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Sunday, March 22, 2020

'Looking for Alaska' (Book) by John Green - No Spoilers

Looking for AlaskaLooking for Alaska by John Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Have I read anything else from this author? Yes, I've read The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns.

Was this book better than this author's other book(s)? I still think The Fault In Our Stars is the best of the three.

Was this book enjoyable? Parts of it were enjoyable and parts of it were very sad.

Did I learn anything new from this book? I learned about the last words of some famous people, since that's the interest of the main character, Miles "Pudge" Halter. (Exceptionally thin, Pudge has an ironic nickname.)

Where did I get this book? I bought this book from the Book Rack at 1930 E. Stop 13 Road, Greenwood, Indiana. I was under no obligation to review it.

Do I recommend this book to other readers? Yes, if they're not going to get too sad by the sad things that happen.

Here's a fun fact about this book: John Green got the name "Alaska" from the Velvet Underground song "Stephanie Says."

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Diary Entry for March 17, 1997

Music

At noon I went to the Little Theater of Moreau Hall and heard Noah and Irene Carver, folk singers. They're a husband and wife. They sang two Joni Mitchell songs ("Big Yellow Taxi" and "Both Sides Now"), a James Taylor song, "Here Comes the Sun," "This Land Is Your Land" (with one guitar and one autoharp), a couple of traditional folk songs, and some of their own. 

The first song Irene sang was:

"Baby, now that I found you, I can't let you go,
I built my world around you, I need you so,
Baby even though you don't need me..."

I think she said the writer's name was Alison Proust.* I've heard it on the radio, performed by ? I had a lot of fun at this performance. 


While I was home for "spring" break I got into the [vinyl] records, and I found a single, some unknown group's cover of "Big Yellow Taxi." It sounded familiar; I think a new cover of it was on the charts within the past year. 


Furthermore, I found old country-western records; Johnny Cash singing "Goodnight Irene," a version of "Stand By Your Man," some cool stuff. 



Cultural Activity

I took a look at the Women's Art Exhibition which is set up in LeMans Hall. Cool. Someone made a dress out of ties, and there was another cloth sculpture which incorporated a live goldfish in a bowl. 

The only name I recognized was Poogie Sherer. She had two sculptures in the exhibit. The better one was "One Woman Army," consisting of a girl-sized ceramic bulletproof vest over a small red satin dress. The other looked rather like a tortoise shell being used as a gong. 

Joke

Noah Carver told this one:

There were two clams, Sam and Dave, They were friends, but they couldn't agree on what kind of music to listen to. Sam liked disco; Dave liked Classical.

One day someone stepped on Sam, and he died. Eventually Dave died, and when he got up to heaven he asked St. Peter if he could see Sam.

St. Peter said, "I'm sorry, Sam's not here, he's down there." 

Dave asked if he could go see Sam, and St. Peter said, "Okay, but I can't let you back in without your harp."

So Dave went "down there" and Sam was having a good time with all the clams, listening to disco music. After a while Dave went back up to heaven. 

St. Peter said, "Where's your harp?"

Dave said, "I left my harp in Sam's clam disco."

Monday, March 16, 2020

Black Dagger Brotherhood #15: 'The Chosen' by J.R. Ward

The Chosen (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #15)The Chosen by J.R. Ward

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Have I read anything else from this author? Yes, I've read the other 14 books in this series, The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider's Guide, the first three Novels of the Fallen Angels, and Blood Kiss.

Was this book better than this author's other book(s)? It wasn't as good as my favorite one, Lover Mine, and it also wasn't my least favorite one either.

Was this book enjoyable? As with all the books this far into the series, there are parts that I pay close attention to and parts that I skim over. I care a lot about the relationship between Layla and Xcor and the brand-new relationship between Trez and Theresa.

Did I learn anything new from this book? It seems like Ward is setting Vishous and Doc Jane up to have problems in their marriage, and I'm not very happy about that development. Get your sh*t together, V.

Where did I get this book? It's my mom's.

Do I recommend this book to other readers? Yes, if you like the BDB series. I'd definitely say keep going with it. This series is still fairly addictive, even though I'm not caught up to the very latest book yet.


So, what books are you finishing while we're in COVID-19 quarantine?

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

The Secret Commonwealth (The Book of Dust Volume 2)

The Secret Commonwealth (The Book of Dust, #2)The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Have I read anything else from this author? Yes, I've read the His Dark Materials trilogy and the first book in the Book of Dust series, La Belle Sauvage.

Was this book better than this author's other book(s)? So far it's been my least favorite of the five, but I fully expect to like the sixth book better.

Was this book enjoyable? It wasn't as enjoyable as La Belle Sauvage. The tone was much darker, and while I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing, it didn't read as easily as the first book in the series did.

Did I learn anything new from this book? I learned a bit about what Lyra Silvertongue will be like as an adult, but this is the middle book in a trilogy, so I won't really be able to confirm until the third book is over.

Where did I get this book? I bought this book at Barnes and Noble with a gift card I got for Christmas.

Do I recommend this book to other readers? Yes, but even more strongly I recommend the His Dark Materials trilogy to anyone who hasn't read it yet. I want everyone to finish The Amber Spyglass and learn what Philip Pullman knows about love.

Monday, March 2, 2020

'Not My Turn to Die: Memoirs of a Broken Childhood in Bosnia'

Not My Turn to Die: Memoirs of a Broken Childhood in BosniaNot My Turn to Die: Memoirs of a Broken Childhood in Bosnia by Savo Heleta

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you find this book, read it. Heleta's Serbian family was so, so lucky to survive the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They came shockingly close to death many times, but their bodies and spirits couldn't be broken.

Two favorite quotes, one serious and one basketball:

"I realize that what happened in Bosnia could happen anywhere in the world, particularly in places that are diverse and have a history of conflict. It only takes bad leadership for a country to go up in flames, for people of different ethnicity, color, or religion to kill each other as if they had nothing in common whatsoever. Having a democratic constitution, laws that secure human rights, police that maintain order, a judicial system, and freedom of speech don't ultimately guarantee long lasting peace. If greedy or bloodthirsty leaders come to power, it can all go down. It happened to us. It can happen to you."

We Americans should probably be heeding that warning right now.

Now the just-for-fun quote:

"We had watched the Sacramento Kings, my favorite NBA team, playing the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers had won but it was still fun, especially since we had tickets for the third row. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Vlade Divac and Predrag Stojakovic, two Serbs playing in the Kings, waving at me and saying hello. They recognized the jersey of Divac's former team from Belgrade that I had been wearing."

This memoir has been on my to-be-read list forever, seemingly. I found out about it from a now-defunct social networking site called Gather.com. It was like my Tumblr before I discovered Tumblr. I'm glad I finally tracked down a copy and read it.

I purchased this book from Half Price Books (non-affiliate link). I was under no obligation to read and review it.