Saturday, September 25, 2010

Summer Reads

Have not been doing well with updates here. Here are my summer reads. The comments in italics are my thoughts as of today, so some of the less memorable books won't be very detailed.

Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon - 6/10/2010
Excellent - Historical Fiction
Re-read (AUDIOBOOK)
My second time reading the latest book in the Outlander series. Loved it more listening to it. But you? You must start at the beginning.

Whiter Than Snow by Sandra Dallas - 6/17/2010
Good - Historical Fiction
Poignant tale of children caught in an avalance in a 1920's mining town
Very touching story with an interesting presentation. Each story is told independently and then woven together at the end. Loved it, though it was sad.

The Burning Wire by Jeffrey Deaver - 6/22/2010
Good - Thriller
Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs combat a perp killing people with electricity.
Better than the last Deaver I read which seemed to be slightly soapbox-oriented.

Read It and Eat by Sarah Gardner - 6/29/2010
Excellent - Nonfiction
A Month-by-Month Guide to Scintillating Book Club Selections and Mouthwatering Menus
Going to get a copy of this and use it for our book club. I loved the selection of books and the coordinating recipes.

Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles - 7/7/2010
Fair - Historical Fiction
Civil War Female Prisoners
Did NOT like this much. Though it was interesting at times, it was quite a downer.

Catching Katie by Robin Lee Hatcher - 7/11/2010
Fair - Inspirational
Katie comes back to Idaho from Washington DC with the intent of working for women's suffrage, but finding love isn't in her plans.
Anachronistic and pedantic. Wish it wasn't.

Friends of the Heart by Emilie Barnes & Donna Otto - 7/15/2010
Good - Inspirational Non-fiction
Growing friendships that last forever, written by real-life best friends
Enjoyed this. Started it a couple years ago and never finished. Unearthed it recently and devoured the rest.

The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland - 7/22/2010
Good - Fiction
A fictionalized account of the life of Artemisia Gentileschi, one of the few female post-Renaissance painters to achieve fame during her own lifetime.
Well-written and fascinating, though not especially uplifting.

Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens - 8/4/2010
Good - Classic
Amy Dorrit is raised in a debtor's prison in this rags-to-riches love story.
Book club selection. Dickens is wordy, but masterful at creating character descriptions and plot!

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert - 8/4/2010
Good - Memoir
Liz travels to Italy, India, and Indonesia in search of peace and a path to God.
Wow, what a well-written and humorous ode to finding oneself (which is code in my book for S.E.L.F.I.S.H.N.E.S.S.)

The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg - 8/5/2010
Good - Fiction
A group of high school classmates gather for their 40th reunion.
I enjoyed this story and seeing how the classmates had changed in the 40 years since graduation.

The Book Thief by Marcus Zuszak - 8/10/2010
Good - Young Adult
A young girl grows up in Nazi Germany while her foster parents hide a Jew in the basement.
Again, not so uplifting, but very intriguing, especially in presentation. The narrator, for instance, is Death.

Beachcombers by Nancy Thayer - 8/15/2010
Good - Fiction
Sisters come back to their childhood home on Nantucket after life-changing events.
Rather self-absorbed tale of divorces, adultery, father-daughter relationships, etc....

Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott - 8/17/2010
Good - Fiction
Shocking details of the life of a teenage drug addict who pretends everything is normal.
I am not a big fan of Lamott's style, though she does have a way with words. The story, though, is startling and much like a train wreck you can't look away from. There are kids like this, I am sure, and I do intend to make sure none of mine are.

What Clothes Reveal: The Language of Clothing in Colonial and Federal America by Linda Baumgarten - 8/21/2010
Good - Nonfiction
18th and 19th century garments from the collection at Colonial Williamsburg are examined and explained in this photo-illustrated over-sized book. Very interesting!
I was fascinated by the details in this book. Did you know clothes were often taken apart for cleaning?

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows - 8/24/2010
Good - Fiction
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - almost completely told in letters, it's the story of an author just after WW2 who discovers new friends on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel.
Very sweet read! I resisted this at first because I didn't like the title. A couple friends suggested I would like it and I did!

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - 8/30/2010
Excellent - Historical Fiction
Re-read (AUDIOBOOK) Claire Randall steps into a stone circle and ends up 200 years in the past.
Here's the beginning you were looking for. If you haven't read it, you just might like it. A friend (who will remain nameless) recently told me she read it and loved it. She not only read the first one, but all 7. I just adore Outlander.