Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Year End Review

Well - the end of 2019 has arrived!  Here is a run down of what I accomplished in the reading world these last 365 days.

I have read 168 books

Those books totaled 50,112 words

My longest book was 776 pages.  My shortest book was 30 pages

I got really far into my Read the World challenge.  Before the year started I had already covered 23 countries in books I have read previously.  Becuase I already had those books on my shelf and liked them, I kept them as my books for those particular countries.  Well - except Great Britian - I did pick another for that country this year because Harry Potter was my books choice, but I didn't really want a series for my challenge.

Anyway.  So far I have read books from 143 countries.  There are a total of 202 countries in the world, so I am getting close!  I am sure before the end of 2020 I will have this challenge completed.

I have been buying the books from each country to keep on our bookshelf.  I liked the idea of having one book that took place in each country in our permanent collection.

The rest of the books this year were off challenge.   The challenge got very heavy - lots of non-fiction books and intense stories - that I decided I wanted to read a few things for pleasure as well.  I tried to limit those books, but I have to admit it was hard!  A lot of books came out this year that I wanted to read that had nothing to do with my Read The World challenge, so I snuck those in there.

This was my best reading year so far.  I am pretty proud of that accomplishment.  I am looking forward to 2020 and finishing the Read The World challenge, and probably starting my next challenge which is Reading The States.  Can't wait.

Doing your own Read The World challenge?  Here is an a list of the countries I have read a book from so far.  Click on the Title and it will take you to my review of the book.

