Saturday, December 22, 2007

Booklist for the 2007 Fiction Lovers Challenge

Fiction Lovers is a online book club/message board. The challenge this year was to rid our shelves or To Be Read lists of books. We had to pick 26 books to be read by the end of 2007. Here's my list, starred items are books currently on my shelves. Books in brackets have already been read.

[The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver]
[Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors]
[The Book Thief by Markus Zusak]
[Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay]
[The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls]
[Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson]
[Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry]
[The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty]
[The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander Mccall Smith]
[One True Thing by Anna Quindlen]
[The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory]
[Peace Like a River by Leif Enger ]
[The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett]
[Pope Joan by Donna Cross]
[The Red Tent by Anita Diamont]
[The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Zafon]
[Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See]
[Tangerine Dream by Ken Douglas and Jack Stewart]
[The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield]
[The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger]
[The Vintner's Luck by Elizabeth Knox ]
[The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides]
[A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks]
[Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen]
[Watermelon by Marion Keyes]
[Zorro by Isabel Allende]

Mission Completion!!

The Vintner's Luck by Elizabeth Knox

6/10 - Ummm... I don't think I got this book. It's about a man's relationship with an angel, and is set on a Vintyard in France during the mid 1800's. Some parts were interesting, some parts bizarre, and some parts just disturbing. There were some interesting theological plot turns that were quite thought provoking. I found the language, while elegant in parts, was overall difficult to understand. I don't think it's a bad book overall, but not one I would recommend to anyone.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Book of Joe by Jonathon Tropper

10/10 - You can't judge a book by it's blurb, and this book is a perfect example why. The blurb made it sound like a quirky funny light read, but there's really so much more to the story. It was also very touching and insightful. I really liked how he wrote about his high school years. It made me very nostalgic. Beautiful right to the very end. I highly recommend it. I just finished it tonight, and I've already passed it on.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Inspired Passages ~ The Book of Joe

Another revelation. I think this one requires a little more background. Joe has written a highly controversial book that portrays his home town and its inhabitants in an unflatterly light. Now he's back in town after 17 years and has reunited with one of his high school buddies who is dying of AIDS. They go out for bender and he runs into his friend's mother after dropping him off at home.

"So, you're a famous author now," she says in the same tone she might have used to say, "So, you're a convicted pedophile."
"I guess so," I say.
"Well," she says disdainfully. "You won't find me reading that trash."
"If you haven't read it, how do you know it's trash?"
"I heard about it," she declares gravely. "And believe me, hearing was plenty."
"Well," I say, placing the book back on the shelf and heading for the door, "I guess that's my cue."
I head down the stairs, now noticing the crucifix and assorted Jesus artwork that occupies every available bit of wall space. Wayne's mother follows behind me, muttering something quietly to herself. As I reach the front door, she calls my name softly. I turn to face her. "Yes?" I say.
"I'm praying for your father," she says.
"And what about your son?"
She frowns and looks heavenward. "I pray for his soul."
"He's not dead yet," I say. "I think he could use a little less praying and a little more compassion."
"He has sinned against the Lord. He's paying the price."
"And I'm sure the Bible has nothing by praise for the woman who denies her suffering child a mother's love in his final days."
She flashes me a dark look, her eyes filled with the defiant righteousness of the dogmatically pious. "When was the last time you read the bible, Joe?"
"You won't catch me reading that trash," I say. "I've heard about it, and believe me, hearing was plenty."

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Good Grief by Lolly Winston

8/10 - I was really impressed by how well the author handled this topic. I think it's hard to center a book around grief, because you want things to turn out well for the person that lost a loved one, but you have to make it believable at the same time. You can't just make everything happily ever after at the end. I thought the book progressed a a perfect pace, and was entertaining. I would read more by this author.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

8/10 - My Grandpa inspired me to read this book. It is one of his favorites. I always pictured him as a cowboy of sorts, and danced to Marty Robbins in his living room many a time. I was a little worried that I wouldn't like it for two reasons. One, it's a western. Two, it's a 1000 page western. The first half of the book was okay. I think it dragged a little just because there were sooooo many characters you had to get to know. The last half however went quite speedily and I enjoyed it much more. There are some really phenomenal characters in this book, my favorite for sure being Gus McCrae. Boy I just loved Gus! I also found myself wanting to speak with a drawl, and use phrases like "it was the derndest thing". I was more than a little dissappointed with the ending. You spend all this time with these characters, and then you don't even get to find out what happens with half of them, unless they're dead, which is a fair number. I could have made it through another 100 pages to find out what became of them. Mr. McMurtry? I could have used an epilogue.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

