Da S. (sanders) - Reviews

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Alex and the Ironic Gentleman
Alex and the Ironic Gentleman
Author: Adrienne Kress
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 7/13/2009
Helpful Score: 2


I was at an independent bookstore when my friend had $100 certificate to spend so I picked this out for my sons. It sounded funny enough and I liked that the protagonist was a girl which has been hard to find in the midst female classmates wanting to be Harry Potter and so many stories being split into the male / female stereotypes. We had just finished the Narnia series which, especially for its day, gave nearly as much credit to the strength of the female characters as the male. Overall, the book has incredibly funny moments filled with irony and a style reminiscent for me of Douglas Adams. There are some rather dry times and times that are a little creepy. I wish the Daughters of the Founding Fathers Society had been played up more as you move through the novel, but all in all my 5 year and 8 year love the books and specifically have two chapters I've read to their friends several times: the police interrogation and the act of arson. They also can't get enough of Jack.
We have two chapters left and so far (to my count) there have been 6 deaths including 4 of innocent victims... including an uncle and others Alex meets on the way. A bit heavy for the book which gives it an odd cast to it.
Also is the fact that Alex doesn't make it to the ship "The Ironic Gentleman" until (I'd guess) the last 4 or 5 chapters out of thirty-some. In that way, it is a bit tedious as she runs into problem after problem trying to reach the ship, but never getting there.
All in all, though, these are minor gripes and I'm looking forward to reading the follow on book to my boys and have gotten extra copies for my nephews & my boys' friends.


Berlitz Czech
Berlitz Czech
Author: Cassette Pack
Book Type: Audio Cassette
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/11/2006


Listened to the tape while driving to and from work. Helped somewhat while we were there since I don't know German. Ran into some people in the country-side who didn't speak any English. Helped there. The book was also good for pointing to words if I was ruining the pronunciation. Come with a tape, a phrase book, and the audio script.


Catch-22
Catch-22
Author: Joseph Heller
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 47
Review Date: 7/12/2009
Helpful Score: 1


It felt like Joseph Heller was trying too hard to show war as crazy, outrageous, and mad in a frenetic dark comedy. Like someone trying hard to be witty and crazy, but comes across like he's begging like a dog for a pat on the head for his cleverness. Perhaps in its day it was unique, but I just kept trying again and again to like the book, but I finally gave up as a waste of my time. Overall, there were one of two funny moments like like when chief described how where everywhere his people settled, oilmen followed them around and discovered oil, but mostly it was uneventful. Only made it about 1/3 of the way through.


The Crying of Lot 49
The Crying of Lot 49
Author: Thomas Pynchon
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 55
Review Date: 2/13/2006


"A puzzle, an intrigue, a literary and historical tour de force with a strongly European flavor." - San Francisco Examiner

"Mr. Pynchon's satirical eye doesn't miss a thing including rock n' roll singers, rightwing extremists and the general subculture of Southern California... Readers interested in something new and different will find good reading well done here." -Library Journal

"The work of a virtuoso with prose... His intricate symbolic order [is] akin to that of Joyce's Ulysses." - Chicago Tribune

If I was cultured enough I'd probably write the same things as these reviewers. Since I'm not, I'd just describe it in one word as confusing and brilliant. I enjoyed it very much and and was tempted not to post it on PBS except that someone else may also enjoy it too if they order it.


The Devil Wears Prada
The Devil Wears Prada
Author: Lauren Weisberger
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 1732
Review Date: 10/16/2006


Is there a reason this book is 360 pages? It is light reading, but the same concept over and over and over. This book easily could have been 150 pages and not lost a thing. It reminds me of the SNL sketches where they just keep doing the same joke again and again and it feels like the sketch will never end. I was hoping for something more at the end of this book to somehow redeem the middle 150 pages, but was dissapointed.


Discovering the American Past (Volume II since 1865)
Review Date: 6/11/2006


PaperbackSwap states that this is a hardcover, but my copy isn't. It is a paperback. I've checked the ISBN several times. There was a paperback version listed, but it was the wrong ISBN.


Eat Your Way Across the USA
Eat Your Way Across the USA
Author: Jane Stern, Michael Stern
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 2/13/2006


Good reccomendations.


Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs
Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs
Author: Dr. Iain Provan
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 2/13/2006


Good resource for studying Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs.


Review Date: 4/1/2006


Nice reference for things to do with kids. It is pretty comprehensive and compact. Useful to keep on a shelf in case you need it some day when the kids are home with nothing to do.


Frankenstein (Unabridged Classics)
Frankenstein (Unabridged Classics)
Author: Mary Shelley
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.7/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 3/28/2010
Helpful Score: 1


It is a shame that "Frankenstein" was ever taken to the big screen. When you mention Frankenstein images of a green nonspeaking creature, lighting storms, a crazed scientist screaming "It's Alive!".
Instead this is a very nuanced horror story. Even the point of bringing the creature to life was in retrospect with very little detail and absolutely no lightning.

