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review 2018-06-17 22:13
Flat Stanley's Worldwide Adventures #2: The Great Egyptian Grave Robbery - Jeff Brown,Macky Pamintuan

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

This was an okay read.

I think I was just too much in a rational mindset to enjoy this book. I can suspend my disbelief enough to accept that Stanley was flattened by a bulletin board while sleeping in the original book series. I can even pretend that you can send a flat human being through the US Postal Service. But I just can't get over the ridiculousness that Stanley's "goose disks" (flat goose bumps) would allow him to stick to walls like a starfish. He is wearing a long-sleeved shirt and pants. How does he have enough exposed skin to stick to the wall, ignoring the fact that human pores (even if flat) do not turn into suction cups? This was just too much for me. Apparently I am too much of a grown up for this part of the series. This whole thing just doesn't make sense. 

The entire book was pretty ridiculous with tons of plot holes. It is a pretty typical "Egyptian" story full of treasure in secret tombs and creepy mummies. There's a fairly predictable "twist", but the story seems kind of lazy. While there are some facts about Egypt at the end of the book, the story is based on various stereotypes and misunderstandings about Egypt. Though I have not been to Egypt, I don't think anyone there says "Holy sarcophagus!" This book is based on a very basic concept of Egypt, mainly that there are really old pyramids that people try to steal from. 

I actually really enjoyed the original Flat Stanley chapter book, but this one is just too ridiculous. It fells like an attempt to imitate the Magic Treehouse books, but is a complete failure. This thing makes no sense. Did not enjoy.

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review 2018-06-13 22:20
Laughing Without an Accent by Firoozeh Dumas
Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American, at Home and Abroad - Firoozeh Dumas

I enjoyed this book – it’s an entertaining memoir-in-essays by an Iranian-American author about her life, family, and navigating two cultures. Her book titles may be doing her a disservice by treating humor as her primary selling point; I would call this book amusing, humorous, and enjoyable but not laugh-out-loud funny. Of course humor is individual, and the stories are good enough to enjoy even if you don't find them hilarious.

There are a lot of good stories here. I enjoyed reading about the author’s childhood in Iran and the U.S., appreciated that she shared her disappointing and isolated first year in college (there is a lot of pressure on kids for this to be the best time of their life, but isn’t for everyone), chuckled at the misunderstandings when she began dating her husband, experienced schadenfreude reading about her worst day as a stay-at-home mom but admired her getting the TV out of the house, and was entertained by the ups and downs of life with her quirky relatives. Toward the end there were a couple of chapters that didn’t do much for me: one about her experience of giving a graduation speech essentially regurgitates the speech (complete with long paragraphs on why we should care for our teeth and read books), while another – a potentially great chapter about her meeting Kathryn Koon, who was held hostage in Iran in 1979 – fell flat, because neither the author nor Koon seems to have many feelings about this and so it becomes a chronicle of their road trip around Iowa and what visiting an Amish store is like. Also, the "gross foods in France" chapter is indeed gross.

Overall though, this is fun reading, easy to pick up for a chapter at a time when you’re busy. Nothing huge happens in it, but it’s an enjoyable window into the author’s life as an immigrant, mixing serious topics with humor.

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text 2018-06-10 18:35
Reading progress update: I've read 63 out of 940 pages.
The Adventures of Don Quixote - J.M. Cohen,Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Why did no one tell me Don Quixote was this much fun? Also, he's like the ultimate (and worst) fan; I'm surprised he's never referenced in fan studies.

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review 2018-06-08 23:43
AVP: Prey
Prey - Steve Perry,Stephani Perry

This was a surprising gem. When you read these movie tie-in's, they can be hit or miss. And I have read some really bad ones, especially in the Aliens fandom. But wow, this was fun. I definitely see where they took some of their inspiration for the first AVP movie. The strong female lead, the warrior predator, the queen battle, the Blooding. As much as I enjoyed the movie, this book would have made for a much better story. 

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review 2018-06-08 19:03
Our Man In Havana by Graham Greene
Our Man in Havana - Graham Greene,Christopher Hitchens

Graham Greene is one of those authors that I've always meant to read - and following along with BrokenTune's Greene-land Adventures project increased my desire to dip into his books. The Summer of Spies gave me a perfect opportunity to check out one of his "espionage" books.

 

I wasn't expecting the level of farce contained in this book. It's not really a spy story - it's a story about a reluctant vacuum-salesman-turned-spy who has no intelligence to provide, but who needs to make the money he is getting for his dispatches worth the while of the British Intelligence service. So, he starts making stuff up.

 

There are some very funny parts of this book - the "missile drawings" that were obviously based on a vacuum cleaner is hysterical. The conversation between Hawthorne and his boss where the boss convinces himself that Wormold is actually some sort of a merchant king is bitingly funny, and also quite a propos of current politics, where, apparently, 49% of America can be convinced that a lying moron with inherited money is actually a brilliant strategist worthy of being President. 

 

When it is in your interest to believe something, this book points out, reality is of little import.

 

And, as it is in life, when delusion collides with truth, someone is probably going to die. The ending is a brilliant illustration of what happens when human beings are confronted with an inconvenient and embarrassing reality - sometimes maintaining the lie is easier than acknowledging that you've been fooled.

 

So it goes...

 

 

 

 

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