10/10 - This book was VERY dark and VERY gory! Don't read it at night when you are by yourself. That could be VERY detrimental to your blood pressure. However, it was also VERY interesting and VERY creative. Are you VERY sick of me writing VERY in all caps yet? I really enjoyed this book, but it's not for the faint of heart. Imagine if Stephen King was into writing fairy tales, that's what this book is like.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Zorro by Isabel Allende

6/10 - Although this story had it's entertaining moments, I found it to be rather cheesy and drawn-out. There was a lot of background at the beginning that didn't end up to be of any importance to the story. Too much at the front and not enough at the back of the story if that makes sense. I was expecting a lot more action and romance, and ended up with a lot of build-up to a flat climax. A rating of "I read it, it was okay" is a perfect description.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

10/10 - Oh, this took me back to the days when all I used to read was Anne Rice novels. I just love the supernatural genre. This book also gets the award for most appealing male character. Can I trade places with Bella, please? Edward is, literally, to die for. I could gush about his attributes forever. Mmmmm..................... Oh, what was I doing. That's right, I was telling you about this book. So much fun, the perfect read for October. Lots of greats suspense, and did I mention Edward?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Inspired Passages ~ One True Thing

This inspired passage comes from the lovely Anna Quindlen. It is the best descriptions of what marriage is that I've ever read. It's hard to describe to someone who is not married how love changes over time, but she does it so well in this dialog between Ellen and her mother. I think any married person who reads this will appreciate the truth in it.

You make concesions when you're married a long time that you don't believe you'll ever make when you're beginning," she said. "You say to yourself when you're young, oh, I wouldn't tolerate this or that or the other thing, you say love is the most important thing in the world and there's only one kind of love and it makes you feel different than you feel the rest of the time, like you're all lit up. But time goes by and you've slept together a thousand nights and smelled like spit-up when babies are sick and seen your body droop and get soft. And some nights you say to yourself, it's not enough, I won't put up with another minute. And then the next morning you wake up and the kitchen smells like coffee and the children have their hair all brushed and the birds are eating out of the feeder and you look at your husband and he's not the person you used to think he was but he's your life. The house and the children and so much of what you do is built around him and your life, too, your history. If you take him out it's like cutting his face out of all the pictures, there's a big hole and it's ugly. It would ruin everything. It's more than love, it's more important than love.

Inspired Passages

I'm creating a new type of post, entitled inspired passages. I'm going to include an excerpt from a book that I found particularly poignant, inspiring, or just plain hilarious. The kind of passage that you would bookmark to have a friend read later. Or that you would pass to a spouse and say, "You have to read this part!". I find things like this all the time, and since I'm usually reading alone (or my husband wouldn't get it) I have noone one to share it with. So now I'm going to share it here. Isn't the internet a wonderful thing!!

One True Thing by Anna Quindlen

10/10 - I think a better name for this book would have been Many True Things. Quindlen just hits the nail on the head so many times in this book that it has inspired a new type of post for me. I'm entitling it "Inspired Passages". More on that in the next post. What amazed me the most was how Quindlen is able to write so convincingly from so many perspectives. The dialog in this book is just amazing. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from this book. To read the description, the story sounds so "done". But it was so much more that I thought it would be. I definitely want to read more by her, and will take every description with a grain of salt now.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

10/10 - This is one of the most eloquent books I've ever read. It was amazing, and heartwrenching. The kind of book that you could read a 100 times and never understand all of it's meaning. I feel spent from reading it. It's hard for me to give a book that is so sad a perfect 10, but this book is perfect and sad. Side note - Why is this book categorized as Young Adult?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Red Tent by Anita Diamont

10/10 - The mention of the word 'biblical' always makes me nervous. I start imagining pages of So and So beget So and So, then So and So beget So and So and so on and so forth. Although there is quite a lot of begetting in this book, the story is so beautiful and touching it is easily forgotten. I can't believe I waited so long to read it. There are so many key elements; love, mysterious places, different times, strong female characters. Working in labor and delivery gave me special perspective, although I think most women who have gone through childbirth appreciate midwives stories. This book earns a place on my highly recommended list.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tangerine Dream by Ken Douglas and Jack Stewart

