Books on the Nightstand discussion

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What are you reading: April 2011

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Linda | 1577 comments Mod
I finished listening to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo  by Stieg Larsson. I had already read it. Really enjoyed listening to it - great narrator.

Have started listening to Chris Bohjalian's The Law of Similars by Christopher A. Bohjalian


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I have Chris Bohjalian's Secrets of Eden on my nightstand and hope to read it before I head out to the BOTNS Readers' Retreat!

I'm currently listening to Carl Hiaasen's Nature Girl (narrated by Lee Adams.) I've only listened to a couple of other Hiaasen novels before - HOOT and FLUSH - both YA and both OK - and am hoping the more adult fare will, er, fare better!


Eric Kibler | 1000 comments I just finished listening to the audiobook of "One Shot" by Lee Child, the ninth Jack Reacher book.

The premise: A sniper shoots five people in a plaza in Indianapolis. A veritable mountain of forensic evidence leads to the summary arrest of James Barr. Reacher knows him. He once investigated a similar sniper killing Barr had perpetrated while a soldier in Kuwait City. For various reasons, the matter was shoved under the carpet by the Army. Reacher had vowed to put Barr six feet under if he ever killed again.

There's just one hitch: is Barr as guilty as he seems?

I suppose this wouldn't be a proper Reacher book if at some point Reacher didn't come under suspicion for a murder or two. It is the sine qua non of the series. The authorities have it half right. Reacher is a stone cold killer. But he just kills the bad guys. Does he ever!

Child does a great job here with a story that involves a lot of forensic evidence without ever becoming dry. He does his job in that he makes you, the reader, feel smart, because you'll find yourself asking all the right questions before Reacher gets there. A very good entry in the series, but still not as good as "Echo Burning".


Linda | 1577 comments Mod
Tanya wrote: "I have Chris Bohjalian's Secrets of Eden on my nightstand and hope to read it before I head out to the BOTNS Readers' Retreat!

I'm currently listening to Carl Hiaasen's Nature..."</i>

I love listening to Hiaasen's books. [bookcover:Nature Girl
was o.k., Two of my favorites were Tourist Season by Carl Hiaasen and Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen.

I love the ones with Skank.



John (Taborcarn) | 45 comments Currently working on Stephen King's Full Dark, No Stars Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Definitely starts out more gruesome than King's more recent releases.


Trish (Clytemnestra) | 123 comments Reading The Woodcutter by Reginald Hill and am finding it so involving I can't stop reading it. I have so much to do, this is actually crushing me.


Eric Kibler | 1000 comments Just finished "Unfamiliar Fishes" by Sarah Vowell.

Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell

This was selected by our book club. Slight but unformative. Nothing much to recommend it from a literary standpoint. If collecting historical facts in a bloodless, sort of Rain Man-esque sort of way, this may be your bag.

Relates the invasion of Hawaii by American missionaries, then businessmen, then the U.S. government.

Two thumbs meh.


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My Classics reading group is reading Don Quixote this month and I'm about 1/4 of the way through. I might be bringing it with me along to the retreat so I can make sure I finish it before our discussion.

I'm also reading The Tortilla Curtain By T.C. Boyle which I can't say that I'm enjoying but it is a fascinating read.


Callie (calliekl) | 644 comments Finished The Peach Keeper, and the best way I can describe it is Pat Conroy-lite... it was a bit too short, some plot points were kind of glossed over- but overall I enjoyed it. If you ever wished you could read a Pat Conroy novella, then definitely pick this up. A really great summer read.

I finally picked up Midwives, and so far I am enjoying it immensely, so much better than how I felt about "Double Bind". So glad I'll be finishing this before the retreat!


Tracey (chkeemonkee) | 1 comments I am reading The Teahouse Fire by Ellis Avery. Just 100 pages in but a fabulous overview of Japan in the 1860s


message 11: by Melissa (last edited Apr 03, 2011 05:16AM) (new)

Melissa | 251 comments I just finished Moonwalking with Einstein. A light and interesting read, it did get me interested in the art of memorization. I also finished A Red Herring Without Mustard (Flavia de Luce, #3) by Alan BradleyThis installment was much better than the last, which I found a bit disappointing. This series isn't one to be read for the plot or the mystery; it is to be read for the joy of spending time with the characters. I started Deadly Décisions (Temperance Brennan, #3) by Kathy Reichs and I am thinking of starting a science-fiction or fantasy novel, as well.


