Bellevue, WA, United States | Member Since 2007
Alexie immediately grabs you with this story of Spokane tribal member and high school student Arnold Spirit, aka, Junior. Written in the first person, it is believable from the beginning and you think that Alexie is telling his own story.
Taking place mostly over Junior's freshman year, this book is a coming of age story as Junior learns more about himself and the world around him. There are thought provoking subtexts of the nature of friendships, redemption, and choice.
Some may be put off to the multiple references to masturbation, but this is a story about a 14 year old boy. With that warning, I think this book could, and maybe even should, be read by all 13+ year olds.
I wanted to REALLY like this book--a historical look at Hollywood's role in WWII, specifically with directors sent into the European and Pacific theatres to film the action for propaganda and training films. I enjoy this genre of writing as well as stories of Hollywood and WWII, so this book should have been perfect. In the end, it was just too much. It was so well researched and detailed that for this listener/reader I was overwhelmed with the detail and lost the larger story of how Hollywood directors supported the war. I think I would have enjoyed an abridged version of this book. The details of 20 hours of listening was a turn off.
Mostly, I liked this book. It came at the right moment when I could truly hear most of what she was saying, learn from it, and apply it to my life. Her stories are personal and gut-wrenching at times. And at times, for me, the way she framed some things was a bit too sarcastic for me. Maybe it wasn't sarcasm so much as a dry humor that was a bit of a turn off at times. I got through those moments and am glad I finished the book. I was challenged and encouraged in many ways that I needed.
There are many reasons I didn't like this novel, including both subject matter, story and writing style. Regarding the subject matter, I was offended by the explicit sexual descriptions of a relationship between a teacher and student. Not only do we not need to create more stories around the topic, we also do not need detailed descriptions. Beyond that offensive part of the book the overall story was weak and lacked a compelling theme. Two main stories were explored: the one of Amy and Isabelle and then a side story of people at Isabelle's work that should have just been edited out. Finally, the writing style was poor. In addition to having too much story in there, tidbits of the future beyond the book were given, and in a way that was not interesting as to what might take place in the future, but was just another random piece of information that continue to detract from the book. Skip it.
I can't remember what inspired me to buy this book, but when I found it in my library I was a little leery of it. Re-reading the synopsis did not draw me in. However, it was next up in the library, so I began listening to it. I was pleasantly surprised by the story and how quickly it drew me in. The past and present of Victoria's story are intertwined through this novel, using the Victorian meaning of flowers as a story-telling mechanism. Enchanting and interesting. I loved it to the last minute.
China Dolls is not as interesting and compelling book as Lisa See's other novels. This book tells the story of three young "orientals" who meet in San Francisco in the late 1930s, and the journey of their lives over the next several decades. The story at time seemed forced and not as natural as those in See's other novels. The narration is fair at best and did not help to bring life to each character.
The information in this book is good, but I think it might be a better read than a listen. From the narration it seems that the actual book might be one of lists, highlighted boxes, and standard texts. This did not translate well into an audio book. I did finish the book, but am contemplating on getting a print version as reference and to skim over to see what I "lost in translation."
This book is clearly well loved by others, as evidenced by its four star rating and the written comments. For me, this book missed the mark. It wound in circles and never went anywhere. When I read that this was meant to be a short story and then got longer, it made sense to me, as much could have been edited out to create a simpler, more cohesive tale. Or, if you consider the comments of other reviewers, I must not have had much of a childhood if this book didn't speak to me.
This Great Course is an interesting and informative exploration of customs and cultures of the world. With the 30-minute chapters it is easy to listen to in chunks, with insights to each cultural theme or region gained at the end of the chapter. This Great Course would be an asset to anyone, whether an international traveler or not.
I went into this book with trepidation. After all, I didn't want to hear a feminist tell me that either I could, or could not, "have it all." Instead what I experienced was a personal and insightful book about the limitations we as women often put on ourselves, such as the expectations we set for ourselves, our failure to speak-up, and the divisive way we often treat one another.
Sandberg shared her experiences, and those of others she talked to. When offering a generality she even provided her own counterexamples, when such a thing existed. Her writing is not judgmental, but rather enlightening. She opened my eyes to some of my own behaviors and attitudes.
I recommend this book, especially to women in leadership roles.
Conroy shares his experience teaching on an isolated island off the South Carolina coast in the 1960s. Truthfully, I'm not sure if it was the writing on the story that makes me rate this a 3 (it was ok) versus something higher. You can imagine what his teaching experience on an isolated island, largely left alone by modern day, was like: poor families, students who could not read and did not know that the name of their country was the United States of America, an education system controlled on the mainland that treated this remote island and its students as second, or even third, class citizens, and the list can go on. To his credit, Conroy devoted himself to the students and island, realized that they needed additional experiences and opportunities, and took risks to get his students what they needed, which of course gets him fired. It's sad, and even a little embarrassing, to me that we have allowed lesser education for needier students in our country in the past, as detailed in this story. And I'm not naïve, it's probably still happening today. This book came to me highly recommended, and I would simply recommend it. It's not near the top of all the books I've read, but it was a good read.(
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