Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2011 Spring Books (March April)

Year of Wonders -
Author: Geraldine Brooks  
First Published: 2001
Genera: Modern Lit
Goodreads recommendation

Where I read it: I listened to this book on long walks around the beautiful Salt Lake Cemetery.  As the book deals with the bubonic plague a cemetery seemed very apropos.  Also, I was 8 months pregnant and needed the exercise.  The cemetery is only a few blocks from my house.  

The review: I enjoyed this very unusual story. I liked it even more when I read the authors notes at the end and found out that it was based on actual events (though the characters were very dramatized.) The history was interesting and the characters real. However,the epilogue didn't seem to fit with the book. It could have been a novel all on it's own but as it was it felt like a rushed and somewhat unbelievable ending. I still am glad I read it and give it 3 1/2 stars.

The Professor and the Madman  
Author:  Simon Winchester
First Published: 1998
Where I read it:  I tried to listen to this as I commuted to work but didn’t have much luck.  Maybe because it was slow begining and I kept reaching for my cell phone instead of my ipod.  

When I read all of my friends reviews on this book it makes me want to give it another go.  I just couldn't get into it.

Mindset  -
Author:  Carol S. Dweck
First Published: 2006
Genera: Self-help
Where I read it: I listened to this book during the spring as I walked laps around the neighborhood feeling very pregnant.

The review: Mindset was life changing in a subtle way. In fact I liked it so much that I listened to most of it twice.    I’ve tried to adopt its philosophy and make it a part of who I am and how I will raise my children.  Dr. Dweck explores the ideas of how we learn and deal with failure.  She talks about innate intelligence vs. hard work.  It was a great book for an educator.  I need to teach my students to have a growth mindset vs a fixed mindset.  I recommend this for all parents and teachers or anyone who want to improve their life.  Be prepared to be humbled, and hopefully be prepared to change many of your mindsets.    

Reading Lolita in the Teheran
Author:  Azar Nafisi
First Published: 2003
Genera: Modern Lit

Where I read it:  I started this book in Morocco in the fall of 2010.  I felt a Muslim country would be a good place to read it, but I quickly put it down and didn’t pick it up until spring of 2011.  (Remember fall of 2010 I was very morning sick and didn’t do much besides lie on the couch next to a bucket and watch movies. But I did go to Spain and Morocco during the midst of the sickness bucket in hand but that is another story.  )  

I’m glad I read the book.  As an American woman I take so many things for granted.  I’m educated, I can wear pink nail polish if I choose. (I never do)  I can show my hair to the world.  After visiting Morocco I’ve thought a lot about Muslim culture vs. Western culture.  I don’t think either system is great for women.  It is still very much a man’s world.  But still ,being an American, I’m more comfortable with the customs of my childhood. When I got back to Spain from Morocco I was happy to see women’s hair again.  Women were scarce in Morocco so I was happy to see women at all.  As a practicing Mormon I dress modestly myself.  I appreciate modesty and I respect religion.  Reading Lolita in Teheran gave me some insight into a very different world.  

Author: Malcome Gladwell
Date Published: 2008

Where I read it: Spring of 2011 a full two years after Spencer read it.  I listened to it as I commuted to work.  I think it is an extra bonus that that Malcom Gladwell narriateds his audiobooks.  

The review: I think I'm the last person on the planet to have read this book. Everyone has been quoting notable excerpts like the "10,000" hour rule at me for years.  I finally got around to reading it. It made me question what  advantages led me to where I am now. Gladwell debunks the idea of the self-made man.  He questions what we call “naural genius” I like his idea that no one gets ahead with out the help of hundreds perhaps even thousands of other people and that most people in life have to work very hard.  And they get very lucky.   

To get the Book Hook remember:

1.  Make a comment about one of my book reviews (upcoming) on one of the next 4 blog posts where I will review all the books I read in 2011 per season.  Let me know if you liked one or more of the books, or liked/disliked my reviews -or- post your own review of one of the books. 
2. Leave a comment on the Book Hook Post and tell me how you would use the book hook.  Be creative. 
3.  Become a follower of my blog. 


Tiana said...

You didn't like the Professor and the Madman? I really loved that book! But I've tried reading other books by Simon Winchester and just haven't liked them.

Reading Lolita in Tehran has been on my to-read list forever.

the Bartlett fam said...

I read "Year of Wonders" as well, and put a lot of thought in to whether or not I liked it- mainly due to the ending, like you said. It felt so out of place. I don't just mean the heroine's ending in the mosque or wherever, but the revelation of the pastors true character. I thought the story would have been better without that drama. All in all, I think I have more pros than cons.

I wouldn't, however, read another of Geraldine Brooks other books, "March". It's a pre-qual to "Little Women", mostly about Mr. March, and felt like sacrilege to me. I hated what Brooks did to the character. Don't waste your time.

Michemily said...

Here's my Outliers review:

Evenstar said...

Despite the many flaws of the Western world, I think women are treated much better than they are in the Muslim world. In Saudi Arabia, women aren't even allowed to drive. And that's the least of the evils in that region of the world.