Monday, December 24, 2012

The History of the Peloponnesian War

Here's another audiobook review for the Library Journal. It's written according to the journal's standards so it doesn't have my usual quirkiness, but oh well.

Written nearly half a millennium before the birth of Christ, Thucydide’s, The History of the Peloponnesian War continues to be one of the most powerful and influential works of our time. This masterpiece brings to life a convincing account of the struggle between the empires of Athens and Sparta over expansion, shipping, and trade and in the process combines myth, romance, and history to create a painstakingly factual record of the catastrophic conflict that eventually ended the Athenian empire. Neville Jason, renowned voice actor and winner of multiple Audiofile awards and the coveted diction prize beautifully brings to life a long forgotten era and fills the listener with an overwhelming sense of urgency and passion. For lovers of history; past and current. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Seven Deadly Sins: Settling the Argument Between Born Bad and Damaged Good

"The way is never shut if the light you seek is bright enough. If you are feeling a little dark, you can always change the bulb. Never let the limits of your understanding dictate how far you can go. We can be better."

Personally, if you had told me that a high school drop out, former addict, and heavy metal rock star had written that I would have laughed at you, but I guess I like to be proven wrong. This book was nothing what I expected, but FANTASTIC none the less. I had imagined that this book would be a rock and roll biography but I was happily proven wrong when it turned out to be a collection of essays on the "7 deadly sins" and why they aren't really sins and aren't deadly. It was pure unadulterated genius.

Corey Taylor writes like a mix between Hunter S. Thompson and Chuck Klosterman, all over the place and full of pop culture references making it impossible to put down. This book reads like part biography, part philosophy, and is all around kick ass. It really challenges you to think about what sin really is and how do we identify or grow past it. Are there new more current deadly sins? You bet! Taylor identifies what he thinks are our societies biggest pitfalls at the end of the book, his choices are actually spot on.

I highly, highly recommend this read, it's full of great quotes and stories, and insights on our society today. I truly hope that Corey Taylor doesn't put the pen down and starts working on another. Bravo.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


What a powerful and provocative book! From the second I picked it up I couldn't put it down. The illustrations in this graphic novel are soo stark and contrasting and fit the theme of the story perfectly.

Persepolis is a graphic novel depicting what it was like to grow up a young girl in Iran during the early eighties. The fact that it's through the eyes of a young child make it that much more powerful. Her innocence is evident as she tries to wrap her head around the violence, the extreme religious movements, the veil, and more.

If you want to learn more about the Middle East or Iran and don't know where to start this book is a great introduction to the subject and will point you in the right direction.

What a seriously innovative and clever concept. Graphic novels keep on getting better and better. I cannot wait to read the sequel (which came out in 2004). If you like historical fiction/ non-fiction graphic novels be sure to also check out Maus which explores the concentration camps during World War II.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Sweet Life in Paris

I'm a traveler at heart and I think that is the main reason I loved this book. Not because I give a hoot about cooking and baking but because I LOVE learning about other cultures. I love reading about how other people go about their daily lives, it's so fascinating.

This book basically reads as a travel guide/cookbook. The author David recounts his first five years living and adjusting to life in one of the greatest cities in the world, Paris. Each chapter is a short story about some aspect of Parisian culture followed by an exquisite recipe or two (the likes of which I will never be able to replicate). You will learn how to properly eat cheese, cut in line, order coffee, go to the doctor, make an absinthe cake and much much more. It is a great book and a must read for anyone planning to travel or live abroad in Paris.

Also, if anyone can figure out the divine sounding recipes make a few and send them my way for sampling :)

Winter Book Challenge - 1st Check in

Here's where I am so far on this challenge. The ones highlighted are the ones I have completed so far. My point score is 60, not too shabby!!

5 points: Read a book written by an author you have never read before.
     "Code Name Verity" by Elizabeth Wein
5: Read a book you already have at home but haven’t gotten around to yet.
10: Read a book written in the decade that you were born.
10: Read a book that takes place in the state/province where you were born. If you were born outside the U.S. and Canada, read a book that takes place in the country you were born.
15: Read a book titled
The _______'s Daughter or The _______'s Wife.
15: Read a book that was originally written in a language other than English.
20: Read a book with a number in the title. This could be an actual digit or a number like “hundred” or “thousand.” No arbitrary numbers are allowed (e.g. several, few, many, couple).
20: Read a book set during Christmas or another winter holiday.
20: Read a book written by an author who shares your initials.
25: Read a
Pulitzer Prize winner or finalist for fiction.
25: Re-read a book.
     "Boston Jane" by Jennifer L. Holm
30: Read three books from three different genres (e.g. romance, historical fiction, horror, biography, etc.). Remember, the books used for this category cannot count for any other category.
     1. "Enchantments" by Kathryn Harrison (historical fiction)
     2. "Shadow and Bone" by Leigh Bardugo (young adult fantasy)
     3. "Cloud Atlas" by David Mitchell (fiction)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Code Name Verity

This is easily one of the best young adult historical fiction novels I have EVER read. It was fantastic. All of the recommendations for it were justified and then some.I got glowing reviews from a college professor, Nancy Pearl, and a friend, clearly they know what's up :)

This story weaves an amazing tale of friendship during World War II. Maddie, an ATA pilot and Julie, a special operations spy endure hardships in England as they face sexism, Nazis, bombings, and more. This story is told in first person narrative as Julie (code name verity) is caught behind enemy lines in France and forced to reveal everything she knows. Her confession does more than contain codes and names however, it tells of her beautiful friendship with Maddie. Can she betray her country but not her friend? You MUST read to find out.

Seriously, it's great. You will learn sooo much about World War II history, aircraft, special operations, and Nazis. It's informative, intriguing, and endearing, it's perfect. It might sound daunting because it's listed as "young adult" literature but trust me, it's much more advanced than that. This is a book for all. Including you. So get out there and read it already!