Saturday, December 31, 2011

A list of suggestions

Here are the books that my book club voted on for next year.
Beach Trees by Karen White
Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen
Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
Claude and Camille by Stephanie Cowell
Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff
Come Back to Me by Melissa Foster
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Fly Boys (non fiction) by James Bradley
Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Wall
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grisson
Matjor Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
Molokai by Alan Brennert
The Murdere's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers
New York by Edward Rutherford
Redeeming Love by Francis Rivers
Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay
River of Doubt (non-fiction) by Candice Millard
Shanghai Girls by Lee See
State of Wonder by Anne Patchett
The Year Everything Changed by Georgia Bockoven
The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman-

Bath Tangle by Georgette Heyer

I love Georgette Heyer. She is credited with being the creator of Regency Romances, but I am not sure I would agree with that. I think 'romance' tends to mean Fabio on the cover and soft porn between the covers. Not so Heyer books. They are much more in the vane of Jane Austen. Sweet books full of what is proper and what is not and lots of humor. This book tells the story of Serena, 25, whose wealthy father has recently passed away. He has placed her money in trust and the trustee is her former (jilted) fiance, the Earl of Rotherham. Serena lives with her widowed step-mother, Fanny, aged 22. The two have moved out of the enormous mansion and into the smaller, cramped dowager house. Finding it depressing, they go to Bath for the season. Once there, they encounter all kinds of characters including Serena's first love. Their are constant tangles with the Earl of Rotherham. It is throughly predictable and sweet.

Swim to Me by Betsy Carter

I received this book as a gift (along with the Jane Austen Book Club) as part of my book club's Christmas book exchange. This is a great book!

Before Walt Disney World, Florida was full of small, kitchy attractions. The greatest was the mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs. This is the story of Delores Taurus, the greatest of the mermaids. Delores, a 17 year old girl, has left her mother and young brother to start a new life at Weeki Wachee Springs. Being in the water is her one escape from a dreary life. Her father has abruptly abandoned the family and Delores now clearly understands that he is not coming back for her. So she sets off on a greyhound to apply for a job at Weeki Wachee as a mermaid. This is such a great book! It is at times sad, funny and tragic. Well, maybe not that tragic. It made me yearn for the ocean and the hot sun. Great book to read during the cold Ohio winter!

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

I love Jane Austen. LOVE. I have read all of her books a million times. I hate when people write stupid books and incorporate her into them. This book does NOT do that. Clearly the author LOVES Jane Austen. So don't be afraid to read this!!

The story involves 5 women and a man and follows their book club which only reads books by Jane Austen. Not much happens, but the characters are great, the illusions to the Austen stories are fabulous and it's a nice book.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler

There is a lot of weird $h!t that goes on in Sweden. This book is in the vein of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (also Sweden). I LOVED THIS BOOK. It is so good and scary and scary and weird.

A psychologist has been asked to hypnotize the surviving member of a family massacre. Then more bad stuff happens. I can't really tell you anymore than that because the plot twists and turns and does loop-de-loops. If you liked Dagon Tatoo, go get this book right now!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Go right now and get this book. Here's the deal: Victoria is a foster child about to be kicked out of(or liberated from) the system. She has one love and it's flowers. The book flashes back between her past and her present and it is just lovely. LOVE this book. Makes me want to plant seeds and arrange flowers and adopt every foster child. It really is a wonderful, moving, thought-provoking book. It is about the love of a mother for a child, the way we treat each other, how family can be what we create and not what we are born to. The best way I can summarize is a quote I once heard about how you get to chances at a good parent-child relationship...once as a child and once as a parent. In this book, Victoria actually gets 3. LOVED this book!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Maze Runner by (part 1 of the trilogy)

I read this book when in first came out in 2009. I was so sad that it was going to be a whole YEAR until the next one came out but then I kind of forgot about it. Now it is 2011 and everyone is going all kinds of crazy over The Hunger Games. I liked the Hunger Games but I LOVED The Maze Runner.

