Monday, August 18, 2014

Mini review: 'How We Learn'

How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It HappensHow We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens by Benedict Carey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Interesting, approachable, and best of all, useful. Throwing some cherished ideas about studying, testing, and learning on their heads, this highly-readable book summarizes and puts into context important research on learning. As a long-ago psych major, I found Carey's work both in concert with what I learned and giving me a helpful update. I will recommend that my public library order a copy.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Mini review: 'Let's Get Lost'

Let's Get LostLet's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book, particularly the repartee among the Leila, the main character, and the friends she makes on her journey to see the Northern Lights.

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Friday, July 04, 2014

Mini review: 'Not My Father's Son' by Alan Cumming

Not My Father's Son: A MemoirNot My Father's Son: A Memoir by Alan Cumming
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Is there anything this talented man cannot do? Engaging, effecting, excellent writing. You've done a good job, Alan!

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mini review: 'The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August'

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry AugustThe First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, what an interesting novel! I really enjoyed it. A different take on time, mortality, and morality. I occasionally got a little confused, and the technology was beyond me, but plenty to think about here, wrapped in a compelling story.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Book review: 'In the Morning I'll Be Gone' by Adrian McKinty

It’s the early 1980’s in Northern Ireland, and “the Troubles” are going strong. Sean Duffy has been reduced in rank and then thrown off the police force. There had been a car accident, for which he wasn’t responsible, and instances of insubordination, for which he was.
Duffy may be a “peeler” (Irish slang for police), but he wasn’t always on the path to becoming a cop. He was working on a PhD when Bloody Sunday occurred, and he even had tried to volunteer for the IRA. His old schoolmate Dermot McCann turned him down, however.
book coverMcCann rose in the ranks of the IRA and eventually got caught. Sean joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and became a detective, one of the few Catholics on the force. As In the Morning I’ll Be Gone opens, Dermot has recently broken out of prison, and MI5 has come knocking on Sean’s door, hoping he can track down his old school chum. Sean takes the job hoping to restore his standing with the RUC and finds he must solve a cold murder case before he can make any headway.
Sean is sought-out by MI5 not only because of his connection to McCann but also because he’s a very good detective, if a bit impetuous and given to doing things his own way. Most of all, he knows how Northern Ireland works and how to work it.
Some of the same can be said for author Adrian McKinty. He has set his story in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, where he grew up, andIn the Morning I’ll Be Gone rings with authenticity. McKinty’s writing is strong and atmospheric; he easily channels the mean streets of his youth.
What’s more, none of McKinty’s characters are dull or uneducated. Duffy is partial to both the classical music and classic rock, knows his philosophy, and is darkly witty. As he and his police colleagues consider the unsolved murder, which presents a classic locked-room mystery, they discuss many of the locked-room cases found in literature. And McKinty does a fine job of disguising how the murder was pulled off even as he plants the seeds that solve it.
I have not read the first two books in this series (The Troubles Trilogy), but I was able to thoroughly enjoy it anyway. I kept thinking, “This is terrific! Why haven’t I heard of Adrian McKinty before?” Any reader who likes Tana French’s take on murder investigations in Ireland should also be reading McKinty. His work is denser but totally worth the effort.
First published on Blogcritics.