fromthecomfychair

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Every Day

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Interesting premise. The theme is perspective-taking. Fantasy.
Son

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As a conclusion to The Giver, it was a conclusion, and somewhat satisfying, but it took a long time to get there, and I don't know if young adults will want to stay with it. The first 2/3 of the book are the birthmother, Claire's story. I found the first third, which takes place in the original dystopian community, to be interesting, as it showed the community from another angle. Claire is chosen as a birthmother because she is not smart enough to do something else (ooh, that ought to raise someone's hackles!). The middle portion of the book takes place in another location, and the third, when we finally meet up with Jonas and Gabe, is in yet another community. Lois Lowry's writing is so darn good, I enjoyed following Claire's journey. Maybe if I read the other two related books, I'll feel differently about this one.
Big Girl Small: A Novel

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First of all, it looks like the cover has been revised since the first printing, which is great because the cover is totally misleading. Big Girl Small has as its main character a little person, a dwarf, and the cover shows a full-size person holding on to a bunch of balloons.What is unique about the character of Judy Lohden is that she is portrayed as a typical teenager with artistic gifts who just happens to also be a dwarf. Reading the book, you forget she is a dwarf, because the trials and traumas of her life seem really pretty typical. I like that Judy is portrayed as a strong young girl, capable of making her way in the world of full-size teenagers, who views herself without self-pity. Her misunderstanding of what constitutes a romantic relationship is probably pretty typical of teens. Even when she is betrayed and victimized by a boy she is "in-love" with, she doesn't see herself as someone without any culpability.I think this is a great book for teen girls. It's honest and realistic and the dialogue is true.
Steve Jobs

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Although I use an Apple computer at work, I've never purchased any Apple products for myself. Maybe it was the cultish aura that seemed to surround them and Steve Jobs. Nevertheless, I was interested to read his biography, which turned out to be refreshingly candid and thorough. I came away with great respect for Steve Jobs' integrity and creativity, and his understanding of the importance of design to creating and marketing a product. But many times, listening to the way he treated other people made me wince; I'm certain I could never have worked for anyone as emotionally callous as he, no matter how brilliant he was. The book could have been subtitled: An Asshole and A Genius. And I came away wondering how Apple will survive in the long run, since he was so clearly in control of the vision and execution of that vision.
Gone with the Wind

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What did I really know about the sufferings of southerners during the Civil War and Reconstruction? Well, I surely have a different picture after reading GWTW. Although the movie is quite faithful, even in the dialogue, it's basically the story of a love triangle. It's only reading the book that you realize that a whole piece of civilization was destroyed, along with the slavery that made it possible. I'm really glad I finally read this. It was so much better than I had imagined.
Hole in My Life

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'Hmmm...we've chosen this as our all school Summer read, and in spite of the awards, I wouldn't give it more than 3 stars, and I'm not sure our student body is going to love it. Fortunately, it's only 124 or so pages, barely novel-length, so should be easy to get through. It is a good story, and maybe got the Printz award because it happened to a famous writer of children's books, so was quite surprising given his usual audience. The story does demonstrate how easy it is to get caught up in something dangerous, to get in over your head, and the consequences it may have, for Jack Gantos, it turns out, both good and bad.
The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery

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OK, call me a history buff, but Ioved this true story, nonfiction told in such an engaging way. It read like great historical fiction. Sheinkin does not seem to judge his character, but lays him bare, warts and all. Of course warts are what we remember when Arnold's name is mentioned. Before reading this book, I didn't know he had also been a Revolutionary War hero, and that he actually died in England, not at the end of a rope in America. If this were read in a U. S. History class, it would be a winner, especially with guys. I want to read more by this author.
Room: A Novel

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The first part of the book, where we meet Jack and Ma, as well as Old Nick, is genuinely disturbing, but the details of their life, written from the 5 year old's perspective, quickly become tedious. Still, I stayed with it, and found the escape the most compelling part. After the escape is the aftermath, which I found boring. A lot of people seemed to love this book, but I can't say I was one of them.
Perfect Chemistry

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This series has been flying off the shelves in my high school library. I finally read it myself, and I understand why. It's a modern day Romeo and Juliette story, with a happier ending. The characters are realisticly portrayed, their dialogue is believable, and even though the ending is a little too amazing, I still give it 4 stars.
UnWholly

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No disappointment in this fast-moving sequel to Unwind. Two major new characters are added: Cam, a character created totally out of unwound parts to be a perfect human; and Starkey, a storked unwind who is fighting for the underclass of storked unwinds. Connor is running the Graveyard; Risa is kidnapped and destined to be the companion of Cam--changes in store for her. Lev is an activist against tithing. Can't wait for the sequel. Every copy we ordered in our library went out the first day after students read Unwind for the summer read.
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