Archive for the 'books' Category

20
Oct
11

books.

While I really did enjoy the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, it took me a really long time to get through (basically all summer). I think it was hard because the vernacular was challenging. In some parts I literally had to say the words out-loud to figure out what they were saying. Because I spent so much time getting through that book, I feel like I haven’t read as many books this year. And then today I went to add a few books to my 2011 booklog and I was pleasantly surprised. I don’t mean to pat myself on the back, but I’ve read quite a few books this year! Way to go KB.

On a somewhat related note, I started reading Sarum today (which is supposed to be quite the saga) and I’m a little scared. The story begins with the last ice age. Who starts a story with the ice age and works their way up to 20th century England? Talk about intense. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

14
Apr
11

book reviews.

I’ve just finished reading a number of books and I wanted to give a quick recap on them while they are top of mind.  I am also in the market for a new book, so if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

Worth Reading

Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris: I think I must be the only person alive who hadn’t read a David Sedaris book, but I finally got around to it while I was in Mexico. Overall I thought it was pretty good. I’d give it a B. There were parts of the book where I was literally laughing out loud and there were parts that were really boring. I wish he would have written more about his brother the “Rooster”, that was my favorite part. I’m always amazed how authors can turn a seemingly boring life tidbit into an interesting and engaging story.

Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand: Until I read this book, I had never even heard the name Louie Zamperini. Now I’m in complete awe of this man who endured so much. Hillenbrand takes you through his life first as a troubled youth, then as an Olympic contender, then as a bombardier in WW2 and a plane crash survivor, then as a POW and lastly as a veteran. The unforgettable story is a page turner and makes me want to read Hillenbrand’s other book Seabiscuit. I highly recommend this book and I give it an A!

 Escape, Carolyn Jessop and Laura Palmer: I stumbled across this book on Amazon and decided to give it a try. It’s a memoir written by a woman who escaped from the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints with her eight children. Carolyn was born into a polygamous family and was later married off at the age of 18 as the 4th wife to a prominent figure in the FLDS. Her story is powerful and heart-wrenching. I give this book an A-.

Half Broke Horses, Jeanette Walls: While this story is not as memorable as Walls’ other novel The Glass Castle, it is still a good story and I enjoyed it. For those who did read The Glass Castle, Half Broke Horses details the life of Jeannette’s maternal grandmother Lily Casey Smith who was a no-nonsense, hard working woman in the American Southwest. I’d give this book a B.

The Widower’s Tale, Julia Glass: I hate to keep comparing books to the author’s previous books, but I can’t help it! The Widower’s Tale was good, but not nearly as fulfilling as Three Junes. The parts of this book that I loved: complex, real characters, interesting family dynamics, and a plot that demonstrates how people intersect and influence other lives. Overall, I found the plot to be a little lacking. I also started to get impatient with one of the storylines. If you have not read Julia Glass, read Three Junes. If you have already read Three Junes, give The Widower’s Tale a try (I give it a B+)!

Green River, Running Red, Ann Rule: I read this book because it was on my Kindle, it’s not typically the kind of book I read but I liked it. Well, that’s not entirely true. I really wanted to like it, but it was just ok. It’s interesting but boring. I wish she would have focused more on Gary Ridgeway and his motives, upbringing, lifestyle, etc. I feel like she barely scraped the surface on him. Instead she gives a biography of each of the victims, which is a noble idea, but it gets redundant to read. I also think she gave too many details on the individual law enforcement officials. I couldn’t care less what officer ABC was wearing or who he married or who attended his retirement party. I give this book a B-.

Don’t bother reading

The Blue Notebook, James A. Levine: I really didn’t care for this book. This is a fictional story about a 9 year old that was sold into prostitution in Mumbai. The book started out ok, but went bad quickly and the ending was bizarre. For me, the narrator/main character wasn’t believable and the writing felt VERY FORCED. One minute she was writing sophisticated and insightful poems and the next minute she’s talking to a stuffed tiger. It didn’t make any sense to me. I also detested how she referred to rape as “making sweet cakes”. I would not bother with this book, I give it a D+.


Room: A Novel, Emma Donoghue: This is a very fast read, but I wouldn’t say it’s a good read. I was disappointed because it received good reviews and I thought the concept had potential. The story is about a boy and his mother who are being held captive in a small room. The story is narrated by the 5-year old boy whom I found to be annoying and not believable. I also thought the plot lacked depth and the ending was rushed. There were parts of the story that the author should have explored more, but she was limited because her narrator was a young boy. I give this book a C.

