Category: Books


Prep, by Curtis Sittenfeld

January 10th, 2007 — 1:49pm
Prep, by Curtis Sittenfeld

I loved this book. The super-self-conscious, over-analytical, anxious teenage protagonist, Lee, reminds me so much of myself when I was a teenager, and, unfortunately, even now… Thanks again, Curtis — please write more!

My rating: 5.0 stars
*****

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The Man of my Dreams, by Curtis Sittenfeld

December 10th, 2006 — 7:28pm

I’ve just finished a very good book: The Man of my Dreams, by Curtis Sittenfeld.  I went through a long dry spell of forgettable boring books, but when I picked up this one a few days ago and read the first few pages, I was hooked and I knew I’d be unable to put it down.  I had to leave it in the livingroom last night to stop myself from staying up way too late to finish it!    Lovely book, just lovely.

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Nov 19, 2006

November 19th, 2006 — 4:35pm

Just off to return things to the library and wanted to jot down a few titles:

The Illuminator, by Brenda Rickman Vantrease — historical fiction, very well-written and a good read!

Rattled, by Debra Galant — satirical, funny, thought-provoking.

Me and Emma, by Elizabeth Flock — gripping, beautifully written, impossible to put down.  I have a hard time reading any book in which horrible things happen to children, so this one was very difficult for me.  But once I got started I had to finish anyway.

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Lipstick Jungle

October 21st, 2006 — 11:19pm

This afternoon we sat together in Dan’s Fortress of Solitude. He played games and I did a TON of LibriVox work. I edited and proofed 10 sections of the poetry book and another chapter of Wives and Daughters, and did some administrative stuff too.

Dan went out for a few hours this evening to help Caesar with RC aircraft stuff, so I made myself a cup of Special Coffee (hazelnut decaf from Trader Joe’s, extra-strong, lots of heavy cream and sugar) and sat in my comfy chair in the quiet and read and read and read. I read the last three quarters of “Lipstick Jungle” by Candace Bushnell. I had a hard time getting into this book, which is why I’d only read about a quarter of it in the last week or so, but once I got partway into it I started to enjoy the story a lot and blew through it tonight.

I started a little hat with some white and blue cotton yarn I had hanging around. I did the crown already and wanted to do a lace pattern for the main part but I had a hard time finding a good one. Ripped back three different tries tonight while we were watching Venture Brothers and South Park, and finally found one I like, “Horseshoe Lace”. I don’t know what striped lace will look like but I guess I’ll find out.

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Ain’t She Sweet, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

October 18th, 2006 — 9:14pm

Ain’t She Sweet, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

A bit, ahem, hard to believe, but very entertaining!

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The Best of Friends, by Joanna Trollope

October 18th, 2006 — 9:11pm

The Best of Friends, by Johanna Trollope

Another winner!

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Second Honeymoon, by Johanna Trollope

October 7th, 2006 — 6:06pm

Ok, a few days ago i went to the library and grabbed two books off the “New Books” shelf.  I read “Match me if you Can” first, and enjoyed it very much.  You can read about it in a previous post.

Yesterday I started “Second Honeymoon” by Johanna Trollope.  I’ve been reading it at every possible moment since I started it. So good. Dan asked me if it was “chick lit” and I said, no, “Match Me if You Can” was “chick lit” (not that there’s anything wrong with it) – this is REAL LIT! Second Honeymoon has one of those wonderful plots about an ordinary family and the things that happen to them.  Lots of wonderful details, believeable characters and situations.  All the little undercurrents that outsiders don’t notice.  Wonderful wonderful.  I’m sure to finish tonight, more’s the pity, and I only hope the library has more of her books.

“Match Me If You Can” was yummy candy.  “Second Honeymoon” is a delicious, warm, homemade dinner with mashed potatoes.

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Match Me If You Can

October 4th, 2006 — 8:55pm

I grabbed “Match Me If You Can“, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, off the New Books shelf at the library yesterday.  The check-out librarian said it was really good and she was right!  I finished it this evening while watching Henry’s karate class.   Lots of fun!  Looks like she’s written several more books so I’ll be hunting those down at the library as soon as possible.

