Friday, December 31, 2010

Midnight's Children

Midnight's ChildrenMidnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had a horrible time trying to decide how to rate this book. On the one hand, any idiot can see this is the product of a master word-weaver. On the other hand, I can't say that I enjoyed it all that much.

There was a lot that was really interesting about it- the political unrest in India in the mid-twentieth century was a huge one, as well as the different major religious sects. His style is thick with Indian culture, which was a lot of fun. But the style, being very Indian, seemed kind of disjointed to me. There wasn't a very cohesive flow to the plot. It took me a good hundred pages just to get used to his style. He would often introduce a person, event or concept that wouldn't actually get to play a part in the story for another couple hundred pages or so. It was a bit confusing at times and confusion tends not to be a good motivator for me to finish the book.

As it is, I was so unmotivated to read much on a daily basis, that my time having it from the library ran out before I could finish. I don't care enough to check it out again and finish the story. He's just too wordy for me and I'd rather move on to something else now.

Would I recommend it? Ah... hm... sure. Give it a try. It's definitely different from anything I've picked up before. Be aware of some strong language and adult themes.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright

Christmas JarsChristmas Jars by Jason F. Wright

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this in a couple of hours while I wasn't feeling well, just two weeks before Christmas. It loses points for sub par writing, flat and unrealistic characters, and an unbelievable yet predictable plot.

But it gains major points back again for having a wonderful message about small and simple things making a huge impact where it matters most, in the heart. This is definitely a feel-good story; great for Christmas time when life can be too busy to read anything heftier.

Over all, this was a quick, sweet, uplifting read. Go ahead and peruse it this Christmas while you wait in long lines or wait for your cookies to bake.

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On Becoming Baby Wise II by Gary Ezzo

On Becoming Baby Wise II: Parenting Your Pre-Toddler Five to Fifteen MonthsOn Becoming Baby Wise II: Parenting Your Pre-Toddler Five to Fifteen Months by Gary Ezzo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was more like 3.5 stars to me. I don't think it is as good as the first book. I love the Baby Wise concepts that are outlined in book one; that baby's needs should not supplant the marriage relationship; that baby's needs can be worked into the entire family's schedule rather than the family revolving entirely around baby; and parent directed feeding, as opposed to demand feeding, fosters good sleeping and behavior patterns. I've implemented these principles with my last two babies and they both started sleeping through the night by ten weeks of age. They were also happier and easier to manage during their waking hours. People have always been amazed at how "easy" my little ones have been.

So while I love the Baby Wise method in general, and would recommend it to anyone, I think this particular book is a little lacking. It teaches great principles for parenting your pretoddler, but it doesn't offer many examples of how to practically implement those principles. It tells us the what to do and why to do it, but not really how to do it. I understand any examples they might have given may not reflect my actual life experiences, but I really think those exmples help solidify my understanding of the priciples.

Still, it was a quick read and taught some really great parenting principles. It's definately worth picking up if you have a baby.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Since both of my daughters had read this book and have been talking about it, I thought that I should read it as well. I'm glad I did!
This book was similiar to an epistolary novel wherein it was written through a series of journal entries. Right from the beginning, I thought this was clever and I loved the sense of character that felt from the journal writer, Tish Bonner. At first, Tish wonders about completing the assignment or whether she'll even care to at all. True to her character, first, she tests the teacher of whether her journal entry will really NOT be read if she simply writes Don't Read This at the top as instructed. Soon, as she starts writing and it seems that her entries are not being read she realizes how cathartic writing becomes to her.
This is where I really identified with Tish because I feel the same way about writing. I love how it can help me process a situation going on around me. I have found I don't even have to write down it exactly - just the feelings in the form of a poem helps me deal with it.
In this sense through writing Tish deals with her concerns which seem typically adolescent. As the journal continues, you gain a sense a what is really happening which is anything but typical. This is where it tore into my heartstrings. I worried for Tish. I wanted the outcome to be better for her. I gained an insight into my daughter's eyes and why this book meant so much to them. It hit me that it meant something to me as well. I was unexpectedly amazed by this because I am so much older now than a teen which took me back to those days while at the same time it didn't feel outdated at all. I could still relate. I wanted to understand even from the point of view that I see things now in my adulthood.
Questions kept popping in my mind during my reading experience which made it feel interactive too, i.e... How can we help those in need around us when they wouldn't want us to know? Can we ever really know what someone is really dealing with in their lives? What's hidden in their tough exterior? This book was perfectly short and the ending is not unrealistic either. Most of all, I will never forget Tish and her story will haunt me. I love it when a book can do this and it is one of the reasons why I read.

Young Adult Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (May 25, 2004)
My rating: 4 stars

Here's my daughter's take on the book: Nessa's Pen and Ink
If you can do me a favor and leave her a comment. She'll love it! They are posted by her even though it says my name. :)

Other noteworthy reviews too:

3 Evil Cousins

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Welcome to those from Radiant Reviews! Thanks for reading today! Happy Thursday!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

To Green Angel Tower, Part 2 by Tad Williams

To Green Angel Tower, Part 2 (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, #3; Part 2)To Green Angel Tower, Part 2 by Tad Williams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was more like a 3 1/2 for me. It stayed true to the other books in the series and I enjoyed reading it. There were a few surprises in there which I enjoyed. Unfortunately, they only lasted for a few pages. The end kind of irritated me though. It's not that I wanted it to end differently, it was just too feel-good. The darkness passes and the sun comes out again. And even though the world is pretty much wrecked, we're all so happy to be alive. Yeah. Right. Sorry, I'm just not buying that. But as I said, I enjoyed it over all, so it was worth the read to me. If you're into fantasy, I'd say you'll enojoy this series, but there are better ones out there.

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