Monday, June 1, 2009

Book Reviews

I haven't done a book review in a while but after Memorial Day weekend and some plane travel I finally have enough books to be worthwhile!

The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing
, Melissa Bank
I got this one in the book swap Nujoud organized. We definitely need to do that again! This is a novel written almost as a series of short stories. Normally I'm not a fan of that style because it can lead to a disjointed story, but in this case the collection flowed together beautifully. It was a quick and light read yet still had depth. I definitely recommend it!

Opening Skinner's Box, Lauren Slater
This book is about ten controversial and revolutionary psychological experiments of the twentieth century. You'll probably recognize some of them, such as Stanley Milgram's obedience research, but others will be brand new. In fact, it was fascinating to see how two experiments could appear to completely contradict each other yet still be valid. My only criticism of the book was that sometimes the author got too wrapped up in her own experience with the experiments and didn't elaborate on them as much as she could, but overall it's a fun way to learn about some really interesting experiments without getting bogged down in the technical side of things.

Galileo's Daughter, Dava Sobel
I picked this book up at a used book store over a year ago and had been wanting to read it for even longer than that. It's non-fiction and tells Galileo's story interspersed with letters from his daughter, who entered a nunnery in her teens and spent her life there. While I definitely enjoyed the glimpse into a different side of Galileo's life, it got bogged down in his battles with the church at times. That said, it's still a worthwhile read, especially if you are interested in a different perspective on the great mathematician.

The Bookseller of Kabul, Asne Seierstad
I'll keep it simple: everyone needs to go read this now. I thought this was a novel but it turns out to be true. The author spent three months living with an Afghani family. The patriarch is a bookseller in Kabul (I'm sure you wouldn't have guessed that) and is in some ways very modern and liberal. However, in his home life he is very traditional. It was fascinating to learn more about the culture but I also became completely swept up in the lives of these real people. I had about 10 pages left when we got off the plane and I hurried to the baggage claim so I could sit down and finish it!

Next up (I'm currently about halfway through) is Testimony, by Anita Shreve.


Erin said...

Can I borrow the Bookseller of Kabul??

Heather said...

i read something else by anita shreve, i think it was "the weight of water", which was pretty good. the bookseller of kabul sounds good too. my mom recommended one to me about a navy seal disaster that happened a few years ago - i forget what it's called, but i'll find out. she thought it would be good for our family to read, with derek going into the seals this year...