1/10 - Ooooohhhh Puke! Was this book written by a 15 year old porn addict or what? Lesbian twin sisters!?! I've never read a more ridiculous story line in all my life. For the love of Pete! I don't know how this book got such good reviews. It was a title that kept coming up on my Listmania searches on Amazon, so I put it on my Fiction Lover's Challenge List for this year. That is the ONLY reason I finished it. I can feel the bile rising in my throat even now as I look at the cover.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

7/10 - A pleasant, quick little read. I did enjoy some of the more heartwarming parts, but I found it, overall, incredibly cliche'. This was over the top even for the sap queen here. I liked the author's writing style. It was very comfortable, like sitting and listening to your Grandpa tell a story. I just wish there was something, anything, original in the story.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory

8/10 - Again, I'm surprised to find myself liking historical fiction. It has never appealed to me, but I've picked up a few highly recommended books of the genre and I've not been dissappointed. I think it's especially poignant to read as a women. You can't help feeling appreciative of how far women have come. I was a little daunted by the length, but the author really kept the story moving. A very entertaining read.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

8/10 - Quick, fun read. I loved Mma Ramotswe's straightforward matter-of-fact personality. This is a rare book because I wished it would have been more detailed, more in depth. You got a taste of Africa, but it would have been great to have that really immersed feel you get with more detailed writing. Fun read although very predictable. The characters and the unique African culture make it very entertaining.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Book of Bright Ideas

10/10 - Heartwarming! It was everything I love in a book. Great characters, good mix of happy and sad, and a good if not somewhat predictable ending. Reminescent of Lorna Landvik, whom I love. I thought the story line was very believable. But the characters were fabulous! Can't say enough good things.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Gifted by Nikita Lalwani

2/10 - I really wanted to like this book, really I did. It was an advanced reading copy that I was given to review. But the truth is, it wouldn't have passed my 100 page rule under normal circumstances. It is utterly lacking in warmth, and the first half of the book is excrutiatingly repetitious. It reads like The Memory Keeper's Daughter (which I hated) and has elements of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (which I loved for it's humor and warmth, two characteristics which this book was completely lacking). There are secondary characters that we explore in detail, yet add nothing to the story. And the ending leaves us hanging over a precipice with nothing close to resolution or epiphany. I had to force myself to finish it, and when I did, I threw the book to the floor in disgust. I feel like such a jerk for writing this, this is the author's debut book, but I promised to be truthful, so there it is.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Brothers K by David James Duncan

8/10 - It was a long journey, and I'm not sure where we were or where we've ended up, but I can say I enjoyed my stay. When the book came to an end, I didn't feel as emotional as I expected, being a lover of character driven fiction. I mostly felt disoriented, if that makes sense at all. I think my favorite part was the how the boys came of age in there own understanding of theology and their beliefs. I thought the advice their father gave them was so simple but important, and I liked how he really pushed them to be their own men, by not pushing them towards anything at all. That's how I hope to be as a parent. I want my daughter to chose her own path, but hopefully set an example that she'll want to follow. Very interesting book to say the least.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

8/10 - Beautiful story that flowed really well. I absolutely loved the character Swede, but aside from Swede and Reuben, I didn't feel like I got to know the characters as well as I really wanted to. They were all such great characters. The ending was good, but I felt like he could have done so much more with it. There was such potential to make it really meaningful and moral, but the author ended up taking it into a somewhat bizarre direction. Don't get me wrong, it was a good ending, I just thought it could have been more. Overall I liked the book, but many people had compared it to Plainsong, which I absolutely loved and I didn't think it quite measured up to that book and it's sequel.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

10/10 - Holy cow, I loved it!! It had everything; mystery, great characters, and an ending wrapped up in a neat little bow just like a Christmas present. Yet so out of the ordinary, all of it. I don't want to go into more description for fear of spoiling all the little surprises. If I could put a little caricature of me finishing this book on here, it would show me with both arms up in the air, my hair flying behind me, giant grin on my face, screaming "Wheeeeeeee!!!!" Loved it, loved it, loved it!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore

7/10 - I was a little bummed by this book. I really loved The Stupidest Angel, but this didn't have the same great wit and humor. It's definitely bizarre like Angel, but lacked the humor. This was Moore's debut, so I'm giving it some leeway, and I know I'll come back for more Moore.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

8/10 - I'm so happy I finally finished this book. I started it last summer and got 300 pages in and had to set it down. This is an epic centered around the building of a cathedral in 12th century England. I enjoyed most of the story line, but found the parts about the actual cathedral construction and the monks tedious. I was deep into a monk chapter when I put down last summer. It also annoyed me when the author felt the need to recap what had happened earlier in the book. I read it, and if I feel I need to refresh my memory, I'll go back a look it up. However, I really enjoyed the love story in it, and it was very interesting to read about life in the 12th century. It was a good book, but I'd be hesistant to recommend it. You'd have to be really committed to reading it.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

