Tag: reading

Reading Lolita in Tehran

July 15, 2014 History, Memoir, non-fiction 16

7603Title: Reading Lolita in Tehran
Author: Azar Nafisi
Source: library
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: I found this a bit hard to get into, a little too academic and a little too literary, but once I adjusted to the writing style I was very moved by the author’s and her students’ experiences.

When it became required that female professors in Iran wear the veil, Azar Nafisi resigned and began to teach a small, secret class from her home instead. Every week a group of very different women came together to discuss banned classics. The women also shared in each others struggles to find themselves and express their personalities despite the fear inspired by an oppressive regime. Read more »


How To Build a Girl Read-Along – Part 1

July 14, 2014 Blogger Events, Fiction 14

caitlin moranSince this is a read-along, be warned that there will be spoilers. Today we’re discussing chapters 1-4. My main observation about this part of the book is that Caitlin Moran’s hilarious, ernest, frank style in How To Be a Woman translated just fine to fiction. In fact, so far the book reads a lot like the parts of How To Be a Woman which describe Moran’s childhood. There are obvious differences – as Moran is quick to point out, she had much better parents – but there are obvious similarities too. Both Moran and her character are particularly fond of dogs, books, and wanking. Both live in houses crowded with children, have few friends, and enjoy escaping into books. Most importantly, her character in this book narrates her story in Moran’s style, which means I’m loving it. The differences are large enough that I don’t feel like I’m just reading How To Be a Woman over again. It’s more like I’m getting awesome bonus material and I can’t wait to read more!

This read-along is being hosted by Emily at As the Crow Flies (And Reads) so you can check out what the other participants are thinking so far at her link-up.



Alias Hook

July 9, 2014 Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Re-telling 22

18404312Title: Alias Hook
Author: Lisa Jensen
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: This was a truly delightful story, with the setting and emotional impact amped up into something awesome for a perfect, adult fairy tale.

Before he was sent to Neverland by a curse, Benjamin Hookbridge was a ruthless privateer. Now he’s simply a storybook villain, at the mercy of his childish opponent. His hatred has kept him from imagining any way out but death until Stella Parish enters Neverland. Although Hook fears this is just another trap of Peter’s, her faith in him and in the magic of Neverland might be exactly what’s needed to set him free. Read more »


Shooting Stars

July 5, 2014 Memoir, non-fiction 2

18509676Title: Shooting Stars
Author: Jennifer Buhl
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: I thought the bits about Jennifer’s career were fascinating (except the gross bits), but I found the parts about her personal life unrelatable.

Jennifer Buhl was struggling to make it in LA until she decided to try her hand at being a paparazzi. That’s not to say that being a paparazzi was easy. Paparazzi often tip each other off and it took Jennifer some time to make connections. She faced bullying and discrimination, both for being one of the few women in the business and for being successful. Despite the challenges, she really was successful, getting some fantastic shots with celebrities, as well as many fascinating stories to tell. Read more »


Jennifer, Gwyneth, And Me

July 3, 2014 Memoir, non-fiction 5

18465836Title: Jennifer, Gwyneth, and Me
Author: Rachel Bertsche
Source: from publisher via NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: Even though I’m not the biggest fan of non-author celebrities, I enjoyed following Rachel on another self-help adventure with lots of fun stories and great advice.

Since starting working at home, Rachel hasn’t felt very pulled together. In order to motivate herself to exercise more, eat right, and dress better, she decides to emulate her favorite celebrities in hopes of achieving their air of having it all together. Trying the meals, exercises, and other lifestyle changes the stars swears by, she finds that the ones which truly improve her life often surprise her. Read more »


It’s Complicated

June 23, 2014 non-fiction, Psychology 17

18342787 (1)Title: It’s Complicated
Author: Danah Boyd
Source: from publisher via NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: Even though this book had an academic bent, everything was explained clearly and the mix of research with anecdotes and ethical questions made for some fascinating reading.

