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What did you read last month? > What I read March 2012

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Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8156 comments Here is a folder for you to list all the books you read March 2012

Please provide:
~ A GoodRead link
~ A few sentences telling us how you felt about the book.
~ How would you rate the book


message 2: by Alias Reader (last edited Mar 31, 2012 08:11PM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8156 comments What I read in March


Einstein: His Life and Universe~Walter Isaacson
Non fiction
Rate: 3/5
This was our March Group read. The science in the book at times got a bit dense. But overall it was a very readable and interesting look at a man who I found to be an enigma.

The Cow in the Parking Lot: A Zen Approach to Overcoming Anger~Leonard Scheff
non fiction
Rate 3/5
A Buddhist take on how to deal with anger.

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything~Joshua Foer
non fiction
rate 3/5
The authors quest to improve his memory. To do this he decides to train for the United States Memory Championship. The author is the brother of bestselling author, Jonathan Safran Foer. The book is interesting. However, if you are looking for a book to improve your memory this is not it. This is more of a memoir. If you want help improving your memory, the best book I've found is Your Memory: How It Works and How to Improve It~Kenneth L. Higbee

Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength~Roy F. Baumeister
non fiction
rate 3 - /5
The author is a psychologist. He discusses various studies that attempt to learn what will power actually is and if you can improve it. The book was a bit scatter shot and needed a tighter focus. I also found the start of the book repetitious. He explains the willpower is like a muscle. When it gets fatigued the person loses their self control. Anything can fatigue your will power. You may use all your will power to try and not punch your boss in the nose. Then when you get home you eat everything in sight because you have used up all your willpower. One solution is to make certain activities a habit so you don't fatigue your will power. So if you can make it a habit to walk 30 minutes everyday, this activity will be a habit and not fatigue your will power for other things. The logic of all these studies gets a bit circular and contradictory I found as I read the book.

The two chapters I found most interesting were how Asian parents differ when it comes to childrearing and how that improves their child willpower and results in very successful children. If this topic interests you the author mentions two books on this topic.
Top of the Class: How Asian Parents Raise High Achievers--and How You Can Too~Soo Kim Abboud and the controversial book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother~Amy Chua I've read the later and found it very interesting reading.

The section on dieting was also interesting. The authors posit that there may be a connection with will power and the glycemic index.


Stephanie W (stephy711) | 45 comments March 2012
Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food -Paul Greenburg (284 pages)
The book was a lot more about fishing and a lot less about fish as food. I think I would have appreciated it more if I enjoyed fishing, not just eating fish.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society -Annie Barrows (274 pages)
Pretty worthless drivel. The style of letters was supposed to make it a fast read, but the time period and subject matter made it feel as though the story dragged.

Y The Last Man: Cycles -Brian K. Vaughn (128 pages)
Second book in a series of dystopian comics. Not the best series I've read, but it's good for he gym.

Ready Player One -Ernest Cline (372 pages)
One of the best fun reads I've read in a long time. It's a little like Last Starfighter meets WoW meets Willy Wonka with some awesome 80s sci fi references.

The Marriage Plot -Jeffrey Eugenides (406 pages)
Also pretty much pure drivel. It's the style that I loved from Middlesex coupled with characters and a plot that I hate. Normally the style might outweight one, but not both...

Y The Last Man: One Small Step -Brian K Vaughn (168 pages)

A History of the World in 100 Objects -Neil MacGregor (736 pages)
An annotated guide to the British Museum. Gives a quick overview of various artifacts, and provides a lot of great trivia. Very well organized.

Lucky Peach Issue 3: Cooks and Chefs -David Chang (176 pages)
I usually like this magazine because it's written for cooks and chefs. It's not full of gorgeous food porn or recipes like Saveur, but it has great articles. This one felt a lot more like egotistical masturbation than most of the issues, but still worthwhile.


Y The Last Man: Safeword -Brain K Vaughn (144 pages)


JoAnn/QuAppelle | 712 comments Stephanie wrote: "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society -Annie Barrows (274 pages)
Pretty worthless drivel. The style of letters was supposed to make it a fast read, but the time period and subject matter made it feel as though the story dragged.."