8/10 - This is one of those books that make you realize how much times have changed. From women's roles in society to psychiatric treatment, this story covers a lot. I had a hard time feeling sympathetic towards the main character because she led such a pampered life (what did she have to be depressed about?). However, I don't think she really expects or wants the reader to be sympathetic, she's written so matter-of-fact. I thought Esther was very progressive for her time. I can't say this was an enjoyable read, but it was definitely thought provoking. You can't help but wonder how much of it was autobiographical.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

8/10 - Well written, interesting story about circus life in the 1930's. I liked it well enough. The story flowed nicely, and there wasn't any particularly slow parts, but I didn't feel very invested in the characters. It's not one of those books that will really stick with me. It was much more story driven, than character driven, and I usually prefer the latter. Good book just the same.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Rock Orchard by Paula Wall

10/10 - What a riot! I loved these characters!! This book was just pure fun, and probably the sexiest book I've ever read. I usually try to avoid romance type novels, and I this is certainly not in the same category as Harlequin, but it has a romantic/sexual flare. The perfect book if you're in a rut.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

10/10 - Wow! What a truly interesting book, totally different from anything I've ever read. I love Niffenegger's perspective on the idea of time travel. It's so much more interesting than someone getting into a time machine and pushing some buttons with dates on them. Very original! What an extremely romantic story as well. Although it broke my heart. My only complaint about the book was the use of profanity. I don't have a problem with profanity in literature as long as it's befitting of the character using it. But it kills the mood when the heroine refers to her husbands genitalia as a "cock", or her own private parts as a "cunt". I've never in all my years (as an L&D nurse even) heard a woman refer to her vagina as a cunt. Ugh!! It hurts me to even type it!!

Sorry for the soapbox there! I truly did love the book, and I'm totally willing to overlook the language to recommend it to others. I just want to know why it's there. Anyway, read it!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

7/10 - Well, I think I'm finally convinced. I'm just not a mystery/thriller reader. I've tried, but it's just not my thing. I really liked Dexter's character, but the plot left me cold (no pun intended), and the ending was pretty flimsy. Are the police in Miami really that bad? I'm sure it will make a lovely little mini-series.

Friday, May 04, 2007

A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel

8/10 - Fun, light read. I was expecting to relate to Zippy more, since we both grew up in very small, Midwest towns. But we had very different personalities, and upbringings. She certainly was a character growing up though! I thought the book was entertaining, and I was never bored. I just didn't identify like I thought I would.

Monday, April 30, 2007

The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty

10/10 - This is the kind of book that inspires me to read. A perfect story about imperfect characters, real people. I loved Smithy! The story reminded me a lot of She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb, which is another one of my favorites. When I read the reviews, it seemed a lot of people had a hard time with the chronology. But I felt the book flowed really wonderfully. It was so warm too, you really got to know Smithy's family and care about them. This is another one I can't wait to loan out!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Watermelon by Marian Keyes

9/10 - Very fun, light read. A bit on the predictable side, but then again I like a bit of that now and then. Desperately wanting things to turn out a certain way, and then it actually happening. A novel idea. I really liked the main character and thought she was very believable. Great humorous banter the whole way through.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

9/10 - I was so happy to get back to this genre. Back in the day, all I used to read was Anne Rice novels ;-) This book had the added bonus of making me feel like a world traveler, or desperately wanting to be one. I found myself looking up Hagia Sophia and other sights from the book on the internet. I really enjoyed the author's writing style and the letter format was very effective in telling the story. The suspense was just enought to keep you moving through all 700 pages. And the historical perspective was very interesting, and sometimes horrorifying (please no more mention of babes being impaled while still at their mother's breast!). I would recommend it, although it definitely takes a patient reader. It's not a fast read, but meant to be lingered over.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan

10/10 - I read a lot. And because people see me reading all the time, I get lent a lot of books. I'm always grateful that people want to share there favorite books with me, but sometimes I look at the book thinking "Oh boy, here we go again." That's kind of what I thought when Claudia lent me this book. It didn't really look like my kind of thing, although I don't think I could be specific about what my kind of thing is. However, I ended up reading this book in 3 days. I didn't want to put it down. It is so entertaining! Not to mention inspiring. I just love characters that you would just die to meet. Evelyn Ryan is one of those characters. I was overcome that one person could be so clever and infinitely optimistic. Just the thought of having 10 children alone makes me cringe (to be honest), but to also have to deal with poverty and alcoholism. I don't know how I'd manage. I don't know that I could. I raise my Shirley Temple to you, Evelyn! You were one class act.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

