Friday, March 10, 2017

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

Author: Daniel James Brown
Pages: 370
Rating: G - no language or sex.

It was an unlikely quest from the start. With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler. The emotional heart of the tale lies with Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world. Drawing on the boys’ own journals and vivid memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, Brown has created an unforgettable portrait of an era, a celebration of a remarkable achievement, and a chronicle of one extraordinary young man’s personal quest.

My Thoughts: I have to be honest, I think I would have enjoyed this a lot more if I actually liked rowing as a sport. That being said, this book is written in a way that by the end of it, you totally DO care about rowing! Not that I would probably watch it on purpose but I definitely cared about these boys from Washington and how things were going for them. I loved that this book mainly focuses on Joe Rantz, and the difficulties he had to go through growing up, and how that translated into his rowing success. I think it's amazing to read books like these because Americans today mostly don't have that stamina. They aren't willing to work so hard. There was a lot of background history in the book too on the Depression and what was going on in Germany at the time. I find history to be very interesting, so I found this book fascinating because of the history aspect, and I was never bored. It's a true underdog story too, so that's always fun. By the time the boys got to their gold medal race, even though as a reader you already know the outcome, you find yourself wondering how in the world they manage to pull this off? It seems highly unlikely given the circumstances they boys find themselves in by race time. Give this one a read. It's educational, interesting, and inspiring.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Author: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
Pages: 308
Rating: PG

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places."

My Thoughts: I'm a huge Harry Potter fan, and it took me entirely too long to get around to reading this. But I'm glad I finally picked it up. I thought it was actually pretty good. I'm not a huge fan of reading plays, since plays are meant to be watched, not read, so you don't really get the same thing out of it when you just read it. I definitely think I would have enjoyed it more if I was actually watching it. I felt like some of it was kind of unrealistic and far-fetched, but I was still entertained and wanted to continue reading. As an HP fan, I was excited to read more about that world and the familiar characters I love so much. In case you haven't read it yet, this book centers around Harry's son Albus, who gets sorted into Slytherin house and becomes best friends with Draco Malfoy's son, Scorpius. Desperate to prove himself to the world, Albus decides to use a stolen time turner to go back in time and prevent the death of Cedric Diggory. The results are disastrous. If you enjoy a good time-traveling story, you'll like this play. If it were to ever come to town, I'd probably want to go see it.