Monday, December 31, 2007

Bride of Fortune

by Harnett T. Kane

Rating: 4/5
Grade: C - 14 and up (weighty themes involving war, slavery, and childhood death)

This book is a what I consider a fictional biography of Varina Howell Davis. She was the wife of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy. I was highly impressed by the amount of research, and first-hand sources that went into the writing of the book. Ten years of research, studying diaries, letters, etc., visiting all of the places in the book, interviewing surviving family members; all combined to make a novel with a very real sense of setting and character. The book was well written, and carried me along swiftly, I finished it off today while I should have been cleaning the house, and finishing Christmas preparations. I gained a new appreciation for the ideals, admirable personages, and struggles of the south during this time. Growing up in Idaho, and with all of my ancestors coming from Northern states, I'm afraid I haven't given much thought to the the views that led the southern states to succeed. The book was very much a view of Jefferson Davis, through the eyes of his wife. I would have appreciated a bit more insight into the life of the family, and more said about the couples children, but the book was written by a man who was trying to stay very true to the facts he had before him, and, presumably, not much was written about the children.


Sunday, December 30, 2007

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew

by Daniel Pool

Rating: 3.5/5
Grade: B - 8 and up

This book is a good resource to have on hand. The author delves briefly into many subjects brought up in 19th century English lit. Includes quotations from books written at the time as examples. The last part of the book is a glossary of terms, which I found very helpful. Not the sort of book I would sit down and read quickly through, but interesting to pick up and read by subject.


Friday, July 27, 2007

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

by Kate DiCamillo

Rating: 5/5
Grade: A (Appropriate for all)

Just finished reading this to the kids. It was a delightful read. One of those rare books that use a large and varied vocabulary, and yet manage to convey correct meaning, and compel interest in children. Elisabeth begged every night for 'one more chapter', even forgoing a song.

I will definately purchase this.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Artistic License

by Katie Fforde

Rating: 4/5
Grade: D - 18 and up (for slightly graphic sex)

This was a fun read. I like Katie Fforde, mainly for the fact that I can really relate to her characters. Half the time I fell like she is describing me. Very intelligent capable woman, who seem to end up looking like idiots half the time. Too kind for their own good, houses always a disaster, and trying to speed clean before someone comes. I read a review where someone bashed one of her woman charcters, but I think that person simply could not relate the characteristics.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Garden In Paris

by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Rating: 3/5
Grade: C - 14 and up

Good writing. Interesting story. One day I may have time to actually review a book. But today is not that day.


Sunday, July 8, 2007

This book was a good mix of suspense and romance. It was surprisingly believable. Or maybe I just liked it because I wanted to be there; on a sheep ranch high in the Nevada Mountains, 60 miles from town. And that is all I have to say for the present. I have a horrible headache, and screaming children who won't leave me alone for 2 seconds. Trying to consentrate on typing compounds the pain!


Friday, July 6, 2007


by Marian Keyes

Rating: 3/5
Grade: D - 18 and up (for sex and language)

Fairly entertaining. Too much sex for my comfort.


Monday, July 2, 2007

Hmm. What to say about this book. Well, it was humorous, and very real. The flap of the book cover says that it is based on the life of the author. It is the diary of a 60th year, as it says on the cover. It deals with her giving up on having a man in her life, her best friends struggle with cancer, becoming a grandmother, living with a 19 year old french girl as a boarder, and coming up on old age.
Her view on age is very funny, and refreshing. She is happy to be 60, because she can know officially have and excuse to relax, to forget about trying to improve herself, learn a new language, travel. (apparently, in England, the Senior Citizen mile mark is 60, instead of 65 like in the US, because I don't view 60 as old at all)
It was slightly surprising to me for someone who views themselves as old to have lived a youth of free love, drugs, abortion, and atheism. Probably because the older generation with which I am familiar are faithful members of the LDS church, and mainly missed out on the whole 60's thing.
There was some bad language in the book, mainly involved with the bad neighborhood the woman lived in.


