Tag Archive: library-overdrive



A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of TragedyA Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Whew! We all know what causes these shootings, right? Each of us has a laundry list of how it happens and how, if we had the power we could solve this right now. Some say take away the guns. Some say if parents were held responsible this would never happen. Some say that it’s the mentally ill, or on drugs, or are terrorists. No one seems to have the right answers.

What if you would walk inside the life of one who was directly involved (and so unwilling!) the mother of one of the killers in Columbine?

Sue Klebold is eloquent as she tells her own story. Imagine learning that your son is dead. Then learn he was one of the killers. If your son had been a terror in your life you might believe it and welcome the freedom from that kind of child. But if the son had been sweet and seemed merely a regular teenage boy this would be shocking.

Please, take the time to read this. Judge not lest ye be judged, just listen. I did with the Overdrive (library), audio version of this book. Maybe this book holds the beginnings of answers we need to look at and implement in our country/world as it grows scarier by the day.

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The Screwtape LettersThe Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ralph Cosham was the narrator of the edition I was able to obtain from the Overdrive library. I know it can’t be very interesting reading letters. There were no characters to play or give variety to the story. So I can’t say if he was good at what he did or not. I just found it BORING! Like a guy reading letters.

I read this a million years ago as a teen/young adult. I can sincerely say that it was the C.S. Lewis books that gave me my healthy agonistic views. They still stand, so those of you that praise the man really haven’t read his fiction. These were on my mother’s approved list along with Pilgrim’s Progress. The sci-fi was excellent. And are there, like all sci-fi, to make a person think. This book was clever in its format of letters to tell the advice, though from a negative viewpoint. This may be the Cobert Report of its time. I understand sarcasm but I find it the least effective way to prove a point. I think I liked it more as a young person. Now I just couldn’t get into it or find anything redeeming. Now I was just bored, clever negative letters aside. And it was overwhelmingly male.

It is, on the other hand, a bit of a depiction of World War II and the men who fought it in, like my dad. Much reflected tales he told of his own journeys in war. How easy it is to forget the lessons we learned as children when faced with constant death and killing.

It’s worth the read. Just not a second time.

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The Blessing Way (Navajo Mysteries, #1)The Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Narrated by George Guidall, I nearly gave this book back to Audible. He was a very boring narrator. But I got used to him and near the end, he started using some expression in his voice. I had the Kindle version but wanted to be busy with my hands while listening. I didn’t want to follow the text. So I stuck with it.

Two things against this book before I even got started so take this with that grain of salt. First, it doesn’t fit with my goal of reading women authors/women main characters. Second, I’m not much on mysteries. Most mysteries are murders. You know, I think better mysteries are those we live with every day. ‘Where’d I leave my keys or glasses?’

Since my friend gave me the CD of the next in the series I wanted to read the first book before diving in. I had ordered this from the library but Amazon told me I already had the book, so I canceled the loan.

I know this is a popular series and the plus is how well this author presents the Navajo people. Take a look. You might love it.

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19841984 by George Orwell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is my second reading of this book. It was required reading in high school (about 1967). I remember it being very scary and prayed it would never happen. As the actual year of 1984 flew by many of us began to relax. Maybe the science fictional prophecy was far from ever happening.

Many people have recommended this book again what with rumors of Newspeak/Fake News. The book shows that anyone can be convinced of anything given the right set of circumstances. I believe that to be true, which is why I don’t believe that torture would ever bring out the truth. Many are in jails because the good cop/bad cop or other tricks of coercion have brought the suspect to admit to something they never did do. Much of the book shows how this can happen.

Regardless of which side of the political system you may stand, this set of possibilities should shout at you. You should feel free to tell your truth without worry of being tortured or demeaned in any way. After all your set of circumstances have brought you to your belief. But on the same line, we should have respect for another point of view, even if it seems crazy. If you stop that truth from coming out, you may miss a grain of truth you may need to learn to live more openly.

I relate that to the lowly dandelion and my mother. My mother was anemic and had very bad health in general. But when I was young I would see her out in the lawn digging out the dandelions and tossing them away. Knowing what we know about that so-called weed, this could have been the medicine my mother could have ingested and become much healthier, regardless of the ungroomed lawn. What gems or weeds of health are we missing by calling each other names and not learning someone else’s truth?

On another level… As scary as the world of ‘1984’ is, the misogyny of past sci-fi and fantasy is very clear here. I didn’t notice this when I was a teen. Almost all the books I read were male-heavy. I remember asking about it only once. The answer was we had to have these books because boys have a hard time learning to and then liking reading. Having watched my brothers with that very problem I didn’t think about it again. I had trouble with reading but found ways to get around the problems and I LOVED reading. (Still do.)

