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review 2018-05-23 02:45
What's that joke about a gorilla and a typewriter?
The Murderer's Ape - Jakob Wegelius

I love a good Swedish to English translation (except for that one time I attempted Wallander) so I thought that The Murderer's Ape by Jakob Wegelius would be no exception. However, I cannot unequivocally state that I loved this book...or that I loathed it. The book is told from the standpoint of a gorilla who has been christened Sally Jones. She's been around humans her entire life and therefore not only understands what they are saying but can read as well. She's a gifted engineer who the reader discovers has the ability to figure out most mechanical devices be they accordions or airplanes. (This is integral to the storyline.) Her best friend is a (human) man she refers to as Chief and who took her on as a partner when he got his own ship. But all of this was before they ran into some trouble. Without giving too much away, the two are separated and Sally is forced to adapt in order to survive. At its heart, this is an adventure story with a lot of drama. What I enjoyed were the illustrations which were done by the author and accompanied the heading of each chapter as well as a gallery of character portraits at the very beginning. Some of the issues I had with this novel were in its dealings with race, religion, and ethnicity. It was hard for me to pinpoint if the problems I had could be explained by viewing it through the lens of the time in which the novel took place but I found them unsettling nonetheless. Overall, I wasn't totally blown away but I wouldn't throw it out of an airplane door either. 4/10

 

Source: American Library Association

 

Examples of the illustrations. [Source: Playing by the book]

 

 

What's Up Next: Golda Meir: A Strong, Determined Leader by David A. Adler

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-12-14 01:49
Take a minute and hug the cranky folks in your life
A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Backman

I had to wait what felt like a decade but I finally got to see what all the hype was about when I read A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. This is a Swedish to English translation so I went into this one fairly confident I was going to love it based on my track record. (For example, I read The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared last year.) And I was right! The story centers on Ove who everyone sees as a cranky old man completely set in his own ways aka a total curmudgeon. However, the reader gets to see what goes on behind closed doors and so from the very start we know that all Ove wants is to kill himself. (This is a very funny book, trust me.) Yes, he wants to commit suicide except that every time he turns around someone in the neighborhood is approaching him with a problem. He's Mr. Fix-It in a pair of clogs. A man born of routines and logic is soon forced into a group of people who use those dreaded things called feelings to inform all of their decisions. We get to discover who Ove really is through flashbacks as well as his reactions to those around him. For a man that doesn't seem to hold much stock in that feeling malarkey it's soon readily apparent that he's not some automaton obsessed with Saab automobiles. (Although he really is obsessed with Saab vehicles.) It's a reminder that surface impressions are generally completely erroneous and that still waters truly run deep. This is such a beautifully wrought story bursting at the seams with heart and humor. If you're looking for a great character study with a lot of biting wit then I think this one is for you. 10/10

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-06-03 16:44
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Fall of Man in Wilmslow - David Lagercrantz,George Goulding

Honestly, I spent the entirety of this book fully convinced I was reading a nonfiction book about Alan Turing from the point of view of the policeman who found his body. Good job, David Lagercrantz! You totally fooled me! The book in question is Fall of Man in Wilmslow and it's the fictionalized story of Alan Turing's suicide and his contribution to the war effort and to numerous academic disciplines. Over the last year or more, I've been pretty much obsessed with all things A.I. and as a result I've learned a great deal about Alan Turing (and I've talked about him a few times here if you remember) who is considered the father of the modern computer AND Artificial Intelligence. What a guy! As a result, I'm pretty familiar with the biographical points of his life and his death. That's partially why I thought this was a work of nonfiction because all of those facts were laid out...which is the perfect way to build a fantastic piece of historical fiction. Lagercrantz used just enough of the truth to weave a convincing story about what might have happened had the policeman who found him been somewhat like Turing himself. Detective Constable Leonard Corell is the first officer on the scene and at first he is disgusted by not only the act of suicide itself but the man who committed it. This disgust turns into a kind of rage when he discovers that Turing was convicted of homosexuality. Even his initial aversion doesn't tamp down his horror at the punishment meted out by the government however. (He was chemically castrated which many believe was the main reason he chose to end his life as it led to severe depression.) Corell is an odd character. He flip flops between being overconfident in his abilities to allowing himself to be railroaded by his peers and bosses. He's also constantly daydreaming which I found tiring by the end of the novel. Speaking of the end of the novel, I didn't like it. It felt like the book was building and building and then the end was such a letdown. I can't say more about it without giving away huge spoilers but let's just say it was closely tied into Corell's daydreams. If you're completely unfamiliar with Turing and his work then this is an interesting way to get clued in because as I said much of the story is completely factual. Excepting the end, I really did enjoy this book. Lagercrantz is an excellent storyteller and he fooled me into thinking this was entirely plausible. 8/10 because that ending bummed me out.

 

Photo source: abebooks.com

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-06-03 15:34
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Fall of Man in Wilmslow - David Lagercrantz,George Goulding

Honestly, I spent the entirety of this book fully convinced I was reading a nonfiction book about Alan Turing from the point of view of the policeman who found his body. Good job, David Lagercrantz! You totally fooled me! The book in question is Fall of Man in Wilmslow and it's the fictionalized story of Alan Turing's suicide and his contribution to the war effort and to numerous academic disciplines. Over the last year or more, I've been pretty much obsessed with all things A.I. and as a result I've learned a great deal about Alan Turing (and I've talked about him a few times here if you remember) who is considered the father of the modern computer AND Artificial Intelligence. What a guy! As a result, I'm pretty familiar with the biographical points of his life and his death. That's partially why I thought this was a work of nonfiction because all of those facts were laid out...which is the perfect way to build a fantastic piece of historical fiction. Lagercrantz used just enough of the truth to weave a convincing story about what might have happened had the policeman who found him been somewhat like Turing himself. Detective Constable Leonard Corell is the first officer on the scene and at first he is disgusted by not only the act of suicide itself but the man who committed it. This disgust turns into a kind of rage when he discovers that Turing was convicted of homosexuality. Even his initial aversion doesn't tamp down his horror at the punishment meted out by the government however. (He was chemically castrated which many believe was the main reason he chose to end his life as it led to severe depression.) Corell is an odd character. He flip flops between being overconfident in his abilities to allowing himself to be railroaded by his peers and bosses. He's also constantly daydreaming which I found tiring by the end of the novel. Speaking of the end of the novel, I didn't like it. It felt like the book was building and building and then the end was such a letdown. I can't say more about it without giving away huge spoilers but let's just say it was closely tied into Corell's daydreams. If you're completely unfamiliar with Turing and his work then this is an interesting way to get clued in because as I said much of the story is completely factual. Excepting the end, I really did enjoy this book. Lagercrantz is an excellent storyteller and he fooled me into thinking this was entirely plausible. 8/10 because that ending bummed me out.

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2014-07-10 16:18
THE FLY TRAP...as close as I can get to a picnic for BOOK-A-DAY #10

The tenth day of using the Doubleday UK meme to clear out my backlog of unwritten reviews continues...but today it's a book with a memorable picnic! A PICNIC! Ruh roh, Raggy

 

http://expendablemudge.blogspot.com/2014/07/tenth-book-day-promptpicnics-uh-oh.html

 

Now seriously...neither the ISBN nor the title of the book pulled any information for me to link the review to a book? How is that possible?

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