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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ten-Second Book Reviews

I realized that I haven't done one of these in a really long time! So, I have many to catch up on!

Midwives: It's a weird book choice, but I was curious about this one. The basic story is that a woman is giving birth at home using a midwife, and things just go horribly wrong. The midwife ends up performing a c-section on the mother, and a lengthy court battle ensues. This book reminded me a whole lot of books by Jodi Picoult, so if you like her writing and aren't afraid of the subject matter (I was told over and over again not to read it), give it a shot. It wasn't as disturbing to read as it sounds, and it wasn't as anti-midwife as it sounds (in fact, I think it gave a lot of pretty good arguments FOR home birth under normal circumstances). But, people read into things what they want.

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President: Wow. I simply adored this book. It's the story of James Garfield, one of the four presidents that have been assassinated - and the one people usually forget. You know, haven't you thought "Lincoln, Kennedy... Uh, McKinley... and... ugh! Who is the other one?!" I really was expecting kind of a "meh" response to it, and I was concerned that I would be bored out of my skull reading presidential history. However, Candice Millard did an excellent job making me really believe that Garfield could have been one of our greatest presidents, if only he hadn't been needlessly shot by a crazy guy for really no reason at all. Top it all off with the fact that Garfield should have recovered from his wounds (and would have if he'd been shot only a decade or so later), and you have a wonderful, if not headshakingly frustrating story. If you're interested in history, medicine, or just want a good nonfiction read, this is one for you.

... and then I read The Soldier's Wife, and found the book that I would find "meh" and boring. It's the story of a woman living on the island of Guernsey during WWII, raising her two daughters. The island was German-occupied, and it becomes easy for her to get pretty sympathetic to the German soldiers (if you know what I mean, wink-wink). This makes it sound pretty awesome, and in fact it does pick up a little towards the end of the book. But, in general, zzzzz... I was bored. It was slow moving and bo-ring.

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1): A lot of times when I review books in a series, I review the whole series at once, but for A Song of Ice and Fire (which is the true name of the Game of Thrones series) I'm going to review them one by one. I had not yet seen the HBO series when I read Book 1, and I found it LONG and slow-moving. I liked it okay, and I gave it a so-so rating, but it wasn't until I actually watched the first season of the series that I started to truly enjoy it. This book basically sets everything up for the following books, and I think that if you're going to read the series, you should definitely start with this one and not skip ahead (even if you've seen the television series). It will be well worth it to get used to the names and the writing style, as well as learning all of the things that the series skips over. It's handy to know that there is an appendix at the end that explains the houses and who the characters are. I read on Kindle, so I didn't discover this until I was done, and it would really have been helpful to have known this all along...

Divergent: This is book one in a three-book (I think) young adult dystopian series. Does it sound like The Hunger Games based on that description? Well, the books are being touted as the next Hunger Games series, and there is a movie being made, so it's very HG-like. It's another story of a group of teens in a future dystopian world fighting each other, although not for the same reasons as in the HG series. The world is divided into "factions," and teenagers must choose which they want to be a part of. We follow the lead character through her choices, and also discover some pretty messed up things about the world she is living in. I enjoyed it, and I think that if you enjoyed The Hunger Games series, you should give this one a try.

Insurgent: The second book in the series, this one picks up right where Divergent left off (and I mean RIGHT where it left off - seconds later). Since I finished Divergent and immediately started Insurgent about a minute later, it felt to me like they were one long book. I'll say this - if you read Divergent and have a ton of questions about what is going on, and how things are working in this new world, never fear - Insurgent really answers a lot of questions. Although - it begs more questions. Based on how Insurgent ends, I think the third book in the series (not yet written or published, but author Veronica Roth is joking that it will be titled "Detergent") will hopefully tie everything up and answer the rest of the questions that I have about what is going on in this series.

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