2015 Reading Challenge: My 5 Star Reviews, Part 2

Lots of 5 star books = 3 part blog post! You know the drill.

 

Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins Comes Back by P.L. Travers

Did you know there were Mary Poppins books?! Well, maybe you did if you watched Saving Mr. Banks. However, if you have not read them, I bet you don’t know how funny, charming, and totally unexpected the books are! Mary Poppins is a vain, rather cross woman who can do amazing things. There are 4 Banks children (later 5!) and they are a lot younger than you realized. The stories are full of funny, delightful adventures that are often oddly transcendental in nature and message. Odd but good! Thank you Kris for putting me onto the series!

The Conservative Heart: How To Build A Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America by Arthur Brooks

Thought provoking and insightful, The Conservative Heart is a compelling and clearly written statement on what drives American conservatives. It is not just an intellectual movement, but one where people care and it is time conservatives take charge of the dialogue. Arthur Brooks discusses what it really means to help the poor and vulnerable and how to better articulate that. He doesn’t antagonize or name call, but rather, brings peace to hot button issues and expresses the motivation behind what conservatives say. An excellent read for anyone.

Losers Take All by David Klass

Unapologetically YA, but excellent for the genre. It is the story of Jack Logan, an average guy who goes to a sports-crazy high school. When the administration creates a new policy that all seniors must play a sport, he and his friends rebel by creating JV soccer team with one goal: to lose every game possible. Their motivation and zany, creative losses quickly win them fans from across the country! By losing they are winning, but at what cost? The book is creative, fun, and best of all, very balanced. It doesn’t lambast “jocks” and sports but also illustrates when sports go too far. The story reflects “real” struggles that represent the frustrations and varying emotions of teenagers.  Combined with a clean romance and no language, I call this one a win.

Every Town Is A Sports Town: Business Leadership at ESPN, from the Mailroom to the Boardroom by George Bodenheimer

I am not the intended audience for this book. I know next to nothing about ESPN and basically the only name I recognized in the entire book was the one sentence reference to Tiger Woods. Insider scoops and observations about on-air talent went over my head. I probably missed a lot. Yet I thoroughly enjoyed it! I wrote down tons of quotes and observations from it.  The story of ESPN is inspiring and interesting. Best of all, though, ESPN’s growth entirely compliments Market Based Management. The focus on culture, hiring right, finding fulfillment, embracing change, localized knowledge, and the importance of a vision everyone can understand, articulate, and embrace completely echoed what I have been reading/learning in Good Profit (seriously, go read Good Profit). Although George Bodenheimer doesn’t use the same terminology, he states the same principles as Charles Koch. It was very inspiring to read. Especially if you like sports and even if you don’t, you should give this one a try.

The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie

It is Agatha Christie, so of course it is going to be fantastic, but The Seven Dials Mystery was exceptionally fun. A household prank gone wrong, secret societies, hidden motives, and characters who are never what they appear to be! Christie’s writing is old fashion, intelligent, and as always, wonderfully readable. Definitely one you’ll want to re-read. Big thanks to Tori for this one!

An Algonquin Round Table Mystery Series by J. J. Murphy

Are you familiar with the Algonquin Round Table? I wasn’t until I started this series. In the 1920s, famous writers, critics, actors, and wits including Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, Ruth Hale, Alexander Woollcott, George Kaufman, and Harpo Marx met for lunch each day at the Algonquin Hotel. If you haven’t heard of them, you really should look them up. Fascinating bunch. An Algonquin Round Table Mystery Series brings the table to life with witty banter and a few good murders. The first book in the series is Murder Your Darling, but my personal favorite is book 3, A Friendly Game of Murder. Dorothy Parker stars as the main character and J. J. Murphy does her justice. Though not the best detective series you’ll ever read, all the books are pretty solid. To quote one Goodreads review, they are “intellectual guffaw.”

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