Book Review | The Awakening

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Widely considered a classic now, The Awakening by Kate Chopin was at at its publishing in 1899, considered controversial for the way that Chopin depicted immoral and frank depictions of female sexual desire and for its depiction of a protagonist who chafed against social norms and established gender roles.

Within a decade of her death she was considered a leading feminist writer for her time. Unfortunately, this often happened for female authors of this time.

The writing is superb. My review on goodreads is short but precise:

Wonderfully written! An ending I did not see coming as well. Really enjoyed this. Upsetting that Chopin was not recognized for her talents while she was still alive.

I’m just a reader who enjoyed this book and gave it five stars. I don’t feel qualified to give it a full analysis, but luckily for us others on youtube have already done this.

Grumpy Old Men | Waiting for Godot Book Review

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

Remember Grumpy Old Men?

Grumpier Old Men Trailer

This book was written in 1952 well before the movie and its basically the same thing. What I originally wrote in my goodreads review was:

Strange play. Two guys that are waiting for someone who never comes. They are mean to each other and at least one seems to be a vagrant. The run into an old mean guy that has memory issues. This play is short only 100 pages, but I just summed it up 4 sentences. You’re welcome.

And that really does sum up Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. I thought it was funny and short. It gets three stars from me.

Sleeping Giants a Science Fiction Mystery

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

Sleeping Giants was a real surprise to me. I was given this book at a Comic-Con years ago and when I finally picked it up I was blown away. It is a great science fiction story. A young girl finds some metal protruding from the ground and that small discovery turns the world upside down and begins a lifetime of searching. What they discover will change all their lives and the lives of everyone on earth.

Sleeping Giants Signed
Sleeping Giants Signed

This is only the first book in a trilogy called The Themis Files. I grabbed the other two books after reading the first and had the author Sylvain Neuvel sign them at subsequent Comic-Cons in San Deigo. I really enjoyed this book, but as often happens I have been distracted by other great books and I have not gone back to read the other two books in the Themis Files triliogy although I have signed copies. This is why writing about the books on this blog is very helpful for me, because I remember this great books and can finally go back and read them.

I wouldn’t quite call this a hidden gem as it does have 51,000 ratings on goodreads, but It certainly isn’t as popular as some. Most folks over there give it 4 or 5 stars. It earned a sold 4 from me and I said

Excellent book. Lots of action and a great story. Real cliffhanger at the end. I’m looking forward to reading the next one in the series.

Book Review | In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It

In Conclusion, Don't Worry About It
In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham

I really like Lauren Graham. She was wonderful Gilmore Girls, which is where I first saw her. I thought she was a very talented actress. Later I learned that she had also authored some books. I’m a fan of her book, Someday, Someday, Maybe and also enjoyed Talking as Fast as I Can.

Both of these were good books. This book left me dissatisfied. It’s not that the advice in this very short, 52 page book is not good, it just that I don’t think it needed to be a book and I don’t know what the reasoning for publishing it was other than maybe that Graham was getting a lot of press at the time since Gilmore Girls had come back on Netflix for four episodes.

Below is the book blurb…

In this expansion of the 2017 commencement speech she gave at her hometown Langley High, Lauren Graham, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood, reflects on growing up, pursuing your dreams, and living in the here and now. “Whatever path you choose, whatever career you decide to go after, the important thing is that you keep finding joy in what you’re doing, especially when the joy isn’t finding you.” In her hilarious, relatable voice, Graham reminds us to be curious and compassionate, no matter where life takes us or what we’ve yet to achieve. Grounded and inspiring—and illustrated throughout with drawings by Graham herself—here is a comforting road map to a happy life.

Thats just it, they could have just done a blog post or youtube the speech, it didn’t need to be expanded. Anyway, I still like Graham her writing and acting, I just don’t see a need for this book to exist. Save your time and read her other better works, or binge on the Gilmore Girls. I graciously gave this book 3 stars.

Book Review | The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault of Our Stars by John Green is an insanely popular book, with just shy of 3 million ratings on Goodreads. The book came first but soon became a major motion picture.

The Fault of Our Stars Movie Trailer

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

After I read the book and really enjoyed it, I decided to watch the film. I would say if you are a reader, you don’t need to watch the movie, it in no way adds to the book you have already read. The acting was okay, but the story in the book is so much more, as usually is the case with books.

Initially I didn’t really want to read this book. Mostly because it was so popular and all the reviews say that the book made them cry. I’m not super emotional, but I don’t want to read books that are sad just because they are sad.

I want to read books that give me something to take away. I want to read books that make me better in some way. We don’t have a lot of time why read or do anything for the matter that doesn’t benefit us in some way.

I did learn to value the things and the people in my life much more than I was currently doing. We all know this is important but sometimes we need a reminder. This is a very good book and a great reminder that what we have in life, whether it is a lot or a little is more than some and we should celebrate and be thankful for that instead of being depressed and always wanting more.

Because of this lesson and really great writing I would recommend this book to most everyone. The story and lesson earned 4 stars out of 5 from me.

