supercheesegirl: (poetry - it's crazy!)
I read this as a proofreader last September--can't believe I forgot to post it. It was an interesting read. Although Covey is a super-nice guy, his poetry is not my usual cup of tea, so it was actually nice that I had a good reason to read this book. Some things I didn't like, but Covey's use of language was pretty refreshing.
supercheesegirl: (books - cute reading)
I enjoyed this little YA novel by Steve Cushman. The story was a bit predictable at times, and at times it felt like the voice slipped a bit out of what a 15-year-old would sound like. Also, the editing could have been much better--I caught typos and punctuation errors, as well as places where the language could have been tightened just a little bit, and a better editor would have caught those sorts of things. Overall, though, it's a sweet book with a likable protagonist: seeing Julian navigate through this coming-of-age story makes for a good read.
supercheesegirl: (fred - bibliophiliac)
Read this on Christmas day. I still feel like there are some questions from the series left unanswered (like why the Alliance saved Book's life when he was injured) but overall it was a good story.
supercheesegirl: (poetry - it's crazy!)
Another solid issue of Cave Wall. I think I'm all caught up now. Favorites in this issue:

William Greenway's "Twm Sion Cati's Cave"
John Hoppenthaler's "Oh, Danny Boy"
Bill Blackley's "A Time Piece" was truly excellent, really well done
Charles Harper Webb's "Open Mouthed" and "Termites in His Attic", also really excellent
I really liked all the James Harms poems--they weren't perfect, but they were really solid and interesting
Jennifer Grotz's "The Eldest", heartbreaking
I liked all three of Jacqueline Saphra's poems, and Dan Butterfass's poems too
supercheesegirl: (books - cute reading)
This was a cute little novel. Enjoyable, light and fluffy. Not much more to say.
supercheesegirl: (indy - rare antiquities)
This was really good, well written and incredibly well researched. Grann explores the mystery behind Colonel Percy Fawcett's disappearance into the Amazon in 1925; he tells not only Fawcett's story, but also the tales of the searchers who went looking for him, many of whom also never returned. Finally, Grann goes into the jungle himself looking for answers. The book is captivating and vivid and brings both Fawcett and the jungle itself to life. Highly recommended.
supercheesegirl: (sandman - delirium)
Sim gave this to us for a wedding gift. This volume includes the "Who Killed Retro Girl?" and "Roleplay" story arcs. My only problem was with page layout more than the story--often the binding would make it hard to see/read what was going on near the spine, and I kept getting confused by the two-page spreads about whether I should be reading across or down. Overall, though, it was a fun read, and I'll probably read volume 2 over the holidays (it's a big hardcover so it's easier to read at home instead of on the train).
supercheesegirl: (yoga - cute)
A good issue. I liked the two healthy recipes for holiday party snacks/dips. I might like to check out the "Putomayo Presents: Yoga" CD they reviewed, but Amazon doesn't have it as an mp3 album so oh well.

::edit:: This brings me up to 130 books for the year. That's my second highest yet (in 2008 I hit 140 books), and I still have two weeks to go!
supercheesegirl: (books - hugged by words)
Full title: The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day with Passion & Purpose.
From the title it sounds as though this book is going to be full of nothing but self-help feel-good bullshit, and it was, but a lot of it was actually decent.

I'm going to start with all the things I hated first, to get it out of the way. In the first third of the book, Kelly hardly mentions God at all, and when he does it's very non-denominational, but by the time we're halfway through the book it's like he's forgotten to be PC and we're hearing Bible stories and casual mentions about the power of Jesus to help us. This is NOT billed as a Christian book on the cover blurb, so I was a little shocked, but Kelly doesn't really go overboard with it--it's more like he just assumes that all his readers will have the same belief system he has. It got on my nerves, but most of what he says really can be applied to any belief system--for example he goes on and on about prayer, but just substitute "meditation" or whatever and it's applicable. No excuses, Kelly definitely should have tried harder on this front to make his book work for a wider audience, but whatever.