The story starts with Thomas. He is in an elevator and he knows nothing but his name. When the elevator opens, he is in the midst of an enormous maze. The only other people there are other teenage boys. They have formed themselves into a crude society with different jobs assigned to each. The most important job is that of a maze runner. One of 8 boys sent out during the day to run the miles and miles of maze searching for a pattern to get out and get back to their homes of which they have no memory. Every night the doors to the maze close and the monsters fill the maze. Every week supplies are delivered in the elevator and every month a new boy appears. Things are changing though. The day after Thomas arrives, a girl shows up with a note. She is to be the last one. EVER.

There are two subsequent books The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure. They are each engrossing and in no way do they stand apart. You must read them in order. The books are dark and scary and really good. They are labeled at my library as Young Adult. I have no idea why.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Simple Act of Violence by R.J. Ellory

There is a LOT going on in this book. If you don't like complicated, run. I have even seen references to this book as 'Literature'. This is the story of a cop, hunting a serial killer with victims who are not what they appear to be. However, it's not really about that at all. It's complicated.

None of the victims exist. They have social security numbers that don't match their names, no family, no friends, no previous addresses. I am not sure how much of this story is factual, but if it is, it's highly disturbing.

Lilies of the Field by William E. Barrett

This is the story of a black day laborer who builds a chapel for a group of German nuns in the middle of America. It is a quick fast read (as well as a movie starring the fabulous Sidney Portier). Homer Smith is a veteran. He has enough money that he doesn't have to work a regular job so he travels around the country, sleeping in his car and working when the mood hits him. One day he comes across a delapidated farm and sees women trying to build a fence. He stops, sensing that they will have some work for him. It turns out that the women are a group of nuns, sent to America from Germany, to build a church. The Mother Superior of the group tells Homer that he has been sent by God to build their church. Homer is pretty sure that he was NOT. With no tools, no labor and no knowledge, he is pretty clear that no church will ever be built, let alone by him. This is a sweet story based on a group of nuns in Colorado (I think). It is also my book club's December selection. I will post more after our meeting!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

I love Neil Gaiman. LOVE HIM. However, this is not my favorite book. I read it based on a suggestion from a blog about spookiest books. I think this was intended to be a scary kids' story?

Anyway, it was also a movie and while definitely spooky, it was a disappointment to me. But I do LOVE Neil Gaiman. Check out Stardust instead.

In this book, somewhat neglected Coraline enters an unused part of her house and emerges in an alternate reality where everything is *almost* the same, but the people have buttons instead of eyes.

Reasonable Doubt: The Fashion Writer, Cape Cod, and the Trial of Chris McCowen by Peter Manso

I like true crime books. This one was AWFUL which is such a shame because it's a really compelling story and probably a horrible case of injustice but the writing was really horrible. The author is an investigative reporter and knew many of those involved in the case. I just couldn't get past the writing style.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

You have probably seen the movie. It's a good story, but a bit slow and not that exciting. If you are looking for a BETTER book, check out We have always lived in the Castle, also by Shirley Jackson.

This author was amazing at the slowly-developing thriller. However, there are some younger authors who have surpassed her.

The basic story is a professor has rented out a creepy house and is bringing 'sensitive' people to stay in it to see what happens. The main character is a bit of a mystery and you will find yourself wishing that her background was the focus of the story.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Faith by Jennifer Haigh

This month I was planning on doing books about gratitude, but it's kind of hard to just find books that way so I just picked some that I thought MIGHT fit that description but I did a really bad job.

This book is about a family of 3 kids: one is a priest, one is a married man and one is a single woman. The priest is accused of molesting a child and the book surrounds the aftermath of the accusation. It was beautfully written and completely heartbreaking, a bit like watching a car wreck happening in slow motion. It was a really well-written book and there is a lot to talk about, it would make a great book club book. I would reccomend this book and I will definitely check out her other books.

Monday, October 31, 2011

So Cold the River by Michael Koryta

Just in time, I finished my last spooky book. (I think November I am going to try all books about thankfulness, can I even find them?) Earlier this month, I read The Ridge by the same author and really enjoyed it. I liked this one too.

A down-and-out filmmaker, Eric, is presented with a job opportunity. He is to travel to Indiana and research the father-in-law of his client and make a movie of his life. His client gives him an old bottle of Pluto Mineral Water which is the only object from the past the man has. As Eric gets to Indiana, he starts to have visions and the bottle of water is getting colder and colder...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

This is Joe Hill's first book. I picked it up as part of my creepy Halloween reading. A couple of weeks ago, I read his other book Horns which I really liked. This one was good, but it dragged a bit or else I just wasn't in the mood for it.

