida facts. I was surprised that it did not contain any of Frida Kahlo's artwork, but it was fun to see Nina Cosford's interpretations instead.

I have always thought of Frida's life through her autobiographical artwork and from her perspective. It was interesting to look at her through another artist's eyes. The illustrations of Frida's tragic life story seem whimsical in this book. I liked thinking about Frida in a joyous way. One of my favorites was "Frida's Wardrobe," which I'm pretty sure made me giggle. I've never imagined Frida packing before. Thank you.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

"Guns Don't Kill People, People Kill People": And Other Myths About Guns and Gun Control by Dennis A. Henigan

Have you ever thought to yourself, wow, the NRA is overreaching? It's only the tip of the clip. In "Guns Don't Kill People, People Kill People": And Other Myths About Guns and Gun Control the author tears apart each bit of NRA "bumper-sticker logic" with statistics and actual logic. He then sights how gun control in our nation has already helped us, and other ways that gun control can help us all live with our guns in a safer way. (Spoiler alert: none of the ideas are to take away everyone's precious guns!)

Although the author ends with an empowering message, I still feel defeated. Regardless, I would recommend this book as excellent, vomit-in-your-mouth new knowledge, reference-filled nonfiction.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Michael's Wallet

My wedding scrapbook was still a project I felt too overwhelmed to tackle up until a few years ago when I set a simple goal: 1 scrapbook page for every year of marriage.
It was sentimental and it got me started. Today I finished my 17th page since we celebrated another anniversary yesterday.

I used this sketch from Sketches in Thyme:

And I also used the B&W + Color Challenge from rukristin Scrapbook Sleepover Challenges for inspiration.

It took 17 years but I got another favorite story from that special day documented!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Running with Rhinos by Ed Warner

When I requested Running with Rhinos: Stories from a Radical Conservationist by Ed Warner through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program I imagined I would be reading stories about rhinos: rescues, births, and poachers. When I started reading, I learned right away that the most important rule of rhino tracking is that you must always have a tree nearby. Oh boy. Foreshadowing! Instead, the stories were written by someone working behind the scenes. Although Mr. Warner's role in Sand County Foundation was equally important as that of a vet tech, it just wasn't as interesting. He goes to fundraisers and orders supplies. One of the stories was about how he accidentally overpaid $8 at the grocery store. A more appropriate title would be, "Running through Customs."

I bet the author is a good campfire story teller. I really wanted to like this book just based on the fact that the black rhino rescue in Zimbabwe is named after Aldo Leopold's land ethic. I just don't feel confident recommending this book to people based on the cover and title, and the lack of scrambling-for-a-nearby-tree moments.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz

Bibi Blair is too young to be told she only has a year to live. She's in the hospital after being told she has a very rare form of brain cancer when a mysterious man and Golden Retriever visit her in the middle of the night. After the dog licks her hand, she wakes up believing she is cured, and she is. It isn't long before she discovers getting her life back comes at a price. She, in turn, has to save Ashley Bell, a girl she's never heard of.

Leave it to Mr. Kootnz to take us along on Bibi's journey in a suspenseful and exciting way. Don't be put off by the length. If you like Dean Koontz, you will like Ashley Bell.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon

I like to read a horse racing book every year during Triple Crown Season. Lord of Misrule won a National Book Award so I thought it would be a good choice.

Although this is a fiction story, I think it gives you an idea of what horse racing is really like if you're not Bob Baffert or Todd Pletcher. Overall I liked this story of racing people and life in their barns, but I had a little hangup. Every other chapter was written in second-person narrative. Those chapters were really about the creepy racehorse owner/bad boyfriend of the groom, and I didn't like being "you" when it was him. It made me feel like I was reading a Choose Your Own Adventure, but without the choices.

It wasn't the best or the worst book I read last year, so you can choose for yourself if you think this book will be a good reading adventure.

P.S. This book counts for my Sports category of the 2015 Eclectic Reader Challenge.