Saturday, June 30, 2012

Have you seen the new library? There's-there's-there's nothing but computers. There's not a book to be seen.

Book Reviews!

I feel like I haven't been reading much this summer. I am teaching two classes this semester, which makes it way busier than last summer. And I have a couple other projects that I am working on. But reading still makes me happy, so I still am making some time for it.


A Study in Scarlet

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Background:
I've mentioned before that I love the BBC show Sherlock.


Seriously, love it. And I found that almost all the Sherlock Holmes books are free on the Kindle. I downloaded a bunch before we went to Italy, and then started reading them after we got back.

The Story:
A Study in Scarlet is the first Sherlock Holmes novel. In it, we are introduced to Dr. John Watson and he meets and becomes roommates with Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is asked to consult on two murders and he gets Watson completely involved as well.

The Review:
Everyone knows Sherlock Holmes, but it is amazing to see how the characters actually got started. The murder is intriguing, but we get the entire story of Sherlock solving the crime, and then the story jumps to America and a totally bizarre tale of Mormon settlers who threaten and kill the people who disobey. It was a very weird shift and kind of surprising how it tied back to Sherlock's mystery.

Great, enjoyable book, but with a super bizarre twist.


***

Dreaming of Mr. Darcy (Austen Addicts #2)

Dreaming of Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly

The Story:
Chick-lit. A girl comes into some money and decides to open a Bed and Breakfast in ... uh... wherever Jane Austen's Persuasion takes place. (And that is how memorable the story was). A film cast and crew are filming Persuasion and descend upon her B&B. Romance is in the air, but the lines of romance get crossed and muddled, and then sorted out.

The Review:
It started off kind of cute, then got annoying, then was completely forgettable. I don't even remember the characters' names. Why is chick-lit all so predictable? And why are the "heroines" so annoying?


***

The Sign of Four

The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Story:
The second Sherlock Holmes novel. Once again, Sherlock is consulted in a mystery. It begins as a treasure hunt and ends as a murder.

The Review:
Again, a great story. This one takes us back to India, rather than America for the twist. And the twist seems to work a whole lot better. Good book.


***

Unaccustomed Earth

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Story:
A series of short stories about Indians who immigrate to America and the challenges that they face both in adjusting to a new country and as they settle into life and their children become Americans.

The Review:
The first story in the set was my favorite. It is about a young woman who just had a baby and is trying to cope with the death of her mother. Her father comes to visit her for a week, and she begins to see how her father is dealing with her mother's death and how she is. I thought that the characters were developed and there was a resolution, even in the short story form.

The rest of the stories really fell flat for me. I was disappointed in how underdeveloped they were. My friends in book club made the same comment, and said it was just because they are short stories. I agree with that, but only to a point. Even short stories can be better than these.


***

Getting Rid Of It: The step by step guide for eliminating the clutter in your life

Getting Rid of It by Betsy and Warren Talbot

The "Story":
The Talbots live a minimalist lifestyle and explain how they do it and why.

The Review:
The Talbots are really clear with explaining what they do and why. I really liked the idea of getting rid of the clutter that surrounds you so that you can be mentally free of clutter. They talked about how they made money, and I wish I felt like I could actually make money, but I did feel inspired to clean some stuff out. Anyone want to buy some of my clutter?


***
Update/Comment: I said it didn't feel like I'm reading much, but I just checked my Goodreads list (come be my friend on Goodreads!) and I've read 25 books so far this year, and we are 26 weeks into the year. That means I'm not far from the "one book per week" goal. 

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