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The Dark is Rising

October 2nd, 2006 — 9:22pm

I didn’t enjoy The Book of Three very much, so I decided that our next bedtime book had to be something I’d love.  Not taking any chances.  It’s too grim to end the day reading something I’m not fond of. It occurred to me that, since Henry just turned eleven, and he loves dark fantasy stories, and he’s interested in Merlin and King Arthur and ancient British mythology, that The Dark is Rising series would be perfect.  So tonight we started book 2 (The Dark is Rising), my favorite.  I’ve read it many times to myself (at a guess, I’d say at least ten times, but probably more).   Reading the first chapter aloud made me realize just how awesome it is (reading aloud makes me slow down and savour the story, and notice all the little details that I might miss when reading to myself).  It was a 35-minute chapter (I’m recording it so H can listen all over again later on his iPod) but it flew past and I was sorry to reach the end.  The writing is so rich, the atmosphere so vivid.  The dialogue and characters in The Book of Three were flat; but in The Dark is Rising they are incredibly realistic and believable. I can hardly wait to read the next chapter to Henry tomorrow!

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Murderous Maths

September 20th, 2006 — 9:17pm

After hearing a lot of good things about Murderous Maths, I ordered a copy from Amazon UK (not available in the US for some reason). It arrived yesterday, and Henry and I read several chapters this morning. It’s just as good as all the reviewers say it is! Stories and neat facts about math, told with humor, are much more fun for Henry than boring old worksheets. (Which do have their place, but having some fun with Math is great!) Highly recommended!!!

Here’s the official Murderous Maths site: http://www.murderousmaths.co.uk/

Looks as if the author has lots and lots of other books for us to look forward to!

Update! Murderous Maths books ARE available in the US! http://www.fun-books.com/books/murderous_maths.htm

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The Book of Three

September 20th, 2006 — 5:36pm

I’ve been reading The Book of Three, by Lloyd Alexander, to Henry for his bedtime story.  We’re about halfway through.  Honestly, I expected more, for such a famous, award-winning book.  It’s not bad, but it feels flat.  The characters are bland, the situations predictable, the dialogue unrealistic.  I tried to read it as a child (my sister loved it) but I couldn’t muster up enough interest top get past the first chapter. Henry LOVES it, so I suppose it could it also be a problem that I’m just generally not a fan of fantasy-fiction, or whatever it it.   Although I adore the The Dark is Rising series, which I’ve told Henry we’ll read next.

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Everything She Thought She Wanted

September 19th, 2006 — 5:45pm

Last night I finished Everything She Thought She Wanted, by Elizabeth Buchan. I loved it. I thought it was just as good as The Good Wife Strikes Back but not quite as good as Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman.

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Book list archive

September 18th, 2006 — 4:26pm

This post is an old book-list page I used to maintain.  Obviously, I’ve forgotten to update it in quite some time :)

