Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher - an enjoyable and interesting, frothy and funny memoir
Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix - (teen) - recommended to me by a 7th grader at Lunch in the Library with Ms. Lommel last week. Fantastic book! I couldn't put it down. The next day I foisted it onto another person who I know will enjoy it.
Warriors: Into the Wild by Erin Hunter (kids/teen) - also recommended at Lunch in the Library. I read enough of it to get a feel for it, but for some reason I've never been a big fan of books written from the perspective of animals (Watership Down, the Redwall series, etc) -- except maybe for Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. So I stopped reading it. But the writing was good and I could see why all the kids love it.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (teen) -- WOW. Amazing book, unputdownable. The first in a trilogy. Now I have to wait for the others. Meanwhile I plan to go to the library on Monday and check out the first one in Collins' series for younger kids, the Gregor series. How have I missed this author??
Black and White and Dead All Over by John Darnton -- thanks to Pat D for the recommendation. I enjoyed this interesting, well-written mystery -- and learned a lot about the newspaper publishing business along the way.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
|My favorite book review magazine, Bookmarks, is tracking the top 10 book lists from magazines and newspapers across the country. Browse their selection at http://www.bookmarksmagazine.com/taxonomy/term/696%2C736|
I have been meaning to read this history of Abraham Lincoln's rise to the presidency, and his presidency during the Civil War, since it came out in 2005. I finally managed to do it! It took me about 3 weeks but it was well worth it. It was a fantastic, interesting, wonderful book that made history come alive for me.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Extremely interesting. This man could describe watching paint dry and I'd read him. This book talks about how we think about success, and how factors that we haven't even considered also play into whether someone will be a success or not. I couldn't put it down. Fascinating.
Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter. A very heartwarming read, and enjoyable. Warning: ending is sad.
A Supremely Bad Idea: Three Mad Birders and their Quest to See It All by Luke Dempsey. At the beginning of the book there was a nice balance between the author's snarkiness and his wonder at all the interesting and wonderful birds he was seeing, but after a while the snark factor took over and I decided not to finish the book.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The Other Side of the Island by Allegra Goodman (teen). I've always enjoyed this writer's adult fiction (Intuition is one of my favorite books ever) and this was quite an enjoyable foray into teen literature.
Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell. Not a bad read, but certainly more lightweight than I've come to expect from this writer. If you really want to see what she is capable of, read The Sparrow or A Thread of Grace.
Unexpected Blessings: Finding Hope and Healing in the Face of Illness by Roxanne Black (nonfiction) -- A good read for anyone who lives with chronic illness. Black (who suffers from lupus) provides some good perspective and food for thought.
Science Fair by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (teen) -- a fun read that made me laugh out loud several times. It seemed to drag on a bit long, but maybe that's because I have the attention span of a gnat lately.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Children of Green Knowe by L. M. Boston. I enjoyed this kid's book, which I discovered after I'd read the Penderwicks book and was casting around for something similar to read.
Janes in Love by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg (graphic novel for teens) -- sequel to The Plain Janes, very satisfying.
Good As Lily by Derek Kirk Kim and Jesse Hamm (graphic novel for teens) -- got good reviews, interesting premise, but too many words (and too-small print). Am I getting old and crotchety? I hope not. Probably this is just one of the books that I'd do better reading at another time.
Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve (kid's book). The tale of young Gwyna, who meets Myrddin (aka Merlin), falls in with Arthur's band and poses as a boy (among other things). I am not finished with this one yet but am quite liking it. I always enjoy Philip Reeve's books.
Friday, October 31, 2008
I loved this book of short essays on birding, interspersed with Kaufman's musings on his relationship with his parents and his visits to his mother's room in the care facility where she is living. (One of my favorite essays was "Hell's Birders," about a gang of Harley-riding hardcore birders.)
I really enjoy Kenn Kaufman's writings about birding (Kingbird Highway was also excellent).
If Brendan Halpin wrote a version of the phone book I would probably read it. Ever since I read his book Donorboy I have really enjoyed all his writing - his fiction as well as his memoirs.
