Friday, December 31, 2010

My top 10 books of 2010.

In the order I read them

The End Of Alice - (2/28) - A.M. Homes 272p

The Things They Carried - (4/10) - Tim O'Brien 256p

A Gate at the Stairs - (5/7) - Lorrie Moore 336p

The Help - Kathryn Stockett 5/5 stars (audio)

Super Sad True Love Story - (6/6) - Gary Shteyngart - 352p

Gone with the Wind - (9/26) - Margaret Mitchell 860p

Little Bee - (9/30) - Chris Cleave 304p

Room - (10/9) - Emma Donoghue 336p

Lolita - (12/10) - Vladimir Nabokov 336p

Columbine - (12/19) - Dave Cullen 464p

I read a total of 50 books, listened to 21 on audio. My complete list can be found here

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Swamplandia! - Karen Russell

At first you won't suspect that this book is going dark places. It has an edge to it for sure, but I was caught off guard toward the latter part of the book. Fortunately for me, I like dark books.

It's an original tale with quirky settings and characters. There is some outstanding writing, and many laugh out loud moments. At times, it reminded me of Geek Love. Russell successfully sucks you into her world. But like the gators which are wrestled with in the book, sometimes she lets you go.

I struggled a bit with the pacing of the novel; found it very uneven. It would be slow going for a while, and then it would pick up and I would think, 'yay! here we go', and then she'd would sort of veer off on an historical footnote or some other detail which didn't add much to the story. Some of that felt like filler. 40 or 50 less pages, and this would been a 5-star read for me.

It was fun, unique, funny and dark. This also seems like it might be really good on audio.

Incidentally, for some reason this book keeps being affiliated with David Foster Wallace, and suggestions like "buy together with Infinite Jest", or tag with Tennis? I'm guessing it has something to do with both authors short story collections, and I'm not curious enough to do a lot of research about it. Those associations should in no way affect your buying decision of this book positively or negatively. The writing and story telling is nothing like DFW or IJ.

4 out of 5 gators in the swamp

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Columbine - Dave Cullen

Among Eric's final words (on video) to his parents, he quoted Shakespeare "Good wombs have borne bad sons."

The first question we need to ask: Is it important to know understand what happened at Columbine? I think that answer is yes.

This isn't sensationalized rubbernecking, there's a LOT of valuable information here.

Mistakes were made and instead of coming clean, the media and the police kept perpetuating the false truths until they became reality. What I remember about Columbine, I've learned, is vastly different than what really happened. Why is it important to know that? Because it gives us some context for what we see and hear in the future. The media doesn't care if they get it right, they only care that they get it. Period. We have the right (and an obligation) to question what they tell us.

Psychology in this book is fascinating. Not just Dylan and Eric, but everybody. Witness reaction, survivor reaction, parental reaction, police reaction, public reaction.

Religion made a mad dash for the spotlight in the wake of Columbine. It certainly features prominently in this book. A clinging to faith, a begging for comfort and understanding; some even begging to live. Ultimately, at least according to this book, no lasting changes occurred.

It's hard to "love" this book, but it's definitely a solid 4.5 star read. I liked what he did with the time lines. It saved the reader from being constantly slammed in the face with the massacre and grief. There is some nice dispassionate analysis. I liked that.

The author has clearly arrived at some conclusons as the years have passed, which show through in the book. His impressions may be completely accurate; he's lived with the evidence. Since I haven't read the evidence myself, I can't hang my hat on it being an ultimate truth, but it seems to make sense. There were occasional strange choices in the narrative. Trying to use a "teen" voice. It didn't work and was kind of undermining to his expertise. A minor quibble.

This is an important book, one every parent should read. We can all spin this however we like, but Dylan and Eric had seemingly normal upbringings. The bottom line is this - They weren't your kids, but they could have been.

There's a Hemingway quote toward the end "The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places."

May we never have to break this way again.


(I modified this review slightly after originally posting.)

Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm Dreaming of a Black Christmas - Lewis Black

Spoiler Alert - Lewis Black is Jewish

Wait? What? A Christmas book? Told by a Jewish guy? Oh the irony. The hilarity!

Or not so much. It was like the concept was the entertainment, and content be darned.


Let me just say this: I enjoy the comedy of Lewis Black. And, very often, I AGREE with him. I agreed with the a lot of what he had to say in this book, but I felt like the whole time he was preparing me to disagree ("you might want to stop reading now", "did I offend you? Too Bad"). Arguing with me, when I hadn't voiced the merest of objections. If I didn't know what I was getting into, I wouldn't have listened; so quit yelling at me.

Speaking of yelling, I know that's his shtick, but I'm surprised this dude has not had a heart attack and keeled over during one of his routines.

There were some briefly funny moments, but mostly it was his typical views on the state of the world, with some awkward Christmas tie-ins. I felt like it was a bunch of filler, peppered with numerous unnecessary mentions of the fact that he is, in fact, Jewish.

The only real stroke of brilliance in this was his "Carol of the Bells" redux. Since I listened on audio, I actually heard him "sing" it and I do recommend checking it out. But you can find that YouTube and save yourself some time and money. This book just wasn't very good.

2 mentions of being Jewish would have been enough, out of 5

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Blackout - Audio - Connie Willis

Someone send the retrieval team for the editor!

There are a vast array of opinions on this book, and somehow I think I agree with them all.

I understand that the Willis intended for this book to be a single book with All Clear but that the publishing company wanted two books. They were right. I highly doubt anybody would have gotten through 1,100 pages of this in one go. Where the publishing company fell down was editing. Holy cow!

I've not read All Clear yet, and I do plan to, but I definitely need a little break, even though this book ended with a cliffhanger.

This is my first experience with Willis, so I didn't have any preconceived ideas about what the book would be. I found it clever and a really original way to tell historical fiction. I like the way that she got into the lives of the "contemps" to show what an average person's life was like during WWII. However, I wasn't ever entirely sure I understood the motivation of the "historians" who went back in time to "observe."

I liked the characters, in spite of their sometime denseness, and constantly thinking to themselves, "surely the retrieval team will be here tomorrow."

Speaking of the retrieval team ... I think every author should use the tools available to them in their word processing program. Specifically: "find all". If you input - say - "Retrieval Team" or "The Drop" into this function and find that you have - say - 5,000 of that phrase, you may want to do some editing.

This is where the book suffered. So much repetition. There are 3 primary characters, and all had virtually the same inner monologue and they had it in abundance. I swear there were complete sentences repeated more than once in the book. This lead to a lot of eye-rolling on my part.

What saved this book from the "did not finish" pile, was the fact that I listened to it on audio. The narrator was borderline astounding. There are a lot of characters in this book and a lot of fast-paced dialog. She was outstanding at accents and at pacing and really built suspense. (Though I suspect she too got tired of the phrase "retrieval team.")

Overall, I enjoyed it even though annoyed at times, and I will continue with book 2 as stated above. But good editing really should be insisted upon, and authors who fight it really are doing themselves a disservice.

3.5 missing retrieval teams out of 5

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Life of Pi - Yawn Martel

Well. Now I know.

