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 theĀ  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.

On the Bookshelf

To Read: Lolita. This has been on my to-read list ever since I read some survey somewhere that listed it as the top book pick for people with the highest rated IQ. No idea why I remember that odd piece of information. Everything I’ve heard about Lolita has made me even more intrigued. I’m not too sure it will become my favorite book, but I have high hopes for it. The librarian told me it was “just beautiful.”

To Read: The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working was highly reviewed on amazon, which caught my eye, and I’m interested in reading it because it covers a lot of the ground I think about in terms of employees’ relationships with their work. Especially after living in Spain, I think a lot about the role employers play in the US. We’ll see how much I actually get into it, but I think it will at least be entertaining.

Recently Read: The Oracle Betrayed was a quick read picked up from the young adult section in the library. I enjoyed Catherine Fisher’s other book, Incarceron, so I tried out this one. It was nicely paced and I thought the characters were fun. It’s set in an imagined place based on ancient Greece/Egypt. I read most of it sitting in the rose gardens of Washington Park last night after work. Perfect!