Monday, January 17, 2011

Some Short Book Reviews

Strange to be starting a new books-read list for 2011. This year I'm hoping to write a mini-review for most of them here on the blog, mostly because lots of the books I read I find via other folks' blogs, and I want to pass on the favor.
First up: Sweater Quest, My Year of Knitting Dangerously, by Adrienne Martini. I'm pretty sure I heard about this one from my friend Katie, of The Good, the Plaid and the Snuggly. Like her, I found myself disagreeing with a lot of her viewpoints, but still enjoying the ride, especially because of all the interesting interviews she managed to snag in the course of writing the book.
Next, The Breach, by Patrick Lee. This is a page-turner, but it left a bit of a sour feeling by the time I was done. A near-future sci-fi thriller, this does keep the action moving and it keeps you guessing. I love the way the author led you around one corner after another, always revealing an interesting new plot point. Loved the way he dealt with the grandfather paradox. But, in the end, it was kind of hard to root for the hero or the heroine. Both of them commit pretty gruesome murders. In both cases, the motivations are understandable (revenge, in both cases), but there's never even the slightest bit of regret later - or even any thoughts of - and then rejection of - regret. The murders are just there, and I find that troubling. Heroes that make mistakes? That's the stuff of story. Heroes that never ever (even in the middle of a thriller) do any self-examination? Not so much, I don't think. But, great plot, great action. So . . . I'm ambiguous about this one.
Then, Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds, and Lose Inches, by Cynthia Sass. So, one of my favorite things to do when I'm trying to remind myself that I actually like being in shape is to read diet and/or fitness books. Even if I don't end up agreeing with them, I enjoy the new perspective and I can argue (in my head) with the author. This one? Not much to argue with. Is it exactly how I'm going to eat from now on? Nope. (For one thing? I like red meat.) But it was surprisingly sane, very encouraging, and included lots of interesting information from various research studies. She also does a great job of explaining why she makes her various recommendations; in other words, she doesn't just order, she educates. I appreciate that. Finally, the recipes look really good, and she also includes a section that teaches you how to make up similar recipes on your own.

That's it for now! Hope you're reading something good yourself. :)
Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

1 comment:

Katie K said...

I'm glad you read Sweater Quest but I'm sorry you had to wade through all the atheism and political soapboxing. This was a hard book for me because I respect Adrienne Martini as a knitter and an artist but obviously have a different perspective of the world around me. I'm actually very curious about her previous book, Hillbilly Gothic, which chronicles her struggle with severe postpartum depression but I'm worried that it will be too troubling to read about her going through that apart from God (or even a higher power for that matter). I'll let you know if I end up reading it or not.