I mean I knew, but I didn't "know" know.

All my instincts about this book were right. First I gave up on the paper version 75 pages in, and then I read Beatrice and Virgil. This book SCREAMED leave me a alone, and yet I was so curious to see what all the hullabaloo was about.

I really don't get the popularity of this book. I found it, first and foremost, exceptionally boring. How a shipwreck and 227 days at sea with a Bengal tiger could be boring, only Yawn knows. And of course, I found it pretentious as well.

Here is an excerpt:

"I opened it and found the following:

A paper Map
A list of skin conditions
Wet Ones Antibacterial singles (3 packages, 1 used)
An ink pen
Motion sickness pills
A pack of wooden matches (Bare: Las Vegas) 6 matches in the box
An empty eye-glass case
Deserving Thyme Lip Care Balm
A generic ibuprofen bottle containing 12 Advil brand caplets
an open package of trident original flavor gum, 4 sticks left, one covered in old tobacco
One half-eaten bag of Chocolate Twizzlers"

Oh wait. That's the contents of my purse. My bad.

This is how the story went for me.

Blah blah blah, how cool am I that I believe in 3 major world religions? blah blah blah.
Blah Blah Blah, tarpaulin, blah blah blah Richard Parker, blah blah blah tarpaulin, blah blah blah Richard Parker
Blah Blah Blah, tarpaulin, blah blah blah Richard Parker, blah blah blah tarpaulin, blah blah blah Richard Parker
Blah Blah Blah, tarpaulin, blah blah blah Richard Parker, blah blah blah tarpaulin, blah blah blah Richard Parker
Blah Blah Blah, tarpaulin, blah blah blah Richard Parker, blah blah blah tarpaulin, blah blah blah Richard Parker
Blah Blah Blah, tarpaulin, blah blah blah Richard Parker, blah blah blah tarpaulin, blah blah blah Richard Parker
Blah Blah Blah, tarpaulin, blah blah blah Richard Parker, blah blah blah tarpaulin, blah blah blah Richard Parker

Incidentally, I've apparently been pronouncing the word "tarpaulin" wrong my whole life. Fortunately, I've never had a Martel-like occasion to use it.

I'm just baffled.


Seriously. The whole section at sea was "OMFG! I'm about to die, Richard Parker is killing me right now....oh, that was just a rain drop. I've got to make that tiger my bitch."

"OMFG! I'm about to die. Richard Parker is killing me right now .... Oh, that was a flying fish. I've got to make that tiger my bitch."

"OMFG! I'm about to die. Richard Parker is going to pounce on me right now. Screw that. I'm going to make eye contact with him." (75 hour dissertation on why that will work.) I made Richard Parker my bitch.


Incidentally, and I know it's primarily because I didn't like this book so I don't care which ending was true, but I DEFINITELY think the 2nd ending was the "real" ending. And that the RP/Tarpaulin adventure was what he made up to keep himself company on the journey, like Wilson in Castaway.

2 many taurpalins out of 5

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Discovery of Socket Greeny - Tony Bertauski

Support Independent Authors!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and honestly - I really liked it! Since you've probably not heard of it, here's a description:

Work has always come first for 16-year old Socket Greeny's mother, especially since his father died. But when she shows him the inner workings of the Paladin Agency, he discovers why it's so important. It's an underground world of technological wonder including bat-like grimmets, spherical servy-mechs and humanoid butlers with brightly lit faceplates. They traverse the planet through wormholes to keep the world safe, but from what, they won't say. Although his mother is not actually a Paladin, and neither was his father, both have worked for them for most their lives. Socket, however, is different than his parents. He somehow is a Paladin and soon finds himself in the center of controversy and betrayal when he's anointed the agency's prodigy. He didn't ask for the "blessing" of psychic powers and the ability to timeslice and he doesn't want to be responsible for the world. He just wants to go home and back to school and be normal again. But, sometimes, life doesn't give us that privilege, his mother tells him. And when the world is soon threatened and the Paladins are forced into the public eye, Socket discovers what his mother means. If he doesn't embrace his true nature, life as we know it will change forever.

I found it original and fun.

If you like video games, you'll like this book. I felt like I was plopped right in the middle of a game, and it grabbed me right from the start and kept me interested through the end.

It's sort of sci-fi/fantasy, with some cyberpunk elements. It's fast-paced, original and fun. Definitely a young adult novel; if you liked The Maze Runner, you're likely to enjoy this too.

I thought some of the writing could use a bit of finessing, but it didn't detract from the storytelling which was well-done and entertaining.

I'm definitely interested in the next book in the series.

4 virutal realities out of 5

If you've got a Kindle, this book is available for just .99cents.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Room - Emma Donoghue


My recommendation for this book is don't read anything about it. Don't read the reviews, don't read the dust jacket, don't read the tags ... Just pick up the book.

What you need to know:
It's disturbing and discomposing
It's brilliantly executed
It's dark, but beautiful too
Don't start it at night, because you won't want to put it down
If you have to put it down, you will be thinking about it while you aren't reading it
It's probably not something you've given a lot of thought too

5 out 5 feet of space

Monday, October 4, 2010

Beatrice and Virgil - Yawn Martel

Pretentious Pears, and other inanities

I gave up on Life of Pi 75 pages into reading it, for the same reason I hated this book. The arrogant, pretentious, blather. I've often wondered if I should give Pi another go, but after reading this I know I made the right decision.

This is the message I got from the author:

"I love me, don't you? Hark! I shall now describe a pear."

For 20 minutes (or at least, what felt like 20 minutes, but at least 15 or 20 sentences longer than was necessary or interesting.) We were also treated to such fascinating tidbits as Flaubert Cliff Notes, and the author's practice of reading and responding to his fan mail. Another of his self-love moments. Dull. Dull. Dull. Blah. Blah. Blah. Silence. Blah.

Then we got to the play within the story, (enter the pear). Allegory, Schmallegory. Martel left nothing to the imagination. Heaven forbid the reader interpret anything as they saw it, every little bit of the story was explained. It felt like a lecture.

The human characters in this book were awful. Unlikeable. Maybe that was by design considering the subject matter. But I didn't care what happened to who, and I couldn't wait for them all to just SHUT. UP.

I listened to this on audio, which was 6 hours long. The first 5 hours, I eye-rolled so many times I think I actually improved my vision with the workout I got. However, there was some redemption in the last hour (and it saved this book from a 1-star review.) There were fleeting moments of brilliance and it could have been great if the author didn't seem so bent on impressing everybody with his descriptive power of Pear, and his need to explain every little tidbit to an audience who was apparently unable to figure it out for themselves. I had both affection and sympathy for Beatrice (though most of the sympathy was a result of the fact she had to be in this awful book.)

The only time this book didn't miss the mark for me was "Gustav's Games" at the very end. If the rest of the book had been written with this degree of sensitivity and rawness, it would have blown my socks off.

2 Boscs out of 5

Friday, October 1, 2010

Little Bee - Chris Cleave

I loved this book. It was getting a lot of buzz (ha! bee? get it?) so naturally I was skeptical.