Saturday, June 30, 2007

Read this week


Monday, June 25, 2007

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

by Paul Torday

Rating: 5/5
Grade: B - 14 and up

This book was thouroughly engrossing. It caught my eye in the new book section in the library. What a hilarious title! I was afraid that it wouldn't actually live up to the title, that it would either be rather dull, or rather crude in humor. A resounding no to those worries. The book was very witty, funny in that delightful British way, and with events unfolding to pull you quickly through the book, waiting in delighted anticipation to figure out what is going on.

The books begins with Dr. Alfred, a very dedicated and staid scientist who works for the NCFE
(national center for fishery exelence) is requested to head a project funded by a Yemeni Sheik to introduce Salmon into a wadi in the Yemen. He refused, as he says the idea is unfesable, but is strong armed into it by government pressure. Amazing things happen as the faith of the sheik changes those around him, especially Dr. Alfred.

The book was written entirely in diary entries, e-mails, memo's, interveiws, and notes from the house of commons. Not the usual novel style, which helped to make it such a remarkable work.

I will be anxiously awaiting further work by the author. An amazing first novel.

The book left me with just one question: is there really a NCFE in the UK?


Sunday, June 24, 2007

two more of the F word


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Beyond Tuesday Morning

by Karen Kingsbury

Rating: 4/5
Grade: C - 14 and up (for thematic issues involved with 9/11)

Checked this book out from the library because I like the author. I didn't really pay attention to the cover, and didn't realize what it was about. When I began reading it, I was unsure that I really wanted to read a book about a women who lost her firefighter husband on 9/11. It was, however, a very good read. Had me crying in the waiting room of the doctor's office. Rather embarrasing. Especailly considering the unfriendly old couple sitting across from me. I mean really, who dosen't smile back when smiled out in a friendly, non-intrusive way? Well, I guess you never know what is going on in someone's life, maybe they had no smiles left.

Anyhow, this book was very well written, especially for Christian Fiction. The story was touching, and full of nearly unbelievable, God-driven, coincidences (for some reason I can not recall the spelling of that word today). The main theme: moving past tragedy, getting on with life, chosing to live your life fully despite past pain, and trusting God to bring good things to us.

I think I will now read the first part of the story, One Tuesday Morning.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Books Read Recently


Thursday, June 7, 2007


I'm afraid I have a starve and binge personality. Only I am much better at the bingeing than the starving. I did not succeed in reading twenty-three non-fiction before reading any more fiction. I read a few and a few halfs of non-fiction, then devoured some fiction. So...

I think that a wiser and more doable resolve would be to read a non-fiction book for every two fiction books that I read. That way I will be a bit more balanced. And it really takes much longer to read a 400 pg. non-fiction book, than it does a 400 pg. fiction.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Kosher Sex

by Shmuley Boteach

Rating: 4/5
Grade: D - 18 and up

I am just starting the book kosher Sex by Shmuley Boteach. We picked up the book from my late father-in-laws library. It is written by a celebrated Rabbi, looks to be an interesting read about sex in the bonds of marriage.

From the forward, page 5, "...irrespctive of whatever sacrifices marriage entails-and it involves many-marriage and the family are man and woman's greatest source of happiness. No one who marries will ever find someone perfect. In this respect marriage is a statement of deep-seated love for humanity, whereby we love companionship more than we love perfection. Those who hold out for years, dating and discarding people, find perfection more tantilizing than human company. God created each of us missing and essentail component, thereby establishing a lifelong dependecy among us for someone who is prepared to love us despite our flaws and complement our deficiency.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Two-Part Invention; The Story of a Marriage

by Madeleine L'Engle

Rating: 4/5
Grade: C - 14 and up (for cancer, death, drugs)

