Title: Famous Assassinations
Author: Sarah Herman
Page Count: N/A
Publishing Date/Publisher: Nov. 9th, 2018
Review: There have been a great number of assassinations in human history, and Sarah Herman describes a good deal of them. She separated them by time period and job type (royalty, president, dictator, etc.), taking us from the Roman Empire to Bin Laden.
Each main assassination is broken down into victim, assassination, assassin, and aftermath (or some amalgamation of the sort), making it a relatively quick read, as well as being very organised.
Herman writes very academically, while still being easily read by the public, which is a rare skill. I highly recommend this to anyone at all curious about the history of assassinations.
Author: Tara Westover
Performer: Julia Whelan
Length: 12 hrs, 15 min, 32 sec
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2018 by Random House Audio
Review: This memoir was truly fascinating. I thought the audiobook version was incredible. I have greatly enjoyed this performer for other books, and she really does a fantastic job with this one.
It is hard to believe this is a true story. The fact that someone can go to college and excel without a formal education is a concept I had never considered. As a librarian, I am a huge proponent of books, but this story really puts into perspective how powerful literacy, books, and internet access can be.
The physical, emotional, and psychological abuse in this book is difficult to stomach, so this is a serious trigger warning. It is incredibly frustrating to see the cycle of abuse perpetuated on so many different levels, and it demonstrates how difficult it is to truly cut ties with an abuser, especially one that you love. This story is a powerful example of how one can break the cycle and move forward in life. My heart broke for Tara on so many occasions, and some of the choices she had to make for her own mental health and wellbeing brought tears to my eyes. She is an incredibly resilient human being and I have great admiration for all she has accomplished.
I highly recommend this memoir. I think it provides important insights into a world that few know about, and it tackles issues, such as mental illness, that have a lasting impact on more people than we realize.
Title: The Godfather
Author: Mario Puzo
Page Count: 448
Series: Mario Puzo’s Mafia, Book 1
Publishing Date/Publisher: March 1, 2002 by NAL (first published March 10, 1969)
Review: The Godfather is my best friend’s favorite movie, and she was adamant that we should read the book together. I must preface this review by stating that this is not my usual type of read, but from time to time I like to try something new, and a classic seemed like just the ticket.
After reading this book, I understand why it is so revered. Puzo is an excellent writer, and the world of violence, loyalty, and cunning he describes is positively fascinating. I found myself thoroughly engrossed while reading on my lunch breaks, and was always eager to find out what was going to happen next.
There is a lot of bloodshed in this book, yet at the heart of it, it is a tale of family, morality, and strength of character. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this book glamorized crime, but it certainly put organized crime in a new light for me. What I found most intriguing about the character of the Godfather was that he was so well esteemed because of his reasonableness and respectfulness. He was exceptionally generous, and expected generosity in return, but he never asked for more than people could give. I found myself liking him immensely and I thought the author did an excellent job of crafting his character.
I highly recommend this book. As I said before, I do not usually read books in this genre, yet I cannot say enough good things about it! The edition I read had a foreword written by the author’s son, and I really enjoy the fact that the character of the Godfather is actually based off of Puzo’s mother. I would have loved to meet her, as she sounds like she was a true tour de force of a woman.
Title: Tempests and Slaughter
Author: Tamora Pierce
Performer: Ariadne Meyers
Length: 16 hrs, 1 min, 21 sec
Series: The Numair Chronicles
Publishing Date/Publisher: 2018 by Listening Library
Review: There is no disputing that Tamora Pierce is an excellent writer, but this, in my opinion, is not her most enthralling book. For fans who are interested in the origin story of the great mage Numair, this will probably have more appeal. I am not as familiar with his character because it has been many years since I read Pierce’s other series.
This is a very strong read-alike to the Harry Potter series. It is about a young mage of extraordinary power who has a penchant for getting himself and his friends in trouble. There is no clearly defined conflict in this book, and I would say it is more like vignettes of various things that happen to young Arram over the course of his years in mage school. The pacing is very slow, and I often found my mind drifting away during the reading. On several occasions I had to rewind the audiobook, so that I could re-listen to the parts I missed. The dramatic title, Tempests and Slaughter, implies that this is going to be an action-packed book, but that is not at all the case.
The performer has a very soothing voice, and I thought she did a great job voicing the various characters; however, I was a little surprised that they chose a female reader for this story because it is told primarily from the perspective of a male character. The voice worked fine when he was a young boy, but it didn’t work quite so well once he became a young man.