Eclectic Nonfiction in Minireviews

January 24, 2016 Uncategorized 22

Eclectic Nonfiction in MinireviewsTitle: Brown Girl Dreaming
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Brown Girl Dreaming is the first book I’ve read and it took some getting used to. Because of formatting, there was less text to read on each page and I had to slow myself down to make sure I appreciated it, instead of just flying through. Once I did slow down, I really appreciated this format for the author’s memoir. I thought she took great advantage of the format to add emotional impact to the stories she was sharing. I don’t read enough poetry to feel able to evaluate with any expertise, but at least subjectively, I enjoyed it a lot.

Eclectic Nonfiction in MinireviewsTitle: The Perfect Score Project: Uncovering the Secrets of the SAT
Author: Debbie Stier
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

I’m not sure who the audience is for this book. It’s an interesting story, but as an adult interested in the lengths a parent might go to help their student succeed, I found the test-prep advice disruptive. And if I were a student studying for the test, I think I’d just read the test-prep stuff. The story about all the things the author tries to get better at testing is enjoyable, but not especially helpful. If I was a student, I think this might even offend me – like someone trying to sneak vegetables into other food, as though I was stupid enough not to notice.

Eclectic Nonfiction in MinireviewsTitle: Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything
Author: David Bellos
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

I really love thinking about the questions raised by translation about meaning, communication, and language. Some of the questions were the same as those an essay collection I read, called In Translation, but some were new and most at least had something new to add to each topic. I did enjoy this slightly less than In Translation, although this may be an unfair comparison since I read In Translation first. However, in this collection, I felt the author sometimes got a bit pedantic about the meanings of specific words. At other times, he began a chapter with a question and ended the chapter with an answer, but I didn’t think the middle bit supported the answer. Overall, I did enjoy this – it was a generally well written collection of essays on a topic I love – but I’d recommend reading In Translation first. This actually made Lory at Emerald City Book Review’s Best of 2015 list though, so don’t just take my word for it 🙂

22 Responses to “Eclectic Nonfiction in Minireviews”

  1. Naomi

    I bought Brown Girl Dreaming for my daughter last year, with the thought that I could read it too. I haven’t yet, but she liked it. And it’s just so pretty.
    I was surprised to look at your side bar and see the romance novel, but then remembered you’re trying out a new genre. I’m curious to hear how it’s going! 🙂
    Naomi recently posted…White Hunger by Aki OllikainenMy Profile

  2. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    I don’t think I’ve ever read any books about translation, which is probably why “Fish” was so fasciating to me. (Plus I have a weakness for any book that quotes Douglas Adams in the title). I didn’t always agree with the arguments either, but the questions were just so interesting to think about. I’ll definitely put In Translation on my list.
    Lory @ Emerald City Book Review recently posted…Link Love: January 2016My Profile

    • DoingDewey

      It was definitely still an interesting read for me and I’m glad I picked it up. And I also agree that the Douglas Adams quote was a selling point 🙂