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Showing posts from October, 2016

Review: First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers

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First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book for the 2016 Goodreads Read Harder Challenge: Read a book by a Southeast Asian author. Just looking for an author that satisfied that category, I learned I didn't even know what countries were considered "Southeast Asian".

This book is yet another example of a war I knew nothing about. I'd heard the name "Pol Pot" and heard he was "worse than Hitler*", but that's all. This first person account of the genocide of the Cambodian people was, skillfully written, beautifully narrated, and heartbreaking to read. What violence there is isn't any worse than any fiction novel I've read, but the true accounts of hunger, sadness, loneliness, helplessness... it's terrible. Loung Ung was five when the war started, and ten when it ended for her. Though she was so young, the author inserts history and fictionalized accoun…

Frankenstein, Nation Theatre Live

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Frankenstein by the National Theatre Live,  starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller (from Hackers!). Filmed live, the result is simulcast to movie theaters. I missed seeing it last year, since the closest theater showing it was 100 miles away. This year, the NTLive newsletter from June told me it would be playing at my local theater and I bought a ticket that day.
The play is based on the book, so many might not have really known what was going to be in it.  In fact, on the way oyt I heard an older man asked if it was bad on the book,  after an older woman said it wasn't what she expected and didn't like it. I assured him they did a very good job. It was condensed, as it would have to be, and done in such a way that the disjointed, jarring nature played well with the grotesque and tragic acting, set, and direction. It was fantastic.

Review: East To The Dawn: The Life Of Amelia Earhart

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East To The Dawn: The Life Of Amelia Earhart by Susan Butler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this book two two reasons: Secondly, I was tasked with a biography for the 2016 Goodreads Read Harder Challenge; Firstly, I own "The Sound of Wings" by Mary Lovell but haven't been able to convince myself to continue it, though I really liked it when I started it in May 2014.

"East to Dawn" is interesting, providing a wide view lens on Amelia and her life, motivations, and background. Some of the technical details made the reading dry at times, and I was thankful to be reading it by audiobook, though the calm and not-quite-monotone voice of the narrator didn't help in those dry spots. (She did have good enthusiasm at times, but what altogether reserved.)

This book has me curious to read Eleanor Roosevelt's autobiography (due to their relationship in the book). I also wonder if the The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR)'s 20…

Review: Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War

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Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War by Annia Ciezadlo
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

I read this book for the 2016 Goodreads Read Harder challenge, and I'm so glad I did. I never would have picked it up otherwise. "A FOOD memoir? Ugh." Honestly I had a moment where I wondered how to get around the requirement, but it stuck out at me from the "recommended books in this genre" list.

You can read the accolades and summary for yourself, but know I agree with them.

Annia's form of storytelling is one of my favorites: a coherent timeline dotted with memories and stories and various interruptions. It sometimes can make things a little awkward to follow, especially in an audiobook, but I feel like more soul comes through that way. She tucks in little quotes from the people she met or other relevant sources. "What makes us civilized? .... We are the only creatures who share food with strangers, people not from our family or tribe... Cambridge Uni…