Friday, October 28, 2016

Korean Folk & Fairy Tales

Korean Folk & Fairy Tales 
by Suzanne Crowder Han
Hollym, 1991. 256 pgs. Nonfiction

This is a sampling of Korean stories which have been passed through generations via spoken and written traditions. It includes fables, anecdotes, fairy tales, origin stories and tales of the bizarre. Themes about life, love, power, money, family, justice, and humility are found throughout the stories, providing a window through which to gain some understanding of present-day Korean culture.

A society’s folklore can tell a lot about their traditional values, history, and influences. I really enjoyed this collection and the improved understanding of Korean culture it provided me. I love how short and consumable these stories are, with most no more than a few pages. I don’t know the original Korean versions of these stories, but there were a few stories where I felt the author used stronger language than was probably necessary. That was definitely the exception though, not the rule. This collection of stories is easy for me to recommend to anyone who loves folktales and fables, but I would advise parents to quickly read through a story before telling it to a young child. Not everything is suitable for very young audiences.

ACS

Thursday, October 27, 2016

I Am Not a Serial Killer

I Am Not a Serial Killer 
By Dan Wells
Tor, 2010. 271 pgs. Fiction

John Wayne Clever is not a typical teenager. John has long been drawn to dark and creepy things – a desire that is often feed by the work he does in his family’s mortuary. John knows that he is different, and he lives by a certain set of self-imposed rules meant to keep himself out of trouble and to keep those around him safe. But one day John comes face to face with the work of a true serial killer right in his own small town. John feels it's his duty to stop this madman, but can he do so without releasing his own demons?

This book is as weird as it is awesome. John is equal parts likable and disturbing, which makes for quite the unique protagonist. I loved the story and the turn it took that left me saying, “Ok, there is no way that really just happened.” There is not much more I can say about this story without giving too much away, but if you are looking for a good book to read this Halloween season I highly recommend this one.

CNC

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Speed of Dark

The Speed of Dark
By Elizabeth Moon
Del Rey, 2003. 340 pgs. Fiction

Lou Arrendale has autism. He is extremely high functioning with a job, his own apartment, and a car. Set in the near future where autism has been cured for those born on the spectrum, Lou is part of a subset of people who received early intervention but was born after the cure was discovered. Lou likes his life, friends, and fencing and doesn't feel like his autism is a detriment.

However, his bosses boss Mr. Crenshaw feels otherwise. He sees Lou's department, made up of individuals who all have autism, as a draw on resources. Mr. Crenshaw schemes to have the entire department take part in a brand new experimental cure whether the employees are interested in the cure or not.

I thought this book was fascinating. I really enjoyed learning about how Lou saw and interacted with the world from his autistic perspective. This book left me with a lot of things to think about and would be excellent for a book club to discuss.

AMM

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue
by John McWhorter
Gotham Books, 2008. 230. Nonfiction

Most Anglophiles know the traditional history of the English language. Old English came over with the Saxons. The Normans brought a wave of words from Old French and the church added some Latin and voila, Middle English. Then Shakespeare happened, and there’s Modern English. John McWhorter insists that this is only half of the story, and the boring half at that. In Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue he explores the evolution of English grammar rather than vocabulary and does so from an explanatory rather than descriptive standpoint. Where did we get our meaningless “Do” and our “-ing” form for basic present? From the Celts of course. Why did our case system and many other grammatical complexities collapse in the transition to Middle English? Because the Vikings were butchering Old English as their second language. Using nontraditional linguistic evidence, McWhorter tells “the untold history of English.”

Anyone who loves English will enjoy this book and its fast-paced, conversational tone. Rather than the usual high-minded, esoteric tone endemic to academia, McWhorter gives a pop-linguistics telling of the story accessible to any layman. The one fault that I did find with the book was that it is presented some controversial opinions in a pretty one-sided manner. He makes the Celtic influence on English grammar, for example, seem the only logical interpretation of history, when many linguists actually hold contrary views on the matter. Perhaps a voice for the uncannonized and underrepresented needs to be strong to be heard at all, but I still would have appreciated a bit more prevarication. With that one reservation, though, it was a fabulous read and a lot of fun.

