January 12, 2015

Recent Reads

189. Older, Faster, Stronger: One runner's quest to find out how women are running into their 50s, 60s and beyond, and what that can teach us all about living younger, longer
Book blurb: One part personal quest to discover running greatness after age 50, one part investigation into what the women's running boom can teach athletes about becoming fitter, stronger, and faster as we age.

This book is part memoir, part research reporting, and in many ways so inspiring. I loved learning about some of the older elite runners - some in their 90s! And while I have no plans to become an elite runner, I found some nuggets that were very useful to me. Rating: 3 stars.

190. The Property
In this graphic novel Regina Segal, a Polish Jew who now lives in Israel, takes her granddaughter Mica to Warsaw to reclaim family property lost during World War 2. 

How well do we know our parents or grandparents? How about our family secrets? This story is not what is seems on the surface. There is the publicly declared mission that Mica believes they are on, and then there is the private mission that Grandmama is on. 

I really liked the art in this book, and appreciated the humorous touches to what could have been a very dark story. I also liked the exploration of how the past affects the present, and I developed quite a soft spot for Grandmama Regina. However, Mica is not well developed, and the romance angle simply did not make any sense, and actually detracted from the story. I understand that this is an autobiographical story, so while the romance might have actually occurred, I think the author missed a chance to explore why it had any significance to this particular story. 

In spite of its shortcomings I liked this graphic novel and will read other works by the author. Rating: 3 stars.

191. I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World
Book blurb: Through rants, poetry, questions, and facts, we come to understand the universality of girls everywhere: their resiliency, their wildness, their pain, their fears, their secrets, and their triumphs. I Am an Emotional Creature is a call, a reckoning, an education, an act of empowerment for girls, and an illumination for parents and for us all.

I am a huge fan of Eve Ensler's work, and but this one did not work as well for me as her previous works. This book is a collection of prose, poetry, and lists that captures the varied issues that girls and women face around the world. 

While I appreciated the attempt to catalog, educate, and shed light on many of these issues, there was something missing. It felt like there was a thick glass window I was looking through that created a sense of disconnection that was distracting given the subject matter. And while some of the pieces are wonderful, overall I did not love this collection. 

That said, this would still be an important read for older teens and the adults who love them. Rating: 3 stars.

192. Hark! A Vagrant
This is another blog to book scenario. Why do I seem to be reading so many of these at the moment? This book is a collection of comics that poke at history and literature in fun ways. Some are laugh out loud funny, some I did not get. My faves were the strips that judged a book by its cover - the Nancy Drew ones in particular are absolutely delightful. Rating: 3 stars.

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