Guess I like worthless drivel about World War II !!!! I also love epistolary novels.


message 5: by Alias Reader (last edited Mar 31, 2012 08:14PM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8156 comments Stephanie wrote:A History of the World in 100 Objects -Neil MacGregor (736 pages)
An annotated guide to the British Museum. Gives a quick overview of various artifacts, and provides a lot of great trivia. Very well organized.

--------
On NPR's Lenoard Lopate show they have been doing a segment on this every day.


Sumofparts | 37 comments This month was a disappointing reading month. I binge-read The Girls over 2 days in the first week of March and then struggled to read Einstein: His Life and Universe though I agree with Alias Reader that it seemed to be a very readable and interesting look at Einstein. I only managed to read about 100 pages though I did read some of the group discussion with interest. Worst of all, I wasn't even motivated to read any of the other books I had around.

The Girls was a very engrossing book. It's about a pair of conjoined twin sisters who are quite different in personality and the book is framed as one sister's memoir with contributions from the other since their stories are necessarily connected. I gave it 4 stars.

Longer review is here:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


Niki D. | 6 comments I finished The Great Gatsby early in the month, then took about a half hour to whiz through Sterling's Gold: Wit and Wisdom of an Ad Man later this month. At the same time I'm slowly (but surely!) working my way through My Life in France and The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 2: 1953-1954, which I HOPE to have both done near the beginning of April.


message 8: by Alias Reader (last edited Apr 01, 2012 07:59AM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8156 comments Niki, I read My Life in France with a library book club. The majority loved it. However, I was less happy with it. I really didn't care what the menu was and the wine they had with every single meal. Also a few things Child did turned me off. I won't mention them as you are still reading the book. I also thought the book could have been shorter.

Shallow me, I much preferred the movie Julie & Julia. Meryl Streep plays Childs.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1135503/


Madrano (madran) | 2988 comments Stephanie wrote: "Ready Player One -Ernest Cline (372 pages)
One of the best fun reads I've read in a long time. It's a little like Last Starfighter meets WoW meets Willy Wonka with some awesome 80s sci fi references. ..."


Stephanie, i really liked this book, too. And the Last Starfighter crossed my mind, too. Glad to know others here are enjoying it, too.

Like JoAnn, i enjoyed the Guernsey novel very much. I always like when i learn something from my fiction & i was unaware of its occupation, as well as other facts. But the characters pleased me enormously, as well.

Niki, i enjoyed the Childs memoir. My DH says i recall meals better than anyone he knows (said as a sort of meanness), but Julia far surpasses anyone i know!

My own scant reading this month.

Cain by José Saramago. I enjoyed the humorous comments, as well as some interesting ideas in this book. It's a story about Adam & Eve initially but moves right through the early books of the Bible, as seen through the eyes of Cain, post-murder. He sort of travels through time, though, which was not explained, nor complained about.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. While i liked it & enjoyed the story/action, i won't read more of the trilogy. I just wanted to get a sense of the story, fan of science fiction that i am.

The group's March reading, Einstein, to which i won't link. It was fine but long. I hadn't intended to read it but when the group selected it, i thought it was time for an update of what i know about the man. I certainly got that, as well as wonderful discussions. Thanks.

deb


Meredith | 52 comments My March reads:

Have a Little Faith: The Story of a Last RequestbyMitch Albom
rating 4+/5

I enjoyed this journey of reawakening of faith and spirituality

Wonderstruck byBrian Selznick
rating 4/5

This book is a children's book with two parallel stories. One is told in words and the other in pictures. The stories are interesting and are joined at the end. Though this is a 600+ book it is a very fast read

Second NaturebyAlice Hoffman
rating 4/5

This was my first Alice Hoffman book. I enjoyed the stories and characters so will read more of her works.


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8156 comments Looks like you had a very nice reading month, Meredith. Thank you for sharing !