At a very high level, a Nigerian girl ends up in the UK as a refugee. This is her story and the story of a British couple she met on a beach when they were vacationing in Nigeria.

The writing was lovely; at times poignant and beautiful. There were passages which reminded me of The Book Thief. A carving out of something beautiful in the midst of something horrific. It was fast-paced, engaging, sometimes funny, sometimes sad. The characters were unique, flawed, interesting. It could have been depressing, but it wasn't.

It alternates both points of view, and timelines. I felt like that worked really well for the story.

It wasn't a perfect book. In fact, for my taste, I found it a bit timid and some parts felt a bit like filler. This was a book that could have punched me in the gut, but the only time I felt "punched in the gut" was in the Q and A section where the author told the true story of what inspired the book. I think it's important to say, though, it takes a lot to punch me in the gut, so while I found it a bit timid, others may not feel that. It definitely is an intense subject matter.

It's an important topic, to be sure. I would encourage anybody on the fence about reading the book: Pick it up. If you've never thought of reading it: Pick it up.

It's absolutely one of my favorites of the year.

5 buzzes out of 5

Sunday, September 5, 2010

C - Tom McCarthy

Quintessential Literary Fiction

C is not so much as story as a series of eclectic snapshots of the life of Serge Carrefax. These snapshots seem to include tidbits of information about things the author surely must be interested in. Things like, the making of silk, teaching the deaf to speak (and perform Greek tragedies), the mechanics of WWI, wireless communications (i.e. Marconi, not the iPhone), Egypt, etc. There's a lot of scientific explanation and detail, which for the most part was very interesting. If feels, to me, a bit like Serge was created so the author had a vehicle to express his varied interests. I'm not criticizing that, by the way, just expressing an opinion.

It's certainly well written. There are moments of sheer brilliance and perfection.

There's a part during the war where Serge's leader is telling him that a mission is being undertaken, by "tunnelers" to lay explosives underneath enemy trenches. They are concerned that the Germans are perhaps performing the same task even further down.

McCarthy writes:

"Serge becomes fascinated with these tunnelers, these moles. He pictures their noses twitching as they alternatively dig and strap on stethoscopes that, pressing to the ground, they listen through for sounds of netherer moles undermining their undermining. If they did hear them doing this, he tells himself, then they could dig an even lower tunnel, undermine the under-undermining: on and on forever, or at least for as long as the volume and mass of the globe allowed it--until the earth gave over to a molten core, or, bypassing this, they emerged in Australia to find there was no war there ...."

A strange book, you get hints of character's eccentricity, but I'm not sure you ever fully know any of the characters. Even Serge. Also, a number of characters are unceremoniously dumped, never to be heard from again. That's part of the "snapshot" thing, but it left me wondering, but what about...? There's some great humor in this book, but no emotion. Which I find so odd, because there are parts which would ordinarily be emotional. There were times I was enthralled and times not so much. Oddly (for me), I found the war parts the most engaging, and the Egyptian part the least so.

A really interesting read.

4 snapshots out of 5

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins

The longer I think about this, the more I dislike it.

I wasn't disappointed, per se, but I wasn't enthralled either. There was nothing about this book that grabbed me and wouldn't let go. Often, I was flat out bored, and sometime about the mid-point of the story, Collins started writing random fragment sentences. They were so jarring to me.

No idea if this is a spoiler or not, but I am proceeding with extreme caution:

The Hunger Games, without the games? Just not the same. I knew there was no possibility of games, but I didn't realize how much it would change the dynamic of the story and virtually remove all the excitement from it.

Bella, I mean, Katniss wasn't really herself. And how many near-death-experiences was that? She spent most of the book in the hospital.

Speaking of death, Collins hasn't been shy about killing off characters, but this seemed like overkill (ha!). And GRAPHIC. Holy cow! Extremely violent. Unnecessarily so.

End what probably wasn't at all a spoiler

So, I don't know. It sounds like I disliked the book, and I didn't. But it holds none of the allure of the first two, and I personally didn't find it a particularly satisfying ending to what was a great series. I know that the final outcome was, in a sense, pre-determined, but I think there could have been a better way to get there. Collins got a little wrapped up in finding creative ways for people to die. For the age group this is intended for, I found it too much, too harsh and frankly, too sad.

My rating: 3/5
3 unnecessarily violent ways to die out of 5 ... but that could drop at any moment

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dark Life - Kat Falls and Paper Towns - John Green

For the first 64 pages of this novel, I thought the main character was a girl. It's probably my fault ... Perhaps the author did mention it, but it was jarring when on page 64 "Ty" was referred to as "my brother." I thought his sister was making a joke. (Incidentally, it was mentioned in the dust jacket, but I don't read dust jackets.) The point of bringing that up is that if the author was successfully writing a character with a strong male voice, I think I would have picked up on it sooner. (There was a little bit of teen-grade sexual tension with Ty and this girl Gemma, and I did think it was odd that a middle-grade book would have girl on girl action, but I figured, hey -- who am I to question? LOL)

I've read a lot of teen and young adult novels, and I just didn't find this to be as successful as some of the others. I thought the world Falls creative was imaginative and fun. But a bit under-developed.

The story was totally predictable, and even though it was geared to 9-12 years old, I think even they would have figured everything out pretty quickly.

It was engaging, fast-paced, and ultimately fun. So for the age-group I think it is a good read, but I don't think adults will be clamoring for it.

3 sea creatures out of 5


What a fun book! At first it reminded me of I Love You, Beth Cooper or Sixteen Candles, but it quickly grew into so much more for me.

It was smart, funny, current, relevant.

The audio was excellent. The reader really was able to capture youth in his voice.

If it hadn't been for the ending of this book, it would have made my top 10 of the year. Though it fit into the theme of the book, I found it a little diappointing and frankly, a bit over-explained.

I'm looking forward to checking out more of Green's work.

5 nerdy teens out of 5

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Adam and Eve - Sena Jeter Naslund

(Publication Date: September 29)

From the sublime to the ridiculous - or vice versa

There aren't any spoilers in this review. If something seems like a spoiler, it's nothing that's not mentioned on the dust jacket. If you've not read the dust jacket, and don't want any spoilers, then you should probably skip this.

I really liked this book. I found it original, fast-paced, fun and filled with wonderful characters. It's a very different kind of book, and I would encourage readers to keep an open mind. This isn't an Ahab's Wife-like retelling of Adam and Eve. It's kind of a thriller, with a codex and all that implies (i.e. religious uproar). It's also a little bit fantasy, a little bit love story, a little bit science fiction even.

It could have been a 5-star read for me, but there was some ridiculousness that I just could not get past. Conveniences that hampered the story rather than helped it. At one point, I just wanted to scream at the editors and demand they explain why they hadn't insisted on fixing it.

At times I found the writing and story flow choppy, which was so unexpected for Naslund because she usually writes beautifully. However, lodged between the bumpy and convenient beginning and end there is the oasis of Eden. The fictional Eden of the book, and the oasis of gorgeous writing and story telling. (Adam eating a tangerine ... Sublime! so simple, yet so beautiful) I loved that part of the story!

