≡ Menu

Three Thoughts When Reviews Can’t Be Written (And a Question!)

Three Thoughts When Reviews Can’t Be Written (And a Question!) post image

Point the First: Thank you everyone for your very kind and supportive comments on my big “I’m Moving!” announcement earlier this week. I’m not going to have time to respond to all the comments, but they mean the world to me. It’s really amazing how supportive online communities can be.

Point the Second: I recently had a review published in our local newspaper for Paul Farmer’s new book, Haiti: After the Earthquake. You might be familiar with Farmer because of Tracy Kidder’s book Mountains Beyond Mountains, which is one of my favorite narrative nonfiction reads.

Haiti: After the Earthquake is a collection of first-person accounts by Farmer and his colleagues about what life was like in Haiti in the year after the January 12, 2010 earthquake struck hear the capitol, Port-Au-Prince. I enjoyed the book quite a bit — it’s funny, sad, and thought-provoking all at the same time. If you’re at all curious about Haiti or larger discussions about the role of government and NGOs in recovery efforts around the globe, this is a book to check out.

Point the Third: I am struggling to find the words to get some recent reviews written and posted. I blame the Dangerous Record Heat Wave and The Impending Move, but there could be other factors at play here.

I’m just four reviews behind, but honestly, I just can’t find the momentum to get started. Instead of staring at the computer feeling like slamming my fists on the keyboard hoping words come out, I decided to turn to all of you one more time. I’m going to solicit questions about each of my four unreviewed books, then use those to help me get started. Here’s what I’ve got:

  • The Girls of Murder City by Douglas Perry — This book is a nonfiction account of the murders that inspired the play/musical/movie Chicago. I read it over my 4th of July vacation at the lake, and it was a perfect nonfiction choice for reading by the beach.
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett — If you don’t know even a little about what The Help is about, then you must live under a rock even bigger than the rock I live under. This is the book my sister and I are reading together for our book club, so if you have any questions about it you’ll probably get a Two-for-One answer! Great deal! (And possibly a vlog!)
  • Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá — Ryan and Jethá take a crack at explaining the sexuality of our primitive ancestors and how we live today does or doesn’t fit into the behaviors we evolved to have. (Hint: Farming may have destroyed us all!) I was fascinated and skeptical while reading this one.
  • Storming the Tulips by Ronald Sanders, translated by Hannie J. Voyles — This book is a pretty slim collection of essays about students in Holland during the Nazi occupation. In the intro, the translator says it can be read as a companion book to The Diary of Anne Frank, as this book is about students living out in the world while The Diary of Anne Frank is the story of a girl in hiding. I really like that comparison.

If you have any questions about these four books, leave them in the comments and I’ll use those as the basis of my review. Or, alternatively, you could just let me know which book you’re most curious to read about and I’ll use votes to decide which review to tackle first.

Photo Credit: J.D. Hancock via Flickr

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Cass July 20, 2011, 11:32 am

    I noticed on the Powell’s website that Dan Savage said Sex at Dawn was the most important book about sexuality since Kinsey’s Sexual Behavior In the Human Male. So, um, I have it on hold now but I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

    • Kim July 26, 2011, 5:23 pm

      The book definitely makes some bold claims about human sexuality and how many of the narratives we’ve been told about what “normal” sexuality is.

  • Meghan July 20, 2011, 11:59 am

    I’d love to hear about The Girls of Murder City – it sounds perfect!

    • Kim July 26, 2011, 5:23 pm

      I liked that one a lot — it was the perfect sort of book for reading on the beach (at least for me!).

  • Fyrefly July 20, 2011, 12:17 pm

    I definitely need to read Sex at Dawn, although from what I can tell, it’s evolutionary social psychology, which is really, really, (really) hard to do right. So I’d love to hear about your skepticism, and whether or not the book’s arguments convinced you.

    • Kim July 26, 2011, 5:25 pm

      Yeah, that’s an accurate way of describing it. The authors are pretty honest about the fact that a lot of what they’re talking about is hard to prove with the fossil record, etc.

  • Vasilly July 20, 2011, 2:15 pm

    I want to know what made you decide to read each book. I also want to know how did you listen to The Help? On audio or in print? If you read it in print, how was the dialect to you? Was it confusing to follow? Do you think the story is worth all the buzz that this book has received?

    • Kim July 26, 2011, 5:26 pm

      Good questions! Short answer – Yes, I thought The Help was worth the hype. It was really good.

  • Books are my Boyfriends July 20, 2011, 10:07 pm

    I was both fascinated and skeptical reading SEX AT DAWN too! Well put! Heart being non-fiction book blogging friends with you.

    • Kim July 26, 2011, 5:27 pm

      A nonfiction reader after my own heart 🙂

  • Jennifer July 21, 2011, 2:01 pm

    With all that you have going on right now, I’m kind of amazed that you even have time to think about reviews. I almost definitely would have given up hope on writing much of anything if I were you! Still, I admire your determination and I think that this is a great idea to get you writing.

    I am intrigued about Sex at Dawn – I’d love to hear about what fascinated you and what left you feeling skeptical. Ultimately, what is one major factoid that you are walking away with that surprised you.

    I’m also working on reading The Help. I’ve had it on my book shelf for close to a year and am only now digging in. I love that you are reading this one with your sister and can’t wait to hear what the two of you have to say about it. I’m wondering, are you going to go see the movie?

    • Kim July 26, 2011, 5:28 pm

      Well, so far I haven’t managed to write any yet! But I’m going to try — writing usually calms me if I can get my brain focused.

  • Amy July 21, 2011, 2:10 pm

    I also have Sex at Dawn on my Kindle so would love to hear your thoughts on it. Off to read your review of Haiti now!

    • Kim July 26, 2011, 5:28 pm

      I took a lot of notes on that one, so hopefully writing the review won’t be too hard… whenever I get to it!

  • Sheila (Bookjourney) July 21, 2011, 5:41 pm

    I am behind… I did not know about the move and now need to scramble through your back posts….LOL

    • Kim July 26, 2011, 5:29 pm

      No need to scramble, it was just in the Sunday Salon the day before this 🙂 Big news!

  • Joy Weese Moll July 21, 2011, 7:17 pm

    For The Girls of Murder City, how is it like and different from the movie Chicago? Also, does it have anything in common with Devil in the White City beyond murder and Chicago?

    With The Help, I would love to know if you and your sister have different thoughts or reactions to the book. Different parts you liked the most? Different characters you related to? As sisters, what do you think of this as a book about women? As young women, what do you think about how times have changed or not changed?

    And, yeah, wondering if the proper girlfriend response isn’t to remind you that it’s okay to let this all go if you need to and focus on self care and the move. It’s all good.

  • Kim July 26, 2011, 5:31 pm

    Good questions! Ans thanks for the girlfriend advice — I’ve been taking lots of time with friends and spending time in Madison and putting the blog on the back burner for the most part 🙂

  • Dawn - She Is Too Fond of Books August 1, 2011, 6:44 pm

    ha ha! I *was* hiding under a big rock, to prevent spoilers from THE HELP until I finally read it (just a few weeks ago). It’s a big rock, and since I posted my review, I’ve learned that there are still others under it 🙂

    • Kim August 1, 2011, 8:37 pm

      Funny! I’ve read a few reviews recently from people who didn’t read The Help yet, which I thought was odd!