Arya of Winterfell’s #CBRV Review #15: The Hundred-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

100 year oldHere’s an enchanting tale about a man with 100 years worth of flashbacks on offer for readers.  If the Forrest Gump story were set in Sweden, I imagine it would read much like Jonas Jonasson’s The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared – an adorable and humourous romp through time and place with a full spectacle of historical figures popping in.  I enjoyed the Forrest Gump movie and I found this to be a fun read – I’ve already loaned my copy out five different times.

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Arya of Winterfell’s #CBRV Review #14: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

ender's gameEnder’s Game seems to have drawn them out of the woodwork.  We had a dozen people show up to our no commitment book club meeting, which works on a drop-in basis.  A bit surprised that the doorbell kept ringing, I wondered if it was due to the current Orson Scott Card controversies, the opportunity for reading during summer vacations, or the short length and accessibility of this young adult sci-fi classic.  Apparently it was all three factors – and more.  There was consensus among the 12 that it was a great read that got us thinking.  After all, Ender’s Game touches on all the usual young adult themes of power and control, good vs evil, friends vs enemies, children vs adults, isolation vs belonging.  Also there are the sci fi elements exploring possible futures and technologies, the ethics of interacting with alien species, the mind play of imagining zero gravity.  And there are heavy philosophical questions common to contemplative fiction around genetic engineering and the pursuit of intelligence/excellence.  In retrospect, Ender’s Game is perfect for a book club – and, in my opinion, which was hotly contested during our discussion, for a high school English classroom.

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Arya of Winterfell’s #CBRV Review #13: Cooked by Micheal Pollan

cookedI think we may have set ourselves up for an underwhelming Michael Pollan experience by selecting his brand-new-still-in-hardcover title, Cooked, for book club.  Both The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food have thoroughly and positively influenced my decisions about food.  These books, read in my early 20s, have shaped so many more elements of my life than my diet.  We select our next book through conversation at the end of our book club meeting so I was thrilled when one bookclubber put out there that Pollan had a new one, set to be released the very next day.  We’d previously been reading within a “classic” range that had been easy to get from the library or at least cheap at used book stores so no one balked, well, not for long, about the $30 commitment we were looking at.  For me, getting a book that new – I hadn’t done that since lining up in the middle of the night as a teen to get the latest Harry Potter.  So there was some excitement, some anticipation.  And what followed was, of course, disappointment.

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Arya of Winterfell’s #CBRV Review #12: The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin

left handIn our “No Commitment Book Club” we don’t necessarily take turns with selecting the next book but rather seem to conclude our meetings with a discussion towards deciding on the next pick.  We agreed something in the Sci-Fi genre might attract a different group than what was becoming our usual group.  Early on, we’d all appreciated that this type of book club seemed to guarantee varied, refreshing meetings as the group was different every time and free of the pitfall of book clubs with consistent attendees where you just end up with an evening of catching up and socializing, versus focused conversation about the book.  My husband put forward, Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold and we did end up collecting a different group for the evening and the discussion was fantastic, while my personal opinion of the book fell far short of that and such that I won’t even be reviewing it as part of my Cannonball challenge.

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Arya of Winterfell’s #CBRV Review #11: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

gone girlOthers have apparently been brief in their reviews of Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl”.  On the cover: “Thought-provoking.  Entertaining.  Chilling.”  Agreed, on all three counts.  This is the kind of book you’ve thanked the original friend recommending it profusely and who you’ve recommended to your mom, husband, bff, co-worker, random grocery store clerk, and library check-out girl.  I can’t trust myself to say much about “Gone Girl” without divulging spoilers.  Even uttering the title feels like I’ve said too much; see, there I go, hinting at spoilers.  “Gone Girl” is a mystery, a good one.  Enough said.

Arya of Winterfell’s #CBRV Review #10: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

quietWhen I came across the title, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, in a magazine’s list of suggested non-fiction reads, I enthusiastically requested Susan Cain’s book from my library and was delighted I didn’t have to wait for this one.  Seems the hype for Quiet has been quiet as well, which puzzles me.  I am incredibly enthusiastic in recommending this as an informative and enjoyable read and I figure my enthusiasm comes from the confused territory of being an ambivert myself (demonstrating characteristics of both extroversion and introversion – yes, this was confirmed by an informal quiz on page 13); there is much to learn about the subject for folks anywhere along the spectrum.  In fact, having extroversion and introversion introduced along a spectrum instead of as opposing labels is just one of the things I learned about this book.

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Arya of Winterfell’s #CBRV Review #9: Promises to Keep by Jane Green

Promises-to-KeepThere are times when I find myself in need of a book with something pink on its cover.  The kind of girlish book you’d expect to have scented pages and a satin ribbon bookmark.  In this case, two weeks into February and deep into the monotony of grey, damp days, it’s a trio of pink flowers facing out from a silvery paperback boasting it’s presence on the NY Times Bestsellers list.  I don’t know why I torture myself with these inane paperbacks, because they’re awful.  They are.  Notice my two-star opinion of Jane Green’s Promises to Keep which, by the way, is saved from the single star category because of the delightful addition of various recipes at the conclusion of each chapter.

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Arya of Winterfell’s #CBRV Review #8: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

Sense of An EndingHere’s a book about a 60 year old British divorced man.  I’m a 30 year old Canadian – a newlywed.  And my attention was kept throughout.  Something’s going on in The Sense of an Ending.

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Arya of Winterfell’s #CBRV Review #7: Divergent by Veronica Roth

divergentSo that YA fix I was anticipating from The Rook remained alive for me and lead me towards a book in the Fast Reads section at the library that featured a cover design that was (alarmingly, right!?) like The Hunger Games cover: Divergent by Suzanne Collins, I mean, by Veronica Roth.

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Arya of Winterfell’s #CBRV Review #6: The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

the rook

Reading the back cover review snippets alerted me to The Rook being a “genre-bender”.  (Ha, this was originally auto-corrected to “gender-bender”, which, I would argue, is also true of this novel.)  The Rook is likened to Harry Potter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Ghostbusters, as well as the Jason Bourne trilogy, War of the Worlds, etc.

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