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review 2018-04-09 03:19
Wild
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail - Cheryl Strayed

I did not like Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail very much.  I just couldn’t get past Cheryl Strayed’s unpreparedness for long-distance hiking and found her a distasteful person who I didn’t particularly want to spend time with.  I also found the narrative disorganized and the insights she gained from her journey pedestrian. If Wild hadn’t been the selection for my office book club, I probably would not have finished the book.  As it was, partway through I stopped reading and started skimming.

 

Several of my co-workers also didn’t like Wild very much either, including one person who said that she expected much more from the author of Tiny Beautiful Things (which I have not read).  A number of others hadn’t finished, but had seen the movie, so we spent as much time comparing the book to the movie and discussing other wilderness journey movies as discussing the book itself.

 

In other news, the office book club appears to be turning into a book-to-movie club, which isn’t actually such a bad thing. Our first selection was Room, our second was Wild, and our next choice is The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a re-read for me (I listened to the audiobook a few years ago). I’m looking forward to re-reading it and  I’m interested to hear what the others think. And we’ll see how the scheduling goes, but we’re also starting to kick around the idea of a movie night where we watch the movies and talk some more.

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review 2018-04-02 13:55
What Janie Found
What Janie Found - Caroline B. Cooney

This book isn't as engrossing as the others were for me. I kept spacing out and thinking of other things to do. It seemed to ramble on and go nowhere. In the end it did end up going nowhere but I suppose the trip itself was a trip they needed to take. The journey itself was the destination and a solution was found to their dilemma.

 

Additional thoughts....

So, I didn't read these books in school like so many people did.  I might be too old by a smidge.  I vaguely remember my mother in law watching the TV show while we were visiting when my husband and I were either recently married or maybe about to be.  I looked it up and watched it online and was surprised when I recognized the last half.  When I read the first few books I read the old version but this one was the new version.  I actually listened to an audio book and not the one linked here.  I was just lazy.  Anyway, it was weird to me that Janie had a cell phone.  Is it so bad to leave books alone and let kids experience the past the way it really was.  Sure, they may be shocked that people had to find a payphone to make a call or look through paper logs and records or books in libraries to find information about people, places or things.  It is still educational though.  Leave the books alone.  I don't think it is necessary to try to make them fit the present.

 

 

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review 2018-03-28 06:12
Invasive species from outer space!
Earth Has Been Found - D.F. Jones

A United States Air Force jet fighter on a test flight vanishes from the California skies . . . and reappears four months later near Guam. Two years later, a Russian cargo plane experiences a similar disappearance, with its crew completely unaware that ten months have passed for them. As the American and Soviet governments investigate the parallel cases, a jumbo jet returning tourists to New York from Paris also disappears over the Atlantic Ocean, only to reappear over the continental United States weeks later. Though initially the people involved seem little affected by their disappearance, over time they begin to experience unusual cravings, then suddenly develop cysts and lapse into comas which signal the arrival of a new type of alien invader . . .

 

Best known for his “Colossus” trilogy, Dennis Feltham Jones was a former British naval officer who authored over a half-dozen science fiction novels during a fifteen-year period. This, his penultimate work, exhibits all of his strengths and weaknesses as a writer within the genre. The concept at the heart of his novel, the emergence of invasive species, is eerily prescient to readers living in a world increasingly concerned with the consequences of exotic flora and fauna appearing in different habitats. Yet most of the characters remain stuck in two dimensions throughout the novel, often displaying a curious lassitude that negates much of the tension Jones tries to build. Most disappointing of all, though, is Jones’s clumsy injection of religion into the book. What might have provided a refreshing take on the alien-invasion novel instead seems little more than a Cold-War era commentary on the emptiness of Soviet ideology.  This cheapens rather than enriches his work, which is enjoyable enough but lacks the power that Jones seems to have wanted his work to have.

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review 2018-03-03 17:56
Lost and Found by Rick R. Reed Review
Lost and Found - Rick R. Reed

On a bright autumn day, Flynn Marlowe lost his best friend, a beagle named Barley, while out on a hike in Seattle’s Discovery Park.

On a cold winter day, Mac Bowersox found his best friend, a lost, scared, and emaciated beagle, on the streets of Seattle.

Two men. One dog. When Flynn and Mac meet by chance in a park the next summer, there’s a problem—who does Barley really belong to? Flynn wants him back, but he can see that Mac rescued him and loves him just as much as he does. Mac wants to keep the dog, and he can imagine how heartbreaking losing him would be—but that's just what Flynn experienced.

A “shared custody” compromise might be just the way to work things out. But will the arrangement be successful? Mac and Flynn are willing to try it—and along the way, they just might fall in love.

 

Review

The idea of this book is great. I love the emotionial complexity around how to deal with the issue of the dog. I also like how the relationship unfolds and some of the class and regional issues that come up. I also like the complex figures of some of the elders in the story.

 

What I struggled with the kind of ick portrayal of one of the hero's friends. And then she, after meaning so much to the hero, just vanishes.

 

Then, one hero makes a pretty big decision which I could believe in if it was really talked out but it wasn't so it feels odd.

 

We don't get enough after they are really together time to make this love story work for me.

 

The dog, of course, is great.

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review 2018-02-28 06:55
Found Things by Marilyn Hilton
Found Things - Marilyn Hilton

One morning, River Rose Byrne wakes up talking like nobody else, and she doesn’t know why. Maybe it’s because her beloved older brother, Theron, has abruptly vanished. Maybe it’s because that bully Daniel Bunch won’t leave her alone. Or maybe it has everything to do with the eerily familiar house that her mind explores when she’s asleep, and the mysterious woman who lives there. River has to puzzle through these mysteries on her own until she makes a strange new friend named Meadow Lark. But when she brings Meadow Lark home and her mother reacts in a way that takes River by surprise, River is more lost than before. Now all that’s left for her to do is make wish after wish—and keep her eyes open for a miracle.

Amazon.com

 

 

For quite awhile now, River Rose Byrne has been wondering about and searching for her missing brother, Theron. In the meantime, she befriends mysterious, somewhat odd Meadow Lark Frankenfield, "her name was one of the only pretty things about her." Author Marilyn Hilton's description of Meadow Lark includes "a popped out eye" and "a strange way of walking".

 

"People make fun of my eye," she say, "but I can see better than some of them." 

 

As the story progresses, there are quiet character traits of River that the reader comes to see as a result (side effect?) of the trauma of Theron's disappearance, one being her taking up the habit of intentionally filling her speech with poor grammar. To help heal River's spirit, Meadow Lark teaches her the trick of writing down wishes and sending them down the river near the town library. Sidenote: I loved the imagery of a library set up next to a river!

 

One of the fun elements that keeps this story moving is the sense of mystery Hilton writes around the character of Meadow Lark, all the questions around her origin story. Is there some true magic to her? Why does River's mother respond so powerfully to her? 

 

One of River wishes is for the school bully to disappear. When said bully ends up in the hospital, River is surprised... maybe gives a glance in Meadow Lark's direction, but then reminds herself that she doesn't believe in things like magic / angels / miracles, so it's just a wild coincidence! Right? 

 

As River's emotions regarding her missing brother continue to escalate, overflowing to the point of affecting other aspects of her life, Meadow Lark is there to teach her the importance of maintaining hope & faith -- even just a grain of it -- in life. 

 

There was such a wonderful sense of childhood magic and whimsy infused into this book! There's a dreamlike quality that runs through the whole thing, but also quite a bit of depth when it comes to incorporated themes. Quite a feat for a debut novel! If you are a fanatic for beautiful language and all things lyrical, I highly encourage you to seek out Found Things and give it go! 

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