Tuesday, July 21, 2015

June Reads

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton 6/12/2015
Good - Young Adult - 192 pages Audio 5 hr 9 min
Ponyboy Curtis is a "Greaser" who ends up caught in a deadly struggle with their rival gang, "The Socs".
I may teach this book for a class next year and I wanted to re-read it. I read it years ago as a teen.

Flirting with Forever by Gwyn Cready 6/21/2015
Good - Romance - 415 pages Print
Art curator Campbell Stratford accidentally travels back in time to meet 17th century artist Peter Lely. Rated MA for explicit sex.
Fluffy read. 

May Reads

May was CRAZY-BUSY!!

Someone is Watching by Joy Fielding 5/10/2015
Good - Fiction - 384 pages Print
Private investigator is raped while on the job and afterwards suffers PTSD symptoms while trying to fight her way back to normalcy.
Fielding always writes an ending with a twist. This one too. I didn't see it coming.

The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien 5/26/2015
Good - Fantasy - 381 pages Audio 14:14
The Ring is destroyed and the King is enthroned.
Re-read for Book Club. I sadly found I didn't appreciate the series as much as I have in the past. 

April Reads

The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien 4/1/2015
Good - Fantasy - 448 pages,  Audio 16 hrs and 40 mins
The 9 members of the Fellowship are divided and the quest to destroy the Ring is continued.
Re-read for my book club. I think I've read this 5 times in my life now.

Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard by Laura Bates 4/4/2015
Excellent - Non-fiction - 304 pages Kindle
From breaking out to breaking through, that’s what reading Shakespeare did for Indiana federal prison inmate Larry Newton, who was locked in solitary confinement for more than 10 years. His story is recounted by English professor Bates, who taught the “Shakespeare in Shackles” class that gave Newton, convicted of murder as a teenager, his new lease on life. (Booklist summary)
Wow! This was a wonderfully inspiring read. I love seeing what happens when people pour into the lives of others.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins 4/13/2015
Good - Fiction - 336 pages Print
“Rachel takes the same train into London every day, daydreaming about the lives of the occupants in the homes she passes. But when she sees something unsettling from her window one morning, it sets in motion a chilling series of events that make her question whom she can really trust.”—Woman’s Day
It was entertaining. The way the story was told took a lot of attention to follow.

Don't Give Up, Don't Give In: Lessons from an Extraordinary Life by Louis Zamperini and David Rensin 4/14/2015
Good - Memoir - 272 pages Kindle
American hero Louis Zamperini shares his wisdom, values, lessons, secrets, and other insights gleaned from his remarkable experiences in this powerful and inspiring book. (Amazon summary)
Before Unbroken, Zamperini sat down with Rensin a few times to discuss what he'd learned throughout his life. 

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant 4/17/2015
Excellent - Fiction - 352 pages Audio 11:50:55
Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that tell of her father, Jacob, and his twelve sons. It begins with the story of the mothers--Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah--the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that sustain her through childhood, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. (Amazon summary)
I've read this before and remembered it as a great read. This was a re-read for book club and I was surprised at finding so much R-rated material that I didn't recall. The discussion at book club was one of the best we've ever had though! I am always fascinated with the life of Joseph and since he was Dinah's brother, he figures in to this story (which is probably why I liked it so much the first time).

Friday, April 03, 2015

February and March Reads

Warriors: I Bring the Fire Part V by Carolynn Gockel 2/6/2015
Good Fantasy -  301 page Kindle
When tragedy strikes Amy’s beloved mutt Fenrir, and Odin strikes Bohdi’s best friend Steve, they have to work together again. Amy’s knowledge of science, Bohdi’s talents for theft, and both of their survival skills are put to the test. But more than Steve and Fenrir’s lives are at stake. Amy and Bohdi may unlock the key that saves mankind from the gods … or bring about the apocalypse.
This series captivated my interest and even though Loki is no longer a central character, I've kept reading. There is one more installment and a short story to finish up the series. I've purchased them but haven't made time to read them yet, partly because I don't want it to be over.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand 2/14/2015
Excellent Non-fiction - 473 pages Print
Telling an unforgettable story of Louis Zamperini’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.
My 15yo son and I saw the film and were impressed by this story, so I sought out the book to read. My sisters, mom, and aunt all read the book to discuss at our annual weekend together. An enthralling story told well. 

 Saving Grace by Jane Green 3/1/2015
Good Chick Lit - 343 pages Print
Beth McCarthy seems like the perfect assistant for Grace and her famous author husband, but is she too good to be true?
I picked this up at the library when I needed a quick distracting read. 