The horror in this book explored the modern conception that all scientific progress is good, what is a creator's responsibility for his/her invention, and the human reaction to rejection... particularly by one's creator. Further it questions how quickly we can consider someone a "monster" all too quickly without waiting to find out what's beyond the outer appearance and vice-versa. In the end you question who was the monster: Dr. Frankenstein or his creation. His creation was articulate, intelligent, gentle, and desiring love and to love. The doctor was obsessive, impulsive, and could never get past "the monster" he created even when he articulated so clearly to him how much it wanted his acceptance. Eventually, the creation turned into the creator and himself then became a monster.

I started the book expecting something closer to the movie versions and was quickly engrossed by the narcissistic doctor and all the underlying problems that arose because of his carelessness. Shelley has the writing punch of a Tolstoy or Steinbeck, etc, but this book is well worth the read.


The Insiders' Guide to Lake Superior Region
Review Date: 6/11/2006


Was quite useful in finding cabins on the north shore and hiking info. (There is allot more, but that is primarily what we are interested in.) It reminds me in style of a Lonely Planet


Insight Guide Iceland (Insight Guides Iceland)
Insight Guide Iceland (Insight Guides Iceland)
Author: Jane Simmonds
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 6/10/2006


Great photography.


Is Adoption for You : The Information You Need to Make the Right Choice
Review Date: 12/19/2006
Helpful Score: 4


It is a very light read. The title asks the question, "Is adoption for you?". If you'd like to save a read, I'll give the author's answer for 95% of people: Yes. In fact all negative myths are not true and you are left feeling like it is easy and inspired to go adopt.

If you want to adopt and have all sorts of doubts, this author will give positive answers why you should adopt for most of them. I was suprised at the generalism of the answers often without any cited references using phrases such as "most children", and "often", and "in general". You rarely find out what those terms mean in terms of studies and it becomes clear that it is just the writer's opinion and the writer is pro-adoption.
There were a few obvious cases where she didn't suggest adoption: when you knew your career would be so important that you wouldn't spend time with the child or if you would abuse the child. Kind of obvious stuff.
Sometimes, she'd contradict herself to make a point. In one chapter on bonding she spends many pages describing that "bonding" doesn't really exist according to certain researchers. (She doesn't discuss anyone who support bonding.) But then to cover herself in case she didn't win you with that arguement, she goes on to tell you that bonding won't be a problem and children will immediately bond to their parents... Wait a second does it exist or not?
I think that if you are for adoption and your spouse is not and your spouse is not a critical reader, this may be a good book to give to him or her to evangelize adoption. It will basically convince your spouse to do it and it is an easy read. Other than that, I didn't find much use to this book. Many of her suggestions about the ease of adopting a child or the way she glossed over the difficulties of children who have been abused as needing special attention, conflicts with experiences of friends and family.
I'm still for adoption, but I think that this author does the whole process a disservice by putting on rose colored glasses and glossing over issues.


Lonely Planet Czech & Slovak Republics (2nd ed)
Lonely Planet Czech & Slovak Republics (2nd ed)
Author: Scott McNeely, Richard Nebeksy
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/11/2006


I love lonely planet. Was great as we wandered the countryside. In Cesky Raj, we stayed in a wonderful castle (Zamek, I think) for the two of us with breakfast for $28/nt. Gorgeous views out the windows of the rising sun.


Michelin Green Guide (Green Tourist Guides)
Michelin Green Guide (Green Tourist Guides)
Author: Michelin Travel Publications
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/10/2006


new york city


Moon Handbooks: Maui (5th Ed.)
Moon Handbooks: Maui (5th Ed.)
Author: J. D. Bisignani, J.D Bisignani
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/11/2006


Quite helpful on our trip to Maui. Stayed in Hana one night and wished we'd stayed there the whole time. Much slower, better prices on food and lodging. Great hikes at state park and 7 pools. We got a house for the night cheaper than the hotel rooms on the other side. Cabins in the state park are also inexpensive and are right on the beach.


Off the Beaten Path: A Guide to More Than 1,000 Scenic & Interesting Places Still Uncrowded and Inviting
Review Date: 2/13/2006


Have used it several times to find off the beaten path places through the United States. Decent descriptions and pictures. Good maps.


On Becoming Baby Wise
On Becoming Baby Wise
Author: Robert Bucknam, Gary Ezzo
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.8/5 Stars.
 57
Review Date: 2/13/2006
Helpful Score: 1


The book has some good information and general thoughts on getting a child to sleep through the night. However, it is extremely one sided and on the harsh side. Ultimately, the authors place way too much emphasis the long term effects of in a person based on the feeding and sleep methods the parents employ the first year. If you are a new parent, don't be driven to harshly by the direction in this book or many contrasting books dealing with the family bed. Both have statistics "proving" the opposing view will ruin your child. However, the basic theme of when and when not to comfort or sleep with a child is a valuable contrast to the family bed books and it has some very valid points.


On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction (25th Anniversary)
Review Date: 2/27/2007
Helpful Score: 1


Found it very useful for non-fiction writing. Still use the techniques to this today. Changed my view on writing.


Open Road's Czech & Slovak Republics Guide
Open Road's Czech & Slovak Republics Guide
Author: Ted Brewer
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/11/2006


Had a wonderful time wandering around the Czech Republic.


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