This book is wonderful - about a nineteen-year-old high school senior who has cystic fibrosis and is trying to decide what her life means (and what she should do with the rest of it). Really well done. I highly recommend it.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I haven't found anything in the last couple of days to hold my interest. But here's what I've been skimming and half-finishing:
Mothstorm: The Horror from Beyond Georgium Sidus! by Philip Reeve. The third in the Larklight series (for children). Funny, with great illustrations, but I just wasn't in the mood for it at the time.
Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo (another kid's book). Have been meaning to read this book for a long time, as it's the first in a pretty popular series for kids. I read enough to know that I would like it, if I was in the right mood. I'll probably go back to it at some point. But at least now I know enough to feel comfortable recommending it to others.
Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster (adult, memoir). Well, I'm sorry Heather (who recommended this), I gave it a shot. It definitely had some funny bits but the author's constant snarkiness and negative attitude (about pretty much everything) weren't really doing it for me, so I gave up halfway through. (Hey Heather, have you ever read anything by Laurie Notaro? She writes similar funny stuff about her crazy life but for some reason I don't find her as grating. Or maybe, once again, I just wasn't in the right mood.)
Monday, October 20, 2008
I absolutely love the Penderwicks and I love how Jeanne Birdsall writes about them. I have been savoring this book for a couple of months now - I'll read a few pages on my Kindle and then put it down, because I simply don't want it to end. I don't think I can explain quite why I adore these books so much. Part of it is the subtle humor, part of it is the sweet way the family interacts with each other (not too sweet, though -- it's not saccharine), and part of it, I think, is a hope that there are some families out there who are actually like this one!
In any case, I am almost done with the book, and I really hope Ms. Birdsall is planning to publish another one. Can't wait to read it!
I'd been waiting for this book ever since I finished book 2 in early September. I knew its release date. I pre-ordered it from Amazon and then worried that because it came out the day after Columbus Day, I wouldn't get it on the date. Then (thank you Amazon) it was sent one-day UPS on Monday, so I got it!
Then I looked at its hefty size. It is huge! And small print too. And I discovered that it was available in Kindle format. So I thought about it (for about 2 seconds). And then I bought the Kindle version (and donated the hardcover to my library). My brother said "That is SO you." (He meant the part about buying multiple copies of a book.)
But enough about how I got the book (and how many times I bought the book), let's talk about the book. It was excellent, a wonderful end to a terrific series. I am impressed with Brandon Sanderson's world-building skills. How many worlds does this guy have in him? He did a great job in Elantris (a stand-alone novel) and now in this trilogy he really did a terrific job not only of creating an interesting world, but also of creating characters that you care for.
I devoured this book and was very sorry to see it end. I am looking forward to rereading the entire trilogy in a year or so, back to back, so I can enjoy it all over again. Meanwhile, I am delighted that Brandon Sanderson was tapped to write the last book in the late Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. If anyone can bring that big, complicated world and its story to a satisfying conclusion, it'll be this guy.
Off the Deep End by W. Hodding Carter - a pretty funny (and honest) memoir of this 40+ guy's attempt to qualify for the Olympics in swimming.
My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor - a very interesting account of the author's stroke and recovery. Since she is a neuroscientist she brings an extra level of knowledge to the table.
Frommer's Honolulu & Oahu day by day (2008). Oh yeah, someone's going to Hawaii in a few months. And that someone would be ME! Hot diggity.
Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains by Laurel Snyder (illustrations by Greg Call) - this is a delightful kid's book (recommended to me by Trisha). Very enjoyable.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I'm working on a presentation about organizational culture, emotional intelligence at work and that sort of thing. It's been fascinating to prepare for it - I've read lots of very interesting books, including:
Dealing with Difficult People by Roberta Cava
A Survival Guide to Working with Humans by Gini Scott
The Nonverbal Advantage by Carol Goman (fascinating look at how you can learn to read body language and use it to guess what's going on in peoples' minds)
How to Reduce Workplace Conflict and Stress by Anna Maravelas
Authentic Conversations: Moving from Manipulation to Truth and Commitment by Jamie & Maren Showkeir (thanks to Cindy for sending me this one)
The Manager's Book of Decencies: How small gestures build great companies by Steve Harrison -- I really enjoyed and learned a lot from this one
The Civility Solution: What To Do When People Are Rude by P. M. Forni -- this one is a really useful one, good for dealing with any situation in which people are rude.
