Category: Reading

Fiction: Good For Your Brain

Okay, I love this news. Well, it’s not really new news for us readers, is it? Haven’t we always known that people who read are more intelligent? I mean, it’s obvious right? Well, it is news to me that fiction stimulates the brain in ways that non-fiction, or fact base information cannot. This short video by Discovery News is an interesting and short watch. Makes you want to pick up a novel, too! Feel free to check out my book reviews (shameless plug) for 2013 and 2014! I love to hear what books have made you happy too! Please comment and leave a recommendation or three. Enjoy and share!

And just because I think that readers are super intelligent and extra smart, I’m sharing my favorite poem performed by the super cute poet himself. I don’t care how many times I watch this, I love it every, single, TIME! Thanks Mark Grist! You are adorable!

Book 16: The Cold, Cold Ground

Definitely worth a read!

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ This one hits close to home for me because my inlaws live in Northern Ireland. I’ve heard stories, but as an American, it’s really hard to understand the conflict, The Troubles as they call it. I’ve always loved books based in Ireland, always, even before I married an Irishman. We read about a “Peeler” (a cop) who is Irish Catholic, which traditionally, is left to the Prods and the English. Because he’s a Catholic, he’s a legitimate target for the IRA and other groups. In fact, he’s everybody’s target, but that won’t stop him from solving his cases. From what I understand, the scenes seem pretty real, like how it really was in those dark days.

If you’re interested in Ireland, The Troubles and enjoy a good cop book, pick this one. Or, better yet, listen to it via the Audio version. The Irish born narrator Gerrard Doyle brings this one to life. The good news is that there are at least two more books to read in The Troubles series. Thanks Adrian McKinty!

 

Books for Creatives?

Buzzfeed published this list of 37 Books Every Creative Person Should Be Reading. I’ve read several… thinking I need to read the “Orbiting the Giant Hairball” book. What do you think of this list? I’ve read, “The War of Art” and loved it. Bossypants made me laugh out loud! Of course the Strunk and White book, I’ve used as a reference. What about the others?

Any you’d add?

 

Book 15: You’re Next

A Thriller With a Bit of Everything

♦ ♦ ♦ 1/2 It’s been awhile since I’ve listened to a “thriller” type book. I probably would have said that I was pretty indifferent to the story, but then suddenly found myself pulled deeper and deeper into the book. Because I was listening, I’d sit in the parking lot a few extra minutes wherever I was going to get to a spot where I felt like I could turn the car, and thus my book, off. Guess that’s the sign of a good book! For most of the story, you’ve no idea who the bad guys are, or why they are. Then, once it’s clear… hang on to your hat. Hide your kids!

Book 14: The Invention of Wings

A Great Book

A Great Book

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ Wow. I just grabbed this one because of its ratings, and it did not disappoint. Since I finished this, I’ve been thinking, even having vivid dreams, about it. Slavery, a terrible blight on our National History, was brutal and to me, unthinkable. I often imagine what it would have been like to have been alive and a part of it — on either side. Of course, one side is obviously worse than the other, but is it? What if you were born into a family of slave holders? What if you knew, even as a small child, that it was absolutely wrong, but could do nothing to change it then? In this tale, we see two sides of one coin. I love the characters, bold and strong, even the ones I despised. I loved listening to the author’s note at the end about how she came to write about these people, and which parts were fictionalized and which were told as close to the history as possible. Fascinating and well worth a read or listen. No wonder it was an Oprah’s book club pick.

Book 13: Breaking Point

♦ ♦ ♦ Raise your hand if you know what a game warden is? Raise your hand if you’ve ever met one. This book took me back to my days living on a ranch in Texas. Although this story takes place in Wyoming, I’ve met a game warden or two, and in fact, I feel like I’ve met most of the characters in the story. I enjoyed the “outside” elements of the tale, and of the attachment folks have to the land, family and the responsibility we have for our wildlife and natural resources. I loved how, though I’ve not been to Wyoming, I could see the whole thing; the beautiful mountains, the ranch, the horses and the river. I really grew attached to the characters and felt like the plot moved quickly enough with the right amount of detail. Really enjoyed this one! Pick it up and take a break to the wilds of a small Wyoming community, where you’ll find all the same quandaries of big city life: jealousy, injustice, murder, indifference, love, loyalty and mystery.

Book 12: I Am Malala

Book Worth Reading

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ These are high ratings for a book that did not wow with me with literary prowess. Truth. It wowed me with insight into the life of an extraordinary young woman who was blessed with an even more enlightened and extraordinary father who, despite her being a girl in a country where girls don’t count, told her that she deserved an education. It’s definitely unlikely that I will ever travel to Pakistan to experience the magical beauty of the Swat valley Malala’s family called home, but by her words, I saw it through the loving lens of a child. Read this book. The autobiographical account of the struggle to educate girls is well worth your time and brain cells. I’m thankful for activists like Malala and her father who know that knowledge is power. I hope that one day, she can travel back to her homeland and be welcomed and revered as the gift she is.

Book 11: The Rosie Project

A Really Good Read

♦♦♦♦ My friend Lisa recommended this one. It’s been in my wishlist for awhile, but with her encouragement, I downloaded and jumped right in. At first I thought, “eh, it’s interesting, but why all the rave reviews?” As I got further into the story, I realized that I really, really liked the characters. I was quietly engaged and invested in their stories.

That’s what makes me give it a four rating, rather than a three. It’s not action packed, but it’s lovely in an every-day-sort-of-real sense. Asberger’s Syndrome and Autism seem to be on the rise not only in our population, but, rightly so, in our literature. There are some eye-opening statistics about the Autism spectrum, like 1 in 42 boys are affected by some form of Autism and are 5 times as likely as girls to be affected. With these numbers, I’m happy to see books like this one, with characters depicted as real and lovable, quirks, differences and all, who fall into the category. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up! I always find nuggets of insight to hold onto that are so relevant in my life.

I’ve read two other books with great characters who seem to fall under the Autism spectrum: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie,  and the Curious Incident of the Dog In the Nighttime.

Book 10: The Wise Man’s Fear

Beautiful Language, Interesting Read

Beautiful Language, Interesting Read

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ This book was 43 hours of audio delight. Needless to say that it took my hubby and I a few weeks to complete this one. When we’re co-listening it takes much longer because our listening happens mostly when we’re in the car together or sitting on the porch swing. I loved it and we were more than halfway through when I realized that this is actually a series, and this is the second book! I hate it when I do that.

To me, Patrick Rothfuss’ book is beautifully written, imaginative, thoughtful and was well narrated. My husband thought there wasn’t quite enough action and I don’t think he’d give it a 4 rating. Definitely nothing under 3, but he’s not all in it for the language and the philosophy. I found it fascinating. I am constantly reminded, while reading fantasy, that the human imagination is a beautiful thing. So many of the things I read delight, amuse and interest me, yet, as creative as I think I am, I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t come up with such interesting concepts, worlds, societies, and gods. So happy for books! If you want a big long story, try this one!