LLK

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Study in Charlotte

A Study in Charlotte
by Brittany Cavallaro
Katharine Tegen Books, 2016. 321 pages. Young Adult

This isn’t your typical re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes and Watson as teenagers. Instead Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson are the respective great-great-great grandchildren of the famous crime-solving duo. Though aware of each other’s existence, Charlotte and Jamie meet for the first time after each is sent to Sherrington, a private boarding school in Connecticut. Jamie is fascinated by Charlotte, who like Sherlock, is a brilliant genius who plays the violin, conducts scientific experiments, and dabbles with drugs.

When a student turns up dead after assaulting Charlotte and later fighting with Jamie, both become suspects in his murder. However, Charlotte begins to suspect they are being set up when she realizes the death has been staged like the famous Sherlock Holmes novel, The Adventure of the Speckled Band. To clear their names, Charlotte and Jamie must begin an investigation, putting their deductive skills to the test and very lives at risk.

Fans of Arthur Conan Doyle’s original work and its adaptations will enjoy the many references to the original writings and a plot that includes poison, explosions, a deadly virus, and of course a possible connection to Moriarty’s descendant. However, be warned that there are some gritty topics such as drugs, rape, and death that make for a grim tale at times.

AJ

Saturday, October 22, 2016

What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot
By Liane Moriarty
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2011. 426 pgs. Fiction

Alice has an accident at the gym and when she wakes up she does not remember the last 10 years of her life. She believes she is still 29 years old and expecting her first child. To get out of the hospital she tells the doctors she is fine and returns to her home. The problem is that she has no idea who her children are, or how to be a mother. Even more puzzling to her is why her husband, who she adores, can't stand to be around her. Alice is baffled by the person she has become and she's not exactly sure she likes who she is anymore.

As I read this book I just kept thinking about who I was 10 years ago and what I thought my future would hold. How have my relationships changed? What has changed about my personality? How have my dreams changed? There is a lot to think about and discuss in this book. I was also impressed with how Moriarty portrayed one of the characters who was suffering from infertility. Having gone through infertility struggles myself, I thought she did an amazing job sharing the thoughts, feelings and frustrations of someone facing this trial.

I loved this book! Liane Moriarty is a talented author that examines very serious issues through her quirky characters. Because she jumps around between past and present, and who is narrating the story,  the reader just gets little snippets of information that don't all come together until the end of the book. Sometimes that is annoying to me, but not with Moriarty books. It just makes it more fun to read.

AL

Like A River Glorious

Like A River Glorious
Greenwillow Books, 2016, 406 pages, Young Adult
By Rae Carson

Leah Westfall has finally made it to California after a dangerous trek west. After her uncle killed her parents in Georgia and taking over everything she ever knew. Leah has finally found her home in California with her friends who are as close as family. Not long after this rag tag family starts establishing themselves in the California hills, Leah gets kidnapped by her horrible uncle. While under his thumb she gets to see firsthand how cruel her uncle is. As the story develops so does Leah’s magic. Will it be enough to finally end her uncle once and for all?

 I love this book. I especially love watching Leah’s growth through story. After her uncle kills her parents Leah really has a hard time trusting those around her. As she goes through the story she realizes how hard life is when you don’t trust anyone. She also discovers the strength that comes when you trust the right people in your life. I also particularly love the combination of magic and history because in a compelling and entertaining way the story tells what it might have been like for people during the time of the gold rush. The only critique I have is I wish there was a little more story development. Some of the plots I feel could have been developed a little better but overall a great story.
MH

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Darcy Swipes Left

Darcy Swipes Left
By Courtney Carbone
Random House, 2016. 114 pgs. Young Adult

Jane Austen meets the smart phone in this fun, modern telling of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Told via text messages, Tinder, emails, and more; I really enjoyed this version of a classic. The book was fast paced and less detailed than the original, but the story line was still true to the characters generations have come to love.

I loved the bright emoticons and images used in the book and the fact that it was easily read in one sitting. This book is recommended to those that love Jane Austen retellings and those unfamiliar with the story alike.

AMM

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast
By Nancy Campbell Allen
Shadow Mountain, 2016. 335 pgs. Romance

In this steampunk retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Lucy visits Blackwell manor to help take care of her sick cousin. She soon discovers that things are not as they seem as a restless ghost roams the halls and Lord Miles is obviously hiding something.

This is another book published my Shadow Mountain as part of their Proper Romance series but it is very different from all the rest. It still takes place in Regency England and I knew it would have a steampunk twist, but I wasn't fully prepared to have ghosts, vampires, and werewolves too. There was also a murder to be solved and a mysterious illness. There was a lot going on in this novel and for me, it was almost too much. The romance was very subtle and almost got buried under everything else. I still really enjoy this new line of books and will continue to read them but I'm am glad this one is not part of a series.