Julie (readerjules) | 873 comments I only finished one book this month which was Eating Animals. I gave it 5 stars for giving very important info and without making it seem completely one-sided. My review is here:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


message 13: by Alias Reader (last edited Apr 01, 2012 08:24PM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8156 comments Julie wrote: "I only finished one book this month which was Eating Animals. I gave it 5 stars for giving very important info and without making it seem completely one-sided. My review is here:
ht..."

============================

Julie have you seen the movie Forks over Knives ? If not, you should rent it from the library.


Madrano (madran) | 2988 comments Meredith wrote: "
Wonderstruck byBrian Selznick
rating 4/5

This book is a children's book with two parallel stories. One is told in words and the other in pictures. The stories are interesting and are joined at the end. Though this is a 600+ book it is a very fast read ..."


Thanks for this title & info. I think i was getting this author confused with Maurice Sendak of Where the Wild Things Are fame. Now i have them "right."


Elaine Langer | 125 comments I finally got some reading done this year. I was on the subway alot and this always helps my reading slumps. It was a good month.

The White TigerAravind Adiga I would give this 4 stars. I thought this was written well. I am looking forward to reading another book by the same author.

The PearlJohn Steinbeck thiswas also 4 stars. It made me think of the alchemist and I could not help but think this is the better story. This book jumpstarted me out of my reading slump, of picking up and putting down way to many books this year.

Fifty Shades of GreyE.L. James Yea...I read it. I am not ashamed. I usually hate this crap, but it was actually good. I will not rate it, its still just silly fiction, but, I needed to not think at all this month!!! So it served its purpose.


Julie (readerjules) | 873 comments No I haven't Alias. I'll look it up.


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8156 comments I'm glad you are out of your reading slump, Elaine !


Carolyn (in SC) C234D | 95 comments Still not getting much book-reading done lately.

In early March I set aside The Kitchen House, which was our book group selection. I hadn't finished it by our meeting, and after the discussion I had no desire to continue on. Too unrelentingly depressing, one bad happening after another.

Paris in Love: A Memoir I enjoyed this very much! A family of four moved to Paris for one year. The book is divided into the four seasons, and consists of observations and vignettes about their life as the year moves on. What made it so good was the quality of the writing. The author is a professor of Shakespeare at Fordham University in NYC, as well as a historical romance novelist. She and her Italian husband, also a professor, were able to take a year's sabbatical and rent an apartment in Paris, and enroll their son (15) and daughter (11) in the Italian school there. Daily, mundane activities are made interesting by the way she writes about them. I enjoyed her description of a Parisian Christmas, and how the overindulgence in beautiful food helped heal her heart after her earlier breast cancer diagnosis. There is a lot about food and cooking, and visits to out-of-the-way museums. Her description of the chubby family pet, Milo: "like a bolster pillow auditioning to be a dog." And a description of a neighboring building: "If light were sound, her window would be playing a concerto." A delightful book.

I didn't quite finish my next book (long) in March, so it'll be in next month's list.


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8156 comments Carolyn (in SC) C234D wrote:
Paris in Love: A Memoir I enjoyed this very much! A family of four moved to Paris for one year. The book is divided into the four seasons, and consists of observations and vignettes about their life as the year moves on. What made it so good was the quality of the writing. The author is a professor of Shakespeare at Fordham University in NYC, as well as a historical romance novelist. She and her Italian husband, also a professor, were able to take a year's sabbatical and rent an apartment in Paris, and enroll their son (15) and daughter (11) in the Italian school there. Daily, mundane activities are made interesting by the way she writes about them.
------------

That sounds like book I would enjoy. I've put it on my list. Thanks, Carolyn !


JoAnn/QuAppelle | 712 comments Meredith wrote: "Second NaturebyAlice Hoffman
rating 4/5

This was my first Alice Hoffman book. I enjoyed the stories and characters so will read more of her works. .."


You chose a good one with which to start! This is one of my favorites of Hoffman's.


JoAnn/QuAppelle | 712 comments Carolyn (in SC) C234D wrote: "In early March I set aside The Kitchen House, which was our book group selection. I hadn't finished it by our meeting, and after the discussion I had no desire to continue on. Too unrelentingly depressing, one bad happening after another...."

