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Search tags: A-Short-History-of-Nearly-Everything
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text 2018-02-01 05:11
January is over already! Reading summary.
The Diary of a Bookseller - Shaun Bythell
The Pursuit of Love - Nancy Mitford
The Peach Keeper - Sarah Addison Allen
The Mayor's Wife - Anna Katharine Green
A Short History of Drunkenness - Mark Forsyth
Pomfret Towers - Angela Thirkell
The One-Cent Magenta - James Barron
The Bee Friendly Garden: Easy Ways to Help the Bees and Make Your Garden Grow - Doug Purdie
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - E.L. Konigsburg

I don't want to go back to work!

 

I read 33 books in January.  It's always by far my biggest reading month.  I work in schools, which means I get the summer holidays off.  December is crazy with holidays and MT being off work, but January I'm on my own all day and can read and read and read.

 

Of the 33 books, only 1 wasn't on my TBR pile when the month started.  I had 2 five-star reads, and 7 four-and-a-half star reads, so on average an excellent month.  My least favourite was a 2 star read; a collection of essays about libraries that I found repetitive.

 

Since the woman-author reading challenge is taking place this year, here are my "gender" stats:

Women authors:  15

Male authors: 17

Mixed: 1

 

A whopping 23 were non-fiction, compared to 10 fiction.

 

As for my TBR Challenge of only allowing myself to buy half as many books as I've read, I actually did o.k.  I did have a small cheat, because on New Year's Day, my neighbour came over and offered me 6 boxes of books she was getting rid of.  Karma was rigging the system for failure!!  After going through the boxes I chose 6, but didn't count them against my book budget; I categorised them as 'gifts' and I'd said from the start gifts didn't count.

 

So:

January's book buying budget: 12 books.

Bought:  9

Balance: 3 

Total TBR: 322

 

For February, my book budget is 16 books (January's 33 rounded down and divided by 2).

 

Go me!  ;)

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review 2018-01-13 09:14
A Short History of Drunkenness
A Short History of Drunkenness - Mark Forsyth

I love Mark Forsyth's writing.  I think I've read (and own) everything he's written and I've yet to be let down.  He's got the dry, British humor in spades and his writing is always excellent.  His original bibliography focused on etymology, but he's lately broken out into short, but focused, histories.  

 

Forsyth makes it clear from the start that this is not a comprehensive history of drunkenness; that would be a comprehensive history of humanity.  But he does break it down into a very easy to follow, somewhat linear timeline, with each chapter focused on a specific culture, or age.  I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, but it turns out ancient Greeks got a bad rap; when it comes to partying they had nothing on ancient Egyptians.  Or late 19th/early 20th century Russians.  Holy crap.

 

The book ends in more or less modern times, but Forsyth does revisit America in the last chapter; specifically Prohibition and Did it work?.  Half my family was in Chicago during Prohibition and the other half was in Florida, with a constant stream of 'revenuers' and bootleggers coming through the tiny fishing village called home, so I'm not sure I entirely buy his premise that Prohibition was a success.  On the other hand, my family's history would give me exactly the skewed perspective that would make me dubious.  No matter what my opinion is, his take on Prohibition was fascinating and (to me) an entirely new way of viewing the 18th amendment experiment.  

 

But the best part, the very best part of the book, for me, is something only a few here will immediately appreciate, and it's this, from a quote in the chapter on the American Wild West:

 

"The saturnalia commenced on Christmas evening, at the Humboldt [saloon]..."

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review 2017-11-29 23:08
A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck
A Short History of the Girl Next Door - Jared Reck

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This book really got to me. I mean there were tears with this one. Real tears! I almost never shed tears over books but this one got through my shield. I didn't really know a lot about this book going in. I saw the book offered on Blogging for Books and decided to give it a try without reading any reviews for it. I ended up really enjoying Matt's story.

Matt and Tabby have always been together. Tabby lives just across the street from Matt and they have really grown up together. Matt's mom watched Tabby while her dad worked since she was an infant. They are really almost like family. Except they are not family and Matt is not thinking of Tabby like a sister at all. 

