It’s That Time Again!

Time to acknowledge the truth: I read more than I blog. Way more than I blog. So instead of doing a well-thought-out review of all the books I’ve read, I’m going to do the next best thing: a two-sentence review of each. You find out which books I would recommend, and I don’t have to sit here thinking about all the blog posts I should write. Here goes.

Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us
Claude M. Steele
****
Everyone deals with different stereotypes, and sometimes the best thing to do is ignore them. Good book, but very repetitive.

The Golden Compass Series
Philip Pullman
****
Great series – I liked the first book best and the last book least, but it’s still worth reading all the way through. Fantasy steampunk science fiction, all wrapped around a non-traditional adventure story.

Lyra’s Oxford and Once Upon a Time in the North
Philip Pullman
****
Five stars for Once Upon a Time, only three stars for Lyra’s Oxford. Both were good supplements, but Lyra’s Oxford is too short to spend money on.

The Book of Mormon
Joseph Smith, Jr. (Translator)
*****
Five stars in the “spiritual” or “doctrinal clarification” category. Not in the “gripping literary read” category.

The Great Brain
John D. Fitzgerald
***
Pretty good, pretty funny, occasionally touching. Quick, easy read about a boy growing up in Utah.

The Crucible
Arthur Miller
*****
How did I not read this in high school?! Sinister and amazing.

Elsewhere
Eliot Weinberger (Editor)
*****
Collection of international poetry. Wonderful.

Come No Further
Michael Zaccariah
*****
Local author, and you need to look him up. Decent Western for most of the book, but with a mind-blowing plot twist at the end.

Boy: Tales of Childhood
Roald Dahl
***
Roald Dahl is funny, but his fiction is funnier.

The Lottery and Other Stories
Shirley Jackson
**
This short story collection would have made a lot more sense if I had known the legend of Jamie Harris before beginning. I didn’t, and it was just weird.

Way to Be!: 9 Rules For Living the Good Life
Gordon B. Hinckley
*****
Great religious inspiration for teenagers. Not just for teenagers, though – it got me out of a pretty foul mood.

Strengths Finder 2.0
Tom Rath
*
Pretty useless if you don’t have the CD. I didn’t have the CD.

The Map of Time
Félix J. Palma
***
Steampunk, time-traveling, sci-fi, steamy romance. Very well-written, but Ethan had already spoiled all the plot twists for me.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Alvin Schwartz
***
Super corny scary stories. Absolutely terrifying illustrations.

The Illustrated Man
Ray Bradbury
****
One of the better Bradbury short story collections I’ve read. Great sci-fi, good horror.

The Words of Desmond Tutu
Naomi Tutu
****
The only thing this book was missing was more Desmond Tutu. Good inspirational collection, but very short.

The Haunting of Hill House
Shirley Jackson
*****
Possibly the best haunted house story out there. Starts a little slow, but picks up with a vengeance.

The Secret in the Old Attic (Nancy Drew #21)
Carolyn Keene
**
Classic Nancy Drew. Outlandish mysteries, illegal sleuthing methods, attack-spiders, secret drawers, pretty dresses, and unreasonably-priced antiques.

Wringer
Jerry Spinelli
******
Very good story, raising social and moral questions in a kid-friendly conflict. I’m giving this six stars.

The Word of Wisdom
Steven C. Harper
****
Explores questions about Mormon dietary practices. Well-researched, and taught me a lot of new things.

Island of the Blue Dolphins
Scott O’Dell
****
An old classic from my childhood. Survival-adventure with a strong girl I always thought was awesome.

Mormons and Polygamy
Jessie L. Embry
**
Raised a lot of excellent questions, then kind of shrugged and said, “I don’t know – I just have faith!” I expected much better research conclusions from this.

Flawed Dogs: The Shocking Raid on Westminster
Berkeley Breathed
*****
The creator of Opus the Penguin tells a hilarious adventure story featuring a breathtakingly beautiful dachshund and his human girl. Ethan doesn’t understand why I think it’s so funny, but the pictures alone are enough to make me giggle.

There! I did it! So now you know, everybody. My personal recommendations. I’m sure you’ve been waiting for this moment. And just in time for Christmas shopping, too.

Books, by the way, are an excellent Christmas gift. ♦

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