I really disliked this book and cannot imagine why I finished it.


Carolyn (in SC) C234D | 95 comments JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "Carolyn (in SC) C234D wrote: "In early March I set aside The Kitchen House, which was our book group selection. I hadn't finished it by our meeting, and after the discussion I had no desire to cont..."

Glad it wasn't just moi, JoAnn.


Madrano (madran) | 2988 comments Elaine wrote: "The PearlJohn Steinbeck thiswas also 4 stars. It made me think of the alchemist and I could not help but think this is the better story. This book jumpstarted me out of my reading slump, of picking up and putting down way to many books this year. ..."

I think high school teachers used to add this to their required books because it was Steinbeck & short. However, it failed to interest most of the students i knew. SO, when i read it (nope, i did NOT read it in high school--no surprise!), i was amazed at how good it was. Of course by then i was a fan of the author's, having read The Grapes of Wrath. After that, i don't think i read one of his i didn't enjoy on some level.

deb, happy for Elaine's clearance of the slump dump


Connie (Constants) | 76 comments Recent (and not so recent) reads.....

Sister: A Novel - Rosamund Lipton. A psychological thriller set in London and a very good read. A young woman living in New York returns home to England when she learns that her sister is missing. Lots of real emotion in this book - I even teared up once while reading it - and enough "red herrings" to keep you guessing. A-

This Beautiful Life- Helen Schulmann. I really disliked this book, the story, the characters, the writing style - all of it. The story is about a family whose "beautiful life" falls apart when the teenage son receives a sexual video from a young girl and he forwards the video on to his friends. The teen characters were so young I felt like I was reading kiddie porn. The adult characters were shallow and unlikeable. As for the writing style, she had a tendency to form sentences like this, Helen Schulmann. It drove me crazy. I will admit that I skimmed over the last 20 or so pages. D+

The Age of Miracles- Karen Thompson Walker. There are many changes in the world when the earth begins to slow its rotation and the hours of daylight and nighttime extend to days and even weeks. Julia is 11 years old when "the slowing" begins and while what she really wants is a boyfriend and a bra, she has to deal with many more serious matters. I read an advance copy of this book and totally enjoyed it. Although there are apocalyptic overtones, this is more the story of a young girl growing up in a world she's not prepared for, and one where the adults aren't prepared either. A-

Autobiography of Malcolm X - as told to Alex Haley. Definitely one of the best books I'll read this year. It seemed very appropriate to be reading this book at a time when race relations in the US is so prominent in the news, and reminded me of how little has changed since Malcolm X lived and died. An absolutely fascinating look at the life of a fascinating man and some of the insights I gained from this book will stay with me. When Malcolm realizes that Elijah Mohammed, the man who he feels saved his life, is really a flawed human being who makes many of the same mistakes we all do, he comments that we shouldn't have more faith in a person than the person has in himself. I've been guilty of that in the past, so that insight really hit me where I live. Great book. A

(I'm having trouble making corrections in this post.....tried to once and the whole thing vanished into the ether. So forgive the grammatical and spelling errors here. I really do know better!)


message 25: by Alias Reader (last edited Apr 04, 2012 01:25PM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8156 comments Connie, I am so happy to see you loved Autobiography of Malcolm X.

I always list this as one of the very best books I've read.

As always, I enjoyed reading your reviews. :)


Marialyce In March I went from the really, really good to the OMG awful... So here they are:

Cloud Atlas: A Novel 5 stars
All I can say is that I absolutely loved this book. I was mesmerized from the get go and found the intertwining stories filled with surprises, laughter, sadness, and a high level of intrigue and suspense.

The Graveyard Book 4 stars
This was a wonderful YA book which dealt with love and friendship, albeit a strange one, that of the love of the graveyard inhabitants for a young orphan boy. Mr Gaiman's manages to keep the reader very engrossed while teaching a very valuable lesson that of using love to help you find your way in life.

Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout 4 stars
I found this to be an exquisitely done book. It was so wonderfully put together that I thought it to be a piece of art. The writing itself, while not really introducing anything new, was interesting although some of the items seemed a bit scattered and somewhat randomly put into the story.

