Category Archives: Challenges
Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2012
Length: 359 page; 7 hours and 29 minutes
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Review copy from publisher
I would have never picked this book up on its own. It never would have made its way to my radar without winning a 2013 Printz Honor medal AND a Stonewall Book Award (AND a Belpre!) this January. Oh, a Stonewall award, you say? Hm.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a coming-of-age book about two awkward Mexican teenage boys growing up in the 1980s. Aristotle (Ari) is closed off from everyone, even himself. Dante, though also awkward, is brilliant and surprisingly confident. The two meet at the swimming pool one summer and become fast, intense friends. Ari needs Dante’s blunt questions, and Dante needs a loyal, non-judgemental friend. But life gets complicated. Emotions get complicated. Ari must learn who he is.
This is a quiet novel. It’s beautiful, lyrical, and emotional. Remember when I raved over the incredible feelings I experienced in The Sea of Tranquility? I would say Aristotle and Dante gave me a similar experience. I feel in love with both of these boys, felt the tension, and wanted to give everyone around me hugs. I HAVE JUST READ THIS INCREDIBLE BOOK AND I WANT TO HUG EVERYONE. Yeah, it was like that.
The desert setting (El Paso, Texas) was an interesting feature of the story. Ari and Dante spend a lot of time driving out to the desert to look at the stars, often with varying combinations of friends or girlfriends. It essentially reminded me of every single Counting Crows album I own. Sometimes books have soundtracks in my head, but this connection was so obvious that I can’t help myself! In particular, the song “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” was fitting. It’s one of my favorite songs, but I can’t embed the video from Germany (you can check it out on YouTube if you’re interested). Anyways, it’s this stanza from the song that sums up the novel:
“We drove out to the desert just to lie down beneath this bowl of stars
We stare up at the Palace like it’s the last of the great Pioneertown bars
We shout out these songs against the clang of electric guitars
You can see a million miles tonight
But you can’t get very far”
Since the book won a Stonewall, it obviously gets the LGBT tag. But I can’t really say why, because that would be spoiler-tastic. Let’s just say it’s more coming-of-age than LGBT, which is exactly what I’m looking for. Being LGBT does not define a character or a person, is one aspect of a greater life lived. That being said, this is far and away the best YA LGBT book I have read to date. So kudos, Benjamin Alire Saenz — you deserve every single award sticker on the front of your book.
FINAL GRADE: A Read it. It is a little slow at the beginning — Ari is a hard narrator to connect with, but that is by design (he can’t even connect with himself!). Honestly, I should just read every Printz novel because they are always stellar. This isn’t an action-packed, surprise-twist kind of novel. It’s not a romance or a trilogy, and there are no kick-ass female protagonists to be found. But it’s good. It gets the Tara stamp of approval.
Required Reading: Required for anyone interested in Mexican authors, books set in Texas, coming-of-age novels, literary fiction, fans of The Sea of Tranquility, and, of course, readers of LGBT fiction.
Library Recommendation: Put it in a high school library. As always, I would put it in my middle school library, but I’m a rebel. There are references to drinking, drinking and driving, sex, sexual feelings, and drug use. However, the parents presented in the novel are excellent representations of involved, realistic parents. I think all of the above issues are discussed by the parents with their children at various points in the novel.
Thoughts on the book? What was your favorite 2013 award-winning novel?
Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher/Year: Harper Teen/Harper Audio, 2011
Length: 338 pages/9 hr 12 min
Narrator: Kate Simses
Series?: Shatter Me #1
Genre: YA paranormal romance/dystopian
Format: Audio Book
Source: Purchased from Audible.com
This book was
annoying different. Juliette has been locked in a prison for being able to kill people with her very touch, only to be released by the handsome horrible leader of The Resistance (Warner) with the hopes that she’ll do him serve as the sexy ultimate weapon. However, Juliette’s just met the handsome soldier Adam, and they are about to spend the rest of the book making googley eyes at each other fighting to escape Warner’s aggressive grip.