Afganistan - Kite Runner
Albania - Chronicle in Stone
Algeria - The Plague
Andorra - 32 Yolks
Angola - The Book of Chameleons
Antigua - A Small Place
Argentina - Alive
Armenia - Like Water On Stone
Australia - The Light Between Oceans
Austria - Marrying Mozart
Azerbaijan - Ali and Nino A Love Story
Bahamas - An Evening in Guanima
Bahrain - Round The Bend
Bangladesh - A Golden Age
Barbados - The Girl With The Hazel Eyes
Belarus - Voices From Chernobyl
Belgium - A Tall Man In A Low Land
Belize - The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw
Bhutan - Beyond The Sky And Earth
Bolivia - Bolivian Diary
Bosnia - Ziata's Diary
Botswana - The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
Brazil - Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Bulgaria - The Physics of Sorrow
Burkina Faso - Of Water And Spirit
Burundi - This Voice In My Heart
Cambodia - The Rent Collector
Cameroon - Mission To Kala
Canada - Still Life
Cape Verde - Last Will And Testament of Senhor de Silva
Chad - The Roots Of Heaven
Chile - Maya's Notebook
China - Lost On Planet China (also China Dream, but it was bad)
Columbia - Delirium
Comoros - A Fish Caught In Time
Congo- Democratic - Tomorrow I will Be Twenty
Congo - Republic - The Poisonwood Bible
Costa Rica - Cadence Of The Moon
Cote d'Ivoire - Whiteman
Croatia - Girl At War
Cuba - Waiting For Snow in Havana
Cyprus - Mythos
Czech Republic - The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Denmark - Number The Stars
Djibouti - The Nomads, My Brothers
Dominica - Black And White Sands
Dominican Republic - In The Time Of Buttlerflies
East Timor - Bitter Dawn
Ecuador - Galapagos
Egypt - A Pure Heart
Equatorial Guina - Shadows of Your Black Memory
Eritrea - I Didn't Do It For You
Estonia - The Beauty of History
Ethiopia - Cutting For Stone
Fiji - The Blue Lagoon
Finland - The Year Of The Hare
France - All The Light We Cannot See
Georgia - Flight From The USSR
Germany - The Book Thief
Ghana - Homegoing
Great Britian - Dracula (also Harry Potter)
Guinea - The King Of Kahel
Guinea-Bissau - The Ultimate Tragedy
Honduras - The Lost City Of The Monkey God
Iceland - Burial Rites
India - Life of Pi
Iran - Persepolis
Iraq - Imperial Life in the Emerald City
Ireland - The Misremembered Man
Italy - Beneath The Scarlet Sky
Japan - Memoirs of a Geisha
Kazakhstan - One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich
Kenya - Circling The Sun
Korea, North - The Girl With Seven Names
Korea, South - Please Look After Mom
Kosovo - City Of Thieves
Kuribati - The Sex Lives Of Cannibals
Kuwait - The Hidden Light of Objects
Kyrgyzstan - Jamilia
Liberia - The House at Sugar Beach
Madagascar - Beyond The Rice Fields
Malawi - The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind
Malaysia - The Gift Of Rain
Marshall Islands - Surviving Paradise
Martinique - Sugar Money
Mexico - Like Water For Chocolate
Micronesia - Island of the Sequined Love Nun
Mongolia - Ghengis Birth Of An Empire
Montenegro - Blood of Montenegro
Mozambique - The First Wife
Myanmar/Burma - The Art of Hearing Heartbeats
Nepal - Into Thin Air
Netherlands - Diary of a Young Girl
New Zealand - The Whale Rider
Nicaragua - The Country Under My Skin
Niger - Harmattan
Nigeria - Half Of A Yellow Sun
Norway - Out Stealing Horses
Oman - Earth Weeps, Saturn Laughs
Pakistan - Three Cups Of Tea
Palau - Vanished: The Sixty Year Search
Palestine - Mornings In Jenin
Paraguay - Ada's Violin
Puerto Rico - Stories from Puerto Rico
Qatar - The Glass Palace
Russia - The Master And Margarita
Rwanda - We Will To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed
Saint Kitts and Nevis - Only God Can Make A Tree
Saudi Arabia - Daring To Drive
Scotland - The Black House
Senegal - So Long A Letter
Serbia - The Last Window Giraffe
Seychelles - Stranded in the Seychelles
Sierra Leone - A Long Way Gone
Singaport - Aunt Lee's Delights
Slovakia - Maria Gulovich
Slovenia - Veronika Decides To Die
South Africa - The Elephant Whisperer
Spain - The Shadow Of The Wind
Sri Lanka - The Island of a Thousand Mirrors
Sudan - What Is The What
Suriname: The Cost Of Sugar
Swaziland - The Kingdom of Roses and Thorns
Sweden - A Man Called Ove
Switzerland - Swiss Watching
Taiwan - The Astonishing Color Of After
Tanzaia - The Snows Of Kilimajaro
Thailand - The Beach
Togo - The Village Of Waiting
Trinidad and Tobago - A House For Mr. Biswas
Turkey - 10 Minutes, 30 Seconds In This Strange World
Turks and Caicos - Water And Light
Uganda - Kintu
Ukraine - Like A River From Its Course
United Arab Emirates - City of Gold
USA - The Stand
Uruguay - The Invisible Mountain
Uzbekistan - A Carpet Ride to Khiva
Vanuatu - Getting Stoned Wtih Savages
Vatican City - The Fifth Gospel
Vietnam - The Sorrow Of War
Yemen - I Am Nujood
Zimbabwe - We Need New Names

I will finish the rest of the countries this year.  Not that many left to go!  Here are the countries I will be reading in 2020:

Aruba, Benin, Brunei, Central African Republic, El Salvador, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Greece, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kurdistan, Laos, Latyia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauitania, Mauitius, Mayotte, Moldova, Monaco, Morocco, Nambia, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Phillippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Venezuela, Zambia

It was a good year.  How was your reading year?  Did you read a lot of books you loved?

Bring on 2020


Monday, December 30, 2019

Extra Book: Bloodline

Book: Bloodline
Author: Sidney Sheldon
Pages: 464

This is my 168th read for the year.

My husband brought this book home from work - he won it in a white elephant game they played.  He told me that his co-workers said it was based on the Roche family (the company he works for), so he thought I might want to read it.

The story is of Roffe and Sons - a family run drug company empire.  Sam Roffe - the wealthiest man in the world - has just been killed in a mysterious accident.  His only living child - a daughter - is now in charge of his billion dollar company.  The other board members - all family - want Elizabeth Roffe to step aside, make the company publicly traded, and ride off into the sunset with more money than she could ever spend.  However - Elizabeth receives a mysterious envelope full of information from her dad that tells her that she should not make her dad's company public.

