Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dear J-3:

Dear J-3:

I know book reviews are not what you meant when you chided me on having no new blog posts. However, my to do list is long and my snark level is at dangerous levels this week. When the list is shorter and the snark level has gone back to normal, I will post a more worthy entry.

Yours faithfully,

ps. To compensate for your disappointment, here are a couple quick anecdotes--
1) A student asked me to marry him today...as in "Will you marry me Miss Hutchins?" I smiled and called him a creeper.
2) A student submitted a research paper topic proposal about online communities dedicated to "My Little Ponies" - No, I'm not making that up. I wish with every fiber of my being that I was.


OpheliaOphelia by Lisa M. Klein
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am usually wary of books that borrow from another story’s brilliance to drive their own plot. I finally gave in though to Lisa Klein’s Ophelia because, simply said, I love Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Perhaps it’s because I first encountered Ophelia when I was a melodramatic teenager, but I ‘ve always been intrigued by Ophelia in all her tragic beauty. The chance to read a well-researched book that gives Ophelia back her truncated life was worth my time and surprisingly engaging once I got past Klein’s attempts at Old English references. If you are a Shakespeare lover, read it. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

ps. I don't think I've rated lately about lame it is that we can't give half stars. This is a 3.5 for all the research and care Klein had to have put into creating this plot....

Year of Wonders

Year of WondersYear of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I honestly had no desire to read about the plague, but just like I will watch a movie just because Matt Damon is in it, I read “Year of Wonders” because Geraldine Brooks wrote it. Brooks is a masterful writer and a brilliant storyteller. The story is devastating and an interesting discussion of faith and fear amidst deadly uncertainty.

I can’t say I’d recommend it to everyone since the topic matter is so sad, but it’s artfully written, so I guess the choice is entirely yours on this one. Either way, I am such a fan of Brooks. She is, without a doubt, one of my favorite writers.

all these things i've done

All These Things I've Done (Birthright, #1)All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked up this book purely because Gabrielle Zevin wrote it, and let’s be honest, because it’s a story set during a futuristic time with chocolate is contraband and caffeine is illegal. Throw in the mob, a decaying New York, illegal imprisonment, and forbidden love, and you’ve got quite the plot. The exposition and conclusion are a little unfulfilling, but I devoured the book just the same. It helped that I was in a “please remain seated until the captain has turned off the ‘Fasten Seatbelt’ sign” kind of place.

I’d recommend it, but I wouldn’t run out and buy it. It’s a library or borrow book for sure. Just the same happy reading and most definitely happy chocolate eating and caffeine drinking--

Star Island

Star IslandStar Island by Carl Hiaasen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Star Island is like that odd candy you see near the register at gas stations on road trips. At first glance, it sounds delicious and you think that maybe it will help break up the monotony. Fast forward to two hours later after you’ve eaten the whole bag that you only meant to have a handful of. That’s what Star Island feels like. In theory, it sounds scandalously delicious. In reality, it’s trashy and over-the-top. To be fair, there were some brilliant one-liners and deft plot twists. It just wasn’t worth the gut ache after I finished.

{Ps. Not sure if it was intentional but Hiaasen’s Cherry was uncannily familiar to Lindsay Lohan and her potential demise courtesy of drugs and loser parents.}