I expanded my vocabulary with this book and learned a new term: purple prose. How did I not know this term before? Purple prose is defined as using fancy, flowery, ornate writing to camouflage
a bad story the lack of a real plot. Purple prose is highly subjective — one person’s purple prose is another’s “beautifully written!” For this story, I felt it was just too much. I felt like I was getting slapped in the face by words being read an overly emotional poem that never ended overwhelmed.
exposing my less popular thoughts crossing things out because that’s how Mafi writes the story. It’s sort of stream-of-consciousness writing, where Juliette uses a lack of proper grammar commas and run-on sentences to show that she’s emo emotional and horny desperate for human touch. Since I read the audio, it took me a few minutes to figure out exactly what was going on: the narrator used a scratching sound to indicate the cross outs. I think that the whole book worked well in the audio ( and was maybe less annoying in this format) even if it was a little intense.
Here’s what I did like about the story:
Juliette’s Kick-Ass-ness: This is why I wanted to like Juliette so much! She’s not afraid of her lustiness, and she doesn’t need anyone to save her (
even if she is whiney). I feel like Adam is more her partner than her knight in shining armor. I even get why the girl is so emotional and overwhelming — I mean, imagine not being able to be touched by anyone! That’s a lot of lonliness and a lot of longing. She deals with it pretty well.
The ending: Not just the fact that it ended, but the fact that we get an explaination for some of what’s going on. Also, what I thought would happen at the end of the book actually happened in the middle, so I didn’t find everything to be too predictable.
Warner: I like that kid and I don’t know why. Am I supposed to like him? Because I think Juliette has some bad girl in her and I also think that Warner’s not as evil as he seems.
Here’s a few more things I didn’t like:
Convenient plot points: It would be spoilerific if I said exactly what these were, but let’s just say that there were a few places where I had to suspend belief.
The metaphors: OMG you guys, the metaphors. EVERYTHING IS A METAPHOR.
The complete lack of any other female characters besides Juliette: I was all like “yeah! A female character who feels like an equal!” But then the rest of the book is full of soldier men looking all muscular and sexy in their uniforms and positions of power. There are no female besties. No cool mentors. No partners in crime. Seriously?
FINAL GRADE: C- Look, this book wasn’t for me. I did enjoy some parts, and didn’t give up, so this review is a smidge more pessimistic than it probably should be. It’s a quick read and I’m hoping more happens in the later books in the series to flesh out the dystopian bits more — the end of the novels gives some promise that this might happen, and I have some hopes for a love triangle (if I hear that Mafi pulls off the love triangle I want, I might just read the second book to see how she does it!).
Assigned reading: I didn’t care for it, but I know a lot of people who loved it. If you like romance, I’ll assign this book to you. I think it would also appeal to fans of Twilight.
Library recommendation: Definitely okay for high school, but take caution for middle school. I had this book in my middle school library and the kids liked it, but it approaches the lusty romance novel category. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but parents might think otherwise. Be aware/prepared.
What do you think of purple prose? Have any stellar examples to share?
Oh, and the book trailer:
While on my quest to read novels strictly for funsies, I also have a list of books I need to read this semester for academic reasons. If I’m looking at gender in young adult literature, I’m always reading/hearing about certain novels. They come up again and again in conversation and journal articles. Most of them appeared in articles I read for one of my papers on gender identity in young adult literature in the fall semester. I figure that I’ll need to have them all in my mental arsenal of knowledge, so I’m starting now. I’ll call this list a sort of self-directed, not-for-credit independent study that I’m embarking on for the spring.
1. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan — Sort of a gay high school fantasty/utopia novel that challenges stereotypical masculinity.
2. I Am J by Cris Beam — The story of a female-to-male transgender teen coming of age and coming out.
3. Ash by Malinda Lo — Like a lesbian Cinderella story.
4. Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher — Logan discovers the secret of the girl he’s been dating: she’s male-to-female transgendered.
5. Luna by Julie Anne Peters — Regan watches her brother, Liam, transform to the beautiful Luna every night in their basement.
