Book Review Carnival

Welcome to the April 26, 2009 edition of book review blog carnival! Check out posts from some wonderful bloggers and see what they've been reading lately!

John E. Riutta presents Chronicle of a Life Well Told posted at Born Again Bird Watcher:

Even if only the eleventh chapter of Birdwatcher: The Life of Roger Tory Peterson by Elizabeth J. Rosenthal was the entirety of the book, it would still be well worth the cover price...
Keira presents Review: SEALed with a Promise by Mary Margret Daughtridge posted at Love Romance Passion:

J.C Roat and Rick Bremseth, both former SEALs who helped with the research for SEALed with a Promise, might tease Daughtridge about writing mush, but it is mush I definitely like...

Diana Hall presents Manga Messiah posted at damascusmoments:

The gospel was never intended to be dry words on a page. The whole point of the message is to engage, captivate and communicate with us...

Brad presents Meet Ken Wilber: A Brief History of Everything posted at Tri-Freedom:
If anything can be said about Ken Wilber, it’s that he has the capacity to integrate an overwhelming amount of information into a grand thesis...
Nate Desmond presents Book Review: The New SAT posted at Debt-free Scholar:
A few years ago, the SAT test was updated. College Board, the test’s creator, made many changes. Among other things, they changed the “Verbal Reasoning” section to the “Critical Reading” section and added the essay and the writing categories...

Carrie Kitzmiller presents Book review: Sea Changes by Gail Graham - Books and Movies posted at Books and Movies:

Sea Changes by Gail Graham is one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. It’s not straight modern lit, nor is it completely fantasy. I suppose it falls into the genre of “magical realism” ...

Scott oOr presents Michael J. Fox is Always Looking Up posted at Life in this Century ::: by Scott Orr:

For many of the people of my generation who suffer from Parkinson’s disease, Michael J. Fox has been something of a patron saint...

Kristen presents Review - The Newford Stories posted at The Cackling Crow:
The Newford Stories by Charles DeLint is actually a collection of 3 other books called Dreams Underfoot, The Ivory and The Horn, and Moonlight and Vines. As a whole it is a wonderful collection of short stories about the different characters and their lives in the town of Newford...
Shiv Dravid presents We The Living By Ayn Rand posted at The Viewspaper » The Viewspaper:
This is as close as I will get to writing an autobiography”.
This is what critically acclaimed author Ayn Rand has to say about her first book We The Living. Ayn Rand was born in Russia and was a witness to the Bolshevik Revolution...
jim presents The Complete Idiot's Guide to Value Investing posted at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Value Investing is exactly what it sounds like, a book that will teach you how to be a value investor, how to analyze industries and companies, how to dig deep into financial statements, and how to filter analysts (among other things)...
Perpetual Prose presents Book Review - And This Was My Happy Ending by Kevin Staniec posted at Perpetual Prose:
The first time I read Kevin Staniec’s And This Was My Happy Ending, I didn’t think too much about mechanics and style. I just let myself get drawn into the story...

Steven Bush presents Grandfather Mountain posted at Book Dads: Fathers That Read!:

Grandfather Mountain takes ancient stories and brings them to life in a style that is both accessible to modern readers and respectful of their origins...

Jim Murdoch presents Stick Out Your Tongue: the review (Literature World Tour) posted at Meet at the Gate:

When Canongate made China the next destination in their literary world tour I went to my bookcases to see what I could talk about. And do you know what? I couldn’t find a single book by a Chinese national nor could I find a book about China...

Ray presents Best Books About Making Money posted at Money Blue Book.
Burn those get rich quick books and ditch the late night infomercial gimmicks. Whatever you do - don’t waste your money on useless junk. True personal finance knowledge is not something that can be acquired overnight...
KerrieS presents ECHOES FROM THE DEAD, Johan Theorin posted at MYSTERIES in PARADISE:
Julia Davidsson's life fell apart when her beautiful son Jens disappeared one foggy afternoon on the remote island of Oland in Sweden...
Yonit Gruber-hazani presents 13 books and magazines for linux sysadmins posted at
This is a list of books and magazines i read through the years to learn my job,
there are many other good books as well, but these are my must haves...
NathanKP presents “Snow Falling in Spring,” Moying Li posted at Inkweaver Review - Book Reviews & Cover Art:
“Snow Falling in Spring,” is a historical biography by Moying Li, about her life growing up during the tumultuous Chinese Cultural Revolution...

Emm presents Book review: The Trial – Franz Kafka posted at Emm Media.

I didn’t enjoy reading The Trial as such but then that is Kafka’s great accomplishment with this book in that he leads his reader to feel as helpless as his protagonist...

