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I heart reading
WHAT I'M READING NOW
The Beet Queen
by Louise Erdrich
The Great Fire
by Shirley Hazzard
WHAT I HAVE READ LATELY, WITH A RATING OF 1-5 STARS
Post Captain * * * * 1/2
by Patrick O'Brian
The Bounty * * * *
by Caroline Alexander
Sarah Canary * * *
by Karen Joy Fowler
A story about the journey of a woman who doesn't understand human language or social norms and her entourage of a Chinese laborer, a mental asylum escapee, and a suffragette. I enjoyed the writing, the quirky historical references, and even quirkier characters, but it didn't really go anywhere, and I don't think it will stay with me long.
Remains of the Day * * * *
by Kazuo Ishiguro
A little bit slow moving, but a beautiful meditation on life and its choices and regrets.
I Been In Sorrow's Kitchen and Licked Out All the Pots * * *
by Susan Straight
The story of Marietta, a young black woman living in and outside of Charleston, SC during the 50's, 60's, and 70's. The use of Gullah dialect can make for some challenging reading, but after I finished I realized that was the best part of the book for me. I didn't really care for the last quarter of the book.
Free Enterprise * * * *
by Michelle Cliff
The story of two women who assisted John Brown at Harper's Ferry. More like a long poem; beautifully written, but not always easy reading.
Leviathan * *
by Paul Auster
Auster writes clearly and concisely, but I didn't like the characters, didn't like the plot, didn't like the book. If this is what life is like for NYC artsy types, I am sure glad I don't qualify.
No One Belongs Here More Than You * * *
by Miranda July
It has some really lovely passages, but it seemed as if each story was narrated by the same neurotic, self-involved character. Got repetitive very quickly.
The Magician's Assistant * * 1/2
by Ann Patchett
I gave it 50 pages, and even though I loved the writing, I couldn't buy into the unbelievable premise that a woman would be in love with a gay man for 22 years, and devote her life to him, even though he had a partner. I will try another book, though, because she can write.
My Year of Meats * * *
by Ruth Ozeki
Promising start, and a very witty writer. Got kind of bogged down during the second half.
Master and Commander * * * * 1/2
by Patrick O'Brian
I would have never thought I would love a book about British Navy officers during the early 1800's and their voyages and battles. Now I know I will read the entire series of 20 books. His writing is wonderful, and one does get used to the seafaring lingo.
In the Pond * * * *
by Ha Jin
I love the simplicity of his writing, yet it is so profound. A great window into China.
Sharp Objects * * 1/2
by Gillian Flynn
Drab and depressing mystery, plus the story and murderer seemed pretty unbelievable.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society * * 1/2
by Mary Ann Shaffer
Bleh. I have realized I usually don't care for alot of the very bestselling fiction. The letter format was annoying, as were many of the characters. They just did not seem very 3-dimensional. This book seemed to be a screenplay for a Lifetime Channel movie; way too precious.
Kindred * * * *
by Octavia Butler
Wow, I really liked this book. A young California black woman keeps getting transported to an 1819 Maryland plantation, where she has to keep saving the life of her white slave-owning ancestor.
Bootlegger's Daughter * * * *
by Margaret Maron
Well-written mystery set in semi-rural North Carolina with likable, 3-dimensional characters, and an interesting protagonist. I did not have this mystery figured out at all.
Black Boy * * * *
by Richard Wright
The author's early life; a scathing look at racism in the South in the early 1900's.
The Last Town on Earth * * * 1/2
by Thomas Mullen
Interesting book on the devastating effects of the Flu epidemic of 1918 on a small logging community in the Pacific Northwest. Good read, and I learned something!
Princess * * 1/2
by Jean Sasson
This is a book about a Saudi princess' life. I had questions about the authenticity of Sultana, plus I didn't much care for her, if she does truly exist. She comes across as a spoiled, selfish brat, and the concerns for other women in Saudi Arabia just didn't ring true. If she hated her life so much, it seems she had enough money to leave.
Under the Banner of Heaven * * * *
by John Krakauer
I really enjoy Krakauer's writing, and this is a very interesting and informative book on Mormon history and Mormon fundamentalism. My only complaint is that sometimes the chapters were all over the place, so it could be a little hard to follow.
Shop Class As Soulcraft * * *
by Matthew B. Crawford
Some very salient points, but some of it got bogged down by either too much detail of the motorcycle repair business, or too much academia.