I’m sticking with five for the spring, which is about one book each month. I’m pretty sure that’s do-able. This is one of the reasons I love this blog: when I write my reviews, I’ll have a record of what I’ve read and my own summary of each. You never know when I’ll take those and put them in something publishable!
Can you recommend any interesting YA books about gender for my fall 2013 reads? The books I’ve chosen here look at transgender and non-traditional gender, but I’d also be interested in books that representing traditional gender in interesting ways!
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers from all around create lists based on the chosen topics, and post links to the host blog to share our love of books. This week we are setting goals for our 2013 bookish lives. Reading goals, blogging goals, buying goals, reviewing goals…and more. Here’s what I hope to accomplish this year:
Top Ten Bookish Goals for 2013
[Not resolutions. Goals.]
1.) Read 80 books. – I read 75 last year, so I’m going to amp it up a tiny notch this year.
2.) Read 10 debuts. – I’ve never specifically participated in the debut challenge, but it sounds like a fun way to discover some new authors and great books.
3.) Start reviewing books I read before I started this blog. – I’ve always wanted a list of books I’ve read, and I often wish I had reviews of older titles that I could point back to in newer reviews. I think I’m going to start that project in 2013.
4.) Give myself more time to read before bed. – I sleep better when I read for 30-45 minutes before bed, and I also read more. Win-win.
5.) Write more opinion posts. – I have a list of topics I’d like to write posts on, and I haven’t written one of these types of posts in many months.
6.) Buy more books.– Review copies are lovely, but sometimes I just need to shell out money and buy books because I really want to read the books. I feel like I’m not contributing financially to the book industry anymore. My goal would be to go to the brick and mortar book store and buy physical books, because I’d hate to see them ever go out of business.
7.) Propose a bookish presentation for a national conference. – Time to start combining my hobby and my career for realz.
8.) Join a book club. – There’s a Forever Young Adult book club that meets near me, so I think it’s time to finally join a book club. I’ve been waiting years to find people with similar reading taste who will actually follow through!
9.) Read the 2014 Printz winner – Obviously I won’t know if I accomplish this until January 2014, but it’s always been my goal to have them pick a book I’ve already read and loved so I can be all like, “Yeah, I read that before it was cool.” (I will keep making this goal until it actually happens!)
10.) Participate in something bloggy and social. – A conference, BEA, a meet-up…something outside of my hometown. If anyone has any recommendations for this, let me know!
What are your bookish goals for 2013?
I’ve decided to take on 3 reading challenges for 2013. In the years past, these have been personal challenges. This year I hope to actually participate in organized challenges hosted by my fellow bloggers. Here’s what I’m challenging myself to read in 2013:
Challenge: The 2013 Reading Challenge
Level: 80 Books
Since I actually start and end my reading challenges on December 15 each year, my Goodreads numbers and my actual numbers are sometimes different. Either way, I’m setting both challenges to 80 this year, a step up from my goal of 75 from last year. All books except picture books count for this challenge.
Challenge: The 2013 Debut Author Challenge
Level: 12 books
I love the idea of specifically reading books by new authors, and this challenge offers formal ARC tours, prizes, and an excellent community of readers discovering the same great books that I’m reading. I’m sold!
Challenge: 2013 Feminist Reads Challenge
Host: The Hiding Spot
Level: Hard (10+ books)
What I love most about this challenge is that I get to define what a feminist book is. This may mean different things to different people, but the point is that we are seeking to read books with strong female protagonists.
Of course, I would probably read 10+ of these types of books anyway, but the added benefit of the formal challenge will help me share my reading list and the lists of others so we can inspire oodles of feminist reading in the world.
Which are your personal reading challenges for 2013? Are you participating in any formal challenges?
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers from all around create lists based on the chosen topics, and post links to the host blog to share our love of books. This week we are making some reading resolutions! There are plenty of books I’m looking forward to in 2013, but I also have stacks of books I’ve been wanting to read for EONS. 2013 is the year to finally get these out of the TBR stack and into my brain.