Matt doesn't know what to think when Tabby starts handing out with Liam, a cool senior. Tabby is only a freshman. Matt really doesn't know how to handle this new development. Suddenly Tabby has other places to be even though she still makes some time for Matt and his family.

I really liked the characters in this book. They all felt so very real to me. Being a teenager is tough and I think that this group of characters did a fantastic job at really illustrating the emotional ups and downs in their lives. I also liked the adult characters in this book. I thought that they were very supportive. Sometimes that support was shown by remaining silent and other times speaking up. 

This book really did put me through a wide range of emotions and it did it well. I thought some parts were rather comical while others broke my heart. Some parts made me uncomfortable and other made me fondly remember my own childhood. This story really packs quite the punch.

I would recommend this book to others. I would recommend that other readers go into this book as blindly as possible since some spoilers could really lessen the book's impact. This is Jared Reck's debut novel and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

I received a review copy of this book from Knopf Books for Young Readers via Blogging for Books.

Initial Thoughts
Dang...those may have been real tears.

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review 2017-09-20 18:18
A Short History of the Girl Next Door/Jared Reck
A Short History of the Girl Next Door - Jared Reck

This book is worth reading, so go read it, but stop reading reviews because they'll probably spoil something. Don't read the description; it'll spoil something. (Those author comparisons… come on, whoever did jacket copy!) If you like YA, go read it.

 

Okay, that being said, now I will talk about this book in ambiguous terms that jump around the major event that happens a third of the way or so through. No apologies if you're intelligent enough to guess what happens. Here's the blurb:

 

Equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking, this unrequited love story will appeal to fans of Jennifer Niven, John Green, and Jesse Andrews. 
Seriously, how can you see a person nearly every day of your life and never think a thing of it, then all of a sudden, one day, it’s different? You see that goofy grin a thousand times and just laugh. But goofy grin #1,001 nearly stops your heart? 
Right. That sounds like a bad movie already.
Matt Wainwright is constantly sabotaged by the overdramatic movie director in his head. He can’t tell his best friend, Tabby, how he really feels about her, he implodes on the JV basketball team, and the only place he feels normal is in Mr. Ellis’s English class, discussing the greatest fart scenes in literature and writing poems about pissed-off candy-cane lumberjacks.
If this were a movie, everything would work out perfectly. Tabby would discover that Matt’s madly in love with her, be overcome with emotion, and would fall into his arms. Maybe in the rain.
But that’s not how it works. Matt watches Tabby get swept away by senior basketball star and all-around great guy Liam Branson. Losing Tabby to Branson is bad enough, but screwing up and losing her as a friend is even worse. 
After a tragic accident, Matt finds himself left on the sidelines, on the verge of spiraling out of control and losing everything that matters to him. From debut author Jared Reck comes a fiercely funny and heart-wrenching novel about love, longing, and what happens when life as you know it changes in an instant.

 

So this ends up being a premise I've totally thought about in a different fashion--the idea of who is important to you, but how many other people even know that you're important to them? Who has the right to grieve? Who has the agency to speak after certain events? (I told you there'd be spoilers. There's no way to do this.)

 

Matt is lovely and so very real and such a great boy character! Am I the only one who feels like boy characters are often one-dimensional in YA lit? I loved the way he interacted with all of his friends and especially with Tabby, and I loved the way that he dealt with the circumstances and lashed out and was vulnerable and real.

 

While a lot more YA deals with this than proportionally is realistic, I felt like I could see this community reacting and I could see the events playing out. From Matt's parents and family to the way he plays basketball and looks up to his teammates, I felt like Reck had really delved into the personality of every character.

 

This is so much better than All the Bright Places, and I highly recommend it for those who love tragic YA romances.


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-09-15 00:00
A Short History of Nearly Everything
A Short History of Nearly Everything - William Roberts,Bill Bryson imageAudibleheadphones_icon_1
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