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999 Frogs Wake Up

999 Frogs Wake Up - Daily life in frog families is a hectic time. Imagine dealing with 999 offspring! Thank goodness we don’t have to support 999 frogs until they graduate from college!

More Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: A Drop-Top Culinary Cruise Through America's Finest and Funkiest Joints

More Diners, Drive-ins and Dives: A Drop-Top Culinary Cruise Through America's Finest and Funkiest Joints - Guy Fieri, Ann Volkwein I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/11817125

America's Most Wanted Recipes: Delicious Recipes from Your Family's Favorite Restaurants

America's Most Wanted Recipes: Delicious Recipes from Your Family's Favorite Restaurants - Ron Douglas I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/11817122

A Long Way Away

A Long Way Away - Frank Viva What do you call words that read the same forward and backward? A palindrome, right? Well, this story is a palindrome story, if that’s a phrase. Alien to earth to undersea creature? Or undersea creature to earth to alien? It can be either. Or both. A fun read either way with beautiful blue, red, yellow, and black illustrations.

More Baths Less Talking: Notes from the Reading Life of a Celebrated Author Locked in Battle with Football, Family, and Time Itself

More Baths, Less Talking - Nick Hornby I’ve read a good bit of Nick Hornby, but I have to say that my favorite Nick Hornby books are these, the books composed of essays he has written for The Believer. Hornby has compiled several books now that are composed entirely of essays about the books Hornby is reading.Oddly, I haven’t read much of what Hornby reads and I’m not inspired to go out and buy the books he reads, but (who knows why?) I’m terribly intrigued at reading about Hornby’s reading. Lots of biographies and classics and histories. Books about musicians and soccer players and politicians. I don’t read any of that. Almost never. But I still love reading about the books he has read and attempted to read and (even) given up on. Mysterious.

The House on Mango Street

The House on Mango Street - Do I really need to tell you about this book? Do you really need to know anything more than that this book is about a lovely young Hispanic girl, Esperanza Cordero, who is growing up in a little neighborhood in Chicago? Maybe I might add that it’s a book of little stories about her growing-up years and her neighbors and her family? And maybe you will want to know that the writing is beautiful and thoughtful and painful and jubilant?Anything else? Maybe you should know that this is one of those books that reads like little poems of stories?I guess I should tell you that I think you must read it. Whoever you are. It’s a must-read kind of book. It really is. And it’s not long. So go ahead and find a copy and read it. Today, I think.

The Incident Report

The Incident Report - Martha Baillie Do you like one-of-a-kind novels? Do you enjoy novels that surprise you? Do you look for novels written in unusual formats? Look no further. The Incident Report is your kind of book.The Incident Report is a list of reports filed by librarians about disturbing activities in the library.And that’s it. That’s the whole plot.What do you think?I’m a librarian, so I might be more interested than most people in stories centered around library problems, but I think it’s a cool enough idea that you will like it, too.

Manuscript Found in Accra

Manuscript Found in Accra - Margaret Jull Costa, Paulo Coelho It was with trepidation that I agreed to review Manuscript Found in Accra. I will say upfront that I am not a big fan of The Alchemist and, if you are going to like this new Coelho book, I feel pretty confident saying that you probably should be a fan of The Alchemist. If you loved The Alchemist, then you may as well stop reading this review right now.It’s been a long time since I read The Alchemist but if you’d ripped the cover off this book and replaced the cover of Manuscript with the cover of Alchemist, I imagine that I would not know the difference; there are lots of similarities between these two books. Both take place in exotic settings Both have central characters who are Wise Men. Both Wise Men spend most of the book dispensing Important (if somewhat banal) Wisdom to those around them.Please forgive me, but I was not swept away by this book. I have my own list of Highly Treasured Books that Have Been Widely Skewered and Are of Dubious Long-Lasting Value (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Little Prince, etc.) Sadly, I will not be adding Manuscript to this list.

The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead

The Thing About Life is That One Day You'll Be Dead - David Shields When people ask me, “What do people mean when they talk about personal essay?” I can do no better than refer them to this book.David Shields combines info about the gradual decline and decay of the body with stories about his own life at fifty-one and stories about the life of his father, now 97. Absolutely mesmerizing. I loved this book.

The Bird King and Other Sketches

The Bird King and Other Sketches - Shaun Tan Curious about what goes into the pages of an artist’s notebook? I was. I was curious enough to buy this little book with snippets from Tan’s pre-publication scribbles in his sketchbook. And it was worth the price to see the cleverness and amazing-ness of these rough draft drawings.

