Saturday, January 28, 2012

Library Overload

It's one of those weeks when the library showers abundantly upon me!

Drums of Autumn, the fourth Outlander novel, came to me in audio CD form. I've been waiting for it for weeks (via interlibrary loan)! I adore listening to Davina Porter read Gabaldon and popped the first CD in the computer right away.

Also in from interlibrary loan:
  • The Real Oliver Twist: Robert Blincoe: A Life That Illuminates a Violent Age by John Waller (a compelling history of the lives of workhouse children in the industrial revolution). This title was mentioned in the fascinating At Home by Bill Bryson. And since I recently read Oliver Twist, this caught my attention.
  • North by Northanger (or, The Shades of Pemberley) by Carrie Bebris - 3rd in a series of mysteries featuring Mr. and Mrs. Darcy
  • An Experiment in Criticism by C.S. Lewis - this was recommended by the instructor of The Art of Reading course I just completed.
  • I've been wanting to re-read Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion trilogy, so I thought getting that on audio would help me accomplish that. But apparently I didn't request them in order since the 3rd volume arrived yesterday. Can't listen to that without #1 and #2! lol
I love interlibrary loan!

A beautiful library in a nearby town is a quiet convenient place for me to log some work hours while waiting for David to be done with Robotics league. But it's filled with such horrendous reading temptations! I've resisted until this past Tuesday. I even had to get another library card to use this library, bringing my total to FIVE library cards. Yes, I belong to five different libraries!

The first book I read from that library is The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis. Originally written in Danish, this thriller tells of a Red Cross nurse who finds a naked preschooler in a suitcase stuffed in a public locker.

Grabbed The Coupon Mom's Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half by Stephanie Nelson. Because I know I should work harder at couponing, this one caught my attention. Gonna skim through and see if a thorough reading would be helpful.

A bright yellow book caught my eye - Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness. Written by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, this book covers the topic of choices and how we make them - good and bad.

Skimmed through What to Wear for the Rest of Your Life (ageless secrets of style) by Kim Johnson Gross and decided it wasn't worth my time to really read. Also skimmed through Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn't Cook from Scratch -- Over 120 Recipes for the Best Homemade Foods by Jennifer Reese and decided I want to OWN this one. Who wouldn't want to make their own marshmallows? :-)

Of course, I am also still finishing The Count of Monte Cristo (abridged) for the Brit Lit class I am co-teaching, as well as just beginning The Turn of the Screw by Henry James for book club.

Even if I only read all day long, I don't think I can get through all these! LOL I will do my best!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

December Reads

December was a productive month for reading fiction! I managed nine books!

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson - 12/1/2011 
Good - Thriller
Christine has amnesia - the kind in which every day starts as a blank and she can't remember two decades of her adult life.
The premise was intriguing, but the added mystery kept me guessing right until the end. Enjoyable!

The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson by Jerome Charyn - 12/10/2011 
Good - Historical fiction
A meandering first-person look into the passionate crooked mind of Emily Dickinson.
I wanted to like this novel more than I did. I wanted to like Emily Dickinson much more than I did. But she comes off as selfish, insane, and immoral, though with a muddled note of genius.  From what I can tell, this is more fiction than it's not anyway.

Henry Tilney's Diary by Amanda Grange - 12/11/2011 
Excellent - Historical fiction
Starting at age 15, Tilney writes of his family life and eventually meeting Catherine Morland in Bath.
I adore Amanda Grange's Austen hero diaries and I've been eagerly awaiting Tilney's diary since I favor him above all other Austen heroes. Tilney did not disappoint me! Loved reading his side of the story. I think I only have Wickham's Diary left to read (and of course, HE isn't an Austen hero as such!). 

Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich - 12/14/2011 
Excellent - Fiction
Stephanie comes back from Hawaii with a mysterious photograph that lots of bad people want. Plus Joyce Barnhardt is missing, presumed dead.
Back on track with #18, Evanovich's bounty hunter heroine Stephanie Plum finally realizes she can't forever keep two guys dangling on the line. I enjoyed Eighteen a lot!

The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon - 12/18/2011 
Excellent - Fiction
Jamie Fraser and Lord John travel to Ireland to investigate an army officer for a court martial and become embroiled in a Jacobite plot.
OK, so you should know up front, The Scottish Prisoner is one of the Lord John novels. (In case you aren't a Gabaldon junkie like me, Lord John is a gay character from the Outlander books - rather a main character.) I read one Lord John novel back a few years ago and it wasn't my thing really, so I've avoided reading any further ones. Until now. I read online that this novel (and all the Lord John books actually) give more detail about the Outlander storyline. So I decided to bite the bullet as it were and give it a try. Glad I did! I know more about Jamie Fraser than I did before, as well as some of the minor characters in the series. And I just skipped over any parts that made me squeamish. There weren't many. 

Suspense and Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited) by Carrie Bebris - 12/22/2011 
Good - Historical fiction
Lizzy and Darcy take Kitty and Georgiana to London for the Season, where Kitty meets the cheerful debonair Mr. Dashwood. But he soon undergoes a puzzling and distasteful change.
A nice light mystery involving Austen characters and with a touch of the supernatural. I am working my way through the series. This was #2.

Black Silk by Judith Ivory - 12/26/2011 
Fair - Historical fiction
A Victorian rake falls in love with his guardian's widow, but she is not interested.
This was recommended on an author blog I sometimes read as an example of an unusual romance. I liked the story but found the writing awkward and pretentious. 

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon - 12/28/2011 
Excellent - Historical fiction
Claire travels back to find Jamie and the story eventually makes its way to America.
I listened to Davina Porter's skillful audio recording. Wow, every time I re-read one of Gabaldon's books, I am just amazed by the depth of her plots and the detail of her writing. Love it! This was my 3rd time reading Voyager

Cemetery Girl by David Bell - 12/29/2011 
Good - Thriller
12yo Caitlin disappears when walking her dog, but reappears 4 years later. Her father needs to know where she has been.
Just found out I can borrow library books on my Kindle, so I wanted to test out the process. This title was one that looked good for a test. Interesting story. I didn't really like the way it was written, but it was certainly a page-turner!

Reading Reflex: The Foolproof Phono-Graphix Method for Teaching Your Child to Read by Carmen McGuiness 
Excellent -Non-fiction
I've been working with Suzy out of this book since last spring. It's really been helping her gain confidence in her reading. It was recommended to me by a friend who is a certified teacher with additional training in Reading. WELL worth the money and time!

What are YOU reading!?