Some of My Favorite Books

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Hazards of Good Breeding -- Didn't read it after all

Well, I started reading The Hazards of Good Breeding by Jessica Shattuck
 a few nights ago, but it just did not hold my interest. I think I just couldn't relate to the upper crust characters. I am sorry I put as much time into it as I did.

I watched Season 1 of The Big C with Laura Linney and finished the last episode last night. That's when I decided that life is too short to read boring books. Mind you, this book may not be boring to all readers, but it was to me, so I pulled the bookmark out (at page 120 or so, geez) and put the book on the pile to return to the library. I don't remember when I've devoted that many pages to a book and not finished it.

If I don't read a book, I usually know it in the first 5 or 10 pages and stop there. Which leads me to this great writing book: 

What about you? Do you ever read one-third of a book and then stop? Does it piss you off that you wasted the time? It does me.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes

I finally finished reading The Brightest Star in the Sky last night. It seems like it took me forever! This was a really good book, though, like the author had in mind, I'm sure, it took a little figuring out who (or what) in the heck the spirit was who floated around this book.

The action centers around an apartment house in Dublin and the lives of the residents there. I'd never read any of her books before and was pleasantly surprised. It was funny and touching in places. I'll have to check out her other books.

Have you read any of Marian Keyes' books?

Book Read: The Brightest Star in the Sky
Author:  Marian Keyes
ISBN:  978-0-670-02140-6

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Betrayal of Trust by J.A. Jance

Well, it seems like it took me forever to read this book (and it sort of did), but I started at least two other books before starting this one that didn't hold my interest. At all. So, I know that blew two or three days. Anyway, I liked Betrayal of Trust, I just read it slow.

If you've never read any of J.A. Jance's books, she's a mystery writer who writes several book series:  J.P. Beaumont (this was one of them), Joanna Brady, Ali Reynolds, and Walker family books. I've liked what I've read but I haven't read many of them. I've found that with her books, you can pick one up mid-series and not feel like you're missing much. I'm sure they're better, like any book series, if you read them all in order by series. Oh well.

Have you read any of J.A. Jance's books? What series do you like best?

Book Read: Betrayal of Trust
Author:  J.A. Jance
ISBN:  978-0-06-173115-0

Sunday, November 27, 2011

While I'm Falling by Laura Moriarty

I stayed up way too late last night and finished reading While I'm Falling. This book was like a train wreck; I couldn't look away. The mess the mother and daughter make of their lives was realistic without going overboard, but they redeemed themselves at the end.

Jodi Picoult summed up While I'm Falling thusly:  "While I'm Falling deftly captures the moment a child realizes that growing up means being responsible for your parents' mistakes--and preventing yourself from making the same ones. Laura Moriarty keeps getting better and better."

I agree.

Book Read: While I'm Falling
Author:  Laura Moriarty
ISBN:  978-1-4013-0272-6

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Are you a fan of Tina Fey? Have you read Bossypants, her memoir? Well, if you are and if you haven't, I'd recommend it. This book had me cackling out loud each time I cracked the spine. Ii can see why her writing career (she wrote for SNL, the script of Mean Girls, 30 Rock) is flourishing. Flipping through the book now for an example, I found this paragraph talking about her friendship with some gay people in high school:

I guess I should also state that Karen and Sharon never hit on me in the slightest and it was never weird between any of us. Gay people don't actually try to convert people. That's Jehovah's Witnesses you're thinking of.

And this one a little later in the book when she is told to give Sylvester Stallone, who is hosting SNL that week, a message. That he needs to enunciate; he's hard to understand She gives him the message, he gets it, then:

He couldn't have been more easygoing about it. My guess is that this was not the first time in his career he had been given that note. I went back outside and manually released my butt cheeks.

It's like this throughout the book. You really should read it. Do you like reading memoirs? What's been your favorite so far?

Book Read: Bossypants
Author:  Tina Fey
ISBN:  978-0-316-05686-1

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Last Secret by Mary McGarry Morris

I've read several other books by Mary McGarry Morris and they all have a common theme:  they're dark. The writing is good but it can sure put you in a foul mood. At least it does that to me.

This novel featured a bunch of unlikeable characters. In fact, I can't think of any I could really relate to or that I liked. But it was compelling. It starts with Nora as a teenager who has run off with an older boy Eddie. Their short time together ends with an act that leaves Nora confused, depressed, and feeling bad about herself. Those feelings never really go away, but as an adult she had a boatload of other troubles to deal with. It was gloom and doom throughout, but in spite of that, The Last Secret (which by the way, I figured out right away, not at the end of the book when it was revealed) was a good read.

So, to kick this foul mood, tonight I'm going to start reading Bossypants by Tina Fey! Do you like reading dark books? What's your favorite type of book to read?

Book Read: The Last Secret
Author:  Mary McGarry Morris
ISBN:  978-0-307-45127-9

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Lisey's Story by Stephen King

I finally finished reading Lisey's Story by Stephen King. It only took me 10 days. Geez, but it was a long book but really good. Crazy, but good. I don't usually read horror or supernatural or science fiction or whatever you want to call his books, but some are all right. This one was good, just enough "normal" to make it believable (or mostly believable).

The best part to me was early in the book when Lisey fixes herself a meal. Cheeseburger Pie Hamburger Helper and lime Kool-Aid, with double sugar! Scott (her deceased husband) called this sort of meal "eating nasty." Oh man! I cracked up on that one!

Do you like Stephen King's books? What's your favorite?

Book Read: Lisey's Story
Author:  Stephen King

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

Okey, dokey. I stayed up till 2:30 last night and finished reading Rob Lowe's autobiography Stories I Only Tell My Friends. With that title, I think it's safe to say that we're now friends because, even though I don't know if he told it all, he told a lot of it. Rob (I'll just call him Rob now that we're pals... I mean he says so right there in the title of his book!) wrote this sucker in an easy-to-read, no-nonsense way that made hims seem like (gasp!) a real person!

Seriously, this autobiography was a fun read since I'm a fan of the pretty boy, love TV and movies and Rob name dropped till the cows came home, and basically because I'm nosy. I began to wonder if Rob (that's my bud Rob Lowe for those of you not paying attention) was for real because after every little set back that would send the weaker of us back home with our tails between our legs, he just took a bigger bite and did what he had to to improve himself.

I did notice that he glossed over his relationship / dating / whatever you want to call it with Melissa Gilbert. He gave her less than a page of ink. She, only the hand, went on and on and on in her autobiography Prairie Tales. Just goes to show you how different a relationship was in the eyes of each person.

Can you say positive attitude? I'm beginning to think his character Chris Traeger on Parks and Recreation (love it!) is really just good ol' Rob. No embellishments. That's how he comes across in the book. Intense but lovable. Literally.

Are you a Rob Lowe fan? Which role or movie or TV show is your favorite? I'd have to go with Parks and Rec. That show is genius, and my friend Rob just adds to the wonder of it.

Book Read: Stories I Only Tell My Friends
Author:  Rob Lowe
ISBN:  978-0-8050-9329-2

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Once Upon a Time, There Was You by Elizabeth Berg

I've read all of Elizabeth Berg's books, and this latest one, Once Upon a Time, There Was You, was not my favorite. It seemed a little heavy on food allusions, discussion, etc., and I wonder if these are all the author's preferences that she just wanted to write about. Hmmm.

As with the rest of her books, I liked this book for the storyline and her handling of the characters. I really liked that Irene wasn't perfect and Sadie, her daughter, found her mother to be a pain in the ass. Because she really was.

Have you read any of Elizabeth Berg's books?

Book Read: Once Upon a Time, There Was You
Author:  Elizabeth Berg
ISBN:  978-1-4000-6865-4

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy Accidents by Jane Lynch

Are you a fan of Jane Lynch? You know, Sue Sylvester on Glee? I am, though that role isn't my favorite since I never watch Glee and when I do, she is the best part. Okay, the singing's not bad either. But I like Jane Lynch's other roles especially in Christopher Guest's movies (Best in Show and A Mighty Wind).

This book is an autobiography that I really enjoyed. How could I not like it with the Foreword written by Carol Burnett? She's my hero!

I couldn't sleep last night; my mind just raced and would not shut down, so I finished this book around 3:00 a.m. Then I still didn't sleep all that well. It's going to be a long day. But this book is my kind of autobiography. She included all (a lot, I have no idea if she included ALL) of the embarrassing stuff. Stuff like admitting to having that funky gross BO smell that comes from nerves and her proclivity to ending friendships before someone could hurt her. Stuff like that.

Are you a Jane Lynch fan? What's your favorite role of hers? Have you read her book?

Book Read: Happy Accidents
Author:  Jane Lynch
ISBN:  978-1-4013-4176-3

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson

Okay, when I first started reading this book, I seriously considered stopping. This novel begins with some Welsh girls in 1974 who are in love with teen idol David Cassidy. I mean, the time frame is perfect. I was one of the adoring fans who faithfully watched The Partridge Family every week. I wasn't as ga-ga over Keith Partridge (aka David Cassidy) as lots of girls though.