Sabrina (SabraHB) | 23 comments Just finished reading Faefever by Karen Moning. The plan for this month is to finish The Fall by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan and The Hungar Games by Suzanne Collins
Faefever (Fever, #3) by Karen Marie Moning The Fall LP by Guillermo Del Toro The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) by Suzanne Collins


Sarah | 3 comments I'm reading The War for Late Night by Bill Carter. I work in the television industry so this book is mostly interesting to me for professional reasons, but I think anyone with a strong interest in television programming (reasons behind scheduling shows) will enjoy it.

Next up are Caribou Island and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks for my book club.


Kathy | 117 comments Since finishing the To Reads in last month's post I've been on a life-writing spree. Over the past few weeks I've plowed through Judi Dench's And Furthermore; an editor's reminiscences that made me so angry about 4/5 of the way through that I nearly hurled the book across the room; a much more satisfying/truthful editorial biography, 1924's The Joys and Tribulations of an Editor; the second of Michael Caine's autobiographies, The Elephant to Hollywood; the e-reader version of Roger Rosenblatt's Making Toast: A Family Story; and the well-researched The Life and Many Deaths of Harry Houdini. Also read two more of Martha Grimes' seemingly endless Richard Jury series, the latest Jasper Fforde fantasy, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, and an investigation of the 1942 Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire.

Am currently enjoying The Oxford Book of Parodies and plan to take Pat Conroy's My Reading Life to work for this week's lunchtime reading.


Lil | 216 comments Finished Revolution last week and really enjoyed it. I loved the first half, but my enthusiasm petered out a little bit during the fantasy section. Still highly worthwhile read. Made me wish I understood more about music. I wish I hadn't loaned out my copy of This is Your Brain on Music. Any suggestions on books to guide music appreciation?


Robin (mcrobusaolcom) | 195 comments After finishing The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak i need some nonfiction and started The Age of Wonder  How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes from my To Be Read List.


Flora Bateman (BookwormFlo) | 189 comments Just finished Tipping the Velvet and really liked this one. I'm just now starting The Wise Man's Fear


Maria | 4 comments Just started The Boy in the Striped Pajamas today. I'm a teacher and have my spring break this month so looking forward to lots of reading time.


Jason (JasonCT) | 69 comments Just finished Still Waters  A Mystery by Nigel McCrery Still Waters: A Mystery Review can be found here: http://wp.me/pTRJE-4q


Kate | 225 comments I am readingLook Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's, a memoir of Asperger's syndrome which is a very quick read so far and alsoThe Improper Life of Bezellia Grove: A Novel in preparation for this weekend which is only 4 days away!!! With apologies to all who are unable to attend the reunion.


Robin (mcrobusaolcom) | 195 comments Maria wrote: "Just started The Boy in the Striped Pajamas today. I'm a teacher and have my spring break this month so looking forward to lots of reading time."

Good book! Did you read "The Book Thief"? Have a good break.


Claire (Clairebear8) | 34 comments Just started Catching Fire.


nancy (npjacoby) | 250 comments I just finished "The True Memoirs of Little K"and it's very good...also almost done with "Secrets of Eden" and "The Confession". I started "House Arrest" this morning and will try to speed through that and Somethings Missing --5 days to retreat!!--not enough time to get it all read.


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nancy wrote: "I just finished "The True Memoirs of Little K"and it's very good...also almost done with "Secrets of Eden" and "The Confession". I started "House Arrest" this morning and will try to speed through ..."

Argh! I know exactly what you mean by "not enough time to get it all read!" I always try to read at least one book, but preferably two of an author's works when I know there's going to be an author event! This time, however, I'm having to prioritize and; count on some airport and flight time! I think there might be two authors I don't get to before the Retreat :-(


nancy (npjacoby) | 250 comments only two!!... you're way ahead of me...


nancy (npjacoby) | 250 comments Suzanne, I really loved Tortilla Curtain but it may be because I live very close to Topanga Canyon where the book is set. ..see you soon!


message 27: by Dianne (last edited Apr 04, 2011 06:52PM) (new)

Dianne | 62 comments Kate wrote:I am readingLook Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's, a memoir of Asperger's syndrome which is a very quick read so far and alsoThe Improper Life of Bezellia Grove: A Novel in preparation for this weekend which is only 4 days away!!! With apologies to all who are unable to attend the reunion.
I am going to try to finish The Improper Life of Bezilia Grove tonight. Can't wait until Friday!


message 28: by Callie (last edited Apr 05, 2011 08:19AM) (new)

Callie (calliekl) | 644 comments So, I was about halfway through Midwives last night before I went to bed... and proceeded to finish the whole thing in one sitting! I just couldn't put it down, even as the clock ticked ever closer to my alarm time. I couldn't fathom trying to sleep without knowing how the story played out! How has this not been made into a movie? Seems like it would be pretty perfect for the big screen!