Now an assassin seems to be after Elizabeth and it comes to light that her dad was murdered - it wasn't an accident after all.  Elizabeth and the police try to piece together who would be trying to kill her - and all fingers point to the family members on the board.  Each of them has their own desperate reason for wanting to cash in their stock and the only way to do that is to get Elizabeth out of the way.

This book was fine.  Not something I would normally read - it was a bit cheesy.  It makes a good airplane/beach read for sure.  And for goodness sakes - I surely hope this isn't based on the real Roche family.  Murder, mistresses, gambling problems.....let's hope that it isn't true.  I think that it was just the background setting for the author because Roffe and Rons is located in Switzerland just like Roche the drug company is.  And Roche is a family run business.  And I think that is where the similarities end.

Stars: 3

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Read The World - Singapore - Aunty Lee's Delights

Book: Auny Lee's Delights
Author: Ovidia Yu
Pages: 286
Book takes place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: YES
I have visited: NO

This is my 167th read for the year

I try to stay away from reviewing books on the weekends, but since we are nearing the end of the year - and running out of days to review - I snuck this one in.

I had previously read a book from Singapore that I didn't even mention because I didn't like it.  Wanted to find something else.  Crazy Rich Asians was my other book from Singapore.  I know it was a pretty popular book, but I found it silly.

This is a mystery book about two murdered on Singapore island.  Two females have washed up on the shore and Aunty Lee knows them both.  She tries to help the police solve the murders by talking to people who come to her restaurant and were the last people to see the women alive.  

As Aunty Lee and the police talk to the people who knew the women and their families, she finds out more than she ever wanted to know about patrons of her restaurant.  Aunty Lee who was a rich, lonely, widow becomes heavily involved in closing this case and helping bringing peace to the women's families.

Well - I didn't count Crazy Rich Asians as my book for Singapore in my Read The World challenge because I wanted something better.  I didn't find it here.  This book is fine.  It isn't well written, and it isn't even that interesting.  I did finish it because I did want to see who committed the murders, but getting to the end was a challenge.  The story wasn't a good one.  The ending felt rushed.  The characters dull.

Sigh.  I guess I will be looking for yet another book that takes place in Singapore for my challenge.  This won't make the cut.

Stars: 2

Friday, December 27, 2019

Read The World - Estonia - The Beauty of History

Book: The Beauty of History
Author: Viivi Luik
Pages: 152
Book takes place in the country - YES
Author is from the country: YES
I have visited: NO

This is my 166th read for the year

The year is winding down.  I might get one more book in before the year is over.  Maybe two - we shall see.

This poetic book is the story of a Estonian woman who has agreed to pose as a model for a famous artist who is trying to avoid being sent into the military.  Although the young girl is not that interested in politics, the world around here in 1968 Estonia cannot be ignored. 

This is an interesting book, yet hard to review.  The style took a lot of concentration.  I did like the story, but for a short novella, it took me much longer to read than expected.  You do become drawn to the main characters and hope for a good outcome.  The poetic flow of the book captivates the political atmosphere of Estonia and draws attention to minute, mundane details not usually seen in books about war and unrest.  I am glad I read it.

Stars: 3 1/2

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Read The World - Seychelles - Stranded In The Seychelles

Book: Stranded In The Seychelles
Author: Bev Spicer
Pages: 239
Book takes place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: NO
I have visited:NO

This is my 165th read for the year.

So - I read this book over the summer, and I was just reviewing my list and realized I never wrote a blog post for it.  I have searched and searched because that seems unbelievable to me.  But alas - I skipped it.  I have a feeling that I read it near the end of our vacation and we got busy and I just forgot.  Because I am old. 

This is the story of the author and her friend Carol.  They take a teaching job in the Seychelles to teach English in a local school.  They live in a beautiful house, and in between teaching, they explore the islands of the Seychelles.  They had jumped into this opportunity with two feet, not knowing exactly what to expect when they got there.  

