read: 4 December 2013
Loved this book. Somehow missed it when it first came out. It’s the story of Oscar Wao a kid from the Dominican Republic whose family moves to New Jersey. But along the way we learn about his family’s cursed past, a lot of history about the DR and more about Oscar’s nerdy interests. Its hard to sum up this book because the different sections look at totally different characters and totally different time periods. The whole idea that there is a curse on the family is one that will be familiar to people who have read One Hundred Years of Solitude and even though this is a very different book, that theme is very familiar. I was really rooting for the Oscar character, the nerd character. You’re supposed to even though you know basically after reading the title that he is, in some way, totally doomed.
read: 30 November 2013
Had forgotten how much I loved this book when I was a kid. Someone brought it up again recently and I decided to re-read it. Loved all the wordplay, the subtle kid-level mystery and the neat illustrations that Raskin did herself. This was a great junior level mystery and puzzle book with a bunch of quirky interesting characters, well worth a second read if you haven’t picked it up in a while.
I was super hot and cold on this collection. Many of the stories are interesting turns on what w world of the future would be like if we started paying attention to our environment (in both utopic and dystopic ways) and some were more typical sci fi stories in a more ecosystem-intentional setting. The few times I started reading a story and was asking myself “What the hell is going on?” were the two times when Robinson had included chapters from longer novels. These pieces read as not-short-stories and were less engaging to read. I found a few of these stories really lovely--one about a near future where fortune-telling is part of the social and political fabric of the world and one about an injured bird god king--but a few other ones I found too uneven or unclear even as I read the back matter and saw, after the fact, what the authors were trying to get at. Ultimately not for me but I’m going to try to track down some similar books on related themes.
read: 11 November 2013
Loved this collection of old-tymey (and not so old tymey) tales of mystery and murder and Vermont justice going back several centuries. Bellamy has done a great job researching some old and not so well known Vermont crime stories that played out in the press in a bygone Vermont. This was a Vermont with a death penalty, and a Vermont with no state police. A Vermont even more rural than it is now and with crime fighters of widely varying capabilities. Each chapter in a separate story and there’s a long list of sources in the back. Bellamy is a former librarian who has mostly written similar books about his former home of Cleveland before he relocated to the Green Mountain state. Totally worth picking up, this book was really enjoyable.
read: 4 November 2013
As someone who has some of the hallmarks of sensory defensiveness but not to a “it makes my life a living hell” degree, I found this book interesting to read but ultimately not super helpful. The first part of the book details what life is like for many sensory defensive folks, people with a number of different types of defensiveness. The author herself is defensive in some ways and so she is able to describe these people’s lives with empathy and understanding.
The second part, which I was looking forward to, talks more about remedies and what people can do, and here it sort of lost me. While there was a lot of advice that seemed really on the mark, some of it seemed, for lack of a better word, woo. And that made me question a lot of other things the author had said. Maybe it’s really true that light therapy has been found to be useful for specific sorts of sensory defensiveness, or cranio-sacral work, but the skeptic in me had a hard time really getting past the “I thought this stuff was pseudoscience” feeling. That said, I’m also lucky to not really be in a place where conventional medicine is not working for me and I can’t quite put myself in that place. The book does have a long list of citations at the end of it that I didn’t really delve in to. Interesting but ultimately not-for-me book.
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