I have just started Two-Part Invention; The Story of a Marriage by Madeleine L'Engle. It is a memoir about her marriage with her actor husband. Enjoying the read so far, and just wanted to write down bits of it I especially liked:

pg. 18:
"We do not know, and can not tell when the spirit is with us. Great talent or small, it makes no difference. We are caught within our own skins, our own sensibitlites; we never know if our technique has been adequate to the vision."
pg 100:
"The growth of love is not a staight line, but a series of hills and valleys. I suspect that in every good marriage there are times when love seems to be over. Sometimes those desert lines are simply the only way to the next oasis, which is far more lush and beautiful after the desert crossing than it could possibly have been without it."
pg. 103:
"But the wonderful thing, whether we are together or apart, is to know that he is in the world, and we belong together. And what I must learn is to love with all of me, giving all of me, and yet remain whole in myself. Any other kind of love is too demanding of the other; it takes, rather than gives. To love so completely that you lose yourself in another person is not good. You are giving a weight, not the sense of lightness and light that loving someone should give. To love wholly, generously, and yet to retain the core that makes you you. "


Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Pearl Diver

by Jeff Talarigo
Rating: 4/5
Grade: D - 18 and up (for suicide, and graphic images of abortion death and disease)

The Pearl Diver by Jeff Talarigo is my most recent read. And yes, I realize that it is not non-fiction. My excuse is that it is for a book club that I am a part of, though I have never actually made it to one of the book discusions. If my husband gets home from work in time to watch the kids, I will go to discuss this book tonight.

The other reason I decided to go ahead and read the book is because it is heavy, no fluff here.

The story is of a young woman, nineteen years of age, who is a pearl diver. Even this aspect of the story I found fascinating; the author describes very well the lifestyle of a pearl diver in the days when it was still done without special equipement. Even in the 40's, which is when this book begins, pearls were harvested in much the same way they must have been for centuries. The girl learns that she has leprosy, and the rest of the book is set in a leprosorium on an island, which has no conctact with the world outside.

I enjoyed the author's writing style, and the way the book is set into sections by artifacts. The story line is laid out by each of these items, and even when years and years of time are skipped, the life of the colony is highlighted well. The horrors of the disease are illuminated with out being dwelt on; as are the deprivation, and inhumane treatments of the patients.

This book is set in Japan, but I assume the life of the leper would be the same pretty much wherever you were. The shunning, the misunderstanding of the disease, the fear. Even when scientific studies, and new medication, would have made it possible for many of the leper's to be reintroduced into society, society was not ready, and according to this book, many of the patients were not able to readjust to life in 'the world' again.

Would reccomend this book without hesitation; though because of the subject matter, and some of the gruesome details - including: abortions, and late stage abortions preformed on the unwilling; suicide; sexual references; death and disease - give it a mature rating.

Quote from the book:

Spoken by the character, Mr. Shikagawa, page 150: "Words are the most important thing we have. A few words, one word, can change history. Imagine the correct words had been spoken by those people who are in charge of our lives. A few well-thought-out words and things might have been different. Unfortunatly they have chosen all the wrong words."


Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Why

I've started this blog to have a place to keep track of books that I am reading, and my opinions and thougths about those books.

I have recently resolved to read 23 non-fiction books before I read anymore fiction. I came to this decision after realizing that, of those I could remember having read, all 23 of the books I had read this year were fiction. Most of them were in the chick-lit genre. While I have always enjoyed, and do not disparage, this type of book, it seems very lazy on my part; consuming books for personal pleasure and feel goodness.

So, I am currently reading:

Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, M.D.; I actually read all of this book today, and will do a review of it if I get the mountain of laundry in my living room folded.

Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11 by Thomas L. Friedman

A Million Little Pieces by Paul Frey; which maybe should not be counted as non-fiction, as it has come out that he embellished and changed many of his experineces, but I find it to be a compelling read, gets into the mind of the recovering addict whether all of the info is actual or not. (my only complaint is constant use of the F-word, if it was a movie I would have turned it off, but can kindof skim over the profanity)

Toxic Relief: Restore health and energy through fasting and detoxification by Don Colbert, M.D.

On my list of things to read next:

Potatoes not Prozac by Kathleen DesMaisons, Ph.D, Addictive Nutrition

The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis

Ideas and Opinions by Albert Einstein


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