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review 2018-07-01 10:54
Give Me a Boat: “The Tale of the Unknown Island” by José Saramago, Margaret Jull Costa (translator)
The Tale of the Unknown Island - José Saramago,Peter Sís,Margaret Jull Costa

 


“A MAN WENT TO KNOCK AT THE KING’S DOOR AND said, Give me a boat."

In “The Tale of the Unknown Island” by José Saramago


I love the way Saramago builds this parable by using the Portuguese King D. João II and Columbus. He went to Lisbon in 1476 and remained here for several years, seeking the support of King D. João II and gathering nautical and geographic intelligence from the returning sailors. Why did we want to embark on the Age of Discoveries? Easy: We saw a niche begging to be literally explored. On the other hand, Spain was fighting the Moors, the Turks were attacking Italy, and Austria and France and Britain were fighting each other in the Hundred Year War. Portugal, on the other hand, was a united kingdom with relatively few internal problems and enemies. Smart, uh? We’re always looking for an opportunity to shine bright…

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-04-07 15:22
Cats Are Weird by Jeffrey Brown
Cats Are Weird - Jeffrey Brown

Parts of this comic book on cats were cute, but I was largely underwhelmed. I guess I was looking for something a little more insightful, à la How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You, rather than just cute fluff.

 

That said, several of the panels did strike a note with me, like the one I've copied below:

 

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review 2018-02-27 22:58
Girl Unknown by Karen Perry
Girl Unknown: A Novel - Karen Perry
Girl Unknown is the first thriller that I've read this year, and I have to say that it was a nice change of pace. Although this book wasn't everything I wanted it to be, there was a lot to love. Imagine a family that is trying their best to knit their lives back together, when suddenly a bomb is dropped in their midst. A previously unknown person, an unexpected daughter, falls right into the middle of their rocky relationships. That's the premise behind Girl Unknown. How do you deal with someone who might not be exactly who they say they are?


The fact of the matter is that this book is not what I was expecting, because I was expecting more of the thriller aspect and less of the familial drama side of things. That being said, Girl Unknown is going to greatly appeal to any reader who is very into character personalities and drama that you can cut with a knife. Karen Perry uses most of this book to show us the character perspective of what Zoe is to each of them. As the story unfolds, we find out more and more about how Zoe is definitely not what she seems to be, and see why the choices that David and Caroline make are really pushing things towards their climax. If we're talking intense studies on character psyches, this book has that in droves. What it lacks though, because of this, is real forward movement.

 
See, the book spends so much time dealing with the slow decline of David and Caroline's relationship and Zoe's manipulation of them, that it doesn't have a lot of time to spend on the thriller portion of the story. This felt like a read that was very easy to anticipate. The plot was well formed, but it was also easy to see where Zoe's story was going next. As such, there was never that surprise or shock that usually comes along with books like this. It was interesting, well-written, and had great characters. It just didn't have any oomph to it.
 
So, that's why I'm on the fence about this book. Technically, it's fairly perfect. It's not a bad read, by any means, and actually flies by pretty quickly. It just didn't catch me up in its web like I expected it to. I wanted more punch, and more pizzazz. If you appreciate thrillers that are more formulaic, and take a deep dive into the the inner thoughts of the characters, you'll definitely love Girl Unknown.
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review 2018-02-26 04:10
Adults who refuse to learn...
Girl Unknown - Karen Perry

Much of this book was read in a state of disbelief that two adults who have jobs, raise children and own property could be as naive, insipid, psychologically stunted, and stupid as the couple who co-tells this woeful tale. As they conveniently hid things from each other and themselves "for the sake of the children" I kept saying aloud, "Your children could not possibly be as dumb as you two."

 

Luckily, the children were not as immature as the parents, but they were damaged in other ways. It would be hard to grow up with these parents and not be, actually.

 

Nonetheless, I kept reading, because we have two unreliable narrators telling a similar yet competing tale about a third person (the "girl unknown") who isn't trustworthy either. So I just wanted to see what kind of crash they were foreshadowing from sentence one.

 

I will admit, the crash was different than I imagined. And for that, they get an "it was OK" from me. If nothing else, this is a cautionary tale about trying to keep secrets from those around you and doing the things that make "the neighbors" or the PTA or whoever else you're trying to impress or shield from the truth happy.

 

Finally, one of the best parts of this book was that I kept forgetting who wrote it, and from time to time, I'd think "only a woman" or "only a man would write this." Turns out I was wrong, or maybe right, 100% of the time. "Karen Perry" is the pen name of a male/female Irish writing team who wrote this book together. I won't say the thing about two heads....

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url 2018-01-23 20:47
Books to Make You Healthier
Silence: In the Age of Noise - Erling Kagge,Becky L. Crook
My Friend Fear: Finding Magic in the Unknown - Meera Lee Patel
Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done - Jon Acuff
The Yes Brain: How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity, and Resilience in Your Child - Daniel J. Siegel,Tina Payne Bryson

From publisher's newsletter.  More books at the link.

Source: www.penguinrandomhouse.com/new-year-new-you-2018
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