Tag: reading

March 2024 Project Goals

March 2024 Project Goals

March is upon us and it is time for new monthly goals. This year my focus is on finishing up projects that I have so it should come as no surprise that my main goal for March is to work through my project backlog. I […]

Book Review: We’ll Meet Again by Mary Higgins Clark

Book Review: We’ll Meet Again by Mary Higgins Clark

The fourth book in my first Rereading Books Before I Give Them Away Series was “We’ll Meet Again” by Mary Higgins Clark. As usual I am writing a brief review of the book with my decision to either keep the book or give it away. […]

Book Review: The Beach House by James Patterson and Peter De Jonge

Book Review: The Beach House by James Patterson and Peter De Jonge

I reread The Beach House by James Patterson and Peter De Jonge as part of my Rereading Books Before I Give Them Away Part 1 early in my stack of 10 books. As with my other books, I wanted to do a brief review of the book and let you know whether I decided to keep it or give it away.

This site participates in affiliate links and receives a small fee for affiliate recommendations at no cost to you. As always we only recommend products we have tried ourselves. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

I did not remember what this book was about before I picked it up again but it is a mystery about the death of a valet named Peter working at a fancy party in The Hamptons. The brother of the murder victim, Jack, is the main character in this story as he solves the mystery of who killed his party boy brother and why amongst a city wide cover up. There are lots of twists and turns and the scandal around the death a good one. The main conflict in the book is between the townies that live year round and the wealthy billionaires that summer in the The Hamptons.

drawing of a man alone on a beach surrounded by unseen enemies
My drawing to match this book.

Peter works for a particularly wealthy couple doing odd jobs and as a valet while his brother Jack is a lawyer. There is a lot of investigating and clues to unravel surrounding Peter’s death which Jack works through as he uncovers a seedier side of town that he did not see growing up there. This book was pretty fast paced and there were a lot of twists and turns. I don’t want to give too much away so I will keep this review brief.

Back of The Beach House

The first chapter was very well written and drew me in. Unfortunately this is where our victim meets his end and I was less engaged in the story past the first chapter. I usually like reading James Patterson as a quick read but for some reason this book did not spark interest like it had in the past. I am not sure if it was because I read too many books that week or if I have just changed my tastes but I wasn’t really into this book when I read it. It was a good book the first few times I read it so I do recommend reading it if you love mystery, action and adventure.

 

I ended up giving this book to my oldest daughter to read since she was looking for a good mystery. She will either pass it on to a friend or sell it at Half Price Books for someone else to love.

 

VERDICT: GIVE AWAY

 

My next review will be of “We’ll Meet Again” by Mary Higgins Clark so stay tuned!

 

Links:

The Beach House by James Patterson

“We’ll Meet Again” by Mary Higgins Clark

 

Rereading Books Before I Give Them Away Part 1

Book Review: An Inconvenient Woman by Dominick Dunne

Book Review: An Inconvenient Woman by Dominick Dunne

At the end of September, faced with a mountain of books I had not read in almost a decade, I decided to start sorting through my books and reread any of those that I was unsure of keeping. I originally created this list of ten […]

Book Review: Pearl Cove by Elizabeth Lowell

Book Review: Pearl Cove by Elizabeth Lowell

When I created my post about rereading books kept in storage for too many years I wasn’t sure whether I would actually have time to read the books on my list. My post “Rereading Books Before I Give Them Away Part 1” was an attempt […]

Book Review: Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach

Book Review: Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach

When I was in early high school I read this book called “Ecotopia” by Ernest Callenbach. It had been recommended to me by my dad during a period of time when my family was headed towards chaos. At the time the book was eye-opening for me bringing up all kinds of questions about environmentalism and how poorly people were treating the planet. It also contains some scenes where the main characters are making love and honestly I don’t think my mom would have let me read it if she had known. The scenes are not explicit but as a young, innocent high schooler it shaped the way I thought of relationships in a way that looking back as a parent myself now was not ideal.