Book Review |The Midnight Watch: A Novel of the Titanic and the Californian

The Midnight Watch
The Midnight Watch

I thought The Midnight Watch: A Novel of the Titanic and the Californian by David Dyer, was going to be a history book but instead, it turned out to be historical fiction. While real people are used some of it is the authors best guess at what happened. I would assume he has also embellished.

Like many, I have always been fascinated by the sinking of the Titanic. When I learned that there was a boat that was very close to her but never came to her assistance, I had to read and find out what happened. This novel follows a fictional writer for a real newspaper. The newspaper that did follow and publish stories about the Titanic at the time. The fictional reporter is out after the truth and follows around Lord and Stone, the captain and first mate of the Californian, the boat that was just miles from the Titanic saw its distress rockets and choice to do nothing. Why???

The Titanic Inquiry: Crew of the SS Californian

That is exactly what Dyer tries to answer with this novel. A great way of approaching this question is with historical fiction. I’ve never really been a fan of this genre because I like the facts of things and this genre interweaves fact and fictional storytelling so closely, that is is hard to tell them apart and you can’t trust what you have read as truth, even if some of it is.

Having said this, I think for this book the genre works in Dyer’s favor. For those interested in the story behind the story, I think they will enjoy the book. For my part, I would have been just as happy with a non-fiction book that presented the facts and the author gave us his best guess as to what actually happened. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review | The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything

Speed of Trust
Speed of Trust

For managers at my company, there is a one-day class that is a requirement for any people leaders. If you have direct reports you have to take this class. The class is based on The Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey.

Last year I knew I would have to take this course and I was looking forward to it as I have read some of the other Covey books. This book is written by Stephen Covey Jr. His father is the one who wrote the 7 Effective Habit book that is huge and most everyone knows or has already read.

Before taking the class I bought the book and read the thing from cover to cover. A few months later I got to take the course and among the other goodies that come with the course package (flash cards, a workbook, etc.) we recieved a copy of the book. This was a welcome surprise since the copy I had previsouly obtained was digital. Now I had a physical copy and would keep this in my library as I think it will be great for my children to read when they are old enough.

This book is filled with gems. Everything he says is pretty much common sense the thing is we usually don’t sit around thinking about trust and how good trust works well for us, and all the ways we can damage a relationship be not having trust or not trying to building. Covey also discusses how to re-build trtust with someone you may have lost it with.

If you are a working professional or in a relationship I think you can find something to take from this book. I got a lot out of it. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review | The Journey That Saved Curious George Young Readers Edition: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey

The Journey That Saved Curious George
The Journey That Saved Curious George

Okay for kids or adults this story follows the two creators of Curious George as they fled Europe like some many others during WWII. Well written with great illustrations.

This was a gift for my children from a family member. I saw it in the house and before it disappeared into one of the kid’s rooms, never to be found again, short of moving to another house, I grabbed it and finished it quickly. I think the shortness of this book also attracted me since I was in the middle of the summer reading program at my local library. This short book would help me get another book on the list and another entry into the contests they were running.

This was a fun read and I would recommend it for kids that are mature enough for the story. Nothing really scary here but it will lead to difficult questions about the Nazis and WWII. The Journey That Saved Curious George earned 4 stars from me.

Book Review | The Harvard Medical School Guide to Yoga: 8 Weeks to Strength, Awareness, and Flexibility

The Harvard Medical School Guide to Yoga: 8 Weeks to Strength, Awareness, and Flexibility
The Harvard Medical School Guide to Yoga: 8 Weeks to Strength, Awareness, and Flexibility

I grabbed this at my local library after seeing it from the corner of my eye.  I’ve been doing yoga since last year at least twice a week.  It has really helped with some chronic pains in my back and other places that I thought were just older age setting in.  But after regular yoga these pains are gone for good.  I feel a bunch better after a quick 30 minute session and complete rejuvenated after a good 60 minute session.

The Harvard Medical School Guide to Yoga is an excellent primer. Covers everything in depth. The best part is at the end where the authors have included an 8-week guide including sequences to get you going. This is a great place to start your yoga practice and will answer many of your questions.

This is a book to buy and keep as a reference if you have an interest in yoga.  It earned 5 stars from me.

Book Review | It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy

It's Your Ship
It’s Your Ship

It’s Your Ship was recommended to me from a former Vice President of my department at work.  I finally found a copy available at my local library.  It just happened to be a downloaded version of the audio book that I listened to.  This was a wonderful book to listen to because the author himself reads the book to you.  I really enjoy it when this is done, because you really feel like you are getting the story as it was intended to be told.

Captain Abrashoff tells a wonderful story of his growth as a leader through the Navy with many great examples.  I was able to take much of this book and apply it to my team and department.  The work he has put into this book and the audio really shows through.  It was a great way to spend my commute for a few days.  I looked forward to my time listening to this book.

If you are a novice leader or experienced leader I believe there is something from this book that you can take from it.  I gave this book my highest rating of 5 out of 5 stars.  It is defiantly worth your time.  Grab the audio version if you can.