It’s Monday What Are You Reading #57

Posted by on May 23, 2016 in Blogging/Reading, What Are You Reading? | 6 comments

It's Monday What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday What Are You Reading? is a weekly reading roundup is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

This is technically a weekly meme but I don’t read fast enough to make that worthwhile so I post it every two or three weeks.

Finished in Print

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
I am totally loving the television adaptation of this series and it’s a little surprising to me that The Hubster is enjoying it too. I’ve been rereading this just slightly ahead of the show and managed to wrap it up this weekend.

Started in Print

Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia McNeal

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia McNeal

This series has been on my TBR list for ages and I put it on my list of books to read this spring. I’m excited to finally start this series.

Continuing on Audio

Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters narrated by Barbara Rosenblat

Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters narrated by Barbara Rosenblat

After finishing and loving the Amelia Peabody series I decided it was time to give Elizabeth Peters’ Vicky Bliss series a try. It doesn’t have quite the charm that the Amelia Peabody series had, I’m enjoying it. I should finish this up this week.

What are you reading?

Reviews since my last update:
Jack of Fables Vol. 8: The Fulminate Blade by Bill Willingham

Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman, Audio Edition

What are you reading?

Read More

Weekend Update – The Bookish Nostalgia May 2016 Edition

Posted by on May 22, 2016 in Blogging/Reading, Bookish Nostalgia, Weekend Update | 6 comments

Weekend Update

Bookish Nostalgia April 2016

I totally stole this idea from Kay at Kay’s Reading Life. Every month she looks back in her reading records to see what she was reading this month in past years. I decided that would be fun even though my reading spreadsheet doesn’t go back as far as Kay’s records do.

Bookish Nostalgia

I’ve only been tracking my reading since October 2003 but it’s still fun to take a look back occasionally. Anything before mid-2006 hasn’t been on my blog and some of those old reviews are frankly a little embarrassing at this point. I’ll link to my full reviews when I think are worth reading.

Sometimes my reaction is “I can’t believe I read that” and other times it’s “Oh I remember where I was when I read that one”. and occasionally it’s “I really want to read that again.”

Monkeewrench by PJ Tracy
This was the first in a fun mystery/suspense series by a mother daughter writing team. I really need to get back to this series.

I finished my Alphabetical by Title reading project that and started right in with Alphabetical by Author.
The X President by Philip Baruth which was apparently not memorable.
Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks which I loved until the final chapter made it horrible.
Zorro by Isabel Allende which I didn’t love as much as I’d expected
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
Absolute Power by David Baldacci
Promise Me by Harlan Coben
The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean

The Girls by Lori Lansens
I adored this story of conjoined twins.

I finished 11 books in May of 2008 – Ah, life before social media. Sometimes looking back at my reading makes me consider unplugging more often.


Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Read More

Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman, Audio Edition

Posted by on May 20, 2016 in 2016, 4 stars, Audio, Book Review | 4 comments

Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman
Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion by Janet Reitman narrated by Stephen Hoye

Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Publication Date: 2013
Length: 15 hours, 40 minutes
Narrated by: Stephen Hoye
Source: Purchased

The Book
From the publisher:

Scientology, created in 1954 by a prolific sci-fi writer named L. Ron Hubbard, claims to be the world’s fastest-growing religion, with millions of members around the world and huge financial holdings. Its celebrity believers keep its profile high, and its teams of “volunteer ministers” offer aid at disaster sites such as Haiti and the World Trade Center. But Scientology is also a notably closed faith, harassing journalists and others through litigation and intimidation, even infiltrating the highest levels of government to further its goals. Its attacks on psychiatry and its requirement that believers pay as much as tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars for salvation have drawn scrutiny and skepticism. And ex-members use the Internet to share stories of harassment and abuse.

Now Janet Reitman offers the first full journalistic history of the Church of Scientology, in an even-handed account that at last establishes the astonishing truth about the controversial religion. She traces Scientology’s development from the birth of Dianetics to today, following its metamorphosis from a pseudoscientific self-help group to a worldwide spiritual corporation with profound control over its followers and even ex-followers.

