My Own Little Book Corner

Sunday, February 15, 2009

2009 Book Reviews #2

I'm so far behind on my reviews. What follows is abbreviated reviews of some of the books I've read this year. On this list my top 3 would be - Three Junes, Same Kind of Different as Me, and A Thousand Splendid Suns

Three Junes by Julia Glass

I wasn't sure about this book when I first started it, but found myself drawn to the story and the people. It is about family and the expectations they put on each other and on themselves, and about love and basically just surviving life.

Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

This is an easy read that is best described as a story. I found nothing deep in it or any layers, but did enjoy the word picture it presented. It is set in Holland and I could picture the life and the world that the characters inhabited. Another decent book.

Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

A true story that is a tribute to a woman who saw people through the eyes of God. She lived a life of grace and service that reflected God's love in so many ways. It is a convicting story that inspires a person to strive to be the same.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

A very engrossing story about life as a woman in Afghan. This is set during the 1970's through the early 2000's and all turmoil and upheaval of the country. It reads as a true story and is a book that draws you in and you will not want to put down in spite of the horrible events that surround the people.

A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

I had not heard of this book until recently when I noticed it on several "must read" lists. It is based on the march of Japanese women and children in Malaya during World War II. The story centers around an English woman who was working in Malaya when it was invaded and she ends up in the group of prisoners. During the march she meets an Australian soldier and that is where the love story comes in. I don't know that I would classify it "must read" but it is a good read and worth the short amount of time it takes to read it.

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Another classic that I felt like I should read. It is an interesting story in it's own way. Before reading this book, I thought it was a romance - kind of a romantic triangle. Instead I found a mystery/horror story. Not exactly what I thought it would be but not a bad read.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

2009 Book Reviews #1

Everything Must Go by Elizabeth Flock

A story about a family affected by a terrible tragedy. The story is more about the paths that their life's take following the tragedy and the dynamics that follow. It is a depressing story and I still haven't decided if I'm glad I read it or not.

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson

I like Ms Jackson's books - this being the third of hers I read. When I started this one I wasn't so sure, but as I got into it and the characters developed, I found myself drawn in. I was a little disappointed in the ending - too much like a movie ending for me. But well worth the read.

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

I must of been the last person on the face of the earth to know about this book. It was a Christmas gift from my good friend, June, and I hadn't heard of it before receiving it. I expected this to be a little depressing, but it really was full of positivity. In some ways it was a little too "surface level" for me, but I had to remind myself it was written by a man and a computer nerd at that. I think it is an encouraging book that most anyone would be glad they read.

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

This was one of my "work-out" books so it took me a while to read. It's probably a good thing that it did as this is one of the most depressing books I've read lately. In fact while reading it, I kept wondering why I wanted to continue. But there was something in me that wanted to find out how it all played out. It is set in India - in the midst of poverty and riches. The contrast between how the two live and the prejudices that were displayed was both unbelievable and too real at times. While it was not easy to read, I would recommend it.

Abundance by Sena Jeter Naslund

I enjoy well written historical fiction and with this book Naslund delivers - as usual. The book is not only well written, but appears to be well researched. Marie Antoinette has never been a historical figure that I followed to much but I found myself really drawn to her character. Naslund has become one of my favorite authors and in Abundance, she has not disappointed.

Red River by Lalita Tademy

I really enjoyed reading Cane River and couldn't pass up reading another book by Ms Tademy. I must say that I was a little disappointed in this one. I felt more like I was reading a history book and didn't feel as connected to the characters. I was shocked by the events in the book and while I felt sympathy for those oppressed, I didn't feel empathy. It is an interesting read for the historical part of it.

Ahmads War, Ahmads Peace: Surviving Under Saddam by Michael Goldfarb

This was written by a reporter who was in Iraq during the beginning of the current war. Ahmad served as his translator, but he became much more than that. He was a historian, a political person (but not a politician), a father, husband, and community leader of sorts. He was a principled man who stood up for his beliefs. A good, eye-opening book of one man's experience growing up, living, and dying in Iraq.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rest of 2008 Books

I read too many books since my last review, so here's what I've read -

American Bee:The National Spelling Bee and the Culture of Word Nerds by James Maguire - Don't waste your time

There's No Toilet Paper on the Road Less Traveled by Doug Lansky - An entertaining compilation of travel stories

Portrait of a Killer Jack the Ripper Case Closed by Patricia Cornwell

In Search of Eden by Linda Nichols

Enduring Love by Ian McEwan - Check this one out

Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich by Mark Kriegel - Another one worth the read. Especially if you like basketball, but even if you don't it's a good life story.

While I was Gone by Sue Miller

Who Stole the Funny? A Novel of Hollywood by Robby Benson - You should put this high on your to be read list.

The Cross Examination of Oliver Finney by Randy Singer - Another good one. Well written and a good story.

Turn Away Thy Son: Little Rock Crisis that Shock the Nation" by Elizabeth Jacoway - If you like history type books, this is a good one.

The Living End by Lisa Samson

Bee Season by Myla Goldberg - Better than American Bee, but just an average read.

The Judas Field: A Novel of the Civil War by Howard Bahr - Another one to go on the top of your to be read list, even if you are not into Civil War stories.

The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton - One of these days I'm going to realize that if it is a Oprah Selection than I shouldn't expect that much.

Love Walked In by Marisa De Los Santos - A charming novel that can be a little cheesy, but still enjoyable.

Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian - A heart touching World War II story based on an actual diary of someone who lived in East Prussia.

Limitations by Scott Turow

The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel

The Glass Castle A Memoir by Jeanette Walls - An interesting read that makes you think about family dynamics.

Taft by Ann Patchett - Another one that I liked. I felt like I knew the characters which is always a good measure of how good a book is to me.

Renato's Luck by Jeff Shapiro

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