Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Sophia”

Sophia’s #CBR4 Review #29: Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario

“I think it’s like the Bible says. People will move around. But not find peace.”
Enrique's Journey
All right. This is the last book from 2012. I’m halfway done with Moby Dick and almost done with another, but those are just going to have to wait until next year. Enrique’s Journey (2006) by Sonia Nazario was a book chosen for the “Denver Reads” program. The program chooses one book per year and then sponsors a bunch of discussions and lectures surrounding it.  I’m a little behind in finally picking it up, but I’m glad I read it. In the past, this reading program has generally leaned towards fiction, but Enrique’s Journey is non-fiction, the true story of his life and thousands of other migrants.

Enrique is a 17-year-old boy from Honduras who decides to find his mother in the U.S., twelve years after she left him with relatives, in order to find work. Like thousands of other children left without one or both parents, Enrique takes the only path available to him up North. He jumps on the trains, traveling thousands of miles through incredibly treacherous obstacles in order to be reunited with his mom. My only previous knowledge of this large migration of kids came from the fascinating and disturbing documentary film, Which Way Home, which I would also highly recommend. Having seen the visuals of what actually goes on helped bring this book to life for me.

Read the rest of my review here.

Sophia’s #CBR4 Review #28: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

When someone posted some interesting quotes on Facebook from Quiet: The Power of IQuietntroverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (2012) by Susan Cain, I developed a sudden interest in my natural personality type. I went looking for Quiet but the library was a little slow in its purchases. Instead I found, The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen, which I read earlier this year. I enjoyed both books for different reasons. The Introvert Advantage went into a little more detail about how the brains of introverts and extroverts function differently on a cellular level, which was fascinating. On the other hand, I appreciated how Cain did not turn Quiet into a cheering section for how much better introverts are than extroverts or a rah-rah self-help book. Instead she focused on the relative strengths and weaknesses of both personality types and how they work together to influence and interact in the world around us.

Read the rest of the review here.

Sophia’s CBR4 Review #27: “Wallflower at the Orgy” by Nora Ephron

I’m prWallflower at the Orgyetty sure Wallflower at the Orgy (1980) by Nora Ephron was another one of those books I just stumbled upon while browsing my library’s kindle book selection. I liked When Harry Met Sally, so my general impression of Nora Ephron was favorable, and the title of this book sounded both exciting (orgy) and relatable (wallflower). I decided to give it a try.

The book consists of a series of essays written by Nora Ephron in 1968 and 1969. Although there were a couple of interesting essays that caught my attention, I don’t think I would have even finished this book if it weren’t so short. The main problem was that many of the subjects felt dated, and without more contemporary explanation of the context of the time and the people, it didn’t work for me. Then throw in a couple of obscure character subjects and some uncomfortably dated rape jokes and I pretty much lost interest.

Read the rest of my review here.

Sophia’s #cbr4 Review #26 Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Major Pettigrew's Last StandMy reading list is so long these days that I can’t even remember how I found most of these “to-reads”. And that’s the case with Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand (2010) by Helen Simonson. However it was recommended to me, I was only about 1/4 of the way through when I was ready to give up on it. Fortunately I kept pushing through and finally started connecting and caring about the characters.

Read the rest of the review here.

Sophia’s #CBR4 Review # 25: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

I vaguely remember first hearing about When You Reach Me (2009) by Rebecca Stead, I think from another Cannonball review. It’s probably not a book I would have found on my own, but it ended up on my kindle, so I read it. And it turned out to be a quick read: a well-written novel with a mix of growing pains, friendships, mystery, and science fiction.

Miranda is a sixth grader in New York City. She is smart and insightful and lives with her single mom in a rather rundown apartment building. Miranda’s favorite book is A Wrinkle in Time, which she reads over and over again.Her mother was almost finished with her first year of law school when Miranda was born–derailing that dream before it began. When Miranda begins receiving mysterious notes that predict the future, the mystery of the novel is hatched.

I enjoyed reading this one–it took less than a day, but it wasn’t the science-fiction and mystery that I remember at the end. The description of Miranda’s thoughts and perspective was what impressed me most. Stead brought such realism to the angsty life of a pre-teen. Miranda’s struggles of avoiding the homeless guy and boys on the street on her walk home, her concern of what her friends would think of her apartment, her first crush, and her realization of how she had the power to make others’ lives better or worse were all very relatable and felt very true. The mystery kept the story moving, but almost felt out of place in this very normal, sixth-graders life. I guess I’ve just rarely seen such great characterization in a science-fiction novel.

And now I feel like I should re-read A Wrinkle in Time. I know I read it in elementary school, but besides thinking it was kind of confusing at the time, I can’t remember anything about it.

Sophia’s #CBR4 Review #24: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

A Clash of Kings (1999) by George R.R. Martin is the second book in A Song of Ice and Fire series. I’m usually not a huge reader of epic fantasy tomes, but these books have received so much popular attention and acclaim that I was starting to feel left out. I enjoyed A Game of Thrones and was looking forward to the second novel. However, A Clash of Kings was more on the disappointing and frustrating side than the enjoyable side. I felt like I pushed through hundreds and hundreds of pages, and was rewarded with nothing. With the Stark family split up, the family dynamic that interested me most was gone.

Read the rest of my review here.

Sophia’s #CBR4 Review #23: Wild by Cheryl Strayed

“The thing about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, the thing that was so profound to me that summer–and yet also, like most things, so very simple–was how few choices I had and how often I had to do the thing I least wanted to do. How there was no escape or denial. No numbing it down with a martini or covering it up with a roll in the hay. As I clung to the chaparral that day…, I considered my options. There were only two and they were essentially the same. I could go back in the direction I had come from, or I could go forward in the direction I intended to go…And so I walked on.”

I started reading Wild (2012) by Cheryl Strayed exactly when I most needed it. I’d been in the fire academy for about two months. I was completely exhausted and burned out. My mind was buzzing from stress, and I hadn’t read anything that was not fire related since before the academy started. But then there came one blessed three-day weekend where I didn’t have quite as much fire reading as usual. So I took advantage of my unusual free time and spent most of the day in bed reading Wild.

Read the rest of my review here.

Sophia’s #CBR4 Review #22: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent (2012) is Veronica Roth’s second book in her Divergent trilogy. I had some issues with Roth’s character and plot development in Divergent (2011), but it was still interesting enough that I knew I would finish this series.

And so what do I think of this second novel?

Sophia’s #CBR4 Review #21: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I’d heard a number of Pajibans mention The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2008) by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows as a charming, little book. Even so, it took me awhile to decide to give it a go. The title sounded odd, I had no idea what it was about, and I was half expecting a novel that tried too hard to be cute and quaint. Fortunately, I was wrong, and this turned out to be one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read all year.

Read the rest of my review here.

Sophia’s #CBR4 Review #20: The Orchard Keeper by Cormac McCarthy

I’m going to have to be honest on this one. Not only did I read The Orchard Keeper (1965) by Cormac McCarthy months ago, but even as I was reading, I sometimes had a hard time figuring out what was happening. In short: this review is not going to do justice to McCarthy’s writing. I’d really need to read it again and devote some time to it to understand it more fully, but that’s just not going to happen anytime soon.

As some of the Amazon reviews have reminded me, The Orchard Keeper takes place in rural Tennessee in the 1930’s. Three characters’ intertwined lives set up the background for McCarthy’s oft-recurring theme of inevitable change and nature.

Read the rest of my review here.

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