Book Reviews: December 2019 – January 2020

 I didn’t do the book reviews last month because of the yearly book round-up, so here are the books I read in December and January:

The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony:

Last year, I read an article about a herd of elephants that travel every year to the house of the conservationist who saved them, on the day of his death, to mourn him. It’s such an extraordinary story that I had to look up the conservationist, Lawrence Anthony, and when I discovered that he’d written a book, I had to read it. The book details not just his relationship with the herd but also his efforts running a game reserve in South Africa, and knowing the bittersweet ending of the story (Anthony died quite suddenly just 3 years after the book was published, and the herd has been making their annual pilgrimage to his house ever since) makes it even more moving. 5/5

The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson:

It’s by my favorite non-fiction writer, and it’s about one of my favorite topics (language), so it’s no surprise that I enjoyed this book. I’ve read some books on the development of language (mostly English) before, but this is one of the few that lays out the facts in an organized manner. The information may not be new, and it’s certainly not as funny as his travel books, but it’s very readable and informative, and that’s all I ask from my non-fiction books. 4/5

Hugh Fearlessly Eats It All by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall:

I hadn’t heard of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall before, but apparently, he’s a pretty famous British chef known for his campaigns on food and environmental issues. I picked up the book mainly because the title sounds funny, and I like food and reading about food. This book is a collection of his food articles, ranging in topics from his criticism of fast food and the industrialization of food-producing to his experiences of local food and celebration of fellow chefs. It’s not as funny as the title suggests, but it’s certainly going to make you think. 3.5/5

The Possession by Michael Rutger:

After a few non-fiction books, I wanted to relax with something fictional, so I picked up the next book in The Anomaly series. This one deals with witchcraft and demon possession (in a pagan, not Christian, sense), and while it’s still enjoyable, it’s not as absorbing as the first one, and again, the explanation feels a little… I don’t know, too easy, too convenient. Still, I appreciate the fact that Rutger is able to weave the problems of the main plot into the personal subplots of whatever his characters are going through. It adds some depth to the story. 3/5

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt:

This book, about a teenage girl dealing with the death of her beloved uncle from AIDS during the 1980s, is not my usual fare, but I do enjoy a coming-of-age drama from time to time, so I decided to check it out. But I had mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, the characters are all very well-written, and some of their thoughts/interactions/revelations really hit you hard. On the other hand, they are all unbearably self-absorbed (except for Toby, the uncle’s boyfriend. Toby is a cinnamon roll that must be protected at all cost.) I really wanted to shake them and shout “Just talk to each other, dammit!” Plus the story is not as tight as I’d like. 3.5/5

So what did you guys read?


2 Comments on “Book Reviews: December 2019 – January 2020”

  1. Mike says:

    Here’s what I’m reading:

    A Time Traveler’s Theory of Relativity by Nicole Valentine (Children’s Fiction)
    Spin The Dawn by Elizabeth Lim (Teen Fiction)
    The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss (Adult Fiction)
    The Sleeping Dictionary by Sujata Massey (Adult Fiction)
    Don’t Be Evil by Rana Foroohar (Adult Non-Fiction)
    Other Words For Home by Jasmine Warga (Children’s Audio Fiction)
    Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly (Children’s Audio Fiction)

    The last two books are required reading, as I work in the children’s area at my job and they both are written by award winning authors. But I’m cheating (sort of) with those as I’m listening to the audio versions of both, as I have so many others that I’m actually reading.
    I’m slow going with my books but enjoying every one of them! I hope to be able to review some of them next month (if I ever get back to my blog that is).

    Thanks for sharing your reads!

  2. Kezzie says:

    Oooh, you’ve made me ACTUALLY want to read some non-fiction with your first two books! I’d love to read those.
    The latter three don’t sound like they’ll interest me so much.
    I’ve read a few good books this month. I did most my annual book review back towards the start of Jan on my blog so if you fancy seeing what I read and enjoyed, feel free to have a look!
    I just finished reading Unwind by Neal Shustermann which is a YA dystopian book which was quite intriguing (if rather standard dystopian!)


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