There's no way I could possibly list all the books I've read, so I
started with the last book I read before I began designing this site
(September 2002). The most recent book is at the top.
I had only vaguely heard of
before I saw the
but I was immediately sucked in. Hey, I'm a chick and it's a story about
a horse. What can I say? I haven't seen the movie yet, but the book by
Lauren Hillenbrand was excellent. It's a straight-out history of
Seabiscuit and the people around him but it's full of passion and
character. It's a great story, and a good book.
July - October 2003
I really slacked off on updating this web site and now I can't remember
what I've read and when. The following books I know I read sometime between
July and October. In as close to chronological order as possible, here they
Denise gave me
I Know This Much is True
by Wally Lamb for my birthday. For two weeks, I could not stop
that song by
Spandau Ballet. And now it's stuck in my head again. Anyway,
I really enjoyed the book. Wally Lamb has a talent for writing about
some seriously damaged people and for making you care so much about
his characters. I thought the end tied everything up a tad too
neatly, but it was still a good book.
Smilla's Sense of Snow
by Peter Hoeg. The first time I read it, I had never been to Denmark.
I read it this time with first-hand knowledge of Copenhagen and the people
of Denmark. I enjoyed it just as much. It's a wonderful book. Smilla is
such a strong, original character. I was again disappointed a little in
the ending. It faded off. I prefer strong resolution. But it didn't ruin
it for me.
I reread Amy Tan's
The Kitchen God's Wife.
It was just as good the second, or was that the third, time around.
I've enjoyed every book I've read by Amy Tan. Good stuff.
I was delighted to see that Tracy Chevalier had another book out,
The Virgin Blue. I had really enjoyed
Girl with a Pearl Earring,
and I was not disappointed. While at times I did not sympathize with the
heroine, I was still totally drawn in to the story, particularly the
flashbacks. In fact, I would have been happy if the whole story had
dealt with just the flashbacks.
I picked up
Getting Over It by Anna Maxted while Matt and I were in
Cape Girardeau, MO. I had read about it in
magazine. It was pretty good. It reminded me a little of
just in that British chick dealing with life sorta way. But it was
definitely more serious than Bridget Jones and it didn't obsess over
Colin Firth quite as much. (mmmm . . .
Colin . . .)
Anyway, I'd give it two thumbs up. I'm planning on reading more of her
Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution, by Dr. Robert C. Atkins, was good in the sense that it reinforced my decision to go on the Atkins diet. It gave me some more detailed information than I was able to get at the
But his tone throughout the book was so freaking annoying! It was
condescending and cloying. I had a hard time pushing through it.
In fact, I started skipping around because I couldn't bear to read
it straight through. I probably ended up skipping some parts. Oh well!
Thanks go out to Erynn for lending it to me.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J.K. Rowling,
was another excellent installment in the Harry Potter saga. Matt
was disappointed in what a brat Harry was, but I was okay with it.
Harry's a teenager! Teenagers are brats! He has never been a
super wonderful golden boy. I think Ms. Rowling was following the
true character of Harry. And I'm ready for Ron and Hermione to
get it on. You know it's going to happen.
To celebrate the release of the newest Harry Potter book, I reread
the first four:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone,
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,
Harry Potter and the Prisoner from Azkaban and
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I have a horrible memory
for details in the books I read. That makes it much easier to reread
them and still enjoy them. But I find that I have to reread an entire
series just to read the latest installment. It's why I've read
Dune about a zillion times.
Criminy! Another month with only one book read! I spent most of this month
reading magazines and newspapers instead. I need to get back on the book
by Clay Reynolds, was delivered into my hands by
my father-in-law Ken. He gives me so many books, I simply cannot read them
all (although my book log in the last few months doesn't support that). This one I
read. It was better than average. Some of it was way too repetitive. Okay, okay, we get
that he's inherently lazy and conflicted over the red-headed chick! Enough already! If
it had been edited a bit more, it would have been better. But still, it was pretty
I haven't been reading as many books lately. I've been mostly reading newspapers,
The New York Times,
The Wall Street Journal and
Of course, I've been reading the
Orlando Sentinel, too.
The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency,
by Alexander McCall Smith, was very entertaining. It takes place in Africa which isn't
a typical setting for books I read. That added a little extra interest for me. Also, I
really enjoyed how the book was structured, with smaller cases interspersed along a
larger case. I really enjoyed the writing style and would definitely read more books by
The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson, was a vaguely disturbing collection of short
stories. The jacket cover said it was "macabre and terrifying." Maybe it was when it
was originally published, but after
Stephen King and
I just found it vaguely disturbing. Not that there is anything wrong with that! It
was still interesting. I knew the plot of the short story "The Lottery" but all the
other stories were unknown to me. I rather liked the book.
