Member Profile

Name : Karen E.
Gender : Female
Occupation : Teacher, Engineer

My Reviews

War Horse: (Movie Cover) by Michael Morpurgo
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Optimistic, Dramatic
Simple, Quick, Horsy

Easy read, but it was intended for a younger audience. The concept of writing a book from the perspective of the horse is not unique: if you can attribute personalities to horses then you will find this book more believable -- not everyone does. The tale manages to wind its way around the battlefield and offer different perspectives of the war, which should appeal to anyone with interest or family ties to those times. This book ultimately points out that many of the war heroes were unceremoniously left behind when it was time to go home.

Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
Listened to the audiobook version

Not many want to read about such a horrible topic. But hey, let's get a kid talking about it and suddenly it's creepier and somehow easier to stomach at the same time. The audiobook version is VERY difficult to listen to without cringing for the entire time: Jack literally sounds like Ralph Wiggum from The Simpsons. (When he asks for Some.... *shudder!*) But it is a phenomenal book in that it is unique and makes people react and talk and wraps up all the loose ends. I would recommend reading it but reading it with your club will evoke a plethora of reactions.

Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Difficult, Poorly Written
If Jane Austen had written a non-musical "Mary Poppins"...

"Witty" is a word that is missing from the list above and would have been my first choice. I think a lot of people get turned off by this book because there's little explanation on the cover or inserts, just some weird pictures to capture your interest. I took a chance and by the end could not put it down!

It takes a while to get into the story: a 19-year-old London busybody elects to live with her country farm cousins after her parents die, but sets off with the intention of transforming their lives one by one to her own satisfaction. It's brilliantly written, poking fun of every possible aspect of the story; I was literally smiling or chuckling for most of the second half. I can't believe it was written in 1932, it's such a timeless and funny perspective of the social etiquette of the times -- but not really, considering parts of it were scandalously edgy for it's time.

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
A must-read book for adults

For the most part, I happily listened to this as an audiobook. Caution: This story will get under your skin. From the moment we first meet Henrietta to the end of the book, you just want to banish all the people in the world who make others miserable. Skloot journalistic writing style amply portrays the many sides to this incredible story, including her own personal journey. I found the first half more interesting than the second; the former has more biology than politics and reads more like a novel. The two most memorable (and horrible) moments for me were: a) Henrietta's descriptive autopsy and reaction from the assistant performing it, and b) finding out what tests Henrietta's first daughter, Elsie, went through at the asylum that ultimately must have killed her. There were enjoyable moments at times, like with the painting of the cells. It's a depressing, unforgettable life story that the majority of North Americans need to read.

As a bonus on the audiobook, I also listened to an interesting phone interview with the author.

Favourite quote:
"Whatever you do, don't call him Joe," Deborah told me. "A friend of Lawrence's call' him 'Joe' one Thanksgiving and Zachariah knocked that man right into his mash' potatoes."

Informative, Fun, Insightful
Jacobs, The Bible Blogger

The blog-like format of this book lent itself well to reading it during daily commutes. Watching it as a documentary might have been a better use of time but a lot of the posts' meanings would have been lost since Jacobs is quite a verbose, interpretive writer. The premise is so simple and amazing; Jacobs tries to be pragmatic and open-minded, but it's pretty clear he's hamming it up for the most part. "Boastful" would be the best word to describe it -- he's following *all* the rules to the letter, out-talking a Jehovah's Witness, creating strain in his marriage and with his son, out-smarting the Bible with feeble substitutions (stoning adulterers by dropping pebbles on their shoes or using a Nerf bat to "beat" his son) in order to check them off, and then there's his biggest vanity: his enormous beard. Overall, the book is entertaining, especially when exposing us to the absurdities that comes from the Bible. Jacobs provides numerous perspectives throughout the book while keeping true to his original purpose, and ultimately concludes that people should strive to be more conscientious.

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