The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Posted by on Aug 18, 2017 in 2017, 4 stars, Book Review, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle | 1 comment

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Pam SmyThe Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Pam Smy

Genre: Mystery
Format: Hardcover and Ebook
Series: #5 in the traditional canon of Sherlock Holmes
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: originally 1902, this edition 200
Pages: 271
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

“Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!”
The body of Sir Charles Baskerville has been found on the grounds of his Devon estate, his face a frozen picture of horror and fear. The only clue is the footprint of a terrible beast. Locals blame the legendary monster that haunts the moor, fulfilling the diabolical curse of the Baskervilles. But Holmes is sure the answer lies within the natural world. Can he and Watson solve the case before Sir Charles’s heir meets the same terrifying fate?

This classic horror story, featuring Pam Smy’s eerie artwork, pits science against superstition and detective against dog, as Holmes hunts down a fiendish murderer.

My Thoughts:
I started reading the Sherlock Holmes books a few years ago and enjoy them. Suddenly, oops! It’s been three years since I read one. That’s why I put this on my list of Five Books I Want to Read Summer 2017. My library had this beautiful illustrated edition with wonderful artwork and lovely thick paper. It was one of those books that just feels good to have in your hands.

The story was interesting. I went into it not really knowing anything about it which kind of surprised me. In this book, Holmes is actually absent for quite a bit. Watson actually begins the investigation on his own, Of course Holmes comes along and winds things up in his usual style.

It’s a classic that holds up to time. Even though it’s a now historical setting the writing doesn’t feel old. The buildup of tension and the dark atmosphere worked well.

The edition I read was illustrated beautifully by Pam Smy. Her artwork only added to my enjoyment of this book.

Pam Smy Illustration in Hound of the Baskervilles

Pam Smy Illustration in Hound of the Baskervilles

4 stars Rating 4/5

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A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

Posted by on Aug 8, 2017 in 2017, Book Review | 2 comments

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'EngleA Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: This edition 2007, Originally 1963
Pages: 216
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I’ll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract.”

A tesseract (in case the reader doesn’t know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L’Engle’s unusual book. A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg’s father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem.

My Thoughts:
I have no idea how I missed reading this as a kid. It’s yet another one of those children’s classics that I somehow missed. When I heard and saw people familiar with the book getting excited about the trailer for the upcoming movie, I knew I had to get a copy.

This was so much fun I’m kicking myself for not reading it before now and now that I’ve seen the movie trailer I’m excited about that too.

This blend of science fiction, fantasy, and adventure is just the kind of thing I would have loved as a kid. It might have been a little too much if I’d read it too young however because the idea of IT being such a powerful evil thing.

Have you read any of the follow up books? Are they worth my time?

4 starsRating 4/5

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Unmentionable by Therese O’Neill – Audio Edition

Posted by on Aug 4, 2017 in 2017, 4 stars, Audio, Book Review | 2 comments

Unmentionable the Victorian Ladys Guide to Sex Marriage & Manners by Therese O'Neill narrated by Betsy Foldes Meiman and Jim Meskimen

Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Publication Date: 2016
Length: 7 hours 12 minutes
Narrated by: Betsy Foldes Meiman and Jim Meskiman
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Have you ever wished you could live in an earlier, more romantic era?
Ladies, welcome to the 19th century, where there’s arsenic in your face cream, a pot of cold pee sits under your bed, and all of your underwear is crotchless. (Why? Shush, dear. A lady doesn’t question.)
Unmentionable is your hilarious, scandalously honest (yet never crass) guide to the secrets of Victorian womanhood, giving you detailed advice on:

  • What to wear
  • Where to relieve yourself
  • How to conceal your loathsome addiction to menstruating
  • What to expect on your wedding night
  • How to be the perfect Victorian wife
  • Why masturbating will kill you
  • And more

My Thoughts:
Several people I know enjoyed this book and it sounded fun so it was an easy choice to spend an Audible credit on it.

This was fun. It was written as a dose of reality to modern day women romanticizing life in their historical books. Not so glamorous. I knew going in that it was written with a touch of sarcasm and humor so I wasn’t surprised at that part. This is not dry nonfiction. This is the author talking to the reader with a wicked grin in her voice that clearly says she’s enjoying ruining the reader’s romantic notions.

Having just finished Get Well Soon, I was familiar with the parts about some of the common diseases of the era. There was plenty of other new information that made me happy to have been born in the twentieth century.

Betsy Foldes Meiman does the majority of the narration with Jim Meskimen narrating the parts that are quotes from books written by men. Meiman seems to have fully embraced the tone of the book and seems to enjoy the snarkiness. While I though it was a little overedone at times, her narration clearly fit the tone of this particular book but I’m not sure she’s someone I’d want to narrate a more straightforward story.

It was fun, interesting, educational if not a but cringeworthy at times and a book I’d recommend.