6/10 - I think I'm missing the point of this book. I felt like the narrators were trying to tell me something and it either went over my head or there really was no point. We didn't really get to know any of the characters, and although there were some great plot twists, I feel like it really left me hanging. No pun intended.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

10/10 - I was blown away by this book. It was by no means an easy read, and sometimes not a pleasant one either. This book encompassed so many of the emotions and experiences of a soldier in the Vietnam war. What if feels like to be drafted. What it was like coming home. What it feels like to kill a man. The camaraderie, the horror, the death. Each story had a mood all it's own. A real tangible feeling to it. Can't wait to lend this out and see what other people think.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Color of Water by James McBride

10/10 - This is one of those books that I think everyone should read. It's not preachy, it just lays down the facts and lets you draw you own conclusion. I loved the way the authors story and his mother's were interwoven so effortlessly. And it blows my mind that racists and bigots can co-exist in the same world as people like the McBride Jordan family.

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman

7/10 - After perusing the first few pages of this book in B&N, I was anxious to read it. I enjoy books with a bit of supernatural flare. The beginning was great, the ending wonderful and heartfelt, but I could have easily done without the middle. The narrator (and main character) spends the majority of the book wallowing in self pity and flowery language. Her self destructive behavior is cliche and tedious, and her focus is always self centered. She has the personality of a 15 year old goth kid who thinks they're sooooooooo deep, but really have no clue about the real world. And believe me, I know, I was one. ;-)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Little Children by Tom Perrotta

9/10 - Being a 30 something parent, this book really spoke to me. I was blown away by how accurate Perrotta's portrayal of contemporary suburbia was. Although there were a few somewhat stereotypical characters in there, who cares!, we know there are always people who fit stereotypes to a tee. And no where is that more true than suburbia. I really identified with Sarah, and her constant struggle to fit in with the other mothers and neighbors. I only took off a point because the book sort of felt like it was written with the intention of being made into a movie. I thought this before I even found out it had been made into a movie. The chapters read a little too much like scenes, and the dialog like lines. Overall, a really enjoyable read. I would highly recommend it. Hope you like it Michou!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross

9/10 - Now here's a female character I like! Strong, intelligent, not afraid to fight for what she believes. She ascends to the throne of St. Peter and becomes Pope as a highly educated and talented physician (albeit disguised as a man) and she does it in 800 A.D.! I'm not usually a big historical fiction buff, but I was surprised how well the author kept the story moving by interjecting a romantic subplot and a good dose of action and dispicable villains. I can't elaborate on why I only gave it 9 stars, because that would ruin it for those who haven't read it yet. Now if we only knew if it was a fictional story based on a real person or a myth.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

7/10 - This is another one of those books that would make an excellent book for discussion, but that I didn't really love. While learning about the history of women in China was fascinating and I found myself searching for pictures of "Golden lilies" on the internet, it gets depressing hearing over and over how very little they thought of women. I guess I can read a book where women are treated appallingly, if I feel the characters work to improve their situation or the fate of women in their culture. But I felt the main character, Lily, did more to perpetuate the poor treatment of women, especially by their own gender, than she did to improve it. I also heard what a great book about women's friendships this was, but I didn't really feel that in this book. And I found the sexual overtones distracting and odd. I wouldn't discourage someone from reading it, but I probably won't be handing it out to all my friends either. Except, I think Denise would find it interesting.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Patty Jane's House of Curl by Lorna Landvik

10/10 - Okay, I'm a sap, and Lorna Landvik caters to my every sappy whim. She is one of those writers that is so comfortable for me. I love her characters and writing style. Sure it's chick lit, but who cares if it brings you pleasure. Not every book has to be an intellectual odyssey right? All right, all right, I'm off to broaden my horizons now. Thanks Claudia for lending it to me.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

