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The Week in Review: 12.14.2018

December 14, 2018
tags:

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

National Geographic Kids WEIRD BUT TRUE! 10: 350 OUTRAGEOUS FACTS might be aimed at 8 to 12 year olds but I loved and I think anyone who loves trivia will too.  This small full color book (6½ inches square) has a shiny cover and is printed on high quality, glossy paper.  It contains great, eye-catching photos and graphics and an index in the back.  My favorite part, though, is all the obscure facts it contains.  I practically read the book to my family, so I’m sure they were glad when I was through with it.  I’m sure I’ll pick it up again to flip through it and impress people with my knowledge.  I think WEIRD BUT TRUE! would make a fabulous gift for you or someone else.  (Review copy provided by Media Masters Publicity.)

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I was excited to pick up IN PIECES by Sally Field since I enjoy her work and like to read memoirs.  Field starts the book recalling her childhood (mostly her home life) in a very detailed manner – almost too detailed for me – that almost became tedious after a while.  Thankfully, it became less detailed and I was able to settle in with the story but was rather surprised that it ended with the death of her mother.  Even with all her success, hers was not a happy life, so the book is raw and grim.  I thought Field’s writing was solid but found her approach to telling her story uneven.  I’m sure writing it was cathartic for her but it left me feeling rather sad and unsettled.  I liked the book okay but can’t say that I loved it.  (Review copy provided by Grand Central Publishing.)

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MARCUS VEGA DOESN’T SPEAK SPANISH by Pablo Cartaya is a wonderful middle grade book about hope, family, and doing the right thing.  Marcus is big for an 8th grader so he stands out.  His dad isn’t around and his mom works hard to make ends meet.  Marcus tries to help his mom by earning money escorting kids to and from school.  He also tries to protect his special needs brother.  When he stands up to a bully at school and lands in hot water, his mom decides it’s time for a trip to Puerto Rico to see family.  Marcus loves the idea and secretly hopes he’ll find his father but he finds so much more.

I liked everything about this book.  The characters are great – I adored Marcus and his family.  I thought the story was terrific too.  I know many young people will relate to Marcus and his home life.  I loved the setting too – parts of the book almost felt like a love letter to Puerto Rico and its people.  The author reads the audio version and I was very impressed with his work – he was expressive and did voices and accents well.  Middle grade readers on up will enjoy Marcus and his story.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

Carl and I watched Dumplin’ and I thought it was terrific!  Willowdean is crazy about her Aunt Lucy but doesn’t feel like she lives up to the standards of her former beauty queen mother.  After Lucy passes away, Willowdean (called Dumplin’ by her mother) decides to enter a pageant as a protest.  A few other girls follow her lead and learn a lot about themselves along the way.  I thought the casting and acting were terrific and laughed and cried my way through this movie.  I’ve had the book for a while and want to read it soon.

Off the blog

  • My Christmas cactus is finally blooming.  It usually blooms around Thanksgiving, so it’s a little late this year.

  • We got a little snow Saturday night.  Things were worse than this photo shows, though, because we got rain and sleet on top of the snow.  Other parts of our area got more than we did – 2.8 inches, which was a record for the date.
  • Between the snow and ice on Sunday and minor outpatient surgery on Wednesday, I didn’t get many walks in last week and averaged just under 12,500 Fitbit steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?

Wondrous Words Wednesday

December 12, 2018

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!   If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

This week’s words are from DOPESICK by Beth Macy.

1. iatrogenic – “Daily users were not socially stigmatized, because reliance on the drug was iatrogenic.”

Iatrogenic means relating to illness caused by medical examination or treatment.  In the case of this book, it refers to people who became addicted to opioids after they were prescribed by a doctor.

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2. titrate – “‘A few of them would stay on a stable dose once it was titrated properly, but more often than not it was causing problems’ both for the patients and for Huff.”

In medicine, titrate means to continuously measure and adjust the balance of a drug dosage.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Mailbox Monday

December 10, 2018

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.   I found these books in my mailbox last week:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Friday

Saturday

What did you find in your mailbox?

The Week in Review: 12.07.2018

December 7, 2018
tags:

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

I’ve never considered myself a fan of the Beastie Boys but I was always aware of them and their popular songs but decided to pick up BEASTIE BOYS BOOK by Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz anyway and, I’m happy to say, I enjoyed it for the most part.  The two friends (plus a few others) share memories from their childhoods and their days as bandmates.  I never realized how innovative this group was and learned a lot about them like they originally had a female drummer, what Beastie stands for, etc.  It seems they managed to keep grounded even with all their fame.  The audio book is read by the authors and a host of their famous friends.  It was an interesting concept but I found it somewhat distracting at times – it seemed odd to have a female voice narrating something written by a man in the first person.  I laughed out loud when the pictures in the book were “read,” though.  I think fans of the Beastie Boys will love this book – it would make a great holiday gift – but they may want it in print so they can see all the photos in the book.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

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Even though I’m way past the target audience, I’ve always been a fan of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney so as soon as the 13th book came out, I grabbed a copy at our local indie bookstore.  Greg Heffley is at it again in THE MELTDOWN and, as usual, he made me laugh out loud.  Greg’s mom is on a campaign to reduce her kids’ screen time so when school is cancelled because of snow, she shoos Greg outside.  He decides to head to his friend Rowley’s house only to discover Rowley’s been sent outside too.  The duo become involved in a snow battle to end all snow battles – between the kids who live on the hill and those who don’t.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and thought the storyline was a lot of fun.  Greg isn’t the nicest or smartest kid out there but he feels so real to me so I’m sure kids can relate to him.  This book would make a wonderful holiday gift for young readers and reluctant readers alike.

