Friday, December 29, 2006

The Monk Downstairs by Tim Farrington

Well, I've been staring at the computer screen for about 5 minutes now trying to figure out what to write about this book. All I can come up with is, It was okay. I liked the relationships, I liked the characters, but the story line just didn't blow me away. Contrary to first impressions gleened from the title, the characters were very real and down to earth. A so-so read.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Naked by David Sedaris

Very funny in parts, although I did find David slightly pretentious and hard to believe. I'm not big on the short story format, and wished for some sort of chronology. But then again some parts were so funny I forgot I cared. There were lots of interesting characters. I liked the parts about his childhood the best, especially the lightswitch licking.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Top 5 of 2006

Here's my favorite reads of 2006!

1. Eventide by Kent Haruf. I loved Plainsong and was amazed to find I liked the follow-up even more!
2. Boy's Life by Robert McCammon. The most imaginative book I've read since childhood. Thanks for the recommendation Dad!
3. These is My Words by Nancy E. Turner. Never thought I'd like historical fiction until I read this book. Sarah is one of the best heroines I've ever read.
4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. A fascinating, and sometimes difficult read.
5. I couldn't decide between The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. Mitch had me crying and Mark had me laughing!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Boy's Life by Robert McCammon

Wow! Loved it! This is the perfect kind of book for me. It's like a great children's fiction book written for adults. I'm so jealous of Robert McCammon, because he seems to have never lost that awesomely powerful child's imagination. I can remember the day I realized I didn't have it anymore, and how sad it made me feel. This book makes you remember exactly what that was like. It was extremely entertaining the whole way through. I can see why it's one of my Dad's favorites, because he is also a kid at heart.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore

Freaking Hi-larious!! I really loved it. I love the way he writes. Here's one of my favorite lines. Noone knows why, but second only to eating the brains of the living, the dead love affordable pre-fab furniture. And he narrates everyone, including a dog, a fruit bat named Roberto, and one of the character's crazy in your head kind of voices. If you need a holiday pick-me-up, this is it.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. Was she really wicked? What is evil anyway? These were the questions this book attempted to answer by delving into the Witch's childhood and the politics of Oz itself. I thought it was just so-so. Many parts were interesting, and many went into excrutiating detail. I would have liked it more concise. There were lots of interesting characters, and you'll never be able to look at the Wizard of Oz the same again. It was a good book to follow The Memory Keeper's Daughter. I needed something "out of this world" so to speak.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

I read a lot of wonderful reviews about this book, but I just didn't see what they were seeing I guess. I found most of the main characters unlikable, which made it difficult for me to have the emotional connection that was needed to really enjoy this book. The main character David especially. I found him to be a self-righteous, patronizing, son of a bitch. Pardon the french! I guess if the intended purpose of the book was to make me outraged then it succeeded. On the otherhand, it was a well written book, and would make an excellent book for discussion.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

These is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

5 stars!! Let me preface this by saying, I didn't expect to like this book. I don't generally like historical fiction, but this book came highly recommended and was chosen for an online book club I joined, so I thought I would give it a shot. The book is based on one of the author's ancestors who lived on the frontier in Arizona during the end of the 1800's. It is written as her diary. The narrator is one of the best heroine's I've ever read. I could not put this book down. It starts out pretty brutal, but that only serves to make you truly become involved in the characters. I really loved this book, and I plan to read the next one that continues the story, Sarah's Quilt. I balled like a big, fat baby at the end, even though it was somewhat predictable.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner

Nice, fun, and quick read. It's the story of four women all having children at the same time that meet at prenatal yoga and become friends. I would put this in the category of fluff book. Nothing that's incredibly thought provoking or deep, but you know it must be an entertaining read if I was able to finish the 550 page book in 5 days. One interesting point though, this was the first book I think I've ever read that is set in my time with characters that are my age and doing the same things I'm doing. It was kind of surreal. They read the same books to their kids as I read to Elise, the same music, shopped at the same stores, etc. The only part of the book that bugged me was how the character Becky, who is supposed to be this very self-confident, sassy sort of person, constantly allowed her mother in law to walk all over her. I just didn't buy it. I'd definitely read another Jennifer Weiner though.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The World According to Garp by John Irving

