22 February 2012

The One and Only Ivan – By: Katherine Applegate (Children’s Fiction)

Here’s a great new book by the author of one of my favorite series as a child. It's centered on a gorilla who lives in captivity in a mall circus, who realizes that things have to change when a baby elephant is brought to the circus.

I loved that the narrator is Ivan, the way "he" tells this story is both witty and sad. As time goes by, it seems like our narrator becomes more eloquent as he finds his voice in the desire to act. While the book (somewhat heavy-handedly) pushes our responsibilities towards animals, I appreciate the sentiment wholeheartedly.  However, the story is also about the end of complacency and the need to act when we see a change worth making. Together, these two morals make a great story.

Bookwyrm Rating: Appetizer

15 February 2012

Would it Kill You to Stop Doing That? – By: Henry Alford (Nonfiction)

Here is a delightful book on the subject of manners, but it’s not an encyclopedic tome detailing every nuance of behavior. Rather, it’s a treatise on why we have manners, and how we demonstrate them. In some cases it's about how our manners fail spectacularly. This is a great look into our behavior in general which proves to be both though provoking and hilarious.

I always love reading, but I especially love it when the author makes English work for its living. In my opinion a well turned phrase is worth ten decent plotlines, and I’m happy to say that this is an author who makes his work sing and dance. He has the unique ability among writers to make a phrase that is actually worth reading more than once. If the piquant observations don’t ensnare you, the writing surely will.

Bookwyrm Rating: Haute Cuisine 

04 February 2012

All There Is: Love Stories from Storycorps – By: Dave Isay (Nonfiction)

Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes a new offering from an old favorite. For those of you who don’t know Storycorp, this is an organization who travels around the country in order to record stories from real people. People can be interviewed by family, friends or facilitators, these recordings are then put on a CD and archived at the Library of Congress. For more information on Storycorp, visit their website, www.storycorp.org.

This new collection is all about love, which makes it an incredibly positive and endearing book. It seems to me that it’s impossible to not feel affinity with people once you know what or who they love. Love brings us all closer, and that’s what this book is all about.

Bookwyrm Rating: Meat and Potatoes