Jeanne presents City of Glass posted at Necromancy Never Pays, saying, "This is a new YA novel"
I can’t start my day without a newspaper to scan at the breakfast table. I’ve been this way forever...

children's books

Mouse presents A Review of Ben Morgan’s Stargazer | The Science Mouse posted at The Science Mouse.

DK Smithsonian’s Stargazer by Ben Morgan is part field guide and part experiment book. At 8 x 6 inches and 72 pages it is the perfect size for little hands...
DNLee presents Book Review: Environmental Education Books posted at Urban Science Adventures! ©, saying, "three great children's science books that celebrates Environmental Education Week, National Library Week and National Poetry Month all in one post."

Knowing how much I love to piggy-back on themes I’ll be recommending some great environmental titles and poetry books that you can check out at your local library...

Ruth presents Book Review: Fearless by Elvira Woodruff posted at Bookish Ruth, saying, "Middle grade historical fiction":
Left in the care of his aunt while his father is at sea, 11-year-old Digory Beale is plagued by nightmares of his father dying in a terrible storm...
historyiselementary presents The Gift posted at History Is Elementary, saying, "A great children's book to explore!"
Back during another lifetime in the 1970s you would have found me on Friday night sitting in front of our family television….the one where the knob had fallen off and we had to resort to using needle-nosed pliers to change it…patiently waiting for my favorite television show to air...

non fiction

GrrlScientist presents Land of the Lost Souls: My Life on the Streets posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "The homeless are everywhere in New York City. I run across them every day while riding public transit, while walking around the city and while using wireless in the public libraries. After a few conversations with homeless people, I've learned that most of them avoid shelters because of the risk of violent crime there. So where do they sleep? Where do they go to get a shower and clean clothes? Are all homeless people either crazy or crackheads? How did these people end up living on the streets in the first place? Don't they have families and friends? This is my review of a new book by Cadillac Man, who lived on the streets of NYC for 16 years."

Jade Meng presents The Angel Inside posted at Dream of Jade, saying, ""There is a masterpiece within each of us, waiting to emerge. " Let's follow Michelangelo, to find the beauty and power inside us, and to live a life we want from our heart."

Jim Murdoch
presents The Optimist posted at The Truth About Lies, saying, "So you decide one day you want to see if optimism still works in the 21st century. That's what the author of The Optimist does. He sets off on a quest to interview the world's top optimists from Richard Branson via the Surfing Guru to Bill Clinton. Boy is he in for a shock. Available as a free e-book for a limited time."

Aliall presents In Praise of Slowness (Carl Honore) Book Review posted at Motivated Mama.

Carole Fogarty presents Walking Meditation: posted at THE HEALTHY LIVING LOUNGE, saying, "Walking meditation is the perfect alternate if your body and mind are too restless to sit. Its also a lovely change from the usual meditation practices. No great skill or understanding is required simply the attention of your mind - on your breath, foot steps and the ground."

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
book review blog carnival using our carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Zig-zagging by Tom Wilson -- Book Review and Tour Stop

"This game of ours always began the same. Dad would draw a picture of Ziggy happily strolling along, unaware of some horrible misfortune about to befall him. Ziggy might be zooming off a cliff, walking unknowingly into an open manhole, or oblivious to a meteor plummeting head-on his way. After Ziggy had been drawn into one of these dire circumstances, Dad would flip the placemat around, hand me his pen, and say, "Tommy, it's time for you to SAVE ZIGGY!"

This book is a cross between the memoir and inspirational genres, as Wilson writes about his experiences taking over responsibility for Ziggy from his aging father, dealing with the early death of his wife, battling depression, wrestling with faith, and finally founding his marketing firm Character Matters and finding a place for his pain and Ziggy.

I enjoyed the memoir, and wished Wilson had written more about his personal life and included fewer inspirational platitudes, although I understand why they're mixed in. The first portion of the book is the strongest, where Tom talks about his relationship with his father and how Ziggy played into that dynamic while he was growing up.

The book also has a Ziggy cartoon mixed in for every 5 pages or so--offering Ziggy's insight into the situations as Wilson relates them, which is a great touch for the book. All in all, Zig-zagging is an interesting peek into the private life of the man behind the Ziggy cartoons I love to read in the paper.

Buy Zig-zagging: Loving Madly, Losing Badly How Ziggy Saved My Life by Tom Wilson


This book is currently on tour with TLC. View the tour schedule and visit the publisher for a chance to win a copy of Tom Wilson's Zig-zagging.

I Can Help With That... Your Google Queries Answered

Google is a marvelous thing--but a few recent visitors haven't found what they were looking for... I can help with that! Behold, your (common) google queries answered!

"what's the story of macbeth about"

Witches chant, cackle and stir up trouble with prophecies. They tell Macbeth he's going to be king, and he tells his wife. Lady Macbeth thinks this sounds like a marvelous idea and persuades Macbeth to murder the king and make it happen. (What a go-getter!)