Coping with Toxic Managers, Subordinates... and other difficult people by Roy Lubit. Fascinating, well-written, but it's really scary to know how many different types of toxic people are out there.
Corporate Culture: Illuminating the Black Hole by Jerome Want. A very comprehensive look at different factors that influence corporate/organizational cultures
Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing up Scieszka by Jon Scieszka (autobiography)
|What a great book - short enough for kids to read but funny enough for people of all ages to enjoy - especially people who grew up around the time Scieszka (rhymes with "Fresca") and his 5 brothers did. The book had me howling out loud several times throughout, and I forced several of my coworkers to listen to my dramatic recitation of Chapter 33, "Car Trip." They probably didn't thank me for that, but you'll thank me for recommending the book. Trust me. Your kids loved Scieszka's books and series such as Trucktown, The Stinky Cheese Man and the Time Warp Trio -- you'll love this one.|
Monday, October 13, 2008
"The Brethren" by John Grisham (thriller) - one I never read before, published in the mid-90s, very good
"A Talent for War" by Jack McDevitt (sci fi) -- one of his early ones, in fact the first in the Alex Benedict series. Okay, but not my favorite.
"Izzy and Lenore: Two Dogs, An Unexpected Journey and Me" by Jon Katz (memoir) -- I always enjoy Jon Katz' memoirs because he is so honest about the ups and down of life, and also of course because I love the descriptions of his dogs and various farm animals. This book was especially moving to me, because it talked about Katz's work as a hospice volunteer with his dog Izzy. (Saw the book in Borders, thought about buying it there, but ended up downloading it to my Kindle and reading it.)
"The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington by Jennet Conant (history - also reading this on my Kindle) -- Very interesting book, engaging and well-written. Kind of depressing because it is clear that shenanigans and immoral doings have been going on in Washington DC since time immemorial... the one problem I have with the book is the cruddy editing. Words are left out every so often, just often enough to rudely yank me out of the world in which I am reading and make me think "Huh?" So then it takes me a while to get back into the flow. Grr.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
I had "a-ha" moments at many times while I was reading this book. "You mean I'm not the only person who feels this or does this?" It was extremely validating.
I really got a lot out of this book.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
|I can't even begin to convey what a wonderful book this is - a terrific love story, funny, heartbreaking, and so well-written. Towards the end I found myself slowing down my reading because I was sure there was no way the novel could end satisfactorily - things had gotten too complex, something was bound to go wrong -- but dang if the author didn't pull it off amazingly well. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I borrowed it from the library, but I think I need to own it.|
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Oh.... my.... GOD!!! This was a fantastic book. Wow. I just loved it. It tells the story of Mary, Queen of Scots and her imprisonment in England from three different perspectives: her own, the Earl of Shrewsbury, and the Earl's wife, Bess, who was an amazingly strong woman in her own right.
Just as good as The Other Boleyn Girl, my other favorite historical novel by this author.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Safekeeping: some true stories from a life by Abigail Thomas. Very good, I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Fashion Kitty vs. the Fashion Queen by Charise Mericle Harper (children's graphic novel) -- Wonderful!
The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson -- fantastic - the second in a trilogy. The third one is coming out in October. I can barely contain myself!!
Monday, September 01, 2008
WOW. Thanks to Stephanie B for recommending this book to me. How did I not find this when it first came out in the late '90s? I really, really enjoyed it. Anyone who likes sports, baseball, novels written in the form of letters, or funny books will probably enjoy this book. I just bought a copy for my dad and fully plan to foist copies of it onto whomever I can convince to take it. WONDERFUL book.
|Thought-provoking and interesting book.|
An excellent fantasy novel - I had a really hard time putting it down. I have my coworker Deborah B to thank for recommending Brandon Sanderson to me - what a great author. Am looking forward to reading the next book in the Mistborn series.
I spent a good portion of this weekend reading. Here's a summary:
Bats at the Library by Brian Lies (picture book - adorable, wonderful.)
Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel (picture book - funny as heck)
Poor Puppy by Nick Bruel (ditto)
Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon & Dean Hale (a fun graphic novel for kids)
Fashion Kitty by Charise Harper (thanks to Trisha for recommending this fun graphic novel for kids)
The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness by Jerome Groopman
Friday, August 29, 2008
My name is Mary, and I have a problem. Yesterday I took 2 paper-bound books plus my Kindle to work with me (plus my spare book that is always rumbling around in the back seat, JUST IN CASE). I stopped at a used bookstore on my way to my grandmother's and bought 2 books. When I got to work, six books that I had reserved through inter-library loan had arrived (okay, 2 of them are picture books so that won't take long). Then our box of advanced reader's copies came in. (Boy was Pat excited to find the latest P.D. James and Michael Connelly in there. I know what SHE is doing this weekend. But I digress.) So I added to my pile an Advanced Reader's copy of a book I've been hearing a lot about. Then while I was creating the new acquisitions list for this month, I noticed a new Linda Barnes had come out and we owned it! (Plus it was on the shelf.) Well, I haven't read any of her mysteries for a while so off the shelf and into my bag it went.
Total books brought to work: 3 (plus a spare)
Total books brought home from work: 12 (plus a spare)
Net gain: 9 books, one herniated back from lifting a very large overstuffed bag, and a realization that I have a serious problem.
But I'll deal with that later. Now I have to go finish my book. (One of them, anyway.)
Thursday, August 28, 2008
The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall (kid's book)
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
To shield yourself from prying eyes (and also play a practical joke on people who are prying), you might want to check out Flap Art at http://www.flapart.ca/.
Some of these are mighty funny.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Yay, Percy Jackson and the Olympians! Rick Riordan, please hurry up and write the next book in the series. Meanwhile I will continue savoring Book 4 until I have to finish it. Then I may go back and re-read the whole series again. That's how awesome it is.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
From Better Than Life by Daniel Pennac
The Reader's Bill of Rights
1. The right to not read
2. The right to skip pages
3. The right to not finish
4. The right to re-read
5. The right to read anything
6. The right to escapism
7. The right to read anywhere
8. The right to browse
9. The right to read out loud
10. The right to not defend your tastes
I've been hearing about this book for a while now and finally, after reading Vampirates, I thought I'd give this one a try. WOW. It was fantastic. It completely lived up to the hype I'd heard about it. I couldn't put it down.
Rick Riordan knows how to keep your attention - probably due to the fact that he has been a middle school teacher for several years. This book was interesting and funny and sad and everything good.
The funniest part for me: when the hero and his co-questors attempt to enter Hades, only to discover that it looks like a toll plaza on the Jersey Turnpike and there are three lines to enter: two regular lines and one EZ-DEATH (which is the one moving fastest, of course).
My chief disappointment is that this is book one of a series, and I only checked out the first one from the library. Now it's Sunday and the library is closed, and none of the books are available on Kindle or I'd download the second one right now and start reading! Dag nab it.
I am grateful to my friend Melissa for mentioning the title of this book while we were sitting around last Sunday reading the papers (she was reading the New York Times Book Review). The title was intriguing enough that I downloaded the first chapter as a sample to my Kindle, and by the time I'd read the first 500 words I was hooked. I have always loved books that are written in the form of letters written between people ("epistolary novels," though I've never been able to pronounce that word). This book is fantastic - letters between a novelist living in post-WWII London and the members of a literary society on the Channel Islands, which had been occupied by the Nazis during the war.
I literally could not put this book down. I read and read and read until I was finished. I highly recommend it. If you're interested in reading more wonderful books in the form of letters, I would also recommend 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff and of course the wonderful Daddy Long Legs (and its "sequel," Dear Enemy) by Jean Webster.
|Thanks to my friend Trisha for recommending this terrific book to me. The characters are well-rounded, the plot interesting, and I think this book could be really popular with tween boys and girls alike. Newly orphaned twins Grace and Connor must contend with pirates and with "vampirates" in this page-turner. I recommend it highly - and have already downloaded both sequels to my Kindle!|
Monday, August 04, 2008
Subtitled "A guide for caregivers of people with Alzheimer's or other dementias," this is a very straightforward and useful book. The author's husband suffered a slow decline with Alzheimer's, and she shares the wisdom and knowledge she learned through their last years together.
