Review: The Traitor’s Gate by Avi

Traitor’s Gate will keep you at the edge of your seat.  There is so much about the book and the plot you don’t see coming.  You think you know something and then you don’t.

Well researched and written in the parlance of Victorian era Great Britain.

After reading this I want to go back and read all of the Dickens I’ve never read.

A must read.  Suitable for ages 8/9 and up.


Review: Rose

If you, dear reader, liked the series “Downtown Abbey” or “Upstairs, Downstairs”, you will like this book.

Rosina Harrison, known as Rose, tells about her life working for Lady Astor.  The time period is from 1928 until Lady Astor’s death in 1964.  For those interested in history, Rose worked for her all during World War II and describes her experiences being in Britain during that time.  Rose also describes the daily process, their travels, and what it was like being part of the Astor family.  Rose was also witness to Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.

Rose tells her story in this book.  Reading this book was like having her sit across from me and just telling me her story.  There is no buildup of drama.  It’s all very personable and I wanted a cup of tea to go along with it.

Review: This is How You Lose Her

This book opens with a quote by Sandra Cisneros: “There should be stars for great wars like ours.”

This book is about the many, small great wars that go on around us all of the time but we are unaware.  Are we unaware because we want to be unaware, because we aren’t made aware, or people don’t choose to share and don’t want others aware?

In Yunior’s case, Yunior is the narrator/ protagonist, he tells about his small wars with his mother, his brother, his father, and most of all with the different women in his life.  One of those small wars actually set him on the path to college and hence career.

Junot Diaz, the author, writes in a first person narration that is alive and brings you with Yunior. Yunior is completely human, completely alive and so are the people around him. The reader can feel themselves moving along, back and forth with Yunior, as he moves through his early life and relationships, his coming to New York from the Dominican Republic, and his loves and his losses.

A must read.

A.J. Jacobs: It’s All Relative

I found this advance uncorrected proof at a local library.

I also have read A.J.’s other book The Year of Living Biblically and highly recommend that book for fans of and students of religion.  He did something I know I could never do.  It’s All Relative follows in that thread.

In this book, A.J. traces his genetic lineage while setting up a huge family reunion using DNA results.  He goes over the good, the bad, and the ugly regarding genetic testing and how closely we are really related.

This is a great book to read if you are into genealogy and haven’t decided whether or not to get your DNA results tested.  It’s accessible and funny and both highly personal and public at the same time.

A must read.

Calvino: If on a winter’s night a traveler

This is one of those books I hope someday to be able to read in it’s original language.  The Italian must be beautiful and on par with Dante’s use of the language.  The translator did a spectacular job creating the feel in English of the Italian usage.

Calvino is speaking to the reader from the beginning.  Calvino weaves this conversation with the reader throughout the plot of the story.  There is a professor who is trying to figure out who this woman Ludmilla is and getting in some trouble along the way.

A great book to read on a winter’s night.  You feel Calvino right there with you.

C.S. Lewis: The Great Divorce

This is written by the same C.S. Lewis who wrote The Chronicles of Narnia.

The unnamed narrator of this tale describes his journey through the afterworld by beginning his story on a bus, but a different type of bus.  Lewis writes this book as if Heaven and Hell are connected and even admits it in the preface.  The narrator takes a trip around both and they are interconnected with no clear beginning and end.

Woven within the story are bits of philosophy and points to ponder on.  For example, at one point he comes across a woman wailing her dead son that she can’t find.  The narrator points out to her that her child was a mistake that she never wanted so why the upset?  At first read it sounds cruel but after reading it two or three times, the reader can understand where Lewis is going with the scenario.

A thinking book.

Super Humans

Interested in the different, unusual, and strange?  This book is for you.  Do you like hoaxes?  This book is for you.  Super Humans has stories for everyone and all of the strange.  This is a great book for ages 8 to adult and especially for the non-readers who like short and sweet.

There are a lot of shorts about mummies, bugs, germs, futuristic science, hoaxes, and lots of weird creatures.

The full title is Planet Earth News Presents Super Humans by Keltie Thomas and published by Maple Tree Press out of Canada.