Review: Uncommon Type, Some Stories by Tom Hanks

My oldest son’s girlfriend gave me for Christmas, Tom Hanks’ book, Uncommon Type, Some Stories, published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, © 2017. It is his first collection of fiction. Firstly, it was a very thoughtful gift. Secondly, how did she know I love short stories and how did she know I love Tom Hanks? And lastly, why did I not know about this book?? For the love of scotch, it’s a New York Times Best Seller!

Proverbial nice guy, now author

I love Tom Hanks, the actor and from what I can gather from his appearances off-screen, he is an all-around good guy. I can go on and on how much I love Tom Hanks, the actor. I have watched all his movies not once, but several times. There are too many Tom Hanks to have just one favorite. I loved them all.

I knew Tom Hanks has a collection of typewriters. At the beginning of each chapter in his book is a black and white photo of a typewriter. Each chapter a different typewriter. I love typewriters too, and I found the photos just as intriguing as the short stories themselves.

Tom Hanks book.jpg

Uncommon Type, Some Stories

As I started reading the first short story in the book, Three Exhausting Weeks, I heard Tom Hank’s voice narrating the story in my head. Then I began to see Tom Hanks as the narrator in the story. Now there isn’t anything wrong with Tom Hank’s voice. He has a nice, comforting voice. And as I have said, I love Tom Hanks, the actor but I couldn’t concentrate on the story because, I kept envisioning, well, Tom Hanks.

Fortunately, after a few stories in the book, Tom Hank’s voice began dissipating and I was able to really read the stories myself. I loved the stories, some more than others, even the first story, Three Exhausting Weeks because that story has been well just so like Tom Hanks. The stories are much like stories you would see Tom Hanks, the actor. If you like Tom Hanks movies, you will enjoy his first collection of short stories.

The book’s aesthetics

I am curious as to why the publisher printed this book in its’ size and format. The book is 8-1/4” by 5” with teeny tiny type. The cover is attractive enough, but the font type is so damn small! There are 17 short stories in this collection and certainly enough to make the book look legitimate in length even in a bigger font.

Hoot Rating

Genre: Fiction, Short Stories

On a scale of 1 to 5 Hoots, Uncommon Type, Some Stories, written by Tom Hanks earned a 4-1/2 Hoot Rating.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale 4 and half star

SIDEBAR:

On my personal Facebook page on Christmas Day, I polled my friends and family:

Facebook Poll
I guess I don’t have very many friends and family because I only received 9 votes…. though I did receive some interesting comments.

My point of the poll was to see if others felt the same as I do about audiobooks. Obviously, not since the poll and the comments were in favor of listening to audiobooks are the same as reading them. While I have nothing against audiobooks because they provide storytelling enjoyment while driving in the car or for “readers” who suffer from dyslexia, for example; but I do NOT believe it is the same as reading the book myself. If listening to an audiobook were the same as reading the book, there would be less imaginative books being written.

Here’s my logic.

If I am listening to the story being told by someone else, I am not imagining the story in my own voice in my head. When I read I am imagining the story without the celebrity of a narrator, who may read the same exact words at a different tempo, with a different inflection or tone of voice which in my opinion could alter the story’s scenery in mood or environment. I don’t find audiobooks to be enjoyable. I want to come away from the story with my own interpretation of the story and I would hope it would be much more interesting than someone reading it to me.

Is it cheating? Only if you told me you read the book when in fact you listened to being read to you. Otherwise, it is just going to see the play, musical or movie. And as we all know, the book is ALWAYS better than the movie.

Happy Reading!

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The Blogging Owl

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot here at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com. I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl.

 

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved

 

Review: The Amazing Journey of Johnny Thumbnail by John Spaziani

The Blogging Owl starts the New Year off with a book review for young readers that I ran across on Twitter. The Amazing Journey of Johnny Thumbnail, An Environmental Tale, written and illustrated by John Spaziani, published by Mascot Books, Herndon, VA, © 2016.

I never read other reader reviews before purchasing books for writing my own reviews. I purchased this book from Amazon.com.

