Thumbs up for Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee. Nonfiction/psychology.
‘Cause I have these friends…but don’t we all? A unputdownable look into the psychology of hoarding. Told via case histories, it’s sympathetic and in fact heartbreaking, because no one yet knows how to fully help the sufferers of this widespread disorder. Both a horrifying book, in its descriptions of the hoards, and a fascinating one, in its sensitive and wondrous examinations of the fascinating but entirely different way that hoarders process information and memory, and how they make (or don’t make) decisions.… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, illustrated by Michael Hague. Fantasy.
People who don’t enjoy Tolkien tend not to say so out loud. Maybe we each think we’re alone in our opinion, and will be lynched by his rabid fans if they find out. I know for a fact, however, that there are a great many literate, respectable people who find Tolkien tedious.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Princess and the Pea by Lauren Child and Polly Borland. Children’s.
When I first looked at the pictures, I thought, Weird. I couldn’t decide if they were cool-weird or creepy-weird or dumb-weird. I eventually settled on fabulous-weird. I kind of love this book. Can I go make some paper dolls now?… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Sophie And Lou by Petra Mathers. Children’s.
An shy mouse learns how to dance. Really cute.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar…: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein.
Philosophy makes my eyes roll up into my head. For about ten years I’ve had a copy of Sophie’s World on my shelf, whispering “You should read me; I’ll make you smarter.” Finally, I’ve told Sophie to piss off, and have read this instead.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster. Children’s.
There’s a certain kind of whimsical, nonce-based middle-grade kids’ book that does nada for me personally – Alice in Wonderland, I’m looking at you. Some amusing bits for sure, though I think I’ll stick to things with character development. But yeah, it’s cute.
“Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn?” she inquired.
… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History and Maus II: A Survivor’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman. Graphic novel/history.
As far as Holocaust survival stories go, I’d say this is miles better than Night (see my review). Spiegelman’s scribbly, stark illustrations – Jews as mice, Germans as cats – fit the story perfectly as he reports his father’s experiences as a young man, when the elder Spiegelman (a Polish Jew) survived WWII via cleverness and buckets of luck.… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Literature.
A troublesome book. Troublesome because the writing is lovely; and the first sixty pages have a lot of promise, including a most excellent proposal scene. Then, as the unnamed protagonist is introduced to her new home, and is tortured in thought by the memories of her new husband’s dead wife, and tortured in practice by her housekeeper, I found myself losing all sympathy with her.… >> Read more