Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Love: Wonder-ful edition

This week, I finished the fantastic At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson, which took me quite a while to read.  So I wanted to switch up to something I knew I'd read quickly and something I was confident I'd enjoy: Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  I'd heard so much great stuff about that book that it was a natural choice; I didn't know how much it would crawl inside of me and make me spend the rest of the day looking at things that make me happy-cry.

What I Read This Week: 

  At Home: A Short History of Private LifeAt Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this ramble through the history of modern civilization, organized by the rooms in Bryson's old English parsonage. Bryson is the king of anecdotes that make you turn to whoever is sitting next to you and go, "Whoah, did you know..." I highly recommend this for anyone who's curious about the details of history: why does "toilet water" mean two very different things, why forks have four tines, and why jackets have those useless sleeve buttons, to name just a few.

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  WonderWonder by R.J. Palacio
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is going to be a terribly incoherent review because I've just finished reading this book and I'm still in pieces. Ok. Let me see. You know how, when you have a massage, you feel tired afterward, because your muscles have been mushed around for an hour? So even though you did something relaxing and enjoyable, now you feel like you just need to sit and sip water and recuperate? That's how I feel about this book. Like I need to spend the rest of the afternoon meditating or something, even though the actual experience of reading it was mostly a lot of fun.

The thing about this book is that even though it's a serious book, it's a fun-serious book, because Auggie and the people around him are people, and like most people they enjoy fun things and have senses of humor and don't go through life never cracking a smile because a person in their lives has medical issues. Wonder does an especially great job of capturing the moods of the gala days of growing up: science fairs and school plays and graduations. It's also got things in it that are sad and things in it that are frustrating. It's got song lyrics and quotations from books and plays that I love. It's the kind of book that makes me want to teach fifth grade (and it also reminds me of the hard parts of teaching kids that age.)

I know I'm a little late to the party on this one, but if you haven't read this yet, do yourself a favor and set aside some time (preferably by yourself, in your home, as the likelihood of tears in the second half is strong) and read it.

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  1. WONDER definitely sounds like the type of book that would make me cry, so thanks for the warning on that. I've heard many good things about it and really should put it on my TBR list. You know, last time I was at the bookstore, there were so many awesome looking middle grade books. It made me want to bury myself in a pile of middle grade for a while. Might have to do that some time. :)

  2. This one is MG, right? I don't tend to read much in the way of MG, but I have heard a lot of people rave about this one. I'm also not quick to pick up something that will make me cry so... But if you say it's worth it, I trust your opinion and will have to bump it up my TBR pile. ;-)

  3. I haven't read WONDER yet, but I really want to. I've heard such amazing things about it, and your review, incoherent or not, makes me want to run to the library and snatch it up!


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