Einstein: His Life and Universe 4 stars
This was not always an easy book to read, but one that eventually does investigate and make the reader aware of the huge impact this man had on our lives and the way one sees the universe. This man, a genius among us, was above all human and Issacson presents him as such. We see Albert from his youth, a certainly precocious young man who I think the phrase "thinking out of the box" was invented for. He had a uncanny ability to look at things within his mind in a kind of three dimensional manner. His mind really did not have limits in the way we are often made to think. Albert's brain was pretty much given free reign to explore, to find, to know. His power to think seemed limitless.

Wives and Daughters 4 stars
Elizabeth Gaskel wrote this not completed novel before her untimely death from a heart attack. It was a wonderful exploration of the relationships not only among women, but also those of a father to a daughter. The characters were interestingly presented and the ultimate love story with its intertwinings and pitfalls was told beautifully and with that happy ending many of us search for.

Tess of the D'Urbervilles 4 stars

This was a wonderfully tragic story of a young girl, her quite needy family, and the men who wronged her. Poor Tess, defiled by one man and supposedly loved by another right up to the moment where he learned she was difiled.The story was wonderfully written in a very tragic way by Hardy who infuses his book with many gorgeous descriptions of the countryside and the environment in which Tess has lived. It is a story of innocence and the striving to do what is right by standing on one's own. For poor Tess, this proves to be difficult yet she approaches each and every obstacle with total resolve and acceptance. There was not a time that Tess was not stoic and of course the better of all she came in contact with. (except the lovely milkmaids that is!)


The Solitude of Prime Numbers 4 stars
This novel is about a set of twins who are thought of as prime numbers always alone, separated by an even number. The twins, one of which is mentally handicapped and does die through a tragic accident, are in a way haunted. Mattia, the boy twin, is brillant, a type of autistic savant in math, who can never connect with much other than numbers. In fact, numbers are the way Mattia sees the world.

The Virgin Suicides 3 stars
This was quite the story of a dysfunctional family and the destruction it wrought on a family of daughters. Committing suicide is a heinous event both for the victim who feels life has nothing to offer as well as to friends and family who can never understand the why of the act.

The God of Small Things 3 stars
Well, I have to say that I was often confused by the goings on in the novel. I have always had a time with names so I am going to use that as my excuse for not loving this book, among other things!) The story revolves around twins, a boy and a girl who seem to experience so much hardship. One realizes that growing up is often fraught with trials and tribulations, but these poor kids had more than their share. To me, it was a wonder any of them could get up in the morning!

A Confederacy of Dunces 1 star
I thought it was awful, just awful! Sorry to all my wonderful book friends who loved this book, but to me it was well, in a word "awful." I guess it could be me (hear me sniveling?), as I like my funny characters to be funny which oftentimes means to step out of character and do something outrageous. Case in point would be Timothy Cavendish of Cloud Atlas: A Novel fame. Now, that man was hysterically funny without really meaning to be. In the current book, our protagonist just is plain stupid, sniveling, and blaming his ills of character on everyone other than himself. Perhaps that is what makes him funny to others, but to me he was just a PITA.

Right now, I am reading Elizabeth and Her German Garden which I love and Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World which is another goodie.


message 27: by Alias Reader (last edited Apr 04, 2012 06:34PM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8156 comments Marialyce, I totally agree with you on Radioactive. It is a beautiful and imaginative book.

I also loved Solitude of Prime numbers. I wish I could recall who recommended it first here at BNC. It's a winner.

As to Dunces, it's a love it or hate it book. I loved it.

As to Einstein, thank you once again for leading the discussion for our Group Read. You did a wonderful job !


Elaine Langer | 125 comments Thank you! It sure is a releif


Stephanie W (stephy711) | 45 comments Marialyce wrote: "In March I went from the really, really good to the OMG awful... So here they are:

Cloud Atlas: A Novel 5 stars
All I can say is that I absolutely loved this book. I was mesmerized ..."



