Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wrapping up 2013

I read shamefully few books in 2013.

I started many, finished few. I read a ton on the internet: blogs, news feeds, articles, anything that held my ADD interest. But books, I tried so many times. I had reviews overdue. I had goals. I fell short. I'll try to improve this year, I swear, I promise.

Here's what I read and lamely reviewed for LibraryThing since my last post, lazily copied and pasted. Apologies. This blog and these books deserve better.

This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Songs of Willow Frost is a riveting story of an orphan's quest to find his mother set against the Great Depression in Seattle. At times heart breaking, and others nerve wracking, the story is beautifully written with unforgettable characters and unimaginable choices. Highly recommended.  )
    flag67 other reviews | Jan 1, 2014 | edit | 
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I haven't yet read an Anne Lamott book I didn't love. I was shocked by the slight size of this book when it arrived, but the contents were for me, a sublime distilled and condensed version of everything I love about this author and how she copes with life in crazy times. I could use some help coping in these crazy times, so I am her target audience.

I could have read this book in a few hours, but I took my time, reading in bits and pieces so I could ponder how succinctly she can sum up some of life's most heartbreaking scenarios and realities; and how she, and we all stitch together our lives, patching as we go, leaning on others and being leaned on in return. It is a guidebook for getting through life, even when you think you can't bear any more. This tiny book is a lovely sewing metaphor for life, written by a woman who knows well how the fabric of life can wear and tear, how dearly beloved people come and go in our lives, and how we patch and mend and darn and we go on, because that is what we do.

I know I will read this book again. It is full of grand observations, helpful coping hints and surprising optimism. I'm not sure how well this condensed Anne world view will translate for a novice reader. For me, reading more about Pammy, Sam, all main characters who are woven into all her earlier works was like visiting with old friends, and I loved, understood and got every page of Stitches. For the die hard fan, this is a must read and re-read book.  )
    flag20 other reviews | Dec 6, 2013 | edit | 
I read this lovely character driven story in a day, after the recommendation of a friend who loved the story and characters and couldn't put it down.

Set in an LA apartment building full of isolated, lonely people, a little girl named Grace, neglected by her addict mother, draws her reluctant neighbors into each others lives. The story pulled me in from the first pages and I kept thinking as I read it how much I loved the characters and the writing, and wondering why it hasn't been made into a movie yet. Written by the author who gave us Pay It Forward, Don't Let Me Go is a great read that will linger long after the story ends.  )
    flag12 other reviews | Nov 3, 2013 | edit | 
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Plyometrics, written by Doctors Donald Chu and Gregory Myer, is a very comprehensive guide to the science of muscular strength and power and exercise programs designed to help athletes obtain optimal performance.

The book is divided into three key sections : Knowledge, which covers muscular actions and the science of plyometrics; Considerations, which outlines training for young athletes, female athletes and rehabilitation; and Applications, which covers assessments, training programs, essential exercises and conditioning programs, and sport-specific training programs.

There material is provided with ample footnotes and references, and many photographs illustrating proper plyometric exercise techniques. Although the material is written at a very high reading level and very specialized to sports medicine and physical therapy, I found the material interesting, insightful and useful. Highly recommended to athletes wishing to better understand and improve their performance and reduce the risk of injury.  )
1 vote   flag4 other reviews | Nov 2, 2013 | edit |