This is a fun book.  It is fun and silly and well written.  The antics of the two girls and their fellow expat teachers keep you entertained through the whole book.  We get a look at what it was like for these ladies and also for the people who live and work in the Seychelles.  It is a fun read with sharp wit, and I am glad I found this gem.

Stars: 4

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Read The World - Egypt - A Pure Heart

Book: A Pure Heart
Author: Rajia Hassib
Pages: 320
Book takes place in the country: YES (At least 50%)
Author is from the country: YES
I have visited: NO

This is my 163rd read for the year

My parents visited Egypt last year, and they loved their trip.  What a unique place to see.  We have put it on our list to visit in the near future.

This is the story of sisters Rose and Gameela.  Rose becomes an Egyptologist and moves to America with her American husband so that she can complete her Ph.D.  Gameela is a devout Muslim and she stays in Cairo near her family.  She begins a secret love affair with a man twice her age.  During the Egyptian revolution, Gameela is killed in a suicide bombing, and Rose is left to pick up the pieces.   Rose returns to Egypt to try and figure out who her sister really was and what she was doing the day she was killed.  There are so many secrets to uncover among Gameela's things and Rose is determined to uncover them all.

This was a great book.  It is a well written, beautifully told story about two sisters and their life in Egypt during the revolution.  Rose - who wants nothing more than to move away and enjoy her life in America is married to a man who is drawn to Egypt and longs to return.  Gameela wants to be a good Muslim - caring and forgiving - but she is plagued by jealousy of her older sister who she is sure her parents like more.  When Gameela is killed, Rose is tormented by what happened to her and partially blames her husband for her death since he was in Egypt to visit right before Gameela was killed.  Even though it isn't his fault, she cannot help but wonder if his being there lead to her ultimate demise.

I would have givent his book 5 stars except for the fact that I really did not like the Gameela character.  I felt that she was written too harshly.  I could not care about her as I felt I should - she seemed whiny and immature and like a foot stomping child rather than a devout Muslim.  

Aside from that - I highly recommend this book.  It is an easy read and the story is not one to be missed.

Stars: 4 1/2

Monday, December 23, 2019

Extra Book: Journey Into Darkness

Book: Journye Into Darkness
Author: John Douglas
Pages: 400

This is my 162nd book for the year.

I listened to this one

This is the second book in the Mindhunter series.  John Douglas continues his tales as an FBI profiler getting into the heads of the most notorious criminals.  He tells us about some of the worst ciminals and murderers that he worked to capture during his time with the FBI.  

It this was another good book, but I have to say I did not enjoy it as much as the first one.  In this book, Douglas spends a long time on one particular case - almost to the point that I am sure it is a family member so much time is spent on it.  It is not, though, so it left me a little baffled on why he felt this story so important that he had to take us through the child's entire lifetime through her adulthood when she was eventually murdered to tell this story.  

What I liked the most about the first book was that he told story after story, profiles many different criminals he helped capture.  I think this book lost some merit with me because he felt like he was filling pages instead of continuing his Mindhunter series.

Stars: 3 1/2

Friday, December 20, 2019

Read The World - Palestine - Mornings In Jenin

Book: Mornings In Jenin
Author: Susan Abulhawa
Pages: 352
Book takes place in the country: YES (at least 50%)
Author is from the country: NO, but her parents are
I have visited: NO

This is my 161st book of the year.

I do understand that Palestine is not technically a country recognized right now.  They are a territory.  But when I looked up the countries of the world - Israel and Palestine are listed separately.  So I wanted to give them each a book category.

This is a story that covers many generations of a Palestinian family.  Living in Ein Hod in the 1940s, they are forced from their home by the Israelis.  They are placed in tented, refugee camps in Jenin.  This begins the Abulhejo's story of living through the violent times of their country over the next 50 years.  They watch friends and family torn away from them by soldiers, bombs, and the horrors of war.  Overtime, the tents are replaced by cinderblock homes and families who are placed there hope to someday return to the homes they left.

