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review 2017-06-23 16:00
On Canaan’s Side ★★★☆☆
On Canaan's Side - Sebastian Barry

I had a lot I wanted to say about this book, as I had just finished it, but then I got into a long, work-related conversation with a colleague, and now I find my brain mostly empty of thoughts where this book is concerned. That, perhaps, is a good indicator of how deeply affected I was by it. Mostly how I felt, by the end, was as though I was covered in a heavy smothering blanket of depression. Perhaps that’s the point. Perhaps that was the author’s goal in writing this book. When I read “literary” novels, this seems to be how I most often feel, with the second most common emotion being impatient annoyance. The latter is most common in the ones that I’m not even able to finish reading.

 

On Canaan’s Side seems to be about grief and loss and the pointlessness of actually making human connections in life, when at the end everybody you loved is gone or has betrayed you in some way. There is some beautiful language and gorgeous descriptions of setting and emotions. The author chose to express some of these in stream-of-consciousness style of run-on sentences that literally went on as long as 1 ½ pages of text. Fortunately, these were mostly confined to the first and last few chapters, with the middle third of the book written in a snappier style that moved the plot and story (such as it was) along in a more tolerable fashion.

 

When I was a teenager, we had a saying that encompassed all the angst of that age: “Life’s a bitch, and then you die”. That’s pretty much how I felt by the end of this book.

 

Hardcover version, purchased as a circulation discard from a Friends of the Library sale. I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoloy challenge, for the square Trains, Planes, & Automobiles 14: Read a book that involves overseas travel, or that has a suitcase on the cover.  There is a brief description of the main character’s overseas journey from Ireland to America, and two other characters journey overseas for the Vietnam and Gulf wars.

 

Previous Updates:

6/29/17 182/272 pg

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text 2017-06-19 14:18
On Canaan's Side: 182/272 pg
On Canaan's Side - Sebastian Barry

Finally, the pace is starting to pick up. I'm starting to think I'll never be done with this book.

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review 2017-06-17 17:36
Me Want Pet! ★★★☆☆
Me Want Pet! - Tammi Sauer,Bob Shea

Cute story about a caveboy who desperately wants a pet, but every one that he brings home just isn't suitable for one reason or another. 

 

I liked the colors and illustrations, and I can see how the story could spark discussion/learning opportunities about pet ownership. I can even see how kids would have fun with the "cave language" but I actually found it a little obnoxious. I know it would drive me crazy by the second or third reading.

 

I'll probably knock this one off my purchase list for my neice's kids' library, but will definitely look at the others that are written and illustrated by Tammmy Sauer and Bob Shea.

 

Hardcover picture book, borrowed from my public library. 

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review 2017-05-25 12:25
A Golden Age ★★★☆☆
A Golden Age - Tahmima Anam

All in all, this book was just okay-to-good. It tells the story of an apolitical widow who is caught up in the 1971 Bangledesh War of Independence, and of her reluctant contributions as her son and daughter join the resistance. And it really is her story, as the author shows us her grief and fear and longing, but once war begins, we are kept removed from events and even, to some extent, from the emotions. Still, the story is populated with refugees and soldiers and citizens who must choose where their loyalties lie, so it kept my interest through the end.

 

Hardcover version, which I picked up as a discard from a Friends of the Library sale. I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoly challenge, for the square Adventureland 24: Take the Jungle Cruise. Read a book set in Africa or Asia, or that has an exotic animal on the cover. This book fits because it is set in East Pakistan, in Asia.  

 

Previous Updates:

5/13/17 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1562356/a-golden-age-progress-7-276-pg

 

5/20/17 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1564032/a-golden-age-progress-17-276-pg

 

5/20/17 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1564145/a-golden-age-34-276-pages

5/21/17 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1564253/a-golden-age-77-276-pages

 

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review 2017-05-22 18:11
Battle Bunny ★★★★★ (edited)
Battle Bunny - Jon Scieszka,Mac Barnett,Matthew Myers

I don’t remember where I saw the recommendation for this book, but thank you, unknown book reviewer, for introducing me to this stinkin’ adorable, yet subversive, little children’s book.

 

The book is presented as a sickly sweet kiddie book about a birthday bunny who wanders sadly around the forest, meeting various friends who don’t seem to care that it’s his birthday, until *surprise* they have a party for him and HEA. Except that Alex has no use for this gift book from Grandma, and he “improves” it with his own story, turning Birthday Bunny into Battle Bunny and his birthday quest into an evil plan for world destruction that must be foiled by… superhero Alex!

 

I so want to get this for my little great-nephew, but am unsure when it would be age-appropriate for him, as it clearly requires a kid old enough to get the joke. The cover indicates ages 5-9 and he just started kindergarten, so... maybe for his next birthday?

 

EDIT: It was Kaethe who introduced me to this wonderful book, as she has so many others that I've added to my great-nephew (and now great-niece)'s library. Thank you!

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