Source: Bought

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Filipino Fiction in Review: Empire of Memory

June 2, 2020 Uncategorized 2 ★★★

Filipino Fiction in Review: Empire of MemoryTitle: Empire of Memory
Author: Eric Gamalinda
Source: Bought
|Goodreads
Rating:three-stars

Summary: A decent story, but I think it would have been better if I’d had more prior knowledge about the Philippines.

“Two friends are hired by Marcos to rewrite Philippine history. Their mission: to make it appear that Marcos was destined to rule the country in perpetuity. Working from an office called Agency for the Scientific Investigation of the Absurd, they embark on a journey that will take them across a surreal panorama of Philippine politics and history, and in the process question all their morals and beliefs.” (source). Read more »

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Academic Nonfiction Review: Feminista

May 25, 2020 Uncategorized 0 ★★

Academic Nonfiction Review: FeministaTitle: Feminista: Gender, Race, and Class in the Philippines
Author: Noelle Leslie dela Cruz, Jeane Peracullo
Source: Bought
|Goodreads
Rating:two-stars

Summary: Educational and worth reading, but not enjoyable for me.

Last week was the first week in some time that I’ve not posted to my blog, but it was even more unusual that I didn’t read a single book. That had something to do with how busy I was at work and with my desire to catch up on reading The Atlantic, but I think part of it is also that I was recovering from this book! I was briefly in the Philippines in grad school and was excited to find this collection of essays on feminism in the Philippines. What I didn’t realize was that this is an extremely academic collection. It’s only 200 pages, but it took me a full week to read. It was such slow going! Read more »

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Essay Collection Review: The Empathy Exams

August 20, 2018 Uncategorized 7 ★★★★

Essay Collection Review: The Empathy ExamsTitle: The Empathy Exams: Essays
Author: Leslie Jamison
Source: Bought
|Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

Summary: Thoughtful, well written, but a bit self-absorbed and definitely less polished than the author’s more recent book, The Recovering.

The Empathy Exams is a collection of essays, thematically connected by a focus on how people relate to each others’ pain or tragedy. Interesting topics include the author’s experience as a pretend patient; various types of poverty tourism; and a group of people with Morgellons, a disease doctors say is all in their patients’ heads. Read more »

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A Re-Read Review: Malagash

August 16, 2018 Uncategorized 10 ★★★★★

A Re-Read Review: MalagashTitle: Malagash
Author: Joey Comeau
Source: Bought
|Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

Summary: The perfect blend of heartwarming and poignant, beautifully crafted.

I don’t typically re-read books, but it’s something I’ve been considering doing in an attempt to engage more deeply with the books I read. Malagash, which is one of my favorite books ever, was a great choice to start with. It’s short, so it was easy to commit the time to a re-read. It was also easy to go back over sections multiple times during my re-read. It packs a real emotional punch too. It’s the story of a young girl, Sunday, whose father is dying. It’s about grief and family and how her family in particular is coping with grief. Sunday is currently recording as much of her dying father as she can, with plans to encode his words into a computer virus so he can live forever. So, despite being short, there’s a lot here! There were universal themes to think about and delightful particulars that made me laugh and cry. If anything, I loved this book even more a second time around. Read more »

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Review: Four Reigns

June 19, 2017 Uncategorized 0 ★★★

Review: Four ReignsTitle: Four Reigns
Author: Kukrit Pramoj
Source: Bought
|Goodreads
Rating:three-stars

Summary: This was very long and not much happened, but it did provide an interesting glimpse of another culture.

“This English version of the Thai novel Si Phaendin tells the rich and entertaining story of one woman’s life both inside and outside the royal palace in Bangkok. Spanning a period of four reigns, from King Chulalongkorn to the reign of his grandson King Ananda, this popular modern classic gives insight into the social and political issues facing Thailand from the 1890s through the turbulent years of World War II.” (source) Read more »

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Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

September 23, 2015 Uncategorized 24 ★★★★

Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel SocietyTitle: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Author: Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
Source: Bought
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

Summary: I love epistolary novels and this was a great one, with many unique characters with distinct voices.