This was an incredible book.  I liked it right from the beginning.  The story is horrific.  While fictionalized, the author uses stories from people who lived through this terrible time to make some of it historically accurate.  She is an incredible writer.  I found myself very invested in the characters in these stories -one bad thing happened after another.  It will tear at your heart strings.  It is a very sorrowful story, and the author does an amazing job painting a full picture of what Palestine was when Israel invaded.

This is a book not to be missed.  You will not be disappointed.

Stars: 5

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Extra Book - Watchmen

Book: Watchmen
Author: Alan Moore
Pages: 416

This is my 160th read for this year.

My husband and I have been watching Watchmen on TV over the last few weeks, and he encouraged me to check the "backstory" and read this graphic novel.

This graphic novel takes place from the 1930s all the way until the 1980s.  Vigilantes mixed with one real life superhero are helping to protect.  There has been a family tragedy and a scientific accident.  There are masked vigilantes trying to do good, but someone is picking them off one by one.  The world is on the verge of World War III.  Can one man stop the countries from around the world causing a nuclear accident.  

This graphic novel crosses a lot of time lines, and a lot of story lines weave in between the underlying theme of seeing the human side of super humans.  It is a good story, even though it got a little confusing at times.  IT is a very long graphic novel - I was surprised at its size.  And now that I have read this, the TV show will make a lot more sense (since that takes place after this novel)

Stars: 4

Monday, December 16, 2019

Read The World - Denmark - Number The Stars

Book: Number The Stars
Author: Lois Lowry
Pages: 160
Book takes place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: NO
I have visited: YES

this is my 159th read for the year

I just returned from a visit to Copenhagen, Denmark.  What a beautiful place.  I had a chance to visit an area where the Nazis kept food during the war and etched the brick walls out of boredom.  I also saw many of the places mentioned in the book.  I would like to return again some day and explore more.

This is a story told by 10 year old Annemarie during the Nazi occupation of Copenhagen.  Annemarie's best friend is Jewish and her family agrees to hid her and then in the end help her family escape to Sweden.  Told from the persepctive of a child, we learn what worrie dchildren during this terrifying time.

This was a good book.  It is well written.  I di wish it was longer.  I finished it on our two hour plane ride and the end left me wanting more.  It mentioned many places we actually saw in Copenhagen, so it was great to see those in person.

Stars: 4

Friday, December 13, 2019

Read The World - Georgia - Flight From The U.S.S.R.

Book: Flight from The U.S.S.R.
Author: Data Turashvili
Pages: 144
Book takes place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: YES
I have visited: NO

This is my 158th read for the year

The year is ticking away, and I am still going strong!  I hope to sneak in a few more books before the year ends.

This is based on the true story of several young men who were sentenced to death after they hijacked an airplane.  These Georgians were trying to escape the Soviet's rule of Georgia in the early 1980s.  They, along with the pregnant wife of one of the men, hijack the plane trying to get to Turkey.  They fail, are imprisoned, and executed.  The wife is sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment.  And many years after the men were executed, their families were still trying to find where they were buried.  

This is a pretty good book.  The author weaves together the back story of the young men, and what brought them to make this decision.  The book is very short, so it is just a skimmed over version of what I am assuming is a much more involved, indepth story.  We get a small insight on what drove these men to do what they did and what it was like living in Georgia under Soviet rule at that time.

I am glad I read it.  There were some typing errors in the book, but not many.  Knowing this is a translation, it didn't bother me. 

Stars: 3 1/2

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Read the World - Guinea - The King of Kahel

Book: The King of Kahel
Author: Tierno Monenembo
Pages: 306
Book takes place in the country: yes (around 50%)
Author is from the country: YES
I have visited: NO

This is my 157th book for the year.

Ticking off another African country book!

This is the story of Frenchman Olivier de Sanderval.  He made his way to Guinea, Africa, in the late 1800s  to conquer the empire of Fouta Djallon.  The book takes us through his want to make a kingdom for himself in Guinea, and build a railroad in this part of the world.  Loosley based on his real life, this book gives us a picture of what de Sanderval went through to accomplish his goals in this part of the world.