Here's the deal: A Ozzy Osbourne-type aging rock star collects morbid curiousities. His assistant alerts him to the internet sale of a ghost. They buy the ghost, the ghost comes and terriorizes him. He tries to return the ghost, but all is not as it seems. BOO! It was a great premise but I got lost a bit. I do think it's worth reading though, but I found my self skipping ahead (which I rarely do).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon

This is one of those books I picked up because ANOTHER book I was reading mentioned Chabon as an author of 'intelligent' books. WHY DO I PAY ATTENTION TO THIS? I think this was a movie as well. This book is DUMB. Nothing happens. Well, a lot of stuff happens, but it's dumb. The main character is constantly stoned, has a wife, a mistress, steals someone's prized possession, gets attacked by a dog, the dog gets shot, drives around with the body of dog in the car. Then he befriends a lying weirdo, takes him to his soon-to-be-ex wife's parents' house, kills their unwanted giant snake, drives around with the body of the snake next to the body of the dog. At one point there is a tuba and a transvestite. Oh, and the main character has been writing the same book, Wonder Boys, for 7 years and the mistress is pregnant and he may sleep with his young roomate and then he smokes another joint. I will never get why 'intellectuals' think this type of garbage is intelligent. I am sure that they would give a million examples of how this is symbolic of something stupid, how the story follows the story that the character is writing, etc. I DON'T CARE. This is a dumb, stupid book.

State of Fear by Michael Crichton

I got this book on kindle, free through the library. I had read it before but was confusing it with another similar book. (I am struggling to remember the name of the other book so now I am wondering if I made that book up. It was really good so maybe, if I made it up, I should write it down and be famous?)

This book follows Peter Evans, a young attorney whose primary client is a philanthropist (Morton) and his environmental activist organization (NERF). NERF is suing the US on behalf of a small island nation which is facing catastrophe due to rising ocean levels caused by global warming. However, as Evans begins to learn, there is no rising ocean levels and the science behind the theory of global warming is fairly suspect.

If you are a big 'global warming' believer, you are going to HATE this book. It is full of actual data from around the world and it basically debunks the current environmental viewpoints on global warming, rising ocean levels, humans impact on the earth etc. It's a great book but not quite as good as that other book that I may have made up.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

This was the October book for my book club (let me know if you want details on the book club. It is fabulous!). I liked this book but I did NOT like the main character. It is a great book for discussion IF you can get past the debate on stay-at-home vs. working mothers.

Sarah who is a fast-paced career woman and mother of 3 is in a car accident (DO not play with your phone while you drive!!). She emerges from the accident with a traumatic brain injury that leaves her suffering with 'Left Neglect'. Basically, her mind erases the left side of everything and then fills it in with a made up version which may or may not be accurate. So if she looks at an apple, she is seeing the real right-side of the apple and then her brain fills in what the left hand side SHOULD look like. So if the left hand side has a bite out of it, a worm hole or is filled with rot, she has no idea. However, the book isn't really about that. It is about her re-prioritizing her life with what she is able to do and reconnecting with the things in her life that HAD been neglected (her relationships with her family, etc.)

I think my book club as a whole really enjoyed this book. Lisa Genova (who is my facebook friend) is a beautiful writer. Frankly, I liked Still Alice better, but probably because I just didn't relate much to this book's main character. This was a great book though and I would recommend it.

The Bachelor List by Jane Feather

This was the first book I borrowed from the library for my Kindle! This book is about three sisters Constance, Prudence and Chastity. It is part of a series, each one focusing on one of the sisters and her search for love. It is a 'romance' book. I did like the story and the characters and would be interested in reading about the other sisters but this is truly just a silly bubble gum book. Good if you are looking for that kind of thing.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

I really like Jodi Picoult's books. I think her strength is taking an issue and presenting all sides in such a manner that you find yourself sympathizing with a viewpoint that you did not have sympathy for. She has such a gift of personalizing a story. In this book, I think she failed.