28
Feb
10

books!

I just ordered a few new books –yay!

1)      Prep – Curtis Sittenfield

I just finished reading another book by this author (thanks Halie!): it’s called American Wife and it’s loosely based on the life of a well-known political figure. For someone who detests politics, I have to say, I really enjoyed the story. I’m still trying to figure how much of the story is fictional, but regardless, it does make you think twice about the famous/public people you *think you know. It’s worth reading – I liked it.

2)      Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

I did my high school senior thesis on Anna Karenina and I’m embarrassed to admit that I don’t remember very much of it (although I DO remember loving it). I’ve been wanting to reread it for years. I can’t wait. I hope I’m not disappointed.

3)      The Unnamed – Joshua Ferris

This is a bookclub book. And when I say “bookclub”, I mean getting together with a group of friends so we can drink, catch up and not discuss the book. 🙂  LOVE IT!

04
Jan
10

books, books, books

I was just updating my book log for 2009, and I thought I’d share my favorites and those I don’t think are worth reading. I highly recommend Lonesome Dove, Into Thin Air, Columbine and Three Cups of Tea (in that order). The weird part about my recommendation is that 75% of it is non-fiction – which is very unusual for me. You can skip the following books – they weren’t anything special: In The Woods, Vinegar Hill and Sarah’s Key. There are so many other good books out there, don’t waste your time with these duds.

Does anyone have any good book recommendations they want to share?

24
Nov
09

guest blogger: the monster of florence

Recommending books to others is a risky business, at least for me. What I enjoy reading gives something away about me and I’m not always sure I’m ready to share. On the flip side of that, I selfishly love to ask others for their favorite read as it gives me a peak into something a bit more personal about them. However, I have a nagging feeling to spread the word about this nonfiction book. The Monster of Florence is a retelling of the on-going investigation of the serial killer that has haunted Florence since 1968. The authors, Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi, join forces in an attempt to find the horrific killer(s). This book is the suspenseful retelling of their search, loaded with Italian roadblocks and conflicting evidence. So, why do I recommend it and why now? Amanda Knox. It is not about her, but it gives you an insider’s view into Italian law and order well as the impact of media on the general public. I do not know if Amanda Knox is innocent or guilty and this is not an attempt to sway anyone’s opinion. I am just always amazed how the general public takes the news and media for the actual truth.

12
Aug
09

guest blog: intriguing book list

Being a lover of books, I’m forever searching for book blogs and book recommendations. Yesterday I came across Newsweek’s most recent book lists.  Now, I realize some of you will stop reading this immediately at the mention of Newsweek, but, if you want to broaden your view of the world we live in through books, read on. Last month they published two lists: 50 Books for Our Times http://www.newsweek.com/id/204300 and Top 100 Books: The Meta-List.

The list of 50 is a collection meant to help us expand our understanding of the world today. This fascinated me as it’s a departure from the typical book lists I encounter. It appears to be a mixture of fiction, history, religion, science, politics, and so on. I am embarrassed to admit, that of this list, I have only read ONE, #44!  I can say that #31 has been on my list to read, but that’s it for me and this list. Honestly, I have never even come across most of them before.  I plan to read at least a handful of these and I would love it if any of you could recommend ones you have read.  

P.S. The list of 100 is much more predictable as it is the result of a compilation of top books lists.  I have actually read many of these and, at least, have heard of them.

05
Jul
09

cowboys.

I never thought I’d say it, but I’m kind of into cowboys and western stuff at the moment.  Let me explain.

I’ve been reading Lonesome Dove by Larry Mcmurtry – and I can’t put it down. The novel is jam-packed full of courageous cowboys, ruthless Indians, horse thieves, romance, suspense, good, evil…you name it. And the names of the characters are so great (Jake Spoon, Pea Eye Parker, Dishwater Boggett, Po Campo, Soupy Jones, Needle Nelson). Never in a million years would I have predicted that I’d be relishing a western novel. But I’m hooked.

THEN this weekend while we were at the lake house, a huge group of us drove up to an old western town called Chesaw and partied with the cowboys at the Chesaw Tavern. I’m not even kidding; it was so much fun. Cowboys, rodeo, cattle, horses, spurs, boots, hats…I saw it all. Yee-haw Chesaw (they really say that there)!

I’m going to have to wrap up this post quickly so I can get back to my book. I’m not entirely sure if it’s the genre I’m enjoying or the writing/rich characters. Why I reckon it’s the latter, but I’m much obliged either way! 🙂




a blog for anyone, but mostly for me.