Top Ten Books I Resolve to Read in 2013
[a TBR takedown]
I’ll start with three classics. Yes. Three. I’m keeping it simple and do-able. I got all three of these from Splinter this fall (I told them I wanted to read more classics!), and I love these beautiful covers!
1.) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
2.) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
3.) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Followed by three books sitting on my Nook that I’ve bought but never read. I think I bought them all because I make sure to snag books from my mental TBR list when I find them for under $3.99, even if I’m not ready to read them yet. I know they are all good books — I KNOW this. I’ve just been distracted by too many other shiny new things.
4.) The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
5.) Feed by MT Anderson
6.) City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Then three books I own in hardcover that have been sitting on my nightstand. I bought them through Scholastic to bump my school’s book fair up $30 to reach our spending goal (and the next level of rewards!).
7.) Cinder by Marissa Meyer
8.) Legend by Marie Lu
9.) Stolen by Lucy Christopher
And finally, one book that I need to read just because:
10.) The 2013 Printz winner
Though I’d love to have read it before it gets picked, that’s not likely to be the case.
It’s my goal to read all of the winners, so I need to keep up with them as they’re picked!
Which books are you hoping to find under the tree this year?
Since grad school is done for the year, Novel Ideas is on break until January. I’ll be using Wednesdays for End of Year stuff. First up is a biggie, the End of Year survey from Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner!
Best In Books 2012
1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I think my hopes and my bar were just too high for this one. I know everyone else LOVED it. Don’t get me wrong — I liked it. I like everything that man writes. However, it’s my least favorite of his novels.
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?
Envy by Gregg Olsen. I got this as a review copy, and was just ready for an average read. For some reason, I really loved it.
4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
Every Day by David Levithan. I think it’s a book that can be appreciated universally. It’s so well written, though-provoking, and important.
5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
The Jessica Darling series. Megan McCafferty writes a clever, imperfect character who is fun to read. I only read the first three (the library packaged all 5 together, and I ran out of time), but I will be back for more.
6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
Maureen Johnson. I read The Name of the Star in 2011 and didn’t love it, but I’ve read more of her work now and have come to appreciate her voice and her characters, even if I don’t always love her plots (though, seriously, The Madness Underneath just blew my mind).
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
I don’t read a lot of basic YA contemporary, so Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols was out of my comfort zone. I thought I would be bored by it, but I was actually impressed with the story. I still don’t get everyone’s thing for tortured boys (or boys in general, for that matter…#lesbianproblems) but I liked it alright.
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman. My review is coming in just a few days, but it was definitely the most action-packed read on my list.
9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:
Honestly, none of them. Too many books, too little time. I’m not much of a re-reader.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?
It’s a tie. Normally I don’t like covers with girls in pretty dresses (I think they’re cliche), but I couldn’t help myself:
11. Most memorable character in 2012?
A from Every Day by David Levithan. I still think about A constantly.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Quoteables on every page. There’s a reason classics are classic, right?
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. It’s about dealing with death and the uncertainty of life — heavy stuff.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?
The Grooming of Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. How did I miss that one book when I thought I had read all of the first 20 books in the series?
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?
Longest — Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling. If felt shorter on the re-read, and I enjoyed it more. But 23 discs on audio was INTENSE.
Shortest — Fly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything by E. Lockhart. Short, sweet, cute.
17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
I loved the gender-ambigious relationship between Phyre and You in Between You and Me by Marissa Calin. Such an interesting concept, both in how she wrote the ambiguously gendered second-person BFF and how I personally read that character.
19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously
I enjoyed The Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult. I really never know where that woman is going to go sometimes.
20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty. I had zero interest in that book, but after seeing it all over the blogosphere (in particular, in Gingers recommendation over at GReads!) I was glad I picked it up.
Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2012 (optional)
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2012?
Ummm….all of them? There are too many to mention! I have enjoyed reading Fiction Folio, which is discovered via Top Ten Tuesday links, because we have the same name (Tara).
2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2012?
I had two: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (which I loved years ago, but didn’t love so much this time around) and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoneix, which I loved so much more on round two! I snarked a little in both of those reviews.