I hesitate to say I liked this book. I do think I liked it, but I've come to realize that I am a terrible sucker for a happy ending. I just feel so incomplete without the dessert after the main course. I really like John Irving's writing style, but when I get so involved in characters and then you kill them off all the time, I find it hard to come away from the experience feeling satisfied. I realize that this is personal preference thing, and I don't want to say that I enjoy the book. There were parts I enjoyed immensely. I loved the term the "Under Toad" because this is just the sort of term my husband and I would pick up from our daughter and use for eternity. It's just not my kind of book, but it's good to get out of your comfort zone every now and then. Now I'm off to read something really sweet and sappy!!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Body of Evidence by Patricia Cornwell

This book was loaned to me by Colleen, a co-worker. It would probably make a good plane or vacation book. It was enjoyable, just not the kind of book I'm into. I'm not usually a big mystery reader. I especially don't like courtroom drama. This book avoided the courtroom, and focused on the forensic aspect of crime solving. Still, I'd rather just watch Law and Order.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Phenomenal book!! It was fascinating and laugh out loud funny in some places. It is written from the perspective of an 15 year old autistic boy named Christopher. In the beginning, he is blamed for killing a neighbors dog, and then decides to do some "detecting" and find the real killer. I'm just astounded at how convincingly the author wrote as an autistic person. The way Christopher sees things is so concrete. He doesn't understand facial expressions, body language, or anything subjective like that, yet he is exceptionally intelligent. Really great character development. I loved the whole thing.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

A very enjoyable book. Probably wouldn't be in the top ten, but very good nonetheless. I think my main problem was that I liked all of the other characters better than the main character. If I had liked her more, it would have been a list topper for sure. The story is really beautiful though.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Ugh. Did not like this book. Although somehow it escaped my 100 page rule. The beginning was very interesting. The way the character explored his own spirituality by participating in three different faiths. I also liked hearing about growing up in India. From then on it's 15 chapters of fish killing and tiger maintenance, then a couple chapters of "What the hell?", and then it wraps up with confusion and dissappointment. Pissed I didn't quit in the fish killing stage.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

I had to wait a while for all the hype to die down, before I could read this book. I hate reading books when there's a lot of hype surrounding them. Now that I've read it, I'm confused about all the controversy. I don't think Dan Brown was trying to challenge our religious convictions with this book. I think he was just trying to write some interesting fiction, which he succeeded at. Sure parts of the book made me want to look pictures up on the internet for comparison, but never was I thinking "Gasp! He's uncovered the conspiracy of the ages!!" I enjoyed it. Not a top tenner, but a fun, quick easy read.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

I aboslutely loved this book. I would loan it to anyone. It was amazing. I read it in 3 days. I cried at the end. I really expected it to be somewhat predictable. It was not. This one will for sure make the top five of 2006. Took my breath away.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Lovely Bones by Alice Siebold

Kind of bummed about this one. It really had the makings of something great, but kind of tanked at the end. I really needed her to wrap this up with a nice little bow, and the story just kind of ended. I realize some authors do this intentionally to keep you thinking, but this felt more like she just ran out of steam or something. I really liked how this book depicted family life and how people deal with grief. I was just really hoping for a killer ending, no pun intended.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Oh My Stars! by Lorna Landvik

I loved Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons so much that I had to read another Landvik book. I didn't like it quite as well, but I think I just identified more with the characters in AHEBB more. I still really love her story telling style and her characters. It was a very good book nonetheless.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Once Upon a Day by Lisa Tucker

I'm not really sure what to write about this book. I really enjoyed it. Good storytelling, interesting characters. It was just missing something, and I can't put my finger on what. Still, I would recommend it.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Eventide by Kent Haruf

I just had to read this book because I simply LOVED the first novel Plainsong. And as unbelievable as it was to me, I think I liked this one even better. Kent singled out 3 of my absolute favorite characters and continued their story. What a wonderful story it was. I am so in love with his characters. I find myself wanting to call them up on the phone just to see how they are doing. Incredibly touching. I wish all my reading experiences were like this.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

I really enjoyed this book on so many levels. It had everything friendship, love, family, oppression, heroism, faith. I feel like I really got to know Afghanistan too. Not like some authors do, describing the terrain, the weather, but what it was really like to live there. My only complaint was with the ending. I can't really say why though, don't want to ruin it.