Tag Archives: book blog

Nine Inches: Stories by Tom Perrotta

  • Title: Nine Inches: Stories
  • Author: Tom Perrotta
  • # of Pages: 246

Nine Inches, Tom Perrotta’s first true collection, features ten stories—some sharp and funny, some mordant and surprising, and a few intense and disturbing. Whether he’s dropping into the lives of two teachers—and their love lost and found—in “Nine Inches”, documenting the unraveling of a dad at a Little League game in “The Smile on Happy Chang’s Face”, or gently marking the points of connection between an old woman and a benched high school football player in “Senior Season”, Perrotta writes with a sure sense of his characters and their secret longings.

Nine Inches contains an elegant collection of short fiction: stories that are as assured in their depictions of characters young and old, established and unsure, as any written today.


It takes a different set of skills to write short stories, to be able to write convincing, believable characters in so few words. It’s like a very concentrated drink, it needs to be strong and exact because you’re only going to get one sip to really understand the flavor.

There is no doubt that Tom Perrotta possesses that set of skills. Story after story, his characters come alive for their fifteen minutes of fame. Perrotta manages to create that feeling that we’re just getting a glimpse, that there’s a whole life before and after that will continue on without us. It’s the way short stories should be. Sound, solid, able to carry that weight of their existence, past, present and future.

Continue reading →

Advertisements

Parnassus On Wheels by Christopher Morley

  • Title: Parnassus On Wheels
  • Author: Christopher Morley
  • # of Pages: 142

Image result for Parnassus On Wheels“I warn you,” said the funny-looking little man with the red beard, “I’m here to sell this caravan of culture, and by the bones of Swinburne I think your brother’s the man to buy it.” Christopher Morley’s unforgettably weird classic tale of adventure on a traveling bookstore called Parnassus, drawn by a steed called Pegasus. Not to be missed.


Miss Helen McGill lives on a farm with her brother Andrew. Everything is going great-  until Andrew becomes an author. It starts with one book of his being published, and soon Miss McGill finds herself running the farm on her own, as her brother focuses on his new career. “He hardly ever looked at the ears Roebuck catalogs any more, and after Mr. Decameron came to visit us and suggested that Andrew write a book of country poems, the man became simply unbearable.

One day a strange little man shows up with a wagon full of books, wanting to sell them to Andrew McGill. He’s been travelling around the country to introduce the simple folks to literature but now he wants to write a book about his travels, so he needs someone else to take over for him. Miss McGill realizes that if Andrew ever hears about this, she’ll never see him again, so on a whim she decides to buy the wagon herself and go on an unplanned vacation.
Thus begins a very entertaining adventure, with Miss McGill as the star, along with a dog, a horse and the strange little man. If you’re looking for a gripping plot – this is probably not the book for you. However, if all you need is a pleasant little tale with a few surprises and a crew of amusing characters – go right ahead. An interesting concept, a few laughs and a sweet ending – the best companion for a winter’s cup of chocolate milk.

Continue reading →

Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story by Leonie Swann

  • Title: Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story 
  • Author: Fannie Flagg
  • # of Pages: 357
  • Translation: (German into Hebrew) טלי קונס

A witty philosophical murder mystery with a charming twist: the crack detectives are sheep determined to discover who killed their beloved shepherd. glenkill

On a hillside near the cozy Irish village of Glennkill, a flock of sheep gathers around their shepherd, George, whose body lies pinned to the ground with a spade. George has cared devotedly for the flock, even reading them books every night. Led by Miss Maple, the smartest sheep in Glennkill (and possibly the world), they set out to find George’s killer.


Sometimes I like to ignore bad recommendations. It’s an annoying habit best phrased as “I want to see for myself”. These ventures usually end in one of two ways – everyone was wrong or everyone was right. Three Bags Full falls somewhere in between. Continue reading →

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

  • Title: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
  • Author: Fannie Flagg
  • # of Pages: 497

The day Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison opened the Whistle Stop Cafe, the town took a turn for the better. It was the Depression and that cafe was a home from home for many of us. You could get eggs, grits, bacon, ham, coffee and a smile for Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe25 cents. Ruth was just the sweetest girl you ever met. And Idgie? She was a character, all right. You never saw anyone so headstrong. But how anybody could have thought she murdered that man is beyond me.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is a mouth-watering tale of love, laughter and mystery. It will lift your spirits and above all it’ll remind you of the secret to life: friends. Best friends.


