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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Trilogy)

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A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

Continue reading “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Trilogy)”

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In the Shadow of a Man

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World-renowned primatologist, conservationist, and humanitarian Dr. Jane Goodall’s account of her life among the wild chimpanzees of Gombe is one of the most enthralling stories of animal behavior ever written. Her adventure began when the famous anthropologist Dr. Louis Leakey suggested that a long-term study of chimpanzees in the wild might shed light on the behavior of our closest living relatives. Accompanied by only her mother and her African assistants, she set up camp in the remote Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve in Tanzania. For months the project seemed hopeless; out in the forest from dawn until dark, she had but fleeting glimpses of frightened animals. But gradually she won their trust and was able to record previously unknown behavior, such as the use—and even the making— of tools, until then believed to be an exclusive skill of man. As she came to know the chimps as individuals, she began to understand their complicated social hierarchy and observed many extraordinary behaviors, which have forever changed our understanding of the profound connection between humans and chimpanzees. (Goodreads)

I bought this book and another of Jane Goodall’s two years ago when she visited my university and I was actually able to see her speak. Jane Goodall was my role model as a child. Maybe it’s because we had a poster of her in my science classroom and she was the only female scientist I know, or maybe it’s because she worked with animals and I loved animals, or maybe it’s because she’s just down right awesome, we may never know. This book is utterly amazing whether or not you have a particular interest in Jane Goodall. It’s about science, but isn’t overly scientific. I mean, Goodall wasn’t educated in science when she began her research, so she did things that hadn’t previously been done, such as naming her subjects, that help make her research read like a story rather than a lab report even while making groundbreaking discoveries about animals. In the Shadow of a Man has a life about it that I’ve never seen in another science book, not that I’ve read too many scientific novels to begin with, but that’s beside the point. While reading Goodall’s words, I cared about these chimps. I wanted to know how they interacted and what would happen to them. It was fascinating to read about Jane Goodall’s early days before the majority of the world knew her name or trusted her observations. it’s an amazing tale from how she originally got herself to Africa and later on received money to do research without previous experience to the amazing moment a chimp first let her touch him, all to getting an actual research facility and taking on students to aid in research; and I truly think anyone could find something in here to identify with or learn from.

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Throne of Glass Review and Guest Post

I originally wrote this review as a guest post for Mary to use as she has fun traveling the world and all that good stuff. If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, you really need to. It’s wonderful and so is Mary. Anyways, here’s my long-overdue review of the Throne of Glass series.

Right before classes started, I began reading this YA fantasy series I discovered on tumblr: Throne of Glass. Boy, oh boy. Here’s the Goodreads description for the first novel: Continue reading “Throne of Glass Review and Guest Post”

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Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

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I read Harper Lee’s first, and until now only, book To Kill A Mockingbird years ago when I was a junior or senior in highschool. I wouldn’t say I loved it at the time of the reading (though I did strongly like it), but it is one of those books that sticks with you and as such my fondness for it has grown. When I learned that Harper Lee was going to have a new book published, I — along with many others — was thrilled. While I didn’t preorder it, I did put it on hold at my local library before it came out. I was the first on the hold list — thank goodness — and got my hands on it the day it came in. So, now that I’ve finished the much anticipated Go Set A Watchman, I’m not exactly sure how I feel. Continue reading “Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee”

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Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

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Summary

Twenty-four years after her first novel, Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson returns with an intimate tale of three generations from the Civil War to the twentieth century: a story about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America’s heart. Writing in the tradition of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, Marilynne Robinson’s beautiful, spare, and spiritual prose allows “even the faithless reader to feel the possibility of transcendent order” (Slate). In the luminous and unforgettable voice of Congregationalist minister John Ames, Gilead reveals the human condition and the often unbearable beauty of an ordinary life. [Taken from Goodreads. Source the same as image.]

My Thoughts

I was actually supposed to read this book a while ago for one of my classes, but it was the last week of school, I had two fifteen page papers do, and I just couldn’t bring myself to read this as well. So it got left behind, though I knew I would read it over the summer. I had heard amazing things about this book even before I had to read it for my post-secular lit. class, and was genuinely disappointed that I couldn’t participate in discussion about it. Anyways, I’ve finally read it, and let me just say, wow. 

Sometimes it’s easy to say what you like about the book. Often when it is easy, it’s because the plot is simply captivating or the prose is beautiful or one of the characters really resonated with you, stuff like that. This book is not one of those books. I loved it, but I’m having difficulty saying why. It’s a book with a rather slow pace that those who dislike the text attribute to it being nothing more than the senile ramblings of a dying man in the boring state of Iowa. While yes John Ames is dying and does live in the (yes sometimes boring, yet beautiful) state of Iowa. They say the plot is too scattered and would have been better told in a more linear, less journal-like manner. I do not hold these opinions.

Yes the book took me longer to read than one its length typically does, but I attribute that more to the richness of Robinson’s words than to the slow and careful writings of a man trying to preserve some of himself for his young son before he leaves. This novel is the type of book that you could read many many times and still find new depths to it. (It didn’t win the Pulitzer Prize for nothing.) While the plot itself didn’t resonate with me much (and a plot does not need to resonate with its reader), there is no way I can ignore the wisdom pouring out from this book. Often a line would just make me stop and reflect on how true it was not just in the context of the narrative, but in the world. I considered sharing some of them, but though I find them absolutely wonderful on their own, I feel the first time they are encountered should be in the context that Robinson put them in. It seems almost wrong to cut up what she has written unless proper time and consideration is given to the practice. As I am not writing a critical paper on this novel, I do not have the time to do such a thing.

Anyways, this book is on many an avid reader’s to-read list, but is often pushed aside until later. If my opinion is worth its salt, I would urge those of you who have been waiting to read it to pick it up as soon as possible. It will not disappoint.

Now, I just need to get my hands on Home and Lila.

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Reading Roundup: Medieval Literature

Alas, I have fallen into the bad habit of procrastination. I have not been writing about the books I’ve been reading as I finish and am now pretty behind. Then again, I’m not really sure I want to devote an entire post to each book I read anyways anymore. These collective book posts may be the new norm. Who know? I’m still trying to figure out what works for me as far as blogging goes. But anywho, here are some of the books that I’ve been reading lately — medieval lit. edition. Continue reading “Reading Roundup: Medieval Literature”