It’s the end of WWII and Juliet Ashton, author of a humorous column during the war, is looking for a new subject for her next book. A surprising request for a book recommendation from a man on the island of Guernsey puts Juliet in contact with the members of a quirky book club – the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. Originally invented as an excuse to break curfew, the Society brought its members together as they discovered their taste in books and struggled together to survive the German occupation. As Juliet learns more about their experiences through her correspondence, she finds herself more and more drawn to the island and its inhabitants. Read more »

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Nonfiction About Death and Medicine in Mini-Reviews

July 30, 2015 non-fiction, Science 16 ★★★★★

Nonfiction About Death and Medicine in Mini-ReviewsTitle: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
Author: Mary Roach
Source: Bought
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

 

It took Mary Roach giving a talk in Syracuse, NY to get me to finally pick up one of her highly praised books. I’m happy to confirm, it was as awesome as everyone says! Roach has an incredible talent for finding the interesting in the ordinary. She made me think about things I already knew in new ways and taught me more fun facts than I know what to do with. I was particularly impressed by her ability to pursue interesting digressions without derailing the story. I also thought she did a great job being funny, without being irreverent to the dead. I will strongly recommend against reading this while eating. It’s not for the faint of heart! The worst parts for me were some the animal experiments, which I did sometimes think included inappropriate humor. Everything else about this was wonderful though and I can’t wait to start her Packing for Mars for the Nonfiction Book Club this weekend! Read more »

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Review: Moneyball

July 26, 2015 non-fiction 14 ★★★

Review: MoneyballTitle: Moneyball
Author: Michael M. Lewis
Source: Bought
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:three-stars

Summary: This story had a lot of good qualities – an underdog story, fun stats, well written – but felt very shallow to me in terms of content.

“Billy Beane, general manager of MLB’s Oakland A’s … had a problem: how to win in the Major Leagues with a budget that’s smaller than that of nearly every other team. Conventional wisdom long held that big name, highly athletic hitters and young pitchers with rocket arms were the ticket to success. But Beane and his staff, buoyed by massive amounts of carefully interpreted statistical data, believed that wins could be had by more affordable methods such as hitters with high on-base percentage and pitchers who get lots of ground outs. Given this information and a tight budget, Beane defied tradition and his own scouting department to build winning teams of young affordable players and inexpensive castoff veterans.” (Source) Read more »

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Soundbite Sunday: The Martian

May 24, 2015 Audiobook, Fiction, Science Fiction 26 ★★★★★

Soundbite Sunday: The MartianTitle: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Source: Blogging for Books, Bought
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

Summary: The narrator, the story, the humor – everything was fantastic!

If someone had to be stranded on Mars, Mark Watney was a great choice. Only someone with his mad botany and engineering skills could possibly stay alive, with no way to communicate with Earth and too few supplies to wait on a rescue mission. And only someone with his phenomenal sense of humor could survive the solitude without going insane. These two traits also made him a wonderful protagonist to read about. Being stranded on Mars could make for a depressing, hopeless story. Instead, I spent the whole book laughing or on the edge of my seat rooting for Mark to survive each new challenge.
Read more »

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Soundbite Sunday – The Well of Ascension

September 7, 2014 Audiobook, Fantasy, Fiction, Review 2 ★★★★

Soundbite Sunday – The Well of AscensionTitle: The Well of Ascension
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Source: Bought
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

 

As always, listening to a Brandon Sanderson book read by Michael Kramer was a fun experience. The character growth was, as usual, a real strength of the book. Some of the characters were a bit angstier than usual, but they always fell just short of becoming annoying. A new character, who became one of my favorite characters in the series, was introduced in this book and brought with him some interesting new hints about the world the story is set in. There was a huge twist at the end which was believable because of previous clues without being obvious or expected. My least favorite thing about this installment in the series is that it did drag a bit. There’s always the possibility with an audiobook that a story feeling slow can be attributed to the format and that might be part of it here. However, I’m also certain that the characters spending the whole book trying to achieve one goal and making very little progress also slowed the story down.

Do you find that audiobooks often seem to drag more than a book you’re reading yourself?

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