Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Vacation Reading

Hello, friends!  While I was on vacation, I read two neat books:


Gordon Korman's latest work is chock full of his signature high jinks and wacky humor. Can you teach a new dog new tricks? That's what Griffin Bing and friends are trying to accomplish after springing loose their friend's hyperactive Doberman from the animal shelter.  Luthor, the hyperactive and strong Doberman, was put in the slammer for causing massive chaos at a local dog show. But was Luthor provoked? And how crazy must Griffin be to think that he can train Luthor to be a model show dog?

Although this is part of the Griffin Bing series, it is not necessary to read the first three before reading Showoff. Dog lovers and fans of wacky comedy would love this.  It's a terrific fun read.

Off Balance: A Memoir

Gymnastics fans need no introduction to Dominique Moceanu.  The fourteen year old member of the "Magnificent 7" 1996 gold medal winning women's gymnastics team was one of the standouts of the Atlanta Games.  Although she wrote a memoir for children/teens soon after the Olympics, Off Balance tells her real story: of her troubled childhood, her contentious relationship with Bela and Marta Karolyi, and her decision to be legally emancipated from her parents at the age of seventeen.  This isn't a straightforward recollection of childhood memories, for Moceanu frames her memoir around the discovery of a younger sister who was given up for adoption at birth.  Although there are sad and disturbing anecdotes, there are also many happy moments, namely her marriage, her children, her comeback to gymnastics and her college career, and her relationship with her newly found sister.  Moceanu also volunteers her thoughtful and decisive criticism of competitive gymnastics.  Moceanu's good nature and love for her family shine throughout her memoir.  Gymnastics fans will be drawn to the lowdown on her relationship with the Karolyis and her conflicted feelings about her performance at the 1996 Olympics, but non-gymnastics fans will be drawn to her journey of forgiveness and perseverance.

I am also nearly finished with The Sandcastle Girls; more to come when I am done. Fabulously told, but readers should be warned that details are disturbing (it's centered around the Armenian genocide). I've never read anything by Chris Bohjalian, and I think I need to catch up with his career fairly soon.  This is a remarkable story.

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