Monthly Archives: August 2019

Bruno’s Dream by Iris Murdoch

If you like books about tangled family relationships and lots of cheating, Bruno’s Dream is the book for you. I did not enjoy it very much. The characters were all unlikable and utterly depressing. I just didn’t care about nearly all of them and when one started swimming in the Thames during a storm that cause it to flood, I kind of hoped he’d drown. The storylines for most of them were ridiculous. I don’t particularly recommend this book.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 103
Pages Read in 2019: 26,301
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Filed under Annual Wrap-Up, Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth is a strange book. It’s so full of puns and amusements and plays on words that it is also delightful. My 11- and 13-year-old boys enjoyed it very much, especially the older one since he absolutely loves clever jokes. I recommend this book to everyone of all ages.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 102
Pages Read in 2019: 25,997
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Filed under Children, Classic

The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith

A twist on the old fairy tale, The Reflections of Queen Snow White sees Snow White as an old widow stumbling upon her stepmother’s mirror. Her life and strength are told in vignettes the mirror pushes her through. It’s well done and I enjoyed it a lot. The only problem is there are many words where the wrong one is used (such as shuttered vs. shuddered). I recommend it to people who enjoy new versions of fairy tales.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 101
Pages Read in 2019: 25,707
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Filed under Fairy Tale

Journey by James A. Michener

Just before the turn of the century gold was discovered in the Klondike. Journey tells the tale of a group of Englishmen plus one Irishman as they attempt to take an all-Canadian route rather than go through Alaska to find gold. Ill-prepared, they experience many hardships along the way. As with all Michener novels, sometimes you aren’t sure if it really is fiction or actually non-fiction because of the way he wrote. Even though it’s fiction, I still learned a lot about that gold rush. I recommend this book to historical fiction that is heavy on the historical fans.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 100
Pages Read in 2019: 25,574
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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Juniper by Kelley and Tom French

Juniper French was born at just 23 weeks 6 days after a placental abruption. This book is the story of her many months in the NICU, full of triumphs and setbacks, combined with a lot of thoughts and feelings from her parents as they tell it in alternating chapters. Both of her parents were journalists and so they easily wove facts and statistics in among the terror, grief, excitement, and love they went through having such a tiny, sick baby. I enjoyed the book a lot. It was very well-written and even knowing that Juniper survived, I was completely engaged wondering what she would have to overcome next. I recommend it to anyone who likes memoirs.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 99
Pages Read in 2019: 25,373
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

Upton Sinclair intended to show the plight of poor immigrants, but instead he brought the disgusting things that ended up in food processed in meat packing plants at the turn of the century to the public consciousness. Things changed (such as the Pure Food and Drug Act), but not what Sinclair had intended or hoped. The story itself follows an extended family of Lithuanian immigrants, particularly Jurgis, the man at the head of the family. Jurgis works in meat packing, loses his wife and child, lives as a hobo, discovers his wife’s cousin has become a drug-addicted prostitute due to their circumstances, ends up in jail more than once, becomes a scab and then a socialist, and so much more. Basically, if it could happen to a poor immigrant, it happened to Jurgis. It is an interesting view of that time period and shows how poor immigrants, like now, have always been looked down on and willing to take jobs most people won’t just to survive. I enjoyed reading it a lot right up until the socialist diatribe of the last two or three chapters. Then it just became a lecture, which makes some sense since it was originally published as a serial in a socialist publication and Sinclair himself was a socialist. I recommend reading The Jungle to all adults (though you really won’t miss anything if you just skim the last couple chapters).

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 98
Pages Read in 2019: 25,064
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Filed under Classic, Reason: LitHub Bingo

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

Covering his first two years as a vet from the time he arrived to work for an established vet until he got married, All Creatures Great and Small reads like a collection of short stories, sometimes about life in Yorkshire and sometimes about attending animals. The pace is slow, really helping to get the a feeling of life on the early mid-1900s English countryside. It’s an enjoyable book, I only wish he had been a little heavier on the veterinary part of his life. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about animals.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 97
Pages Read in 2019: 24,807
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo