Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Neverland : J.M. Barrie, the Du Mauriers and the Dark Side of Peter Pan
by Piers Dudgeon

Maybe I should not have checked this book out, in the first place, due to the author's last name. How appropriate for the likes of J.M. Barrie. He really was a creepy, depraved boy-child. Everyone who entered his life was doomed.
The more I read, the more I disliked. The writing is tedious, loaded with footnotes and pedantic.
Don't bother with this tiresome tale.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Julie & Julia : 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen
by Julie Powell

I picked this book up, from the library, years ago, before it was ever turned into a movie. Don't put this one on your list. I struggled to read several chapters before I finally gave up. Not well-written at all and irritating, to boot.

Eat, Pray, Love : One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
by Elizabeth Gilbert

Interminably boring. I lasted, barely, one chapter. Gilbert is totally self-absorbed and annoying. It's hard to believe that this book was so popular.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

This Book is Overdue! : How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All
by Marilyn Johnson

I knew that I was in trouble when I got to page 8 and realized this book was doomed. When the author talks about librarians' values, such as truth, free speech, and universal literacy, we are in trouble.
I got as far as page 60 and slammed the book shut. Being a former librarian, this book reminds me of why I left the profession in the first place.
The author is over exuberant about libraries teaching everyone in the whole world how to use a computer so they can become more literate and learn how to obtain information.
What a joke! If anything, computers in libraries have promoted illiteracy. Nobody is reading books, they sit glued to the screens looking at god knows what, send e-mails with incorrect grammar and spelling and have made libraries into video arcades.
The title of the book isn't even correct. It has nothing to do with books.
Don't bother checking this one out.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Oracle Bones : A Journey Between China's Past and Present
by Peter Hessler

I was really looking forward to reading this one. The author had written a spectacular book, several years ago, called "River Town" which described his experience living in the Sichuan province of Fuling and teaching English at the local college, while also learning to speak Chinese.
Oracle Bones never reaches or comes close to the previous book. Hessler's writing changed and what was refreshing, before, has now become annoying. He's attempting to ride on his former accolades and doesn't succeed.
I barely finished the first chapter. Back to the library.

Dreaming in Hindi
by Katherine Russell Rich

If you were language-challenged, would you consider going to India to learn Hindi?
That's just what the author did. She survived cancer, so she thought she could take up something else that would open her mind and give her a whole new experience.
This book goes nowhere, fast. It's all over the place with shoddy writing and lousy editing.
I got through several chapters and then gave up in disgust.
City of Gold : Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism
by Jim Krane

Dubai is one of the seven United Arab Emirates and certainly doesn't follow by any its rules. It started from nothing, in the 1960s, and became a haven for investors all due to the visions of very savvy sheikhs from one family.
Krane packs the book with great details of history and current events and there's incredible color photos of some amazing architecture.
City of Gold came to a crashing halt for me when the author introduced his political views concerning pollution. I only had another forty pages to go, but, unfortunately, politics got in the way and so, this book went right back to the library.

Jacob's Cane : A Jewish Family's Journey from the Four Lands of Lithuania to the Ports of London and Baltimore; A Memoir in Five Generations
by Elisa New

Unless you're affiliated with a university and enjoy reading dry, densely-packed historical information, don't bother with this book. (The author is a college professor of American Literature at Harvard.)
The premise certainly sounded interesting: finding your great-grandfather's cane with four sets of initials, with the towns, carved on it and wanting to know the origins. Elisa New travelled to all of the countries, interviewed relatives, and sought out archives to unravel the story.
Unfortunately, the book left me empty. No warmth exuded from the pages. I don't believe anybody proofread it, either. There were many grammatical errors and misspellings. I actually contacted the author to apprise her of that fact. She wrote back asking me where I lived, why I bought the book (no purchase, took out from my local library), and if I liked it. I responded by saying that I don't believe many people would be interested in this volume, except perhaps elderly Jewish people who could relate to similiar instances.
Elisa was surprised to hear that there were so many errors. Apparently, I was the first person to find them. A paperback edition is already in the works and what I found and sent to her will be fixed.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

One and the Same : My Life As an Identical Twin and What I've Learned About Everyone's Struggle to be Singular
by Abigail Pogrebin

started out to be a very interesting book, turned out to be, in very little time, extremely boring and not all well-written. After a few chapters, I closed up the book and returned it to the library.