Bookends Before the Holidays

December 24, 2011 Uncategorized 0

This week Bookends will just be two books, since I spent most (10 hours!)  of Thursday driving to my parents’ house for the holidays.  Next time I must get some audio books, because otherwise I’ll spend the whole time wishing reading while driving was a viable option!  Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys these reviews and has a wonderful holiday 🙂

Current Fiction Readings

This week I’ve gotten my fiction fix starting a new series by Lisa Shearin with the book Magic Lost, Trouble Found.  According to Netflix, I like movies with a strong female lead and I think that’s a big part of why I liked this book.  This book is told from the perspective of sarcastic, resourceful sorceress Raine Benares – definitely a strong female lead.  The book begins with Raine rescuing a friend hired to rob a powerful necromancer and taking a magical amulet from him for safekeeping.  Initially a sorceress of moderate power, Raine finds her powers increasing dramatically as she wears the amulet.  Unfortunately, many powerful people are also interested in the amulet, which turns out to be powered by rather dark magics which must be contained.  The adventures which follow take place in a well-crafted world, not terribly complicated politically but with enough factions and creepy locations to make things interesting.  Although detailed magical-mechanics are not given, there are no inconsistencies either.  Over all, a really good read.  I liked the author’s style and am already excited to start the next book!

Non-Project Non-Fiction

Despite my dislike of The Secret, I decided to try another best-selling self-help book, How To Win Friends and Influence People.  I’m glad I did!  While I would describe most of the advice in this book as common sense, I think it’s also advice we all sometimes forget.  For instance, the first two chapters basically just say that it is better to praise someone than criticize them.  Well, of course!  But this definitely isn’t a rule we all always obey. Sometimes it’s so easy to let a criticism slip out, when it would really be better to calm down, begin with a compliment and then suggest a change in a non-critical way.  So while a lot of the advice the book gives is fairly obvious, I also think our daily interactions would be much smoother and more pleasant if everyone occasionally looked to this book for reminders on how to treat other people!

The book was also fun to read.  It includes some great anecdotes, which are most interesting because they give brief glimpses of the world in 1936, when the book was first published.  One other thing I really liked about the book was that it included specific cautions against insincerity and makes it clear that you should look for things you can genuinely compliment someone else on.

Summary

Magic Lost, Trouble Found – 4 stars – Fun read, great heroine, well-crafted fantasy world. Will definitely be reading the rest of the series!

How To Win Friends and Influence People – 3 stars – Mostly common sense advice on how to treat other people with consideration, but still worth skimming for a reminder of how we should ideally treat others.  Interesting for its anecdotes of daily life in 1936, when the book was published.

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