Bookshop Bumblings

Living Tweeting War of the Seasons – Part 2

July 20th, 2011 by Miss Laura

Part I can be found here, and there will be more since this doesn't finish out the novel.

And onward!






War of The Seasons: The Human by Janine Spendlove

July 19th, 2011 by Miss Laura

For this one, I live blogged reading it. What can I say? Everyone needs a hobby. Here's part one of my tweets!


The Third Reich Trilogy by Richard J. Evans

April 12th, 2010 by Ben

The Coming of the Third ReichThe Third Reich in PowerThe Third Reich at WarIt almost feels like a disservice trying to summarize these three books in a few paragraphs because of the detail covering everything from daily life of individuals, to the movement of military units, to the grand plans of the Nazi leadership.  This includes diaries and reports from everyone, soldiers, Jews, civilians, doctors, and many from the SS.  It deals with differing scales of information quite deftly, starting from journals of individuals, to internal reports about the state of society and politics, and all the way up to the quantity of armaments produced in Germany and by the Allies.

The first book, 'The Coming of the Third Reich,' discusses the history and social climate of Germany in the lead up to the Nazi Party taking power.  There are some very interesting highlights, including the amount of anti-semitism already in existence in Europe, the degree to with German politics invaded daily life, and the amount of unrest after World War I.  It follows Hitler and the Nazi party as they attempt to grab power in Germany.  Overall, it seems to achieve the goal of producing an understanding of exactly how Germany started down the path of National Socialism.

The second book, 'The Third Reich in Power,' is a well laid out, in-depth analysis of the Nazi party at work.  Richard J. Evans pieces together a great variety of information into an all encompassing view of the Nazi government.  Which is a feat, considering how scattered and competitive all the separate pieces of the government were.  It definitely breaks any mythology that the Nazi party was a unified block with a set goal.  They seemed to be constantly at odds, with Hitler being the tie breaker.  It becomes more clear how Adolf Hitler became all but a god in the Nazi German state, and realized the brutal 'Final Solution' he had been promising from the beginning.

The third book, 'The Third Reich at War,' brutally illustrates the atrocities committed by the Nazis and their reasoning behind their actions.  All the books cover the increasing brutality of German society, but in the years during the war it truly reaches a peak of cruelty and mass extermination.  There was always a need for forced labor, and eventually the plan was ghettoization of Jews, communists, and anyone who became an enemy of the Nazi party, but as the war seemed more desperate, the propaganda machine of the Nazi party grew louder and more brutal.

The whole series is incredibly comprehensive and easy to read.  It follows a fairly clear time line, and usually starts from the point of view of various individuals to an overall view of the German state.  Anyone who is interested in World War II would probably enjoy it.  But it is necessary to point out that the series revolves around Germany completely, and although the Allies are mentioned it is only when necessary in relation to the state or activities of Germany itself.

As a side note, I just finished reading Cormack McCarthy's 'The Road' directly before reading the last book in this series.  The effect of that sequence was profound, especially given that one of reviews of 'The Road,' and not the only one revealing similar sentiments, described it as 'emotionally abusive.'  However, in the context of 'The Third Reich at War' the violence and inhumanity in 'The Road' pales in comparison.  The death toll is higher, but the sheer inhumane cruelty described in vivid accounts in 'The Third Reich at War' is unbelievable.  Even the suicide rate amongst SS officers shows that even the most committed Nazis had severe difficulty in carrying out orders to murder infants by starvation or beating them to death.  Everything that happens in 'The Road' happened in Nazi Germany tens, if not thousands, or times over.  It is a stark comparison, I think any author would be hard pressed to write something as unbelievably horrible as the history of the Nazi party.

The Road by Cormack McCarthy

April 12th, 2010 by Ben

The Road The Road is a detailed account of the struggles a father and son endure while trying to survive a world wide catastrophe.  The book, like most of McCarthy's books, has enough descriptive detail to make every description vivid, but not overbearing and boring. 

