Mr. Morris’ Rating: 8/10
Dare I say this novel was a bit predictable? Before you get on my case, let me add to that by stating I’ve probably never enjoyed a book I found so predictable as much as I enjoyed The Book Thief. It’s a solid read, well deserving of all the hype it’s garnered. Still, I found myself only slightly disappointed by a few minor points. For one, the narrator is none other than Death himself, which I found extremely annoying and gimmicky at the beginning. However the voice grew on me, and the further I read the more I realized it’s a better story with Death at the helm instead of a generic third-person narrative. I could have done without his smattering of short, bold notes every so often. You’ll know which parts I mean if you’ve read the book.
So why was this book predictable? **SPOILERS ahead!**
Well, you know there’s going to be a kiss between Liesel + Rudy at some point, it’s mentioned a number of times throughout, and by the time it does happen you’re not really surprised at all. This is World War II, so you also know that the bad stuff is coming at some point. And boy does it ever. The Jew hiding in the basement is a predictable scenario as well, though the relationship between Liesel & Max was still endearing.
Okay, I get that Liesel’s stealing of books was a parallel to Death’s taking of souls, but I never found the book-stealing aspect of the story all that engaging. I don’t know, maybe I’m an emotionless robot or maybe I just expect too much from a much-lauded novel.
Overall though, this is a strong book, perhaps a bit long-winded, and it crosses reader demographics – being perfect for lovers of literature of any age.
Mr. Morris’ Rating: 8/10
My first Haruki Murakami experience. 1Q84 is actually three separately published books (though one connecting story) in a single 900+ page volume. Loved the first book and second book. Book Three just didn’t have enough steam, and could probably have been written more as an epilogue. Far too many chapters where the characters were just waiting around for stuff to happen. The introduction of Ushikawa as a main character seemed unceccessary even though he was pivotal in the final meeting of Aomame & Tengo.
Murakami has interesting ways of providing information to the reader. In two instances that I can think of (the first time we learn of Tengo’s childhood memories of Aomame & when we learn about what really happened to his mother) the information is almost thrown in unexpectedly and in very strange parts of the story. I found this interesting from a writing standpoint.
The mystery was fascinating and the characters were fresh (though I found Tengo to be much more interesting than Aomame). I don’t usually read magical realism, but I really enjoyed the ideas of the Air Chrysalis, the tale of the Cat Town and the alternate realities. It all added up to one of the most unique books I’ve read.
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FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT
By Adam Proteau
A veteran hockey writer takes on hockey culture and the NHL, addressing the game’s most controversial issue. Whether it’s on-ice fist fights or head shots into the glass, hockey has become a nightly news spectacle, with players pummeling and bashing each other across the ice like drunken gladiators. And while the NHL may actually condone on-ice violence as a ticket draw, diehard hockey fan and expert Adam Proteau argues against hockey’s transformation into a thuggish blood sport.
LOCAL LIBRARY, GLOBAL PASSPORT:
The Evolution of a Carnegie Library
By J. Patrick Boyer
Andrew Carnegie as a boy earning $1.20 a week in a Pittsburgh mill discovered a free library that helped transform his life. When he became the richest man in the world, he began giving new library buildings worth $68 million to several thousand communities in the United States, Canada, the U.K. and many other countries around the world. This is the story of one of them. Local Library, Global Passport is an inspired presentation of the patterns and perils that typically hold true for most local libraries.
Edited By Amy Walker
Bike culture is exploding in cities like Portland, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Montreal, and Vancouver. Whether people are riding folding bikes to the commuter train, slipping through traffic on streamlined single speeds, or carrying children and groceries on their cargo bikes, bicycles are making urban life more dynamic and enjoyable — simply better.
By Ken Dryden
Widely acknowledged as the best hockey book ever written and lauded by Sports Illustrated as one of the Top 10 Sports Books of All Time, The Game is a reflective and thought-provoking look at a life in hockey. Intelligent and insightful, former Montreal Canadiens goalie Ken Dryden captures the essence of the sport and what it means to all hockey fans. He gives us vivid and affectionate portraits of the characters that made the Canadiens of the 1970s one of the greatest hockey teams in history. But beyond that, Dryden reflects on life on the road, in the spotlight, and on the ice, offering up a rare inside look at the game of hockey and an incredible personal memoir.
Some rights reserved by Maria in Toronto via Flickr.com
Listen to the ending (part 5) of Treasure Island by clicking here.
Thank you and ‘Fair winds’ to Mr. Morris and the Library Monitors for their participation in this round table reading.
By Robert Herjavec
Robert Herjavec has lived the classic “rags to riches” story, from having $20 in his pocket to starting up technology companies worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Now the star of television’s Dragons’ Den and Shark Tank, he has earned his incredible wealth by overcoming the odds with hard work and determination. Now, he’s sharing his hard-won wisdom in one of the most inspirational business books of recent times. In Driven, Herjavec shares the secrets that took him from his job waiting tables to growing his nascent technology company into a world-class conglomerate, The Herjavec Group.
GANGLAND: The Rise of Mexican Drug Cartels From El Paso to Vancouver
By Jerry Langton
The members of Mexico’s drug cartels are among the criminal underworld’s most ambitious and ruthless entrepreneurs. Supplanting the once dominant Colombian cartels, the Mexican drug cartels are now the major distributor of heroin and cocaine to the U.S. and Canada. In Gangland, bestselling author Jerry Langton details their frightening stranglehold on the economy and daily life of Mexico today—and what it portends for the future of Mexico and its neighbours.
SHARK TALES: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business
By Barbara Corcoran
The inspiring true story of Shark Tank star Barbara Corcoran–and her best advice for anyone starting a business. After failing at twenty-two jobs, Barbara Corcoran borrowed $1,000 from a boyfriend, quit her job as a diner waitress, and started a tiny real estate office in New York City. Using the unconventional lessons she learned from her homemaker mom, she gradually built it into a $6 billion dollar business. Now Barbara’s even more famous for the no-nonsense wisdom she offers to entrepreneurs on Shark Tank, ABC’s hit reality TV show.
By Ted Ferguson
The 1920s were one of the wildest decades in Canada’s history, a time of frivolous fads, shocking crimes, and political and social changes that definitively yanked the country out of the 19th century and into the modern age. In Strange Days, Ted Ferguson revisits dozens of stories that could only have happened in the 20s – tales of serial killers, athletes, con men, crackpots, prime ministers, bathing beauties, and more – all of them nearly too amazing to believe and too entertaining to be forgotten.
THE WHISTLEBLOWER: Sex Trafficking, Military Contractors, and One Woman’s Fight for Justice
By Kathryn Bolkovac
When Nebraska police officer Kathryn Bolkovac saw a recruiting announcement for private military contractor DynCorp International, she applied and was hired. Good money, world travel, and the chance to help rebuild a war-torn country sounded like the perfect job. Bolkovac was shipped out to Bosnia, where DynCorp had been contracted to support the UN peacekeeping mission. She was assigned as a human rights investigator, heading the gender affairs unit. The lack of proper training provided sounded the first alarm bell, but once she arrived in Sarajevo, she found out that things were a lot worse. At great risk to her personal safety, she began to unravel the ugly truth about officers involved in human trafficking and forced prostitution and their connections to private mercenary contractors, the UN, and the U.S. State Department. This is her story and the story of the women she helped achieve justice for.