On the Bookshelf

  Currently Reading: A Feast for Crows is where I’m at with reading the epic Game of Thrones books. These books are a serious time investment with each one pushing 1,000 pages. They are written in the same vein as the Pillars of the Earth with a higher death rate for the main characters and a splash of fantasy (evil forest creatures, dragons, a touch of magic . . .). I’m enjoying the brutal world created in these books but the story is really meandering in this fourth book; too many freshly introduced characters that are difficult to keep straight or care about. All the books are structured by cycling through every character’s chapter, but with so many characters, it gets difficult to pick up story lines wherever they were left last. I’ve only seen one episode of the HBO show based on the books and it was pretty decent but not really my style. I’m more looking forward to the renewal of Downton Abbey.



Currently Reading: In between reading Feast for Crows and/or when I get too frustrated with George RR Martin, I’ve started Gaia’s Garden, a very practical and informative perspective on home gardening. So far, I’m in love. Anytime science is used to explain plant behavior, I figure the gardening book has got something going for it. This book is a system approach to gardening and since I’m hoping to get into the Master Gardener program through OSU Extension Services this November, I’m excited to read something that will give me some more background in permaculture.


On the Bookshelf

Recently Read: A one sitting read, Yellow Star is a haunting example of a holocaust experience rarely seen: a child. The author details her Aunt Syvia’s story of surviving in the Lodz Ghetto. Aunt Syvia’s’s four years old in 1939 and six years later, she is one of 12 children to leave the Ghetto that held over a quarter of a million people at it’s most crowded. There are bitterly sweet moments, such as when young Syvia is forced to be left at home while her parents and sister go to work and she slowly cleans the flat and makes friends out of the dustballs. The prose is stream-of-conciousness and captivating. Highly recommended.


Recently Read: Coming to Stay: A Columbia River Journey is a tender non-fiction story of one family’s long history living and moving around the Pacific Northwest with a heavy emphasis on their interactions and work with the Native American population. I spotted the author on OPB and was immediately interested in the book based on her gentle manner and her overwhelming urge to collect bits and pieces to weave into the baskets she makes. During the OPB interview, while walking and talking, she would stoop over and snag a piece of grass or a root and start to prepare it for weaving.

Currently Reading: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Based on the author’s curiousity about the ever-present HeLa cells in modern science, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks explores the life and death, family and journey that Henrietta Lacks and her cells have taken. So far, the book is just as interesting and investigative as I was hoping for.

On the Bookshelf

Recently Read: The Scorch Trials is the sequel to Maze Runner by James Dashner. It’s fast-paced, aimed at young adult-ish (It’s violent!) audience and it’s a fun read. I was really looking forward to this book because of the  total cliffhanger that Maze Runner left, but it was a little disappointing; and it was a lot more like Hunger Games than I was anticipating. Based in a world ravaged by disease and desperate for an innovative new generation, the book covers themes of a corrupt big brother, sacrifice and death. Recommended.


Currently Reading: Shadow Moon was a gift from Andy’s brother and it has taken me a long time to get into it. It’s slow-paced and like other fantasy books, it expects readers to just go along with some of the zanier situations. I take a fair amount of convincing on behalf of the storyline, characters and location when it comes to reading and enjoying fantasy, so I’m not loving it. It’s definitely different since it’s an extension of the world created in the movie Willow.


Recently Read: I didn’t read this book so very recently but I did recently buy it at an estate sale for twenty-five cents. Pillars of the Earth is epic in both scope and length, but it still touches on a lot of base human responses: greed, lust, corruption, arrogance and sacrifice. It’s a book best read with someone else to discuss all the themes and characters. It wasn’t nearly as dense as I was originally expecting and I would go so far as to say it’s more of beach reading than difficult reading.

On the Bookshelf

Recently Read: The Complete Persepolis is a graphic novel written by a woman about her firsthand experiences during the Iranian Revolution in the 1980’s. It’s engaging, well-written and extraordinarily creative. Whenever I read a book about a brand-new-to-me subject, I feel like a new window opens up in my thoughts. This was one of those books. I’ve been thinking a lot about present-day Iran how the revolution impacted everyone, especially given that it happened so very recently. I found her drawings of herself especially interesting as her facial features and looks morph while she goes through stages of self-deprecation or happiness. There is a movie adaptation of this book but I haven’t seen it or heard much about it.

Recently Read: I am hook, line and sinker a fan of the Hunger Games trilogy. The finale was highly anticipated and boy did it deliver. It was emotional, action-filled and managed a satisfying conclusion. I can’t really think of anyone who wouldn’t like these books. They’re awesome. Mockingjay was especially poignant compared to the pervious two books. Protagonist Katniss suffers, fights and ultimately . . . . well, you’ll have to read it to find out.

Currently Reading: Originally delivered as a radio speech during World War II, this book captures the emotions of a pivotal moment in time while covering the basic tenants of Christianity. I’ve just begun, but I already feel like this is going to be a great read. It’s logical and sensitive. I’m quickly seeing why so many people consider it a must-read.