This is the story of Zoe and Max and their frozen embryos and what should happen to them once Zoe and Max get a divorce. Telling the story are Zoe, Max and Vanessa (Zoe's new spouse). Also in the story are Liddy and Reid (Max's brother and sister-in-law), Clive (Max's overzealous, extremely conservative, nasty pastor) and some nasty, conservative attorneys. By only speaking in the voices of the three characters, Picoult takes the easy route. She does not give a voice to the ultra-conservative (or even the moderately conservative voices). Instead we hear from 2 women who share the same viewpoint and an alcoholic, unintelligent surfer-boy who seemingly can't think on his own. I found this book hugely biased, while claiming not to be so. I wasn't offended, just disappointed. I enjoyed very much how her other books made you expand your mind to consider other viewpoints and stayed nuetral on the author's. This book did not do that. Disappointing.

The Cypress House by Michael Koryta

As part of my theme on authors I HAVE liked, I got this book by the author of The Ridge. I liked this book, but probably not as much as The Ridge. That will teach me to read books in the order they were published. In Michael Koryta's case, I think he is getting better.

This book follows Arlen. He can see when death is approaching. He and his young friend Paul are on a train bound for a depression-era work project in the Florida Keys when Arlen sees death in the eyes of all his fellow passengers. He tries to warn them, but no one except Paul will listen. He and Paul leave the train and end up headed on a journey that gets 'curiouser and curiouser'.

I liked this book, though I had figured out portions of it before the end. If you like thrillers, this is a great author to read. I have one other of his books sitting on my shelf. I will let you know how it goes :)

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Another book by Ian McEwan. In my defense, I had picked this up at the same time as Amsterdam. As I started to read, I was pretty sure I had read this before. So obviously, since I didn't remember it, I clearly hadn't liked it. This book is LONG and wordy and I didn't like the main charecter (seems to be one of his strong points). The conclusion is less than sastisfactory. I just must be too immature and unintellectual for this author.

The story line is this: a precocious 14 year old has an unreasonable dislike for a friend of her sister as well as a very active imagination. Then some bad stuff happens (I don't want to spoil it). Then there is her atonement (get it??) which is in NO WAY adequate.

Did not like it, but didn't hate it. Hopefully I remember that I read it this time so as to not have to read it a third time! :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

This is the first book I read through kindle from my local library. It was odd and I wondered if portions were left out when it was digitized. The story is about the two granddaughters of the founders of a women's club in a mountain town. There are random instances of the supernatural that aren't well seamed into the story and not really commented on by the characters. At times, I wondered if I was going crazy. After finishing the book, I am not totally clear what the title means, which is something that really bothers me. Parts of the story were good but it was just odd in a 'what am I missing?' way.

Amsterdam by Ian McEwan

I picked this book up because in another book I read there was a quote which I will paraphrase: She read intelligent books, books by ....McEwan. I thought I had read other books by him, but turns out I was thinking of Iain Pears.

This seems to be one of those 'intelligent' books that I think is stupid. The book begins at the funeral of Molly which is really just a means of introducing us to four men, all of whom, it is presumed, have slept with Molly. One is the Foreign Secretary, the next is the editor of a national paper, the third, a famous composer and the last is Molly's husband.

Some stuff happens and I think we are supposed to question who is a hypocrite, who is sanctimonious and who is morally corrupt.

None of the characters is likeable so you end up not really caring. The 'shocking' events weren't really shocking because at that point I just wanted to be done. I guess this book reminds me of those books we were forced to read in school because someone at some point decide they were 'important pieces of literature' and they were boring and stupid. Who get's to decide that, anyway?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Dr. Marina Singh heads into the rainforest of Brazil in search of answers surrounding the death of her colleague. This was a good book, hard to get into for me but an interesting premise. It reminded me of the Poisonwood Bible (which I didn't love) and other books with similar themes of the innocent American thrust into an alien land and alien culture. Didn't love it, it was wordy when there was nothing going on and then super concise when EVERYTHING was happening. Lots of obvious parallel stories. It was okay.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Before I go to Sleep by S. J. Watson

GO GET THIS BOOK. Seriously, this is one of the best books I have read in a LONG time. I don't even want to tell you much about it because I don't want to ruin anything. I picked this up just grabbing it off the new book shelf at the library. It was in my stack of spooky Halloween books and my October book club book, Left Neglected. In the way that those things seem to work, it strangely related to both. The story centers on Christine who loses her memory ever night while she sleeps. Every morning starts with a rediscovery of who she is, where she is and how she got there. I LOVED THIS BOOK.

