What Else I’m Reading
I read a lot of books I don’t review for various reasons. This is where I’ll list everything else I read and add a short opinion. When you see big time gaps, that just means I’m focused on books to review.
May, 2013: Queen Isabella by Alison Weir.
An in-depth history of one of England’s most notorious queens. Or was she? She did take a lover and overthrow her husband, Edward II, but there were extenuating circumstances, to say the least. Fascinating but very detailed.
May, 2013: The Enemy by Lee Child.
This one predates Child’s other Jack Reacher thrillers. The future loner is still in the Army. However, Reacher is as independent, smart, and fierce as usual. Plus, you get a feel as to how he and the military didn’t quite mesh.
April, 2013: Serena by Ron Rash.
Nicely written, but who wants to read about two totally evil, soulless lumber barons? I don’t get the many favorable reviews it has received at all.
April, 2013: Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley.
Another thoroughly enjoyable Flavia de Luce murder mystery. The 11-year-old prodigy and lover of chemistry bicycles her way from clue to trouble to solving the murder once again in 1950 rural England. It’s one for all ages.
April, 2013: Boomsday by Christopher Buckley.
Buckley’s political comedies are a blast no matter which side of the aisle you’re on. This one is about a proposed solution to Social Security money problems — Voluntary Transitioning (otherwise knows as suicide). Very, very funny.
March, 2013: The Spy Lover by Kiana Davenport.
I had a hard time warming up to this Civil War romance. Too much fighting gore and the lovers just weren’t believable. However, I loved the third main character — Johnny Tom, a Chinese immigrant fighting for the Union. He made it all worthwhile.
February, 2013: Medieval Lives by Terry Jones (and Alan Ereira).
Yes, it’s the Terry Jones of Monty Python fame, but this is a serious book It will change your perception of these centuries tremendously, from the status of women to the true nature of knights. Highly readable, too
January, 2013: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente.
Charming tale of a resourceful 12-year-old who will remind readers of Alice and Dorothy but is also uniquely her own. A delight to read with some very imaginative characters — like a person made all of soap and a faithful flying jeweled key.
January, 2013: Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.
Interesting book about 1880s New York society and an inconvenient love between a run-away wife and an engaged man. Everything is very subtle. Wharton really communicates the era and the restricted lives of the people then.
January, 2013: Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz.
An admission officer at Princeton is left by her long-time, live-in boyfriend and loses it. Way too long with most of the book dedicated to observations about the admissions process instead of plot or character development.
December, 2012: Two Graves by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.
Another Agent Pendergast thriller that kept the pages turning. However, I’m getting a bit tired of the continuing story thread through the last few books. Hopefully this winds it up, but I suspect not. This one featured Nazis in Brazil.
November, 2012: The Next Queen of Heaven by Gregory Maguire.
Leaving behind his interesting takes on childhood classics, Maguire’s millennial tale brings a light touch to very serious subjects like religious differences and AIDS. It’s a delight to read.
November, 2012: Death Comes to Pemberly by P. D. James.
I love James’ mysteries and who doesn’t like Jane Austen? However, somehow I was not enchanted by this “sequel” to Pride and Prejudice wrapped around a murder. Why do I feel like the fault is solely mine?
November, 2012: Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Wiener.
Enjoyable little mystery about a bored suburban housewife who decides to investigate a local murder on her own. Light and fun.
November, 2012: The Law of Similars by Chris Bohjalian.
I really liked this book at the beginning then the main character just wore me out. The blurb called it a “medical thriller.” I would call it a star-crossed romance involving a self-absorbed man (that irritating main character).
October, 2012: One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde.
A huge disappointment from a writer I usually love. This book was very short on plot and very long on the workings of BookWorld.
October, 2012: Inheritance by Christopher Paolini.