Rating
4 stars 4/5 for the book

3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the narration (or maybe the production)

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Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson

Posted by on Jul 21, 2017 in 2017, 4 stars, Book Review | 0 comments

Miss Buncle's Book by D.E StevensonMiss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson

Genre: Fiction
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication Date: This edition 2012, Originally 1934
Pages: 299
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

Who knew one book could cause so much chaos? Barbara Bunde is in a bind. Times are harsh, and Barbara’s bank account has seen better days. Maybe she could sell a novel … if she knew any stories. Stumped for ideas, Barbara draws inspiration from her fellow residents of Silverstream, the little English village she knows inside and out. To her surprise, the novel is a smash. It’s a good thing she wrote under a pseudonym, because the folks of Silverstream are in an uproar. But what really turns Miss Bunde’s world around is this: what happens to the characters in her book starts happening to their real-life counterparts. Does life really imitate art?.

My Thoughts:
This was just utterly charming. The book Miss Buncle writes when she needs money is based on her observations of her neighbors in her small town. They are so thinly disguised that everyone is soon ready to hunt down the author. Chaos ensues.

It’s just a lightly funny story that’s filled with funny and interesting characters. Some of it is a bit predictable but there are also surprises.

Even though it was originally published in the 1930’s the story and the humor are fairly timeless.

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Silverstream/Copperfield. If you need a break from heavier books this book is just a lovely little vacation. There is a sequel I’ll be putting on my library wish list.

4 starsRating 4/5

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Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright – Audio Edition

Posted by on Jul 14, 2017 in 2017, 4 stars, Audio, Book Review | 0 comments

Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright narrated by Gabra ZackmanGet Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright narrated by Gabra Zackman

Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Publication Date: 2017
Length: 7 hours 43 minutes
Narrated by: Gabra Zackman
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

A witty, irreverent tour of history’s worst plagues – from the Antonine Plague, to leprosy, to polio – and a celebration of the heroes who fought them.

In 1518, in a small town in Alsace, Frau Troffea began dancing and didn’t stop. She danced until she was carried away six days later, and soon 34 more villagers joined her. Then more. In a month more than 400 people had been stricken by the mysterious dancing plague. In late-19th-century England an eccentric gentleman founded the No Nose Club in his gracious townhome – a social club for those who had lost their noses, and other body parts, to the plague of syphilis for which there was then no cure. And in turn-of-the-century New York, an Irish cook caused two lethal outbreaks of typhoid fever, a case that transformed her into the notorious Typhoid Mary.

Throughout time, humans have been terrified and fascinated by the diseases history and circumstance have dropped on them. Some of their responses to those outbreaks are almost too strange to believe in hindsight. Get Well Soon delivers the gruesome, morbid details of some of the worst plagues we’ve suffered as a species, as well as stories of the heroic figures who selflessly fought to ease the suffering of their fellow man. With her signature mix of in-depth research and storytelling, and not a little dark humor, Jennifer Wright explores history’s most gripping and deadly outbreaks, and ultimately looks at the surprising ways they’ve shaped history and humanity for almost as long as anyone can remember.

My Thoughts:
I heard about this one from some friends on Twitter who were enjoying the audio edition. I had an audible credit available so I bought it.

I enjoyed learning about well known and not so well known diseases and plagues and meidcal care throughout history.

This book is full of interesting facts and tidbits. There’s also quite a bit of sarcasm and humor. The author makes a lot of jokes. Some of them aren’t as funny but I did giggle quite a bit while listening to this.

The narration by Gabra Zackman mostly good. I don’t know whether it was the production or the narrator herself but there was a quirk with this audiobook that was distracting. Almost every sentence sounded as if the playback speed was increased for the first few words. It was noticeable enough that I kept checking my ipod to see if the playback speed setting was changing. I even downloaded the book a second time to see if there was a problem with that but it didn’t make any difference. It was a minor irritation and not enough to make me stop listening.

I do recommend this book but if you choose to read it I recommend that print format.

 

Rating
4 stars 4/5 for the book

3 stars 3/5 for the narration (or maybe the production)

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Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Posted by on Jul 7, 2017 in 2017, 4 stars, Book Review | 2 comments

Binti by Nnedi OkoraforBinti by Nnedi Okorafor

Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 90
Source: Library

The Book:
From the publisher:

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself – but first she has to make it there, alive.

My Thoughts:
This little 90 page novella is a whole lot of story.

One of the folks in my LibraryThing group mentioned this and since I hadn’t read much science fiction in a while I decided to give it a try. You should get your hands on this and read it.

It begins in Africa where Binti is the first of her people to go the University across the galaxy. The trip becomes a harrowing adventure for her but I’m not going to say anything else about the plot beyond what is in the synopsis above because it would be spoilerish.

I discovered that the author has written two more novellas in this series. The second is available but the third won’t be out until January.

Grab this book and the next for your next readathon.

4 starsRating 3/5

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