Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Hate That Cat, by Sharon Creech

This sequel to Love that Dog was full of charm and beauty and accessible poetry, and though I don't think it was quite as great as the first book—mainly because no sequel can be as fresh and original as the first—I still really enjoyed it.  Bravo to the author.

This time I knew that the poems written about were in the back, and I read them along with the book, each at the appropriate time, and it really deepened my appreciation.

Highly recommended for reluctant poetry readers, aspiring writers, cat lovers…and pretty much everyone else.    

More accurate rating:  4.5

Rating of cover:  2

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Front Desk, by Kelly Yang

This was an engaging book, with a fearless, can-do main character, an interesting setting (and time period), and an unusual plot.  I enjoyed it quite a lot.

Some parts struck me as quite unrealistic, especially toward the end, especially with the [SEMI SPOILER ALERT] plan that involved collecting money from various people.  Several aspects of this plan seemed contrary to what would really happen and contrary to what certain characters would do.  But if you can just go with it, you'll enjoy it. 

The stories from Mia's family and from the various immigrants they meet are heart-breaking and eye-opening.  The letters Mia writes and their outcomes are fun to read about.  The relationships are interesting. 

Overall a very enjoyable book. Don't skip the author's note in the back.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Last Chance to See, by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine

 More highlights from my 2021 reading list (very late, I know):

This is a very good book.  It's funny (as you'd expect from Douglas Adams) and terribly saddening (as you'd expect from a book about endangered animals), and somehow those two things work together. 

The biology and ecology are interesting.

I did think it started off a bit on the wrong foot.  It felt less like an animal book and more like a travelogue which mostly consisted of complaining about the host country and pretty much everything else.  This was done in a witty way, of course, but it felt a little uncomfortable.  And when they met the first animal…it was over in about three lines.  I thought, "Come on, Douglas Adams, you're better than this."  And he was.  The book got better and better as it progressed.  I didn't want it to end.  There was a still too much complaining travelogue, but the author/s tied it in better to the complicated web of perils/benefits surrounding ecotourism.  And there was a lot more about the actual animals and the quest to find them.

Overall, sobering and entertaining at the same time—quite a feat of writing.

More accurate rating:  4.5 stars      

Friday, June 17, 2022

The Seventh Wish, by Kate Messner

I'm so behind in my book reviews.  Here's another book I enjoyed from 2021:  The Seventh Wish, by Kate Messner

I thought this was really good.

It got a lot darker than I expected, regarding the family crisis only alluded to on the book jacket, but it's an important topic and I think it was handled very well.  Not glossed over.  Not over-simplified.  The emotions were real and not always flattering.  The ending wasn't perfect, with everything fixed.  But at the same time it was hopeful and full of love. 

I liked the wishes-gone-wrong premise, though I would have enjoyed it even more if  things could have gone a wee bit more wrong. 

The writing was engaging.

I loved learning about Irish dancing.

Overall, a very good book.  I'll read more by Kate Messner. 

More accurate rating:  4.5 stars

WARNING:  SPOILER ALERT!!!  SPOILER ALERT!!!  Triggers:  drug use / opioid addiction.  I think it's presented very well, but parents may want to be aware and/or open up a discussion on the topic.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Bright Angel Trail from the South Kaibab Trail

 Here's a bit of perspective (or maybe not...the vastness of the Canyon makes it difficult to see how big/far things really are).  I took this picture from Cedar Ridge on the South Kaibab Trail.  The part I circled is a bit of green that is part of the Bright Angel Trail (above Devil's Corkscrew, I believe).  It was a little daunting at 6:00 in the morning to realize that the green spot I could barely see was where I would be walking back up five hours later.  Daunting...and exciting.  :)

GREAT day on the trail.  

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO HIKE TO THE RIVER AND BACK IN ONE DAY unless you've been training specifically for this hike, have plenty of food and water, have a good plan, and are doing it in spring or fall.  Heat kills (and makes it VERY unpleasant if it doesn't kill). See this post for details:

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Sunrise on the South Kaibab Trail

You can't see me very well, but here's me at sunrise at the beginning of my Grand Canyon trek (down South Kaibab and up Bright Angel).

What fantastic views!

See this post for details (and warnings).  DO NOT ATTEMPT TO HIKE TO THE RIVER AND BACK IN ONE DAY unless you're highly prepared and understand what you're getting yourself into.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Grand Canyon warnings

 Here's one of the signs they put near the beginning of trails down into the Grand Canyon:

Nice visual, isn't it?

Take it seriously if you haven't prepared and don't have a good plan.

If you HAVE prepared and have a good plan (and are leaving at dawn, as you can see from the coloring of the pictures), have a fantastic time!