Ugh. I quit about a third through. It is the fourth and final in a fantasy series. The first was nice, the second just OK, but the third was supposed to be the last so I chose to suffer through it only to discover — there would be a 4th. I don’t understand how this young man manages to get worse with each book. Who needs a multi-page description of a sword fight that is strictly a practice with a friend?
September, 2012: The 13-1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers.
A Baron Munchausen/Dr. Seuss mash up probably aimed at junior readers, though it weighs in at 700 pages. Entertaining, but far too long.
September, 2012: Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld.
The sequel to Leviathan, there’s not as much action in this steam-punk fantasy for young adults but I’ll still be reading the final installment.
July, 2012: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.
Interesting — particularly the nine-year-old central character with all his behavioral quirks. But ultimately, I got irritated that none of the characters were honest with each other. But that is a personal issue of mine. Most people, I suspect, would really like this book.
May, 2012: Family Tree by Barbara Delinsky.
I found it a little far fetched that two totally Caucasian-looking people would give birth to a child with unmistakably African features. Once I got past that, I did appreciate the conversations about race, relationships, and status. This was a book club selection and probably a good one for that milieu.
April, 2012: Thursday Next: First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde.
The fifth in a series where the literary world and the real world (though not quite like our real world) have points of interaction. This outing had particularly confusing descriptions of aspects of BookWorld but I enjoyed it anyway. There are just so many funny little bits to keep you amused. So, yes, I will be reading the sixth in the series soon.
March, 2012: Atoms and Evil by Robert Bloch.
A collection of short sci-fi stories published in 1962. This is my husband’s book and I kept it in the car to read when I arrived at meetings too early or had to wait for a train. Often it was hard to put down. Each story ended with a twist. I particularly enjoyed anticipating what that would be.
March, 2012: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.
I avoided reading this even though it was highly recommended. Most people find it horrific — kids basically raising themselves in the severe poverty inflicted upon them by the careless (mom) and alcoholic (dad) parents of the author. I was inspired by the self-sufficiency and even the freedom of the kids. A very good memoir — which is not a genre I care for much. Very glad I read the book below first, even though this one was published first.
March, 2012: Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls.
A semi-nonfictional book about the author’s grandmother. She was some character: traveled alone on her horse for several months to a distant teaching job as a teen; broke horses as a kid; had a small bootlegging business; ran a ranch; and did it all her way. An amazing story about a remarkable woman of incredible strength, though sometimes those traits seemed misapplied to me.
February, 2012: Crumbtown by Joe Connelly.
I really tried with this one — actually got about 60 pages from the end and just didn’t want to read any more. You could call it a black comedy but it’s really kind of a mess. Basically a new TV series is based on the exploits of a group of bank robbers. Their loser leader is released from prison as a consultant and decides to rob the real money being used in the acted robbery. This description sounds much better than the reality.
February, 2012: The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.
Supposedly a young adult book, this wonderful read can be easily enjoyed by adults. Set in WWII rural Germany, a girl is left by her mother with foster parents. Fierce and fascinating, she learns to read and then cannot resist stealing books; but there is so much more to this book. Incredibly good.
January, 2012: I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley.
Another engaging, amusing, and thoroughly diverting Flavia de Luce mystery. These are just wonderful. Read them yourself, read them to your kids, or give them to your kids (I would say age eight and up — depending on the kid) to read themselves.
January, 2012: Room by Emma Donoghue.
Really, really good book about an abducted and imprisoned woman and the son she bears (we come in as he turns five) — how they live in a single room, how they plot an escape, and how they cope with the aftermath. A lot to think about. No wonder this one is getting so many kuddos.
December, 2011: The Breaker by Minette Walters.
Another intriguing mystery by a writer that really likes to throw a bunch of red herrings at you. This one was full of sleazy people, which might put a lot of folks off.
December, 2011: Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls.
Excellent almost-true book (real person and family stories about her) that grabbed me from the beginning and was a pleasure to read on every page. I might just have to read Glass Castle now. Best book club selection in ages!
