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The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun
I don’t know which is stranger – that people like this book, or that it was written in the first place. It came into being because Gretchen Rubin, a w ...more
Mar 2011
Jul 05, 2011
One Hundred Years of Solitude
More like A Hundred Years of Torture. I read this partly in a misguided attempt to expand my literary horizons and partly because my uncle was a big f ...more
Jan 1991
Jun 11, 2008
The Jane Austen Book Club
I’m convinced the first thing Jane Austen is going to do on the Day of Resurrection is hire a lawyer and sue the philistines who have commandeered her ...more
Jan 2007
Jun 11, 2008
A Tale of Two Cities
Years of teaching this novel to teenagers never dimmed my thrill in reading it — if anything, I grew to love it more every time I watched kids gasp al ...more
not set
Jun 12, 2008
The Forgotten Garden
While this is ostensibly a novel of secrets spanning four generations, most of the “secrets” are fairly obvious. I kept waiting for the blow to fall — ...more
Jun 2009
Aug 07, 2009
Bleak House
I know, something about a 900 page book with bleak in the title doesn’t exactly scream “summer fun”. Nevertheless, this was a page-turner with more la ...more
Jul 2008
Sep 01, 2008
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
A friend gave this to me with the recommendation, “You’ll LOVE this – it sounds like you!” I assume she meant because the main character is a witty bo ...more
Sep 2008
Sep 25, 2008
The Undomestic Goddess
As you’d expect, the story is a sitcom come to life: a work-obsessed attorney loses her job in a dramatic way and then plunges alone into the countrys ...more
Aug 2009
Oct 28, 2009
Howards End
Many critics consider this to be Forster’s masterpiece, and it is hard to imagine a more searing and poignant examination of the social, philosophic, ...more
not set
May 15, 2008
A Confederacy of Dunces
Easily the funniest book I’ve ever read. A masterful fugue of high and low comedy, the novel traces the exploits of Ignatius J. Reilly, thwarted autho ...more
not set
Jun 20, 2008
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
When I first read this at 18, I hated it with the heat of a thousand suns. Tess was weak, gullible, and apparently doomed to plunge herself from one b ...more
Nov 2007
Nov 24, 2008
The House of Mirth
So depressing I had to read two Nancy Drew mysteries afterward to cheer up. This is Edith Wharton’s other masterpiece, a Gilded Age tragedy of the bea ...more
Jan 1996
Apr 22, 2008
The House at Riverton
I had such high hopes! Our heroine, Grace, now a feisty but failing 98, spent her early life at Riverton House in the service of the Ashbury family... ...more
Jan 2009
Mar 16, 2009
The Pilot's Wife
**spoiler alert** This is one of those books you pick up in Costco when the line is really long and you need something to kill time, but then it accid ...more
not set
Aug 01, 2008
Under the Greenwood Tree
An optimistic Thomas Hardy novel? Is there such a thing?? Published the same month Hardy turned 32, this is, at least as far as I’ve read, the cheerie ...more
not set
Nov 25, 2008
Storm of Steel
Ernst Jünger is an insurance actuary’s worst nightmare — he smoked, drank, experimented with drugs, served in two world wars, sustained multiple injur ...more
Nov 2008
Jan 06, 2009
Antigone is a strong contender in the Plays That Keep You Awake at Night competition. The background of the story reads, no surprise, like a Greek tra ...more
Nov 2009
Jan 12, 2010
The Boleyn Inheritance (The Tudor Court, #3)
You have to hand it to Philippa Gregory — she creates a lot of suspense out of a story everyone knows the ending to. Normally I don’t much go in for h ...more
Jan 15, 2008
Jun 12, 2008
Aeschylus I: Oresteia (Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, The Eumenides)
Murder, betrayal, revenge, torment . . . you might wonder, “Why would I bother reading three Greek plays when I could see the same sort of lurid probl ...more
Oct 2008
Jan 30, 2010
They Came to Baghdad
I don’t even have words to describe the madcap charm of this book. No Miss Marple, no Poirot, just a heroine who redefines “spunky” and a plot that wi ...more
Jul 2009
Aug 13, 2009
An Accomplished Woman
In spite of a slow start, this was diverting enough that the author’s obvious looting of Jane Austen characters and situations didn’t give me heartbur ...more
Jul 2009
Jul 30, 2009
The Return of the Soldier
If there is such a thing as a “perfect” book, this is it. Rebecca West’s prose is like poetry — each word perfectly chosen, each phrase perfectly tur ...more
not set
Aug 08, 2008
Little Dorrit
For years I thought this book was some sort of a universal joke, because at the end of Evelyn Waugh's novel, A Handful of Dust, one of the characters ...more
Jan 2007
Jun 12, 2008
Year of Wonders
1666. A young housemaid walks through the empty streets of a village decimated by plague. She attends to the rector, a formerly charismatic leader now ...more
Jun 2008
Jun 30, 2008
The Mistress of Spices
I probably wouldn’t have read this if I hadn’t been introduced to Ms. Divakaruni by a former student who was taking a class from her and loved her. I ...more
Jun 1998
Feb 10, 2009
Far from the Madding Crowd
This is my favorite Hardy novel, and the one with which he gained national acclaim. Although the characters suffer from the usual cruel twists of fate ...more
not set
Nov 25, 2008
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Though at times charming, this book mostly left me wondering what sort of a world the author imagines England to be. Her characterizations are far mor ...more
Jan 2011
Feb 26, 2011
Winter Solstice
This fluctuates between heartwarming and trashy. A group of loosely connected people wind up together at an estate house in some small Highland town, ...more
Dec 2008
Jan 12, 2009
The Meaning of Night (The Meaning of Night #1)
I was warned to persevere through the slow beginning, and after a few chapters it really does become the gripping page-turner promised in the back cov ...more
Mar 2008
Apr 12, 2008
La's Orchestra Saves the World
Alexander McCall Smith has a penchant for “cute” titles, some quite funny(At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances). However, something about a character ...more
Feb 2010
Mar 26, 2010
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