Some of My Favorite Books

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Family Album by Penelope Lively

Well, once again, a sort of lackluster book got much better at the end. All of the pieces of the family album came together. The author let each character speak throughout the book but through individual chapters and one chapter with emails, the characters seemed to actually interact a bit more.

Reading this book was like peeking in the window spying on a bizarre family and getting to hear what is being said, to boot. I've read other books written by Penelope Lively, and this one was just as good.

Book Read: Family Album
Author:  Penelope Lively
ISBN:  978-0-670-02124-6

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

If I didn't know better, I'd call Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier creative nonfiction but it's really fiction based on fact. She based this novel on a real person, Mary Anning, a fossil hunter in 1800s England. The story she told of this remarkable woman and the remarkable creatures she found was so engaging. I loved it!

Mary Anning was a real person who lived in Lyme Regis, England in the first part of the 1800s. She collected fossils like ammonites and belemnites from the seashore to sell in her family's curiosities shop in town. She discovered the first ichthyosaurus then other "creatures," and she was highly sought after in the scientific community for her "eye"in seeing these remarkable creatures in the sides of cliffs.

Have you read any of Tracy Chevalier's books? she also wrote Girl with a Pearl Earring and Burning Bright (and three other novels). What did you think of them?

Book Read: Remarkable Creatures
Author:  Tracy Chevalier
ISBN:  978-0-525-95145-2

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Breakdown Lane by Jacquelyn Mitchard

Last night I stayed up way too late to finish The Breakdown Lane by Jacquelyn Mitchard. This book was just as good as all of the others by Mitchard that I've read (she also wrote The Deep End of the Ocean, the blockbuster that Oprah started her book club/recommendations with).

Like I said, this was an excellent book, but the ending was a tad, just a tad, disappointing. It was a little too fairy tale for my taste.

Julieanne Gillis Steiner is a wife and mother who studied ballet and writes an advice column. When her reliable, responsible lawyer husband Leo becomes a crunchy new guy and changes his name to Leon, this "perfect" little life hits the fan. Julieanne learns she has multiple sclerosis and her children all react in surprising ways.

Have you read The Breakdown Lane? What did you think of the ending?

Book Read: The Breakdown Lane
Author:  Jacquelyn Mitchard
ISBN:  0-06-058724-5

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Brambles by Eliza Minot

I finished reading The Brambles last night. That was easy to do, which I mean, I liked the ending. If the entire book had been as interesting as the last 20 pages, I would recommend this book more highly. As it was, the book lived up to its name; it (b)rambled.

Did you know that Eliza Minot is the sister of author Susan Minot who wrote Evening? She is.

Book Read: The Brambles
Author:  Eliza Minot
ISBN:  1-4000-4269-0

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

I'm not sure where I picked up Winter Garden, but I had it in my "someday" pile. "Someday I'll read that book." I wasn't as thrilled at the beginning of this book as I was at the end. The story within a story, the fairy tale told by the mother to her two daughters, made the book. I don't like to give away even the smallest part of books so as not to spoil it for readers, but this ended up being such a good book. I'm glad I stuck with it.

The brutal life of Russians during the siege of Leningrad during World War II was told from a first person account that was heartfelt and horrible. But I'm sure the real thing was many times worse than reading about this first person account. It reminds me of City of Thieves by David Benioff, which covered this same topic from a couple of young men's point of view. I'd recommend both Winter Garden and City of Thieves for anyone who is a student of this era.

Do you like reading fiction based on real life?

Book Read: Winter Garden
Author:  Kristin Hannah
ISBN:  978-0-312-36412-0


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