A False Sense of Well Being, by Jeanne Braselton was loaned to me by
The book started off well, but then it took a nosedive. About a third of the way into
the book, it seemed like the author just kinda lost direction. There was no more
forward movement. It just dropped off and became a total snooze fest. I had to
force myself to finish it. I'm definitely not recommending this one.
High Tide in Tucson, by Barbara Kingsolver, was an unintended read. I had
packed books for my
then found myself uninterested in them. This book was in the
we were staying at, so I read as much of it as I could. I enjoyed the book
to a point, but
is dreaming when it comes to "mixed families." She has really romanticized the notion
of step-families and how having even more people to love a child can't be bad. Yeah,
that's true, when they love the child. But what happens when the step-parents and
step-siblings don't love that child? Or when the biological parents hate each
other and use the child as a pawn in their war? Then it's sheer hell.
Lucky: A Memoir, by Alice Sebold, was a very compelling and very scary book.
The detail she went into was powerful. If you can stomach reading a true account of a
rape and the aftermath, this was an excellent book.
Welcome to the Monkey House, by Kurt Vonnegut, was another gift from
This one was a collection of short stories, so it really covered all the different
writes in. There was science fiction, war memorials, etc. I
thoroughly enjoyed it, although I think I'm getting overdosed on Vonnegut. I'm gonna
take a break for a bit from his work.
Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier was a wonderful book. She
put such a rich story in that painting. I read it in one day. It helped that I had
a lot of time to read, but I really could not put it down. It reminded me a great
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
since it took place in Holland in the 17th century and dealt with painting. That was
also an excellent book.
Mother Night, by Kurt Vonnegut was given to me by
for Christmas. She actually gave me three of his books. This is the first out of the
three I have read. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the books I have read by
This one was great, and I think a bit more accessible than some of his
other work. At least, there weren't any space aliens in it.
Stations West, by Allison Amend was another
One Story short story. I really enjoyed
this one. It had good details. I could really picture the surroundings, especially
the trains and the lonely cabin in Oklahoma.
An Affair to Dismember, by Binyavanga Wainaina was a short story given to
me to read by my dear friend
like the whole
idea, but this particular story didn't flip my skirt. I found it hard to follow what
was going on. Good thing it was short.
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, by
Milan Kundera is the second
book by him that I have read. The other one was
The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Anyway, I really enjoyed
this book at first. It's a series of stories that all revolve around similar
themes, laughter and forgetting surprisingly enough! But by the last story, I was
getting bored. In fact, I put the book down for about 2 weeks and read a lot
of newspapers instead. Hence the small number of books for January. Anyway, I still
overall enjoyed it and would read more of his work.
The Defiant Heart, by Anita Gordon, is a trashy romance novel. This one takes
place in the early tenth century. I've read this one a number of times before. This
time, the language in it bothered me more than usual. The author's word choice was
odd. For instance, if the hero looked across a room to check out what was going
on, he "compassed the room with a glance" or something bizarre like that. Also, there
was a whole lot of "souls melting together in one penetrating glance," etc., etc.
Still, it's better than a lot of trashy romance novels out there.
Hard Eight, by Janet Evanovich was the latest in the Stephanie Plum
series. It was just as good as the other books. And Stephanie finally got
it on with Ranger. Yay! But her little CR-V was blown up. Oh, well. The whole
Stephanie Plum series is a lot of fun. They are quick and interesting reads,
and very funny!
The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, was a book I bought for my niece
Courtney but insisted on reading first. One of my favorite books of all time is
A Little Princess by the same author, but I had never read The Secret Garden.
I enjoyed the book very much, but it won't replace A Little Princess in my heart.
There were some similarities, with both little girls growing up in India, but
totally different personalities. The basic plot of A Little Princess is a
little girl withstands a cruel world, and even transforms it, simply because she is a
wonderful, caring child. In The Secret Garden, a bad little girl is made better by
rough circumstances and, in turn, improves her world. I hope my niece enjoys the
Surrender My Love, by Johanna Lindsey, was another trashy romance. I'm
in a rut. I have all these magazines to read and instead, I'm re-reading trashy
romances. Oh, well. This one was okay. It's the third in a trilogy. Lindsey is
all about the various members of a family each getting a book. This was probably
the weakest of the three, but I hadn't read it more than twice, so I gave it a go.
Say You Love Me, by Johanna Lindsey, is a trashy historical romance
novel that I've read a couple of times before. When I get in the mood to read
trashy romances, I just go dig around in my box of them and start re-reading.
Anyway, this was book 5 in a series about the Malory family. That series started
out well, but I was about tired of all the bickering that went on by the time
the series was over. Sheesh.
