Title: The Ascent of Woman
Author: Melanie Phillips
Review Summary: Initially the tone was too dry and the information was repetitive throughout, but the action picked up enough at the end to add some excitement to this thoughtful analysis of the women’s rights movement.
I picked up this somewhat obscure book (only obtained through my school library by special request) for the goodreads group I’ve been most involved with lately, The Perks of Being a Bookworm. Only after I started reading did I realize that it might be hard to find in the US because it’s actually a history of the women’s rights movement in Britain. Just learning what happened in this period of turmoil was interesting (and helped me get some references I completely missed the first time around during an audiobook “re-read” of Caitlan Moran’s How to be a Woman). The book’s real strength, however, was in the focus on issues that divided the women’s rights movement as some are still relevant today. Continue reading
Title: The Signal and the Noise
Author: Nate Silver
Fun Fact: There was public outcry in 2001 when the weather channel attempted to change the color representing rain from blue to green.
Review Summary: I loved the topic and was incredibly happy that the author was able to clearly present complex computational topics without oversimplifying.
I thought I should just get that geeky admission out of the way in the title since my love of this book is largely based on my love of data and the cool things we can do with it. Nate Silver is an awesome statistician best known for his model that has done a great job predicting election winners. In this book, he looks at a lot of incredibly interesting topics from public issues to sports and policy decisions to natural disasters while analyzing the common mistakes people make when making predictions about the future. Continue reading
Title: The Registry
Author: Shannon Stoker
Source: from publisher for TLC book tour
Review Summary: A respectable addition to the dystopian craze, well written with an interesting premise and great character development.
In a dystopian America, women are listed in the registry where they are auctioned off as brides when they turn 18. Boys are considered worthless and often thrown out to survive on their own between school and mandatory military service. Unsurprisingly, not all the men produced by this brutal system are men a girl would want to be married to, as Mia finds out from her married older sister. Sheltered as Mia is, escape will be difficult even with the help of a better educated friend and a boy working as a farm hand. Especially once the ruthless man who wanted to buy her discovers she’s run away. Continue reading
Title: Water for Elephants
Author: Sara Gruen
Review Summary: The characters were fascinating and their personal stories were moving, but the main character didn’t do much to advance the plot.
Left penniless after his parents’ death, Jacob Jankowski quickly fell in love with the two stars of the circus: the beautiful performer Marlena and the elephant Rosie. However, Marelena is already married and her husband is sometimes completely brutish to her and the circus animals. With the circus owner on his side, her husband is very dangerous and Jacob will have a hard time escaping with his life and those he loves. Continue reading
Title: Queen of the Air: A True Story of Love and Tragedy at the Circus
Author: Dean Jensen
Fun Fact: The circus could perform for as many as 2.5 million people in a year, meaning famous circus performers were probably the most seen celebrities in the US pre-television.
Review Summary: The era is fascinating, but the drama that made most of the story wasn’t very moving because of the unsympathetic main characters.
Although she began life as the daughter of a poor circus family, Leitzel’s skill as a trapeze artist catapulted her to world-wide fame. This allowed her to become something like circus royalty, making extreme demands of her managers and carrying on illicit affairs that would be grounds for dismissal in others. Her passionate affair with another exceptional trapeze artists, Alfredo Codona was one of the most dramatic events of her drama-filled life. Continue reading
Author: Steve V Cypert
Source: from publisher for review
Review Summary: The plot was creative and interesting, but the writing was a somewhat stiff and the ending fell a little flat for me.
Scapemaker takes place in a world were some people, known as “Dreamscapers”, are born with the ability to enter a dream world in which monsters and myths are real. Although Matthew’s father teaches dreamscaping, Matthew is unaware of the existence of Dreamscapers until his father’s mysterious descent into a coma forces him to learn. He quickly finds that his father’s coma was caused by events in the dreamworld, events which have left a powerful talisman his father was guarding unprotected. Now Matthew must act as guardian and try to free his father before it’s too late. Continue reading