Sunday, January 31, 2010

Real Men Don't Apologize

Real Men Don't Apologize!
By Jim Belushi
288 pages
4 hours 29 minutes listening time

Grade B-

The best part of this book was that Jim himself narrated it. Although it is written for men, I did find it pretty funny. There are some EXTREMELY crude parts too, where he talks about how to sleep with as many women as you can when you are single, but besides that, its pretty good.

He talks a little about when his brother died, which I thought was going to make for a pretty depressing book, and honestly, I almost turned it off at that point because the last thing I wanted was another freaking depressing book. But he turned it around and had my laughing again. And I am not talking like a silent haha in my head. I am talking about people at work looking at me weird because I was laughing at my desk for no apparent reason.

He explains in his book the rules of dating for men, and what you, as a man, need to do in order to make a relationship work. It's pretty funny to hear about dating from a man's perspective. It's also pretty funny when he talks about what women are thinking, because honestly, we do think like that. As he states, men over simplify, women over complicate.

A pretty light quick read. I wouldn't say it's one you can't live without, but if you are single man, you might just want to read it. It might help.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Penny from Heaven

A Penny from Heaven
By Jennifer Holm
288 pages
5 hours 34 minutes listening time

Grade B

I am really not trying to only read young readers, but as I borrow them from the library I get recommendations like, "You read this book, you might enjoy this book" so I end up with a lot of the same stuff. As much as I have enjoyed them, I am looking forward to reading "grown up" books.

In the mean time, I finished A Penny from Heaven. It was a cute book, a little slow in a lot of places, but still a cute book. Penny's dad died when she was just a baby and she doesn't remember him. 14 years later, her mother starts dating the milk man. Penny is really torn on how she feels about it. Every Sunday she visits her dad's super large Italian family, where she has like a million aunts and uncles and even more cousins. She does well to fit in with them all.

Again, I don't really have too much to say about it. As cute as it was, it was a little slow and just a tad boring.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Evolution, Me, & Other Freaks of Nature

Evolution, Me, & Other Freaks of Nature
By Robin Brande
272 pages
6 hours and 29 minutes listening time

Grade A

I really enjoyed this book for several reasons. It was another young reader, however that is not why I liked it. I liked it because Mena, the main character, showed a lot of strength and courage for being only 15. She showed that ignorance is not always bliss. And she showed that people can change.

Mena is a 15 year old girl that is just starting her freshman year of high school. She thought high school would be very fun and enjoyable, however at the end of her 8th grade year, she lost all her friends. The book doesn't tell you until the dead center of the book why she lost all her friends, and I won't say here why either so that it won't give it away, however, although she struggles, she still manages to stay positive.

She finds comfort in her biology class, and I absolutely LOVE the character of her teacher. The author goes into the controversy of evolution vs. intelligent design, and Mena's struggle with what she wants to believe, what she should believe, and in the long run, what she does believe. I admire her character, because I was not as attuned to things as she is at 15. I also admire her strength for standing up for what she believes in, and how she copes with all of it.

Anyway, another very quick read, trust me, some long ones are coming up. I am still reading my paperbook, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and I have a dozen audio books that are going to take me about 30 hours each. However, I will note here, that I like the short ones because it makes me feel like I am actually accomplishing something :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe
By Daniel Defoe
352 pages
10 hrs 39 minutes listening time

Grade A

Man, Robin was stuck on that island for a very, very, VERY long time. I really enjoyed this book regardless. I enjoyed reading how Robinson managed to stay alive and how he functioned. I also really enjoyed reading how he turned his little island into his own little country.
I also want to note, that I really enjoyed how well this book was written. I liked that even though it was written in an older English, and the narrator was very nice to listen to. He was no Jim Dale, but easy to listen to nonetheless.

I don't really know what else to say about this book. I mean it was great, I recommend it, but he spent almost 30 years on an island and the majority of those years, he was alone. But still, I recommend it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Crooked Kind of Perfect

A Crooked Kind of Perfect
By Linda Urban
224 pages
3 hours 17 minutes listening time

Grade A-

I did not read anything on this book prior to adding it to my list. I simply went off a recommendation off a book discussion board that I participate on. I didn't realize that this book was a very young reader, and that it was also very short. However, like I mentioned before, for every short book I read, I have an equally long one to follow up with. After starting this book, I wasn't even going to use it towards my count, but after listening to it, I will keep it in my count, simply because it was so enjoyable, I will probably listen to it again later.

So this book is about a 10 year old girl named Zoe, and she desperately wants to learn to play the piano. Instead, her harebrained dad gets her an organ. He sends her to lessons at the senior center, where instead of actually playing an instrument, she gets to practice on a cardboard picture of a keyboard. After four weeks of this practice, her dad decides that she can no longer take these lessons. Not because they aren't doing her any good, but because he worries about getting her to the lessons. On Monday, he starts worrying about the weather on Thursday. Will there be too much traffic, will they get lost? He worries so much, he decides he just can't drive her anymore and instead gets her a private instructor at their house, so he does not have to leave.