Come Up and See Me Sometime, by Erika Krouse, started slowly. In fact, I was two stories in and I thought, "Man, this sucks." And then I got three stories in and changed my mind. The stories got progressively better and I ended up liking the book. Maybe I just had to get used to her style. Also, I thought the Mae West quotes at the beginning of each story were a tad hoaky. All in all, it was entertaining. If someone offers to loan you the book, go ahead and take it.
Slightly Shady, by Amanda Quick, is a trashy romance novel. Yes, yes, I
trashy romance novels. I prefer historical romances, and
is one of my favorite romances authors. I have almost all of her books. This one
was a little different. It didn't stick to the typical historical romance plot.
First of all, the heroine was not a virgin (gasp!), she didn't need a lot of
rescuing, and there were virtually no physical descriptions of the main
characters. In fact, I was surprised to find out mid-way through the book that
the heroine was a redhead. It was basically a historical mystery with a little
romance thrown in. Quick's books have always had a mystery-type bent. This one
took a bigger stride in that direction. All in all, I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't
say it was one of my favorites by her.
Scandal is my favorite.
Naked, by David Sedaris, was another book I borrowed from Denise. This
one was just as good as Holidays on Ice. I really like short story collections.
This guy's going on my list of favorite short story writers. (The other
name on that list is
T. Coraghessan Boyle.) You'll probably see more books by Sedaris
pop up on my reading log in the future. I enthusiastically recommend his work.
Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris, was loaned to me by Denise - a.k.a.
The High Priestess of the Velvet Pillow and Blanket. (You rock, Denise!) I
gave this book to her for Christmas. She had registered for a number of Sedaris
books on her wish list. Anyway, I finally got around to borrowing it from her
and it was great! I really like the way this guy writes. I'm definitely
reading more of his work and I would highly recommend it to anyone! This one
is good to start off the holiday season.
Black-Eyed Suzie, by Susan Shaw, is a young adult's book so it took me
all of about 2 hours to read. I got it from my father-in-law Ken, who is a
total book-pusher. I read it because I thought my 8-year-old niece Courtney might
like it. I enjoy reading young adult literature and this was a compelling story.
I'm not sure if I'll give it to my niece just yet. The subject matter is pretty
disturbing - child ends up in a mental institution as a result of being abused
by her mother and the story traces her path of recovery. The book's lesson is that
problems should be talked about - silence is damaging. This might be a good lesson
for Courtney, because her parents are going through a rough divorce. Maybe this
would spur her to talk more about what she's going through. I'll have to think
All Families are Pyschotic, by Douglas Coupland, was a highly entertaining
book. The only other thing I had read by Coupland was
Microserfs. That's one of Matt's favorite books, so when I saw this new
book by Coupland, Matt bought it and read it right away. I really enjoyed it. Some
of the crazy Florida stuff reminded me of
Tim Dorsey's books, which I understand are similar to
Carl Hiassen's work although I've never read anything by him. I'll have
to start looking for more books by Douglas Coupland.
Princess, A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia, by Jean
Sasson, was loaned to me by Fran, my most stylish friend and a co-worker. (Turns
out she borrowed it from Ann Marie.) It was . . . interesting. Some of the things
she writes about were horrifying. Other times, I was disappointed in the heroine's
childish reactions to events in her life. But I suppose growing up in the society
she describes doesn't typically instill the most rational and calm thought
processes in a person. It was worth the read, but I won't be reading the sequels.
Good in Bed, by Jennifer Weiner, was loaned to me by my good friend and boss,
Ann Marie. Overall, I'm gonna say I enjoyed it. I admit that when I got close to
the end, I was compelled to stay up late to finish it. The main character,
Cannie, had an amusing sense of humor and there were some cute plot developments
and such. Some of the extremes her character went through struck me as a bit odd.
In fact, she seemed to have a total character change near the end, but she
recovers nicely. I thought the ending wrapped things up just a little too nicely
(it's okay to have a dangling thread or two) but all in all, I was pleased. I'd
recommend this to friends.
The Life of Elizabeth I, by Alison Weir, was loaned to me by my sister
Dani quite some time ago. Actually, I gave it to her as a gift knowing full
well she'd loan it to me when she was done. This was an excellent book. I'm
not a major history buff, but I always enjoy
Weir's work. Anyone who is interested in the history of the English
monarchy, or just fascinated by Elizabeth I should read this book. It rocked!
The Persia Cafe, by Melany Neilson, was recommended by my father-in-law.
He's always handing me books. I didn't find it particularly scintillating.
It drug along and didn't have any big pay off in the end. The author sort of
hinted early on about some great psychological wounding of the heroine and
I never saw that come to fruition. I would not recommend this book.