Now Macbeth is king... and he keeps murdering to make sure he stays king, and visits the witches to hear more cryptic prophecies. Lady Macbeth goes crazy and kills herself (Stress and hallucinations will do that to a person). Meanwhile, all Macbeth's murdering and tyranny has made him a bit unpopular and the English army attacks his castle. Macbeth dies in battle. All is right with the world again.

"girls playing with hari puss"

You need to work on your spelling issues, but I deciphered. What a cute girl...

"poem about loving a dead guy"

There's no one who talks about death better than Poe:

To One in Paradise
by Edgar Allen Poe

Thou wast that all to me, love,
For which my soul did pine--
A green isle in the sea, love,
A fountain and a shrine,
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers
And all the flowers were mine.

Ah, dream too bright to last!
Ah, starry Hope! that didst arise
But to be overcast!
A voice from out the Future cries,
On! on!-- but o'er the Past
(Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies
Mute, motionless, aghast!

For, alas! alas! with me
The light of Life is o'er!
'No more-- no more-- no more--'
(Such language holds the solemn sea
To the sands upon the shore)
Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree
Or the stricken eagle soar!

And all my days are trances
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy dark eye glances
And where thy footstep gleams--
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams.

Annabel Lee
by Edgar Allen Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love--
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason, that long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her high-born kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre,
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angel, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me...
Yes!--that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we,
Of many far wiser than we--
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee,

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling--my darling--my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

"boeing jokes"

A blonde gets an opportunity to fly to a nearby country. She has never
been on an airplane anywhere and was very excited and tense. As soon
as she boarded the plane, a Boeing747, she started jumping in excitement,
running over seat to seat and starts shouting, "BOEING! BOEING!!
BOEING!!! BO....."

Annoyed by the goings on, the Pilot comes out and shouts "BE SILENT!"

There was pin-drop silence everywhere and everybody is looking at the
blonde and the angry Pilot. She stared at the pilot in silence for a
moment, concentrated really hard, and all of a sudden started shouting,

"the memory keepers daughter and libriVox"

I'm afraid you won't find any newly released books on librivox. Their catalog contains titles on which the copyright has expired, so they don't have to pay royalties. Try looking up some of those classics you've been meaning to get to!

Happy reading!

Surfing Saturday 3.14.09

Welcome to Surfing Saturdays! Each Saturday morning, I'll list any links of interest I came across during the past week of surfing and give an update on my reading progress. Play along with me! Leave your own links, or a link to your own post, in the comments!

So, where have I been this week? Check it out (only the best for you my readers):

  • Feeling a little Twilight withdrawal coming on? The New York Public Library offers a list of books to read while waiting for the next tome to be published. Oh, and speaking of YA lit, check out Random Buzz, by Random House, for ARCs and other info.
  • Books from Finland, a literary journal about--I'm assuming--books from Finland, launched online. There's not much content up yet, but it might be worth keeping in mind for all those international reading challenges.
  • The 2009 Indie Choice Book Awards finals list is out. I know there's a few on there that I've read and several more I've been wanting to get to.
  • What rules or guidelines do you follow when writing a book review? John Updike gave 5, and I think it's a good list.
  • On a completely unrelated note--I'm loving these March wallpapers, which incorporate a calendar. Now if there were only enough days left to use them all...

Currently Reading:

  • Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind (I have no idea where the plot is going--there doesn't seem to be one at this point in the book--but the writing is SO good!)
  • Tender Graces by Kathryn Magendie
  • A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
  • Hearts and Minds by Rosy Thornton

I was on Spring Break this week and home from university, so I got a lot more reading in than I normally have time for, although still not as much as I had planned. Still, I published 10 posts in the last 9 days, which is quite an accomplishment for me! I think I prefer the pace of 2-3 posts a week better for the long haul though--I have a limited number of original thoughts to share, and would like to make them last as long as possible.

So where have you been this week? What are your reading? Let me know, leave me a comment!

Can you beat 25?

I saw this at Debbie's World the other day and decided to copy her idea. I thought about using the Guardian list before, but 1,000 books seemed a little extensive (and unfair to anyone who reads this in a feed), so we're going with the College Board's 101 Books College Bound Students Should Read. (I remember the nightmares about this list as graduation approached senior year--I was under the impression that everyone else I went to university with would have read the entire list. After a few English classes on campus, I felt better. I go to a "highly selective" school--but I've not met anyone yet who's run the list.)

