Saturday, February 27, 2016

2016 Reading Challenge: A Book You Can Finish In A Day

A Book You Can Finish In A Day

Technically I didn't finish this book the same day I started, but that's only because I started it at about 10 pm, and finished it shortly after midnight the next day.  However, I'm counting that as a "day" because it was less than 24 hours by far.

I rather liked the book, and it is a Newbery Award winner:

The One and Only Ivan
by Katherine Applegate


Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Top Ten Books I Enjoyed Recently That Weren't My Typical Genre

Top Ten Books I Enjoyed Recently That Weren't My Typical Genre

1. The Martian by Andy Weir
I don't really do science fiction, pretty much ever.  If I delve into that side of literature I go towards fantasy, but this book was amazing.

2. The Grownup by Gillian Flynn
I actually read this as a brand new book, that I requested through the library because it had been on the bestsellers lists (or at least the author had).  I don't typically read mainstream, new releases, but this was kind of hilarious.

3. Breakwater Bay by Shelley Nobel
Just a basic family drama/romance, not normally exciting for me.

4. Awesome Sh*t My Drill Sergeant Said by Dan Caddy
This was straight up hilarious, and nonfiction is not my favorite genre by far.

5. If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski
Again, nonfiction, but it's from To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA), so I had to because I love them, and I loved this.

6. Raising My Rainbow by Lori Duron
Blah memoirs usually, especially whiny ones about how someone is different and life is hard, but I found this rather inspiring.

7. American Sniper by Chris Kyle
Again, memoir, but war.  I love war movies, not typically books.  This was the best book I read in 2015 hands down.

8. Entwined With You by Sylvia Day
I normally find myself embarrassed by reading books that are known to be about sex and not much more, but this series has actual plot and Sylvia Day can actually write, so I make the exception for her.

9. Who Was Alfred Hitchcock? by Pamela D. Pollak
Need I say memoir again?  I'm starting to think I read these more than I think, but this was childrens level.  If you have a child and they don't like nonfiction, introduce them to this series of books, they'll love it.

10. The Terrorist's Son by Zak Ebrahim
Memoir!  Mostly I loved it because it was related to a Ted Talk, and if you don't know what Ted Talks are, then google it.  Now.  Seriously.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Review: The Martian

Title:  The Martian
Author:  Andy Weir
Rating:  6/5


Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?


I cannot express how much I truly loved this book.  I would say it was my favorite this year, but considering it's only February, that is setting myself up for a year of shitty reading that couldn't compare.  Oddly enough I was given this book as a present on a first date (awesome, right?), and I started reading it that night.  It started off for me as a book I heard was highly recommended and I wanted to read it before I saw the movie (which now I'm not sure I want to see).  It ended up being amazing though!

Yes, sure, there was a lot of technical science talk, but the humor amidst it more than made up for parts I didn't understand.  I think I would have actually been satisfied if the only point of view the entire book was from Mark, but I did enjoy seeing NASA scramble in the aftermath.

So basically I'm recommending this book to absolutely anyone I can think of who reads and hasn't read it yet.  I've already converted a few people.  Even if you don't normally like science fiction (like me) you should read this!