Her dad takes all of these home based courses that are just ridiculous to normal people. Classes that teach you how to cook for friends and family and make a profit, or various other oddness. But in this, he is blissfully happy. Zoe does not see these as short comings, but just ways that help make her dad great. I especially liked when they were at the hotel room, and her dad had packed his own cleaning supplies, or in the start of the book when Zoe goes into why her dad is not aloud to do the shopping because once he went out, and bought all the toilet paper at the store, because the deal was so great. He was so excited about the sale, that they have 498 rolls of TP in their basement.

Zoe reminds me of myself when I was 10/11. She was sort of awkward and didn't have many friends. The friends that she does have, tend to find cooler friends to hang out with, but give her the opportunity to still sit with them at the lunch table, of course, until she finds a new best friend.

Zoe's drive, motivation and dreams are enough alone to make this book so very worth the read, and why I am keeping it on my list, although it is very short. It was a very pleasant read, and I do recommend it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Dear John

Dear John
By Nicholas Sparks
352 pages
90 hours 20 minute listening time
Grade: B

A quick tip in audio books.....Make sure you turn the shuffle on your iPod off prior to listening to an audio book. I listened to the first like hour of this book and my iPod was on shuffle. I couldn't figure out why the hell I couldn't keep track of what was going on in the book. I restarted it and well, it all made sense when it wasn't on shuffle anymore. Go figure right?

If you have ever read a Nicholas Sparks book before, then you really already know what this book is about, forbidden love, pain, happiness, and of course, the occasional death. It was a very beautiful story, and made my cry like a little girl.

It starts with a man, John, and he meets a very intriguing woman, Savannah. They spend an incredible week together at the beach. John is in the army and has to go back to Germany, but they keep up correspondence via letters. If I say too much more, I think I might give away too much of what happens, and that is not my intent. However, it's a good quick read, and a nice little story to keep with you.

I will say though, I really need to pick a more uplifting book to read next. All this heart breaking love, and sadness is really bringing me down. Maybe I might take my dad's advice and read an Archie and Veronica comic book.......

Monday, January 4, 2010

Youth in Revolt

Youth in Revolt
By CD Payne
498 Pages
8 hrs 20 mins listening time
Grade: B

I didn't realize that this book was being turned into a movie before I started listening to it. I don't know if I will see the movie, or just wait for it to come out on DVD, if it's anything like the book, I will just wait.

The book was entertaining. I was never a teenage boy so I can't really relate to a lot of what the book goes into, however, it was entertaining. The author goes into some crazy details of a teenage boy's sex life, or rather lack there of. It is hard to believe that 14 year old kids talk the way the author says they do, constantly calling each other "darling" and whatever. I cannot ever remember using that term ever....not even in my adult life.

This book is also a part of a series, which I was not aware of, and it ends quite suddenly. So now I have to find the rest of the books in the series to find out if Nick ever ends up with his darling Sheena.

***Edited to add***
As my recent commenter Heather said, yes, the vocabulary with the characters is amazing, probably what kept me going. Not that it is a bad book, I did enjoy it, however, I find now that I am older, it is difficult to read high school books or Young Adult, because well, they are meant for an entirely different generation. And I will admit, the humor in the book stems totally from the one thing teenage boys have sex. And Nick, the main character, seems to jump through whatever hoops is needed for him to obtain this goal.

2 down.....98 to go!

Friday, January 1, 2010

About Alice

By Calvin Trillin
96 pages
1 hr 18 minutes listening time
Read by Calvin Trillin
Grade: A+

Books read by the author are more incredible than books read by just a narrator. You get a better feel for how the book is really supposed to be heard. About Alice is a touching book written by a man about his wife. Alice seems to be a women that I could strive to be for my entirety, however would never be that awesome.

The love that this man shows for his wife, is undeniable. He says things like:

"I somehow thought I could keep her alive because I wouldn't accept the possibility that she would die..."

All so hard to read, but so incredibly sincere that you can't help but cry.

There are two parts of the book that are my favorites. One is when Calvin talks about how his wife thinks by missing school plays, productions, or dance recitals is enough for child services to come and take them away.

The second is when Calvin tells us about when Alice volunteered at a childrens camp for handicapped children. Alice was helping a young girl that received a letter from her parents. Alice is ashamed to say that she had such a strong need to find out what the parents of this girl would write to her to make her so amazing, that she snuck a peak at the letter. The letter says something like (I can't find the part to quote it 100%):

"If God gave us the choice to pick our child again, we would have picked you over again and again"

And Alice states, this is the meaning of life.

I am a sucker for books that pull at your heart strings, I have given this book an A+ and since it's such a quick read, I recommend you read it.

One down.....99 more to go.

Let the reading commence!

Happy New Year!!!