AL

The Nordic Theory of Everything

The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life
by Anu Partanen
Harper, 2016. 432 pgs. Nonfiction

Anu Partanen lived most of her happy, comfortable life in Finland, where she worked as a journalist. When she fell in love with and married an American, though, her life was turned upside down. She moved to New York and expected to adjust quickly, but she soon found that things that were simple back home were remarkably difficult in the United States. Taxes, childcare, education, and healthcare were far more difficult to navigate and much less effective than she was expecting. Curious about why she struggled so much, Partanen began investigating the differences between her native and adopted homelands.

Partanen bases her explanations of Scandinavian culture around the Nordic Theory of Love, which argues that meaningful relationships can only exist between equals. Her book is both an explanation of why Nordic countries are so successful in caring for their citizens and a defense against American critics of the socialist “nanny state.” Americans tend to be wary of dependence on the government, but Partanen argues that in our society we instead develop (what she sees as unfair) dependence on employers and family members. When jobs or family structures fall through, desperate situations can arise. She discusses how Scandinavians tend not to resent taxes because everyone, not just the poor, receives excellent benefits. They see exactly where their tax dollars go. She also points out that people living entirely off welfare are extremely rare in Nordic countries.

I enjoyed both Partanen’s story and her research. Though unlikely to convince everyone because of its tendency to gloss over the complexity of certain issues and the problems in Scandinavian societies, The Nordic Theory of Everything does offer excellent explanations for why Scandinavians do things the way they do. As for me, I’m basically ready to move to Denmark.

SR

Balanced and Barefoot

Balanced and Barefoot
by Angela J. Hanscom
New Harbinger Publications, 2016. 256 pgs. Nonfiction

It’s official. I’ve joined the quirky group of non-parents who occasionally read parenting books. Don’t judge.

Balanced and barefoot, written by a pediatric occupational therapist and founder of a nature camp for children, explores the challenges that arise from raising children primarily indoors. Angela Hanscom describes how physical and cognitive difficulties, including sensory processing issues, ADHD, anger and aggression, balance problems, and decreased strength, have skyrocketed among children in large part because they have very few opportunities to move throughout the day. Children are simultaneously tired and wired – mentally exhausted from hours in the classroom, and physically desperate for activity. They crave sensory experiences like spinning in circles, tumbling down hills, and climbing as high as they can. Things that may seem dangerous to adults, like children jumping off increasingly high rocks or babies playing in the dirt, are actually necessary for proper development, as they help children to understand and stretch their physical boundaries and skills. Hanscom also discusses how unstructured, increasingly independent, outdoor time calms children, decreases behavioral issues, and allows for better learning in the classroom.

This was an interesting read that opened my eyes to how many unnecessary and even harmful restrictions we place on children in modern American society. Hanscom offers simple, age-appropriate suggestions that are often common sense but sometimes counterintuitive. I recommend her book, especially for interested parents and teachers.

SR

Friday, October 14, 2016

Gemina

Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) 
By Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Knopf Books, 2016. 608 pgs. Young Adult

Seventeen-year-old Hanna Donnelly may live at the edge of the galaxy on Jump Station Heimdall, but she doesn’t let her remote location curb her social life. When she is not shopping for designer clothing, spending time with her dreamy boyfriend Jackson or emailing her father, the station’s captain, she is either IMing or meeting Nik Malikov, her drug dealer. Hanna is constantly involved in witty and colorful exchanges with Nik, a member of a tattooed, convict-filled crime family, whose unpredictable life couldn’t be more different than Hanna's. When the station is invaded by an unknown strike force, struck by alien predators, and threatened by a wormhole malfunction, Hanna and Nik are thrown together and quickly become the only hope Heimdall has for survival.

After being wowed by Illuminae last year, I doubted that its follow up would meet my high expectations. This book is told through the same ingenious collection of transcripts, emails, journal entries, video surveillance, classified files, and IMs. This time, however, there are two equally deadly enemies and the chemistry of the protagonists isn’t interrupted mid-story by a long physical separation.

As charming and refreshing as the format is, Gemina wouldn’t work without Hanna, who starts out as the stereotypical spoiled rich girl but has surprising character depth and military prowess. If you enjoy both young adult and sci-fi, this unique and thrilling series is a must read.

