Wendy (here_be_dragons) wrote,
Wendy
here_be_dragons

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Books!

I did a good amount of reading this week, during chorus rehearsals, and listening to audiobooks on the drive back and forth. So, here are a few more book reviews:

#12 - Wishful Thinking, by the Caffeine Society and Cooperphoto

This book should have been included with the previous entry; I actually read it before "Career Tests," but forgot to include it. It's a book of writing prompts; each page has a prompt such as, "I wish . . . ," "My dream job is . . . ," and "I want to be remembered for . . . " Then, there is space to write your own completions to the statements. On the facing pages, are thought-provoking photos (which happen to be taken by a local geocacher with whom I'm somewhat acquainted). It's a lovely book, and I got it as part of a BookCrossing bookring - as the book is passed around, each of us will complete one of the prompts. Here's what I wrote:

It's not naive to believe that things can change. Big things and little ones. Like world peace - just because humans have always fought one another doesn't mean that we have to keep doing it on into the future. We can decide to do things differently. This applies equally as well (maybe better) to our own lives. Just because I've been one way all my life (overly-critical of myself, or impatient, for example), doesn't mean I can't choose to be different. All it takes is the decision to try, the willingness to stand our ground in the face of adversity, and the committment to keep trying, even when we slip up (which we surely will). But if we don't try at all just because we might not succeed? Well then, things really never will change, will they?

This book will be on its way to another BCer very soon, but I've copied out all the prompts, so if anyone is interested, let me know and I'll send you a link where you could find them. 8/10.

#13 - Daughter of Time, by Josephine Tey

Wow. This was an amazing book, and it's reminded me that "history" as we know it should not be taken at face value. So much of what we are taught as children (and hear on the news, etc.) is at best a biased account, and at worst, outright lies. That's the underlying message of this book, which very cleverly follows the "investigation" of a Scotland Yard detective and a young researcher, as they search for a solution to one of history's most infamous mysteries: what really did happen to the two young nephews of Richard III? Richard himself was accused of their murder, and tradition tells us that he was a monster who had them killed to secure his own position as king of England. That's certainly the story I grew up hearing . . . but was it the truth? Not only did I learn a fair bit from this book, but I found it riveting at times - the "evidence" was charmingly presented as dialogue between the detective and the researcher, and I found it a very satisfying and exciting read (contrary to my expectations when I learned it was some historical thing about Richard III). I would highly recommend this book, especially to anyone who enjoys either history or a good mystery. And if you enjoy both, well, you're in for a treat! And I owe a big thanks to my mom, for sending it to me for Christmas. 10/10.

#14 - A Horse and His Boy, by C.S. Lewis

I started listening to this third of the "Chronicles of Narnia" back around Thanksgiving, and just finally managed to finish it this morning. I really enjoyed this book, as I did the first two, although perhaps not as much as either of those first two. I am charmed by Narnia (although sometimes a bit confused by things; I thought Narnia was the name of the "world," but in this book, it's clear that it's the name of a country in a larger world. Or, at least that's how it seemed to me). But I can ignore all that - it's a charming story. I started "Prince Caspian" directing after finishing this one. 8/10

#15 - The Bitch in the House, edited by Cathi Hanauer

This is a marvelous read - a book of essays by women about a variety of topics. The book's subtitle pretty much says it all: "26 Women Tell the Truth about Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood and Marriage." They're mostly written from what I'd call a "feminist" perspective, and deal with the sorts of issues I've dealt with in my life, or have seen women I know dealing with. Motherhood vs. career. Is it possible to have a passionate long-term relationship? Wow, children can really push one to the edge of patience and beyond. Lots of stuff about having issues with one's own mother. I particularly like this quote from the Afterward:

It turns out that contemporary women lucky enough to have choices . . . are hungry for meaningful material to help them figure out their messy and complex lives - lives complicated in ways largely unknown to past generations of women. Strong, ambitious, highly competent women - the very ones for whom the Feminist Movement opened the doors to power and success - find themselves at a difficult crossroads today, a time when one major need, desire, biological urge (to love, to nurture, to have children, to be the good mothers our own mothers were, or weren't) is in direct conflict with another: that of not only contributing a necessary share of the family income, but of fulfilling the intellectual and professional ambitions for which we've been groomed and primed.

The essays were all very real, very authentic, and some of them really resonated with me. This was a WONDERFUL book. I think I'm going to turn it into a bookray - I'd love to pass it around to others who'd like to read it, so if you're interested, please comment here. 10/10
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