December, 2011: Worth Dying For by Lee Child.
Another enjoyable Jack Reacher thriller. But I did figure out what was being “shipped’ pretty early.
November, 2011: The Shape of Snakes by Minette Walters.
Very complex and interesting mystery. Loved the way the story kept changing as new facts were revealed. I’ll read Waters again for sure.
November, 2011: The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom.
Another book club selection which I found to be totally unbelievable: An Irish orphan girl is raised as an indentured servant by slaves and later the owner’s son wants to marry her? Not likely. And not even well written.
October, 2011: Ice Limit by James Rollins.
From my closet of oldies I haven’t read yet. This one was written before Rollin’s regular Delta Force team. And, boy, is the Delta Force in this one truly evil. He sure had to change that around! Fast paced thriller. Actually, a little too much. It needed some breaths.
October, 2011: Mudbound by Hillary Jordan.
Farming in the muddy Delta, sharecropping, and rampant racism. Some really good character development but I do have problems reading about such bald-faced hatred. Which is probably a good thing.
September, 2011: The Devil Colony by James Rollins.
Either I’m tiring of the thriller genre or the writers are getting tired. I enjoyed this one but it didn’t pull me through like I expected. I still find some of the truths in Rollins’ books more frightening than his fiction.
September, 2011: The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman.
Very nicely written book with a lot of content worth thinking about long after you’ve finished. However, it is really, really not a happy read. But then what do you expect from a child prostitute and grave robber saga set against a cholera epidemic?
August, 2011: Cold Vengeance by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.
Another thoroughly enjoyable Agent Pendergast thriller. Unfortunately for new readers, their books are getting more and more where you really have to read them in order to fully enjoy them. Especially this one, which only semi-ends.
August, 2011: The Sticklepath Strangler by Michael Jecks.
Interesting medieval murder mystery but not intriguing enough to get me to read the other book I have by this author. But maybe I was still all sour from the book below that I read right before this one.
August, 2011: Valhalla Rising by Clive Cussler.
Ugh. I do like thrillers and am willing to suspend quite a bit of belief to get into the story, but this one was so far over the top it was ludicrous. How many times in one book can the hero save thousands of lives? It seems four isn’t too many for Cussler. And Cussler’s descriptions of people’s eyes was really kind of creepy.
July, 2011: The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt.
Purportedly about the burning of the Venice opera house and it’s aftermath, most of this book recounts various conversations, scandals, and other goings on in that city. It was a delight! You can’t make up stuff this good.
July, 2011: Up From the Blue by Susan Henderson.
A book club selection. It was a quick and interesting read, but I just couldn’t buy into the idea that an army colonel who designed weapons would ever have married a hippy dippy woman 10 years younger. The story of this totally dysfunctional family is told through the eyes of their daughter, as a child and a woman in labor.
June, 2011: Barrel Fever by David Sedaris.
An older collection that mainly consists of fictional stories instead of drawing from his own life. Still entertaining, but I still prefer his wonderfully wry take on reality over his forays into a made up world.
June, 2011: The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry.
Another fun read from one of my fave thriller writers. This is his first set on American soil, but it’s just as engaging as the others. Plus, a learned something factual about early American history I’d never heard an inkling about before.
June, 2011: A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin.
I LOVE these books (see below). When #5 comes out I’ll post a regular write up. I can’t believe I’ll have to wait till July 12 to get it. And then what? I’m already seeing rats on the wall.
June, 2011: A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin.
These are totally addictive (see below).
May, 2011: A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin.
Yep, going to have to read them all (see below).
May, 2011: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.
I just loved this initial volume in a series of seven books. This epic fantasy reminds my of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, except everyone is human (so far). I’m afraid I’m going to have to read them all. Now.
May, 2011: Everyman by Philip Roth.