HSG

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Heist

The Heist (Kate O'Hare, #1)
by Janet Evanovitch and Lee Goldberg
Bantam Books, 2013. 304 pgs. Fiction

Kate O’Hare has caught her man; crook Nicolas Fox has finally been captured and brought to justice. Then Nick Fox pulls off the greatest con of all: he persuades the FBI to offer him a job, working side by side with Kate to catch other people living on the wrong side of the law. As the two band together to stop a corrupt investment banker who's hiding on a private island in Indonesia it is going to be the ultimate test of O'Hare's patience and Fox's skill.


I really enjoyed reading this book, Nick has a fun sense of humor and some of the best parts of the book are when he gets under Kate’s skin. The authors also did a really good job inventing the side characters of the story. It is really fun how they add to the plot from Boyd who immerses himself in any acting position to Willie who is a lead footed lady who will drive anything whether she has been thoroughly  trained in the equipment or not. If you are a fan of a light but fast paced read this is an entertaining story. 

MH

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Over Your Dead Body


Over Your Dead Body (John Cleaver, #5)
by Dan Wells
Tor, 2016. 303. Horror

John and Brooke are on the run. From who? The law, the Withered... pretty much everyone. Their running isn't aimless, though; they're following the clues lodged in Nobody's memories about the demons that still remain after the massacre at the end of The Devil’s Only Friend. Freed from the framework of the FBI, the two are finally able to do things John's way, stalking and killing Withered using every trick in the sociopathic toolbox. Unfortunately, Brooke is as fragile as ever, flipping between personalities at the drop of a hat and alternately resisting and falling prey to her own suicidal tendencies. As he tries to keep his last remaining friend alive, John must confront the fact that a killer’s life on the road might not be what Brooke needs.

This book is the fifth installment in the series that started with I Am Not a Serial Killer, and this volume is engaging as all the ones that came before it. I have to admit that this is the weakest installment yet, though, as Well’s characterization suffers a bit from over-use. John has already completed his character arc, and seems to have stagnated, mostly just rehashing emotional moments from his past instead of having new ones. The plot twist in this volume also seemed a lot less inventive than the ones in the previous books. That being said, I still love this series, and fans of the other John Wayne Cleaver books will gobble up #5 without question.

LK

Monday, October 10, 2016

Truly Madly Guilty

Truly Madly Guilty
By Liane Moriarty
Flatiron Books, 2016. Fiction 418 pgs

It started at a neighborhood barbecue, a seemingly inconsequential gathering of a few friends.  But then something happened which would change the three couples involved irreparably.

First you have Sam and Clementine, parents of two adorable daughters who, while not necessarily solid financial footing, have seemingly fulfilling careers and a comfortable life in the suburbs.  Next, we meet Clementine’s oldest friend Erika and her husband Oliver who both come from broken homes but find comfort in each other and their successful jobs and ordered life together.  And finally, there is Tiffany and Vid, Erika’s wealthy neighbors whose last minute invitation to dinner start the whole thing.

Slowly, Moriarty uncovers what really happened that evening and why it has so traumatized the participants.  What she excels most at is writing the perspectives of her characters.  Narration switches form one to the other and the reader is swept up in Clementine and Erika’s emotions as consequences are faced and dealt with.  I love Liane Moriarty’s writing, characters, and stories.  She has recently become a favorite and I’m so glad she has a healthy back list I can dive into including Big Little Lies, What Alice Forgot, and The Husband’s Secret!

CG

Louisa

Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams
By Louisa Thomas
Penguin Books, 2016. Biography 500 pgs.

Louisa Catherine Johnson was born in London to an American father and British mother.  She was raised to make a brilliant marriage and ended up falling in love with John Quincy Adams. 
Their lives together were far from tranquil thanks to their frequently conflicting personalities and years spent living abroad serving the newly established United States government.  They were station in Prussia, Russia, England, Massachusetts and Washington and Louisa saw more of the world than perhaps any other woman of her time. 

Louisa Adams led a fascinating life filled with domestic as well as public turmoil.  It is rather amazing to me that more biographies haven’t been written about her. This review of her life is sincere and finely crafted.  Thomas writes with obvious admiration while not glossing over the flaws and struggles of the book’s subject. 