I wonder why we decided to limit ourselves to just five. What if I need a sixth star? Where am I supposed to get it from? Just bringing up some serious issues the book community needs to sit down and figure out.

Continue reading →

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

  • Title: The Neverending Story
  • Author: Michael Ende
  • # of Pages: 445

SPOILER ALERT: mentions main characters and touches on major events, includes quotes without names or direct comments about the plot but that may give away points to attentive readers


Bastian Balthazar Bux is shy, awkward, and certainly not heroic. His onlThe Neverending Storyy escape is reading books. When Bastian happens upon an old book called The Neverending Story, he’s swept into the magical world of Fantastica—so much that he finds he has actually become a character in the story! And when he realizes that this mysteriously enchanted world is in great danger, he also discovers that he has been the one chosen to save it. Can Bastian overcome the barrier between reality and his imagination in order to save Fantastica?


I recently read Momo, also by Michael Ende. A quick Google investigation led me to the conclusion that my review of it was going to be the only non-five-star review on planet Earth, which reminded me – I never liked The Neverending Story, when I read it as a kid, either. I also didn’t like the movie. (Fun fact: Michael Ende didn’t either. He asked the production to stop, or at least change the name, because in his opinion it was too different from the original book. He sued and lost.) I thought the book really was neverending. As with Momo, I seem to be the only person who thinks this way. So naturally I decided to read it again and attempt to solve this mystery once and for all.

Continue reading →

Momo by Michael Ende

  • Title: Momo
  • momoAuthor: Michael Ende
  • # of Pages: 227

 

Momo has a wonderful life. She has no parents and her home is the ruins of an old amphitheatre, but she has wonderful friends of all shapes and sizes who take care of her, play with her and keep her company. There’s Beppo Roadwsweeper, old and wise, who loves her and cares for her like a father, Guido Guide, the storyteller who loves to make up local history for tourists, and the children of the city who love to play with Momo and find that no game is really much fun without her.

One day something weird starts happening to the people in the world. It starts with the old barber, who gets a visit from a very odd, very gray man who tells him he can start saving time in the Timesaving Bank and then, when he’s older, he’ll have enough time saved up to fulfill all of his dreams. The man agrees. In order to save up time he has to start giving up some small things – a daily hour with his old mother, a weekly visit to his lover, his habit of sitting around and contemplating life every evening. He’s not the only one. One by one, people start saving time. As they strive to become more efficient, they drop hobbies, family and friends. Very soon society turns into a sort of machine – there’s no point wasting a second on anything that isn’t neccessary. 

Momo and her friends start noticing the change around them. They soon find out it has to do with men in gray plaguing the citizens, convincing them to save time and then evaporating from their memories as soon as they’ve gone. They try telling people the truth, but when the men in gray find out, they find themselves in grave danger. As the world keeps changing, it’s up to Momo to save everyone.


I spend a good fifteen minutes reading reviews online before I set out to write this one. I screened through pages and pages of four and five star reviews, each one praising Ende more than the last, trying to figure out what went wrong for me.

Continue reading →

How Katie Got a Voice (and a Cool New Nickname)

  • Author – Pat Mervine
  • # of Pages – 26
  • *includes illustrations

How Katie Got a Voice (and a Cool New Nickname) is a story told by a fourth grade classmate of Katie, the new girl in school. Everyone in the school has a nickname related to individual interests and personalities. When Katie comes into the class, the students are eager to involve her in their activities and to learn what is special about her. This proves to be quite a challenge. Katie has significant physical disabilities. How can Katie fit in with her classmates when she can’t even talk? When Katie is introduced to assistive technology, she is finally able to communicate with her new friends. As a result, the students are delighted to see her as a person with many interests and abilities, just like them. Katie knows she is a valued member of the school when she is given her own special nickname.

