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Posts from the ‘4 star reviews’ Category

Non 1001 Book Review: The Lonely Hearts Hotel Heather O’Neill

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After a few weeks focused on wrapping up our winter challenge and setting up the spring challenge, we have finally got back in the groove of reviewing books again. Book Worm and I have been consumed by both challenges and reading through Infinite Jest which is tons of fun but impacting all our other reading. Book Worm is leading us off with a review of The Lonely Hearts Hotel, a book that others either seem to love or hate. Which side do you think you will fall into? Check out BW’s review.  Read more

Non 1001 Book Review: The Terranauts by Boyle

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The Terranauts by T.C Boyle
Published in: 2016
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: ★★★.5
Find it here: The Terranauts

This ARC was provided by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads: A powerful, affecting and hilarious deep-dive into human behavior in an intimate and epic story of science, society, sex, and survival, set in the early 1990s, from one of the greatest American novelists today.

It is 1994, and in the desert near Tillman, Arizona, forty miles from Tucson, a grand experiment involving the future of humanity is underway. As climate change threatens the earth, eight scientists, four men and four women dubbed the “Terranauts,” have been selected to live under glass in E2, a prototype of a possible off-earth colony. Their sealed, three-acre compound comprises five biomes—rainforest, savanna, desert, ocean and marsh—and enough wildlife, water, and vegetation to sustain them.

Closely monitored by an all-seeing Mission Control, this New Eden is the brainchild of eco-visionary Jeremiah Reed, aka G.C.—“God the Creator”—for whom the project is both an adventure in scientific discovery and a momentous publicity stunt. In addition to their roles as medics, farmers, biologists, and survivalists, his young, strapping Terranauts must impress watchful visitors and a skeptical media curious to see if E2’s environment will somehow be compromised, forcing the Ecosphere’s seal to be broken—and ending the mission in failure. As the Terranauts face increased scrutiny and a host of disasters, both natural and of their own making, their mantra: “Nothing in, nothing out,” becomes a dangerously ferocious rallying cry.

Told through three distinct narrators—Dawn Chapman, the mission’s pretty young ecologist; Linda Ryu, her bitter, scheming best friend passed over for E2; and Ramsay Roothorp, E2’s sexually irrepressible Wildman—The Terranauts brings to life an electrifying, pressured world in which connected lives are uncontrollably pushed to the breaking point. With characteristic humor and acerbic wit, T. C. Boyle indelibly inhabits the perspectives of the various players in this survivalist game, probing their motivations and illuminating their integrity and fragility to illustrate the inherent fallibility of human nature itself. Read more

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

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Today it is president’s day in the United States and many of us had the day off of work. If you are looking for an appropriate novel to read on this day, I have the perfect book for you: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. Read more

Non 1001 Book Review: Heartless Marissa Meyer

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Do you love a good retelling? This may be the book for you. Check out Book Worm’s review of Marissa Meyer’s latest retelling. This time she takes on Alice in Wonderland.  Read more

The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan

2017 is off to a good start for me, at least in terms of books. I’m participating in Litsy’s A to Z challenge (I’m admittedly obsessed with Litsy after finally discovering all the cool things over there) and since I’m mildly compulsive with respect to the order of how I complete challenges, I started off the year with “A.” Thus, The Association of Small Bombs by Mahajan was my first selection of the year.

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1001 Book Review: The Story of the Stone Cao Xueqin

 

Over the course of 2016 Book Worm and made our way through the 5 volumes of The Story of the Stone by Cao Xueqin. Considered to be one of China’s four great classical novels, it was written in the 18th century during the Qing Dynasty. I finally completed the last volume in December. Here are our reviews of this important Chinese Classic… Read more

1001 Book Review: Oranges are not the Only Fruit Jeanette Winterson

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Jeanette Winterson just came out with a new book this holiday season. She is one of our favorite authors and it just so happened that Book Worm and I were reading her first novel at the time of her latest release. Here are our thoughts about Oranges are Not the Only Fruit. Read more

Non 1001 Book Review: Zero K Don DeLillo

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Don DeLillo has several books on the 1001 list and a few of us predicted that his latest book would make the Man Booker longlist. One of our contributors hated the book and another contributor loved it. Let us know what you thought of it. Here’s my (Book Worm’s) review of the book. Read more

1001 Book Review: The Midwich Cuckoos John Wyndham

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Happy Halloween! I’m a bit of a whimp when it comes to reading horror or scary books so this year I was pleased with the book Book Worm and I selected for our Halloween read: Midwich Cuckoos. Check out what we thought of the book and scroll down to see my top ten list of Halloween reads.  Read more

Non 1001 Book Review: The Atomic Weight of Love Elizabeth Church

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The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J Church
Published in: 2016
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: ★★★★
Find it here: The Atomic Weight of Love

This ARC was provided by Algonquin Books (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads: In her sweeping debut novel, Elizabeth J. Church takes us from the World War II years in Chicago to the vast sun-parched canyons of New Mexico in the 1970s as we follow the journey of a driven, spirited young woman, Meridian Wallace, whose scientific ambitions are subverted by the expectations of her era.

In 1941, at seventeen years old, Meridian begins her ornithology studies at the University of Chicago. She is soon drawn to Alden Whetstone, a brilliant, complicated physics professor who opens her eyes to the fundamentals and poetry of his field, the beauty of motion, space and time, the delicate balance of force and energy that allows a bird to fly.

Entranced and in love, Meridian defers her own career path and follows Alden west to Los Alamos, where he is engaged in a secret government project (later known to be the atomic bomb). In married life, though, she feels lost and left behind. She channels her academic ambitions into studying a particular family of crows, whose free life and companionship are the very things that seem beyond her reach. There in her canyons, years later at the dawn of the 1970s, with counterculture youth filling the streets and protests against the war rupturing college campuses across the country, Meridian meets Clay, a young geologist and veteran of the Vietnam War, and together they seek ways to mend what the world has broken.

Exquisitely capturing the claustrophobic eras of 1940s and 1950s America, The Atomic Weight of Love also examines the changing roles of women during the decades that followed. And in Meridian Wallace we find an unforgettable heroine whose metamorphosis shows how the women’s movement opened up the world for a whole generation.

Book Worm’s Thoughts: This is a thoughtful book about what it meant to be woman discovering yourself in the 1940’s. At first Meridian seems to have it all, a college education and a thesis studying the language and behavior of crows, and a man who loves and inspires her. However, things start going wrong after her marriage, when she discovers that she is expected to follow her man and sacrifice her dreams in the process.

Meridian is a strong character and she struggles with the confines life has put on her. She tries to be a happy and supportive wife but finds that this is hard to do when you harbor resentment and your husband is oblivious to your feelings. As the years progress we see Meridian sacrifice more and more for a marriage that will not bring her happiness. While I could have quite cheerfully left Alden alone in the desert, it is clear to the reader that despite his faults Meridian still loves the man she first met.

I loved the way each chapter opened with a description about various birds and the crow diaries that Meridian keeps are fascinating. I also liked the desert setting which really added to the feelings of isolation with which Meridian suffers. The title is also very apt as atoms are a central part of the story and the cover is intelligent as well as beautiful, I mean look at it!

Who would like this? Ultimately this is a book about one woman’s life and the choices she makes against the backdrop of what society expects. So I would recommend this to those who like stories with strong female characters and a feminist viewpoint.

Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: The Atomic Weight of Love

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think?