Jun 07 2012

Old Blog Posts Now Available!

Well, folks, all your happy old blog posts have been copied over to the new server, so you can revisit them anytime! Photos of book covers have been added for a visual reference. All the old posts have my name as the author, so they are each credited with a "Reviewed by" tag at the bottom of the post and the reviewers full name has been used as a tag. I've done my best to standardize tags as well, but if you find any flies in the ointment, just let me know!

Thanks, and happy reading!

Jun 05 2012

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

night circus book cover

Absolutely stunning. I savored every single word, which is unusual for me as I speed through so many books. This one, however, like a superbly crafted meal, invited me to linger and taste the nuances of every flavor on my literary palate. It cast a glorious spell over me. I was so sorry to see it end, and that is also a rarity for me.

The visualizations in my mind were crystal clear. The descriptions of physical things and people were so explicit and rendered in such fluid language that the circus truly lived in my imagination.

May 21 2012

Bumped, by Megan McCafferty

Bumped Book Cover

Megan Mcafferty, the author of the Jessica Darling series of books, has here crafted a smart and insightful piece of YA chick-lit. However, while the intended audience is clearly tween and teen girls, this book should be read by boys and young men as well. The story is set in a near-future dystopia, where a worldwide virus has rendered most humans incapable of bearing children after the age of eighteen. The story's main characters, twins separated at birth by the names of Melody and Harmony, grow up in very different communities in the United States - one in a closed religious order akin to the Amish or Hutterites, the other in a hyper-secularlized and commercialized open community.

May 21 2012

The Chaos, by Nalo Hopkinson

The Chaos book cover

This YA fantasy did not captivate me. I do like some fantasy books, but this one was very strange. The main character, Sojourner (or "Scotch"), was exceptionally compelling - a teenage bi-racial Jamaican immigrant to Canada - and the initial setting was completely realistic. However, fantastic elements start creeping in, and the entire story collapses into a mish-mash of figments of imagination from dreams or nightmares as a large volcano appears in the middle of Lake Ontario. The real problem is the randomness of the appearance of some of the fantastic creatures, and the lack of service of some of them in advancing the story.

May 14 2012

Symmetry: A Journey into the Patterns of Nature, by Marcus du Sautoy

Symmetry book cover

One of the paradoxes of popular accounts of mathematics is that they tend to have little mathematics in them. Instead, authors tend to focus on the eccentricities of those who do mathematics. In this book, Marcus du Sautoy does present quite a lot of conceptual material on group theory and its importance in the mathematical expression of symmetry, in addition to the nearly-obligatory accounts of the strange lives of Evariste Galois and Sophus Lie.

How to Enter a Readin' Roos Post

1. Go to the Readin’ Roos blog

2. Log in using single-sign-on

3. Click on “Create Content” link on left-hand column

4. Click on “Blog entry” link (either on left-hand column or in center column, both work)

5. Type the book title and author in the “Title” box

6. Under “Readin’ Roos Tags” put the following tags, separated by commas. These tags are suggested to make the posts more searchable:

a. Your name (first and last)

May 02 2012

The "Stella Louella" Traveling Book Award

Our traveling book award has made a dramatic re-appearance.

The book "Stella Louella's Runaway Book" is now visiting Barb Croft! Barb has done a truly amazing amount of work getting our Readin' Roos blog up and running after a major system upgrade. We would not have this wonderful book review and discussion blog without Barb.

Thank you again, Barb, for all that you do!

Apr 25 2012

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, by William B. Irvine

Guide to the Good Life Book cover

I read this book out of a basic curiosity about how Stoic philosophy could apply to modern life. What I learned interested me even more. First, I thought I knew what a Stoic was - and I didn't. Second, I found that Stoic philosophy is a philosophy of life, a practical system that one can use compatibly with most major religious belief systems, or atheism for that matter. I found that Stoicism had parallels with Zen Buddhism, another practice I have studied and admired.

Mar 29 2012

Chester's Way, by Kevin Henkes

Chester's Way book cover

Chester definitely has his own way of doing things, and his friend, Wilson, loves tagging along. All goes well until Lilly, who also has her own unique way of doing everything (talking backwards, cutting sandwiches into shapes, etc), moves into the neighborhood. My daughter loved this picture book and others by Kevin Henkes when she was young, and I sure loved reading it to my 4 year old niece recently. Kevin Henkes does a great job of both writing and illustrating this book!

Mar 28 2012

The Gunslinger, by Stephen King

book coverThis is the first in Stephen King's magnum opus, The Dark Tower series, in which Roland, a gunslinger in a world that has "moved on" undertakes an epic quest to find the Dark Tower, which sits at the nexus of time itself. In this volume Roland barely survives a trek across a desert wasteland in his search for the mysterious Man in Black. This book is an interesting fusion of epic fantasy, post-apocalyptic literature, and Sergio Leone westerns.

Reviewed by Buddy Pennington