Sunday, December 28, 2014

October Reads and November Non-reads

A practical view of the prevailing religious system of professed Christians in the higher and middle classes in this country : contrasted with real Christianity (1829) by William Wilberforce - 10/20/2014
Excellent - Classic - Non-fiction - 354 pages - Kindle
Wilberforce’s influential book challenged readers to center their life, both public and private, on Christ’s redeeming work and teachings.
Wilberforce was the subject of the film Amazing Grace. He penned this book in the early 1800's to draw attention to the lack of true (or real) Christianity among the upper class in Britain. Challenging both in style (1800's, kwim?) and in content, this is a valuable, though difficult read. I also have the modern paraphrase of this book which I hope to read at some point.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien - 10/23/2014
Good - Fantasy - 480 pages - Audio - approx. 19 hours
Frodo obtains the Ring of Power and sets out with the Fellowship of 9 to destroy it.
I've read this several times previously. This was our book club read for October.

I didn't FINISH any books in November. Our book club selection was several short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, so that doesn't count as a book.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

September Read (Yes, singular)

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - 9/5/2014
Excellent - Classic - Audio 12 hr 18 min
Scout's father Atticus is assigned to defend a black man accused of raping a white woman in 1930's Deep South
Yes, I only managed to read one book in September, but wow! what a book! I've never read To Kill a Mockingbird before, but this was our book club selection. I took a while to relax into the flow of the story, but once I did, I adored it! 

Friday, December 26, 2014

August Reads

Shakespeare on Toast: Getting a Taste for the Bard by Ben Crystal - 8/5/2014
Excellent - Non-fiction -  257 pages - Print
Witty and user-friendly, this brief guide to Shakespeare proves him a genius who is still relevant and enjoyable.

The Screwtape Letters (also includes "Screwtape Proposes a Toast") by C.S. Lewis - 8/5/2014
Good - Inspirational - 128 pages - Print
A correspondence between two demons, the elder giving the younger instructions on how to lead humanity astray.
My goal is to read ALL of Lewis. I've read this before, but it was good to re-read.

Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich - 8/8/2014
Good - Suspense - 341 pages - Print
An assassin is after Ranger.
Out of 21 books by Evanovich, this one was satisfying!

On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction (6th edition) by William Zinsser -  8/10/2014
Good - Non-fiction - 294 pages - Print
Principles, methods, forms, and attitudes of Good Writing.
I have been wanting to read this for a long time. Some of the chapters I found VERY inspirational, others were very practical, and some just dragged on.

Simplify Your Time by Marcia Ramsland - 8/17/2014
Good - Non-fiction - 196 pages -  Print
30 days of practical time-saving and organizational skills
A practical goal-setting plan that I really should try.

How to Be the World's Smartest Traveler (and save time, money, and hassle) by Christopher Elliott - 8/29/2014
Excellent - Non-fiction - 276 pages - Print
Travel expert gives advice, tips, and info on all aspects of travel from hotel rooms to airlines to eating out. Very practical and informative.
I learned a lot about travel of all kinds.

Killing Jesus: A History by Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard - 8/31/2014
Good - Non-fiction - 280 pages - Print
Fact-based account of the life of Jesus
I expected more from this non-fiction account. Perhaps I already knew a lot about the historical Jesus, but there wasn't a lot here that I found fresh. For those who aren't aware of the facts, this would be an awesome read though!

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King - 8/31/2014
Excellent - Non-fiction - 288 pages - Print
This look back at Stephen King's career is mesmerizing and moving, as well as honest and practical,
WONDERFUL book! Fascinating even for writers who aren't fans of King's writing.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

July Reads

Hamlet SmartPass Plus Audio Education Study Guide to Hamlet (Dramatised, Commentary Options) (Unabridged) by  ‎ William Shakespeare, Simon Potter - 7/24/2014
Excellent - Classic - Audio 7 hr 42 min
The multi award-winning SmartPass study guide with and without commentary options. This is a full-cast, unabridged performance with comprehensive commentary and analysis for any student to fully understand and appreciate the play. Universally accepted as Shakespeare's finest play, we peel back the layers of Hamlet to discover how and why it deserves such a place of honour in world literature.
I adore Hamlet. These SmartPass audios are wonderful for understanding the finer points and cultural references in the plays. 

