Review: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott
Rating: *****
Date read 9/17/2013

I have whole swaths of this by heart, and somehow don’t much mind the preachifying and compartmentalizing of sex roles. Probably because I read it so young, love the characters so much, and know how to place it in the context of its times. And oh, how I love this book. The narration here is tip-top.

I revisit this book much less often than I do the third in the trilogy, but I am going through them in order this time, and I’m glad I made that choice.

Review: The President’s Daughter by Ellen Emerson White

The President’s Daughter
by Ellen Emerson White
Rating: ***
Date read 9/15/2013

I started out reading the original and the updated one side-by-side. I switched to just reading the original a few chapters in, because I thought that it would help me stay in the story.

I’m thinking this is going to be received as heresy by some of my GR friends, but I’m also thinking I’m going to end up liking the revised, updated one BETTER.

I cried a few times, reading this. The idea of a woman president is so close to my heart and yet so impossible in this country as it stands that reading about Meg’s mother’s election brought me to tears.

Now I want to read all the originals, then all the updates, then the originals again.

Review: A Journey of One’s Own by Thalia Zepatos

A Journey of One’s Own
by Thalia Zepatos
Rating: ****
Date read 9/14/2013

I enjoyed the writing style. I found the advice uncommon and uncommonly interesting. But ultimately, what this book did was re-emphasize for me my disinterest in travel to any but a very few first-world places. I kept reading the little travelogue excerpts and flinching. My reaction to much of this book was, “Oh, I am so glad I’ll NEVER have to do that. Or go there. Or eat that. Or have that conversation.” I liked the packing advice very much, and one needn’t be actively avoiding dysentery to use it.

Review: When We Wake by Karen Healey

When We Wake
by Karen Healey
Rating: ****
Date read 9/12/2013

I had a blog once where every entry’s title was a Bob Dylan song. So when I picked this up and saw that every chapter title was a Beatles song, I knew I wanted to read it. I enjoyed this book for reasons other than the chapter titles of course, but they added to my enjoyment.

A believable dystopia with engaging characters. I liked the central conceit, and I liked the unsentimental narration. Some of the situations were a little pat, but served the plot very well. I’m a fan, and I’ll be reading the rest of these when they come out.

Review: Her Best-Kept Secret: Inside the Private Lives of Women Who Drink by Gabrielle Glaser

Her Best-Kept Secret
by Gabrielle Glaser
Rating: ***
Date read 9/12/2013

This was an interesting book, but it wasn’t what I expected at all. I loved the parts about advertising, and I found the parts about AA and women riveting. I think I would have liked more science, and, well, more private lives of women who drink- which is what the title promised me. Still, it was well worth reading.

Review: The Mac + Cheese Cookbook by Allison Arevalo & Erin Wade

The Mac + Cheese Cookbook: 50 Simple Recipes from Homeroom, America’s Favorite Mac and Cheese Restaurant
by Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade
Rating:****
Date read: 9/6/2013

I want every recipe in this book. Right now. Tonight! Lovely photography, clear and delicious-sounding recipes. There’s something for every kind of mac + cheese lover here. I think this one needs to go into the permanent collection, destined to be in high rotation.

Review: Curious Gorge by Scott Cook

Curious Gorge
by Scott Cook
Rating: ****
Date read 9/5/2013

Very well-done hiking guide book. I love the chatty tone, the inside information. I’ve gone on several hikes in this book, and am glad I did. Though I do need to say that Cook’s idea of a moderate hike is a 50-year-old-woman’s idea of a strenuous hike! Loose gravel and near-vertical ascents get tagged “moderate” and, well, let’s just say I was surprised.

Review: King of the Mild Frontier by Chris Crutcher

King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography
by Chris Crutcher
Rating: ***
Date read: 9/6/2013

I enjoyed this memoir. Crutcher’s upbringing was very unlike mine, but there were some commonalities. I really liked the way he talked about his process, how his life informs his books. I picked this out of my library’s audiobook pile because I thought I’d read one of his books, but it turns out I haven’t. I’m planning to in the future.

Review: Walking Portland by Becky Ohlsen

Walking Portland
by Becky Ohlsen
Rating: ****
Date read: 9/2/2013

This is a wonderful Portland guidebook! I loved it and I want to hurry over to Powell’s and buy it so I can keep it in the car. I’ve lived here for 20 years, and I found several walks in places I never knew were there. So far I’ve had a chance to take 3 or 4 of them from the book, and they live up to their promise. Highly recommended for residents or tourists.