Monthly Archives: April 2019

King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild

I never knew about King Leopold II of Belgium obtaining the Congo as a possession. I never knew about the atrocities committed there and the slave labor used to collect rubber. King Leopold’s Ghost tells the story of Leopold II, what happened in the Congo in the late 1800s to early 1900s, the efforts to stop it, and how things continued even after the king’s death. It is given through the eyes and writings of those who were there including, where possible, the Congolese people themselves. The writing is engrossing. The history is laid out quite well. On occasion it does drag and is sometimes repetitive. I recommend this book to late teens and up interested in the Belgians in the Congo.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 50
Pages Read in 2019: 12,946
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Filed under History, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

I decided to read Where’d You Go, Bernadette after I saw the trailer for the movie and thought it looked like it would be good. After reading the book I no longer have any interest in the movie. It was that bad. There is not a single likable character in the book. Bee was fine for the first 2/3, but then she showed her true colors and turned out to be just as obnoxious and unlikable as her mother. The affair between Bee’s father and his admin, resulting in the admin getting pregnant, is treated as no big deal and almost expected because his wife is a bit nuts. The health and medical claims are often just plain wrong. The actions of the psychiatrist are utterly ridiculous and unprofessional. The writing is mediocre. The author didn’t seem to know how to wrap up the story. The last ten pages rambled on way too long. I do not recommend this book at all.

1 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 49
Pages Read in 2019: 12,578
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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: It sounded interesting, Reason: LitHub Bingo

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is an absolutely adorable book. It’s well-written and a super sweet story. I love the movie and the book is, of course, even better. It kept me up until midnight reading (unusual for me) because I kept telling myself “just one more chapter.” I will most definitely be reading the other books in the series. I highly recommend it to teens and up.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 48
Pages Read in 2019: 12,243
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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Young Adult

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I’ve read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland many times and it is still just as weird and wonderful as the first time I read it. It’s so creative and fun. It’s pretty short so it reads fast and makes a lovely family read-aloud. I highly recommend reading it.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 47
Pages Read in 2019: 11,874
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Filed under Children, Classic, Reason: Pre-Reading for Adrian

Black Powder and Moonlight by Melanie Winter

After reading Black Powder and Moonlight together, neither my sons nor I are quite sure what it was about. There was an overly large number of characters to keep straight particularly considering the short length of the book. The “rules” of the world weren’t really explained much and that made it all the more confusing. What the storyline was, well, there were some characters missing and then they were found and that was about it. I do not recommend this book at all.

1 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 46
Pages Read in 2019: 11,759
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Filed under Children, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys

The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie and the Gospel of Wealth by Andrew Carnegie

I enjoyed Andrew Carnegie’s lightly edited autobiography a lot more than I expected I would. He had a very interesting life and is truly an American Dream rags to riches success story. It’s a little bit over the top in showing how good he was and sometimes it rambled from one thing to another without any rhyme or reason. For the most part, though, even when it totally rambled, it was quite fascinating. I highly recommend The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie and The Gospel of Wealth to older teens and adults interested in Carnegie.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 45
Pages Read in 2019: 11,663
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor by Russell Freedman

Today Lewis Hine is considered the father of photojournalism. Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor includes many of the photos he took of children working in mills, factories, and farms. It gives an overview of Hine’s life as well as what he discovered as he traveled the country meeting and documenting the working lives of thousands of children. The photos are hauntingly beautiful. The stories are heartbreaking. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 44
Pages Read in 2019: 11,319
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under History, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Pre-Reading for Adrian