Monthly Archives: October 2015

Book 35 – Love Your Sister

“Love Your Sister” by Connie Johnson and Samuel Johnson (2014)

Audio book narrated by Connie Johnson and Samuel Johnson

I don’t know anyone with breast cancer. I don’t have breast cancer. But I have breasts. And checking them is one of my husband’s favourite things to do.

I often browse audible, looking for something different, because the commute swallows books whole. Audible recently had a sale and Love Your Sister was one of the reduced books. Look, fine, I bought the book because Samuel is cute. Now I’ve said it. I also bought it because Love Your Sister was at Tulip Time in Bowral. And that made it feel like it was meant to be. Read the book because they’re just down the road. Didn’t he ride a unicycle all over the place or something? Probably a good listen.

I actually didn’t realise that Connie and Samuel narrated the book themselves until I started listening. I’ve blogged before about the power of a good narrator, and the extra layer of a first person story as an audio book. It makes it an even more enjoyable experience.

Well, if it is possible to say that listening to ‘a cancer book’ was enjoyable, then this is it. Love Your Sister isn’t a story about cancer, though. It’s a story about a beautifully peculiar, quirky family who have had their fair share of challenges and have always dealt with them exactly the way my family deals with everything… by pouring bucket loads of unconditional love around.

I loved this book about Connie’s journey and the process of making the year-long adventure of Samuel riding a unicycle around Australia a reality. Connie’s dream to raise some money for cancer research has resulted in a movement much bigger than she could have ever imagined. What an achievement!

I laughed. I cheered. I cried. And I checked my boobs. I highly recommend this book… and check your boobs.

To learn more about Love Your Sister, go to http://www.loveyoursister.org or check them out on Facebook and Instagram.

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Filed under Non-fiction

Book 34 – Make Me

“Make Me” by Lee Child (2015)

Jack Reacher is my favourite thug. This is about the twentieth book or something. It’s holiday reading fun. This one involves less bashing and lots more killing. And some action between the sheets. This book’s topic was pretty gruesome but also very topical. I enjoyed it. And if you love Jack, I expect you will too.

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Filed under Adult fiction

Book 33 – Leviathan

“Leviathan” written by Scott Westerfeld and illustrated by Keith Thompson (2009)

I’m a massive Westerfeld fan, especially his Uglies series, and I’m a bit astonished to realise that this book is 6 years old. It’s been sitting on my WTB shelf for years, so maybe it’s been there all 6! There are hundreds of books on that shelf… don’t judge me!

This steampunk novel is SO good. I really enjoyed so many things about it. The characters are appealing (always an important element for me), the alternative reality of a world where Darwin’s findings on the origins of species have been taken in a whole different direction is mind boggling but simple to follow, the setting within real pre-World War I events is grounding and gives structure and logic to the otherwise astonishing removal from truth, and the adventure offers page-turning excitement. In addition, Thompson’s illustrations are not just visually appealing, but also support engagement with the plot.

The opposing forces in the book are Clankers, with their mechanical war machines, and Darwinists, with their genetically modified (fabricated) animals as weapons. The plot revolves around two key characters – The Clanker, Aleksandar Ferdinand (son of the just murdered Archduke) and Darwinist and Scottish girl, Deryn, who wants to be a pilot and goes incognito as a boy (Dylan Sharp) to achieve her dreams.

When the Leviathan, the fabricated whaleship where Deryn/Dylan serves as a midshipman, is damaged in an air fight with German planes and comes down in the Swiss Alps, Alek, who is in hiding in a fortress nearby, after fleeing his homeland following the murder of his parents, defies his companions and takes medical supplies to the stranded ship and its crew. This leads to an unusual alliance that may save Alek and be the undoing of Deryn/Dylan’s subterfuge.

I really loved this book and look forward to reading the rest of the series. I can see real value in this as a teaching text, particularly in a cross-KLA unit with History. I will be chatting with our History Elective teachers to see if we can’t come up with something fun for Stage 4 or 5.

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Book 32 – The Restaurant at the end of the Universe

“The Restaurant at the end of the Universe” by Douglas Adams (1980)

Audio book narrated by Martin Freeman

I actually finished this book weeks ago but blogging about it has been one of those things on the to do list that just kept getting put off. It’s not because I didn’t enjoy the book. I did. But I didn’t have a burning motivation to write about it. When I really love a book I want to tell the whole world. Same when I hate a book. But when a book is just, well, you know, doing its job, keeping me entertained from beginning to end, well, there’s just not that much to write about.

This book is described as the second book in the Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy trilogy, but it is, in fact the second book in a series that spans 5 or maybe 7 books, depending on your point of view. It picks up the story of Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Trillian and Zaphod Beeblebrox as they escape the planet Magrathea and get attacked by a Vogon destroyer. The rest of a summary would sound as foreign and meaningless as the above, so I won’t go…

Look, these books are silly. They are a whole level of silly beyond anything else silly I have read. I’m not sure I’ll keep reading the series, though. It’s a bit like the sixth season of a TV drama that might have stayed with you forever if they’d stopped at one season, or maybe two. The silliness all just got a bit much.

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Filed under Adult fiction