Archive for October 2013

The Passive Aggressive Raven

The Passive Aggressive Raven

The Passive Aggressive Raven, by cartoonist Jim Benson.

Book Review: The Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon

The Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon I didn’t realize this was by an author I’d tried to read before, but I figured I’d give it a try. The first chapter seemed really good, so I thought I’d keep going. It wasn’t as strong after that, but I thought it was ok, though I credit that to having been sleep-deprived. I got a good night’s sleep, and then I realized that this wasn’t the book for me. I didn’t like the characters, and the writing was so sappy and overly wordy. Just too annoying in so many ways.

Book Review: Encouraging Bookmarks by Alpha Mom

Encouraging Bookmarks by Alpha Mom

Encouraging Bookmarks by Alpha Mom

These printable bookmarks are little encouragements about reading, and they’re rather bright and colorful to boot!

Book Review: Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson

Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson A woman in a small English village writes a novel about the people living there, and trouble ensues. A decent little read.

Book Review: Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman and Paul Newell Clark, Jr.

Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune I have mixed feelings about this book. Some of the Clark family history was pretty interesting, but most of the focus on Huguette’s adult life was not so much. I felt a bit sad for this woman, who clearly did not cope with change (or life in general) in a very healthy way. Eventually it felt like I was just reading lists of high-end transactions (and all such a waste of money), and the court battle over her estate was bothersome, to say the least. Perhaps the book was just too long for what it covered; had it been shorter, it might have been more enjoyable.

Book Lovin’ Bookmarks from Nicole’s Classes

Book Lovin' Bookmarks from Nicole's Classes

Book Lovin’ Bookmarks from Nicole’s Classes

I like to collect paper bookmarks (just plain flat ones, no tassels or anything fancy like that), but the libraries near me don’t seem to have free ones much these days. Instead I’ve recently been looking online for ones I can print myself, so I’ll be sharing some of my favorite finds in between book reviews.

The first bookmarks come from Nicole’s Classes, a site about graphic design and related topics. I found them via Pinterest, though I haven’t printed them up just yet. I like the monochrome stacks best.

Book Review: The Affairs of Others by Amy Grace Loyd

The Affairs of Others by Amy Grace Loyd Rather overdone writing style made me lose interest rather quickly. Keep it simple and get to the point already.

Book Review: I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company by Brian Hall

I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company by Brian Hall I wanted to like it, but I couldn’t take the style of writing for Sacajawea’s chapters. I get what the author was trying to do, but it made for really difficult reading, what with no capitalization of proper names and rambling sentences to only vaguely explain things. It didn’t really make it feel like she was on equal footing with the other characters.

Book Review: The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally

The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally The rather formal writing made for a bland and not very appealing story. I couldn’t really get into it, because it didn’t feel all that real.

Book Review: Simplicissimus by Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen

Simplicissimus by Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen Where to begin?…

In this book, we follow Simplicissimus, a rather simple man, as he travels throughout various parts of Europe (and other parts of the world), though not always by his own choice. Ongoing wars in Germany affect him in both good and bad ways throughout the book, as he alternates between fighting and avoiding fighting in various battles (and armies!).

The book isn’t entirely about war though, and you get a glimpse at what life in 1600s Europe was like for all sorts of people there. There’s also a fair dose of religion in the book, as SImplicissimus struggles with others’ sins as well as his own. Occasionally there are historical and biblical references, as well as a tiny sprinkling of fantasy mixed in.

Simplcissimus reminded me of another simple character from a later Czech novel: The Good Soldier Svejk (which I really should read the rest of!). The only difference is that Simplicissimus seems to overcome his simpleness, though not necessarily for good reasons or with good consequences.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book, and I would definitely recommend it. The only negatives for me — besides the poorly edited edition I read — were the heavy religious content, the frequent rambling lists of things, and the strange second half of the last book and ending (that excerpt is a bit of a downer!).