Ain’t that the Truth

Reality

I may have been living this, this past week and thus my blog writing didn’t happen. Just living the dream over here.

Until next time, happy reading!

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Faulty Book Comparisons

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Book comparisons, in my opinion, are a bad idea. They either get you far too excited such as Twilight being compared to Harry Potter. Or it makes you not interested in trying to read a book at all such as The Girl on the Train being compare with Gone Girl.

I hated Gone Girl.

Naturally, due to my dislike of Gone Girl, I was less than enthused to read The Girl on a Train. Nevertheless, I did. I admit that I can detect the Gone Girl vibe, but I found The Girl on the Train to be far superior to Gone Girl.

There is quite a bit about The Girl on the Train that I didn’t expect. Namely, I didn’t realize it was British.  This made it immediately more palatable from the start. It’s also a bit like a Tarantino film, in that, the story line is chopped up. You discover things out of order and in odd ways.  The reader must puzzle out things for themselves. I tend to like this.

It had me gripped. It was a slightly slow start, but it had me by the go-nads about half way through. Thankfully, when I was making rice this past weekend, I set a timer. Those were the fastest seven minutes I’ve experienced in a long time.  They felt so fast that I thought I had accidentally set the time for far less than I was supposed to…more like seven seconds.

The Girl on the Train was a solid read despite that I figured it out the culprit long before the end.  It was still enjoyable. The ending was also far more satisfying than Gone Girl. And while, all the characters are flawed there are at least some qualities that are likable.

I found this read to be a nice surprise and a good reminder that we need to stop comparing book because in general they are wholly inaccurate in many ways.  Just say it was good, recommend it, and move on. So, The Girl on the Train was good. If you like intrigue and a bit of a thrill, this could be for you- even if you didn’t like Gone Girl.

Until next time, happy reading!

A Salty Delight

Salt is quite prevalent in my life. My husband and I enjoy cooking and are constantly trying new recipes. Salt is almost always an ingredient. I hear about reducing salt intake from family members and co-workers that battle high-blood pressure. I, personally, am concerned with upping my salt intake due to my running activities. A gross amount of salt can be rubbed off my face after a long run. Any animals that I come across finds me delicious to lick.

This frequent exposure explains why about a year ago, when I saw the book entitled- Salt: A World History sitting on my grandfather-in-law’s bookshelf, I was intrigued. I made a mental note and added it to my box of books for Christmas list.

Last year, I was lucky enough to receive all the books on my list including Salt. But it wasn’t until this week that I finally got around to reading it.

The history of salt is vast and shockingly complex.  It has influenced where civilizations were built. It helped create allies and enemies. It contributed to the outcome of wars and the fall of monarchs.

It is fascinating as the book points out that an unstable metal and a deadly poisonous gas come together and form a stable, delicious rock.  One that not only do humans enjoy consuming but need to.

Salt was a palatable read. Like many nonfiction books, the sheer amount of knowledge and facts per page can be a bit overwhelming, but I found many of them interesting. This book would be a great delight to a foodie or science nerd. (I am conveniently both.) I think almost anyone could enjoy it, but there are times that the history of salt mining and salt taxing that can be a bit tedious.

All-in-all it was enjoyable and accessible, something not every nonfiction book can claim.

Until next time, happy reading!

The Interview

What to say about Interview with a Vampire. It came highly recommended. I have enjoyed other vampire stories. I was amazed by Dracula, so I was interested in giving this book a read.

The story presented is intriguing. I felt compelled to keep reading, but the writing style of this was grueling. In most books, where characters tell a story of their past.  It begins with them talking and then flashes back to the actual action of the time.  This does not occur in this book.  The entire book is Louis talking of his past. It is basically all dialogue which for me became tedious.

The chapters are ruthlessly long, and Louis’s pontification about his loneliness and philosophical ponderings seem to ramble on and on. I easily lost focus in these parts.  My mind would wonder off and when I would snap back my mind could simply sum up the last how ever many paragraphs in a few brief words, “Louis is a lonely tortured soul that struggles with what he has become and what he must do to survive.” Okay moving on.

I fully understand why people loved this book. It is a fascinating story, but I also fully understand why other people loathed it. The writing and Louis’s self-pity become very drawn out. Personally, I fall somewhere in the middle. It’s a great story, but due to its presentation. It falls short of four stars. I would also have a difficult time recommending this read without some heavy disclaimers namely due to the writing style.

I think that if I had better expectations of how it was written and that much patience would be needed for this tome, I would have enjoyed it more. And yes, I do feel “tome” is an accurate word despite this novel being only about 340 pages.