I started The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady this morning, and I think I'm going to like it, though the style is very different from what I've been reading recently. It seems a bit kooky, and very charming!


Jay Bullman | 128 comments I've got three books going right now. I'm listening to The Hunger Games. I'm reading West of Herewhich is starting off a bit slow but I am still enjoying. I also picked up Living Dead in Dallaswhich is going quite a bit faster. I don't love these books but I like them well enough to want to keep finding out more about the world building that is going on.

I just finished listening to The Brass VerdictMickey Haller is quickly becoming a favorite character. I think I will listen to The Reversal once I am done with The Hunger Games.


Carol (CKubala) | 285 comments I finished Revenge of the Radioactive Lady and as Callie said it is different from what I usually read but there are a lot of truths underneath all the kookiness. I can't wait to meet Elizabeth Stuckey-French.


Flora Bateman (BookwormFlo) | 189 comments I've gotten started on The Wise Man's Fear but its been difficult to remember all that happened in the first in this series because its been so long since I've read that one. I'm also reading Hood as well as The Journal of Hélène Berr and all three are good so far.


Lynsay Lambert (LynsayL) | 18 comments Tanya wrote: "I have Chris Bohjalian's Secrets of Eden on my nightstand and hope to read it before I head out to the BOTNS Readers' Retreat!

I'm currently listening to Carl Hiaasen's [book:Nature..."


Ooh you should definitely check it out, I reviewed it here:

http://theinsatiableereader.blogspot....

I can't wait to read more by him!!


Jason (JasonCT) | 69 comments Hi everyone!

Just finished Drinking Closer to Home (P.S.) by Jessica Anya Blau Drinking Closer to Home

A solid 4* read! Reviewed here: http://wp.me/pTRJE-4z


Callie (calliekl) | 644 comments I finished The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady yesterday and really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to the discussion with the author- she is definitely hosting the right talk!

I started House Arrest: A Novel last night, and while I am anticipating I am going to love it, I'm not going to kill myself trying to finish it before tomorrow. No reason for that!

I'm also going between Marvel 1602 and X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga. Marvel 1602 is great, although I feel like I am missing many of the references because I'm not a Marvel expert. I do love stories of this nature, where people from certain time-periods are rewritten into different time periods, with the important characteristics staying the same (for example, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1)... anyone know of other books (not necessarily graphic novels) of this nature?


Claire (Clairebear8) | 34 comments Callie wrote: "So, I was about halfway through Midwives last night before I went to bed... and proceeded to finish the whole thing in one sitting! I just couldn't put it down, even as the clock ticked..."

Hi Callie, I agree - I thought Midwives was so good and couldn't put it down. That is the only one I have read by this author but I plan to read more of him.


message 36: by Scott (last edited Apr 07, 2011 02:51PM) (new)

Scott Collins | 16 comments Finished up Halfway to Heaven: My White-knuckled--and Knuckleheaded--Quest for the Rocky Mountain High last night. WOW. What a book. I'm afraid of heights and his descriptions of some of his climbs had my heart racing and palms sweating. Great read for those who enjoy the outdoors.

Halfway to Heaven: My White-knuckled--and Knuckleheaded--Quest for the Rocky Mountain High


Marlene | 6 comments I'm listening to Water for Elephants. I like the narrators and the story. Just finished reading I think I love you and Just Kids. Am now reading Man Walks Into a Room.


Janny (JannyAn) | 9 comments I'm reading Cloud atlas by David Mitchell. This book is so different from all the others I've read.


Linda | 1577 comments Mod
Marlene wrote: "I'm listening to Water for Elephants. I like the narrators and the story. Just finished reading I think I love you and Just Kids. Am now reading Man Walks Into a Room."

Hey, Marlene! I just met Sara Gruen last night - got her to sign my copy of her newest book and my sister's copy (I bought for her) of WFE. Last thing I did before heading for the retreat. I had looked forward to both not realizing how close the two events were. I still try to do everything.


Kathy (KathMac) | 14 comments I just finished reading AMONG THIEVES by David Hosp

The book is a fictionalized account of the theft of paintings from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum that took place in Boston in 1990.

I think David Hosp did a good job combining the facts known about the Gardner heist with his fictional account of events.


