Monday, March 25, 2013

Recently Read

I'm a huge fan of the public libraries. I have been on a self-imposed book-buying ban for over a year now, and haven't felt deprived at all because my library takes good care of me. (Ice cream, however, I couldn't give up for a year without feeling deprived.) I'm lucky to have a library that lets you request books from other nearby libraries (and they even deliver those books to my local library - so convenient!). 

Requesting books is a tricky puzzle, though - you want to have enough books listed to ensure a steady stream of books that you're dying to read, but not have so many books on your list that two or three (or four!) might arrive in the same week. Usually it works out well, but four books came in for me last week. And I only have three weeks to read these bad boys - eek! Needless to say, I'm on a reading blitz! Here's a few I recently enjoyed:
Up first: Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal - the World's Most Dangerous Weapon 

This book is a perfect companion to all the World War II books I've been devouring recently (namely Code Name Verity and Unbroken).  It gives the backstory behind creating the atomic bomb. A somber read, for sure, but a story that needs to be told. It taught me so much - I had no idea so many other countries were in on the build-a-bomb-with-uranium bandwagon. I especially liked how everyone was characterized. They felt like my coworkers or neighbors because of how Sheinkin describes them. The intended audience is older children/young adults and that's probably part of why it felt like such an easy read. I wish more nonfiction were written this way! If you're intrigued, Janssen's got way more details.

Sometimes, when I hear tons of hype about a book, I'm disappointed by it - even if it's one that I might have otherwise loved - simply because it wasn't as AMAZING as all that hype. Sadly, The One and Only Ivan probably suffered from this. It's definitely a good book - I liked the characters, I enjoyed the storyline (although I felt the problem was solved a wee bit too easily), and I adored the author's message. But overall, it was just a good book for me. Not mind-blowing or magical or fantastic. Just a solid read. It tells the story of Ivan, a gorilla who has been living in a mall for over two decades. He hasn't given his living situation too much thought over the years, but that changes when he meets a young elephant named Ruby and makes a promise to Stella.

This book combines so many of my favorite things: bookstores, secrets, and mysterious groups. So it was no trouble at all to start this book on a lazy Saturday afternoon and finish it the following morning. Laundry can wait ;) It tells the story of Clay Jannon (I couldn't help but think of yogurt every time his last name was used), a 20-something with a hodgepodge of skills who recently lost his job with NewBagel. He finds a new job at a 24-hour bookstore working the graveyard shift: 10pm to 6am. He rarely has customers, so he invites his friends to check out the store. One friend makes a startling discovery when he opens a book from the Wayback section... haven't read a book like this in a while and I loved guessing how it might end all along the way!

Have you read anything good lately? Any suggestions for me?

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