I feel like this book had an agenda (a couple actually), and the agenda got in the way of it being brilliant. The potential was there.

I've read (and loved) two other books by Naslund and I thought she was sort of a prissy writer. But this book showed me she's willing to get her hands dirty, and that makes me want to read more of her work. So while this book is not perfect, it's still a really engaging, fun read.

4 of 5 sections of a tangerine

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ - Philip Pullman

3 Hours You'll Never Get Back

Let me disclaim: I have no religious affiliation whatsoever, so my dislike of this book has absolutely nothing to do with any personal feelings about the subject matter.

If you are looking for an alternative look at Jesus, look elsewhere. Might I suggest Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal?

This was terrible. Really, incredibly, indulgent. No point, no redeeming qualities, not a clever point of view. Short, lazy, boring. It's a bunch of bible passages, tweaked, a couple of theories (truth vs. history), halfheartedly shoved down your throat.

It wasn't worthy of Pullman, and it wasn't worth of publication. I'm not going to spend 2 more seconds thinking about it.

1/2 a Jesus twin out of 5

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Enna Burning (audio) - Shannon Hale

(I know, the cover is awful!)

You know how with a movie title like "Snakes on a Plane" you pretty much know what you are in for, right? Snakes on a Plane.
Well, Enna Burning is the same way. There's Enna and she's burning.

Burn Enna Burn, Disco Ennaferno (who isn't too young to get my song reference?)

So yeah, Spoiler Alert: Enna Burns

I listened to it on audio and it was the same full cast recording as with The Goose Girl. But even they couldn't salvage it. I bet the narrator NEVER wants to say the word 'burn' again.

The audio was 7 or 8 parts. The first 5 parts went a little something like this:

Heat, fire, burn, burning burned, fire, burn, heat, burning, fire, fire, heat, heat, heat, tendrils of heat, fire, burning, burned, burn, burn, burn burn fire burn heat. Fire. Burn.



Then it was sort of good for a little bit, and then it went a little something like this:

I love you Enna
No, I love YOU Izzy
No I love YOU Enna
No I love YOU Izzy
No I love... etc.

then a little

My power sucks, Izzy
No, MY power sucks Enna
No my power ....

REALLY SPOILER NOW sort of (of The Goose Girl)

What was missing from this story was the build up. In Goose Girl, there was an actual building toward something. We didn't know about the gift right from the start, we learned it gradually over the course of the story and it was suspensful and exciting. Same with the romance, you knew what was going to happen, but you didn't know know, like you knew in this book. Enna got her fire on page 2, (I'm exaggerating, but not by much) and the rest of the book was her sending her spidey sense out to feel the heat so she could burn something. And, ohhhhh, she liked to burn. Crackle. Heat. Fire. Burn.


So yeah ... Not good, but I didn't hate it. Won't be moving on with the series though.

2 1/2 crackling logs out of 5

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Reviews I Love, of Books I Hated.

Here are some of my more "passionate" reviews.

The Lady of the Sea - Rosalind Miles

This is one of my earliest reviews, (2005) so it doesn't have finesse, but I think it's funny.

1/5 stars

I felt obligated to finish the trilogy. It was a mistake. This book was so unbelievably boring. You see, Tristan and Isolde get separated. Then Tristan is beset by something and then Isolde whines to the Goddess, oh my love my love. Then they get back together, and then they get separated and then Tristan is beset by something and Isolde whines to the Goddess, oh my love my love. Repeat. It's horrid. I wish I could get a refund. Truly, don't waste your time. Try the Kushiel series by Jacqueline Carey, it's a way better investment in your time (and reading dollar.)


Sometimes a book series just goes on too long. This is one of those times.

1/5 stars

Lean Mean Thirteen

I have been a huge fan of this series, and recommended it to many others. I've read almost every book in hardcover, so I don't say this lightly ... but this book was terrible.

There wasn't a single spark of originality. The Ranger/Morelli dilemma is tired, and frankly ... Stephanie Plum's lack of integrity on the matter is not amusing. It's been 13 books, make a decision.

Is it still funny to others when Stephanie blows up a car? It's not funny to me. Grandma... we get it, she's eccentric.

It feels like Evanovich is just filling in a template, and after 13 books, I'm done. I certainly can't see reading another 13 like this one. Evanovich owes it to her loyal fan base (who have made her a multi-millionaire) to put in a little bit of effort and creativity. We all know that Stephanie's mom irons when she's stressed, they have a family dinner on Friday night, Lula wears clothes that don't fit, and Joyce and Steph have a rivalry.

This series has gone Scooby Doo. I wouldn't be one bit surprised if the next book ended with, "And I would have gotten away with it if it hadn't been for those crazy bounty hunters."


Even a favorite author can put out a stinker, and Cantrippy The Girl With No Shadow is just that!

1/5 stars

Oh ... thank God that's over.

I am a big fan of Joanne Harris, and I loved the movie Chocolat, and of course the book it was based on was good too (though I think the movie was better.) This is the "continuation" of the story.

Wow. It was so bad.

For reasons that are never fully comprehended, Vianne is fixated upon by a woman who wants to steal her identity. Because that's what she does. Steals identities, and sees colors and does cantrips. This woman, Zozie, is supposed to be so fun and hip and cool and interesting, but she wasn't. She was just awful. And also, all she did was see colors and do cantrips. And then she taught Anouk to see colors and do cantrips, so then Anouk was seeing colors and doing cantrips. And did I mention there was the seeing of colors and the performing of cantrips?

It was so boring, and I really didn't want to finish it, but I was 300 pages in before I was totally fed up and I felt like I was so far in it would have been a shame not to get to the rushed, entirely uninteresting, and predictable ending.

All the charm of Chocolat was missing, and the magic was jammed down your throat at every opportunity.

The book could have been 200 pages shorter, and you know, had about 700 less cantrips.

Incidentally, Harris's Five Quarters of the Orange was one of my favorite books read this year, so if you are looking to read Harris, I definitely suggest that one.

I still love Harris, and will continue to read her books, but this one was painful. I will now perform a cantrip to try to get it out of my head.


Another series gone on too long - Outlander - A Breath of Snow and Ashes was self-indulgent blather. (This is probably my favorite review ever!)

2/5 (but I was being uber generous)

(Contains spoilers)

Up until this book, I have thoroughly enjoyed the Outlander series. This book was a disaster. Two things saved it from getting a 1 star rating. 1. I read the whole book (painful as it was at times) and 2. The last 300 pages (which I could barely enjoy because I was so irritated by the first 700.)

For the first 700 pages there was no story. Instead, we had an incoherent series of medical emergencies and miscellaneous tragedies cobbled together, featuring Claire as the hero and/or the victim. I mean, come on, Jaime is afraid of snakes but Claire isn't? Absurd.

I wished that I had kept track of the myriad illnesses and medical miracles that our Claire tackled. She delivered a dwarf baby, performed hemorrhoid surgery, grew her own penicillin, made her own ether, saved a whole whore house from syphilis, stuck a needle in Jocasta's eye to relieve her glaucoma pain, treated a dysentery outbreak, made a malaria rub, and performed an appendectomy. And that's just what I can remember off the top of my head. Always ready with just the right herb, or supplies. I think Gabaldon must have gotten a medical encyclopedia for Christmas.