It also deftly handles the running themes in McCarthy's books of death, determinism, fate and hope.  Usually that hope is crushed by one of former themes, and I may be mistaken in calling it fate, in my subjective opinion, all his books revolve around a hard determinism that pulls the characters in inevitable directions, yet is not fatalistic.

Overall, it almost deserve two readings.  The first time for the plot, which is fairly short, but there is enough drama and action to push the story forward in a way that outpaces the descriptive elements.  So, it is almost worth a second reading just to fully absorb McCarthy's ability to beautifully illustrate a scene, even a terrible one, with great skill.

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby

November 8th, 2009 by Miss Laura

nick_hornby_juliet_naked_300x471 Two decades after their prime, a washed-up rock musician, an overzealous fan, and the woman at the crossroads between them all must face the reality of adulthood. You will want to spend time with these characters — and see how things unfold for them.”
— Andi Allen, Piece of Mind Books, Edwardsville, IL
October 2009 Indie Bound Pick

I didn’t dislike this book – I just disliked every single character in it.

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

November 8th, 2009 by Miss Laura

reliable_wife “Set in a land where long winters drive residents to unthinkable acts, this is the story of a wealthy Wisconsin foundry owner gets more than he bargains for when he orders a mail-order bride. Determined to quickly change from new bride to wealthy widow, his wife is as surprised as the reader to discover the sexual intensity of this quiet man. Many secrets. Many lies. Very sensual.”
— Beth Golay, Watermark Books, Wichita, KS
April 2009 Indie Bound Pick

The characters are more than they seem from that snippet. That wealthy lonely widow isn’t a kind old man, even if he is pining for new love. He’s not cruel to his new bride but that didn’t keep him from flying into a rage after his first wife left him. Now he’s filled with guilt and a longing to make the past right – but that longing is so steeped in frustration and doom it becomes very narrow minded in focus.

He chooses the most simple plain looking girl to take as his wife only to discover the moment she steps off the train that she lied. She’s strikingly beautiful — instead of the plain stern woman in the picture she sent him — and though she’s pretending to be the simple daughter of missionaries it’s not a story she’s good at seeling. She’s not a reliable wife – except for the fact that she is an expert at changing herself to match whatever someone else wants her to be so she is trying to be the kind of wife she thinks the widower wants her to be.

For a book that doesn’t seem to have a lot of action, a lot seems to happen. It’s completely absorbing, even if it wasn’t completely satisfying. It’s well writen and a compulsive (and violent and dark) read.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

November 8th, 2009 by Miss Laura


“The Help recreates a time — Mississippi in 1962 — that is totally engrossing and pitch-perfect. This story of women in the South, black and white, in the eye of a hurricane of monumental change is thoroughly satisfying and enjoyable.”
— Sheila Burns, Bloomsbury Books, Ashland, OR

Indiebound Pick February 2009

After hearing more than one customer proclaim The Help as the best book they had read in years, I had to wait until it stayed in stock long enough for me to buy a copy to read myself. It’s the debut novel by Kathryn Stockett which takes place in Mississippi in the early 1960s. It is about three women, one white and two black, in Mississippi in the early 60’s. The main character is a recent Ole Miss journalism Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan who aspires to be a writer.

She’s single which seems to cause her mother and friends perpetual turmoil. I mean 22 and still unmarried – THE SHAME & HORROR! Although, maybe her friends need some turmoil because her closest childhood friends are right racist bitches. One is the president of the Junior League and is determined to get her sanitation project which encourages separate bathrooms for health reasons published in the League’s newsletter which Skeeter writes monthly.

Somewhere in the middle of this Skeeter decides to write a book, in secret, which features the stories of Aibileen and Minny who are the maids for two close childhood friends of Skeeter. Due to the racial tensions, it puts all of their lives at risk. The book is told in the first person from Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny’s point of view.

