The Emperor of Any Place, A Review

IMG_8958The Emperor of Any Place by Tim Wynne-Jones was a book chosen by my Facebook YA book club. Most of the people in the group said that they had a hard time getting into it. I had put it on hold at the library, but by the time I picked it up, I’d almost decided not to bother reading it. After all, I have about a thousand other books on my TBR.

I read the jacket copy, and the premise intrigued me, so I started reading, fulling intending to abandon it at the first sign of boredom.

That never happened.

It’s not a typical book. It starts off with 16-year-old Evan’s father dying. While Evan is overwhelmed with grief, he allows someone to call his estranged grandfather, Griff.

Evan has never met Griff, but Evan’s father had nothing but negative things to say about him. In the meantime, Evan finds a handwritten book his father was reading before he died, about an American and Japanese soldier stranded on a ghost-infested island during WWII. Somehow, it has something to do with Evan’s grandfather, but no one will give any answers.

The story shifts in point of view between Evan, the Japanese soldier, and the American soldier. It’s a strange story, but I had no trouble suspending disbelief throughout.

I sped through this book, couldn’t put it down. I wanted to solve the mystery and find out the truth about Griff. I wanted Evan and Griff to work through their anger and listen to one another.

I take book recommendations from other people, but this is why I don’t allow other people’s opinions to stop me from at least trying a book. If I’d assumed that because it was hard for others to get into, it would also be hard for me to connect, I would have missed a fantastic book. Allowing myself the option to abandon a book means that I never have to finish something I hate. It’s liberating, and means I can try books I’m just not sure I’ll like.

What books have you read (and enjoyed) that others didn’t like?


Feel Good Friday

thHappy Friday, everyone!

Bus driver saves a woman from jumping off an overpass.  This article is about a year old, but I only saw it this week, and liked it so much that I wanted to share it.

Teen invents device to help people with Alzheimer’s disease stay safe.

Actress Laurie Holden goes undercover and helps save young girls being sold as sex slaves.

Taylor Swift does nice things for fans.  No matter what you think of her music (and personally, I like it), she is a nice girl.

Man who smuggled children out of Germany before WWII has 105th birthday.


A Peek Into History

Madame de Florian's apartment; Source: The Meta Picture

Madame de Florian’s apartment; Source: The Meta Picture

I was never into history in school, probably because it was a series of names and dates with no context.  Why should I care about long dead people and what they did?  As I’ve grown older and can do my own learning, I realize that I’m more interested in seeing historical things.  I especially love architecture and antiques.  Part of my love of antiques comes from my grandparents, who I spent summers selling antiques and reproductions with.

I recently saw an article about a woman, Madame de Florian, who had an apartment full of cool stuff that she abandoned in 1942 but continued to pay rent on.  The apartment sat as is until her recent death.  At that point, people went in and found a treasure trove.

I would love an opportunity to walk around this apartment, look at her books and explore the different areas.  The place seems cluttered with all different cool things, which is one of the many reasons I love clutter.  It invites exploration.  I’m a big proponent of surrounding myself with things I enjoy.  Let others clean!  Clutter is my friend!

Here’s a link to the article so you can see pictures of this very cool apartment.