Tag: book reviews

Creativity: What’s Your Type?

October 12, 2012 Uncategorized 3

Title: Breakthrough Creatvitiy: Achieving Top Performance Using the Eight Creative Talents
Author: Lynne Levesque
Source: library
Fun Fact: The author has a PhD in creativity.
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: Helpful, practical, optimistic guide with something for anyone who wants to be more creative.

There’s just something about lists of “the top 10 ways to…” or “the seven easy habits for…” that seems a little bit gimmicky to me. For that reason, I had much lower expectations of this book than of the more academic creativity book I reviewed earlier this week. Boy were my expectations backwards. The other book was interesting, but I was sorely disappointed by it’s lack of useful advice. By contrast, this book was nothing but useful advice.

Read more »


Creativity in a Networked World

October 9, 2012 Uncategorized 2

Title: Smart World: Breakthrough Creativity and the New Science of Ideas
Author: Richard Ogle
Source: library
Fun Fact: Barbie was based on a doll of the main character in a smutty german cartoon which sold mainly in smoke shops.
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Review Summary: Very abstract, academic approach to the topic of creativity with a  few thought provoking insights but little practical advice.

Have you ever wished you were more creative? I certainly have and not just because it would be awesome if I could draw. As a grad student, one of the most challenging aspects of research is being able to come up with creative new ways to solve problem. As in many fields, that makes creativity not just a hobby, but a career promoting skill. This book is a synthesis of the latest research related to creativity, particularly major breakthroughs and works of artistic genius. Read more »


Monday Musings On Book Crushes

October 8, 2012 Monday Musings 2

This week the Monday Musings question from Should Be Reading is the following: Do you have a favorite series? Do you have a favorite book out of that series?

When I was younger my favorite books were Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’ vampire books. But for the last 4 or 5 years, I’ve been most passionately in love with Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. I adore good world building and this series has that in spades. There have been a few complaints about the slow pacing in some of the later books, but re-reading them has only made me appreciate them more for their delightful world building, many connecting sub-plots, and character development. However (and I hate to admit this), I don’t know what happens in which book all that well at all! I always re-read them together and they just kind of blur. If I had to pick a favorite, I’m pretty sure The Dragon Reborn is a pretty climatic one, as is the latest book in the series.

What series do you have the biggest crush on? Can you keep track of which book is which?  And do you have a favorite?


Monday Musings

October 1, 2012 Monday Musings 0

This week the Monday Musings question from Should Be Reading is the following: What distracts you when you really “should be reading”? ;)

Obviously there’s always life and school and work, but the biggest hobby competing with reading for me is definitely gaming. I don’t feel too bad about that though since when I play computer games, it’s almost always with friends, so it’s a fun way to keep in touch with people from undergrad. A less worthwhile alternative is watching TV, which I often do when I first get home from school and am too mentally exhausted to do anything else. Sometimes I use watching TV to motivate me to exercise, but most of the time it’s just something mindless to do. Reading is a much better use of my time 🙂

What activities of yours compete with reading for your attention?


Beautiful Lies

September 29, 2012 Uncategorized 6

Title: Beautiful Lies
Author: Clare Clark
Source: from publisher for a TLC Book Tour
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: I loved this book: the mystery, the beautiful descriptions, the protagonist’s insightful thoughts about art, and  most of all the writing style which made me feel like this book could have been written in the early 1900’s.

In Victorian London, scandal can so easily ruin your life. And Mirabel and her husband have a very big secret to hide! Dealing with a creepy newpaper reporter’s sudden interest in Mirabel and her abandoned family’s sudden reappearance in her life, Mirabel is an awesome, independent, heroine who refuses to conform to societal norms. She’s also an artist, with an artist’s fascinating observations on life and the meaning of art. Read more »


College Cooking

September 26, 2012 Uncategorized 4

Title: College Cooking
Author: Megan & Jill Carle
Source: starting college gift
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: This cookbook has nice easy to follow directions, some tasty dinners, and my go-to, easy to make, dessert. Read more »


Monday Musings

September 24, 2012 Monday Musings 5

This week the Monday Musings question from Should Be Reading is the following: Do you have any hobbies outside of reading? Or do you collect anything?

There are, of course, the hobbies you all know about – photography, blogging, and lately cooking. I also play computer games and sometimes D&D or board games, as well as exercising and going to some great yoga classes at school. It’s definitely enough to keep me busy 🙂

What are you favorite activities other than reading?


Wings in the 629’s

September 20, 2012 Uncategorized 1

Title: Wings: A History of Aviation from Kites to the Space Age
Author: Tom Crouch
Source: library
Fun Fact: Early planes were catapulted into the air because they couldn’t achieve the speed necessary to leave the ground under their own power.
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Review Summary: Lots of fun facts and interesting material, but the presentation was rarely fun or interesting. Not really narrative non-fiction, although advertised as such.

If you ever had a question about the history of flight, this book has the answer. Spanning the entire twentieth century and then some, Wings also crosses the globe, covering major advancements made by all nations without being too US-centric. Black and white pictures and quotes by early observers capture the awe inspiring first years of flight. When I finished, I had an excessive list of fun facts I wanted to share with you. I picked the one I did because I simply can’t imagine being launched into the air in the flimsy, uncontrollable, open-cock pits of the first planes! Read more »


Monday Musings

September 17, 2012 Monday Musings 7

This week the Monday Musings question from Should Be Reading is the following: What is your least favorite book? Why?

Just recently I was looking at a list of classics and remembering how much I disliked The Great Gatsby. That started me running through a mental list of all the books I’ve been required to read for school and I still can’t come up with anything else I disliked quite as much. The Last of the Mohicans was depressing, as was 1984, but they were quite good except the endings. And while Beloved by Toni Morison was pretty strange, it was also very interesting to analyze. Gatsby just didn’t have much going for it. I didn’t like the writing style or the atmosphere. I couldn’t relate to any of the main characters. There are very few books I’ve read and disliked, but I’m pretty sure Gatsby is at the bottom of the list.

Do you have a least favorite book? Is it one you were required to read?


A Group Read – The Virtues of War

September 13, 2012 Uncategorized 0

Title: The Virtues of War: A Novel of Alexander the Great
Author: Steven Pressfield
Read for: Ancient and Medieval Historical Fiction
Source: library
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: Immersive story which will draw you into Alexander’s era and into some very cool speculation on his personality, based on historical accounts.

The Virtues of War is the perfect mix of fact and fiction to make a good book. The author clearly did his research and uses accurate details to form a fascinating picture of life around 320BC.  However, as he states in the introduction, he’s also able to take liberties with the facts and put battles and speeches in the order which makes the best narrative. Best of all, the book is told as though Alexander is speaking to a nephew, leading to what I think are some of the major strengths of this book. Read more »