This site participates in affiliate links and receives a small fee for affiliate recommendations at no cost to you. As always we only recommend products we have tried ourselves. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

The book sets the scene of a post split of the United States where the Pacific Northwest has parted ways with the rest of the United States in a war that happened many years prior to the time period of the book. The premise is that the Eco-Friendly Pacific Northwest was not excited about the direction the rest of the country was going with their chemical use, plastics and general lack of connection with the natural environment. The main character is a reporter named Will from the United States venturing into Ecotopia as the first American to be invited since the split to write a story on how the new country is doing and to report back. He is also encouraged to spy on the Ecotopian government and report back to the U. S. Embassy since the United States was upset about losing a large chunk of their country.  Throughout the book Will delves into various aspects of Ecotopian life and finds a native woman named Marissa to be his lover. I will not give away the ending but William’s view of the people of Ecotopia changes over the course of his stay there.

Every time I read this book it gives me very seventies, male centered, Sci-Fi vibes along the authors such as Heinlein where the female characters are hard for the main character to understand, sexualized and secondary. Marissa’s character is better written but she is also seen as secondary for a long time by Will which is very much in line with the way the attitude of the United States is portrayed in this book so it works pretty well. It is a book of self-discovery for Will but I also did not feel like the ickiness of the seventies Sci-Fi vibe was resolved in the book so I am not sure if it was a clever writing style or an unintentional leaking of the author’s attitude towards women through.

 

The first time I read Ecotopia I was in awe of how they were able to change as a country to be more in touch with the land. Cars became a novelty and most people in Ecotopia take public transport with electric vehicles or walk everywhere. Of course, when the book came out, electric cars were not mainstream and were thought of as unsafe or not ideal. Now many people drive electric cars and that part of the book seems like it could be more of a reality than when I read this book for the first time.

I love the eco-centered life-style portrayed in the book and how much science to better people as a whole was emphasized. For instance, plastics in Ecotopia break down over a period of time and are made mostly out of corn. There is also a huge emphasis on fixing things rather than replacing them and the work week is vastly reduced. Leisure time is encouraged as well as more talking out of problems rather than ignoring them. I love these aspects of the book. People are treated as a whole and communities really look out for one another.

Other parts of the book however, seem very unrealistic now that I have the perspective of age. The one that stands out the most is the country of Ecotopia’s ability to completely switch their government and way of life in such a short period of time. Only 20 years have passed since the split and in the book, most of the Ecotopians are happy with this anti-consumption, hyper local, community based life. As a teenager I totally bought this but as an adult I thought about the mechanics of switching over everyone to a more commune like frame of mind where there isn’t any plastic of any kind and most items are hand made.  I think about places like Eastern Washington where farming is the main source of income for a lot of people and how they heavily rely on chemical fertilizers to grow large quantities of crops. Many of the farms in Eastern Washington, Oregon and California have been in families for generations. Their roots are deep and although I am sure change could happen, 20 years is not that long for such a rapid shift in society to have occurred so seamlessly.

 

Another big issue I have with this book is the lack of perspective from people of color. Most of the characters are white in this book and although there is a brief mention that native people were given back their land and that some races chose to live in separate enclaves, largely the book is written from a white perspective with many of the changes they made such as the war rituals lean towards cultural appropriation. Whenever I read books I try to think about the time period in which they are written to keep some perspective about any prejudices that may crop up but with this book it was hard to not notice the discrimination. I had a huge issue with the author’s section on how each race had formed it’s own cities and this fit in with the utopian lifestyle of Ecotopia and with the fact that Native Americans were largely ignored, especially since many of the ideas about community and living as one with the land were taken from native teachings.

Cliffside View
Granite Falls Fish Ladder Hike

Overall I still like the concept of this book and it’s push towards a more ecofriendly, anti-consumption lifestyle. I would recommend it for adults to read with the lens of knowing that there are some issues with it but also taking from the good parts of the book. I will link the book below but I would however, try to find a copy at your library or to borrow from a friend. I will also link the book I am currently reading, A Brave New World, both here and down below. I will review that one next. Also check out my blog post below listing out the books I am reading through the end of 2023!

