Ten Books Every Lifelong Learner Should Read

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Linking up with The Broke and The Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday. Today’s topic is “Ten books every (X) Should read.”

fa06114a227c0d6d401a3473ca949b4fI have a million-bajillion lists about books every medical student or health-professional should read; so I decided to pretend I know something and suggest books for, well, almost everyone. On Semester at Sea, we had “Lifelong Learners”. These were slightly older voyagers who had already worked and gained life experience, and who sailed with us and audited classes.

I like the concept of lifelong learning. I love the idea that you are not stuck with learning only about whatever you studied in college/university; I love the idea that you can gain knowledge about almost anything if you are inspired to do so (thank you, Google). I believe I am a life-long learner; and I believe that books are at least partially responsible for that.

The list, in no particular order: Continue reading

Unrealistic YA Fiction Is Not Such A Big Problem

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Young Adult fiction treads a fine line. On the one hand, it needs to be in touch with its audience. YA readers want to see protagonists who speak realistically, eat realistically, and act realistically.

On the other hand, reading offers us the opportunity to live different lives; to travel to places and settings and adventures that we may never have, and very few people want to read about a normal, boring setting. (Although I am told that Patrick Ness’ The Rest of Us Just Live Here addresses this very well, I’ve not yet read it.)

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Not the topic for this discussion, but I do want to read this book.

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Fifteen Lanes by S.J. Laidlaw [Book Review]

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25893705Writing an “issue book” for young adults can be dangerous. Writing an issue book that incorporates diversity and a non-Western setting can be disastrous. It can be shallow. It can be whitewashed. It can be a pity-party. It can be subtly racist. Issue books are hard to write because we all have unwitting biases, and they can reveal themselves in our writing, despite our very best intentions.

Fifteen Lanes by S.J. Laidlaw is nothing like that.

Besides being teenage girls in Mumbai, Noor and Grace seemingly have nothing in common. Noor (which by the way is one of my favorite names!) is the eldest child of a prostitute. She was raised in the red-light district of Kamathipura. Education is her refuge, but she lives in constant fear of following the fate of her mother. Continue reading

Book Review: Cambodia Noir

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25814249Phnom Penh, Cambodia: the end of the line. Lawless, drug-soaked, forgotten—it’s where bad journalists go to die. For once-great war photographer Will Keller, that’s kind of a mission statement: he spends his days floating from one score to the next, taking any job that pays; his nights are a haze of sex, drugs, booze, and brawling. But Will’s spiral toward oblivion is interrupted by Kara Saito, a beautiful young woman who shows up and begs Will to help find her sister, June, who disappeared during a stint as an intern at the local paper.

* * * 

If Cambodia Noir were just another crime thriller, it would disappear back into the woodwork among the millions of other sex-drugs-rock-and-roll thrillers with fallible heroes and sultry women that could be turned into a generic B-grade action film. Continue reading

Books To Read If You’re In The Mood For A Saga

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I’ve been trying to find the right name for this particular kind of book, and the best I can come up with is “saga” – you know, those books that usually span a few generations, or at least several different stages of a character’s life. They are usually historical fiction, but I find that what distinguishes them is really that the majority of books we read (in my completely anecdotal experience) take a brief look at a brief period, full of action and emotions, in a character’s life. Saga’s are sometimes less action-packed, but they weave a tapestry of a community, a family, or a personality.

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So uh – if that makes any sense to you, and you like it, here are some recommendations (in so particular order).

1. Skin by Ilka Tampke

OKAY I CANNOT STOP RAVING ABOUT THIS BOOK. (It was in last week’s TTT too.) This is one that chronicles a single character’s life. You could probably also call it an epic because Ailia is a FREAKING BEAST. Continue reading

Ten Best Non-Romantic Love Stories

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Valentine’s Day is coming up, and although I’m not really an anti-valentine, I’m not exactly it’s biggest fan either. Even GeekBoy is a bigger romantic than me, and he’s a mathematician for crying out loud!😉

I’m linking up with The Broke and The Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday Valentine’s-themed freebie to bring you ten of my favourite non-romantic loves in books (in no particular order).

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1. Cinder and Iko from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

A girl and her android; I love their relationship and I love how they care for one another. Iko, incidentally, rivals any boy-crazy teenager on this planet! Continue reading

Sex in the Sea: This Post Is Not What You Think (Or Is It?)

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“Forget the Kama Sutra. When it comes to inventive sex acts, just look to the sea.”

Well now. If there’s one way of making sure people read something important, you might as well throw some sex into it.

Sex in the Sea: Our Intimate Connection with Sex-Changing Fish, Romantic Lobsters, Kinky Squid, and Other Salty Erotica of the Deep by Marah J. Hardt delves into just how marine life gets it on. And if you think the Cosmo is inventive, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

With a knack for dividing the mass of copulating marine organisms into relevant and understandable chapters, Hardt exposes the fetishes, the violence, the intimacies and, above all, the adaptability of marine life as they follow the overpowering instinct to survive and multiply (two things that are not, in all cases, compatible with one another). Continue reading