Horns by Joe Hill

This was the 2nd of three books that I got in homage to Halloween. It centers on Ig, who wakes up one morning to discover horns growing from his head. Along with the horns, comes a few strange abilities. We also meet Ig's best friend Lee, his brother Terry and his now-deceased true love, Merrin. Merrin was murdered and while Ig was suspected, no one has ever been charged. The book was good, the premise was great but I didn't feel like it lived up to the possibilities. I would definitely recommend it and would be interested in reading more by this author. He also wrote 'Heart-Shaped Box' which I feel like I heard about but maybe not?

The Ridge by Michael Koryta

I recently got a few books at the library that were spooky, in honor of Halloween. This was one that was recommended in a local publication. The story revolves around the Ridge, an isolated area in the hills of Kentucky. The Ridge is home to a lighthouse (yes, in land-locked Kentucky), an old railroad bridge and the new home to a big cat sanctuary. Then lots of strange things start happening. It was spooky and I liked it a lot. Unfortunately, the other 2 books I got were a bit better. Well worth reading though and I will look into other books by this author.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Maisie Dobbs (series) by Jacqueline Winspear

It is rare for me to come across a series such as this having NEVER heard of it before. I LOVE THESE BOOKS!! There are 8 and I read all 7. The newest just came out and I have it on hold and I can't wait to read it. If you like Alexander McCall Smith you will love these books. (As a side note, WHY have I not blogged any Alexander McCall Smith?).
Maisie Dobbs is a young woman of meager means. She is the daughter of a vegetable vendor in pre-WWI England. Upon the death of her mother, she goes into service as a housemaid of a weathly family. The family recognizes her uneducated intelligence and assists her in gaining an education. She comes under the tutelage of Maurice Blanche who is a doctor, an expert in forensics and an investigator. Maisie apprentices under Maurice and then becomes and investigator and psychologist on her own. The books follow her personal life and the cases she takes on. They include flashbacks and memories of the Great War, in which Maisie served as a nurse and lost her great love. It is a fascinating look at war and its continuing effects on society, relationships and people. It shows how out of the War, huge opportunities became available for the lower classes and women. I LOVE THESE BOOKS. :)

Look Again by Lisa Scottoline

This book was a book club selection. Basic story: A woman who has an young, adopted son comes home one day to find a missing child flyer in the mail. The age-progressed picture on the flyer looks exactly like her son. She is a journalist, so she begins to investigate to find out who the missing child and if it could be her son.
I did NOT like this book. It is well-written but I found the story very contrived and complicated, beyond what is necessary.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Icebergs by Rebecca Johns

In WWII, a plane goes down on the icy, desolate coast of Canada. Two of the Canadian airmen aboard survive. They begin a trek to make it back to safety, only one will make it.
This book follows the families of the two men from that time until current day. The two wives had become friends while the men were missing and the survivor was recuperating. They both of children, move to America and their lives continue to intermingle. A lot of questions are raised as to how all their lives would have been different if the other man had also survived or if their fates had reversed.
This book was good and the writing is similar to her other book The Countess (which I preferred). Her style is a bit heavy and drags a bit. Of course, I have said that a lot lately so it may be more my state of mind than the author's writing style.

the Nature of Monsters by Clare Clark

In the 17th century, there were two views on the cause of birth defects. One, that the child was a monster cursed by God, the other, that the mother of the child had suffered a shock that imprinted itself on the unborn child.
A doctor who has a large birth mark on his face is determined to prove that it was his mothers fault that he is marked. She apparently witnessed a massive fire while pregnant.
The doctor's method of proving himself correct is to torment pregnant women and then study their children. Brought under his control is Eliza, a 16 year old sent to him as a maid after becoming pregnant with the child of a wealthy merchant who is paying to keep her out of the way.
This book is dark and mysterious and drags a bit. I liked it more for the background than for the actual story. I think I would have preferred a non-fiction book concerning the same subject matter. It was good though. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for this type of book as it is a bit heavy.

