Monthly Archives: May 2018

The Shadows of Ghadames by Joelle Stolz

Malika is entering the world of women in the Libyan city of Ghadames. She wonders why things are done how they are done and wishes she could learn to read like her older brother. When her brother’s mother secretly takes in an injured man, her world changes, making it not quite as small as she was expecting it to be.

Malika’s story is fiction, but the culture portrayed in The Shadows of Ghadames was real. The story is very engaging and, while short, you’ll learn a lot about the city and culture. I highly recommend this book to middle grade kids (girls and boys) on up to adults.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 56
Pages Read in 2018: 13,554
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Historical Fiction

In Praise of Wasting Time by Alan Lightman

In our society, we’ve become addicted to always being connected, having instantaneous communication, and constantly being entertained by one device or another. This has improved many parts of our lives. But there are consequences. In Praise of Wasting Time presents some of the research both of problems with our constant connection and benefits of wasting time and urges us to just stop on occasion and enjoy life. Take a walk and think. Write in a journal about wherever your mind takes you. Play a mindless game of solitaire while your subconscious mulls over a task. The weird thing is, all evidence points to spending a little bit of “wasted” time will actually improve creativity, happiness, and productivity. I highly recommend reading this book (and putting the ideas into practice). It’s short so you can read it in one or two sittings if you want. It could change your life for the better.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 55
Pages Read in 2018: 13,426
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Reason: It sounded interesting, Self-Help/Motivation

Around the World in a Hundred Years by Jean Fritz

Covering Prince Henry the Navigator, Bartholomew Diaz, Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Pedro Alvares Cabral, John Cabot, Amerigo Vespucci, Juan Ponce de Leon, Vasco Nunez de Balboa, and Ferdinand Magellan, Around the World in a Hundred Years tells the story of about one-hundred years of exploration in a way younger readers can understand and find interesting. On occasion it drags a bit, but the majority is quite fascinating. I recommend it to upper elementary to lower middle school age kids.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 54
Pages Read in 2018: 13,298
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Middle Grades, Non-Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Beauty by Robin McKinley

A retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Beauty follows a plain-looking girl as she takes the place of her father to be held captive by a hideous, but kind, beast. Over time their friendship grows, though every night when he asks her to marry him, she declines. At times the book drags on and includes a bit too much description. It is a very sweet story and tells the fairy tale in a unique way. I recommend it to teens and adults.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 53
Pages Read in 2018: 13,179
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Fairy Tale, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling

Prisoner of Azkaban is tied for my favorite Harry Potter book. I love how it’s a little different from the rest in that Harry doesn’t confront Voldemort in it. I love how Harry finds out just how wrong everyone was about Sirius. It just makes me really happy every time I read it.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 52
Pages Read in 2018: 12,915
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: I Like the Series

The Mystery of Hollow Inn by Tara Ellis

Visiting her aunt and uncle, Sam and her friend Ally discover a legend about missing gold and set out to find it.

The Mystery Of Hollow Inn is very predictable and written rather awkwardly in the present tense. It is, however, a cute story with a good amount of tension and mystery for a book aimed at kids. The bad guy, though, was kind of thrown in from left field which was a little strange. It’s a good enough book that can be handed to a kid to read, but there are better out there.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 51
Pages Read in 2018: 12,462
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Children, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling

Chamber Of Secrets is tied for my least favorite Harry Potter book of the seven, but I still love it. Re-reading the series, it’s so fun to notice a mention of something that comes up again later here and a little foreshadowing there. Everyone should read the Harry Potter series at least once. It’s an amazing world JK Rowling created.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 50
Pages Read in 2018: 12,311
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: I Like the Series