Snark with a Side of Cheeky (silentrequiem) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Snark with a Side of Cheeky

Books 30-35

30) Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (Historical Fiction, 290 pages)
Simple, bittersweet, haunting, innocent, engrossing, heartbreaking, and wonderful - all at the same time. In the middle of World War II, Henry befriends Keiko, the other non-white student at the school his parents send him to on "scholarship." The two are both American, but Henry is ethnically Chinese with a militantly anti-Japanese father, and Keiko is second generation Japanese. Both get caught by the anti-Japanese fervor that has swept through the United States, and after Keiko gets sent to an internment camp, they gradually lose touch. The story is told from two perspectives - that of young Henry, and that of older Henry in the 1980s.
The writing is very simplistic but the pacing and plot carry the story along and I found myself caught up in Henry and Keiko's doomed friendship-turned-love. The snapshot that Ford offers of wartime America is ugly. Prejudice, hate, and judgment abound on all sides, but so do compassion and understanding. 4/5

31) Rescue Ink: Tough Guys on a Mission to Keep Our Animals Safe by Rescue Ink (with Denise Plaim) (Animals, 256 pages)
I first heard of Rescue Ink a few days ago on a forum on Ravelry. I ran across this book at the Borders store closing sale but passed it over despite the cheap price. This past weekend, I went to a discount bookstore (as if I needed more books!) and there was this book, yet again. I sighed and gave into fate and added the book to my pile.
I read the book in less than a day. I needed a book for the train and impulsively grabbed this on the way out the door. It was a fast read and I read a good chunk of it on my commute to/from work, and another chunk on the elliptical at the gym. I finished the last few chapters over dinner. Obviously, I liked the book enough to not want to put it down. And once I finished it, I went to pick up my cat and snuggle with him because I needed to show him I loved him. Of the three animals I have, he is the only rescue (the two rabbits I got from 4-H breeders), and I think he knew I was his forever home since he emphatically picked me at the adoption center (or he just knows a sucker when he sees one).
The stories in this book alternately broke my heart and gave me hope. I loved that the Rescue Ink guys are showing the world that animal lovers come in all shapes and sizes, and aren't all crazy cat ladies. I applaud their devotion and willingness to speak out, and their going above and beyond for animals. I was really impressed with the thoughtfulness they approached animal rescue, recognizing the reality of the world and that not every animal can be rescued, but the importance was improving the lives of the animals they can reach. 4/5

32) After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn (Science Fiction, 304 pages)
I have been looking forward to this book forever since I am a gigantic superhero nerd. If it has superheroes, I will read it. Having never read any Vaughn before, I had no clue what to expect. I normally never buy an unknown author's new release on the release date but I made an exception for this one, and I'm very glad I did.
I read this on the commute home... and kept reading it... and then stayed up until midnight to finish the book. The plot was slightly clichéd but executed in a fresh way. I really liked Cecelia, and loved that she, the normal one in a family of superheroes, was the main character. The story wrapped up nicely but I do hope Vaughn revisits this world. 4/5

33) Dolci di Love by Sarah Kate-Lynch (Mainstream, 320 pages)
I was a bit hesitant about this book because I after I received it, I realized I had read another by the author and, while I liked it, did not find it very memorable. Thankfully, I got over my hesitation and read the book... and kept reading... and reading. I loved this.
The main character, Lily, drowns herself in work and probably would have continued doing so if she hadn't found the picture of her husband's secret family in Italy. So she goes over there to confront him, and in the process falls into the machinations of the Secret League of Widowed Darners -- the old women of the village who have taken it upon themselves to mend hearts instead of socks.
I got swept up in Lily's story, and her quest for understanding, and the widows' mishaps and misunderstandings. And I really wanted to taste the amorucci. 4/5

34) More Than Good Intentions: How a New Economics Is Helping to Solve Global Poverty by Dean Karlan and Jacob Appel (Economics/International Development, 320 pages)
Karlan and Appel have contributed greatly to international development scholarship with this book. They advocate that development programs must 1) robustly evaluate their effectiveness through randomized control trials, and 2) take into account people's irrational (non-economic) behavioral choices. They provide overviews of various programs designed to help improve the lives of the most underserved in developing countries, whether it was to increase purchasing power, improve school attendance, increase access to medical treatment, prevent disease, or encourage cessation of a negative behavior. Throughout the analysis of all the various programs, one thing was clear: there was no silver bullet for international development programs. What works in one area or sector may not work in another. I found the entire book fascinating. Given limited funds and resources available, it is in organizations working in the developing world's best interest to implement programs that they know are effective, and gives the most return for the investment. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in international development work. 4.5/5

35) One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde (Science Fiction, 362 pages)
Thursday Next is missing, and it's up to her written counterpart to save the day.
I did not like this book as much as the previous Thursdays, mainly because it started slower. There was a little too much philosophical waffling on written Thursday's part, and too much of her fumbling around trying to find the plotline. But the book was saved from a 3-star review because she (and the plot) finally gets her act together halfway through the story and proves that she can live up to the reputation of Thursday Next. 4/5
Tags: animals, economics, fantasy, fiction, historical fiction, international, sci-fi

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