I read this soon after reading the new novel by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie America’s First Daughter and enjoyed comparing Louisa Adams with Martha Jefferson Randolph. Both women were witness to the birth of our nation but from very different perspectives.  This is American history and biography at its best!
CG

The Hating Game

The Hating Game 
By Sally Thorne
William Morrow, 2016. 384 pgs. Romance

After the merger of her book publishing company, Lucy Hutton is determined to maintain her nice girl image in the office. But when she meets Joshua Templeton, her new cubicle neighbor, she isn’t so sure. Josh is cold, calculated, and not afraid to point out Lucy’s flaws. Before they know it, Josh and Lucy have started a childish game of one-upmanship that neither wants to lose. When a coveted promotion is announced, the tension - or the sparks - couldn’t be higher and Lucy is left questioning Josh and the game itself.

Based on the cover, title, and premise, this book seemed too good to be true. Who doesn’t enjoy the classic hate-to-love romance trope when it’s done well? To my surprise, The Hating Game was one of the most fun books I've read this year. I alternately snickered while reading the smart banter and sighed during the romantic scenes. This isn’t a clean read and the constant references to Lucy and Josh’s height difference can be grating but if you are looking for a witty office romance, this is for you.

HSG

Before the Fall

Before the Fall
By Noah Hawley
Grand Central, 2016. 391 pgs. Fiction

Noah Hawley's latest book begins with a plane crash. The rest of the book is a one by one examination of the crew as well as the passengers on board -- most happen to be very powerful people. The book also follows Scott Burroughs, a painter, and four-year-old JJ, sole heir to his father's media empire, who are the only survivors of the crash. These two must band together amidst a growing media frenzy as the authorities desperately try to find out what, or who, really brought the plane down.

Noah Hawley is the writer of one of my favorite TV shows, Fargo. So, when I heard he wrote a new novel I knew I had to read it! Hawley did not disappoint. I was hooked from the beginning and I couldn't stop reading until I finally figured out what really happened!

CNC

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Gentleman

Cover image for The gentleman
The Gentleman
By Forrest Leo
Penguin, 2016, 287 pages, Historical Fiction

Distraught at the loss of his inspiration, Lionel Savage, a struggling poet in Victorian London, accidentally conjures the Devil and realizes that he has inadvertently sold his rich wife's soul to him. Horrified at what he has done, Lionel plots a rescue mission to Hell with an assortment of unlikely companions.

This book is possibly exactly what P.G. Wodehouse would have written if he’d lived in Victorian England. Since I love both Wodehouse and this time period, this was the perfect book for me. Lionel Savage is more sarcastic than a Wodehouse main character, but he is also less comically weak and helpless as well. The side characters really steal the show, as they’re all exaggerated versions of English stock characters. There are strong English gentlemen, clever butlers, liberated young women, and dangerous intellectuals. As for the Devil, he’s just a nice, lonely gentleman who lives in an inaccessible place he prefers to call Essex Grove, and who happens to have a poetic gardener named Dante Alighieri.

Along with larger-than-life characters and zany situations, Savage inserts more humor in the formatting of the book. The book is edited by Lionel’s cousin, who leaves his opinions of Lionel’s behavior peppered throughout in footnotes. Occasional woodcut illustrations lend to the Victorian setting and tone, and heighten the comedy. This is a great read if you’re looking for something fun and a little bit bizarre

MB

The Memory Book

Cover image for The memory book
The Memory Book
By Lara Avery
Poppy/Little, Brown and Company, 2016, 357 pages, Young Adult Fiction

Eighteen-year-old Sammie has plans for the future. As soon as she graduates from high school she’s going to move out of her small town and head to NYU and law school, after which she dreams of being a human rights lawyer. But when she’s diagnosed with Nieman-Pick Type C, a rare genetic disorder that breaks down both the memory and the body, Sammie has to come to terms with the fact that the only time she has is now.

Lara Avery made a smart decision in telling this story through a series of journal entries. The true heartbreak of Sammie’s disease is portrayed as she shifts from someone smart enough to be school valedictorian and debate team champion to someone who can’t remember the names of her loved ones. But being forced to accept her body’s limitations makes Sammie take risks and learn to appreciate the things she has now. While I’m not a general fan of angst-ridden YA or (hints of) love triangles, Avery handles Sammie’s descent into the disease with style and class and some beautiful moments. If you love books like The Fault in Our Stars, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, or If I Stay, this book is for you.

MB

Friday, October 7, 2016

Reign of Shadows

Reign of Shadows By Sophie Jordan

Harper Collins, 2016. 304 pages. Young adult, fantasy.