8/10 - An exceptional memoir, but a difficult read. I've come to realize that so many things change when you become a parent. I'm no longer able to watch the horror flicks I loved as a child, and I would just as soon not know anything about what's going on in the world. Ignorance really is bliss for me. I guess that's what ruined this book for me. It is truely an exceptional read, honest, heartbreaking, powerful, amazing. Yet I could not get past the GOD AWFUL parents. I know you where supposed to come to appreciate them for who they were, but I just couldn't. You shouldn't be a parent if you can't put your kids before yourself. That's just basic. But these people didn't even have them as high as 3 or 4 on their list of priorities. It made me sick, and I wanted to throttle them. The fact that 3 out of their 4 children turned out to be normal healthy functional adults is pure miracle. I highly recommend you read it if you think that's something you can get past.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Zafon

10/10 - What a ride! This book took me a really long time to read (comparitively), but it was more like savoring a fine wine than anything. The perfect book if you're looking to escape. You can really get immersed in the story and Barcelona. It was a great mystery and romance that really kept you guessing until the very end.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

9/10 - Roach is an extremely talented writer. You'd have to be to be able to write about the topic of human cadavers with such tasteful but excessively witty humor. I was simultaneously laughing myself silly and suppressing a gag, which is saying a lot for someone who deals with all matter of bodily fluid on a regular basis. Although this book is a fascinating read, it is not for the weak of stomach. She covers all topics from the basic anatomy class dissection to cadavers used to verify the Shroud of Turin's authenticity. Body snatching to medicinal cannabilism. This book was extremely well thought out and researched. It also succeeded in not only being entertaining and informing, but it caused me to genuinely contemplate what I would like done with my remains. I'd reccommend it to anyone who dares.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors

8/10 - If you looking for a little romance, but don't want one of those cheesy romance novels, than this is the book for you. The book is set in 17th century Hindustan where the emperor overcome by grief over the loss of his beloved wife commissions the building of the Taj Mahal in her honor. His daughter, Princess Jahanara, begins her own love story during it's construction. This is a fairy tale made for adults complete with Princesses locked in towers, villains, and heroes on horseback. The only thing that kept me from giving the full 10 rating was the intermingled chapters regarding the warfare and political happenings of the area. I realize that some of this was necessary to tell the story properly, but I felt that many of these chapters were too long and felt more like interuptions than part of the plot line. Still a wondrous read.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

10/10 - What a delightful book! I don't think I've ever read a book that flowed so well and had me guessing to the very end. There was no slow spot, no part I thought the author could have left out. Who thought a murder mystery could feel so warm? It had it all; great characters, wonderful plot, and that ending that makes you go "ahhhhhh..." I would highly recommend it.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Why Girls Are Weird by Pamela Ribon

8/10 - Funny and entertaining. Can I say how glad I am NOT to be single? Reading about all her dating drama just made me cringe!! Not that married life and motherhood are without their own set of quirks, but my self esteem just doesn't hold up very well when it comes to all that "he loves me, he loves me not" drama. I think there's something about Anna K that just about every girl could relate too. And the parts about her weblog and associated issues was very believable. My favorite character by far was Anna's gay friend, Dale. I want him to be my friend!

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

10/10 ~ I was hesitant to read this book, because I had heard so many great things about the Poisonwood Bible and only managed to get through 6 chapters of that. However, my fellow Fiction Lovers (see links) assured me that this was still worth a try. Wow was it ever! I read the last two chapters with tears streaming down my face. It made me realize why reading is so much better than watching TV. How can you understand the emotions of a character by watching them on a two dimensional screen, never knowing how they're really feeling inside. Taylor was all tom boy tough on the outside, but insecure and shy on the inside. Plus I think being a mother myself, really pushed the tears over the edge. This will be a tough act to follow, and definitely deserving of the 10 out of 10 rating.

Rating System for 2007

I've decided to initiate a rating system this year. I'm loosely basing it on the pain scale I use with patients in the hospital. I started this pain scale because I got tired of people looking me in the eyes with a smile on their face and telling me they'd rate their pain a 10 out of 10. So I came up with this. "0 is no pain. 10 is me sawing off your arm with a rusty knife and no anesthesia." This managed to bring those 10's down to a 9, not much of an improvement. My book rating scale will be something like that, except in reverse.

0 - Gag me with a missile.
1 - I'd read it again...if you had a gun to my head.
2 - About as enjoyable as cleaning up cat puke.
3 - My 3 year old tells better stories than this in her sleep.
4 - If I had to read it for school, I might finish it.
5 - It would pass the time if you were stuck somewhere with no TV or internet access.
6 - I read it. It was okay.
7 - Entertaining, but doesn't blow you out of the water.
8- I would happily loan it to a friend.
9 - Better than sex AND chocolate.
10 - Are those choirs of angels I hear?