  • =Reproduction is the Flaw of Love= by Lauren Grodstein (April 2005)
  • =Multiple Choice= by Claire Cook. (Sept 2004)
  • =The Lady and the Unicorn= by Tracy Chevalier. More historical fiction based on artwork. Very enjoyable. (Sept 2004)
  • =Have You Heard= by Anderson Ferrell. Ooooo excellent! (Sept 2004)
  • =Maggie Darling= by James Kunstler. This one started well but… Sigh. (Sept 2004)
  • =Maneater= by Gigi Grazer. Another light but fun one, with an I ending I didn’t predict right away(!) (Sept 2004)
  • =s’Mothering= by Wendy French. Fun little story :) (Sept 2004)
  • =A Little House Reader= by Laura Ingalls Wilder, edited by William Anderson. A collection of various writings by the whole Ingalls family. (Sept 2004)
  • =The Idea of Perfection= by Kate Grenville. Perfection itself. (August 2004)
  • =The A-List= by Zoey Dean. Mm. Readable. Should have been shelved in the YA section, I think. (August 2004)
  • =Running in Heels= by Anna Maxted. Ok I’ve read all your books, Anna, write another please!(August 2004)
  • =Plum Sauce: A P.G. Wodehouse Companion= by Richard Usborne. Marvelous!!(August 2004)
  • =Year of Wonders= by Geraldine Brooks. Pretty good. It got less and less plausible as the novel progressed, though.(August 2004)
  • =Wives and Daughters= by Elizabeth Gaskell. Slow going at first, but then I couldn’t put it down.(July 2004)
  • =The Hills at Home= by Nancy Clark. I loved this book. Can’t wait for her next book! (July 2004)
  • =Playing House= by Patrica Pearson. (July 2004)
  • =Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman= by Elizabeth Buchan (July 2004)
  • =Why She Went Home= by Lucinda Rosenfeld (June 2004)
  • =Cracked= by Drew Pinsky (June 2004)
  • =Girl With A Pearl Earring= by Tracy Chevalier (June 2004)
  • =Getting Over It= by Anna Maxted (May 2004)
  • =Behaving Like Adults= by Anna Maxted. I loved this book. Must find more Anna Maxted!! (April 2004)
  • =Lunch at the Piccadilly= by Clyde Edgerton (April 2004)
  • =Carrie Pilby= by Caren Lissner. Excellent!! Loved it! (April 2004)
  • =Marrying Mozart= by Stephanie Cowell Pretty good historical fact/fiction (March 2004)
  • =4 Blondes= by Candace Bushnell (March 2004)
  • =The Speed of Dark= by Elizabeth Moon. Excellent.(March 2004)
  • =How to Meet Cute Boys= by Deanna Kizis (a novel, not a real how-to, heheh. I’ve already got the cutest boy ever.)(March 2004)
  • =The Future Homemakers of America= by Laurie Graham. Great story, takes place from 1950s to 1990s, great characters. (April 2004)
  • =The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time= by Mark Haddon. Awesome book. Go read it. (March 2004)
  • =Trading Up= by Candace Bushnell. Good good! (March 2004)
  • =The Memory of all That= by Betsy Blair. She was Gene Kelly’s first wife, a dancer, an actress, an interesting person, and a good writer. Really enjoyed this book. She was blacklisted in the 50s, and her memoir makes me want to read more about McCarthyism. (March 2004)
  • =Slave to Fashion= by Rebecca Campbell. Fun, fun, fun, very satisfying.(Feb 2004)
  • =My Anecdotal life= by Carl Reiner. Wonderful!(Feb 2004)
  • =Love-40= by Anna Cheska. Very entertaining, lots of fun, couldn’t put it down!(Feb 2004)
  • =Traveling Shoes= by Noel Streatfeild. I’ve loved her books ever since I read =Thursday’s Child= long long ago. This was a new one for me and I enjoyed it immensely! (Jan 2004)
  • =Drinking the Rain= by Alix Kates Shulman. This was a good one! (Jan 2004)
  • =Good Faith= by Jane Smiley. Eh. I like her style, I like her characters… but the book was relatively dull. You can see that the guy is going to get swindled… and then 700 pages later he gets swindled, the end. (Jan 2004)
  • =Beautiful Bodies= by Laura Shaine Cunningham — GREAT book! I liked it a lot more than =Dreams of Rescue= and now I want to find even more of her novels. (Jan 2004)
  • =The Lost Continent= by Bill Bryson. Very funny in places, quite interesting, if you can put up with the endless griping. (Dec. 2003)
  • =Brilliant= by Marne Davis Kellogg. Fun book, great protagonist, satisfying ending. (Dec. 2003)
  • =A Shortcut in Time= by Charles Dickinson. I liked this one a lot. (Dec. 2003)
  • =Antiques Roadshow 20th Century Collectables= by Carol Prisant. (Dec. 2003)
  • =The Hotel Riviera= by Elizabeth Adler. Predictable, fluffy romance/mystery. Enjoyable enough.(Dec 2003)
  • =Lucy: A Novel= by Ellen Feldman. Pretty good. (Dec 2003)
  • =Dreams of Rescue= by Laura Shaine Cunningham, spooky and well-written. (Dec. 2003)
  • =The Here and Now= by Gregg Easterbrook — this one was a real winner! Start to finish in 2 days, couldn’t put it down. (Dec. 2003)
  • =In The Frame= by Dick Francis — my favorite Francis thriller (Dec. 2003)
  • =The White Dragon= by Anne McCaffery (Nov. 2003)
  • =Dragonquest= by Anne McCaffery (Nov. 2003)
  • =Dragonflight= by Anne McCaffery (Nov. 2003)
  • =Animal Dreams= by Barbara Kingsolver (Nov. 2003)
  • =Pigs in Heaven= by Barbara Kingslover (Oct. 2003)
  • =Twice Shy= by Dick Francis (Oct. 2003)
  • =God Save the Sweet Potato Queens= by Jill Conner Browne (Oct. 2003)
  • =The Sweet Potato Queens’ Book of Love= by Jill Conner Browne (Oct. 2003)
  • =The Poisonwood Bible= by Barbara Kingsolver (Sept. 2003)
  • =The Bean Treens= by Barbara Kingsolver (Sept. 2003)
  • =Prodigal Summer= by Barbara Kingsolver — really excellent book; I’m glad she’s written several more! Thanks VERY MUCH to Chloe for recommending her!(Aug. 2003)
  • =The Three Miss Margarets= by Louise Shaffer — Oooooo this was a GOOD one! (Aug. 2003)
  • =The Man I Should Have Married= by Pamela Redmond Satran — very enjoyable! (Aug. 2003)
  • =Ready To Fall= by Claire Cook — not as good as Must Love Dogs, but still fun. (Aug. 2003)