How to Travel the World for FREE by Michael Wigge - 7/25/2014
Good - Non-fiction - 152 pages - Print
One Man, 150 Days, Eleven Countries, No Money! Michael Wigge traveled from Germany to Antartica starting with no money at all.
Very interesting account of how this dude charmed and scammed his way around the world.

Hamlet: A Novel by John Marsden - 7/29/2014
Fair - Young Adult - 229 pages - Print
Novelization of the classic Shakespearean play
A couple book club friends and I decided to read the novelization of Hamlet, but little did we know there is more than one choice! So, I read this (lackluster) version and they read another.

Monday, December 22, 2014

June Reads

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis 6/4/2014
Good - Childrens 224 pages Audio (4.5 hours)
Shasta escapes from slavery with talking horse Bree and heads for Narnia.
I remember not really enjoying The Horse and His Boy as much as the other books of the Chronicles of Narnia. But I read it aloud to Suzy and James and they really enjoyed it. I did too!

The Space Between: An Outlander Novella by Diana Gabaldon 6/8/2014
Good - Fiction 118 pages Kindle
Michael Murray escorts Joan McKimmie (Laoghaire's daughter) to a convent in Paris, while the Comte St. Germain experiments with time travel.
Wow! This is a key part of the Outlander time travel puzzle.

The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis 6/9/2014
Good - Non-fiction 109 pages Print
Essays on education, society, and nature and how the Tao relates to our morality.
Lewis = genius. 

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon 6/10/2014
Excellent - Historical Fiction 820 pages  Audio (45 hours, 58 minutes)
Jamie and Claire leave Fraser's Ridge to head for Scotland, but are sidetracked by the growing revolution. Jamie's dilemma is increased knowing that his son William is a British officer. Roger and Brianna are in 1980's Scotland reading letters left to them by Jamie and Claire, but an unexpected visitor turns things upside down.
Re-reading before MOBY is released. LOVE!

In the Land of Blue Burqas by Kate McCord (pseudonym) 6/18/2014
Excellent - Non-fiction 312 pages Print
Reflections from an American Christian woman who went to Afghanistan as an aid worker. She tells many stories of conversations she's had with Afghans about religion, culture, and more. I highly recommend this book.
Wow, this was poignant. (Why can I never pronounce that word?) Highly recommended!

What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio 6/20/2014
Excellent - Non-fiction 334 pages  Print
This book presents 80 people around the world and a photograph of what they ate on one ordinary day.
Fascinating look at what people eat around the world.

Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens 6/21/2014
Good - Classic 891 pages Audio  (31 hr 21 min)
Poor but genteel, Nicholas Nickleby makes his way through the world to happiness and love, despite those who would seek to discredit or injure him.
Dickens is an acquired taste nowadays, but back in his day, new installments of his novels were as highly anticipated as the newest episodes of The Walking Dead or Outlander. lol

Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon 6/23/2014
Excellent - Historical Fiction 848 pages  Print
Finally! Here it is! Long awaited and well worth the wait,

Beowulf by Seamus Heaney (translator) 6/24/2014
Excellent - Epic 256 pages  Audio (2 hr 15 min)
Epic saga of a warrior
I listened to this which was probably not as effective as reading, but I understood most of it.

Valiant Soldier, Beautiful Enemy by Diane Gaston 6/29/2014
Good - Regency Romance 283 pages  Print
Captain Gabriel Deane rescues a Frenchwoman and her son and falls in love with her.
A nice fluffy read.