Changeover: A Supernatural Romance

Changeover: A Supernatural Romance - Margaret Mahy Laura Chant is a teen growing up with her divorced mom and younger brother in New Zealand. Laura sees that something is happening to her brother but no one else seems to understand what is going on or what to do about it until Laura meets and gets to know a mysterious boy from school known as Sorry.A powerful book.

Life After Life

Life After Life - Jill McCorkle One of my constant worries as a reader is that a beloved author will disappoint. It is especially true when the beloved author hasn’t published anything in a long, long time. Jill McCorkle is one such author for me and I must say that I was very, very worried that her new book, Life After Life, would be a disappointment. Happily, I will tell you that this did not happen.Life After Life takes place in a nursing home. All the characters live in the nursing home or work in the nursing home or have family or friends in the nursing home. Death is a silent character in every story in this book. You can see Death, waiting down the hall, sitting on the bed, at times hovering over and carrying our characters away, and that gives the stories resonance. Unlike other books with younger characters, the characters in Life After Life often greet Death, welcome Death, like a beloved friend; Death in these stories is no longer the enemy.I liked this book a lot, but you should know that I’m at a place in my life where Death is visiting more and more of my family and friends. I’m not sure the stories would have the same impact for those of you who are not well acquainted with him.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared - Jonas Jonasson This is the second book I’ve read this year about a man who has left his home and taken to the road and both books were European. (Is this a new trend in European novels?)Road trips are old stories, I suppose, and yet also new. Maybe that’s what we like about them.The main character, Allan Karlsson, in this story is one hundred years old and this is probably more in the tradition of a fairy tale, a Forrest Gump life, than a novel of realistic fiction. Our main character has managed to fight in the Spanish-American War and help create the nuclear bomb in New Mexico. Even at one hundred, Karlsson continues to have adventures, getting caught up in a drama with a suitcase full of money and gangsters trying to get it back.Delightful.

Blossoming in Provence

Blossoming In Provence - Kristin Espinasse All you need to say is “French setting” and I come running. I read Espinasse’s earlier book, Words in a French Life, a few years ago and liked the way she connected stories from her new life in the south of France with French vocabulary lessons. Blossoming in Provence is more of the same. And equally inviting.

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder - Nassim Nicholas Taleb I've been reading this book, Antifragile, for almost four weeks. I call it reading. I've turned all the pages. I've read all the words. That's reading, right?Or is it?I started off pretty well, somehow managing to get my brain around the whole idea of antifragile, a word the author, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, admits he made up. There is no real word in English that properly names this idea. Everyone understands the idea of fragile, something that is destroyed when stressed. But the opposite of fragile is more than just something that survives difficulties. Antifragility, Taleb tells us, is the idea of a phenomenon that goes beyond mere resilience; antifragility is the idea of something that actually improves with difficulties and uncertainty.Taleb gives us lots of great examples of things that are antifragile: "...evolution, culture, ideas, revolutions, political systems, technological innovation, cultural and economic success, corporate survival, good recipes (say, chicken soup or steak tartare with a drop of cognac), the rise of cities, cultures, legal systems, equatorial forests, bacterial resistance...even our own existence as a species on this planet."I'm high-five-ing him, right and left...love this idea of antifragile, Taleb.That was the Prologue, however. Round about the second or third page of Chapter 1, I find that I'm reading along, with no idea what Mr. Taleb is explaining. He tries, he really does, and now and then I read a paragraph and think I'm back on the highway. The Soviet-Harvard Department of Ornithology, for example. (How well do I know that department, the people who lecture to birds about proper techniques for flying, observe and write reports about the birds' flying abilities, and then seek funding to ensure that the lectures will continue!) But, soon I'm back driving in the dark again.I don't know if I really read this book. Can I add it to my 2013 Book Log? Does it count? Please don't ask me to summarize it or outline it or (heaven forbid!) don't test me on it.But if I didn't really read it, why did I like it so much? And why can't I stop thinking about it?Maybe what I did when I read Antifragile was antireading. Maybe antireading is the kind of reading where you turn the pages and read the words, but understand only a smidgen of what's there, and then you think about it for weeks, and come back to the book again and again, and maybe try to reread it, and it tweaks your map about this life, even through you really didn't understand much of what you read to begin with.Maybe antireading is the best kind of reading of all.

Peeling the Onion

Peeling the Onion - Wendy Orr The car accident changed Anna’s life forever, crippling her, giving her perpetual high-level pain, and ending her future as an athlete. Anna comes back, slowly, painfully, unexpectedly, and, in the process, creates a new, better life for herself.