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Heist Society

by Ally Carter

This is my book for 4. A book involving a heist
It is also YA, not my usual thing although i have been reading more lately.

The heist part of the story is really clever and would work if the idea belonged to adults. It is not teenagery and silly and all over emotional the way the ideas of the characters in YA so often are.

The immaturity of the bunch of teens in the story is not too obvious. (This is what I struggle with in YA books the most.) In this book, they are getting on with being criminals and only occasionally slide into silliness and petty teenage-behaviour.

I am surprised Carter’s book have not been made into YA movies – it seems there are many that are well loved and this one would certainly make a good movie.

I never thought I’d ever say this, but I might even actually read this YA author again – seems there are a few titles with the same thieving, conning, smart and interesting teenagers. Likeable anti-heroes – we all need more of those

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by George Gordon Byron,  Edgar Allan Poe, John Keats, William Shakespeare

I listened to this book of poems for Book 29. A book about or set on Halloween.

I struggle to really appreciate poetry so I don’t read much. But I have discovered that having poetry read to you is glorious and amazing and wonderful, and many many words of hyperbole.

To this end, the narrators were obviously really important. This book is read by two narrators and the swapping between them keeps the listening alive. The sing song nature of poetry might result in a rather soporific narration were it not for their great reading, and the change in voices.

I have listened to the poems more than once and I am sure I will listen again. I am so happy to have discovered audio poetry.

Primal Fear

by William Diehl

I read this book for Book 1. A book made into a movie you’ve already seen for the Popsugar challenge in 2018
and boy am i glad i did
I loved the movie years ago when I saw it – it was the birth of my ongoing celeb crush on Ed Norton
I thought the book would be pretty good because the movie was! Boy, was I understating the facts!

This book is amazing. I sort of remembered what happened at the end but I was still carried along the story, riveted.

The characters are real and multi-dimensional. The balance between psychology and legal stuff is perfect so neither feels dominant. The speed of the story is perfect, lulling the reader into a comfort zone before spitting her out into a vortex of crazy!

I absolutely love this book – and want to both resee the movie and reread the book.

Fucking brilliant!

The Yellow Wallpaper

by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

I used his book for 46. An allegory but it could be used for 16. A book about mental health or 21. A book with your favourite colour in the title. It is a short story though at just 63 pages.
I really enjoyed this creepy and frightening short story

It is frightening really because it is how women were, and in some places pretty much still are, treated. The allegory lies in the fact that the surface story may be about one woman and how she is treated, while the deeper story is about the treatment of women, and specifically women with mental health issues.

Not dealing very well with the world – let’s lock you up, essentially in solitary confinement, and remove any stimulation at all
yeah – that makes sense

that should help you deal with post-partum depression perfectly!

shudder

this little story is so powerful and touches on so many noteworthy concepts – but pretty much boils down to a lack of knowledge or awareness of the female experience by men. True in 1892 when this was published and sadly so often still true now.

wonderful and powerful story
I wish some indie movie makers, preferably antipodean or British would turn it into a full length movie. It deserves to be one

An Unquiet Mind

by Kay Jamison

This is a book that fulfills prompt 16. A book about mental health

I really enjoyed this book.
I liked that it was part memoir part science. It is a raw and powerfully honest look at Jamison’s life and her illness, but rather than just being an emotional experience of it, Jamison has the benefit of scientific knowledge.

For me it was a perfect combination because I like memoirs and I am fascinated by mental health.

This book educates but it also entertains. It is filled with facts and knowledge but never feels like a textbook because it is always related to Jamison’s personal life.

I feel like anyone who has bipolar as well as anyone who knows and interacts with someone who does, should read this book. I feel enlightened and better able to be a good friend after this book.

Worth reading if the topic interests you even remotely

Master Harold…and the boys

by Athol Fugard
This is my book for 44. A book tied to your ancestry. That this is my ancestry does not fill me with pride but as a white South African I need to own it.
My ancestors were shitheads in many ways. Before they were colonizers of Africa I do not know where they came from – all over Europe probably.
And considering the fact that it was not the cream of society’s crop that were sent to new lands, I am probably from the dregs of European society.
But less about me and more about the book, that is a play
What a moving play this is
It had me crying in public and haunts me still.

