Eclectic Nonfiction in Minireviews

January 24, 2016 Uncategorized 22 ★★★★

Eclectic Nonfiction in MinireviewsTitle: Brown Girl Dreaming
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |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: Bookshop (affiliate link) |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: Bookshop (affiliate link) |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! 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      It is really pretty! And I found it strange to see a romance novel in my sidebar too, but I’ve actually enjoyed my experiment with a new genre far more than I expected to.

    • DoingDewey

      I look forward to hearing what you think when you pick them up. I’m guessing you’ll enjoy the interesting issues Is That a Fish raises as much as I did 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      That sounds like a great idea 🙂 I always say I’d like to use the library more, but so far, the truth has been that I’ve not been willing to give up reading ARCs to fit it in. Maybe next year!

  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.

    • 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 🙂

  3. Priscilla

    Does this mean Bellos has the habit of writing incessantly? Still, it sounds like a book worth reading! Same goes to Brown Girl Dreaming 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      Haha, I feel as though that must be a Hitchhiker’s Guide reference, but alas, it’s been too long since I’ve read it to understand. I was definitely glad I read them both 🙂

  4. Lindsey

    Reading the comments makes me feel a bit better. I thought I was the last one who needed to read Brown Girl Dreaming. Thanks for sharing your experience with it!

    • DoingDewey

      Haha, I’ve definitely had that feeling before! There are so many wonderful books to get to, so many of them languish on my TBR for ages.

  5. Laurie C

    I have listened to Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson book on audio several years ago, and always meant to read more of her books. I don’t read much children’s/YA lit these days. 🙁

    • DoingDewey

      I hadn’t read anything else of Jacqueline’s, but I’d also like to read more about checking out Brown Girl Dreaming. Although it’s categorized as YA and that’s not something I read a ton of either, it deals with some complex enough issues that I think I could easily be intended for adults as well.

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