Extremely thoughtful and somewhat depressing life of a man told with his illnesses as the milestones that shaped him. Roth is an American master. I picked this for a book club read and am a little nervous about its reception. It is not typical book club fair, unfortunately.
May, 2011: Bag of Bones by Stephen King.
Not as enjoyable as his newer books (published 1998) with an ending that went on for far too long. But I still had a good time with it until that point. Like the book below, this one had a lot to do with racism — but over 100 years ago.
May, 2011: Sweet Jiminy by Kristen Gore.
As a Southerner, I think Gore’s image of the racial situation in the Mississippi Delta is off by a decade or two. Sure, there is racism but you don’t get away with threatening behavior anymore like she portrayed. I was underwhelmed.
May, 2011: The Codex by Douglas Preston.
Highly enjoyable thriller that has three brothers working against each other to find a great treasure their father has hidden in a dangerous Honduran jungle — and that’s not the only danger they face. I love Preston’s books. Pure fun.
April, 2011: 61 Hours by Lee Child.
Another engaging Jack Reacher thriller. Surprisingly, this was a book club selection (there are men in this club). And, actually, I think we’ll find much to discuss. Lee Child is solid.
April, 2011: The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver.
Lovely book. Wonderful main character and an interesting supporting cast. One of the best book club choices I’ve read in a long time.
April, 2011: Heartstone by C. J. Sansom.
I very much enjoy this author’s Matthew Shardlake mysteries set in Tudor times. This one had a bit too much to do with war for my taste, but otherwise I enjoyed it — as usual.
April, 2011: The Rosetta Key by William Dietrich.
I listened to this historical thriller on a long car trip. I didn’t like it all that much, but it might be due to the audio reader (his voice characterizations were laughable) or just that I was listening as opposed to reading == that rather slows down the pace of a thriller.
March, 2011: Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell.
I enjoyed this audio book listened to on a long car trip. Set in rural England in the mid 1800s, it dealt with the affairs of a group of “ladies.” Sort of a Jane Austin type of humor. The audio reader did a nice job — even my husband enjoyed this very girly book.
March, 2011: Gideon’s Sword by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.
I was hugely disappointed when two of my favorite thriller writers turned out this formulaic yawn. Oh, it’s loaded with action and was opted for a movie before publication. And that explains my disappointment right there. Car chases, lots of guns, big visuals, disposable women. Ugh.
March, 2011: Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosney.
I know this book is exceedingly popular, but I had a lot of problems with its improbability from the very beginning. If you want to read a book about Holocaust pain that never leaves, pick up Sophie’s Choice by William Styron. Worlds better.
February, 2011: The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde.
I’m a big fan of Fforde’s Thursday Next novels. Though this Jack Spratt series also combines reality (modern England) with fantasy (nursery rhyme characters are real) it just doesn’t seem to work as well. Or at least this one felt over stuffed and convoluted. I certainly enjoyed The Big Over Easy (about Humpty Dumpty) a lot more.
February, 2011: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
My son brought me this steampunk novel for young adults. It uses the archduke’s assassination which launched WWI (in this case a battle between Clankers — machine folks — and Darwinists — folks who mold animals to act like machines) as the touch point for an alternative history/future/past. The archduke’s son (a Clanker) is on the run and finds his best hope of survival with a group of Darwinists. But (gasp!) this story must be meant to continue. I hate it when that happens.
December, 2010: The Emperor’s Tomb by Steve Berry.
I am a big Steve Berry fan: think Dan Brown-type plots with better writing. This one had a focus on oil and international affairs that made it especially interesting and timely — just like his last book. If you like thrillers, go for Berry. I would leave the one with “Charlemagne” in the title for last. Even though many of them feature Cotton Malone, it’s not vital to read them in order.
December, 2010: A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick.
Lots of obsession with sex in this hard-to-pigeonhole novel. Unfortunately, after one mind-blowing plot twist mid book, it’s all rather predictable. But it was an interesting read overall. A book club choice.
