My Own Little Book Corner

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

March Book Reviews

Note to my BR friends - if you would like to read any of these books, let me know. If I still have them, I'm happy to loan them out!

March was a busy reading month for me. I started the month with "Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt. This is a memoir of his life growing up in Ireland. His was a poor family with a father that couldn’t stay away from the pubs. Through all the pain and sadness, Mr. McCourt tells his story with a touch of humor. It's not my favorite writing style but I soon found the rhythm and could hear the story being told. Jan's rating - 4 Stars

"Original Sin" by Brandt Dodson was the next book I read. Easy reading mystery about an ex-FBI agent and his first case as a private investigator. Brandt Colton is hired to investigate who killed Emma Caine – a “upstanding” high school counselor. Her nephew is in jail accused of the crime, but his girlfriend, Angela, believes he is innocent. Colton is a good PI and enters the investigation with an open mind. The story has a subplot of sorts about Colton’s personal life – a wife that was killed in an auto accident 6 months earlier, a daughter who is living with her grandparents, Colton’s anger which is the reason he is ex-FBI, his childhood in and out of foster care, and a kind preacher who tries to help Colton see God. Not suspenseful, but not predictable either. A good story. Another 4 star book.

From there I went back to another Jodi Picoult book and read "Keeping Faith". This was a little different from other Picoult books that I read in that it deals with issues of faith and religion. Faith is a young girl who, with her mom, walks in on her dad with another woman. Faith begins seeing a "guard" and is able to do some miraculous things. The story weaves in an atheist television host, the grandmother, the Catholic church, Jewish priests and the firestorm that is created when people hear of the girl and what she can do. Not to mention the father and mother's reactions. I did enjoy reading the book, taking it for what it is – fiction. I give this one 4 stars.

My first 5 star book was "The Queen's Fool" by Philippa Gregory. Set in the mid 1500’s, this is a historical novel about the battle between Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth for England. The title character is Hannah Green, a Jewish girl who has the “sight” and can see things before they happen. Hannah’s brought to court as a “holy fool” and soon is in the service of both Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth. The story of Hannah intertwines with the story of Mary and Elizabeth. A very well written story that kept me interested all the way through.

At the same time I was reading "The Queen's Fool" I read "The Bible Jesus Read" by Philip Yancey. This is a brief examination of the Old Testament. Yancey takes different books/sections and gives a overview of the section and the meaning of it. It is an average book - no great insights but a good reminder of the books. 3 stars.

"The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver is the story of a Baptist missionaries family that moves from Bethlehem, Georgia to the Belgium Congo. The story spans 30 years and is told through the eyes of the daughters – Rachel, the oldest – Leah and Adah the twins – and Ruth May – the youngest. It is a cultural, spiritual, and political tale. Wonderful story and very well written. Another 5 star book.

I followed that book with another engaging story - "Midwives" by Chris Bohjalian. This is about a midwife who ends up performing a c-section on a woman who she thinks is dead. Questions arise as to whether or not the woman was dead before or after the c-section. In fact, there is a a lot of evidence that she was alive - enough to charge the midwife with her murder. This is a very well written story that leaves you feeling as if you know the family. 5 stars.

I decided it was time for a little light reading and my next book was "A Dog's Life" by Peter Mayle. This is an autobiography of a dog and includes his insights on humans, chickens, other dogs, dead things, etc. To me an average book, but someone with a different sense of humor may find themselves rolling in the floor with laughter. 3 Stars

The last book I read in March was "She's Come Undone" by Wally Lamb. I found this to be a depressing story. The main character is Dolores Price. Everything around her seems to spin out of control and she takes on the burden of guilt for it all. Very well written but nonetheless depressing. Depression level brings it down to a 4 star.

I did try to read "Present Value - A Novel" by Sabin Willett. I just couldn't get into that book. I read about 1/2 of it and had to close it up and send it on it's way. So no recommendation on that one from me.

All in all a fun month of reading!