The books I've read are highlighted red. If I just highlight the author, that means I've read something else by them, just not the book listed (That counts for something, right?):

Author Title
Achebe, Chinua Things Fall Apart
Agee, James A Death in the Family
Austen, Jane Pride and Prejudice
Baldwin, James Go Tell It on the Mountain
Beckett, Samuel Waiting for Godot
Bellow, Saul The Adventures of Augie March
Bronte, Charlotte Jane Eyre
Bronte, Emily Wuthering Heights
Camus, Albert The Stranger
Cather, Willa Death Comes for the Archbishop
Cervantes, Miguel de Don Quixote
Chaucer, Geoffrey The Canterbury Tales
Chekhov, Anton The Cherry Orchard
Chopin, Kate The Awakening
Conrad, Joseph Heart of Darkness
Cooper, James Fenimore The Last of the Mohicans
Crane, Stephen The Red Badge of Courage
Dante Inferno
Defoe, Daniel Robinson Crusoe
Dickens, Charles A Tale of Two Cities
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor Crime and Punishment
Douglass, Frederick Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Dreiser, Theodore An American Tragedy
Dumas, Alexandre The Three Musketeers
Eliot, George The Mill on the Floss
Ellison, Ralph Invisible Man
Emerson, Ralph Waldo Selected Essays
Faulkner, William As I Lay Dying
Faulkner, William The Sound and the Fury
Fielding, Henry Tom Jones
Fitzgerald, F. Scott The Great Gatsby
Flaubert, Gustave Madame Bovary
Ford, Ford Madox The Good Soldier
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von Faust
Golding, William Lord of the Flies
Hardy, Thomas Tess of the d’Urbervilles
Hawthorne, Nathaniel The Scarlet Letter
Heller, Joseph Catch 22
Hemingway, Ernest A Farewell to Arms
Homer The Iliad
Homer The Odyssey
Hugo, Victor The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Hurston, Zora Neale Their Eyes Were Watching God
Huxley, Aldous Brave New World
Ibsen, Henrik A Doll’s House
James, Henry The Portrait of a Lady
James, Henry The Turn of the Screw
Joyce, James A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Kafka, Franz The Metamorphosis
Kingston, Maxine Hong The Woman Warrior
Lee, Harper To Kill a Mockingbird
Lewis, Sinclair Babbitt
London, Jack The Call of the Wild
Mann, Thomas The Magic Mountain
Marquez, Gabriel Garcia One Hundred Years of Solitude
Melville, Herman Bartleby the Scrivener
Melville, Herman Moby Dick
Miller, Arthur The Crucible
Morrison, Toni Beloved
O’Connor, Flannery A Good Man is Hard to Find
O’Neill, Eugene Long Day’s Journey into Night
Orwell, George Animal Farm
Pasternak, Boris Doctor Zhivago
Plath, Sylvia The Bell Jar
Poe, Edgar Allen Selected Tales
Proust, Marcel Swann’s Way
Pynchon, Thomas The Crying of Lot 49
Remarque, Erich Maria All Quiet on the Western Front
Rostand, Edmond Cyrano de Bergerac
Roth, Henry Call It Sleep
Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye
Shakespeare, William Hamlet
Shakespeare, William Macbeth
Shakespeare, William A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Shakespeare, William Romeo and Juliet
Shaw, George Bernard Pygmalion
Shelley, Mary Frankenstein
Silko, Leslie Marmon Ceremony
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Sophocles Antigone
Sophocles Oedipus Rex
Steinbeck, John The Grapes of Wrath
Stevenson, Robert Louis Treasure Island
Stowe, Harriet Beecher Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Swift, Jonathan Gulliver’s Travels
Thackeray, William Vanity Fair
Thoreau, Henry David Walden
Tolstoy, Leo War and Peace
Turgenev, Ivan Fathers and Sons
Twain, Mark The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Voltaire Candide
Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. Slaughterhouse-Five
Walker, Alice The Color Purple
Wharton, Edith The House of Mirth
Welty, Eudora Collected Stories
Whitman, Walt Leaves of Grass
Wilde, Oscar The Picture of Dorian Gray
Williams, Tennessee The Glass Menagerie
Woolf, Virginia To the Lighthouse
Wright, Richard Native Son

So that makes 25, plus 5 authors I've read, but not the specific works listed. I wish it was a little higher, since I graduate college next year, but I'm actually satisfied with 25%. The Three Musketeers and Things Fall Apart are two of my most recent reads, within the last few months, and Beowulf is actually in my pile of books to read. I really enjoy classic lit when I have the time to sit down and savor it. What on the list have I really been missing out on? How many have you read?

If you do a post on this, let me know and I'll add your link here!

Check out Kitten's list, she puts me to shame with 44!

Correction: I originally had 26, but realized in looking over the list that I had Catch 22, which I have not read, confused with Fahrenheit 451, which I have. That lowers my total from 26 to 25.

Desenvolvido por EMPORIUM DIGITAL