November, 2010: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.
This fantasy romance between a caster (think beautiful witch) and a mortal started off promising but was just overly long and repetitious. Then I discovered it’s one of those “to be continued” books. Not for me.
November, 2010: Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks.
Based on the true story of an English town that isolated itself when visited by the plague in the 1600s, this short novel reveals the fears, heroics, strengths, and weaknesses of people caught up in a terrifying situation, where death could strike on any day — and often does. But this is no downer. It also shows how adversity brings out the resourcefulness and intelligence of one particular young woman.
October, 2010: The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent.
This must be “man’s inhumanity to man” month for me. This retelling of the notorious Salem witch trials shows how petty dislikes can suddenly transform into life and death danger. It’s also the story of how the child Sarah comes to understand and value her family. A very good read indeed, but certainly no bed of thornless roses.
October, 2010: Star of the Sea by Joseph O’Connor.
This book is absolutely wonderful. It is the tragic story of the Irish during the potato famine, revealed bit by bit as a ship of refugees head for America. Man’s inhumanity to man is the central theme in this beautifully written epic.
September, 2010: Supreme Courtship by Christopher Buckley.
Another highly witty and imaginative foray into government banalities. Buckley doesn’t take sides in this comic look at Supreme Court approvals, polls, and a controversial presidential election. All because one president vetoes all spending bills and has no intention of running for re-election (of course, no one believes him). Too funny. And no partisanship.
September, 2010: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barberry.
This book is not for everyone but I loved the philosophical ponderings for the 53=year old concierge and the 12 year old rich girl. I found it fascinating and didn’t mind that it had practically no plot. A very thoughtful book.
August, 2010: Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland.
I only got this book because a book club was going to read it. And then they didn’t and it sat around. I expected a bit of fluff (not that there’s any thing wrong with that) but this book was much more thoughtful than that. I’m sorry the book club dropped it. It would have made a good discussion.
August, 2010: “C” Is for Corpse by Sue Grafton.
I think Grafton’s earlier books are a touch more bawdy than her more recent ones. It’s interesting to see how her writing hs changed.
August, 2010: La’s Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith.
I have read a number of this author’s “No. 1 Ladies Detective agency” books and really enjoyed them. This had the same gentle storytelling I value in those books, but that didn’t work as well for me when the background was WWII instead of more humble concerns. That said, it was a good book. I suspect it’s that old-style English reserve that made it seem emotionally remote.
July, 2010: “B” is for Burglary by Sue Grafton.
I picked up a book with her three first mysteries in it to fill in the gap. Now all I need is C, D, E, and F and the few letters Grafton has left to go. I like that spunky little Kinsey Millhone.
June, 2010: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson.
Not near as good as the last effort, mainly because “the girl” spends pretty much the whole book under one restraint or the other. And, let’s face it, she’s who you want to read about. What an amazing character!
June, 2010: Fever Dream by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.
Didn’t feel quite as tight as their usual, but still enjoyable. Hey, I finished it within 24 hours! And I do adore Agent Pendergast.
May, 2010: A Mind to Murder by P. D. James.
Another great work from the master of literary mysteries. She is such a gift to us all.
May, 2010: Innocent Traitorby Alison Weir.
I wondered if historian Alison Weir could pull off a novel. This one, about the ill-fated Lady Jane Grey, shows she has the right stuff. The Tudor tragedy of Lady Jane makes a great story and Weir lets it unfold beautifully.
May, 2010: Breathless by Dean Koontz.
I did not care for this Koontz book. It went all mystical and was kinda stupid to boot. I usually like Koontz, but not this time. Not at all.
June, 2010: Trip Wire by Lee Child.
Another great Jack Reacher book. And Reacher even falls in love in this one. Wow!
April, 2010: Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde.
Possibly the best book in the series yet. Fforde’s outrageous mysteries set in an alternate (and very book oriented) universe are always a blast for me.
