Breathe To Read

Breathe To Read

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Extra Book - Solutions and Other Problems

 Book: Solutions and Other Problems

Author: Allie Brosh

Pages: 528

This is my 62nd book for the year

I KNOW I keep writing "Extra Book" yet that seems to be all I am reading lately with a smattering of Reading Challenge books thrown in.  I have been waiting to get more settled back here in the United States before resuming the Read The World Challenge books.  I am down to those last few countries that have been proven hard to get books quickly - or at all - so it has been challenging.  SO -in the meantime, I am reading all the other things that are on the shelf.

Moving on.

This is a humorous Graphic Novel(ish) story of Brosh's childhood mixed in with stories from her adulthood.  Mixed in the humor is stories about how Brosh doesn't really like herself, and painful stories about her past and present.  Just like her other book - Hyperbole and A Half - she is brutally honest.

I have always been a fan of Brosh. I started following her blog many years ago and own her other book.  I know she struggles with mental illness and I appreciate how she isn't afraid to talk about how she feels.  

I am glad she is back.  I have missed her.

Stars: 4

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Read The World - Portugal - The Book Of Disquiet

 Book: The Book Of Disquiet

Author: Fernando Pessoa

Pages: 544

Book takes place in the country: YES

Author is from the country: YES

I have visited: NO

This is my 61st read for the year

This is a collection of Pessoa's writings which were found after he died.  It is made up of 100s of little "chapters" full of thoughts, poetry, and narrative brought all together in one little book.  So many thoughts and feelings are poured out among the pages.  You get a deeper understanding of how he felt about the world, about himself, and about his surroundings.

This book has taken me a few weeks to get through.  Once I started to read it, I knew I wouldn't be able to plow through it like most books that I have.  I actually started it in the audiobook version but quickly discovered this wasn't the way to tackle this book.  It needed more attention than that.  I did a little research on it, and found that the Zenith translation was the one to have, and those citics were correct.  The only thing I wish about this translation was 1) the cover was a little more attractive  2) this translation came in hardback.  Other than that- it was the perfect choice.

This is a great book for the shelf.  While it doesn't give a huge picture of Portugal itself, it was something I wanted to have, so it stays for now.

Stars:  4

Extra Book - Things My Son Needs To KNow About The World

 Book:  Things My Son Needs To Know About The World

Author: Fredrik Backman

Pages: 208

This is my 60th book for the year

This sweet Novella - by one of my favorite authors - was a lend to me by a friend.  What a treasure.  A sweet composition of things he wanted to tell his own son when his son was a baby.  Filled with stories and silly anticdotes, it was a fun, quick read.

We all should make a composition like this for our kids.  Stories we want to tell them.  Things we want them to know.  We don't leave enough written history for our kids to revisit as they grow and change, and I think Backman is onto something here.

Stars: 4

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Extra Book - Anxious People

 Book: Anxious People

Author: Fredrik Backman

Pages: 349

This is my 59th read for the year

This is the story of 8 strangers and a bank robber.  An apartment viewing turns into a hostage situation with the most eclectic group of people you will ever meet.  A young couple about to have a baby.  A couple who flip apartments.  An older woman, a rich woman, a man hired to disrupt the apartment showings, the real estate agent and....the bank robber.  The group is the worst group of hostages ever who carry a life time of stories that they start to share with each other.

In the background are the two police officers who have "lost" the bank robber and are interviewing the hostages.  The hostages are proving to be no help in getting to the bottom of the mystery of what happened in the apartment that day and where the bank robber went.

This was a GREAT book.  I love 99% of Backman's books - he is a brilliant writer.  This one was light and funny and just an overal enjoyable read.  The characters were infuriating and delightful to get to know all at once.  You root for the bank robber.  And the rich lady.  And the couple who are having a baby.  You will fall in love with them all.

Add this one to your list.  It is a light heards, heart felt read that is perfect for now where there is so much turmoil

Stars: 5

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Extra Read - The Umbrella Academy Vol. 1-3

 Book(s): The Umbrella Acaedemy Volumes 1, 2, 3

Author: Gerard Way

Pages: Volume 1 - 216 pages, Volume 2 - 216 pages, Volume 3 - 240 pages

This is my 56, 57,58th read for the year

I decided to review these all at once since they were pretty quick reads, and one continuous story within the graphic novels.

The story begins with 43 children being born to women who had no idea they were pregnant.  In the end, only 7 were able to be located and all were adopted by a billionare named Reginald Hargreeves.

These 7 children form the Umbrella Academy - a group of children with powers sent on missions by Hargreeves to save the world.  6 of the children have extrodinary powers but one - Vanya - seems to have none.

The Umbrella Academy disbands only to come back together with Hargreeves dies.  Old rivalries return.  And Vanya - who was once throught to be ordinary, prooves otherwise.

I have really enjoyed the Netflix series of The Umbrella Academy and thought I would try the graphic novel series based on that.  What I found was the graphic novel series to be off base from the Netflix series.  To me it is inferior to the series on TV - which I don't say often.  I really enjoyed the Locke and Key book and show, but in this case - the show wins.

I am only a mild graphic novel fan, so that could be part of the problem.  To me it seemed disjointed and all over the place.  I read the whole series, but even after the first book, it lost me.

Stars: 2 1/2

Read The World - Panama - The Path Between The Seas

 Book: The Path Between The Seas

Author: David McCullough

Pages: 698

Book takes place in the country: YES

The author is from the country: NO

I have visited: NO

This is my 55th read for the year

This is the story of the creation of the Panama Canal.  It tells the story of the men and women who worked together to bring a the dream of an aquatic passageway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans a reality.  The canal was built beteen 1870-1914 and the story of its triumphs and failures are all captured in McCullough's book.

