We started this blog in 2010 after a New Years' Resolution to read 60 books between the two of us. (40 for C, 20 for D.) After reaching our goal, we decided to keep going in 2011. This year, C has pledged to read 30 books, and D will read 12. By no means are we professional reviewers; we're not even professional bloggers. We're just two people who love to read and decided to share our thoughts and offer our limited insights. We hope you enjoy!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Book #6: Hatchet

I read this in conjunction with the Descripted Book Club, which I thought was dead, but apparently not. Those of us who are still participating (so... two of us) are taking our choice of books on the Battle of the Books list, which is designed for 3rd-12th grade students.

This is the review I wrote for Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. I figured if I had to write one for the book club, the least I could do is post it here. You're so welcome.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen is a classic survival story written for children ages 10+. So it's like Castaway, but for kids. Brian Robeson is on a small charter plane to visit his father for the summer when the pilot (and only other person on board the plane) has a heart attack. Brian miraculously survives the plane crash, but he's a city kid lost in the Canadian wilderness with no food, no change of clothes, and no hope... Except he's got this hatchet that his mom bought him as a going away gift for the summer vacation. The book describes Brian's life in the woods and documents the development of his survival skills.

I really enjoyed this book, although I could not stop thinking about the fact that if I were Brian, I would already be dead. I doubt I would've even survived the plane crash, much less several weeks in the woods. Actually, I probably would've had my own heart attack if the pilot of my plane had a heart attack, so I wouldn't have ever had to worry about landing the plane to begin with. There is no way I would be smart enough to start a fire with sparks from slamming metal against a rock. There's no way I'd ever be able to spear a fish, and the first time I tried to de-skin a bird, I'd vomit and swear off food for the rest of my life. Also, if I were lucky enough to find berries, they'd almost certainly be poisonous... They always were when I played Oregon Trail on the computer in elementary school. So, kudos, Brian. Glad you're a kid and smarter than me.

I'm not sure how much I would've enjoyed this as a 10-year-old, nor do I think my kids at school would like it very much. There are some action-packed parts here and there, but for the most part, it's pretty slow. It makes sense for it to be slow, because it's mostly about Brian teaching himself to survive, usually by trial-and-error. This book won the Newberry in 1987 (what a good year that was...), and I can see why it would've been popular for kids then.

I think -- no, I KNOW -- kids don't have the same attention span now as they did 25 years ago. If I asked my kids what they would do if there were stuck in the woods alone, they'd say, "Get out my cell phone and call my mom" or maybe, "I'd update my Facebook status so that everyone would know to look for me." Who the hell needs a hatchet? That being said, I think kids today SHOULD read this. Not only could they use the survival information, but Brian learns to take nothing for granted. I don't know of a kid in my life who couldn't stand to learn that lesson.

3.5/5 Stars

Read from February 13, 2012 - February 16, 2012


Monday, February 13, 2012

January 2012/February 2012

Confession: Toward the end of last year, I started to regard writing book reviews as more of a chore than something I really enjoyed doing. I'm not sure why, but it just seemed like one more thing on my never-ending To-Do list. Rather than force myself to continue doing it, I decided I would just back off for a while. Who knows? -- I might decide I miss it in a few weeks and start back up. That being said, I still want to keep up with the books I read and let others know what I'm reading. So, for the time being, I'll just be posting the titles of the books I read (with a link to the book on Amazon so you can learn more about it with minimal effort), the author, genre, and a 0-5 star review. I'll probably do this monthly. If I come across a book I really want to review, I'll jump back on the wagon and write one.

Of course, if you want to know more about my thoughts on any of the books I read, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email: rowbseat13@gmail.com. (Before you ask, "Row B, Seat 13" is a lovely song by my favorite band of all time, Jump, Little Children.)

January 2012

1Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (Young Adult)
5 out of 5 Stars

2Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (Young Adult)
3,894,892,038,409,328 out of 5 Stars

3The Girl Who Couldn't Say No by Tracy Engelbrecht (Memoir)
3 out of 5 Stars

February 2012 (So Far)

4The Long Run (Kindle Single) by Mishka Shubaly (Memoir)
3 out of 5 Stars

5. Eleven Twenty-Three by Jason Hornsby (Science Fiction)
3 out of 5 Stars