Being a blogger means I use social media quite a bit, something which often highlights for me how technologically behind I’d be if I didn’t blog. This has made me curious about how more technologically savvy people use social media, so I was excited to see how teens who grew up with social media use these sites. In  It’s Complicated, the author takes a look at teen use of the latest social media sites over the past decade, from MySpace to Facebook to Twitter. The author systematically questions the stereotypes about social media-using teens. These include the assumption that all teens are good at and potentially addicted to technology to the idea that technology has fundamentally changed the way teens interact. She supports her conclusion with facts and figures, as well as hundreds of interviews with teens and parents. Read more »


Classics Mini-Reviews

June 17, 2014 Classics, Fiction 15

18133Title: Lolita
Author: Vladimir Nabokov
Source: library
Rating: ★★★☆☆

With Lolita, as with many classics, I’m definitely glad I read this just for the experience of reading it. Nabokov has a very unique writing style and Lolita is certainly a unique book. It’s also a book I’m happy to be able to discuss from experience. It was well written and I’m not at all surprised at it’s continued popularity. That said, I don’t know that I enjoyed reading it. The main sensation I experienced while reading this book was a desire to go take a bath, it was just that disturbing. I think it’s worth giving it a try to see if you love Nabokov’s one-of-kind writing style, but it’s (obviously) not a book to pick up if you’re just looking for something fun. Read more »


Elizabeth Is Missing

June 12, 2014 Fiction, Literary, Thriller, Women's Fiction 28

Elizabeth is MissingTitle: Elizabeth Is Missing
Author: Emma Healey
Source: from publisher via TLC Book Tours
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: As promised by the book jacket, parts of this book were darkly humorous, but mostly it was a poignant, emotional story about family and growing old.

“Despite Maud’s growing anxiety about Elizabeth’s welfare, no one takes her concerns seriously—not her frustrated daughter, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth’s mercurial son—because Maud suffers from dementia. But even as her memory disintegrates and she becomes increasingly dependent on the trail of handwritten notes she leaves for herself in her pockets and around her house, Maud cannot forget her best friend. Armed with only an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth—no matter what it takes.” (Source) Read more »


Books That Didn’t Live Up to the Hype in Mini-Reviews

June 10, 2014 Fiction, Thriller, Translated Fiction 38

1232Title: The Shadow of the Wind
Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Source: library
Rating: ★★★☆☆

I’ve heard almost exclusively good things about The Shadow of the Wind. I’ve loved all of the other translated fiction I’ve read, and I love books about books. Objectively, this book was perfect for me. For some reason, though, I just didn’t connect with it. I did sometimes find the prose really beautiful and the loving descriptions of books and secret libraries made my book-loving self very happy. I also liked that the conversations followed a distinctly different pattern than what I’m used to. I felt like I was getting a glimpse of Spanish culture. However, the main character is essentially swept up in someone else’s story. I felt he had very little agency. There were clearly intended to be parallels between his life and that of the man whose life he enters, but I thought the connections were superficial. I ended the book wishing there had been something more. Read more »


Small Town Witch

June 8, 2014 Fantasy, Fiction, LGBT, Young Adult 11

17888783Title: Small Town Witch
Author: Kristen S. Walker
Source: from author for review
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: This book exceeded all my expectations with natural-sounding dialogue, perfect pacing, fascinating world-building, and a main character who doesn’t create her own drama.

“Teen witch Rosamunde thinks she has it all: friends, parties, a happy family, and magic at her fingertips. But something dark lurks underneath the surface. When Rosa uncovers strange spells in her house, the illusion of the perfect life begins to crack, hinting at family secrets she never imagined. With the help of her friends and the handsome kitsune Kai, Rosa peels back the layers of lies. Her search for the truth will take her far from home, into the dangerous Land of Faerie . . . but if the truth threatens her family’s apparent happiness, will she choose to live with the lie or break the enchantment that binds them all?” (Source) Read more »