This book was fair.  It was hard to follow at times, but for the most part, a good story.  It had some comic parts and left me wandering if this is how the author viewed de Sanderval's move to Africa and his want to be king, or this is how this man actually was.  The story is wild - back and forth between France and Guinea during de Sanderval's late adult life.

I am keeping this for my Guinea book for now.  I don't think there are many books or authors from this country, so it stays.

Stars: 3

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Read The World - Palau - Vanished

Book: Vanished - The Sixty Year Search For The Missing Men of World War II
Author: Wil S. Hylton
Pages: 320
Book takes place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: NO
I have visited: NO

This is my 156th read for the year

The story is about 11 airmen in World War II that vanished in Palau.  Most were sure it crashed into the ocean, but some people thought the men parachute to safety.  Others thought some of the men returned to the United States and started new lives.   But the bottom line was that the airmen were never seen again and the airplane was never found.

For 60 years people have searched for the plane and for clues around the crash.  The Government, the families, scientist, divers - a group effort of people kept turning up nothing.  But the determination of those invested in the search never gave up on bringing closure to this mystery.

This book tells the stories of the airmen, the stories of the searches, and the history of Palau.  It is a well told story that pulls it all together.  The fact that these folks spent 60 YEARS looking for this plane is incredible.  But solving this mysterday proved to take a lot of time, a lot of man power, and a lot of patience.  I commend all of those who took this on to bring peace to the families of the missing men.

Stars: 4

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Read The World - Chad - The Roots Of Heaven

Book: The Roots Of Heaven
Author: Romain Gary
Pages: 432
Book takes place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: NO
I have visited: NO

This is my 155th read for the year.

This is mainly the story of Morel a survival of a Nazi camp who travels to Africa to try and stop the slaughter of elephants.  He has a mission to making hunting elephants illegal.   The story takes place in the 1950s.  Morel gathers a few followers to help him on his campaign and becomes either hunted or aided by African nationalist, European colonists, and an American Journalist who becomes facinated with the elephants and their plight.

This is a great book.  It is very well written, and walks us through Morel's time in Chad.  He is a French Nationalist who made it his mission to save these animals from cruel hunting especially for their ivory.  The book is full of discussion on environmentalism and the unrest in Africa.  It actually took me longer than I expected to read because it is not a light read by any means.  The pages are heavy with detail and you need to take your time to get the complete story.  But it was worth the time.

Stars: 4

Monday, December 9, 2019

Extra Book: Mindhunter

Book: Mindhunter
Author: John Douglas
Pages: 448

This is my 154th read of the year

Even though we are 9 days into December, this was the first book I finished in December. 
I listened to this as an audiobook, and it was excellent in that format.

This is the stories from the author's 25 years as an FBI agent where he used psychological profiling to solve some of the toughest crimes.  He helped capture and interview many serial killers and assassins over his career and became one of the most well known and well respected FBI psychologists of his time.

This was an incredible book.  The stories are numerous in the book, and - while gruesome - they were intriguing to listen to.  We learned in depth details of the crimes of some of the most notorious serial killers, and how John and his team caught them.  We got into the minds of these criminals as John tries to figure out how they work.  Many times he was called in to try and figure out exactly the kind of person they were looking for after a crime had been committed.  His skill lead to the capture of many killers.

Definitely worth the read.  I am going to rank it as one of the best reads of the year. Just know that the content of the book is at times hard to read and the details are numerous about the crimes.  The book is well written, and John's story incredible.

Stars: 5

Friday, December 6, 2019

Read The World - Turkey - 10 Minutes, 38 Seconds In This Strange World

Book: 10 Minutes, 38 Seconds In This Strange World
Author: Elif Shafak
Book takes place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: YES
I have visited: YES (but just briefly)

This was my 153rd read for the year.
This was also the last book I completed in November!

This is the story of Leila.  She has just been murdered, and for 10 minutes and 38 seconds, her brain remains active.  In those 10 minutes, she recalls her life and the lives of her friends while she hopes to at least be found and given a proper burial.  We are taken from birth through death and learn where she came from, and how she came to be where she is now.