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I’m sure most people have heard about BECOMING by Michelle Obama by now.  It’s the story of the former First Lady’s life – from her childhood through her years in the White House.  I thought it was well written and honest and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Hers is a true American success story.  She was raised in a working class family that valued education and hard work in the South Side of Chicago.  Never politically inclined, she met and fell in love with Barack Obama and supported his dream and the rest is history.  Obama revealed several personal things that I’d never read and also shared what it’s like to live and raise children in the White House.  I listened to the audio version of the book which is narrated by the author.  I thought she did a fabulous job and felt like I was listening to a friend telling me a story.  I do want to flip through a print copy to look at the photos.  BECOMING would make a fabulous gift for those who love memoirs by strong women.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

Not much of anything

Off the blog

  • I went with two friends for my annual mammogram on Tuesday.  Two of us had mammograms and the third was there for moral support and breakfast afterward.  We both got good results.
  • Carl got the outside lights up and we’ve started our Christmas shopping.

  • I started a new puzzle.  I thought it would be pretty easy until I realized most of it is white.
  • We walked at least three miles every morning and I averaged just over 17,650 Fitbit steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?

Wondrous Words Wednesday

December 5, 2018

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!   If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

My first word is from SWING by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess.

1. callowness – “The podcast that is our ticket out of the desert of callowness.”

This word was familiar and I felt I should know it but then I wondered if I had it confused with callousness so I decided to look it up and it’s a good thing I did.  Callowness means immature or inexperienced.

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My sister told me she read an article about the world Scrabble championship and discovered this word so I had to read more about it and found this article.

2. groutier 

As the article explains, groutier means sulky, surly, or bad tempered..

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Mailbox Monday

December 3, 2018

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.   I found these books in my mailbox last week:

Monday

Tuesday

Saturday

What did you find in your mailbox?

The Week in Review: 11.30.2018

November 30, 2018
tags: ,

the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

I wasn’t familiar with the music of Wilco or Uncle Tupelo so you might be surprised to see I picked up LET’S GO (SO WE CAN GET BACK) by Jeff Tweedy.  Tweedy grew up in Belleville, Illinois and became obsessed with music at a fairly young age, seeking out hard to find albums.  He started playing in bands when he was in high school and had some success with the band Uncle Tupelo.  When that band broke up, he formed Wilco which had even greater success.

Since music (and his bands) are a big part of Tweedy’s life they are also a big part of this memoir, but they’re not the only part.  Tweedy writes of his childhood, his wife and children, and his addiction, among other things in an open and honest way.  I chose to listen to the book and I’m glad I did.  Tweedy does a great job with the narration and his wife and one of his sons are featured as he shares conversations he had with them about what to include in the book.  The audio concludes with a few songs which I enjoyed so I’ve listened to more of Wilco’s music since then.  I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to those who enjoy music and/or memoirs.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

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SANITY & TALLULAH by Molly Brooks is a graphic novel for middle grade readers about best friends who live on an old space station named Wilnick.  Sanity is a natural at science and longs for a pet so she creates one of her own – a three-headed cat she names Princess Sparkle, Destroyer of Worlds.  When Princess Sparkle goes missing at the same time damage is found all over Wilnick, the cat is blamed.  Sanity is sure Princess Sparkle isn’t responsible and the two friends set out to find her.  They make a discovery that could mean life or death for the whole spaceship and it’s up to them to save everyone.

I loved the artwork and the basic story but I did have a few issues with this book.  I thought the girls’ friendship and cooperation were great and liked the fact that the story depicts girls being good at science but I found the story a little confusing at times and thought one of the subplots was completely unnecessary.  I have a feeling the target audience won’t worry about understanding all the details of the plot, though, and think it will be a hit with them.  (Review copy provided by Hyperion.)

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Adriana Trigiani is one of my favorite authors so I was excited to pick up her latest book, TONY’S WIFE.  When Saverio and Chi Chi meet, he’s immediately smitten but she’s ambitious and thinks being married will keep her from fulfilling her dream of being a singer.  He’s already a mildly successful singer and spends a lot of time on the road.  When they cross paths a little while later, she succumbs to his charms and they marry.  Once children come along, though, Chi Chi sets aside her aspirations for her family and they have to figure out how to make things work.

Spanning from the 1930s to the end of the 20th century, Trigiani immerses readers in Chi Chi and Saverio’s world of Italian American families, singers and songwriters, and people just trying to live their lives the best they can.  As I expected, I loved this book and thought the writing, the storyline, and the characters were terrific.  The story is a little sad at times and I felt that I knew the characters well so it did make me tear up a few times.   You’ll want to grab a copy of this wonderful book for yourself and another for holiday gift giving.  (Review copy provided by Harper Collins.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

Not much of anything.

Off the blog

  • Carl went to visit his dad so I spent more time at the store and got our Christmas tree up while he was gone.

  • I finished my latest puzzle.  This one was pretty easy compared to the last one.
  • I walked at least three miles every morning and averaged almost 18,750 Fitbit steps a day.

 

What’s going on in your corner of the world?