Thursday, April 24, 2014

Kenobi by John Jackson Miller

In case you were wondering how Obi-Wan Kenobi spent part of his time between Star Wars episodes three and four, this is the book for you. “Kenobi”, an action-packed page-turner from John Jackson Miller, gives you several glimpses into both the mind and life of the Jedi Master as he tries to live a life of solitude while at the same time protecting the future of the nearly-devastated Jedi order. Under the alias of Ben, Kenobi has encounters with both Tusken Raiders and the local moisture farmers as he tries to go about his business on Tatooine; and if you know Star Wars history, trouble seems to follow Kenobi wherever he goes. I really enjoyed this book as it strengthened the backstory of one of the more popular Star Wars characters. It is a very fast, enjoyable read, leaving you wanting more and hoping that author has another book coming on this subject in the future. If you happen to be a Tusken Raider fan, the book also gives you glimpses into their lives and how  the Skywalker family story has touched them as well.  “From a certain point of view,” there are many things to be learned in “Kenobi”.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Curmudgeonly book store owner A.J. Fikry has had a tough year:  his beloved wife died, his prize possession was stolen, and his business is slowly failing. Then an unexpected and unwanted arrival brings light into A.J.’s bleak life.  This is a lovely little book about second chances, the power of love, and the enduring importance of books.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Daily Life in Holland in the Year 1566 by Rien Poortvliet

This one qualifies as a coffee table book because of its size. Being of Dutch Heritage and living Pella, my interest was alerted by the title. When I picked it up I was further drawn by the painted pictures and the handwritten text. I started reading page after page, and was soon hooked. I sat down with it two or three times and read it through entirely. At first I thought it was going to be a tale of the author's ancestry. There is a little of his ancestors in it, but it is primarily about what life was like back then. It was fascinating to imagine what life is like without running water or electricity. Dressing, bathing, and cleaning were much, much harder back then, which explains the fact that things were a lot dirtier and that there was a lack of hygiene. Travel and entertainment were a lot less pleasant than nowadays. The fact that a lot more people were poor and hungry was also evident. There was a long, hard winter, political unrest, and the plague to deal with as well. All in all it is amazing that some people actually survived it. This was really and enjoyable book and has cured me from nostalgically wanting to live in the past. I have decided that the modern age is not so bad after all!