Based on five years of research, unprecedented access to church officials, confidential documents, and extensive interviews with current and former Scientologists, this is the defining book about a little-known world.

My Thoughts
I think if Scientologists weren’t so secretive about things I probably wouldn’t care. I’ve been intrigued by the whole history, religion and organization for years. I’m glad I finally got around to listening to the audio of this.

Reitman is a journalist and contributing editor to Roling Stone. Her book created a lot of online chatter when it was released as did Going Clear by Lawrence Wright. Again, if the Church of Scientology wasn’t so adamant about discrediting the authors it probably wouldn’t be so interesting to me.

The traditional religious bedrock – worship, God, love and compassion, even the very concept of faith – is wholly absent from its precepts. And, unique among modern religions, Scientology charges members for every service, book, and course offered, promising greater and greater spiritual enlightenment with every dollar spent. People don’t ‘believe’ in Scientology; they buy into it.

Reitman’s book is partly a history of L.Ron Hubbard and how he went from science fiction author to founder of a religion. It’s also about how after his death, David Miscavige took control of the Church and it’s many related organizations. The most interesting parts however, are the stories she learned from former church members.

In my opinion, L. Ron Hubbard may have been a complete whack job but his successor David Miscavige is disturbingly power hungry. Some of the stories of the way he has treated the people suipposedly in is inner circle are downright strange.

I found it interesting that many people have left the Church of Scientology yet continue to practice many elements of it. There seems to be a number of former members who have left because of David Miscavige and how he is running the organization and not because they no longer believe the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard.

I’m a little confused by the choice to have Janet Reitman’s book narrated by a male. Stephen Hoye is adequate as a narrator but where Reitman is telling things from a first person perspective it seems odd to have that coming from a male voice. Hoye’s reading pace is also a little slow for me and I ended up listening to much of this book on the faster speed.

The book is a little dry in places and sometimes rambles a bit but it’s quite interesting, a little disturbing and worth reading.

4 stars Rating 4/5 for the book

3 stars 3/5 for the narration

Read More

Jack of Fables Vol. 8: The Fulminate Blade by Bill Willingham

Posted by on May 17, 2016 in 2016, 3 stars, Bill Willingham, Book Review, Comics | 0 comments

Jack of Fables Vol. 8: The Fulminate Blade by Bill Willingham

Jack of Fables Vol. 8: The Fulminate Blade by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges with art by Tony Akins and Jim Fern

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #8 in the Jack of Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 126
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume 8 is a compilation of issues 41-46 of the comic series.
From the back cover:

The newly dragonified Jack of Fables has finally found contentment in the form of a huge pile of gold upon which he can rest his enormous, scaly bulk. Contentment, however, never makes for an interesting story – which is why Jack isn’t the star of this exceptionally exciting collection.
Instead, his son Jack Frost takes center stage, traveling through a kaleidoscope of worlds in search of chivalric adventure and entry-level heroism. Along the way, his unique brand of open-hearted altruism will yield some cruelly valuable lessons regarding human nature – provided he can survive the endless waves of assassins that his efforts inevitably stir up.

My Thoughts:
I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that the increasingly insufferable Jack of Fables was totally absent from this volume of the series. This one is all about his son Jack Frost and his endeavors to become a hero. There are also occasional visits from Babe the Blue Ox and his remarkably hilarious fantasy life.

Jack Frost is determined to become a hero but he doesn’t think ahead very far before jumping in to help. His help has a tendency to be less than helpful. His sidekick Macduff the owl is a great character. He tries to rein Jack in but he’s not always successful.

This is the penultimate volume in the Jack of Fables spinoff from the main Fables series. They haven’t been nearly as good as the main series and I’m glad there’s only one more.

The artwork continues to vibrant and the story allows the artists to create some new and interesting settings. Some of it looks a little more science fiction that fantasy.

This one was actually OK but that was helped by the lack of Jack.

3 stars Rating 3/5

Read More