Other issues were that Kelly uses a LOT of cliches throughout the book, and although you can tell he means it earnestly, sometimes it comes off sounding hollow. I mean, yes, follow your dreams, but how many times have we been told to follow our dreams? He also uses many examples from the lives of famous successful people. When it's someone not as obvious, like the manager of the Beatles, it was interesting, but pulling out these stories from Mother Teresa's or da Vinci's or St. Francis's lives didn't feel as compelling to me. Even though I might not have read the story before, it felt like I had read the story before, you know? Also, again with the lack of diversity--most of the examples are from the lives of white Western Christian people. He'll toss Gandhi or Mandela onto a list but he didn't really go outside his immediate comfort zone to explore a successful person from a different culture. There were also a few things he says that are just blatantly erroneous. For example: "History also teaches us that the Roman Empire gave way to a wonderful period in history: the Middle Ages. Culturally, socially, politically, economically, and spiritually, the Middle Ages were a vibrant and vital time of growth, discovery, and progress" (285). Um, what? There's so much wrong with that statement that I'm just going to give him the benefit of the doubt here and assume he meant to say the Renaissance, but still. Had his editor just given up by this point?

All that aside, Kelly does have some valuable points to make in this book. He genuinely wants all people to be able to become their best selves and find happiness and peace. Kelly believes that people are happiest when we're working towards becoming the best versions of ourselves; he acknowledges that fun and pleasure are part of enjoying life, but what you really need to do are to take responsibility, work hard, and believe in what you're doing in order to find happiness. Everything we do is a choice, so choose to follow your dreams and believe in yourself. All those examples from the lives of famous people illustrate that what they have in common is they believe that nothing is impossible and that they can achieve their dreams. The techniques that Kelly advocates for success are simple: understand that you have basic needs (not just food, water, shelter, but also love, healthy relationships, healthy food, exercise, intellectual stimulation, and spiritual growth). Acknowledge that these needs are legitimate, and make sure they are fulfilled, every day. Take time to pray (or meditate, or have quiet time to yourself in the garden, or whatever) because it recharges your spirit; take one day a week to rest, and beyond that, work hard and never give up on your goal, never forget for a moment what it is you want to accomplish. It's a system that makes sense to me, which is why I kept reading. Recommended if you're interested in a life plan like this (and can either sympathize with or set aside the Christian stuff).
supercheesegirl: (buddha - travel well)
Full title: Deep Travel: Contemporary American Poets Abroad.

This book was really good. It features the work of 34 American poets who have traveled extensively overseas. For each poet, there's a brief biography, then a prose statement from the poet about how travel has affected his or her work, then three poems related to or inspired by travel. Some of the poems didn't really affect me, but some really did, and I have a whole new list of work to add to my To Read list.

My favorites:
Tina Barr, Mary Crow, Rachel Hadas, George Kalamaras, Marilyn Krysl (especially her poem "Summer Solstice Batticaloa, Sri Lanka"), Adrie Kusserow, Sue Standing was pretty good, Arthur Sze, Margaret Szumowski, Brian Turner, Sidney Wade's "Dancing at the Bin Bir Gece", and Charles Wright was awesome.
supercheesegirl: (star trek - aieee)
I read this at the hotel in Boston and at the airport. In this volume, humanity rediscovers Gil Zinder's theories, and, in trying to fight off a deadly foe, pretty much blows a hole into the space-time continuum. Obie and Mavra need to find Nathan Brazil and make him return to the Well World to try to fix the hole... but can it even be fixed, or is this the end of life in the universe as we know it?