Jessica Gridley | 8 comments I'm currently reading Middlesex, which ever since it came out I was apprehensive to start. For some reason (without reading anything about the novel) I thought it would be hard to get through but it is surpisingly page turning and I am really enjoying it!


Trish (Clytemnestra) | 123 comments Janny wrote: "I'm reading Cloud atlas by David Mitchell. This book is so different from all the others I've read."

All the others by him or all other books? Reason I ask is that this one hit me sideways--I wasn't at all expecting it to be so...I don't know...cerebral? literary? I was thinking he is perhaps not for me, but I had been interested to read Thousand Autums of Jacob de Zoet but I'm afraid I won't understand it.


Trish (Clytemnestra) | 123 comments Am listening to and LOVING Kate Atkinson's new book called Started Early, Took My Dog. It is premier British mystery: trenchant humor that could be called mystery, given it's characters are, or were, policemen. Anything by Atkinson is highly recommended, but if you already like her, you're going to LOVE this.


Eric Kibler | 1000 comments I just finished "Spider-Man/Human Torch: I'm With Stupid" by Dan Slott and Ty Templeton.

Spider-Man/Human Torch  I'm With Stupid by Dan Slott

Man, I loved this!

It's the story of a friendship. Ever since the early days of Marvel Comics, Spider-Man (Peter Parker) and the Human Torch (Johnny Storm) have been friends. These five chapters tell how that friendship matured from an uneasy rivalry to best buddies status. It's also an exploration of past eras in the Marvel Universe. It plunks you back into 1964, 1969, 1974, 1983, and finishes in 2005 (the date this series was published). We get to see why villain Paste Pot Pete changed his name to the Trapster, Johnny and Pete taking a joyride in the Spider-Mobile, hi-jinks at the Coffee Bean, etc.

The writer, Dan Slott, is now the writer of the semi-monthly Amazing Spider-Man. He gets what makes Marvel special, and is able to use events from the past to inform the present. The final chapter shows how Spidey became part of the Fantastic Four family. Since the recent events of the death of Johnny and his replacement by Spidey in the FF, this series takes on special resonance and emotional impact.

Fun, funny, and touching all at once. You can't go wrong with this one.


Eric Kibler | 1000 comments I also finished "Candide" by Voltaire this morning.

Candide by Voltaire

Voltaire obviously took a dim view of the value of human life.

The story follows the globe-trotting misadventures of a naive commoner, Candide, and his quest to marry the beautiful Cunegunde, who is the daughter of a Baron. His compatriots include the philosophers Pangloss ("We live in the best of all possible worlds! Everything is for the good!") and Martin ("Everybody is miserable and always will be"), the faithful sidekick, Cacambo, and the one-buttocked old woman (How did she lose a buttock? Read the book!) .

The characters endure the worst suffering the world has to offer: war, the Inquisition, people being mutilated, eaten, burned alive, hanged, sold into prostitution and galley slavery, con men, thieves, you name it. Yet somehow they convince themselves that life is worth living. Candide at one point finds himself in the mythical South American paradise El Dorado, yet leaves because he is troubled by dissatisfaction. He feels, in order to be happy, the need to lord his newfound wealth over others less fortunate.

The characters end the story on a farm, seeking a moderate contentment through hard work which keeps them from thinking overmuch about their condition. Reading this book makes me feel pretty good, actually. As pessimistic as I sometimes am, I find much more satisfaction in life than Voltaire seems to.


Flora Bateman (BookwormFlo) | 189 comments I just finished The Journal of Hélène Berr and thought it was really good but sad. The horrors that went on during the time she lived were unimaginable.

I'm currently about half way thru Hood and still reading The Wise Man's Fear


Jason (JasonCT) | 69 comments Hi everyone!

Just finished The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch The Chronology of Water An amazing read. Unlike anything you will read.
Review can be found here: http://wp.me/pTRJE-4N


Rita | 139 comments I just finished In the Woods by Tana French and it was great. Was this based on a true story? Crazy if it was.

I also just finished The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry and I enjoyed this one as well.

I'm now on Killing Floor (Jack Reacher, #1) by Lee Child


Jason (JasonCT) | 69 comments @Rita - Ahhh nice to see you reading Lee Child, I've really enjoyed the 'Jack Reacher' books that I've read so far, will be interested to hear what you think.


nancy (npjacoby) | 250 comments I just finished House Arrest and it was very good..compelling story and characters. It was even better because I got to hear Ellen Meeropol, the author, discuss it. She was a generous participant in "Booktopia" this weekend. Loved talking to her about the book and her background.


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