Continue reading →

Annual End of Year Book Survey – 2013 – Part 2(/3)

Part two of my 3 part survey series! (sounds fancy when you put it that way). Credit, of course, to the wonderful lady at Perpetual Page Turner and her post, which can be found at – 4th Annual End of Year Book Survey.

You can find Part 1 here, where I answered questions 1-9.

  • Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?
  1. Little Children by Tom Perrotta
  2. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
  3. Orange Is The New Black by Piper Kerman

        

  • Most memorable character in 2013?

Not too sure about this one. Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gentley is definitely a memorable guy, but I’m going to go with Ram Mohammad Thomas from Q & A by Vikas Swarup. It’s usually easier to connect to the character telling the story, and Ram’s is told beautifully – due to both content and writing.

  • Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

Room by Emma Donoghue. The entire story is written from the point of view of a five year old boy. It’s a chilling, calmingly scary story and the POV makes it both creepier and more beautiful. The idea to tell a story through a character that doesn’t understand what’s going on most of the time is absolutely brilliant, and the writing is fantastic. World Cup Wishes (משאלה אחת ימינה) by Eshkol Nevo is pretty close though, maybe even just as great.

  • Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013? 

Room by Emma Donoghue. The story was so intense it was hard to break out of the mood for a couple of days at least, if not more. I read the entire book in around twenty four hours and I was so into it that when I finished returning to the world felt like I’d fallen out of the sky and landed head first on the ground. Unfortunately, I also realized just how… how not-so-outta-this-world kidnapping is, which was not a very great conclusion to reach around the same time the news was filled with stories about the Castro kidnapper.

I feel like it’s also neccesary to mention David Levithan’s How We Met & Other Stories because one of the stories in it inspired my very first proper short story, that was followed by another four over the course of the year. It’s the short story I read at a talent show in New Hampshire this summer, that led to a fellow writer telling me I inspired her and writing a poem about me. It really affected me, and has immense impact on my writing and on my feelings about being a writer in general.

  • Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?

 I don’t think I have an answer for this one. I guess 1984 could qualify, but on the other hand I’m very glad I read it at this certain point in my life, so it doesn’t really answer the question.

  • Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?
  1. “Yes, expenses were, well, expensive in the Bahamas, Mrs. Sauskind, it is in the nature of expenses to be so. Hence the name.” – Terry Jones, Starship Titanic
  2. The Electric Monk’s day was going tremendously well and he broke into an excited gallop. That is to say that, excitedly, he spurred his horse to a gallop and, unexcitedly, his horse broke into it. – Terry Jones, Starship Titanic
  3. “Well, yes. But it takes a village to raise a child, as they say in Africa… If you’ve got a village. But if you don’t, then maybe it just takes two people.” – Room, Emma Donoghue
  4. “You’re afraid of monsters, aren’t you?””It depends on the monster, if it’s a real one or not and if it’s where I am.”  – Room, Emma Donoghue
  5. “I don’t know,” says Ma. “How could he not? If he’s the least bit human…” I thought humans were or weren’t, I didn’t know someone could be a bit human. Then what are his other bits? – Room, Emma Donoghue
  6. Lucy had a good brain even though she had lived all her life in LA. Despite the continual exposure to carbon monoxide and people from the film industry, she had remained smart. – Terry Jones, Starship Titanic
  • Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. So short yet so good. Shut Your Eyes Tight by John Verdon. Took me three months (minus 3 days, longest time I’ve every spent on on book in all of my almost 17 years on this planet.

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

*I’ve decided to cut this at seven questions because of length considerations, expect the remaining ten in the last part!

Christmas Cracker Book Tag

Hey y’all. So I was catching up on posts from blogs I follow and I came across Pretty Books‘ post doing this tag, who found it  through Christmas Cracker Book Tag (video), created by Lucy @ The Bumbling Bibliophile and Queen of Contemporary. I went over the questions and decided to have a go at it myself, despite the fact that I don’t celebrate Christmas (and Hannukah is already over).

Pick a book with a wintry cover.