Johnny Thumbnail.jpg

I was intrigued with reading this book with the premise to teach young children about nature and preserving the environment for its inhabitants. The author, John Spaziani is a retired teacher from upstate New York who (like myself) is concerned with the current state and the future of our natural environment. The book is written for grade levels 1 to 2. This is Mr. Spaziani’s first book.

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

The author illustrated the beginning and other parts of the book for young readers who may wish to color the pages. The author cautions the readers to use colored pencils instead of crayons or markers without any explanation as to why.

The illustrations are fun and appropriate

Whether in black and white or in color, the author’s illustrations are well done, fun and appropriate for grade levels 1 to 2. I would love to color the pages myself. However, the story line is somewhat stilted with confusing transitions from Johnny’s experiences from one animal to the next.

A book that tries to do too much

While the illustrations become beautifully colored pictures, I didn’t really care much for the author’s writing. The book suddenly goes from a black and white coloring story book to z story book written in large paragraphs and the story continues to be a bit difficult to follow.

On the other hand, there is a great story here. I just think the author tried to do too much with the format of the book. Is it a coloring book that involves the reader in learning about the animals that live in nature through the eyes of Johnny Thumbnail, or is it a story for a slightly older reader (3 to 4 grade levels) to understand how they, as individuals, and through the eyes of Johnny Thumbnail can make an impact on preserving nature and wildlife?

“A” for illustrations, “B” for storytelling, “C” for execution

With a good editor, this would be a great book for children. I love the author’s passion for teaching children about nature and the environment. I can see it hidden there between the lines and I hope Mr. Spaziani continues to work on his illustrations and storytelling craft.

Hoot Rating:

Genre: Children’s Books, Education and Reference

On a scale of 1 to 5 Hoots, children’s book, The Amazing Journey of Johnny Thumbnail, An Environmental Tale, written and illustrated by John Spaziani earned 3-Hoot Rating

1 to 5 Hoot Scale - 3 hoots

Happy Reading!

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The Blogging Owl

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot here at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com. I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl.

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved

2018! Get ready, set, turn the page

My husband, Vinny Sal marvels how I can read more than one book at a time. Well, not really AT THE SAME time, but I usually am reading 3 books. I may be reading a reference book, a book of poetry and an inspirational book. Or, I may be reading a crime mystery, a collection of short stories, and a horror novel. Since the 3 books are not from the same genre that is why it isn’t difficult for me to have 3 books going at the same time.

sshh trying to read

A new year. A new book journal.

I already have my reading and book journal started for 2018. Of late, I have been using Moleskine’s XL Cahier Journals for all my different journals. These Moleskine journals are flexible but sturdy and fit nicely into my messenger bag AKA purse. (I detest technology journals of any kind. It is easier for me to write than tap, tap, tap and fuss with auto-correct! For the love of scotch! Where’s my fountain pen?)

In the front of the journal I write the date, the book’s title and the book’s author that I am reading. And starting on the back page of the journal, I list the books that sound interesting or that I want to read. When the front of the journal and the back of the journal meet, I start a new book journal.

Reading Challenges

These past weeks I have been searching online for a reading challenge list. One that I found interesting was from www.naturalbeachliving.com:

52-Week-Reading-Challenge-PDF-768x994
Another good reading challenge list is from children’s author, Julie Stroebel Barichello’s website, https://juliestroebelbarichello.com. She ran across the following excellent reading list in 2015 from the Goodwill Librarian’s Facebook page:

goodwill-librarian

2018 Reading Goal

My goal here at The Blogging Owl is to post more book reviews than last year. As I have mentioned in my previous blog post, my preference is to read new authors who have just published their first book although I’m not fussy. I just like finding new authors to love!

These reading challenge lists help me to expand my search in different genres and reading age levels. The Blogging Owl posts hoot ratings from 1 to 5 on book reviews here and shared on social media. I also post reviews on the Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble websites.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot here at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com. I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl.

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Happy Reading!

The Blogging Owl

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved