Some of My Favorite Books

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


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