March, 2010: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.
A very special book, but I found it rather depressing. Well worth reading, however.
February, 2010: Light on Snow by Anita Shreve.
A selection of one of my book clubs. Pretty much like a Lifetime made-for-TV movie. Certainly a very quick read.
February, 2010: The Genesis Secret by Tom Knox.
I love thrillers with a religious slant and am willing to forgive a lot in that genre. This mess was unforgivable. To think some other writer got their work turned down so this could be published. Oh, and the “secret” is so convoluted and obtuse… aargh! I want those hours back.
January, 2010: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski.
About to commit blasphemy here — The plot of Hamlet just doesn’t work for me when applied to a family of dog trainers. Sorry, Oprah. It’s a matter of scale: a kingdom vs. a bunch of dogs. The writing was lovely, though. And the dogs rocked.
December, 2009: Killer Instinct by Joseph Finder.
Thriller built around a psycho ex-special force guy and an ambitious salesman. Fun to read as the business orientation is a bit of a twist for the genre.
December, 2009: Coraline by Neil Gaiman.
A really dark children’s book. Every bit as scary as anything the Grimm Brothers collected.
December, 2009: Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler.
A nice mystery but if this is a black comedy, I didn’t get what was amusing, except the notes in the very back.
November, 2009: The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett.
This is the first of Pratchett’s huge Discworld series. It was recommended to me as a fan of Douglas Adams. I did really like it. But don’t know if I want to read 37 more.
October, 2009: Shroud for a Nightingale by P. D. James.
A holiday read. One of her older books but just as enjoyable as any other. James’ Adam Daigliesh is just such a wonderful character. I love his self control.
October, 2009: The Winner by David Baldacci.
A holiday read. And that’s the only reason I finished it — there aren’t too many English books to pick from in rural Spain as replacements. I know you’re supposed to suspend disbelief with this type of book but everyone was unbelievable in this book about a lottery scandal. He’s done better.
October, 2009: The Hard Way by Lee Child.
A holiday read. Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books are some of the best in the thriller genre. Of course you know Reacher will prevail against all odds, but it’s fun to see just how it happens.
October, 2009: Cover Her Face by P. D. James.
Good book — what you expect from James. I lov eher use of language as well as her plot lines. Terrible title, however. I’m about to run out of James books to read. A sad day for me.
October, 2009: The Eleventh Victim by Nancy Grace.
I almost quit after page 27. Wish I had. I don’t know Ms. Grace, so that did not influence me. However, with her background as a public prosecutor I’m surprised at the dumb things her public prosecutor character did.
September, 2009: After This by Alice McDermott.
Why haven’t I read her before? Wonderful book. What seems to be snapshots of a family over time actually creates a beautifully nuanced and moving portrait. Catholic-raised boomers will relate even more. Can’t wait to read more McDermott.
September, 2009: The Wedding by Amraan Coovadia.
This book was a delight. Too bad it’s only avalable used now. It’s based on genuine family stories about the author’s grandparents. Think of it as an Indian take on The Taming of the Shrew, only with far less taming. I wish I could insult with the grandeur of Khateja!
August 2009: Utopia by Lincoln Child.
While I love Child’s work with Douglas Preston, I’m not as fond of his solo thrillers. I found two major factors in this book so unbelievable (and I don’t expect much believability from a thriller) it kind of blew the whole thing.
August, 2009: T is for Trespass by Sue Grafton.
Grafton is always enjoyable. I thought this book was one of her better outings. It was written a bit differently and I liked the change.
July, 2009: An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P. D. James.
Vintage James (1977). This one does not feature her popular detective Adam Dalgliesh but his spirit pervades the mystery. There’s more danger to her young, female private eye than usual but that certainly doesn’t hurt anything in this fast-paced mystery.
July, 2009: Skylight Confessions by Alice Hoffman.
Not near as dreamy and sensual as I expect from Hoffman. This one was exceptionally melancholy and hard edged.
