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review 2017-07-20 02:40
The Return Journey - Maeve Binchy 
The Return Journey - Maeve Binchy

Adventures of the timid. Bunch does a thing where two people meet, strike up an immediate friendship, and proceed to give one another excellent advice about managing their lives. She does that here,and it is really good, pragmatic advice. Anyway, stories about middle class adults and their working class parents, with some affairs included to keep things dramatic, to amusing effect in Excitement. And no one else has done a better job of portraying just how tiring it can be to be a modern woman trying to keep everyone else happy.

Library copy

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review 2017-05-31 14:26
Take the Cannoli: Stories From the New World - Sarah Vowell  
Take the Cannoli: Stories From the New World - Sarah Vowell

I can already tell I'm going to want to read this again. Essays, I love them. Plus, in my mind, I can hear Vowell as she must have sounded on This American Life, which is where most of these began. There's a few bits of growing-up interspersed throughout, a lot of history, the blackest of humor. Great stuff, perhaps especially on the Trail of Tears and how many different emotions that trip spawned.

So much humor, though.

On the one hand, I think Vowell would be an awesome friend to hang with, laughing at Choo-Choo and working it into every comment because of the way it sounds ("spleen" is a personal fave) on the other, she would someday drag me along on the least appealing road trip ever. Hotspots of the Teapot Dome scandal? Tippecanoe? Some other phrase I only dimly recall from American history, but can't actually place in time or space? She's already done The Hall of Presidents, so I'd be clear of that one. Yet no matter how little the idea would appeal to me, she'd make it fascinating: full of humor and humanity. Maybe we can just get her and Kate Beaton and Bill Bryson to filter all of history for us?

Library copy

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review 2016-12-09 19:01
Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics - Jason Porath Short form: this book is awesome and every home and classroom should have a copy. Long form: This was a whim. I just picked it up because it had a fun cover and title, but once I started reading it I couldn’t bear to put it down. The introduction is amusing, the art is spot on, and the stories are delightful. Well, many of them have violence and heinous cruelty, or just plain gore, but Porath forewarns the reader with some very specific codes. And when he’s writing about the evil that is lynching he doesn’t shrink from sharing the horror. But also, whenever there is a specific named villain in the piece, he comes up with some amusing expletives. Somehow he manages to hit a sweet spot between maintaining a light tone and historical accuracy, and he manages to do it in both the text and the art. Even when he gives these women enormous Disney eyes he makes sure to get the period details right: you know he isn’t mocking these women, he’s taking them seriously but not striving for an imagined objectivity. And then there are art notes on many of the illustrations, which explain details one might miss and their significance. Dude has found his calling and I hope he sells beaucoup books and can continue to devote his time and energy to the project. I love this like I haven’t loved any history since Lies My Teacher Told Me. It only just hit me that the reason I loved this book so much was that I really needed to read about kick-ass women who got shit done and had fun and/or really improved their world. Library copy
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text 2016-11-21 17:32
Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics - Jason Porath
Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics - Jason Porath

Short form: this book is awesome and every home and classroom should have a copy.    

Long form: This was a whim. I just picked it up because it had a fun cover and title, but once I started reading it I couldn’t bear to put it down. The introduction is amusing, the art is spot on, and the stories are delightful. Well, many of them have violence and heinous cruelty, or just plain gore, but Porath forewarns the reader with some very specific codes. And when he’s writing about the evil that is lynching he doesn’t shrink from sharing the horror. But also, whenever there is a specific named villain in the piece, he comes up with some amusing expletives. Somehow he manages to hit a sweet spot between maintaining a light tone and historical accuracy, and he manages to do it in both the text and the art. Even when he gives these women enormous Disney eyes he makes sure to get the period details right: you know he isn’t mocking these women, he’s taking them seriously but not striving for an imagined objectivity. And then there are art notes on many of the illustrations, which explain details one might miss and their significance. Dude has found his calling and I hope he sells beaucoup books and can continue to devote his time and energy to the project. I love this like I haven’t loved any history since <i>Lies My Teacher Told Me</i>.

It only just hit me that the reason I loved this book so much was that I really needed to read about kick-ass women who got shit done and had fun and/or really improved their world.

Library copy

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review 2014-12-07 10:35
Review: The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle
The Hallowed Ones - Laura Bickle

Oh my gosh. Lately I have been reading okay books. Ones that I don’t abhor, but ones I don’t love, either. And then, this morning, I was rifling through my library books, and I remembered that I had requested The Hallowed Ones be ordered in because I loved the look of it. It’s overdue, and I didn’t want it to become another one of those library books I really want to read but end up returning and never reading. So I picked it up. And here I am, six hours later, writing a review for it.

 

I simply could not put The Hallowed Ones down. From the moment it started, I was sucked into the amazing world building and character voice that Bickle has given us in this novel. I mean, I only stopped reading this book throughout the last six hours to check my blog three times, and do necessary things for normal bodily function, like eat food. And then it was straight back to The Hallowed Ones.

 

Katie was an amazing character to read about. She was devout in her Amish beliefs, but wasn’t ready to accept the rule and authority of others without making sure that she was willing to accept it first. This made her an awesome and interesting character to read about. If you don’t want to read a novel heavily focussed on the Amish way of life, and many thoughts about religion itself, I wouldn’t suggest The Hallowed Ones to you. However, it was this in depth look into the Amish life, and Katie’s questioning of God and religion that entranced me so whilst reading this novel. I found her thoughts captivating, and they had me wondering along right alongside her. I loved her absolute dedication to anything that she applied herself to. She didn’t complain about anything, even when she was handed the most awful of tasks. But she didn’t just obey blindly. She risked a lot by being the person she was – a really good person.

 

I adored Alex’s character, as well. I thought he was wonderfully fleshed out, and I loved that he didn’t judge Katie for being the way she was. Sure, he didn’t agree with it or accept it wholeheartedly, but he didn’t try to change her or force her to abide by a different way of life. One of my favourite scenes in the novel is where he and Katie are talking about all the ancient Greek gods. It was beautiful.

 

Alex and Katie’s relationship was amazing. I loved how Alex was passively protective of Katie, and how he always worried, and always comforted her. And then AND THEN *squeals* Siiiigh. It was so perfect. They are so perfect. Whilst I am here swooning about these guys, the romance was NOT at the forefront of this novel. It was a nice addition to an amazing story. But I just so happened to fall in love with this relationship more than anything else. As so often happens with me. Hopeless romantic that I am.

 

The Hallowed Ones is a slow book. You’re not thrown into the midst of an action-packed supernatural novel. Heck, I wasn’t even sure if it was going to turn into a supernatural novel. But it did. Slowly and surely with eerie suspense and suspicions and creepiness. It was fantastic. I love Bickle’s take on a thoroughly popular supernatural creature – it brought a whole new freshness to the story that made reading it thoroughly enjoyable. If I go too far into it, I believe I would wreck the amazing experience that is The Hallowed Ones.

 

The writing style absolutely gripped me from word one, and is the kind that you find yourself settling into very easily. The Hallowed Ones is beautifully written, but reading it is so very effortless - in the most epic of ways. I found myself immersed in the world entirely whenever I landed my eyes on the pages.

 

One thing that I thought could have been improved upon a little bit was the description of Katie herself. I had no idea what she really even looked like until halfway through the book. And I am still a bit mystified as to how old she is, too. I would have liked to be given the details of our fantastic heroine.

 

I seriously cannot wait until I can read The Outside. I desperately want to know what happens to Katie and Alex, and pretty much the whole world inside this story.

 

© 2014, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

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