Half of this book was pretty good.  The other half was just okay.  During the first half of the book, I am intrigued to learn about Leila's life, and that of her friends and family.  As the minutes tick by, each chapter gives us another picture into who she was and how her life was shaped.  But after the 10 minutes are up, the second half of the book isn't as interesting, in my opinion.  It drags on as her friends try to give Leila some peace.  I think the idea was a good one, but it didn't need to be half the book.  I think this would have been a better read - for me - if the reflections during the 10 minutes would have been just about the entire story.

Again - this is just my opinion, and I think the idea of this book is a great one.  I really did enjoy the premise of what might go through one's mine in the minutes after the heart has stopped, but the brain hasn't.  

Stars: 3 1/2- 4

There is a great quote in this book that I wanted to save and share

"Childhood is a big, blue wave that lifts you up, carries you forth and just when you thought it woudllast forever - vanishes from sight.  You can neither run after it nor bring it back.  But the wave, before it disappears, leave a conch shell on the shore.  Inside the seashell is stored all the sounds of childhood."

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Read The World - Puerto Rico - Stories From Puerto Rico

Book: Stories From Puerto Rico
Author: Robert L. Muckley/Adela Martinez-Santiago
Pages: 192
Book Takes Place in the country: YES
Author is from the country: YES
I have visited: NO

This is my 152nd book for the year

This is a collection of short stories and legends of Puerto Rico.  There are 18 stories in all - each only a few pages long.  The stories are short, but they are entertaining and easy to understand.  I love legend stories from these different countries.  I have found a few of these books for my Read The World challenge, and I think they make an excellent addition to the shelf.

This book is only half in English and the other half is in Spanish.  If you are learning Spanish, it would be a good side by side book in order to practice.  So it is less than 100 pages of one language of reading - something you can easily tackle in a few hours.   Check this one out.

Stars: 4

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Extra Book - The Babysitters Club Boy Crazy Stacey

Book: The Babysitters Club Boy Crazy Stacey
Author: Ann. M Martin
Pages: 176

This is my 151st book of the year

This is a book that I read with my youngest children.  They love the new graphic novel versions of this classic series.

Stacey and Mary Anne are invited to go along with the large Pike family on a beach vacation.  They will be babysitting and helping with the children to give the Pike's parents a break.  The girls are excited for a chance to spend 2 weeks on the beach and earn summer money at the same time.

The vacation starts off well, but soon Stacey starts to fall for a lifeguard she meets at the beach.  It starts to interfere with her babysitting duties which upsets Mary Anne.  No matter how many warnings Mary Anne gives Stacey, she just can't seem to stay away.  

This is a cute story.  My kids chuckles at Stacey's antics.  The graphic novel style of the novel gives life to the story and allows them to see what was going on - not just imagine it in their minds.  It is a quick read, and fun as well.  We have enjoyed all the books in this series and are hoping there are more to come.

Stars: 4 1/2

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Read The World - Belgium - A Tall Man In A Low Land

Book: A Tall Man In A Low Land
Author: Harry Pearson
Pages: 256
Book takes place in the country: YES
The author is from the country: NO
I have visited: YES

This is my 150th read for the year.


Yes - I have visited Belgium, although it was a brief stay.  We were just passing through on the way to and from The Netherlands.  We had planned a full weekend visit last December, but my daughter decided that she needed to have her appendix out instead, and the trip had to be canceled.  We are hoping to visit again in the near future.

This is the story of the author's own visit to Belgium in the late 1990s.  He and his wife and young daughter spent many months in Belgium - traveling all over the country visiting as many cities as they could.  He gives a recount of Belgium history, and speaks to many of the locals about their customs and cultures.  

This was a pretty good book.  It has a few funny parts, but I think it would have been funnier if I would have been 1) English and 2) up on English pop culture references of the 1990s.  So some of the humor was lost on me.  However - this did not really deter from the book - I enjoyed learning a lot about the different cities in Belgium and the history of Belgium as well.  It was a good find for my Read The World Challenge.  If you are planning on visiting Belgium, I would put this book on your list.

Stars: 4