Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Jaran by Kate Elliott

I really enjoyed this fantasy novel. It was originally published in 1992 and is the first in a series of four books. I'm not sure I'll be running out to read the other books so quickly, though... because they killed off one of my favorite characters right before the end of this book. Why must authors do that? They get me all attached to these people and then they just take them away. Sigh.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Baby Proof by Emily Giffin

Highly entertaining and well-written "chick lit" about a woman who is having a hard time convincing everyone that yes, she really doesn't want children. I enjoyed it!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Brainiac by Ken Jennings

Brainiac: Adventures int he Curious, Competitive World of Trivia Buffs is written in a breezy, entertaining style by Ken Jennings, who had a 74-game winning streak on Jeopardy in 2004 (and maybe into 2005). I really enjoyed his dry sense of humor, and some of his comments made me laugh out loud, which is always a good sign. Describing a question that you're likely to see at a college bowl trivia event, he says "Unless you're a particular fan of dead mutton-chopped Republicans, you probably don't know too much about the life and administration of Chester A. Arthur."
Towards the end I must admit my attention flagged a bit, but I still had a good time overall and would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good read (or some really odd facts).

The Geek Gap by Bill Pfleging and Minda Zetlin

What a neat book. It's sort of like "Geeks are from Mars, Businesspeople are from Venus." Both groups of people have their own perspective and they often have difficulty understanding each other's value to their company. This book is entertaining, containing a lot of "No -- they really said THAT?!!" anecdotes with a bunch of useful advice scattered in.
The main point that I got from this book, which is one that I keep having to re-learn in my own life, is that it's important to LISTEN and to consider that others' viewpoints may be different from yours and still be equally valid.

Cruciverbalism by Stanley Newman

The full title of this book is Cruciverbalism: A crossword fanatic's guide to life in the grid. (FYI: a cruciverbalist is a designer or aficionado of crossword puzzles.) It was a quick, breezy read and I enjoyed skimming through it. I learned a couple of interesting tips on solving crossword puzzles (such as the old chestnut "if the clue contains an abbreviation, the answer is probably abbreviated as well").
The book also contains a list of 100 essential words for crossworders to know, such as ALAR (meaning winglike) and URAL (Caspian sea feeder, I always get that wrong.)
It got me excited and made me want to go out and do crosswords, which I guess is a good thing... except then I stayed up too late doing crosswords and I had to go to work the next day. Oh well.

A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas

I read this book several weeks ago and it has stayed with me. I first learned about it when I read a column that Thomas wrote in the Sunday New York Times. Her husband suffered major brain injuries several years ago and this is her story of how she has managed to carve out a life for herself, and do the best she can for him, since then.  Her courage and wisdom are very evident in her writing, and I enjoyed the book very much.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Kakuro - my latest obsession

I haven't been reading much at all lately because I've gotten addicted to Kakuro (thanks a lot, Ellie!). I have tried Kakuro before but didn't have much luck, and had given up in frustration several times. But then I found a "Kakuro for Kids" book (by Alastair Chisholm, a very British name, I think) that introduces you to kakuro gently, and doesn't make things too hard at the beginning. So the next thing I knew, I was hooked! It's pretty fun. But there's only so much leisure time in my life, so my book-reading has been suffering. I'm sure I'll grow bored with Kakuro at some point, but for now -- back to the puzzle!