July, 2009: P is for Peril by Sue Grafton.
She’s just fun to read. I must admit reading Kinsey Milhone’s adventures is pure escapism. And who doesn’t need that.
July, 2009: In the Woods by Jana French.
A book club book. Some of the writing was like poetry — simply stunning. And the characters were great. But as far as mysteries go, this one fell a little short. All in all, an enjoyable read. I just hate it when the detectives pass by the obvious case-solving clue.
June, 2009: Cemetery Dance by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.
I am so hooked on Special Agent Pendergast thrillers I can not let one of these books pass. Thankfully, this one is more “stand alone” than the last several, so it’s easier for anyone to pick up and enjoy. Glad to see the return of old-fashioned zombies instead of the brain-eating kind.
June, 2009: The Last Oracle by James Rollins.
Wow! That was some thriller. Radioactive Russia, ancient predictions, fighting gypsies. What was really scary was how many of the things in it are true — like a deadly radioactive lake right above earthquake faults. Yowza!
May, 2009: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.
Another book club selection. The title gave me low expectations but I was pleasantly surprised. It was quirkier and fresher than expected for a “book about friendship and love.” At least until it started doing all the things we’ve seen so often (i.e. The Jane Austen Book Club, The Friday Night Knitting Club, etc.). It was fine but I would have really, really liked it if it had stayed true to its beginnings.
May, 2009: Persuader by Lee Child.
Lee Child is a puzzlement to me. When his name comes up, women sigh with passion. However, his Jack Reacher character is a tough loner who avoids connections of any kind. I don’t get the reaction. But Child is arguably one of the strongest thriller writers around. I just don’t know why women love him. Any ideas/
April, 2009: The Camel Club by David Baldacci.
This was a book club choice (an odd one at that). Spy thrillers are not my favorite genre, but Baldacci writes a fast-paced book. I enjoyed it but I don’t think I’ll make a huge effort to seek out more.
Nov. 27, 2008: Brisingr by Christopher Paolini.
First impression: What! There’s going to be a fourth book! It’s OK but now I feel snookered. And, yes, I read kids books, too. Why not?
Oct. 8, 2008: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
First impression: How embarrassing not to have read this before! Last impression: It’s hard to believe this was written in the early 1920s. It feels timeless. No wonder it’s a must read.
October 1, 2008: Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde.
First impression: I’m familiar with Fforde’s alternate universe with its literary oddities and the existence of cloned dodos. I expect to have fun reading! Last impression: I will continue reading Fforde’s Tuesday Next mysteries. Words of warning: A love of literature, the English, and a certain geek factor will help you enjoy these books that defy categorization.
September 10, 2008: World Without End by Ken Follett.
First impression: I expect to like this since I was very impressed with The Pillars of the Earth. But I do wish it wasn’t so heavy — my arms ache when reading it! Last impression: Not good enough to be this long. The protagonists just keep coming up against the same problems over and over.
September 2, 2998: Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick.
First impression: I never knew any of this! It’s fascinating. Last impression: Who knew the Pilgrims were as foolish as they were heroic. I’m so glad that now I know the actual history instead of the legend.
August 28, 2008: The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs.
First impression: Selected by one of my book clubs. I don’t expect much from this “girls behaving supportingly” novel. Final impression: Worse than expected. I just skimmed most of it and wouldn’t have done that if not for the club.
August 10, 2008: Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres.
First impression: Multiple voices give it a magical feel. Final impression: A beautiful book but I hated the way the love story ended.
August 8, 2008: Odd Hours by Dean Koontz.
First impression: I’m a Koontz fan and especially love his Odd Thomas character. Final impression: Another winner, but it is written in “to be cont’d” style.
August 5, 2008: When You Are Consumed in Flames by David Sedaris.
First impression: I just love David Sedaris. Final impression: I laughed. I cried. His stories do it all for me.