I can definitely see why everyone has been proclaiming it the best book they’ve read in a while. It’s cohesive, powerful, and emotional. Stockett also is skilled at giving the characters depth. The president of the Junior League is a good friend and a loving mother. She’s not all evil. Skeeter isn’t all halo and angel wings either. It’s a thought provoking read without being preachy.

I Saw Mama Chewing Santa Claus

November 8th, 2009 by Miss Laura

Yesterday, I woke up from dreams about zombie pick up lines (“You’re dead sexy”, “Baby, I’m after more than just your brainnns”). I have no idea what precipitated this dream. I also have no idea why there’s so many zombie books out of late either. Vampires I can understand … Whatever the reason – I like it!

So here are the fun zombie books I’ve seen out recently (besides the Pride Prejudice & Zombies which I’ve heard great things and all – but everyone knows about that one. Right?):

1. beginningtolookalotlikezombies.jpg It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Zombies: A Book of Zombie Christmas Carols

Oh yes! It’s a book that takes classic Christmas carols from a zombies point of view. Obviously, not a Jewish Zombie.

“Tiny tot’s eyes are no longer aglow, they’re in a bowl. Good King Wenceslas Tastes Great and we Deck The Halls With Parts Of Wally.”

Personally, I can’t wait to bust out a little “We Three Spleens” this holiday season!

2. neverslowdance.jpg Never Slow Dance With A Zombie by E. Van Lowe.
“Principal Taft’s 3 Simple Rules for Surviving a Zombie Uprising:
Rule #1: While in the halls, walk slowly and wear a vacant expression on your face. Zombies won’t attack other zombies.

Rule #2: Never travel alone. Move in packs. Follow the crowd. Zombies detest blatant displays of individuality.

Rule #3: If a zombie should attack, do not run. Instead, throw raw steak at to him. Zombies love raw meat. This display of kindness will go a long way.”

Sounds like Zombie High is kind of almost exactly the same as regular high school. Especially the part about wearing a vacant expression on your face.

3. zombies4zombies.jpg Zombies for Zombies: Advice and Etiquette for the Living Dead

Well, being bitten is inevitable so you might as well get the modern day Emily Post guide for your new lifestyle. It includes advice on:

– How to dress for your new lifestyle Handy recipes for brains
– Fitness ideas for keeping you somewhat energetic
– New skin-care techniques to help ward off “rotting flesh syndrome”
– How to overcome that darned zombie social stigma
– Dance steps for the motor-impaired

I kind of need that last one as I am now.

4. creepycutecrochet.jpg Creepy Cute Crochet: Zombies, Ninjas, Robots, and More!

Zombies need arts & crafts time too!

Although, I confess that  if I see a Zombie shambling around carrying a knitting needle in one hand and a tiny top hat in his other disintegrating hand my first thought will most likely not be, “Aw, what adorable little creation is this Zombo about to make?”

5. mamasayszombies.jpg My Mama Says There Aren’t Any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Demons, Monsters, Fiends, Goblins, Or Other Things.

Your mama lies, son. Your mama lies.

Sucks to Be Me by Kimberly Pauley

November 19th, 2008 by Miss Laura

This one would be a good one for younger Twilight fans. Vampire fun with out the intense slightly stalkerish creepy relationship.



Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

November 15th, 2008 by Miss Laura

“This compelling, page-turning futuristic novel takes readers into a world that pits teenagers against each other in a fight to the death for the glory and well-being of their district. But when Katniss discovers the young man from her district is in love her, she is faced with having to kill him to survive or sacrificing herself to save him.” Indie Bound Indie Kid’s Next List, Winter 2008

The above blip makes this one sound kind of boring when it’s really KIND OF AWESOME. It is like Lord of The Flies only enjoyable. Don’t get me wrong – it has its brutal moments but there’s a sense of humanity (brief glimpses of humanity) that make it a worthwhile riveting tale.

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