As a white South African of a certain age, Master Harold is pretty much my people. He certainly is some of my uncles!
And while I do not want that to be my ancestry, it is what it is.

Every single white South Africans should read/listen to/watch this play
Because Hally is who we all are and who we have to never allow to be again.

A stunningly simple play with three characters and one setting, the complicated relationships between Sam, Willie and Hally stand out in stark contrast to the blank background. I am not sure if the past that propels them and the future that sucks them forward is as evident to non-South Africans as it was to me, but the position they are in history fills me with dread.
We know what is likely to be coming; we know the power that shitty little teenager has; we read between the lines of the relationship between the men and the boy.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this tale could be viewed from a place where it is all history ad no longer relevant. But I stand here in 2018 and feel like other nations are just picking up where we left off 20-odd years ago.

Such a powerful story so simply told.

Bravo bravo bravo

by Frances Hodgson Burnett

This is my book for 13. A book that is also a stage play or musical. There was a Broadway Show! I can only imagine how delightful it was!

I didn’t read this book as a child and I absolutely loved it
I loved the innocence of it – there is no sexual awaking or weird grown up love for a kid or any of the other creepy shit you find in so many olden days kids books.
There was filial love, sibling love and the innocent love little kids have for each other. But mostly there was a sense of belonging.
I found it very sweet and quite moving

I have read reviews in which the idea that the Magic was religion is suggested. I didn’t think that for a moment.
I thought it was the energy of nature, the power of believing in your self, and the support and love of those who care about you. With those three things on your side, you can do anything.
And I think that that is a most wonderful message for kids and adults alike to read.

Beautiful book

P is for Peril

by Sue Grafton

This is my book for 40. Your favourite prompt from the 2015, 2016, or 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenges. Prompt 27 in 2016 was A Murder Mystery

Sadly this is my first thumbs down of all the books I have read for this challenge. There have been a few DNF that do not even feature, but this one I finished.

I read on in blind hope I’d finally like the book. But to no avail.

My first ever Sue Grafton and I am really hoping I just got a bad one
I slogged through this book because everyone loves a Grafton
But I found the characters thin and 2-dimensional, predictable and cliched

And how unaware is Kinsey! If she were a real life PI she’d be dead if she behaved like this
I didn’t think her brave or smart – I thought she was dumb and asking to get murdered

But I have enough people I trust who love Grafton that I will return to the alphabet just to make sure
but right now – D is for disappointed

by Martha Wells

This was my book for  Book 27. A book set on a different planet.
(It could also work for 21. A book with your favourite colour in the title)

I found this book very moving – A cyborg security unit who has named itself MurderBot is not particularly interested in its job and kind of just bounces from group of humans to group of humans. More interested in watching series on the media feed (soapies in our language) than even informing itself about the current group of humans, suddenly it is treated as a valuable team member.
This confuses MurderBot as it is not what it expected at all.
And suddenly there is connection and plotting and a sense of responsibility for each other.

A most likable story with quite the sassy sarky main character
I will read more of Wells and am quite excited that this is Book 1 in a series

by Edward F. Murphy

This is a book set in the decade I was born in – the 60s. So if you are as old as I am, its an option for Book 36. A book set in the decade you were born
It tells the story of the first battle of Khe Sanh, also known as “the Hill Fights”, part of the seventy-seven-day siege of Khe Sanh.

The author is a Vietnam War historian, and this book is based on first-hand interviews and documentary research.

And I found it
Harrowing
Frightening
Very very sad

I cannot image the horror and terror of being engaged in battle and having your weapon jam and refuse to shoot, of having to hunker down in a hole in the ground randomly throwing grenades at anything that makes a noise outside because your fellow marines are all dead so any noise is trying to kill you, of using poor stock because the army cut corners, of running out of ammunition mid battle.
As if war is not bad enough, to be fighting a battle poorly equipped must be unfathomable.
But that is what these men did – they fought, they hung on, and they won.

That these youngster were fighting this war in the first place is horrendous, and then that they were expected to do with such rubbish support should surely be criminal.

I am glad that books like this exist, for while he war was questionable, the courage of the men sent to fight it was not.
Sadly, it will probably and up in the ‘least we forget’ pile of things we seem to have completely forgotten already

When will we learn?