As Husbands Go by Susan Isaacs

Susie B Anthony Rabinowitz Gersten is married to a doctor, has 4 year old triplet boys, uninvolved parents and snobbish in-laws. One morning she realizes that her husband never made it home from work. After a week or so, his body is discovered in the apartment of a prostitute. But Susie is convinced that her husband would never have gone to a prostitute and does some sluething to figure out what happened.
I might have liked this book if I didn't HATE the main character. She is shallow and annoying and annoying. You might like this book. I skimmed to the end just to see what happened.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Countess by Rebecca Johns

Based on the true history of Erszebet Bathory, this book is so good. It reminded me a bit of Serena by Ron Rash (will have to check if I blogged that one). The book starts as the Countess is being walled into a room in her tower as punishment for the multiple murders she has committed. It then flashes back in time to recount her life and how she ended up where she did. At its core it is the life of a psychopath and endlessly fascinating. Liked it a lot and will definitely be checking out her first novel Icebergs.

The Queen of Hereafter by Susan Fraser King

Did you know that Queen Mary of Scotland is a Saint? She was married to King Malcolm who killed Macbeth. This book was really interesting. In it, Mary becomes a friend to her Lady in Waiting Eva who is sent to court as a hostage, a bard and a spy to the Queen. The story follows life at the court, Eva's conflicted loyalty to her family and to the Queen, and Mary's struggles. Mary would have rather been a nun than a queen. It is a good history lesson and I learned a ton about a period of time I know virtually nothing about. It did want me to go re-read some Shakespeare though.

The Opposite of Love by Julie Buxbaum

Emily is in trouble. She just broke up with her doctor boyfriend, she hates her job, her dad is a mess, her grandpa who is her best friend is physically ailing. Everything is falling apart and she is trying to put some kind of life back together again.
I got this book after reading After You by the same author and LOVING it. This book is so different from After You and the author (who has commented on my blog before, btw :)) does such a great job of speaking in Emily's voice that it doesn't at all seem like her other book.
I did really like this one too. I think it was less personally appealing to me than After You because I am somewhat past this stage of life. I did relate to many of the themes in this book and really enjoyed it. Definitely worth your time. But I would read this one BEFORE After You.

Saving Ceecee Honeycutt

I love a good, southern, chick-lit book. This one does not disappoint. CeeCee is rescued from a cold, scary home and transported to the lovely south to live with her Great Aunt Tootie and Tootie's maid and best friend Oletta. She is surrounded by crazy southern ladies who are lovely and sweet and who you would love to sit on a porch and drink tea with.
There are,however, real issues in this book. Mental illness and how it is handled. The importance of community. The strength of women and the very real difference between the north and the south. I really liked this book.

Heidegger's Glasses

This book is best described as surreal. In fact, it reminded me of another book I blogged that I am going to have to go look up under the 'surreal' tag.

This is the story of a group of people, saved from the concentration camps of Nazi Germany, in order to translate. They were supposed to respond to letters sent to those who had been killed, displaced and disappeared in the Holocaust. (As far as I can research online, this was a creation of the author's imagination, but the Nazi's did do a bunch of really bizarre (and horrific) things).

The 'Scribes' live in a abandoned mine that has weirdly been remodeled into a Disneyland-like fake village. Also at the village are their Nazi guards and a woman, Elie who is the one who forages out into the world for food, supplies, orders from Nazi headquarters, etc. Elie also happens to be a member of the Resistance who saves those bound for the death camps. This book was fascinating and heartbreaking and you should read it. Being obsessive, like I am, I will no doubt pick up a million other books that relate to this.

Touching the Clouds

This book is considered "Christian fiction" because God is mentioned as is prayer. I never get that. Anyway, it's a cute book about a female pilot in the 1930s who leaves her home and potential fiance in Washington to go to Alaska and become a bush pilot. It is fluffy and sweet and it is not necessary for you to read. It is the first in a series. Good book for non-readers.

