Saturday, July 11, 2015

Summer Book Swap 2015

Long time no writing.

This summer we once again did a summer book swap. I gave the husband "Bonk" by Mary Roach and the girl "Cold Comfort Farm" by Stella Gibbons.

 I received from the girl -

The first book for The Land of Stories. It wasn't bad but it was rather formulaic. I had figured out the ending actually almost before the set off on their travels through the Land of Stories. But I can see why it appeals to the girl and the story isn't too hackneyed that it was unbearable to read.

Next up the husband gave me -

It was a good read. Very interesting to read about different body types and how that relates to performance in sports. Also was interesting to read that the 10,000 hours thing is mostly myth which frankly I always suspected after reading Gladwell's book that included it. The book also avoids several pet peeves of mine when it comes to non fiction books - it didn't tell me what something would be expanded upon in a later chapter and it didn't trail off at the end.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summer Book Swap - Book 3

I wanted to introduce this book by first showing you a video of  how I think of George Plimpton. However, I was unable to find one that I could link to. Perhaps you have seen him in Nero Wolfe. If you have, then you would know what was running through my head the entire time I read this book.

Apparently my husband has a lot of sports books he feels I should read. To be fair, I've been wanting to read this one. I should start out by saying, I don't care for football. My high school didn't have a football team, they had a soccer team (football to the rest of the world). So, despite several attempts, I don't really understand the game and find it rather tedious.

Which of course makes you wonder why I would want to read this book. Well, for starters it was written by the founder of The Paris Review. Second, I'm a big fan of Bill Buford and enjoy narratives of someone unwittingly getting in far deeper than they expected in a project. (Husband's review of Heat.) George Plimpton pioneered the novice taking on a challenge with professionals to give the every day guy a glimpse into that world narrative. In this case, professional football.

Overall, it's quite good. Plimpton's cover is blown early on and the team sort of adopts him while still hazing him a bit. There were some echoes of Bull Durham in just life on the team and in whether you're going to be kept for the upcoming season.

I still don't care for football. Not even George Plimpton was going to change that. However, I do have a better appreciation of what goes into playing football. It's surprisingly complicated if only there were a better way to show that on the field, I might consider watching. Well, after several  - other - issues are taken care of as well.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Summer Book Swap - Book 2

The Girl is a big Miyazaki fan and also as a result has come to love some of the source material from his movies. One of her favorite movies is Howl's Moving Castle which is based on a book by Diana Wynne Jones. The book is of course a little different than the movie but very good and introduced to the writings of Wynne Jones which The Girl has been devouring of late.

When it came time for the book swap The Girl felt it was time I read the follow up to Howl's Moving Castle - Castle in the Air. She felt it was actually a better book than the first.

I'm not sure I entirely agree. They're both very different stories. And the 2nd book isn't really a sequel as much as a story with guest appearances.

It tells the story of Abdullah, a young carpet merchant, who daydreams he's a stolen prince. One day a man comes and sells him a magic carpet and suddenly he finds his dreams coming true in rather unexpected ways.

I really enjoyed this. It was a nice twist on the get a magic carpet and a genie trope. Characters from the previous book were well used. I finished this book around the time we saw Frozen and the princesses in this books were a lot cooler than either of the ones in that movie. Really it just ended up highlighting why I dislike Disney movies. But the book was well chosen on The Girl's part and we're both looking forward to reading the 3 book in the group as well as other Wynne Jones books.