In The Woods * *
by Tana French
Got to page 40; didn't like the main character at all, and thought the relationship with his partner was especially stupid. Didn't want to waste any more time.
New York Trilogy * * *
by Paul Auster
I keep thinking about this book, and its themes even after a month. Auster writes a little too esoteric for my taste, but interestingly different in a Chekhov kind of way.
Like One of the Family * * * *
by Alice Childress
Wise vignettes originally written for an African-American newspaper from the point of view of a black domestic worker in 1950's New York City.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie * * *
by Muriel Spark
Kind of an interesting psychological profile, but I didn't really care for or about the main characters. A quick read.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X * * * * 1/2
by Malcolm X and Alex Haley
If a sign of a good biography is to then want to read even more about that person, than this book was great. What a fascinating man who died way too young just when he was evolving into a deeper understanding of race.
Gun, With Occasional Music * * *
by Jonathan Lethem
Love his wild imagination and ideas on a postmodern hardboiled detective novel, but the story went nowhere, and the characters not very 3-dimensional, or likable.
The Shadow of the Wind * * * *
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Quite a story, and beautifully told. I felt like I was in Barcelona during the 50's. Can't wait to read his next book.
The Madonnas Of Leningrad * * * *
by Debra Dean
Very sad; starvation during WW2, and Alzheimer's. I liked the way the paintings in the Hermitage were woven into the story. Still, I would have liked a little more story and character development.
Holidays on Ice * * *
by David Sedaris
Very uneven. I find I like to listen to Sedaris better than reading him.
All Soul's Rising * * * * 1/2
by Madison Smartt Bell
Violent, but a beautiful read. Don't miss this if you love smart, historical fiction.
The Debt to Pleasure * * * *
An original. Part cookbook, part essay, part mystery.
Crooked Little Heart * *
by Anne Lamott
Life is too short, so I have decided I do not have to finish every book I read. This is one of those. Lamott's writing is sometimes breathtaking, but by page 60 I didn't want to spend any more time reading about adolescent girls, tennis, or upper-middle class people living in the Bay area. I like her non-fiction much better.
Water For Elephants * * 1/2
by Sara Gruen
This book is very popular, and I don't get it. The setting was interesting, but the only characters I cared about were Walter and Rosie, and one of those was disposed of without a thought. The rest were very one-dimensional. I didn't like the simplistic, sneaky revelation of who killed who, and I didn't understand why the main character loved the circus so much, it sounded like one long nightmare.
Away * * * *
by Jane Urquhart
Beautiful writing. Liked the book, but felt the secondary characters were all more well-developed than the two main characters. This book reads like a fable.
A Thousand Splendid Suns * * 1/2
by Khaled Hosseini
An Afghani version of a Sidney Sheldon book. A good airplane read.
A Place of Execution * * * *
by Val McDermid
Very well-done mystery.
A Long Way Gone Memoirs of a Boy Soldier * * 1/2
by Ishmael Beah
I appreciate what he went through, but this could have been so much better. Took an extra effort to finish. Though many of the scenes were horrendous, there was no emotion. Could have used Tracy Kidder as a co-author.
Rebecca * * *
by Daphne DuMaurier
I could see why it was good 60 years ago, but it is very dated; 'strong woman evil, meek-child woman good'. Interesting in the fact that the estate was definitely a character.
Angle of Repose * * * 1/2
by Wallace Stegner
Great descriptions of the west, but I never really got to like the characters, so I never much cared what happened to them.
The Things They Carried * * * * *
by Tim O'Brien
The White * * *
by Deborah Larsen
Just ok. I wanted more story.
The Yellow Wallpaper * * * * 1/2
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Amazing that this was written at the turn of the century.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay * * 1/2
by Michael Chabon
I could never really get into the character's lives. Like Zadie Smith, way too wordy and wanting to make sure everyone knows how smart the author is, but lots of words does not mean that anything interesting is said or done.
Refuge * * * *
Terry Tempest Williams
A wise women. Beautifully written.
Housekeeping * * * *
Lyrical writer; beautiful story.
As Meat Loves Salt * * *
It has its moments, but ultimately fairly disappointing.
books_by_authors_of_color_recommendations, discussion, intriguing_books_by_asian_authors, recommended.
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