The God Hater by Bill Myers

This book is really, really thought-provoking. As a stay-at-home mom for the past 10 years, my brain is slowly withering away and I can use some provoking of my thoughts. Here's the story: A computer programming has set up a virtual civilization that mimics ours. The point? To be a market predictor of everything from goods and services, outcomes of elections, catastrophes and anything else you might need or want to predict. The problem? 1. He is having to steal computer memory in order to keep it up and running so the government isn't thrilled. 2. He has created artificial intelligence and a lot of nebulous bad guys would like to steal the technology 3. The civilization keeps killing itself off.
It seems that without order and law they just can't survive. And so, the law must be introduced from an outside source. It is and it helps, until the inhabitants decide that the law is all-powerful and once again start killing each other off. And so an itermediary arrives, to interpret and apply the law. Sound familiar? It is an allegory of Christianity and a very interesting one. And while all of THAT is happening in the virtual world, in our world, their are explosions, gun battles, kidnappings, and killings.
I will think about this book for a long time coming. If you end up reading this book and like it, check out the VERY dark The Sparrow, one of my favorite all-time books.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

After You by Julie Buxbaum

I finished this book this afternoon and I LOVED it. It is a simple story, well written, I loved the characters and I just really really loved this book.
Ellie, suffering from the loss of her unborn baby, Oliver and the withering of her self and her marriage is shocked when she learns that her best friend Lucy has been murdered. Not only that, but Lucy's daughter Sophie, age 8, has been a witness. Ellie immediately rushes across the Atlantic to London to be with Sophie.
Focusing on Sophie, her marriage completely collapses. Ellie is shocked to learn things she didn't know about her husband, her best friend and herself.
This was a lovely book (which pays homage to a fabulous book The Secret Garden) and I loved it. Did I already say that?
The author also wrote the book The Opposite of Love which I will be reserving as soon as I finish this post!

On This Day: A Novel by Melody Carlson

Someone's getting married! But this story is about the guests: the bride's best friend who is newly engaged, her aunt who is sick of her husband, her grandmother who is missing her departed husband, her grooms' boss' wife who is being cheated on, and maybe some other charecter who isn't memorable?
Anyway, this is a cute book about women, most of whom I found slightly annoying. But it was cute. Good book for the beach, you can leave it there when you leave!
Oh!!! The other charecter is her sister-in-law who is insecure and a new mother. I liked her.

And Then there was One

Identical triplets go to the movies with their cousin. When the movies are over, only one comes out. Where are the other two?
Their parents are a major league baseball player and a psychologist who deals with the monsters of the world. Does one of them know the kidnapper?
The author then gives you a slew of evil, horrible monsters who may or may not have the girls. It is every boogeyman story you have ever the point that it is tedious and unbelievable. I did keep reading, just to find out what happens, but I was annoyed. Didn't like it.

The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli

I started this book, set it aside and then tried again. I really really liked this book. Set in the midst of the Vietnam war, a young woman has set out to become a female photojournalist. She is there, in part, to uncover the truth of her brother's death. She meets a man, falls in love (or something), suffers through his death, the death of friends, the collapse of a nation and the turmoil of war.
In some ways it is darker than this description and some it is lighter. It is about love and loss and war and horror.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Adam & Eve by Sena Jeter Naslund

This book was good and interesting and irrelevant. I kept waiting for a greater meaning or a sense of enlightenment or something to think about and NOTHING.

But it was good. Basically, this woman Lucy(or Eve) is left alone after her husband dies (or was murdered?). She falls in with a plot to smuggle a version of GENESIS out of one country into another. En route, her plane crashes into a weird, impossible Eden, complete with a sexy yet possibly mentally derranged Adam.

Then a bunch of other stuff happens and in the end nothing really happens and it was stupid. :)

Maybe This Time by Jennifer Cruise

This book is chick lit with a twist of ghosts, orphans, haunted mansion and quirkiness. It was cute and romantic and I liked it.
Andie is divorced and shows up at her ex-husband (of 10 years) to hand over all 10 years worth of uncashed alimony checks. She is getting remarried and wants to be done with him. He asks her to do him one last favor and go take care of 2 orphans who are in his charge. They are troubled and it's a bad situation that he has held at arms-length (it's not the strongest story line ever). So she goes and the house is haunted and all kinds of hi-jinks occur. It's an interesting mix of silly romance novel with a bit of a mystery (but not much of one). I did like it though. It was 'cute'.

Bad Mother by Ayelet Waldman

I have nothing nice to say about this book. It was self-absorbed, congratulatory, full of judgement regarding anyone with a different political take than the other and really disturbing.

Didn't like it, wouldn't recommend it and (edited for not nice-ness)