But, I'm glad I hung in there. The author drew from her own experience and got the teen feelings just right, regarding idolizing a singer/actor and all the emotional teen-age crud, too. Halfway through the book, 25 years magically go by and the girl, Petra, is now 38 years old with a teen-age daughter of her own. Petra's mother dies, her marriage ends, and wham! A startling discovery comes to light. I'm glad I stuck with it.

I haven't read Pearson's other novel that is now a movie, I Don't Know How She Does It. Have you read it or this new one? What did you think? Did you like David Cassidy? Donny Osmand? Bobby Sherman?

Book Read: I Think I Love You
Author:  Allison Pearson
ISBN:  978-1-4000-4235-7

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

City of Thieves by David Benioff

Oh boy. I just finished reading City of Thieves by David Benioff, and what a good book it is! This book is fiction but reads like the true story of a pair of Russians in Lenigrad/Piter and beyond just trying to survive during World War II. I don't like to read and tell so won't divulge the ending. I mean, it's one reason I don't read book reviews. I don't want or like any influence before I read a book or watch a movie.

This book starts during modern day with a grandson (a grown man, 34, not 40 as his grandfather accuses him of being) asking his grandfather about the war. It's only a few pages, a few beautifully written pages, that begins this story, but these few pages are key. Reread them when you've finished the book. They take on a whole other meaning.

David Benioff has written two other books. I have to read them.

Book Read: City of Thieves
Author:  David Benioff
ISBN:  978-0-670-01870-3

Friday, October 14, 2011

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

I was sad to finish Ann Patchett's newest book last night. State of Wonder. This is the best book I've read in ages. Years? Not sure. Maybe. Probably. 

I have read Ann Patchett's other five books (only five? darn, only five, five novels; she has written two nonfiction books and I've read Truth and Beauty but not ) and I'd say this one is her best. This is the story of a research doctor who travels to Brazil to find a former teacher / fellow researcher and figure out how her coworker who traveled there before her died. It's one of those uncomfortable books that make you so glad you're safe at home in your (relatively clean, cat hairy) bed. But the excitement the characters are living seem real. You want to be there with them. Sort of.

Her writing is perfect. Her characters real. The ending... oh man. I didn't see that coming.

If you've never read any of Patchett's books, do it. This article about Ann Patchett is a look at her other books and writing. Have you read any of Ann Patchett's books? What's your favorite?

Book Read: State of Wonder
Author:  Ann Patchett
ISBN:  978-0-06-204980-3

Saturday, October 8, 2011

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

I got up this morning and only had about 30 pages left to read in my book. So I got up, poured food in Scarlett's bowl, made a pot of coffee, and went back to bed and finished reading In the Garden of Beasts:  Love, Terror, and An American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson. What a book.

I love Erik Larson's books, and this was no exception. He writes nonfiction books about a major historical event along with a personal story of someone who lived through it or affected it in some way. This one was just as good, but the many players (all the SA, SS, Storm Troopers, etc.) made it hard for me to keep track in several places. I don't know my history was well as I should but this is a must-read for anyone who wants to read about the lead up to World War II and the nut job that Hitler was... The Early Years.

William Dodd was assigned by President Roosevelt in 1933 to be America's ambassador to Germany. He took his family (his wife, and grown children, a son and daughter) and made the voyage. His practical and logical reasoning was not welcome by Germans or Americans. No one listened to his warnings about Hitler.

Have you read In the Garden of Beasts? If so, what did you think of it. Have you read any of Erik Larson's other books? Do you have a favorite? I personally liked Isaac's Storm best, I think, though they are all intriguing.

Book Read: In the Garden of the Beasts
Author:  Erik Larson
ISBN:  978-0-307-40884-6

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Second Nature by Jacquelyn Mitchard

I finished reading Second Nature:  A Love Story by Jacquelyn Mitchard last night. This was one of those books that I didn't want to end. Or maybe more accurately, I didn't want to read the ending. I was sure something really bad was going to happen to Sicily or her unborn baby.

I won't reveal the ending here but briefly, the story centered on Sicily Coyne, a 25-year-old woman who was badly burned in a fire as a teenager. Her face was destroyed. This novel is set "in a possible but imagined future"according to an author's note at the beginning of the book. Limb and other transplants are often standard practice. Face transplants are occurring during this imagined future. I'll let you add up the pieces from there.

I've read most of Jacquelyn Mitchard's other novels, namely her most popular Oprah pick, The Deep End of the Ocean. Then she continued the Cappadora family's story, whose little boy Ben was kidnapped, in No Time to Wave Good-bye. Second Nature brings them all back again weaving this story in with that family. It was seamless and well done.

Are you a fan of Jacquelyn Mitchard?

Book Read: Second Nature:  A Love Story
Author:  Jacquelyn Mitchard


Related Posts with Thumbnails