For me, since I am dealing with a grandmother with dementia, I found chapter nine "The Child Speaks" to be most helpful. It contains some interviews with children whose parents suffered from dementia, and really helped me feel that I am not alone in the thoughts and feelings that I have been experiencing.
|Dang, I do love a good Daniel Silva thriller. (And I've never read a bad one.) When I found out that a copy of this book was available at my local library branch (a browser's copy - first come first served) I jumped out of my chair and raced over there so I could grab it before anyone else did. I managed to stop myself from reading into the wee hours to finish it that very night, but it was difficult. If you haven't read Daniel Silva you are in for a treat, and although they don't have to be read in order, I would probably start with the first one about his recurring Gabriel Allon hero, The English Assassin.|
|A fascinating look at the world of "how to succeed in business" literature and how it has changed over the past century or so. This is not only a great guide for people just starting out in the workforce, but also for us old geezers who've been out in the trenches for awhile. Everyone can pick up one or two things that are useful from this book - which is the whole point! Loved it.|
Saturday, July 26, 2008
|Once again, I laughed out loud (or at least snortled) at least once almost every chapter. What a terrific summer beach read! Evanovich's writing is crisp, her characters are loony, Grandma Mazur is a pip, and who even cares about the plot? (Although the plot wasn't that bad either.)|
Amazing book - fascinating, well-written, and surprisingly not that depressing. I'm going to quote from the introduction here, since it does a better job of explaining what the book is about than I could.
"All across the nation we have snapped plates of armor onto our professional lifesavers. In return, we have very high expectations for these brave men and women. Only after everything goes wrong do we realize we're on our own. And the bigger the disaster, the longer we will be on our own. No fire department can be everywhere at once, no matter how good their gear."
"This book goes inside the black box and stays there. The Unthinkable is not a book about disaster recovery; it's about what happens in the midst -- before the police and firefighters arrive, before reporters show up in their rain slickers, before a structure is imposed on the loss. This is a book about the survival arc we all must travel to get from danger to safety."
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
The tagline is "Extraordinary women share the wisdom they wish they'd had when they were younger" and I can't say it any better than that. Some of the letters these women wrote to their younger selves gave me goosebumps. I'm buying this for a bunch of people!
Saturday, July 12, 2008
"House of Many Ways" by Diana Wynne Jones - an enjoyable "sequel" to Howl's Moving Castle
"Without A Map" by Meredith Hall. A memoir about what happens when a family abandons their child after she makes a mistake.
"The One Thing You Need To Know" by Marcus Buckingham -- interesting!
Monday, July 07, 2008
Sunday, July 06, 2008
|A very satisfying book by the extremely talented Ms. Jones. I am dying - DYING! - to read the sequel to Howl's Moving Castle which came out recently. Unfortunately they didn't have a copy at the bookstore so I guess I'll have to wait till the copy I requested from the library comes in.|
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
I Still Have It... I Just Can't Remember Where I Put It: Confessions of a Fiftysomething by Rita Rudner (memoir)
|What a hoot! Rudner is a treasure. I laughed a lot, and this was a very enjoyable read.|
|A thoughtful, well-written and interesting look at the great comedic mind of Steve Martin.|
Thursday, June 19, 2008
|Wow, another fantastic book in the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne mystery series. After the last book I didn't think it was possible for her to top herself, but she managed to find a way, and boy, is this a readable, wonderful, terrific, passionate and exciting book. If you haven't read this series I highly recommend it. But you'll want to start with the first one, "In The Bleak Midwinter." And then I dare you to be able to stop. Go on, try it.|
Sometimes I adore being a librarian. We get advanced reader's copies (ARCs)! This book is not actually due to be published till July 8th, but imagine my delight when I found it in the latest box of ARCs. I shrieked with excitement. Everyone else in the office wondered if I had gone a bit cracked.
Anyway, the book (the fifth in the Temeraire series) was wonderful -- well written, thought provoking, and awesome. Yay!
Friday, June 13, 2008
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Anyway, here are a few books whose first chapters I just downloaded to my Kindle to try:
Home by Julie Andrews
Go Put Your Strengths to Work by Marcus Buckingham
The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau
Paranoia by Joseph Finder
Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin (have been meaing to read this one FOREVER)
Escape by Laura Palmer.
"My mind, like everyone else's mind, falls into habitual, predictable traps. I get confused. Practice is not about never getting trapped. It's about recognizing traps and choosing freedom. If I pay attention, I won't get stuck forever. I'm determined to do it."