Saturday, September 19, 2015

Book Review: The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

One of those books where the author
is bigger than the title...
     I read this book for the title.  How could I not?  I want to be as informed about the afterlife as possible, since someday I'm going to spend quite a lot of time there.  
     This book has a very interesting conception of the afterlife.  There's a God and a Heaven, but God doesn't make an appearance and Heaven is not a place of eternal rest and harp music.  Instead, Heaven is where the deceased meet with five people who influenced their lives.  From these people, the dead learn why their lives played out the way that they did.  Five People follows the journey of just one man, an amusement park maintenance employee named Eddie, through Heaven.
     I like Albom's Heaven, and the book's ending was satisfying.  But I didn't love its overall tone .  It felt preachy.  You know, everything happens for a reason.  A Chicken-Soup-for-the-Soul kind of tone.  But hey, lots of people love Chicken Soup for the Soul!  You might like this one better than I did.

     - Carly

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Best School Reading

     Seeing as I am re-reading Beloved and thus have no new books to review for you, and seeing as the school year is (wahh) about to start again, I thought I'd share a list of my favorite assigned books from this past school year, if only to give me hope for this year...

Why I hate school...
I mean really
1. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess - You already know.
2. Dispatches by Michael Herr - The Vietnam War veteran experience, as reported in stream-of-consciousness style by an Esquire magazine journalist.  
3. Paradise Lost by John Milton - Antiquated perception of women's role in society aside, the writing is beautiful and the characterization of enigmatic figures such as the Devil is daring.
4. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien - The Vietnam War veteran experience, expressed in short story form.
5. The Secret Life of Pronouns by James W. Pennebaker - I can't recommend this book highly enough! You'll learn all kinds of crazy stuff about psychology, society, language, and the connections between the three.  
6. In the Land of Invented Languages by Arika Orent - This book inspired me to attempt to learn Esperanto, a "universal" language invented to bring about world peace.
7. Language Myths edited by Laurie Bauer and Peter Trudgill - Learn that no language is more logical than another, denizens of Appalachia do not speak Elizabethan English, women do NOT talk more than men, Black American children are not "verbally deprived," etc.
8. Going After Cacciato by Tim O’Brien - The Vietnam War veteran experience, expressed in novel form.  I studied the Vietnam War in three classes last year, does it show?
9. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote - Capote invented the non-fiction novel with this book, which explores the murder of a Kansas family.
10. The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare - So much guilt and angst.  Life's but a walking shadow, y'all.

     - Carly