Dec 29 2016

Book Reviews from December #NewToYou2016

New To You 2016 reading challenge #NewToYou2016

4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

Cosmic Seasoning: A Collection of Short Stories
By L.G. Keltner July 29, 2015
This collection of speculative fiction stories was very fun to read. I enjoyed the “Polite Letter of Complaint” with the line: I would never insult such a rotund, mentally-deficient, greedy despot such as yourself. There are some news-relevant, deep stories mixed in with the humor and good times. “Emissary,” for example: How could I help how I was born? I didn’t make the choice to come into the world. And “A Politician Tell the Truth Before Armageddon” has the classic line: So yes, I do in fact believe that you’re all suckers for electing me. I think “Lux in Tenebris, Rendition #7,620” was my favorite story of the bunch.

4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

A Spy’s Guide to Thinking
by John Braddock May 31, 2015
This clever book was easy to read and enjoy. It illustrates a short interaction on a subway car that demonstrates a thinking methodology. Lines like, “actions are commitment,” and “writers love nothing more than writing about writing,” caught my eye. But the funniest of all is at the end: “Our relationship is over. Unless you liked this book enough to buy another of my books.”

4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

The 27th Letter: an A to Z blog challenge
by Nicki Ivey Jun 7, 2014
A collection of stories from almost every genre. I really enjoyed the magic pencil. Yuengling was a character I want to spend a lot more time with, if that’s possible. Olive and Oren are one of those “it’s complicated” relationship statuses. This is a book to read at least twice.

4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb
by Al Perkins Nov 30, 2011
Did I read this book? My niece read it to me. But since I could see all the words, I’m going to count it as being read. The most important part was the quality time spent with a child. It’s a good book for making the little princess smile and laugh. I’m grateful for the happy memories.

4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

The Shelf Life of Happiness
by David Machado Sep 1, 2016
This story will stay with you. And by that, I mean that you’ll end up thinking about after you read it, possibly unintentionally. (This story is not for anyone suffering from an obsessive compulsion. Fair warning.) How happy are you? Reading this story, this mental letter the main character is aiming at a friend, sucks you in to wondering about your own happiness. (The United States was ranked 7.104 on the 2016 happiness index, by the way.) Early in the story, when the main character debates about his happiness, the line “Any life instead of the right life,” hit me, followed by, “I didn’t know how to live this new version of the future.” That’s where I knew I’d read this whole book. Here’s another one that feels deeper than expected:
“Marta, my job is who I am, and I have no desire to change that.”
“You’re a delivery boy for a pharmacy {}.”
“You know it’s temporary.”

That’s a pivotal moment in the story, though it might not seem like it. It also reminds me of a lot of college Freshmen. And of myself. Am I an author, a Lenni-Lenape, something more, something less? The book gets in your head!
Near the end, there’s a quote-worthy line.
“We shouldn’t need bad days to appreciate the good one; there should always be a joy inside of us, and not just in moments of relief.”

4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

A Garfield Christmas
by Jim Davis Nov 12, 1987
Oh that crazy cat! I enjoyed this humorous book with my nephew at a holiday party.

4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

A History of the World in 6 Glasses
by Tom Standage May 26, 2009
This was a fun book to read. I highly recommend it to my fellow writers who do world-building (fantasy, sci-fi). It’s also a great book that has an interesting take on world history. It goes from the dawn of humans all the way to a discussion about the possibility of colonizing Mars.
In the “High Spirits, High Seas” section, it discusses slavery, and the argument that some people weren’t human, and therefore couldn’t be converted to certain religions. That’s something that’s always fascinated me (since my great-grandfather was, by such logic, the first human in my family). It talks about the important role that coffee played at the birth of “information workers.”
My favorite quote from the book:
“…people are happiest when granted freedom of choice in the political, economic, and personal spheres, in the form of democracy, consumerism, and the rejection of many long-standing forms of discrimination.”
Here’s a part I really found interesting:
“The wealthy aristocracy and clergy, a mere 2 percent of the population, were exempt from taxes, so the burden of taxation fell on everyone else…” It’s about France in about 1789, at the start of the French Revolution.

#quote Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. - George Santayana

3 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

Novelsmithing, The Structural Foundation of Plot, Character, and Narration
by David Sheppard Nov 28, 2009
“You can say your character is in an uncontrollable rage, but if the character punches someone in the mouth, you get your point across better.” That’s a good quote and lesson from this book.
The section on dialogue is perhaps the most useful part of this book.
There’s quite a bit about Greek mythology in this book.
An excerpt that I liked: “We expect a work of fiction to do more than just help us escape our worldly dilemmas. We expect it to have importance and be meaningful. A story is a process of discovery-through-conflict, and that process must result in transcendence for the central character. He must be changed by the experience, thereby allowing the reader to also be changed.”
Here’s a suggested exercise from the book that interests me: “Write a paragraph on why you believe the world will be a better place with the publication of your novel.”
Right or wrong, I have deducted one “star” in my rating because of the text visuals. To quote from the book itself: “The font should be 12 point and have a “clean” appearance on the full page.”
The book is from 2009. I suggest ignoring certain tips, such as using snail-mail (postal system) for query letters. Every reputable agent and publishing house I’ve encountered has email now.

4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

Chasing Christmas Past: An Airship Racing Chronicles Short Story Prequel
by Melanie Karsak Dec 20, 2014

A book by a fellow Pennsylvanian. I don’t read much steampunk, so I’m not the best judge of the genre. However, I enjoyed this story. It was uplifting and fun to read.

4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner
Published: What They Don’t Tell You in English Class
Sydney Scrogham

(I was given a copy of this book during the NaNoHop.)

There’s a strong voice in this reference guide, which makes it fun to read. Plus, it’s short, so it’s a good way to spend twenty or so minutes of your life if you’re a writer, or thinking about writing that first book.

“When people think of you, what’s the first thing you want to pop into their minds? Whatever that first thing is will be your brand. So find what you want to be known for and stick with it.”
That’s a great line from the book, and perhaps the best way that I’ve seen author branding explained yet.

Backlist Books Reading Challenge


    • Evelina on January 1, 2017 at 3:21 PM

    The Shelf Life of Happiness seems very interesting! I’ll go check it out, thank you for pointing it out 😊
    Evelina has this post to share Bout of Books readathon and the results of BICothon!My Profile
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  1. Yay for all the new to yous 😀 Hope you’re having a great 2017 so far!
    anna has this post to share Quote-tastic/Review– now that’s my kind of meditation!– Hard Hitter by Sarina BowenMy Profile

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