Speaking of the dwarf baby, it was completely irrelevant to the story. (Not to mention the ridiculous, and story irrelevant, induction of labor.)

One can only suspend disbelief so long with a book that reads a lot like historical fiction. I suppose it's one thing for Claire to have sex with Jamie 24 hours after she has been raped, but when Lizzie married both twins because she wasn't sure who she had gotten pregnant by ....

From an editorial standpoint, I'm fairly certain the editor must have been so bored they only pretended to read the book. Timelines were all over the place, at one point Amy's second child was completely missing from the story. Not just absent from that chapter, absent from existence. The novel was written in the first person of Claire but there were sex parts with her daughter Bree. I think when your daughter starts having sex in your novel, it's time to drop the first person. But that's okay, Bree didn't have too much sex because she was busy building indoor plumbing, inventing matches, and brewing her own paper. I don't know how she found time to get kidnapped by Stephen Bonnet yet again.

This book was sloppy. It said to me that Gabaldon is convinced that her readers are so interested in her incoherent blathering, they will read anything. She couldn't be bothered to write a story, and give us some characters we might actually like. She was too busy trying to impress us with her knowledge of medicine. I don't care what happens next in the Outlander series and I won't be reading anymore. This was a true disappointment.


I don't want to give this book any distinctions, it already got a big one ... The Pulitzer, but it's possible I've never hated a book more.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

"Brief" and "Wondrous" = LIES!

1 star uno

Wow. Hated this book.

Oscar Wao is obese, lonely, a sci-fi geek, and a virgin (natch) of Dominican descent. The story is sort of about him, but mostly about his family (there are parts about his sister, his mother, and his mother's parents.) And it's narrated (at times) by some appalling ghetto-speaking "playa." (I mean a player, not a beach.)

The writing is dreadful.

There are 3 1/2 page paragraphs
Spanish never translated to English
Extremely long historical footnotes in minuscule print
Switching of 1st person narrators so that when somebody says "I" you have to try to figure out who it is
DIALOG IS NOT IN QUOTES .... one day, I'm going to write a book, and not use quotes in my dialog, and then I too can win a Pulitzer
Fragmented sentences GALORE (clearly he turned off the thing in MS Word which tells you - politely - "fragment, consider revising")
Frequent use of "Negro, please" (or its less pleasant, but same meaning, alternate) as a rebuttal statement
an odd aversion to personal pronouns

One part of the book takes place in the late 1950's in Dominican Republic. If you've ever seen the movie In the Time of the Butterflies, this part of the book takes place during this horrid dictator's regime. And Oscar's mother is involved with someone close to the dictator. And this passage appears:

Now check it: the truck held a perico ripiao conjunto, fresh from playing a wedding in Ocoa. Took all the courage they had not to pop the truck in reverse and peel out of there.

Now check it????? I'm surprised he didn't start out with a "Yo" and follow up with a "My Bad"

Also during this period:

Home girl was 'bout it.

This is typical of the writing:

Ignored her, ignored me. Sat next to her brother, took his hand.

That kind of writing isn't clever ... It's lazy. But I suppose it's nothing compared to:

I didn't have no medical. (This was narrative, not dialog.)

I hate this book so much that I've taken it personally. Like it was written and won a Pulitzer just to piss me off.

So why did I finish it? I was hoping for some redemption. And I got just the briefest glimpse of it ... but it was in no way wondrous.

Motherless Brooklyn - Jonathan Lethem

What I learned from this book:

- I don't think I would enjoy hanging out with someone who has Tourette's
- Jonathan Lethem loves the word Echolalia

Lethem is a good writer, and I like the neuroses of his characters, but this book didn't do much for me. As a detective story, it was weak. As any kind of story it was kind of weak actually. I didn't dislike it, I didn't love it. It was just sort of "meh."

Obviously, the the main character has Tourette's, and I think perhaps that bit may have been just a tinge overdone. And as Harris overused the word "cantrip" in The Girl with No Shadow, this book had the word "tic" more than I've ever seen in any book. It was almost ticcish in its use of tic. A tic of tics. Tictacular. Tic-Tock. Hickory Dickory Dock. Hickory smoked bacon. (Yep, it was like that.)

I'm just not sure that this book would inspire me to read any Lethem in the future.

3 tics out of 5

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Super Sad True Love Story - Gary Shteyngart

Publication Date: July 27

I didn't find this book to be a "super sad true love story" ... nor a "super sad, true, love story". Mostly, I found the love missing and rather than sad, I found it kind of depressing.

So why the 5 stars?

Let me break it down:

Originality/creativity - 5
Humor - 2
Characters - 2.5? maybe 3
social commentary/satire - 5
eerie plausibility - 5


It's the near future. Perhaps it's now. It's impossible to tell. We are addicted to social networking, online shopping and our iPhones. Our worth as humans is measured by our credit scores and LDL cholesterol. There IS no privacy. Dying is optional. We're all members of the Bipartisan Party. Credit is King, and a highly valued profession. Media is an aspiration and a high compliment. The dollar is wallpaper, unless it's Yuan-pegged.

Shteyngart really did a fantastic job with his "vision" of our near future.


There's a lot of talk about how funny this book is. I didn't find it so at all. The truth is very often funny, but in this case, the truth was just too scary for me. That didn't detract (for me) in any way from the book, but I wouldn't go in expecting a laugh riot.


The "love" in this story was ostensibly between Eunice, a beautiful young girl, of Korean decent and Lenny, an "old man" (39 ... old in the context of the book), of Russian descent, not attractive, kind of a dweeb. The story is told from their alternating points of view.

Here's where I really struggled, because I'm not convinced it was possible to love the characters. Or perhaps even to like them. We've all seen it ... A group of people sitting at a table, having dinner or a coffee, and nobody is interacting. They're on their iPhones, Blackberries. Texting, googling, checking the stock market or their auction. Human interaction is becoming superfluous. Need a friend? Login to Facebook. Need some shoes? Imagine what we'll be like in ten to twenty years. Self-absorbed, self-sufficient, uninteresting, SHALLOW. Only the most innate biological imperative will drive us to other people.

I didn't "feel" the love in this potential "love" story, because I'm not convinced the characters were capable of love, either of themselves or others. Maybe they weren't fully developed, but I don't think that was it. I think they were as fully developed as they could be given the times they grew up in.

Social Commentary/Satire

It's so well-done, and so plausible, it almost doesn't even feel like satire. Quite simply: Brilliant.

Eerily Plausible

David Mitchell called this book "social prophecy" in his blurb. I hope he's wrong, but it sure does seem like we are headed down this path. Shteyngart had to have started writing this book at least two years ago. Yet, so much of what is in this book is happening right now. The Facebook privacy controversy is a prime example.

In addition to the social aspects of this book, there's also the political. I don't want to give any more detail than I already have, but this passage really struck me:

"....there were all these like little shacks for the homeless people in Central Park. It was really sad. These people are getting kicked out of their homes along the highway because the Chinese central banker is coming and Lenny says the Bipartisans don't want us to look poor in front of our Asian creditors."