Nevertheless, I am glad that I read it, and for once, I am interested in seeing its Hollywood rendition.  It might help make parts of the book I struggled with more enjoyable.

Until next time, happy reading!

Rare Finds

Every year, the Newberry Library in Chicago hosts a book sale.  It lasts all weekend long and has thousands of books for sale.  Last year, Kelsey and I went and had a grand time picking through the piles and finding some wonderful gems. Unfortunately, I was busy this year and couldn’t go, but Kelsey and her husband were able to go and find some interesting reads.

They also saw some very rare books.  This year the library was selling first editions and/or signed copies of some truly amazing books. Naturally these tomes were going for a lot more than $3.50 per hardback.  While these books would be amazing to see, it got me thinking. Is there a book that I would spend a crazy amount of money on to have a signed copy or first edition?

I surprisingly came up short for an answer.  The only thing I can think of would be a Gutenberg Bible, but since I’m not a billionaire and the likelihood of one of those coming up for sale is slim. I wondered what book I could maybe someday find or buy.

I felt that it would be an older book perhaps a classic.  Dickens popped to mind. I do love A Tale of Two Cities. Jane Eyre definitely made it in the running and then I had it. A first edition copy of A Study in Scarlett. The first novel of the worlds best and most mysterious detective- Mr. Sherlock Holmes.

I don’t remember precisely when I was first introduced to Sherlock Holmes, but I do remember reading A Study in Scarlett in high-school. There was something in that story which made me a forever fan of Mr. Holmes. It was after that, that I simply couldn’t get enough. I wanted to read all the stories and watch all the various versions that have been made into movies and T.V. shows.  Having a first edition copy of A Study in Scarlett would be truly amazing.

Okay, so mine is A Study in Scarlett. What precious tome would you love to own and be willing to obtain for a considerable sum?

Until next time, happy reading!

Don’t be such a Stiff about it

Earlier this year, on one of my book hauls, I pick up the book Stiff by Mary Roach. I remember it being the hot thing when it came out back in the early 2000s.  However, it wasn’t until I heard an interview with the author a few months ago that I thought it might be something I would be interesting in reading.

As usual with most New York Times bestsellers, the cover sports favorable reviewer quotes.  The one on Stiff’s cover proclaims it to be “One of the funniest and unusual books of the year.” For whatever reason when a book is declared “funny” I take this as a challenge as in…

“Oh, so you think you can make me laugh…give me your best shot!”

I immediately plaster on my best resting bitch face and dive in. I don’t know why this occurs. I do not take up this hard nosed attitude with horror books.  When U.S. Weekly declares a book bone chillingly creepy. I take them at their word and scurry on with undo haste to the next tome.

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Other descriptors I don’t really register one way or another. I may end up agreeing or disagreeing but ultimately, I don’t become a stubborn prick about them.  But for whatever reason when someone is snooty enough to claim that something will tickle my funny bone. I am skeptical and my laugh threshold is immediately heightened.

Okay, so I started Stiff, stiff faced and ready to battle to see how funny, this funny book was going to be.

Hurumph!!

Roach had me in checkmate on page four. I wasn’t even out of the introduction. Okay, so perhaps this book does deserve its funny moniker. Granted, I wasn’t laughing on every page or even every chapter, but Roach gives a really dark topic a nice dose of levity. Particularly, the footnotes which take the reader on nice, quirky, and amusing tangents that are worth the extra time and squinting to get through.

I thought Stiff was a solid read but be wary that if you are squeamish, this may not be the topic for you. Cadavers by nature are a little yikey, but what Roach discusses regarding how they breakdown and the experiments they have been apart of over the years is, at times, downright gruesome.  But if a little gore doesn’t cause you trouble, I encourage you to pick it up and learn a few odd and mildly disgusting facts and enjoy a laugh or two along the way.

Until next time, happy reading!

July Reads in a Word

Once again, another month has come to a close and a new one has begun. This means it is time to attempt to review July’s reads in a word. This past month, I read six books.  They were varied and all were enjoyable. Nevertheless, summing them up in a single word is not necessarily an easy task, but it is fun. Here we go:

  • Voyager by Diana Galadon = Gallant

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  • The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradly = Idiosyncratic

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  • Black Beauty by: Anna Sewell = Principled

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  • Murder at the Flamingo by Rachel McMillian = Mystifying

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  • The Lost Order by Steve Berry = Conspiratorial

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  • Stiff by Mary Roach = Unconventiona

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As always, can you guess which one I enjoyed the most?

Until next time, happy reading!