A young girl uses stolen books to distract herself from the reality of living in Nazi Germany in WWII while hiding a Jewish man in her basement.
What I Liked
It is incredibly difficult to know how to review this book. The second half moves along at a much quicker pace and with much higher stakes. The book is narrated by Death / Grim Reaper, and the chapter headings give glimpses of what is to come. There are some red herrings near the end, implying one ending while leading to another, but overall it is pretty solid. The characters are lively, the girl is outstanding, and there are glimpses of her family that offer rare moments of joy and love. And it moved me to tears at the end.
What I Didn’t Like
It is hard to accept the implied message that “most Germans were good / nice”, it was just the Nazis that were bad people. » Read the rest
The book is a collection of two sets of stories — the first set are Kinsey Millhone series set throughout the Alphabet series in time; the second set are about Kit Blue.
What I Liked
The first part, with Kinsey Millhone, includes an introduction about how she created Kinsey (4/5), nine shortstories, and a conclusion about the history of the genre of the hard-boiled PI (3/5). The shortstories are fun to read, but there isn’t much “Kinsey” in them. Too little time to dwell, mostly focused on “wham bam, here’s a clue, here’s a solution”. One I rate at 4/5, five more at 3/5, and another three that aren’t very good at all.
Between the Sheets — great opening where woman shows up to confess to murder she hasn’t reported yet, and when she goes back, the body is gone (3/5);
Long Gone — missing wife, lots of kids, clues are pretty obvious (3/5);
The Parker Shotgun — cool premise, quick solution, fair with the clues (4/5);
Non Sung Smoke — Find a one-night stand, have him get killed, throw in some drugs (3/5);
Full Circle — Cute ending to a simple case of who killed a young woman in a horrific car accident that Kinsey witnessed (3/5); and,
A Little Missionary Work — Two celebrities ask for Kinsey’s help with a fake kidnapping, but Kinsey reverses the con in the end (3/5).
Kottler reflects on the literature and personal experiences as a psychologist about the elements that lead people to not only make changes in their life but also sustain those changes over the long-term
What I Liked
I had the pleasure of hearing Kottler speak as an honoured guest at my wife’s university graduation ceremony, and he intrigued me enough on the subject of “change” — what we know and what we don’t know — that I bought his book. It was the perfect book for me at this point in my life, as I’ve been wanting to make a significant change that has been holding me back for at least 30 years. I’m great at the day to day goal-setting stuff, but I needed to understand large scale change on a deeper level, and this book was ideal for that education.
At the beginning, I was struck by a central question — when does an alteration in attitudes, beliefs, behaviour, thinking, or feeling “count” as change, and how long does it have to last in order to qualify? » Read the rest
The first five years of the Blue Jays, as covered by a female sportswriter.
What I Liked
Many thoughts assailed me. Sure, I had heard she was nice, came from a respectable family, etc., but we had never met before. What if I didn’t like her in *that* way? After all, there’s the question of chemistry. And she’s an older woman. Worldly. Definitely been around the park a few times. And she’s been known to have 9 guys at a time! Not to mention those wild stories of men in kilts. And then there’s my side of things. What if there were things I didn’t know? What were her expectations? After all, I’m not getting any younger, I was never a jock nor even a lay expert in this area, and I’m not very adventurous. Sure there was that fling with Roy McGregor but that was a father and son thing, not a stated preference. » Read the rest
The author is a book reviewer for the Washington Post; this is the story of his life up until graduation from university.
What I Liked
Dirda was recommended to me by a colleague from work, whose appetites for reading are far more literary than mine. He actually recommended Bound to Please, which is a collection of Dirda’s reviews of more literary prose from throughout history, but I tripped over this book first. I’m quite glad I did as I probably won’t read the collection of essays until I’ve read most of the tomes reviewed, but An Open Book is a fantastic autobiography.
It reads in some place like Angela’s Ashes without the darkness of Irish poverty. However, it is not without conflict or family dysfunction during the author’s childhood, and he tells the story in places with openness and unashamed personal bias.
The main part of the story recounts Dirda’s intellectual progress as he moved through comic strips from the newspaper (p.49), pun and joke books (everyone sing: “great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts”!), » Read the rest