2018 Reading List: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

You all know the story of the Titanic (at the very least, you know the movie) – the British ship that sunk in 1912 after colliding with an iceberg, killing over 1,500 people. You might have heard of the Lusitania – the British ocean liner torpedoed by the Germans in 1915, killing almost 1,200 people on board as it sank. But you probably haven’t heard of the Wilhelm Gustloff. At least, I hadn’t.

Which is absolutely insane, because the estimated number of people who died in the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff in 1945 was over 9,400 people. Picture the terrible, gut-wrenching scenes from the Titanic movie where people are screaming, crying, tumbling off the deck, flailing in life jackets, freezing in the icy waters – and then multiply that six times.

It is a travesty that people, particularly in the U.S., do not know about the sinking of a ship that resulted in the largest loss of life of any ship sinkings in history.

So now that I’ve made my point, if you too have never heard of the Wilhelm Gustloff, go read Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys.  Continue reading

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2017 Reading List: It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

This next title on my list of books is part of our office book club. This is the book we chose after none of us could get through “The Invention of Nature.” Quite the contrast.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story, by Ned Vizzini, is a young adult work of fiction. It was made into a movie in 2010, a movie which I have not seen.

When I first read the plot summary of this book and some reactions about it, I was under the impression that it was, actually, going to be a funny story. I thought there would be some dark humor, some funny quips, some comedic relief. Maybe some people saw it, but I didn’t. I just found it to be a somewhat sad story of a boy with depression.  Continue reading

2017 Reading List: Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein

This next book on my 2017 list was chosen at random by my office book club. This was the second book we’ve read and, while I read it quite a while ago, we just got together this past week to discuss it.

Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert A. Heinlein, is allegedly the most famous science fiction book of all time. However, I’d never heard of it, and neither had most of my coworkers. It was written in the 1960’s and when it was originally published, they actually asked the author to cut it down because it was too long and they believed no one would read a book of that length. He cut it down as much as he could, but he believed everything in the book was important. After his death, his widow had the original uncut manuscript published in 1991. This is the version that I read.  Continue reading

2017 Reading List: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

We started a book club at my office. There are about 10 avid readers who are excited to read something new, get together during lunch, and talk about books. So this next book on my Reading List is not something I would have picked out on my own. Our first BarkleyREI Book Club book was American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

You may have heard of this book because of the TV show on Starz. But I hadn’t.

I was a bit dubious when I heard that this would be our first book. Our group has some diverse tastes and everyone likes a wide range of subjects and styles. I looked up the synopsis of the book and I could barely follow it. It seemed complicated and weird.

But wouldn’t you know it, it must be the most popular book in the country right now, because I had to put my name on a hold list for a digital copy from the library. There were 25 digital copies available and every single one was checked out. And I was 90th in line. I ended up getting a hold at the “real” library. Every book in the whole county was checked out. But at least I was next in line. Continue reading