My Own Little Book Corner

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2010 Book Reviews - January

I read 15 books in January. They are quite a mix of styles and topics. My favorites this month were Night, The Justice Game, American Wife and Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons.

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

A classic but not one of my favorites. Predictable from beginning to end. I really wanted to take a pen and change it up some.

The Brambles by Eliza Minot

I would classify this book as an "easy read" but it actually deals with a lot of heavy topics - death, eating disorders, adoption, marriage issues and even a stalker. Surprisingly it was not a depressing book, but in some ways an encouraging one. It did take me a while to get use to Ms Minot's style of writing, but I'm glad I stuck with it.

Night by Elie Wiesel

Wow! What can you say about a book that is a true story of being in a concentration camp. Such a sad, compelling story of survival. This should be a required book for everyone.

City of Light by Lauren Belfer

I enjoyed this historical fiction novel. It is set in the early 1900's in the midst of a hydro-electrical plant being built and the Worlds Fair occurring. This novel covers environmentalism, social issues, politics, romance and family. There is a lot of sub plots but they all tie together nicely.

My Brother's Keeper by ReShonda Tate Billingsley

I was disappointed in this book. From the synopsis, I expected it to be more about dealing with drug addiction and the co-dependency issues. It is really more of a romance with the drug addicted brother as just part of the story. If I had known what it was really about, I might have enjoyed it more.

The Justice Game by Randy Singer

Another great book by Randy Singer. I like his writing style, his subjects, and the way he weaves a Christian life into his books. This was a well written story centered around a lawsuit against a gun company. It is interesting to read about the legal, social, business, and personal plots but what makes this book even more interesting is that the verdict was decided by real people. Mr. Singer used a "jury" to determine how the case would be ruled. A nice concept and one that as I read the book I kept wondering if it would end up the way I would vote. If you like legal novels, check Mr. Singer out. I prefer his books to Grisham.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

A fable that is interesting enough. I guess it was a flashback of sorts to my younger days when I loved having my dad read Aesop's to me. As is the case with most fables, there were no huge revelations - just reminders of things I already know but often loose sight of.

Summer Island by Kristin Hannah

After reading Firefly Lane I was ready to dive into another book by Ms Hannah. I would not rank this one up there with Firefly, but it is a good story. It brings home the point that people and things aren't always as we judge them to be. There's almost always an understory that we don't know. The best we can do is open ourselves up to love others and allow them to love us.

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

A sad book dealing with the Holocaust. If you are interested in that part of history, then you may want to check this book out. It does cover some of the role of the French that I didn't know about. It is a depressing story though, as you might imagine.

Idyll Banter by Chris Bohjalian

A collection of short stories by Mr Bohjalian. These are actually a collection of his articles written for a newspaper. They are mostly about his life in Vermont. I like his style and enjoyed getting to know him, his family and neighbors a little bit.

A Stolen Season by Steve Hamilton

A detective story that is interesting. Nothing spectacular, but enough to keep me reading to the end.

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

This is based loosely on the story of Laura Bush. I haven't read her biography, so I don't know where the line crosses from fact to fiction. I did find it interesting that even knowing that, George W and Laura were not the couple I pictured in my mind while reading. I really liked this book - an interesting story.

Carry Me Home by Sandra Kring

I like this book. The language is a little rough, but it is a good story about life during WWII told through the eyes of a brain damaged boy. Complex, yet simple at the same time. It brings home some of the realities of the aftermath of war.

Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik

Ms Landvik is becoming one of my favorite authors. I love her characters - relating to almost everyone of them. AHEBB is a neighborhood book club, but the story is not about the book club, but rather the relationships of the members. A wonderful story of friendships through good, bad and ugly.

Rachel and Leah by Orson Scott Card

I like historical fiction and Orson Scott Card does a good job of writing historical fiction based on Biblical persons. I enjoyed reading about how things might have happened between Rachel and Leah and why they both ended up married to Jacob. It did seem to drag a little towards the end, but I think that was because I knew what was going to happen. Worth the read if you like historical fiction and don't have a problem with it being about people who lived in Bible times.


Friday, January 1, 2010

144 Books in 12 Months?!?!

What am I thinking? I signed up for a reading challenge. There's no prizes, no recognition, no rewards - except meeting the challenge and hopefully discovering some good books. Since the most books I've read in one year is 120 and the past 2 years I've been stuck on 59, this is going to be quite the challenge. I am also trying to include as many Pulitzer Prize winners as I can in my reading. I know I won't read them all because frankly, they don't all appeal to me and I think reading should be for enjoyment, not drudgery. I do find it interesting that most people who have posted in the group do not expect to meet the challenge. I am starting the new year with full intentions of reading 144 books, but if I don't, it won't be the end of the world. Just something to shoot for.

If you're interested in joining the group - check it out at

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