No Frills Book Review: Drowned City

I was alive during Hurricane Katrina, but I did not live through it. I thought I knew how it went down, what it might have been like for residents and survivors. The powerful graphic non-fiction by Don Brown, Drowned City, made it completely clear that I had no idea. He does not hold back, so if you’re a sensitive reader (I am), be ready for very strong feelings. I never let myself imagine how horrible New Orleans was after Katrina hit, but all of the destruction and governmental BS is laid out clearly in gritty art, making a quick, but impacting read. Graphic is the perfect medium for this story.

Off to donate to the Red Cross.

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No Frills Book Review: How to Avoid a Soggy Bottom

The Great British Bake Off has a book! My love affair can continue between seasons.

This isn’t a baking book, although it does contain recipes (for rough puff, hot-water pastry, and other things I’d never heard of until I watched the show). More, it contains answers to such questions as “why is shortbread called bread when it’s a biscuit?” and “what exactly is sugar?” making this a fascinating history and science book.

More later, I’m making some tea while I settle in to figure out how to reduce my proving time.

No Frills Book Review: Challenger Deep (Audio)

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman won the National Book Award this year for Young People’s Literature, and it totally deserved to. What a complicated delve into the mind of a kid first dealing with mental illness.

This review is for the audio book, specifically, which was voiced marvelously by Michael Curran-Dorsano. He not only got all the nuance of being a teenager without overacting it, but he also managed eight or nine different accents and voices, all believably and entertainingly well. (He mispronounces Calliope many times, and he almost lost me because of it, but when he gets it right you want to give a small cheer.)

It’s kind of a long listen, but so well done you won’t notice eight hours passing. After hearing the audio, I can’t imagine reading it without the bonus and layers of all the different voices. The narrator brings so much extra to the story, instead of just a straight reading, which is the best reason to audio-it-up.

Available at your local library, or through Audible.

No Frills Book Review: The Nest by Kenneth Oppel

Welcome to the first in a series, the No Frills Book Review. This is where I basically repeat here what I’ve been saying to people in real life about books I’ve read.

Have you read The Nest by Kenneth Oppel? Holy crap. What a weird and great read. I can’t tell you much about it without giving it all away, so just trust me. I’m not sure it’s truly a book for kids, but it is creepy and wonderful and you’ll read it in about an hour. Everyone in the office totally devoured it with the same response. This is the kind of book you’ve never read before, but it also feels like it’s always existed.

See? No frills.