Tag Archives: 3 Stars

The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel

The Recipe Club is mostly told through letters which is an interesting way to write a book. It begins in 2000, jumps back to the 60s, moves through several years, and then jumps forward to 2002. The major plot is interesting enough that I wanted to find out what the thing that happened was. But the characters. Wow. If the authors tried to create the most unlikable, obnoxious, self-absorbed, whiny, irritating, and dysfunctional characters they possibly could, they succeeded very well in that goal. There was just so much whining, so much “please don’t be mad at me,” so much angst. On the bright side, many of the letters included actual recipes and quite a few of them sounded pretty good. I don’t particularly recommend spending the time it takes to read this book.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 92
Pages Read in 2019: 23,475
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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality by Thomas Sowell

We all know the sound bites of claims about the Civil Rights Movement. Thomas Sowell in Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality explains some statistics that refute many of those claims. He lays out his argument pretty well and makes sense most of the time. The epilogue is quite whiny complaining about people misrepresenting his work and sometimes I felt like he was trying to use as many big words as he could to show how awesome and smart he is. Overall, the book is decent and worth reading. There is clear bias making it a good book for high schoolers learning about the Civil Rights era to read and use as an exercise in critical thinking to determine which arguments are valid and which might be logic leaps.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 76
Pages Read in 2019: 20,563
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Filed under Non-Fiction

Start-up Nation by Dan Senor and Saul Singer

Start-up Nation attempts to determine why Israel has more start-ups per capita that anyone else. I don’t think the authors truly answered the question other than, possibly, mandatory service in the military and the networking and skills that come with that. They tended to ramble and repeated themselves a lot. It really boiled down to Israel is amazing and can do pretty much nothing wrong, Arab nations surrounding Israel do basically nothing right, and military service (and maybe immigration, though that argument was poorly made) works. I only recommend reading this book if you truly feel the need. It’s not really worth the time.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 73
Pages Read in 2019: 19,873
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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Clouds Tumble Down by Daniel Pericich

Clouds Tumble Down is the fictionalized true story of Sara, a friend of the author. Both her brother and new/potential boyfriend were killed in car accidents and then she moved from a city to a tiny town. The book is the story of a very difficult year or so. Parts were good, but most of the time I just didn’t like Sara. She had been dealt a rough hand, but even when good things happened, she acted like a spoiled brat. I didn’t find it to be that great of a portrayal of mental health issues, mainly because she was so unlikable. It also really needs an editor for the many grammar, usage, and mechanics issues. It’s worth reading if you really want to, mainly because it’s so short, but I’d skip it if given the chance again.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 63
Pages Read in 2019: 16,906
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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: Asked by the Author, Reason: LitHub Bingo

My Sixty Years on the Plains by William Thomas Hamilton

Written in 1905 when he was 82, My Sixty Years on the Plains is mostly about the skirmishes with Indians that the author was involved in. It’s pretty rambly, much as you might expect from a grandpa reminiscing. Whoever transferred it from print to digital did a pretty bad job (for example, Santa Fe was rendered multiple times as Santa F6). I recommend this book if you want to read a firsthand account of one of the earliest white men to head out west.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 32
Pages Read in 2019: 8794
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Filed under Memoir, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Women Under the Knife by Ann Dally

Surgery was pretty crazy in the 1800s and early 1900s and Women Under the Knife discusses cases and opinions related to it. I’m not sure if the author was trying to make the point that surgeons operated on both men and women so it really wasn’t significant that women underwent more surgeries than men (the majority of the additional surgeries were gynecological) or that men, and particularly male surgeons, were misogynists and so operated so much on women for that reason. Sometimes it felt like she was making one of those points and sometimes the other and that she didn’t really make either point in the end. It was often dreadfully boring and read like someone’s doctoral thesis. When she was discussing case studies, however, it was fabulous and very interesting. She really should have stuck more to those. I don’t really recommend or not recommend this book either way. It would probably be best skimmed to just read about the surgical cases.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 24
Pages Read in 2019: 7024
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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Candy Bombers by Robert Elmer

Candy Bombers is a middle grade historical fiction book about the Berlin Airlift and dropping candy for the children in the Soviet sector at the beginning of the Cold War. The story is very simple and doesn’t really focus much on the candy bombing (it’s more of a backdrop). The transitions from one scene to the next very often are difficult to follow (could be an issue with how the book ended up when it was made into an ebook as there are some formatting issues). It’s an okay book, but there are better out there set in the same time period.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 20
Pages Read in 2019: 5982
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Filed under Historical Fiction, Middle Grades, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz