Well, Fellow Readers–we, along with cristi1, have a case of the sadz. We’ve reached the final week of Summer Reading. Not only will we miss reading all the wonderful reviews and discovering new books based, as jadec123 so wonderfully put it, “on the reviews of real people,” we now must return to that face-off with Ulysses. And we will lose. But at least we know we are not alone in the Great-Books-We-Should-Probably-At-Least-Appreciate-If-We-Want-to-Call-Ourselves-Lovers-of-Literature Club. (See highlight of the reviews for Middlemarch by jadec123 and slhess1 below.)
We will also miss connecting with you each week on this blog. Allow us to share with you the picture we keep taped above our computer screen. We choose to believe Mr. Gosling IS speaking directly to us:
(We could spend whole weekends on the intewebz with Ryan Gosling and the “Hey Girl” meme. Especially the site dedicated to library personnel. We are not proud of this. We’re just sayin.)
Okay, so: this week Gogol made like Monty Hall, and the Week 9 Winner behind door number 3 is mark5314 for his review of Zero Day by David Baldacci:
This character is a NCIS/CSI on steroids. The story deals with a nuclear catastrophe & a small town environment. The underlying greed causes the issues to happen. Great story, you must read the book!
Zero Day is an example of a book we picked up based on the review. We heart CSI! How could we pass up CSI on steroids?
Congrats, mark5314! You are now the proud owner of a $20 gift card to the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on Mission Inn Avenue. (We are enjoying one of their mini coconut lemon cakes as we write this.) Huge thanks again to Beth and the CBTL team for supporting Summer Reading!
Another book we picked up based on reading the review was Alexander McCall Smith’s The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon, submitted by 1goldengirl:
#14 in the No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Novels and it is as good as the first one. Alexander McCall Smith writes with a gift of subtle humor. These are not fast-paced books but are books to linger over while sipping tea or eating, I hate to say it, fruitcake. If you read the book you’ll understand. In this installment we find her assistant Grace Makutsi married and expecting a child, so Mma Ramotswe is on her own for two detective cases. Although these books contain mysteries they are more about the characters and their life and love of Africa. These novels are a pleasant addiction.
Fruitcake? We must understand this—MUST!—so read this book we shall.
We are currently reading a lot of military-themed books in honor of the California Reads theme War Comes Home, so we thank butterfly2 for putting Peter Nelson’s book Left for Dead on our radar:
You may want to note this author’s name so you can check out more books written by him; it is that well written. This book is about the injustice of Captain McVay’s court martial. He was serving on the USS Indianapolis. It contains the personal accounts of the survivors of the torpedoed ship, and what it was like floating in the ocean with no rescue for days while sharks swam beneath them. It covers how the captain was tried in court without all of the evidence to prove his position, and how the survivors tried to clear the captain’s name, but to no avail. What makes this true story all the more incredible is that an eleven year old boy’s completed history fair project on the topic brought more attention to the case. This boy, Hunter Scott, shows as much determination and fight as the survivors did. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.
P.S. That is the scariest book cover we have seen in awhile. (No, we are not a fan of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week.)
Speaking of book covers—here’s cristi1‘s review of Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer:
Am I the only one who judges a book by its cover? I’m sure I’m not. We do it, right? We look at the cover and decide whether we will enjoy reading the book based solely on the art of the front cover. Then, if we have the want to, we’ll read the synopsis on the back to confirm what we felt from the front cover. You all do that too, right? Right?! Well, I do. And because of this, I simply knew I would like Hope Was Here, because, well, PIE! The front cover is a beautiful looking, half eaten apple pie. It must be a good book if it has pie on the cover. And then I read the synopsis and confirmed it. Hope is a 16 year old girl moving from New York to a small Wisconsin town with her aunt and guardian, Addie. They’re quite the team, Addie is a master cook and Hope is a wizbang waitress. Together they have moved all over the country, working in diner after diner. They are vagabonds of a sort, never staying in one place too long, but always working as a team to try to get through life as best they can. However, things are different in this new town. For one thing, the owner of the diner is a good hearted man, but he has cancer. Two, he’s decided to run for mayor to defat the corrupt incumbent. Three, Hope is quickly learning that this podunk town may not be so bad after all. She and Addie may have found just what they were looking for…..Home.
We do not wish to spark the whole Cake vs. Pie debate here. But if you are so inclined, you can read about it here. (*cough cough* cake *cough cough*)
Seeing as how we’ve entered juvenile-behavior mode (nanny nanny boo boo), here’s as good a place as any to highlight 11lsing‘s review of Nevada Barr’s High Country:
Parks Ranger Anna Pidgeon is back in High Country, a murder-mystery set in Yosemite. Anna goes undercover as a middle-aged waitress to find out why four people disappeared without a trace on the same day. Author Nevada Barr hits it out of the park with this novel – what I like is that her hero ages (you know, like people DO) and brings wisdom, insight and humor to the story telling. Her character Anna is tough, practical yet flawed, and not in that annoying Janet Evanovich way where the heroine always forgets her gun in the cookie jar (EVERY SINGLE DARN TIME – really, Stephanie Plum? It’s why I stopped reading that series. You know, after 11 of the books anyway ). It’s a bit more like dealing with the situation at hand – you’ve dropped your pack to rest and get water and food, then when someone shoots at you, you run like a fox without your supplies. What do you do next to survive? It’s that kind of thinking and decision making that I so enjoy about Nevada Barr! Great book, great mystery, great hero. I want to be Anna Pidgeon when I grow up!
We like Stephanie Plum only slightly more than we like sharks. And when we grow up, we want to be Angelina Jolie.
As we have mentioned, we are always up for a good laugh, and techia1 did not disappoint with her review of Sayre April Pulley’s Vulture View:
Have you ever felt dismay over the serious dearth of rhyming books about vultures? Have I got a book for you! Vultures are so generally neglected and when they are mentioned in any text there’s a tendency toward the negative. It’s outrageous. Kudos to Sayre and Jenkins for doing their part.
Sharks get a whole week. Stephanie Plum gets 21+books. Where IS the respect for the vulture, dang it?
And here we are full-circle, back to the subject of no appreciation or respect. As promised, here are the reviews of George Eliot’s Middlemarch :
We give props to slhess1, who reviewed this classic back in June and gave it 4 stars:
I love George Eliot. Her writings are like 19th century soap operas. So much detail. Middlemarch is considered her finest book. I agree; the characters are full of life. For lovers of English literature.
But we’ve got to be honest–we feel jadec123 on this one:
I read so many reviews stating this was a favorite book among readers online. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t finish it! I felt like I was back in high school. And with sentences like this, “Hire facounde eke full womanly and plain, no contrefeted termes had she to semen wise,” was more effort than I cared to put into summer reading!
Have no shame, jadec123. Anything that makes one feel as if one has returned to the bare-knuckle cage match that was high school should be destroyed with fire. (Does this sentiment make Mizz Reader one of those “haters” we hear the young people talking about so much these days?)
(Side note: hands up if the dude on this particular cover of Middlemarch reminds you of a shark.)
Well, we’d like to end this post on a positive note, so here is braerog90‘s review of The Writer’s Digest Writing Clinic: Expert Help for Improving Your Work:
A writing clinic book so helpful. Includes many writings from different writers. For about a month I haven’t written because I have been wanting to focus on one main topic. I finally chose, Mizzreader, to focus on healing. So many people hurting in this life and I want to reach out to them. Going to read a ton of healing books and write healing poetry.
braerog90, you are an inspiration, and we <3 you.
Wishing you all continued Happy Reading!
P.S. Gogol is going to take a power nap so he can pick the Grand Prize Winner tomorrow, 17 August, and we will announce his result here on the blog. All you fellow readers who have submitted 5 or more reviews over the course of the program are eligible to win—even if you were also a weekly prize winner. We wish we could give a Kindle Fire 7″ Tablet to EVERY fellow reader who submitted reviews, and we would gladly sell a kidney to make this happen, but sadly, we already sold off that extra kidney to cover our son’s college tuition. ¡Buena suerte a todos!