  • =Miracles on Maple Hill= by Virginia Sorensen — the 1957 Newberry Award winner. Lovely book!
  • =A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver= by E. Konigsburg
  • =My Kitchen Wars= by Betty Fussell
  • =World of Pies= by Karen Stolz
  • =The Bachelor’s Cat= by L.F. Hoffman. Unusual and wonderful love story!
  • =Notes from a Small Island= by Bill Bryson. Alternately amusing and irritating. I had an audiobook, and it got to the point where I’d say, “I’m going to go listen to a man complain about England now…”
  • =I Want That!= by Thomas Hine. A cultural history of shopping. Interesting!
  • =Don’t Let’s Go To The Dogs Tonight= by Alexandra Fuller. A memoir by a woman who is exactly my age, about her childhood in Africa. It kept me up way too late every night until I was done. Thanks, Wastrel :)
  • =Fanny and Sue= by Karen Stolz. Lovely book! I kept forgetting that the characters weren’t real people.
  • =It’s A Long Way From Penny Apples= by Bill Cullen
  • =The Clothesline= by Irene Rawlings and Andrea Vansteenhouse. Photos of, and essays about, laundry.
  • =The Lemon Jelly Cake= by Madeline Babcock Smith
  • =Under the Tuscan Sun= by Frances Mayes. Mmmmm, nice. Not exciting or anything, just pleasant and full of lovely food.
  • =Julie and Romeo= by Jeanne Ray. Another lovely one. Please write more, Jeanne!
  • =Striding Folly= by Dorothy Sayers (unabridged audiobook) Short stories, Lord Peter Wimsey. Need I say more? :) my favorite by far was “Talboys”.
  • =A Year at the Movies= by Kevin Murphy (“Tom Servo” of MST3K). So funny. He went to the movies every day for an entire year, and writes about the movies, the theatres, the food, the audiences, and random other things.
  • =The Sticklepath Strangler= by Michael Jecks. A murder mystery set in medieval England. Not nearly as bad as it sounds — actually quite readable :)
  • =Welcome to Higby= by Mark Dunn. Wonderful book. Reminded me just a little of Clyde Edgerton and Bailey White.
  • =Step-Ball-Change= by Jeanne Ray. Oh wow. This has got to be one of the best books I’ve read in a long long time. I couldn’t put it down, read it cover to cover in two days.
  • =Carry On, Jeeves= by P.G. Wodehouse. Short stories!!
  • =Money For Nothing= by P.G. Wodehouse. Lol :)
  • =Cause Celeb= by Helen Fielding. Quite different from Bridget Jones; very very good!
  • =Backpack= by Emily Barr
  • =The Natural History of the Rich: A Field Guide= by Richard Conniff. Marvelous!
  • =The Nanny Diaries= by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus.
  • =A Shilling for Candles= by Josephine Tey.
  • =My Family and Other Animals= by Gerald Durrell. Of all the Durrell books I’ve read, this one is turning out to be a big favorite. His short stories always gave a tantalizing glimpse of his family, but never quite enough!
  • =To Love And Be Wise= by Josephine Tey (I’ve been a Tey fan ever since my sister Kathy suggested I read =The Daughter of Time= when I was a kid. Somehow I never read this one before! What a treat :)
  • =The Professor and the Madman= by Simon Winchester — the story of the Oxford English Dictionary. Fascinating subject, but the book is somewhat awkwardly written. Well worth reading if you are interested in linguistics.
  • =The Miss America Family= by Julianna Baggott. Excellent.
  • =Girl Talk= by Julianna Baggott. Also excellent! Hope she writes more.
  • =Sein Language= by Jerry Seinfeld. Lol.
  • =Edge of Reason= by Helen Fielding (More Bridget Jones! YAY!)
  • =Bridget Jones’ Diary= by Helen Fielding (Excellent! Funny! Couldn’t put it down!)
  • =Skipping Christmas= by John Grisham (Yes, THAT John Grisham). A very satisfying Christmas story.
  • =Quite A Year For Plums= by Bailey White (I can hear her interesting voice in my mind while I read her books. This is her first novel, I think, but it’s similar to her collections of short stories.)
  • =Alanna: The First Adventure= by Tamora Pierce (pretty good! I like Keladry better than Alanna, though :)
  • =Too Close To The Falls= by Catherine Gildiner (Biography — Cathy grew up near Niagra Falls in the 50s. Amazing book!)
  • =Must Love Dogs= by Claire Cook — funny, very enjoyable! I hope she writes more :)
  • =Lady Knight= by Tamora Pierce (the last book in the Protector of the Small series. I think this one was the best of them all. The part when she went back to the fort the second time made me cry)
  • =Marrying Off Mother= by Gerald Durrell (Short stories. Everything he writes is excellent. This one was new to me!)
  • =the battle for the villa fiorita= by rumer godden (75% super-good with a terrible unbelievable stupid ending. sigh.)
  • =dress codes of three girlhoods: my mother’s, my father’s, and mine= by noelle howley (wonderful! fascinating!)
  • =squire= by tamora pierce (3rd in the “protector of the small” series)
  • =the gentle giants of ganymeade= by james p. hogan
  • =inherit the stars= by james p. hogan
  • =code of the lifemaker= by james p. hogan
  • =time and again= by jack finney (despite the frustrating ending)
  • =home cooking= by laurie colwin (picked this up at wastrel’s house and couldn’t put it down!)
  • =runestruck= by calvin trillin
  • =floater= by calvin trillin
  • =tepper isn’t going out= by calvin trillin — wonderful wonderful book. i read it in one day.
  • =swimming at suppertime= by carol wasserman
  • =first test= by tamora pierce — i’m excited about this one. it’s the first in a series of four (the “protector of the small” series), and the author has written at least 8 other books about the same world :)
  • =page= by tamora pierce (2nd in the “protector of the small” series)
  • =advanced cinematherapy: the girl’s guide to finding happiness one movie at a time= by peske and west (lots of fun, and now i have a whole list of movies i want to rent :)