3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
In my Required Reading for July post, I asked my readers for recommendations of great classics. I got many, and I am considering them (or read them already, in the case of Frankenstein and The Great Gatsby). What’s funny, though, is my required book was Sense and Sensibility, which I didn’t end up reading at all!
4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
Not sure, since I don’t have access to my saved comments from Blogger like I do on WordPress.
5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I enjoyed my participation in Top Ten Tuesday, as always, and I loved my Secret Santa gift from Amanda at Letters Inside Out!
6. Best moment of book blogging in 2012?
I finally started getting ARCs of books that I really wanted to read and really enjoyed reading. I didn’t start book blogging for this perk, but it’s definitely nice to get to read the books early.
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
By views, my most popular post was my Top Ten Favorite Quotes from Books, where I compiled ten Quotetastic Friday quotes into a picture slide show. The post got over 5000 views, though I suspect many of these came from search engines looking for “quotes from books.”
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
All of them!
9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Audio SYNC, where my Audible audio books sync with my Kindle e-books, so I can pick up where I left off in either format. This is only cost-effective with classics (since they are free or cheap), but so cool!
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I finished my 75 book challenge, read 10 non-fiction books, and 20 audio books. I didn’t finish my other challenges, but I came close!
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?
Everything by Melina Marchetta. YOU GUYS. Seriously. Saving Francesca? Jellicoe Road? Why are neither of these in my brain already?
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?
If I had to pick just one, it would be The Elite by Kiera Cass. I may hate it, but I don’t think I wiiiiiiiill!
3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?
The biggest accomplishment will just be to keep this up while working on my Ph.D. I would like to have about 50% of my posts scheduled far enough ahead of time that I can take a week off here and there if things get too hectic. I would also love to read more YA in 2013 and less adult novels (contrary to my past reading habits!) so I have more novels in my mental database when I do my research.
In my actual blogging, I would like to avoid using “I” as much as possible (not completely!) in my reviews, as I feel this makes them stronger. I also would like to come up with a standard “report card” type ending beyond just my grade summary at the end of each post — sort of a standard listing of grade, age level, recommended to, library recommendation, teaching applications, etc. I’d also like to beef up my basic info for each book — maybe series status, page count, etc, so more info is available.
Feel free to copy this survey and complete it yourself! It really made me think about my year and my reading!
This weekend I read my 75th book in 2012, completing my challenge. Though I officially was allowed to read until December 22, I decided to stop on December 15 so I could start writing my “best of 2012″ posts and whatnot. I started with The Oatmeal’s Five Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Face and ended with On Course: A Week-by-Week Guide to Your First Semester of College Teaching (two titles that are very unlike the rest of the books I read!).
Even though I did not meet all of my sub-challenges, I’m cutting them off in favor of moving on to 2013. Here’s how I did (completed challenges in bold):
YA Novels: 39/45
Audio Books: 20/20
Adult Non-Fiction: 10/10
Adult Fiction: 8/10
If you want to see my full lists, check out my 2012 75 Book Challenge page and my post announcing the challenges at the start of 2012. I did read seven books in the Alice series, but only counted the books as one book in the YA Novel and Re-Read challenges. If I had counted them individually, I would have hit my goal. Also, if you consider Agatha Christie novels as classics (I didn’t), then I did read more than three classics.
Basically, I won’t be doing these types of challenges again. While they might have subtly expanded my reading selections over the year, I found them hard to stick to. In the end, I chose to read what I wanted rather than specifically selecting books that would fill out these categories. So next year, I’m keeping it simple. I’ll probably try to read 75 books again, including 5 classics and 10 Debuts (I love the idea of the Debut challenge!). Otherwise, I’m just going to read what I love and love what I read. I’ll post my official challenges in a few weeks.
So here’s to 2012 and all of the great books I read, and the future great books to read in 2013! I’ll be posting my top 10 of 2012 for tomorrow’s Top Ten Tuesday, so stay tuned!
