Some of My Favorite Books

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy

I read the third installment in the Bridget Jones books and loved this one! I read the first book, Bridget Jones's Diary. Then I watched the movie and the second one, The Edge of Reason, but I didn't read that one.

I'm glad I read this. It was sad, so sad. I won't give away anything here to spoil it for you, but I loved this book. Helen Fielding is such a funny writer once you get past her random-thoughts way of writing.

Need a page turner that goes fairly quickly? I'd give Mad About the Boy two big ol' thumbs up, nits be damned!

Book Read:  Bridget Jones:  Mad About the Boy
Author:  Helen Fielding

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud

The Woman Upstairs is the first book by Claire Messud that I've read, and I was pleasantly surprised. 

It was witty, engaging, and pitiful all in one! The main character Nora Eldridge is relatable and sympathetic. The story is original and compelling. I'd recommend this novel and can't wait to read her others.

Book Read:  The Woman Upstairs
Author:  Claire Messud

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Secret Lives of Codebreakers by Sinclair McKay

I loved this book! The Secret Lives of Codebreakers:  The Men and Women Who Cracked the Enigma Code at Bletchley Park by Sinclair McKay is full of details about the daily lives of the British men and women who worked hard at code breaking but could tell no one. Ever.

Like spies in wartime, these regular people were recruited for special skills they had, like mathematics or language or puzzle and problem solving. They couldn't tell their families or friends what they were doing and mostly were told to say they worked for the government as secretaries or clerks of some kind. 

They helped win World War II by cracking codes that helped the Allies learn where the enemy would be in advance, for example. After the war, these same people couldn't include any of their experience or skills obtained at Bletchley Park on their resumes or job applications so many went back to mundane jobs or changed fields entirely.

If you know a history buff, The Secret Lives of Codebreakers would be a fabulous Christmas present!

I also watched The Bletchley Circle about four women who cracked Nazi codes during World War II and used these skills to track a killer years later. Fascinating stuff!

Book Read:  The Secret Lives of Codebreakers:  The Men and Women Who Cracked the Enigma Code at Bletchley Park
Author:  Sinclair McKay

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The First Affair by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

The First Affair by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (The Nanny Diaries) was surprisingly good! The young intern who finagles an internship through a friend's connections is assigned to the White House and ends up in an affair with the big guy. Yes, the President. 

The ensuing problems her poor choices create take up much of the book, and it's like a train wreck. You can't help but look.

Book Read:  The First Affair
Author:  Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Monday, December 2, 2013

What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell

I took my dear, sweet time reading What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures by Malcolm Gladwell, but this book lends itself to picking it up when you have a few minutes or half an hour. It's nonfiction, of course, like the rest of his books.

You might know Malcolm Gladwell's name from his other books:  The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers. 

This book was similar in writing style, but this is a compilation of his stories previously published in The New Yorker. 

I enjoyed each story as I read it, but one stands out to me now after having finished this book last week and having read some of these stories a month or so ago. One story in particular is memorable.  Million-Dollar Murray:  Why Problems Like Homelessness May Be Easier to Solve Than to Manage deals with why some homeless people revert back to living on the streets after being given a job and having responsibility for a time. (One man, for instance, needed the discipline of checking in with someone to stay on track. Simple as that.)

In each story, Gladwell walks you through the logic of where he ends up in an entertaining way. I really enjoyed this book and think it would make a thoughtful Christmas present for someone on your list who loves to read thought-provoking nonfiction.

Book Read:  What the Dog Saw
Author:  Malcolm Gladwell


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