Thursday, April 30, 2009

April's Reading List

April was a month for a varied selection of reading material for me. Poetry, teen fiction, wanna-be thrillers and old favourites all have a place this month.

The Year of Secret Assignments - Jaclyn Moriarty (2 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes)
  • Set in Australia, this follows the exploits of three teen girls who are participating in a pen-friend assignment, and the three boys they get matched up with from their rival school. Initially, I thought it was going to be a fun read, but I found the format of letters a little confusing at first (it was challenging to figure out who was who without really knowing the characters first). The secret assignments they challenge each other with are pretty funny at times, but I don't think that it was enough to really save the book for me.
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown (2 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes)
  • I figured I would read this one because I know I am going to see the movie at some point and I want to have my own visualizations of it before seeing how Mr. Ron Ho.ward interpreted it. I will admit that I enjoyed the DaVinci Code more than this one, although several people told me this was the better of the two. Honestly, I was bored. I didn't feel the same sense of urgency that I got from DaVinci Code. I slogged through it, but I wasn't impressed at all. Hopefully, the third in the series, due out this fall, will be better (and also the last).
Shut Up, You're Fine (Instructive Poetry for Very Very Bad Children) - Andrew Hudgins (4.5 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes)
  • This book rocked! One of the perks of working in a bookstore is that you get to come across random things that you wouldn't otherwise find. This is obviously from our humour section, and it had me giggling all through my lunch breaks. Poems about having to give grandma a kiss and about being grounded are just the tip of the ice berg. This book isn't meant for young readers... there are some very adult themes, but it was really and truly funny!
Always Looking Up - Michael J. Fox (4 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes)
  • I have always been a fan of Michael J. Fox, and was heartbroken when he left acting due to his battle with Parkinsons. His new memoir chronicles what he's been up to in the last ten years, since his retirement... the development of his foundation, his work in the political arena, his faith, and his family. Truly inspiring and thought-provoking, I found myself thinking very hard about my stance on embryonic stem cell research. My faith leads me to believe that life begins at conception, so I have always been fairly black and white on this issue. However, his explanation of where and when they wish to acquire the stem cells has given me much to think about. If I were to have frozen embryos that I was unable to have implanted in me, what would I do with them? Ideally, I would like for them to be adopted out... to people who were struggling with infertility who would provide a loving home for the child(ren). I wouldn't want those little lives wasted or destroyed just because I wasn't able to nurture them. I would want their lives to have meaning, and if they can be used to improve the quality of life or even lead to a cure for diseases like Parkinsons or Alzheimers... Like I said, I'm still processing it all, but he has made me think. My only disappointment with the book was his section on faith. I found it wishy-washy and non-commital. But that's just me. I highly recommend this book!
Ride the Wind - Lucia St. Clair Robson (5 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes)
  • This book was the first 'grown-up' book I ever read... many many years ago. I came across a listing for it while a work, and I knew I had to re-read it. It is a novel based on the life of Cynthia Ann Parker, a young Texas girl who was kidnapped and raised by the Commanche in the first half of the 1800s. The book chronicles the settlement of the Texas frontier, and the end of the free tribes who lived in that region. There are graphic moments of violence, and Robson doesn't sugar coat the brutality of living off the land. Parker grows up as a beloved adopted daughter and eventually marries a chief, and her son was the last free chief of the Commanche. Heartbreaking and beautiful, it offers a glimpse into a way of life that is now lost.
Eight Little Faces - Kate Gosselin (5 out of 5 hairy hobbit toes)
  • Perfect for any fan of Jon & Kate Plus Eight, this little book is full of fun pictures of all the kids. Interspersed throughout are Kate's thoughts on parenting multiples, and Scripture verses that are her inspiration. Just a fun little book!


  1. Your love of books always shines through! I think I'm going to have to get that Michael J. Fox book too. It sounds great!

  2. Thanks for the recommendations! I'm disappointed that my library apparently doesn't have Ride the Wind by Lucia St. Clair Robson. I'm curious - have you read any of her other books?

  3. Great book reviews. I'll have to add the Michael J. Fox book to my reading list, as I've also been a fan since the 1980's.

    I'll probably end up reading "Angels and Demons," because like you, I always prefer to read the book prior to viewing films based on the novel.

    Jon & Kate Plus 8....used to love the show. Then I came across some news articles and a blog from Jon's sister...and now I am torn as to what is "real" and what is manufactured. Still, I think it sounds like a fun read.


  4. Excellent reviews!

    Might I add a few?

    Bitter is the New Black: RUN! RUN AWAY! DO NOT TOUCH THIS BOOK!

    Hot, Flat, Crowded: Very interesting if a bit depressing. He's no Malcolm Gladwell.

    The Elegance of the Hedgehog: RUN! RUN AND BUY THIS BOOK! N.O.W!! What an absolutely lovely read.

    Outliers: He IS Malcolm Gladwell! Another excellent, thought-provoking book.

    The Golden Child: An oldie, but a goodie. Excellent mid-70s British mystery and humour.

    The Last Days of Dogtown: It wasn't The Red Tent, by I'd read the telephone book if Anita Dimant wrote it.


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