Some of My Favorite Books

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Snow Blind by P.J. Tracy

This book was a mystery lite. I mean, sure, it had some murders, five that come to mind, but it wasn't gory, which isn't a bad thing. Snow Blind also didn't involve the Monkeewrench gang as much as its predecessors.

P.J. Tracy, the author(s), is really a mother-daughter team. They write mystery novels featuring a foursome of geeks, the Monkeewrench crew, who write crime-solving software and help the Minneapolis police solve crimes. So, the book was good (an English teacher turned sheriff was interesting, as was the fortress city where abused women went to live to be safe), but it wasn't spectacular.

Book Read:  Snow Blind
Author:  P.J. Tracy
ISBN:  0-399-15339-X

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Solar by Ian McEwan

I just finished reading Solar by Ian McEwen. If you're not familiar with McEwan, he's a British writer who wrote Atonement, Amsterdam, Enduring Love, and other novels. I like his writing, but have to admit that Solar was way over my head. I'm no scientist, so when I read the passages about global warming, photovoltaics, artificial photosynthesis, and the like, most was lost on me even though it was well written and interesting and oh so timely.

The protaganist is Michael Beard, an overweight, womanizing Nobel prize winning Einstein loving scientist who was truly pathetic in just about every aspect of his life. McEwan's details of Beard's problems with his girth alone makes it worth reading. Beard's adventure riding the snow machine to get to the North Pole conference--and having to stop to take a whiz in the sub-zero temperatures--alone is worth reading this book.

What baffled me was how this pig (and I use that term in every negative way possible except having to do with the animal) could get five women to marry him and had two more fighting over him in the final pages. Quite a tale!

Book Read:  Solar
Author:  Ian McEwan
ISBN:  978-0-8350533416

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Feast of Love by Charles Baxter

I finished The Feast of Love, and yep, the book is as good as the movie, which I mentioned in the previous post that I loved. The hard part for me was that the book used a story-collector, who happened to be called Charles Baxter, JUST LIKE THE AUTHOR! Well, when I emailed him, I asked the author if this was autobiographical and he said no. But in the movie, one of the characters takes on the role of the narrator/story-collector, which for the movie just made it easier, I suppose. But otherwise, not too many variations. A few, but not too many.

The Feast of Love is a somber book for the most part, but I caught myself laughing out loud a few times while reading it. The following passage was my favorite of those. A little background:  Bradley, the human, is sitting at Jackson Cascades, a waterfall attraction in Jackson, Michigan. He is feeling forlorn after his second wife, Diana, leaves him and he drives from Ann Arbor to Jackson to sit with others and get bit by mosquitoes and watch the waterfall light show while they played Neil Diamond music:

"Down below me were some families, likewise sitting, likewise watching this spectacle but perkier than I was. One child wearing Oshkosh overalls was running in widening circles. He was yelling, 'I'm gonna explode!' I nodded at him. Okay with me, kid. You just explode right there. I'm watching, and I've got the good view."

So, if you want a real treat, read The Feast of Love then watch The Feast of Love. 

Book ReadThe Feast of Love
Author:  Charles Baxter
ISBN: 0-375-41019-8

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Don't listen to me. What do I know? Unless I do know...

Well, Barbara Kingsolver won the Orange Prize for The Lacuna. You know, the book that just didn't flip my switch. But what do I know? Not much evidently!

I did start reading The Feast of Love though, which I do love! I'd read one other of Charles Baxter's books, First Light, many years ago, and it was so original in the format and well written to boot. I have had The Feast of Love sitting on my nightstand for a long time, have meant to read, have tried to read it, but I did it bassackwards:  I watched the movie first, which I totally love, instead of reading the book first.

And so, I got a wild hair the other night and looked up Mr. Baxter on the internet, which I usually do after I read a book but I felt like this was a special circumstance since I've seen the movie (many times) and know what's going to happen. So, as I was tooling around his Web site, I saw the "email the author" button and I did! And he emailed me back! And we've exchanged a couple of emails, while I'm reading his book. How cool is that? I'll tell you how cool. For a word nerd, wanna be author, it's the best.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

Well, it's summer--maybe not officially for another 2 weeks--but with the temps hitting 100 here in Phoenix, it's summer. And the book Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner is exactly what many would call a "good summer read," a good book for staying in out of the heat or going out and enjoying the warm weather if it's not already a blazing 90+ degrees and it's not even 9 a.m. where you are. Ugh.

Best Friends Forever: A NovelI have to admit, I read this book during the day, at night, whenever I could. It was a nice escape, and I like the writing. Nothing flowery but a good story with realistic, interesting characters; a good old-fashioned bait and switch (get him naked then hit and run); two opposites who were best friends.

Book ReadBest Friends Forever
Author:  Jennifer Weiner
ISBN: 978-0-7432-9429-4

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Lacuna a No Go

In case anyone gives a rip, I am not going to read The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver. I really really really think she is an excellent writer, but this one didn't do it for me, so it's in the book bag to go back to the Snotsdale Library when I go there next.

I picked up Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner (is that pronounced weener or whiner? I will have to check.) and I'm enjoying it. Go figure. I am shameful. But she's a very good writer too. She wrote the book In Her Shoes (I've seen the movie) and Good in Bed (I've read it) and others.

Okay, just checked. Here's how it's pronounced straight from the horse's mouth (that is, from Ms. Weiner's blog):

"...And finally I find it, and then phone rings with my backup emergency wake-up call.

"Miz Weener?"

Yeah. Great. Good morning to you, too. (You do know that it's Wyner, right? The infinitely less offensive pronunciation. Note to self: consider using married name while travelling.)"

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

House Rules by Jodi Picoult

Oh man. I just finished House Rules by Jodi Picoult and it's 11 a.m. I read mostly at night before bed, but for really good books, I like to be wide awake. And this is a really good book. The best I've read in a long, long time. I always enjoy Picoult's books but sometimes the particular topic is one I can't really relate to or don't understand or just don't care about that much.

But House Rules covers two hots topics:  Asperger's syndrome and forensic science. I don't even know what to say except READ IT!

Book ReadHouse Rules
Author:  Jodi Picoult
ISBN: 978-0-7432-9643-4


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