Book Review: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

BreathbecomesAir

Amazon | Goodreads

4/5

What is it about?

This is not the happy book I was looking for in my last post, but it is a beautiful, well written, true story of a young neurosurgeon who has lung cancer. All of his studies and medical practice were an attempt to study the meaning of life and death. He approached this through literature, through being a doctor, and lastly and unfortunately as a patient.

Was it good?

This was written by a really smart guy with a huge vocabulary, which sometimes (especially with the medical descriptions) makes him hard to understand. For example, “Everyone succumbs to finitude. I suspect I am not the only one who reaches this pluperfect state.” I think this means he has come to terms with the fact that he is dying, but I’m not entirely sure he doesn’t mean something else.

Despite this, the book is very engaging. I found myself very emotionally on edge throughout the whole book. Not only because of a fear that this could happen to someone who I know, but also because this book made me care about Paul. I was rooting for him and felt sad reading about his and his family’s suffering.

I think this was a very good, albeit sad, book.

Book Review: 800 Grapes by Laura Dave

800grapes

Amazon | Goodreads

What is it about?

Georgia Ford returns to her parents vineyard when her life develops a major complication. Once there, she finds out that she’s not the only one going through some turmoil. This book is about relationships and the damaging effects of secrets.

Was it good?

It was a very enjoyable book. The written style was easy to sip up. See that? I made a drink reference because this book has a lot of wine in it. It has some wine making details that were very interesting to read about, but the drama is also interesting enough without the added educational bonus.

In fact, I almost decided to do this review in just grunting monkey like noises as I felt them throughout the book… page 12 “eep” page 88 “ooh” page 98 “agh!” but I lost track because the book was too interesting.

I would recommend this book as a good summer read. Despite the drama, it still feels easy to read and entertaining.

I’m personally not a big wine drinker. I usually just opt for a Riesling, but I can’t even remember which one I like because I buy them too infrequently. Maybe when I stop having babies I can develop a more sophisticated palate. What do you like to drink?

Happy Reading… and drinking! 

 

 

Book Review: Arcadia by Iain Pears

Arcadia by Iain Pears

Arcadia

Amazon | Goodreads

What is it about?

Angela Meerson is a psycho mathematician who is working on a device that can transport people to another dimension. The problem is that they can only access one dimension, and Angela is convinced that it is actually their own dimension on a different timeline. When her boss decides to sell her invention as his own and ignores her warnings of danger, she must take matters into her own hands.

How was it?

This book is confusing because it has three distinct timelines with multiple character perspectives that seem to be at a different points within those time lines. (For example, Rosie wanders into the professor’s cellar while he is out-of-town, but he doesn’t actually leave town until two chapters later.)

Once I got used to the odd rhythm of the story telling, I was really intrigued by the story. I wanted to follow it through to the end to find out how it all was connected. The ending tied it all together but left a lot of unanswered questions about what happened to the characters. On the bright side, this allows you the freedom to really think about the story and decided where you wanted it to go.

I think this book was well worth the read.

Bonus

This book made a reference to a beautiful poem by William Henry Davies, called Leisure.

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

 

What a beautiful reminder to stop and enjoy your life. Perhaps with a good book? 

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Learning All the Time by John Holt

LearningAlltheTime

Amazon | Goodreads

What is it about?

John Holt made a career out of studying how children learn and wrote ten books about his findings. This book, Learning All the Time was assembled posthumously based on outlines and articles he had written. It illustrates how children WANT to, and WILL learn how to read, write, and count without being taught.

Is it good?

Despited being absolutely riddled with typos to a point where I sometimes struggled to figure out what was being talked about, this book was great. It really brought insight into how small children explore the world. I look from the book to my children (1 and 3) and I see that it is happening. I found so many thoughts in this book worth discussing that I will probably write a few posts about it on my parenting blog, Homeschooled by Kids.

Book Review: Long Dark Dusk by J.P. Smythe

LongDarkDuskAmazon | Goodreads

What is it about?

This is book two in the Australia Trilogy. If you haven’t read the first book, then you should go read Way Down Dark now.

This book takes off a short while after the other ended. Chan is looking for a little girl named Mae, whom she promised she would protect. In her effort to do so, she seeks help from a shady person and ends up in over her head. Some characters from the first book reappear and help keep the story interesting.

Is it good?

It was excellent! It is packed with action and has lots of twists that keep you interested all throughout the book. I think that Chan tries to learn from her mistakes and I really want to find out what she will do next.

Happy Reading!