In this book the main character’s wife won’t give him a divorce, they had infertility problems. He gets the wet dream fantasy fulfilled in a woman who gives without requiring anything from him, not even or especially not wanting love. Finally, there is the woman out in the yard who sings with clothespins in her mouth and he finds her big hips sexually appealing though in another segment he is reminded how like his mother she is. So beyond sex and birth, it seems this generation of sci-fi writers seemed to have nothing to do with women. That should have been our biggest warning! Of all that happened to this character!!!!! I find myself feeling foolish that it took me until my 60s to figure out how little part women play in most men’s lives. I have a friend that tried to tell me this when I was still into makeup and clothes–and making my own babies. But it is because I decided to make my reading diet be mostly female writers with female main characters, and not in the romantic chic-lit stuff. More along the lines of Bechdel. (Google her) This is also how I choose to watch TV/Movies. Women have to hold up half of the sky of whatever I read or watch. Equally important. That was not the case in this book. And years ago I might not have noticed. Now I am nearly blinded by it. So if you haven’t seen it as strong as I have, try my ‘diet’. Give it a year or so. I especially challenge male to try this. When you notice the lack of human equality in reading or what you watch maybe you will be part of the change? Maybe if women hold their own in a story like ‘1984’ we may find ways to avoid that crazy kind of life.

Do read this. No matter which side of the fence, or gender, there are weeds of health here we all need!

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Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #1)Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don’t know. I guess it kept me interested. But I thought I had the boxed set (I didn’t) on the borrowed library Overdrive version and so I kept trying to find the library Kindle versions to read along. I did end up with the first and the third but by that time I was already used to listening while loom-knitting so as not to be doing something to distract from the story. And I was shocked that the recording ended at the end of book one. It wasn’t a cliff-hanger, but kind of had that feel. But I didn’t care enough to pursue the next books.

By the time I had nearly finished book one I was ready to send the book back to the library. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t holding my attention enough to stay with it through a whole series.

I know a lot of people loved this book. I still want to see the movie/television version, but I just didn’t like it all that much. Please try it and see if you like it.

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Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the WorldTemple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was lucky enough to pick this up from my local library system through Overdrive. My friend, Cheryl, wrote an intriguing review that had me searching it out. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1…

I had hoped to read while listening but the ebook but it didn’t come to me in time. That was okay. It provided my background entertainment while I worked on the charity hats and dolls. The reader, Meredith Mitchell, kept me involved in the story of Temple Grandin’s life.

I have read other books about and by Ms. Grandin. Though this book is for young people, I found it more thorough than the others in covering the aspects of autism, living with it and knowing someone who has it. The author was able to bring this disorder to the understanding that a young person would need.

Something that I felt when reading this book and others about autism is that I think there are levels of this that many of us have. The sensitivities Temple had to scratchy clothing or loud noises or too many people or strong light I can relate to. The inability to connect to others, especially in a crowded room, I can understand, too. Knowing that Ms. Grandin found ways to make her disability work for her in her life gives us all inspiration to see how we can overcome our own problems.

Though this is for children, it is neither a short book nor pablum for babies. I felt there was a lot of depth to the stories told and much to learn for all of us. Please, seek it out and see how you like it.

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DodgerDodger by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was having trouble getting into my local electronic library. I know now that it was due to the card expiring. But I decided to try Washoe County and got in with my old card. This Overdrive version came up and I thought, what the heck? Can’t go wrong with a Terry Pratchett. (R.I.P)

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but I seem to be reading a lot of books that are centered in the late 1800s –early 1900s. (Victoria, The Diaries of Ethel Turner, The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds, Out of the Past–sort of) so this fit right in. Mr. Pratchett brought into the story some very far-fetched concepts like how Dodger nearly gets a shave by the crazy Sweeny Todd and meets Queen Victoria etc. I don’t think what I just wrote is a spoiler as it is in the book blurb.

Anyway, since the only copy I could get was the audio version I spent a couple days catching up on projects while listening and occasionally laughing out loud. Though not as funny as other books by the same author this one is fun and the story one adventure after another. English humor is best!

I need to read more of his stuff like this. By the way, the narrator, Stephen Briggs, was fabulous!

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A Tale for the Time BeingA Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Over a decade ago, I met an online friend that would change or at least, modify my life. I met Judith on LiveJournal, you remember that old site, better than MySpace but not quite as social as FaceBook. Judith was chatting in her journal about Chris Baty and the NaNoWriMo scene (Which resulted in my first novel being written between the Ides of March and the Ides of April. I didn’t finish the novel then as we had to move to a new city and I just couldn’t stay with it. But I added more than enough wordage to that novel in November 2002 to “win”. (First of 10 or 11 novels since.)

The other thing Judith introduced me to was BookCrossing.com. The concept that grabbed me with BC was how my read book could be recycled to others and then the new reader and the old could discuss this story. The book could travel even when I couldn’t, so it felt like a message in a bottle thrown out to sea. It is fun to see where your book could end up and the friendships that develop over said book. I still belong but since my eyes aren’t what they used to be, I am happy for the invention of Kindle and other e-readers. So I release far fewer books nowadays.