 The Princess Bride by William Goldman 3/10/2015
Good Young Adult - 512 pages Audio 2 hours 34 minutes
RE-READ (2008) Join Westley the plucky farm boy, Buttercup the beautiful young maiden, Inigo Montoya the driven, embittered swordsman, and many other strange and unusual characters in this swashbuckling tale of good-natured silliness. It is read by Rob Reiner, who directed the motion picture based on this classic tale.
I adore the film. Love it! But the book doesn't quite hit me the same way. Something about the tone of the narrator is too snarky or too condescending. I read it before a few years back and felt the same way then, so this one isn't on my favorites list. However, it is entertaining and there are layers of the story in the novel that are not in the film.

December's Reads

Just realized I haven't posted December's reads!

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 12/8/2014
Good Fiction -  422 pages Print
Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears and Nick is the main suspect. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? (adapted from Amazon summary)
What to say about Gone Girl without giving spoilers? This is a book that stayed with me, but was oddly unsatisfying. That may have been the way Flynn intended it. I'm not sorry I read it, though. 

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak 12/12/2014
Excellent Young Adult - 574 pages Audio 13 hours and 56 minutes
RE-READ In 1939 Nazi Germany, young Liesel Meminger lives with her accordion-playing foster father and rough-talking foster mother... and the Jewish man hidden in the basement.
The Book Thief was polarizing at book club. People loved it or hated it. No middle ground. I have read it twice and love the beauty of the language and I appreciated the voice of the narrator and the poignancy of the story. I loved the film as well which was very well-cast.

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer 12/21/2014
Good Young Adult - 368 pages Print
"Teenage Delilah prefers spending her time with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. Then one day Oliver actually speaks to Delilah. Turns out, Oliver feels trapped by his literary existence and is sure there’s more for him out there in the real world. (condensed from Amazon.com summary) "
I enjoyed this creative tale by Jodi Picoult and her teenage daughter. Characters in a book interacting with the reader? Yes, please! (I should note that this book is nothing like Picoult's other novels, at least the ones I've read.)

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain 12/27/2014
Excellent Non-fiction - 370 pages Kindle
In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. (Amazon.com summary)
This really is a must-read. 

Praying God's Word Day by Day by Beth Moore 12/31/2014
Good Non-fiction - 382 pages Kindle
An inspirational thought and a prayer for each day of the year
I read this throughout 2014.

Believing God Day by Day: Growing Your Faith All Year Long by Beth Moore 12/31/2014
Excellent Non-fiction - 394 pages Kindle
Believing God, a powerful study of Isaiah 43 and Hebrews 11, is now available in a convenient day-by-day reading format, reminding us time and again that God is bigger than we can imagine and faithful to be who He says He is, do what He says He can do, and help us be who He says we are. Believe it! (condensed from Amazon.com summary)
I liked this one better than the prayer one and read it throughout 2014. 

Monday, February 02, 2015

January Reads

The Light Princess by George MacDonald 1/1/2015
Excellent - Children's - 110 pages (Print)
A princess is cursed with a lack of gravity.
I assigned this to Emily to read and decided to read it myself as well. I've always wanted to read MacDonald, but a difficult reading experience with one of his books when I was a teenager had prejudiced me against him. However, this wasn't at all hard to read! Very simple, but deep.

Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley 1/11/2015
Good - Chick Lit - 501 pages (Print)
Young actress Celia Sands is offered the lead in a play in Italy because she shares the name of the actress for whom the play was written.
A couple friends rave about Kearsley and I've read two of her so far, both entertaining and light.

Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life by Brian Wansink 1/16/2015
Excellent - Non-fiction - 320 pages (Print)
How to set up your living environments so that you naturally lose weight.
Interesting ideas on how to set up your home and work areas to make losing weight and eating healthy easier. Ideas are also included for schools, restaurants, and grocery stores - from a business perspective - make money and give customers what they want. I've implemented a couple ideas so far - have NO food visible in the kitchen except a fruit bowl with at least 2 kinds of fruit and move the produce out of the produce drawer in the fridge and onto an eye-level shelf. 

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen 1/24/2015
Excellent - Classic - 400 pages (Audio 14 hr 27 min)
Book Club Re-read - Impoverished Fanny Price lives with her aunt and uncle.
I like this book more each time I re-read it.

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant 1/24/2015
Good - Fiction - 322 pages (Print)
85-year-old Addie Baum answers her granddaughter's question, "How did you get to be the woman you are today?"
I have enjoyed other books by Diamant (The Red Tent) and requested this from the library as soon as it was released. Interesting story of an urban Jewish woman born in the 20s who wants to be independent and still find love.

What are you reading?