old favorites:

  • The Leaphorn and/or Chee mysteries by Tony Hillerman
  • =The Mockery Bird= by Gerald Durrell (Sort of an ecological comedy novel. Very entertaining :)
  • =The Picnic, and Other Inimitable Tales= by Gerald Durrell
  • the “All Creatures” books by James Herriot. I read them for the first time when I was about 8, and have re-read them all countless times. I just worked through them again. I’m always a little bit sad when I get to the end of the last book. I wish there were more.
  • many of Dick Francis’s thrillers — especially some of his older stuff such as =Reflex=, =In The Frame=, and =Twice Shy=.
  • =dracula= by bram stoker
  • everything by jane austen — =emma=, =pride and prejudice=, =northanger abbey= (my three favorites), =sense and sensibility=, =mansfield park=, and =persuasion=
  • the lord peter wimsey mysteries by dorothy sayers, especially =gaudy night= and the others which include harriet vane
  • the jeeves and wooster stories by p.g. wodehouse
  • everything by josephine tey, esp. =brat farrar= and =miss pym disposes=

old favorites (children’s lit):

  • =the swiss family robinson= by johann wyss
  • =little lord fauntleroy= by frances hodgson burnett
  • =magical melons= by carol ryrie brink
  • =family sabbatical= by carol ryrie brink
  • =the secret garden= by frances hodgson burnett
  • =misty of chincoteague= by marguerite henry
  • =caddie woodlawn= by carol ryrie brink
  • everything by edward eager (=half magic=, =magic by the lake=, etc)
  • =a little princess= by frances hodgson burnett
  • everything by laura ingalls wilder (my favorite is =the long winter=)

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