This is an eye-opening novel. A cautionary tale! We are selling America to the highest bidder so we can wear our Juicy dresses and Prada sunglasses, while dining on truffled lobster Mac 'n Cheese in our kitchens with subway tile blacksplash.

Take Heed!

Incidentally, this would make and OUTSTANDING (though not traditional) book club read. So many great topics for undoubtedly heated discussion.

Rated 5/5 stars

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Neither Here Nor There - Bill Bryson

Neither interesting, nor funny. Neither entertaining, nor educational. Neither provacative nor engaging.


Not funny.

Maybe I've travelled too much to appreciate this book, but it was awful, bordering on offensive. I would have thought that Bryson would be an enthusiastic and passionate traveler, but he wasn't. At least not in this book. In this book he was bitter, whiney and did nothing but complain.

Let me sum up the book for you:

the food is bad
People are different than him, therefore, awful
something poop related

He bashed the culture of every country visited in some way. When he was in Switzerland and bored he made up some riddles. Here's one: "What do you call a gathering of boring people in Switzerland?" ... "Zurich."

Every once in a while something seemingly positive would happen, and I would think ... maybe ... maybe he's going to have ONE good experience on this trip. But nope. Always a "but". Murphy's Law always right around Bill Bryson's corner.

I'm shocked that this book was published. I've written better travel commentary on the back of an American Airlines cocktail napkin.

Rated 1 of 5 stars

The Ark - Boyd Morrison

I love Biblical fiction; books like David Maine's The Preservationist or The Red Tent. While this book is not biblical fiction, it has that element that I love. Taking a story from the bible, kind of taking it a part and putting it back together again. All the elements are still there, but it allows the reader to think of it in a way they may not have thought of before. I find that fun! Especially with a tale as tired as Noah's Ark.

This is a modern day thriller, with all the cool technology, twists and turns, gun fights and explosions, loony tunes bad guys, and near death experiences that go along with that genre. But it also deals with the story of Noah's Ark in a really interesting way.

As with most thrillers, it's a very fast-paced, fun and enjoyable read.

This is not Christian fiction, I don't know why anyone would think that (Was Indiana Jones a Christian Movie?). I thought the author was quite respectful in dealing with the slippery slope of presenting an alternate point of view of the Bible's Noah.


Rated 4 of 5 stars

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Books I Read in 2010

1. I Am the Messenger - (1/2) - Markus Zusak 368p
2. The Stand: Expanded Edition: For the First Time Complete and Uncut (Signet) - (1/24) - Stephen King 1141p
3. Bite Me: A Love Story - (1/30) - Christopher Moore 320p
4. The Giver - (1/31) - Lois Lowry 208p
5. The Shipping News - (2/13) - Annie Proulx 352p
6. Music for Torching - (2/20) - A.M. Homes 368p
7. From Dead to Worse - (2/27) - Charlaine Harris 302p
8. The End Of Alice - (2/28) - A.M. Homes 272p
9. The Girl Who Chased the Moon - (3/7) - Sarah Addison Allen 288p
10. Illustrado - (3/27) - Miguel Syjuco 320p
11. The Idiot - (4/4) - Fyodor Dostoyevsky 656p
12. The Things They Carried - (4/10) - Tim O'Brien 256p
13. The Spellman's Strike Again - (4/11) - Lisa Lutz 400p
14. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - (4/23) - Stieg Larsson 576p
15. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Random House Reader's Circle) - (4/24) - MaryAnn Shaffer 290p
16. Tell All - (4/25) - Chuck Palahniuk 192p
17. Light Boxes - (5/1) - Shane Jones 160p
18. The Nobodies Album - (5/4) - Carolyn Parkhurst 320p
19. A Gate at the Stairs - (5/7) - Lorrie Moore 336p
20. Backseat Saints - (5/8) - Joshilyn Jackson 352p
21. Imperial Bedrooms - (5/9) - Bret Easton Ellis 192p
22. Chasing Darkness: An Elvis Cole Novel (Elvis Cole Novels) - (5/16) - Robert Crais 408p
23. Cry to Heaven - (5/30) - Anne Rice 576p
24. The Ark - (6/5) - Boyd Morrison 420p
25. Super Sad True Love Story - (6/6) - Gary Shteyngart - 352p
26. Motherless Brooklyn - (6/26) - Jonathan Lethem 311p
27. My Fair Lazy - (6/27) - Jen Lancaster 384p
28. Jack - (7/3) - A.M. Homes 240p
29. Gathering Blue - (7/4) - Lois Lowry 240p
30. Messenger - (7/5) - Lois Lowry 176p
31. The Safety of Objects - (7/19) - A.M. Homes 176p
32. Adam & Eve: A Novel - (8/3) - Sena Jeter Naslund 352p
33. Dark Life - (8/15) - Kat Fails 304p
34. Switching Time: A Doctor's Harrowing Story of Treating a Woman with 17 Personalities - (8/24) - Richard Baer 368p
35. Mockingjay - (8/28) - Suzanne Collins 400p
36. C - (9/5) - Tom McCarthy 320p
37. Gone with the Wind - (9/26) - Margaret Mitchell 860p
38. Little Bee - (9/30) - Chris Cleave 304p
39. Room - (10/9) - Emma Donoghue 336p
40. The Discovery of Socket Greeny - (10/16) - Tony Bertauski 282p
41. Grave Peril (The Dresden Files, Book 3) - (10/31) - Jim Butcher 378p
42. The Forgotten Garden: A Novel - (11/7) - Kate Morton 560p
43. Number the Stars - (11/12) - Lois Lowry 136p
44. The Diviner's Tale - (12/4) - Bradford Morrow 320p
45. Lolita - (12/10) - Vladimir Nabokov 336p
46. The End of Alice - (12/12)- A.M. Homes 272p(re-read)
47. Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name: A Novel (P.S.) - (12/13) - Vendela Vida 256p
48. Columbine - (12/19) - Dave Cullen 464p
49. Swamplandia! - (12/29) - Karen Russell 336p
50. In the Lake of the Woods - (12/31) - Tim O'Brien 321p


1. Peter and Max - Bill Willingham 3/5 stars
2. The Goose Girl - Shannon Hale 5/5 stars
3.Horns - Joe Hill 4/5 stars
4. The Help - Kathryn Stockett 5/5 stars
5. Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe - Bill Bryson 1/5 stars
6. When You Are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris 3/5 stars
7. Enna Burning (Books of Bayern) - Shannon Hale 2.5/5 stars
8. Radio Free Albemuth - Philip K. Dick 4/5 stars
9. The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ - Philip Pullman 1/5 stars
10. Hunger Games - Audio - Suzanne Collins 4.5/5 stars
11. Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) - Audio - Suzanne Collins 5/5 stars
12. Paper Towns - John Green 5/5 stars
13. The Elegance of the Hedgehog - Muriel Barbery 3/5 stars
14. Beatrice and Virgil - Yann Martel 2/5 stars
15. The Wild Things - Dave Eggers 3/5 stars
16. Life of Pi - Yawn Martel 1/5 stars (click link for my review)
17. The Good Earth (Blackstone Audio Classic Collection) - Pearl S. Buck 5/5 stars
18. Blackout - Connie Willis 4/5 stars
19. I'm Dreaming of a Black Christmas - Lewis Black 2/5 stars
20. The Scorch Trials - James Dashner 2/5 stars
21. Alice I Have Been: A Novel - Melanie Benjamin - 5/5 stars