Besides Judith, what do the above paragraphs have in common, and what do they have to do with ‘A Tale for the Time Being’? The art of writing and the art of reading. Both concepts play strong in this story. Rather than a message in a bottle, this message floats ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox in layers of freezer bags. The writer was in Tokyo, the reader/finder in Canada. Years separate the two. Yet a bond is formed. Oh, yeah, Judith read and reviewed this and hooked me in. I think she didn’t like the Zen parts of the book. I found that part delightful. I have to admit that most of the book is believable whereas the Zen bits are a little more ‘magical’. But the title twinkles with that magic. If you read it right.

Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend this book. I actually read it one and a third times. I borrowed the Kindle version from the library. Between reading it on my Kindle app on my Tablet and listening on my old Kindle text-to-speech, I managed to get to about 36% in. Then I found that my library also had the OverDrive version. So I restarted reading the book with the author’s voice. That pumped up my ratings for this wonderful tale. Each layer of depth into the story has its own built-in amazements. Level one, tree book, and the Kindle version, there are many footnotes and definitions to help with a deeper understanding of that time in history or that country, language. But the narration includes minor helps. Hearing a voice say the Japanese names or words adds to the believability of the whole story. Ms. Ruth Ozeki has an impeccable voice and narration, her variations of voices for each character supreme! I enjoyed rereading the first third with her help. I felt I gained deeper understanding just by hearing her. Please, if you get the chance to pair both versions, go for it!

By the way, I want to thank Jonelle Patrick and her Mysteries and website: http://jonellepatrick.me/ for introducing me to many contemporary Japanese subjects presented in A Tale for the Time Being. At least I was forewarned.

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Review: Prodigy by Marie Lu


Prodigy (Legend, #2)Prodigy by Marie Lu

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have never read a series of books so out of order as I have had to with this series. It was too expensive to buy each of the three books so I consulted the library. They had the large print hardback book and the CDs to listen to available right away. They didn’t have the first book and the second was already borrowed. So I read/heard book three first. I was very impressed with the author that the story line and characters held together without the background of the first two books. Soon the second book became available in only the OverDrive (audio) version. So I took my chances.

Once again, I am impressed with how well the story holds together even reading it so out of order. As with book three the narrators: Mariel Stern (June), Steven Kaplan (Day) keep the story moving from within the characters’ points of view. Though the ending of book two felt like the narrators were hitting their stride, the beginning felt a little unrehearsed. Still, I think this is a great way to tell a story from the male and female viewpoints. I think it makes the book more accessible to both genders. That’s my guess. I wonder how males react to this way of telling a story. Both June and Day are fearless and human and show they deeply care for each other and their people. Both are trying to make a dystopian world a little more livable for all. I imagine that the audio versions of this story add so many more layers of believability to the story.

This was the first book I have had to rely strictly on the audio version. There was no Kindle or tree-book available to read along on. With my ADD that made it hard to stay within the story. But I limited my visual stimuli to crocheting a mundane pattern or closing my eyes. I think if I had a car, this would be a great ride along story. It isn’t so exciting as to make the drive dangerous, but it keeps your attention.

Now that I know how the story ends, and how the middle is told, I will have to read the first part. I found I had one credit on Audible so as to ‘buy’ book one. Once my finances are better I will grab the Kindle version to go with it. I may eventually reread the story in the right order to see how much different it comes across. I highly recommend these books for young adults and older. The romance isn’t horrible sticky. Rather it adds another layer of depth to the story. Enjoy!

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Review: The Book Thief


The Book Thief
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Death narrates this wonderful story about a young girl in Hitler’s Germany. That is a sentence I never would have thought of writing. But that is part of the many surprises in this story. If you’ve read Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, you have a vision of Death. Though this book is covering more serious matters, the author brings in wit and wisdom, and shows us all how to care, how to love.

Early baby-boomers and their parents know deeply what happened pre and during World War II. Most books covering this era, with anger and depression and rightly so. This book looks at all of that plus teaches a girl to read and write. Okay, now that sounds like elementary school. And though this could be read to a younger audience the subject matter is quite mature. In fact, it is a great way to introduce to younger people how Hitler grew his army and how people learned to blame others for their problems (sounds a lot like what is happening now in many ways).

Right from the start I found I cared for Death and the other characters. But most of all I loved the quirky writing style. I have read in other reviews that the style was distracting, but I found it was necessary. We need to take the subject lighter so that we can live with the girl in her own innocence. The turn of a phrase in this author’s writing kept me highlighting all over the place. Markus Zusak is amazing!

This Kindle version was given to me for a birthday gift from my friend, Yve. Thank you so much! I picked up the audio version from the library, hence breaking up my current reading list. I loved the narrator of the audio, Allan Corduner. He acted the parts and kept me interested. Though this was the library Overdrive version, I think I will use this month’s credit to get the Audible copy. That’s how much I loved the combination. I plan to read this again. As for the movie? I am not sure I want to watch it yet. I am too in love with my own imaginary movie.

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