Vacation Reading

Ah vacation, I love you. Also a time to catch up on some reading that is not school related. Here are all the books I read during vacation, and the end of 2013!

The Anglo Files by Sarah Lyall
2008, 305 pages

Sarah Lyall is a journalist who moved to London in the 1990s, married a British man, and lives there now. In this book she talks about all the cultural differences between the British and Americans. Topics that are covered: Parliament, boarding schools, stiff upper lips, the royals, you get the idea. However, it was just okay. I didn’t really care for the way it was written and it was not as interesting, or amusing, as I had hoped.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 bedazzles

Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
2013, 266 pages

This book was written for kids. The school librarian told me it was a good one, so I agreed to try it. The reading level is about 7th grade. It was a very good read though.

Shortly before World War II, scientists discovered that if you shot uranium atoms at more uranium atoms it created a lot of energy. Scientists began testing it all over the world to see what could be done with it. With the beginning of WWII, someone naturally figured out that it could be used in weapons. The US, Germany and Soviet Union all decided that they needed to try and create a bomb using uranium. Soviet spies weaseled their way into the US to try and steal the secrets of the team, led by Robert Oppenheimer, that was working on the bomb for the US. Germany, after invading Norway, was taking heavy water from a plant that would allow them to use that water to create an atomic bomb, and needed to be stop. And Oppenheimer was busy working for the government and trying to get a bomb ready as quickly as possible.

The US won the beginning of the arms race, obviously, dropping the two atom bombs they made on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. But the way that they got there was very interesting. It’s a good read, and you learn many things. One thing I learned, Robert Oppenheimer and Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory look a lot alike, which is probably intentional.

Robert Oppenheimer

Jim Parsons, aka Sheldon Cooper

For Every Solution, a Problem by Kerstin Gier
2007, 304 pages

I have not suddenly learned how to speak German. Gier is a German author, who also wrote the Precious Stones Trilogy that I quite enjoyed, (see October 11’s post for the review of the first book) and apparently Goodreads isn’t smart enough to have the English translation on the website.

Anyway, Gerri is almost thirty, (gasp!) and apparently the bane of her family’s existence. She is always the youngest, who is foolish, the only brunette in a family of blonds, and a romance writer to boot. Her entire family seems ashamed. Gerri decides that is a neurotic depressive and decides to commit suicide by taking all of her mother’s sleeping pills. However, before she goes she writes a series of goodbye letters to family, friends and coworkers to share what she really thinks of them. Through a series of misadventures, Gerri’s suicide plot fails, and she must deal with the fact that everyone now knows what she thinks about them.

I was a bit concerned during the first half of the book, because I wasn’t sure that it was such a good idea. But I ended up finding it mildly amusing. Fun fact: when you rent an apartment in Germany you have to pay for the kitchen appliances. It’s a good quick read, but probably not something that you absolutely MUST pick up.

Rating: 3 out of 5 bedazzles

House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus Book 4) by Rick Riordan
2013, 597 pages

Do you see how long this book is? Do you? 597 pages, that is a bit of a time commitment. The other problem: I don’t remember what happened in the first three books! So, I was just confused. There are so many pages, that rereading the previous books would just make it so much MORE of a time commitment! 7 demigods are zooming around the world to try and keep the gods, who are suffering from split personalities (their Greek and Roman sides), from disappearing forever because Gaea, older earth goddess, is rising and wants to destroy the world and have it overrun with monsters. There are many quests, and much killing of monsters.

There is apparently at least one more in this series. I just don’t know if I can stand it.

Rating: 2.75 out of 5 bedazzles

We’ve reached it. The end of vacation.

And with the end of vacation, comes the final review.

Longbourn by Jo Baker
2013, 352 pages

This book has received a lot of hype, or at least, hype that I am aware of. Longbourn is the story of the servants in the Bennett household. Sarah, Polly, Mr. and Mrs. Hill take care of the Bennett family through all of their relevant Pride and Prejudice drama. Relevant plot points, such as Lydia running off with Wickham, and Mr. Collins’ visit, are included. However, these are shown through the point of view of the servants. Along with the household drama, Sarah must choose between two suitors, the servant to Mr. Bingley, Ptolemy, and a mysterious new manservant who comes to serve at Longbourn.

The trouble with reading books that are continuations of a story that is so well known as Pride and Prejudice is that I have expectations about them. I thought that the characters from P&P would be int he story more, and that that plot would be followed more closely. Of course, why the servants would be included in that, I have no idea.

It was good, and interesting, and definitely works with P&P.

Rating: 4 out of 5 bedazzles

In other news, I read more or less 124 books last year. How many will be read in 2014?


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