The assassination of her royal parents and the onslaught of a sudden and permanent eclipse drove Luna and her guardians into hiding just moments after her birth. For seventeen years, they have lived in seclusion, hiding from both the tyrant who killed her parents and took their throne and from the monsters that erupted from the ground when the sun went black. Hidden in a tower in the middle of the Black Forest, Luna pines for the outside world until the day she rescues a triad of travelers, led by a boy she can't keep off her mind. Her choice to save their lives tears hers apart.

Loosely based on the idea of Rapunzel (rather than the story), Reign of Shadows is a fun blend of light horror, romance, and adventure. The romantic attraction between Luna and Fowler is self-admittedly contrived; Luna scolds herself for being attracted to literally the first boy she's ever met. The world Jordan creates is full of objectively terrifying creatures, but she shies away from delving deeply into that atmosphere. I think I would have liked Reign more if it had been a little less balanced and more focused on one aspect or another, but I still enjoyed it. The early description of Luna versus how Fowler describes her is one of my favorite moments because Fowler's observation changes the way the reader perceives Luna. Reign is a good introduction to horror as a genre, to see if you want more or less.

JMS

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Glitter

Cover image for GlitterGlitter
By Aprilynne Pike
Random House Books for Young Readers, 2016. Young Adult. 384 pages.

Caught in a power play between her mother and a megalomaniacal king and CEO, Danica plots her escape from the cyberpunk parody of Versailles in which she's been trapped. Unfortunately for Danica, her plan is terrible. An engrossing look at how desperation drives individuals to atrocious solutions, Glitter is equal parts Breaking Bad and a recreation of the Bourbon Kings. The 'twenty minutes into the future' technological aspect also invokes questions of privacy, as every aspect of Danica's criminal empire revolves around hiding her enterprise from an all seeing AI that controls the Palace of Versailles. Essentially, a financial collapse in France allows a billionaire to buy Versailles and create his own pocket kingdom where nobility is determined by the number of shares an individual or family owns of his company. His teenage grandson reigns as a budding tyrant after a plane crash claims his parents. From him and the matrimony they are blackmailed into by Danica's mother are what Danica schemes to escape.

I literally couldn't put it down. The primary protagonist and antagonist were equally unlikable, but the palpable desperation Danica exhibits creates an atmosphere where the reader can understand why she makes such terrible choices. While Glitter revolves around dealing drugs, it conveys the message that any victories claimed in such a manner are inevitably Pyrrhic. The drastic contrast between Danica and her parents' goals and coping mechanisms adds an additional air of tragedy, while the crescendoing collapse of her every relationship mirrors the  spiraling increase of the drug market under her thumb. Glitter is a modern tragedy in every sense.

JMS

Get the Guy

Get the Guy: learn secrets of the male mind to find the man you want and the love you deserve 
By Matthew Hussey
HarperWave, 2013. 250 pages. Nonfiction.

Get the Guy is a in depth guide on how to to understand the male psyche and practical techniques to actually get a man you want and deserve. Matthew Hussey is a leading relationship expert and gives an honest male perspective to many of the typical behaviors displayed by women when dating. He’s like a real life Hitch!

The first part of the book talks about finding the guy- how it’s a number game, you need the mindset of the chooser, and the traits of a desirable woman, building conversations into dates, and online dating. Then he talks about how to get the guy- the formula for attraction, insecurities, creating a great date, intimacy, premature obligation, and why some women get stuck in the friend trap. Then the third part, which I found to be the best part- how to keep the guy. He tells about how to tell if he’s right for you, what guys really think about commitment, and how to create a love that lasts. Each section has so many seemingly obvious tips and insight that it’s silly that every single woman isn’t applying them.

If you are single this is a must read!  Rehashing and talking things out with girlfriends is never as effective as you hope in understanding the guy’s mind. This book is a treasure of sound very real advice. Every guy and relationship is unique but the perspectives found here are very practical, useful and written in a very approachable way. I have already begun applying its principles (with success!) and recommended it to several friends.

LP

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Animal Farm

Animal Farm
By George Orwell
Plume: Harcourt Brace, 2003. 97 pgs. Fiction

Animal Farm is the classic book by George Orwell that tells the story of a farm where the animals decide to overthrow the oppressive humans and take control of their own farm.

I can't believe I made it to this point in my life without ever reading this novel. It is a deceptively simply story that older children can read but that also has value for adults. On the surface it is a fable but it is also an allegory of our society. My husband, son and I all read this at the same time and we have had some fascinating discussions. This is one of those great novels that speak to us today and holds many timeless truths. 

AL