The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult. I read the book quite a while ago, but I’m pretty sure they end up in Alaska or something somewhere in it. Anyhow, it has a mittened and coated girl on a snowy background in the front so I think it covers the category pretty well.

Pick a book you’re likely buy as a present.

I feel like I’m repeating myself because I’ve mentioned these two in my Annual Book Survey Pt. 1 post, but these would have to be Beauty Queens by Libba Bray and World Cup Wishes (משאלה אחת ימינה) by Eshkol Nevo. 10000%.

Pick a festive themed book.

I’m really proud of my choice for this one – The Latke Who Couldn’t StopScreaming by Lemony Snicket. I think I read this in a book store and I literally remember almost nothing except the fact that it was, by far, the weirdest book I’d ever read. I think that’s really all that needs to be said.

Pick a book you can curl up with by the fireplace.

I’m never very good at answering these because I’ve never been the kind of person who chooses books based on where they are. I mean, of course I might choose a couple of light reading books after finishing an intense one, or a classic, but it rarely has to do with where I am. I also tend to read lots of… disturbing books, so not sure how good those are for a fireplace curl up. Maybe Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins? Not too short, not too long, great writing, great story. Lots of love, movies and French stuff.

Pick a book you want to read over the festive period.

Hannukah’s passed and I spent half of it with friends, discussing the tests the following week and the other half studying for said tests. Barely got to read at all. I really need to get a move on with my book. *quietly runs off before anyone notices I didn’t answer the question*

Pick a book that’s so good it gives you chills.

Room by Emma Donoghue. Just… yes. That’s all. One of my all-time favorites.

Pick a book going on your Christmas wishlist.

Again, no Christmas wishlist, friends. Instead I’m choosing a book I want to read and already know will be hard to find out here so many miles away from the United States. Maus by Art Spiegelman. Tara @ The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say “Shhh” mentioned it in a post during her Graphic Novel week posts and it seemed pretty awesome. It’s a book talking about a man’s Holocaust story in which the people are drawn as animals. Also, I’d like to try out a graphic novel, see if I like it.

Tis all for now. These tags are always fun to fill out, definitely thinking of writing up my own sometime. Kay, guys, your turn to fill it out. Link your answers or share them in a comment below! Happy Holidays!

Top Ten Tuesday – Books On My Winter TBR (December 10th)

This week’s TTT topic, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR. Winter in Israel isn’t very… wintery, nor is it very long. Our seasons can pretty much be summed up into SUMMER and KIND OF COLDISH SUMMER. It’s currently in the 60s and it’s rained maybe three times, lasting no more than an hour each. So yeah. No winter. However, seasons have nothing to do with my reading and seeing as there’s a fixed TEN spots for this list the length of said nonexistent winter does not matter! Yay!

Also, I’ve just looked up the list for 2014’s Eclectic Reader’s Challenge. It’s in its third year, and so far I’ve failed the previous two, but I’m determined to complete 2012’s this year and do 2013 along with 2014 next year. This means making a plan and starting early – two things I keep not doing and keep failing because of. Here’s my list, paired with the category it fits into. 2014 is the year in which I FINALLY SUCCEED IN COMPLETING MY OWN CHALLENGES GODAMMIT.  *ERC 2013 *ERC 2014

Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

  1. Wish Me Away – Chely Wright (memoir, 2013)
  2. Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell (published in 2013, 2013)
  3. Wide Awake – David Levithan (lgbt, 2013)
  4. World War Z – Max Brooks (made into movie, 2013)
  5. Zombie Survival Guide – Max Brooks (humour, 2013)
  6. The Boyfriend App – Katie Sise
  7. Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven – Susan Jane Gilman (travel-non fiction, 2014)
  8. Aristole and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Saenz (award winning, 2014)
  9. One Handed Catch – MJ Auch
  10. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury (alternative history fiction, 2014)

Failing is one of my greatest talents. I have managed to fail pretty much every reading challenge I took on this year. 2014 SHALL BE DIFFERENT… I hope. So here’s an organized plan that includes books I’ve been wanting to read anyway, which should help it feel natural, as opposed to forced, and keep me on track. Hopefully this all works.