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.