My top 10 reads of 2009

In no particular order

I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith
The Yiddish Policemans Union - Michael Chabon
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
The Housekeeper and the Professor - Yoko Ogawa
American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis
East of Eden - John Steinbeck
Five Quarters of the Orange - Joanne Harris
Cathedral of the Sea - Ildefonso Falcones
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater - Kurt Vonnegut

Books I Read in 2009

73. Go with Me: A Novel (P.S.) - (12/31) - Castle Freeman Jr. 192p
72. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater - (12/30) - Kurt Vonnegut 190p 2009 FAVORITE
71. Snuff - (12/28) - Chuck Palahniuk 208p
70. Altar of Eden - (12/27) - James Rollins 416p
69. Shades of Grey: A Novel - (12/23) - Jasper Fforde 400p
68. Chronic City - (12/12) - Jonathan Lethem 480p
67. The Woods - (12/4) - Harlen Coben 418p
66. Pirate Latitudes - (11/20) - Michael Crichton 320p
65. New World Monkeys - (10/09) - Nancy Mauro 304p
64. The Girl With No Shadow - (9/23) - Joanne Harris 480p
63. I Capture the Castle - (9/7) - Dodie Smith 352p 2009 FAVORITE
62. The Maze Runner - 9/4 - James Dashner 384p
61. Catching Fire - (8/30) - Suzanne Collins 400p
60. The Year of the Flood: A Novel - (8/29) - Margaret Atwood 448p
59. Love Walked In - (7/23) - Marisa de los Santos 320p
58. Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West - (7/10) - Cormac McCarthy 352p
57. Tortilla Flat - (7/4) - John Steinbeck 208p
56. Summer of Love - (6/30) - Lisa Mason 384p
55. John the Revelator - (6/26) Peter Murphy 277p
54. L.A. Candy - (6/21) - Lauren Conrad 336p
53. American Adulterer (6/12) - Jed Mercurio 352p
52. Orlando: A Biography - (6/11) - Virginia Woolf 352p
51. All Together Dead - (6/5) - Charlaine Harris 352p
50. Johannes Cabal the Necromancer - (5/30) - Jonathan Howard 304p
49. Glover's Mistake - (5/29) - Nick Laird 256p
48. The Watchman: A Joe Pike Novel - (5/27) - Robert Crais 416p
47. The Yiddish Policemen's Union: A Novel (P.S.) - (5/25) - Michael Chabon 432p 2009 FAVORITE
46. The Angel's Game - (5/20) - Carlos Ruiz Zafon 470p
45. Fool Moon - (5/17) - Jim Butcher 352p
44. All That I Have: A Novel - (5/15) - Castle Freeman, Jr. 176p
43. The Shadow of the Wind - (5/10) - Carlos Ruiz Zafon 487p
42. Dexter by Design: A Novel - (5/6) - Jeff Lindsay 304p
41. Thirteen Reasons Why - (5/1) - Jay Asher 320p
40. A Lion Among Men: Volume Three in the Wicked Years - 4/27 - Gregory Maguire 336p
39. His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire, Book 1) - (4/26) - Naomi Novik 384p
38. Definitely Dead - (4/25) - Charlaine Harris 352p
37. The Book Thief - (4/22) - Marcus Zusak 576p 2009 FAVORITE
36. B Is for Beer - (4/21) - Tom Robbins 128p
35. The Girl Who Played with Fire - (4/12) - Stieg Larsson 569p
34. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish - (4/10) - Douglas Adams 224p
33. We - (4/5) - Yevgeny Zamyatin 232p
32. Brave New World - (4/4) - Aldous Huxley 288p
31. Never Let Me Go - (4/2) - Kuzuo Ishiguro 304p 2009 FAVORITE
30. Cathedral of the Sea: A Novel - 3/30 - Ildefonso Falcones 624p 2009 FAVORITE
29. Shogun - 3/28 - James Clavell 1,152 p
28. Five Quarters of the Orange: A Novel (P.S.) - (3/15) - Joanne Harris 336p 2009 FAVORITE
27. After Silence - (3/7) - Jonathan Carroll 225p
26. The Metamorphosis - (3/6) - Franz Kafka 76p
25. The Uncommon Reader: A Novella - (3/5) - Alan Bennett 128p
24. The Housekeeper and the Professor: A Novel - (3/2) - Yoko Ogawa 192p 2009 FAVORITE
23. In the Company of the Courtesan - (3/1) - Sarah Dunant 385p
22. The Hunger Games - (2/27) - Suzanne Collins 384p
21. The Post-Birthday World: A Novel (P.S.) - (2/21) - Lionel Shriver 544p
20. Blindness - (2/16) - Jose Saramago 352p
19. Storm Front - (2/14) - Jim Butcher 336p
18. Fool: A Novel - (2/14) - Christopher Moore 336p
17. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - (2/7) - Junot Diaz 352p
16. Dead as a Doornail - (2/7) - Charlaine Harris 295p
15. Good Grief: A Novel - (2/4) - Lolly Winston 352p
14. Fortune's Rocks: A Novel - (2/1) - Anita Shreve 453p
13. East of Eden - (1/31) - John Steinbeck 602p 2009 FAVORITE
12. Less Than Zero - (1/24) - Bret Easton Ellis 208p
11. The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet: A Novel - (1/23) - Colleen McCullough 352p
10. American Psycho - (1/18) - Bret Easton Ellis 416p 2009 FAVORITE
9. Pride and Prejudice - (1/10) - Jane Austen 314p
8. Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation - (1/13) - Lynn Truss 240p
7. Dead to the World - (1/11) - Charlaine Harris 292p
6. Slaughterhouse-Five - (1/10) - Kurt Vonnegut 224p
5. Sepulchre - (1/9) - Kate Mosse 592p
4. The Magician's Nephew (Narnia) - (1/6) - C.S. Lewis 208p
3. The Ghost in Love: A Novel - (1/4) - Jonathan Carroll 320p
2. All Encompassing Trip - (1/2) - Nicole Del Sesto 308p
1. A Clockwork Orange - (1/1) - Anthony Burgess 192p

My top 10 reads of 2008

(In no particular order)