 

 

Links:

Ecotopia the boook

 

A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

 

Rereading Books Before I Give Them Away Part 1

Rereading Books Before I Give Them Away Part 1

Rereading Books Before I Give Them Away Part 1

Eight years ago when we moved into our house I pared down my book collection by about 25% and put the rest into boxes. Until a few months ago those boxes largely remained untouched as we navigated life and I stopped reading all together while […]

2023 Summer Reads for Kids – What my Kids are Reading this Summer.

2023 Summer Reads for Kids – What my Kids are Reading this Summer.

I thought I would make a list of books my kids are reading during summer of 2023 as a fun way of tracking where my kids are at and to share book ideas with other book loving families. Last year I posted a couple of […]

My Favorite Dystopian Novels

My Favorite Dystopian Novels

This site participates in affiliate links and receives a small fee for affiliate recommendations at no cost to you. As always we only recommend products we have tried ourselves. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

 

Welcome to our list of favorite dystopian novels. I am a huge fan of any dystopian novels and have been trying to read more of them now that we are regularly going to the library so I will keep adding to this as I read more. This list is by no means exhaustive so please leave a comment if you have a book to recommend!

 

The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey – This book really threw me for a loop when I read it because the premise is somewhat believable. It follows Melanie who is a talented girl on how she discovers who she is and how much bigger the world really is. There is also a movie adaptation which was decent but you should really read the book first because the way Melanie’s discovery about the school she goes to is rushed in the movie and very well written in the book. The movie is available on Prime Video and can be found here.

 

The Silo Saga: Wool, Shift, Dust, and Sil0 Stories by Hugh Howey

The three part series Wool, Shift and Dust is about a group of people living in bunkers in a post-apocalyptic world. These books are well written and the titles are incredibly accurate as to how information about the bunkers is revealed to it’s inhabitants. These books are not so likely to happen but they are a great read and you can’t help feeling for the characters and the predicament they are in. I have not read the Sil0 Stories yet but I am going to find a copy to see what they are about.

 

Day Zero by C. Robert Cargill – Written during a time when AI is all around and kids are taken care of by nanny bots this book is written from the perspective of a high end tiger nanny bot named Pounce who navigates saving his human while fighting off his fellow robots that are trying to take over the world. I love that this book was written from the perspective of a self-aware robot and not the humans it was trying to protect. It looks like C. Robert Cargill also wrote a book called Sea of Rust that I will have to check out as well.

 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – The Handmaid’s Tale is a pretty popular TV series but it is based off of the book by Margaret Atwood which is excellent. Offred is a handmaid to an affluent man in the new world of Gilead where the bible is taken very literally. Infertility is a huge issue and those that can bear children are enslaved by the wealthy elite.

 

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – I will put this one on here although many people have read this book. Fahrenheit 451 is a classic about a world where books are banned and firemen light fires instead of putting them out. It follows Guy as he discovers there may be more to life than being a fireman.

 

The Giver by Lois Lawry – I will be totally honest and tell you I did not read this book until I was well into adulthood and my oldest daughter was reading it for middle school but I did read it in one night it was so good. The Giver is about Jonas who is coming of age in a world where everyone feels content in their pre-assigned roles. Jonas is given a glimpse into what was before and begins to question his world. There is a movie that goes along with the books that is pretty well done and can be found on Prime here.

Making this list of books reminded me that I need to read the other books in this series. It looks like there are four total and the whole set can be found here.

 

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler – Now I have not read these books but they have been highly recommended to me by multiple people so I am going to include them in my list. It looks like they are about a girl navigating her world after climate change has altered earth which is right up my alley. I plan on reading them in the next few months so let me know in the comments if you have read them and how you like them.

 

There are so many more books out there I could not include them all but I will update this list as I read more. Please let me know your dystopian book recommendations in the comments and happy reading!

 

This site participates in affiliate links and receives a small fee for affiliate recommendations at no cost to you. As always we only recommend products we have tried ourselves. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Our Favorite Board Books

Our Favorite Board Books

To compliment our summer reading lists for first and third graders I made the below list of our favorite board books for younger kids. We still read many of these books to our kids even though they are way past the board book phase!   […]


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