The Book Monster Vol. 14

To Build A Fire...
To Build A Fire…

I’ve been traveling a lot lately and that means I’ve been reading a lot on Airplanes. I came prepared for all my flights with books and magazines, but I still found time to read the ridiculous and amusing Skymall catalog and after browsing through it a few times I have set my heart on these book ends.

While I was in Minnesota I dropped by Half Price Books, which is a bookstore chain that prices  new books well below half price, and yes, I bought a few books. The Book Monster recommends if you’re ever traveling to a city with a Half Price Books you make a visit and expand your library. Even if you don’t buy any books their Rare Books and Collectibles section would be worth your time.

Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games, is publishing a children’s book, and it will hit bookshelves next September. The book will be about a girl whose father has been deployed to the Vietnam War. I’m interested to see how this book will be received by the kids whose parents have gone to Iraq and Afghanistan.

To prepare our Boy Scout troop for a snow campout on Mt. Hood my scoutmaster, and father, read  To Build a Fire by Jack London to us scouts. This well written survival story about winter travel in Alaska has a special place in my imagination, and I always think about it when I go on my winter adventures in the Cascades. A few years ago I bought London’s “To Build a Fire and Other Stories” and the gritty stories explore man’s instinct to survive at all costs. Many of the stories take place in Alaska but others take place in the Pacific islands, California. Another favorite story in this book titled The Strength of the Strong is about an ancient civilization’s conflicts with other tribes. Re-reading the title-story of this book has a become a winter tradition of mine. 

What if you could taste people’s emotions in the food they cooked? In Aimee Bender’s novel “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake” an adolescent girl’s life is turned upside down when her mother’s unhappiness begins to ruin every meal. This book is a smooth read with excellent writing. It explores human relationships and the way we deal with problems. Even though a lot of the food in this book is tied up with sadness and other emotions, I got hungry whenever I read the book.


“Holidays on Ice” by David Sedaris is not filled with cheese like a lot of other books about Christmas. The book begins with SantaLand Diaries, which chronicles the author’s experience as an elf at Macy’s in New York City. The book continues with absurdly-humorous holiday stories that may resemble the holidays more closely than a Richard Paul Evans book. The book is short, but sweet as a Christmas cookie. Snuggle-up next your Christmas tree, read this book, and you’ll be ready for the holidays.

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