Did you reach your reading goals in 2012?
by Alex Sanchez
Narrated by: Alston Brown
7 hours, 9 minutes
Audiobook for review from publisher
[#66 in my 75 book challenge]
You know I love some good ol’ lesbian fiction, but this week I’ve diversified. I’ve been wanting to read Rainbow Boys for some time. I guess this was the time. Remind me again why I waited so long?
Rainbow Boys is told through the alternating narration of three boys, each in different stages of coming out. Nelson is the very gay, very out kid who takes risks and doesn’t care what anyone things. Kyle knows he’s gay, but has to figure out how he’s going to tell his parents. Jason has a girlfriend, but he might also have a crush on a boy. None of the boys have ever had a serious relationship, or even a kiss. But there’s a love triangle in their midst, and that’s all about to change…
Rainbow Boys is considered a classic in YA GBLT sub-genre (yes, YA “classics” aren’t necessarily that old, especially in such a new category). The novel definitely deserves that status. Sanchez does some edgy things here. The characters are strong and real, as are the situations. The story didn’t always veer in the predictable, morality-based direction that YA contemporary novels often do. Sanchez didn’t shy away from gay sex and frank discussions of the physical AND emotional thrills, mistakes, consequences, and satisfaction that teenagers experience the first time.
About the audio book: This book worked really well in audio. The narrator essentially disappeared and I could get lost in the story — which I appreciate. He wasn’t annoying or overly theatrical, and I thought the pacing was excellent.
FINAL GRADE: B This was definitely a must read for me, and I’m glad I finally read it. I knew it was a good story when I screamed “YES!” with a fist pump during a first kiss scene, and later sat in my car in parking lot listening to a crucial romance scene. I’d recommend it to lovers of contemporary and LBGT lit, and I would put it in a high school library. There are scenes with heterosexual and homosexual sex, oral sex, sex without condoms, sex with strangers, and consensual sex — so just be forewarned (all scenes are relatively brief, and most are true-to-teenage-life awkward).
Which 10-15 year old “classics” are on your reading list? What’s kept you from getting to them?
The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — But Some Don’t
by Nate Silver
Audiobook from Audible.com
[#63 in my 75 book challenge]
With the 2012 election season in full swing, I decided it was time to read Nate Silver’s little book about predictions. I finished the book on November 1, just in time to have his ideas rattling around in my head while reading election polls in the days before the big election day. Apparently this Nate guy is a prediction guru and he’s quite trusted in these matters.
At over 500 pages, this is a pretty hefty work of non-fiction. Silver covers everything from the housing bubble and 9/11 to Vegas gambling and sports betting. He can get a little wordy, going very in-depth to each idea, but his thoroughness is part of his process. Silver argues that too many people make overconfident predictions, while his are more calculated and offer probabilites rather than outright “this or that” predictions. It’s more of a tortoise and the hare type situation, which is why I forgive him for his book being moderately long-winded at points.
He’s not boring — never boring — but do beware that is a fifteen hour listen. I enjoyed the audio format such a long book, and I recommend the audio for anyone who likes non-fiction in that format. I learned a lot of tidbits about the housing bubble, Bayes theorem of probability, and weather forecasting that I might even drop in casual conversation. Of course, his insight on the 2008 election polls was the most fascinating. You can check out his popular FiveThirtyEight blog for the New York Times to see what he’s said about the 2012 elections. I’m writing this at 4pm on November 6 (election day), and he’s predicted Obama to win the election tonight.
FINAL GRADE: C Y’all know I love pop non-fiction, and I enjoyed this book. It gets a C for being steady and well-researched and for entertaining me on the bus in the morning. I recommend it to fans of politics and good non-fiction. This is solid adult non-fiction, so I wouldn’t put the book in a middle school library, but I can imagine some high school students finding the information interesting. This read brings me up to nine out of ten books for my personal adult non-fiction challenge in 2012, which means I’m doing better on that challenge than I am on any of my others! Now I just need to read thirteen YA novels by December 31st…
Which adult non-fiction books would recommend I try next? Have you heard of Nate Silver, and did you consult his predictions for the 2012 election?