Not necessarily my favorite, but I'm still really interested by the series.
supercheesegirl: (indy - rare antiquities)
This was pretty awesome. I particularly liked the article about Maya conceptions of beauty, but all the articles were really interesting!
supercheesegirl: (star trek - aieee)
The first in the "Well World" series. I accidentally read the second book first, so I wanted to go back and catch up before moving on in the series. Honestly, though, if I'd read the first book first, I'm not sure I would have wanted to keep reading the later books. I *would* have, because it's Jack Chalker, but he kind of blew his wad too early here--Nathan Brazil's character development and ultimate identity are kind of a huge deal to just drop into the first book in a series. That said, I already read the second book (which doesn't include Nathan Brazil except as a side note) and I'm interested in finding out what happens to those characters, so onward I go.

(As a side note, Chalker seems to have caught a case of Niven Syndrome, as evidenced in Niven's later Ringworld books, in which the writer sets up major plot points just so he can make different species of aliens have sex with each other. I mean, I know Chalker has a dirty mind from his other books, but the cross-species stuff is new and inventive. Still not as bad as Niven, though.)
supercheesegirl: (yoga - cute lotus sunburst)
Good articles this month. There was a piece on yoga class podcasts and web videos that was really interesting--right now I do my yoga in a different part of the house from where the computer is, so the video wouldn't work for me, but an audio podcast might be nice sometime. This month's food section includes some slow cooker recipes that I want to tear out for F. (I haven't yet made anything that I saw in YJ, but it all always looks so interesting! They should publish a companion cookbook.)
supercheesegirl: (books - reading addict)
Oh, this was fantastic. Romantic historical fiction at its best. I was sucked in right from the start and was honestly so worried about the characters that I had bad dreams all night last night. Finished the book today and enjoyed the ending. The heroine is a bit of a Mary Sue, and the main characters turned out remarkably well for having suffered years and years of abuse, but who cares about strict plausibility in romantic historical fiction? It was a great read. I'll definitely be looking for Kate Quinn's next book.

::edit:: I cross-post most of my book reviews on goodreads, and almost right after I posted this one, the author Kate Quinn "liked" it. I feel a little conflicted over this. I did call her book fantastic, but I feel a little weird that I also called her heroine a Mary Sue and her plot implausible. Mrh.
supercheesegirl: (books - monster)
I ***love*** Jack Chalker. He's my SF guilty pleasure, and this is a series of his I hadn't started yet! It was totally weird and a lot of fun to read. Not my favorite of his, but Jack never lets me down. Although I discovered that this is not actually the first in the series--it's the first of the duology about the epic war, but it's not the first book. Well, luckily, is having a bargain bin sale with used books 3 for $10, so the solution to this problem will be shipping to me shortly. (Also luckily, F is too busy working on honeymoon pictures right now to read my book reviews and see that I ordered more books!)
supercheesegirl: (books - hammock)
This was a fun book, I guess. I think I just need to stop reading memoirs by privileged white women. Julie was raised to be a princess, to find a rich husband, so she had trouble finding and keeping a job, developing work skills, and surviving on her own. She had to rely on her rich parents for most her adulthood, until after she married and had a daughter of her own and realized she wanted to take responsibility for her life and raise her daughter differently than she was raised. So she got her act together and established her career as a freelance writer--at like 38 years old, which means she spent almost 20 years mostly freeloading off her parents. I don't deny she went through some hard times, but still. The woman lived in an apartment her daddy bought her, saw a NYC therapist for 20 years, and never held a steady job for longer than a few months except for when she worked for her dad's insurance company. Not like I'm Miss Queen of Hardships or anything, but I was actually delighted when Julie and her husband had the baby and started having financial trouble and got a taste of how most people actually live. Which Julie was able to fix relatively quickly in just a few paragraphs as soon as she really put her mind to it. I think I would have liked her better if she'd figured it out a decade earlier, but then I suppose it wouldn't have made much of a book. Don't get me wrong, the book is well written, and it is really funny, but I definitely wanted to strangle this woman on several occasions.
supercheesegirl: (books - hammock)
I liked this book a lot up until the last two chapters. Read more... )


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