This was a good one.  I didn't know much about the Panama canal and the story behind it before reading this, so I loved learning about its development.  It was a bit dry and I did find myself re-listening to parts of the book when I would drift off.  But overall, the story held my interest and I am glad I read it.

Stars: 4

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Extra Book - The Last Flight

 Book: The Last Flight

Author: Julie Clark

Pages: 320

This is my 54th read of the year

This is the story of Claire.  She has a seemingly wonderful life - married to a powerful man, wanting for nothing.  But the reality is that Claire is in an abusive relationship that she needs to escape desperately.  

She puts a plan in place to escape until her husband changes her plans.  She is at the airport when she meets someone else - Eva - also trying to escape her life - and the two women decide to help each other.   They swap flights hoping that this is what they both need to start over.

When the plane Claire was supposed to be on goes down, Claire thinks she is free.  Cut off completely from her old life, she starts to put a plan in motion to completely disappear.  She thinks she will step into Eva's life and that will be the last of Claire.  However - things don't always work out like they should.

This was a fair book.  It did keep me entertained, and on the edge of my seat for the first part of the story.  It was pretty suspenseful but I did figure out quite quickly how it was going to end.  No twists for me in this one.  Claire is a much more interesting character to me than Eva - Eva's chapters seemed long and drawn out.  

This book is also heavy on the "men are terrible" theme.  There are no good men in this book at all.  Every women in the story had a terrible back story with a terrible man.  This happens a lot in books, I know, but to me it is always a bit much.

Stars: 3

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Read The World - Brunei - Devil of a State

Book: Devil of a State

Author: Anthony Burgess

Pages: 282

Book takes place in the country: YES

Author is from the country: NO

I have visited: NO

This is my 53rd read for the year

This is the story of a man naded Lydgate - he is a married Passport Officer who has a pregnant mistress on the side.  His mistress is away when his wife arrives to visit him. Lydgate tries to run away from both of them, but his efforts are thwarted.  Around him there is a power pus of the national leader, harassments from the UN adviser, and violent onflicts between an Italian father and son who have been imported to work on the new mosque.

This book was REALLY strange.  It was all over the place and it didn't hold my attention.  It took me forever to read it.  I read about 4 other books around this one because I just couldn't get it to hold my attention.

HOWEVER - there are not many books about Brunei, so this will remain my book for that part of the world for now. 

Stars: 2

Friday, September 11, 2020

Extra Book - Nothing To See Here

 Book: Nothing To See Here

Author: Kevin Wilson

Pages: 277

This is my 52nd book for the year

This is the story of Lillian and Madison.  They went to high school together and when Madison gets caught with cocaine, Madison's very wealthy dad pays Lillian's mom so that Lillian will take the fall.  Thus begins the two divergent paths that these women take.  Until one day when Madison calls Lillian to ask her a favor.  She needs her to take care of her twin step children who have a unique ability that needs to be kept private.  The children catch fire.

Lillian agrees and becomes the children's governess.  She moves to Madison's mansion and helps to care for these kids and begins to love them like her own.  When a new problem comes to light, Lillian and Madison have to make a decision about their futures and the futures of the children.

This is a really weird book.  It wasn't necessarily bad, but I did find myself rolling my eyes quite a few times at the writing.  It was a bit juvenille.  And the ending was terrible.  I couldn't stop listening to it because I just had to see where it was going.  It was a bit silly and bizarre and a little out there.  And somewhat entertaining.  But good writing?  No.

Stars: 3

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Extra Book - A Good Neighborhood

 Book: A Good Neighborhood

Author: Therese Anne Fowler

Pages: 320

This is my 51st book for the year

This is the story of two families who live in the nice neighborhood of Oak Knoll in North Carolina.  Xavier - a young boy with a very promising future as a musician, a scholarship to a prestigous school, and his mother live in an old house with a beautiful tree.  All is fine until the Whitman family builds a huge house and moves in next door.  The house build destroys the roots of the fine tree and what transpires because of it leads both families down a path neither saw coming.  

The story asks what it is like to live by people who are different than you.  What is it like to be a good neighbor even when you don't see things the same way?  How can people coexist that might not necessarily ever be friends?

This was not a great book.  There were a lot of stereotypes in the book and the attraction of the step father to the step daughter was uncomfortable for me.  Took away from the story. There wasn't a lot of character development.  I never really felt for any of the characters one way or the other.

Skip it

Stars:  2

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Extra Book - The Distance From Four Points

 Book: The Distance From Four Points

Author: Margo Littell

Pages: 224

This is my 50th read for the year

This is the story of Robin.  Her husband has died and left her with a lot of debt and a lot of run down rental properties in a town she never wanted to return to.  She has to sell her house in her ideal neighborhood and move into one of the ramshackle apartments to try and pull her life back together.  Moving back to Four Points with her young daughter brings up a past she tried so hard to escape.  What she finds is a place that not only brings her back to the hardest time in her life, but also a place for a fresh start.

I was so so excited to get my hands on this book becuase it was written by a friend of mine.  This is her second novel, and I applaud her accomplishment.  She and I worked on a house in a town just like the one in this novel together and flipped and sold it.  It was quite the adventure and I am glad it lead her to keep writing books about small town America.  She and I grew up in a town very similar to the ones in her books.

It is a good story about a hard subject.  Poverty, slumlords, the world of rental properties.....all a very harsh reality in the place where Margo and I grew up.  I think she does a good job of bringing the reality of that situation to light by also spinning a good outcome for Robin.   Good mix.

Stars:  4