Letters Home Sylvia Plath

Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey - Chuck Palahnuik

The Origin - Irving Stone

Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides

Sexing the Cherry - Jeanette Winterson

Windfalls - Jean Hegland

House of Leaves - Mark Danielewski

The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein

My Life So Far - Jane Fonda

The Magus - John Fowles

Books I read in 2008

100. Club Dead - (12/30) - Charlaine Harris 292p
99. The Sugar Queen - (12/28) - Sarah Addison Allen 288p
98. Living Dead in Dallas - (12/27) - Charlaine Harris 291p
97. Dead Until Dark - (12/26) - Charlaine Harris 304p
96. The Magus - (12/25) - John Fowles 672p
95. The Blind Assassin: A Novel - (12/20) - Margaret Atwood 544p
94. Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas (P.S.) - (12/20) - John Baxter 288p
93. The Forgotten Man (Elvis Cole Novels) - (12/13) - Robert Crais 368p
92. Cellophane - (12/12) - Marie Arana 384p
91. Lover of Unreason: Assia Wevill, Sylvia Plath's Rival and Ted Hughes' Doomed Love - (12/8) - Yehuda Koren, Eliat Negev 250p
90. The Bell Jar - (12/4) - Sylvia Plath 288p (yes, again)
89. Letters Home - (12/1) - Sylvia Plath 512p
88. The Book of Lost Things: A Novel - (11/28) - John Connolly 348p
87. When Will There Be Good News?: A Novel - (11/22) - Kate Atkinson 400p
86. The Paris Enigma: A Novel - (11/18) - Pablo De Santis 244p
85. Garden Spells (Bantam Discovery) - (11/15) - Sarah Addison Allen 320p
84. Cosmicomics - (11/11) - Italo Calvino 153p
83. Out: A Novel - (11/2) - Natsuo Karino 400p
82. The Modern Neurosis Handbook: A Guide to Coping - (10/26) - Andrea Sarvady 144p
81. The Catcher in the Rye - (10/24) - JD Salinger 224p
80. The Bell Jar - (10/19) - Sylvia Plath 288p
79. When the Sacred Ginmill Closes (Matthew Scudder Mysteries) - (10/18) - Lawrence Block 354p
78. Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas - (10/15) - Tom Robbins 386p
77. Curse of the Spellmans: A Novel - (10/11) - Lisa Lutz 416p
76. Coyote Blue - (9/30) - Christopher Moore 320p
75. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - (9/22) - Steig Larsson 480p
74. Amazonia - (9/18) - James Rollins 544p
73. Breaking Dawn - (9/6) - Stepehenie Meyer 768p
72. The Soloist - (9/5) - Mark Saltzman 304p
71. Eclipse - (8/31) - Stephenie Meyer 672p
70. The Last Detective - (8/30) - Robert Crais 352p
69. The Glass Castle - (8/28) - Jeannette Walls 288p
68. My Life As A Fake - (8/23) - Peter Carey 288p
67. Galilee - (8/20) - Clive Barker 656p
66. Confessions of a Recovering Slut - (8/9) - Hollis Gillespie 272p
65. Picasso at the Lapin Agile - (8/8) - Steve Martin 78p
64. Golden Bones - (8/3) - Sichun Siv 336p
63. Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany - (7/25) - Bill Buford 336p
62. The Dracula Dossier - (7/19) - James Reese 343p
61. Key Witch - (7/12) - Robert Tacoma 217p
60. New Moon - (7/9) - Stephenie Meyer 565p
59. I Love You, Beth Cooper - (7/6) - Larry Doyle 255p
58. A Girl Named Zippy (7/5) - Haven Kimmel 282p
57. The Virgin Suicides - (6/28) - Jeffrey Eugenides 256p
56. Black Cocktail - (6/25) - Jonathan Carroll 76p
55. House of Leaves - (6/23) - Mark Danielewski 709p
54. The Raw Shark Texts - (6/20) - Steven Hall 448p
53. Such a Pretty Fat - (6/15) - Jen Lancaster 400p
52. The Ice Queen - (6/10) - Alice Hoffman 224p
51. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - (6/8) - Haruki Murakami 416p
50. Twilight - (6/6) - Stephenie Meyer 498p
49. The Stranger - (6/1) - Albert Camus 144p
48. Dead Silver - (6/1) - Neil McMahon 288p
47. Generation X - (5/31) - Douglas Coupland 192p
46. Julian - (5/31) - Gore Vidal 528p
45. Windfalls - (5/25) - Jean Hegland 368p
44. The Art of Racing in the Rain - (5/18) - Garth Stein 336p
43. High Fidelity - (5/18) - Nick Hornby 336p
42. The Ruins - (5/11) - Scott Smith 528p
41. The Girl Who Stopped Swimming - (5/4) - Joshilyn Jackson 320p
40. Voice of Our Shadow - (5/3) - Jonathan Carroll 189p
39. L.A. Requiem - (4/30) - Robert Crais 416p
38. The Thirteenth Tale - (4/28) - Diane Setterfield 432p
37. The Lilac Bus - (4/26) - Maeve Binchy 196p
36. Indigo Slam - (4/20) - Robert Crais 320p
35. The Plague - (4/19) - Albert Camus 320p
34. Oranges are Not the Only Fruit - (4/19) - Jeanette Winterson 176p
33. Sexing the Cherry - (4/15) - Jeanette Winterson 167p
32. Sunset Express - (4/13) - Robert Crais 338p
31. Haunted - (4/12) - Chuck Palahniuk 432p
30. Antony and Cleopatra - (4/9) - Colleen McCullough 551p
29. Filth - (4/5) - Irvine Welsh 392p
28. The Diving Pool - (4/1) - Yoko Ogawa 164p
27. On, Off - (3/31) - Colleen McCullough 432p
26. Ice Hunt - (3/24) - James Rollins 544p
25. Dexter in the Dark - (3/22) - Jeff Lindsay 320p
24. Queenmaker - (3/16) - India Edghill 384p
23. Nefertiti - (3/15) - Michelle Moran 480p
22. Monster, 1959 - (3/9) - David Maine 256p
21. Middlesex - (3/8) - Jeffrey Eugenides 544p
20. No Country for Old Men - (3/2) - Cormac McCarthy 309p
19. Breakfast at Tiffany's - (3/2) - Truman Capote 178p
18. My Life So Far - (2/27) - Jane Fonda 624p
17. I Am Not Myself These Days - (2/20) - Josh Kilmer-Purcell 336p
16. Runemarks - (2/19) - Joanne Harris 544p
15. The Boleyn Inheritance - (2/16) - Philippa Gregory 528p
14. Water for Elephants - (2/9) - Sara Gruen 350p
13. Bright Lights, Big Ass - (2/8) Jen Lancaster 385p
12. Carry Me Down - (2/8) - M.J. Hyland 326p
11. Brown Girl in the Ring - (2/5) - Nalo Hopkinson 256p
10. Sputnik Sweetheart - (2/3) - Haruki Murakami 224p
9. Carter Beats the Devil - (2/2) - Glen David Gold 496p
8. Dearly Devoted Dexter - (1/25) - Jeff Lindsay 304p
7. The Penelopiad - (1/24) - Margaret Atwood 224p
6. The Origin - (1/22) - Irving Stone 774p
5. Thursday Next: First Among Sequels - (1/12) - Jasper Fforde 384p
4. The Amber Spyglass - (1/11) - Philip Pullman 480p
3. Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey - (1/7) - Chuck Palahniuk 336p
2. The Glass Harp - (1/5) - Truman Capote 97p
1. The Stolen Child - (1/4) - Kevin Donohue 336p