My book club is reading Cloud Atlas in the next two weeks. Looking forward to it. They also read Confederacy of Dunces a couple months back and I couldn't get past the first 10 pages. Thanks for the recommendations, including Radioactive.


Madrano (madran) | 2988 comments Connie wrote: "Recent (and not so recent) reads.....

Sister: A Novel - Rosamund Lipton. A psychological thriller set in London and a very good read. A young woman living in New York returns home...Lots of real emotion in this book - I even teared up once while reading it - and enough "red herrings" to keep you guessing. A-"


What more can one ask from a thriller? Thanks for all the comments you shared, Connie. I'm with you on Malcolm X, it was outstanding. I can see why the timing helped make it even more thought provoking.


Madrano (madran) | 2988 comments Marialyce wrote: "In March I went from the really, really good to the OMG awful... So here they are:

Cloud Atlas: A Novel 5 stars
All I can say is that I absolutely loved this book. I was mesmerized ..."


I appreciate your comments, Marialyce. I really hope to read Cloud Atlas soon, at least before the film. Reviews such as yours help nudge me in that direction.

As always, i value reading your thoughts on the classics you've read. I enjoy those older books & am tickled when others read & review them here. Tess is one i had a difficult time reading and is probably, as a result, my least favorite Hardy novel.

And i'm one who totally agrees with you about The Confederacy of Dunces. As Alias noted, however, it seems to be a love it or hate it book. I was disappointed because i hadn't heard any negative comments (or maybe they just didn't stick? Hmmm), so my dismay was doubled.


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8156 comments Wow ! You sure had a good reading month. TWJ !


thewanderingjew | 135 comments I listen to a lot of books and I find that has really given me an opportunity to "read" more.


Marialyce Oops, I forgot to include Vanity Fair a five star read in my list.

I loved it especially the very flawed but super smart Becky who is sort of an anti heroine who always seems to land on her feet. Well, there are some slip ups, but Becky is intrepid enough to always survive. In contrast, Amelia, the heroine, was just too self sacrificing for me.


Madrano (madran) | 2988 comments TWJ, good month. Listening to books has really made an impact for many here, i've noticed.

Marialyce, you named one classic i've yet to read yet cannot figure out why not. It sounds as though it has everything i want, right? I'm glad you liked it so much.

deb


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8156 comments Another nice month, Fiona !


Madrano (madran) | 2988 comments I agree. You offer some intriguing books for consideration, Fiona. I enjoy seeing your list.

deb


Fiona (Titch) Hunt (Titch) | 41 comments Why thank you ladies x


message 41: by Lesley (last edited Apr 13, 2012 06:47PM) (new)

Lesley | 213 comments I'm late to this thread as recently got back from a holiday in Japan. Here's my March reads;

Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America's Strangest Jail. An audio book which I sometimes struggle with, as accents can bother me if done badly. This non-fiction is about a British drugdealer who does time in a La Paz jail. Sounds interesting but I was bored. 2 stars.
Half Broke Horses Great tales of rural friendships and hardships. 4 stars.
The Teahouse Fire I enjoyed the details of the Kyoto setting. I found no character development so felt nothing for the characters, and found myself skipping pages from p.200 onwards. 2 stars.
Breath, Eyes, Memory About generations of women from the one Haitian family, as seen through the eyes of the youngest who migrates to the USA. At times I was confused by the characters. I felt the ingredients were there for something better. 1 star.
The Grapes of Wrath. I loved it, and didn't want to finish it. 5 stars.
The Lieutenant Another one on audio. About the relationship between a First Fleet astronomer and an Aboriginal girl. I think I should read the printed version in order to take in the detail. 3 stars.
The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette A light fictious look at her life at Versailles, written in the form of a secret diary, with quite abit of embellishment on the facts. 3 stars.
The Romantic Melbourne prostitute and drug addict travels to Italy to start a new life, but falls into her old habits. What's the point of putting this to paper I wonder. 1 star.

I hope April brings more satisfying reading for me.


Alias Reader (AliasReader) | 8156 comments Lesley wrote: "I'm late to this thread as recently got back from a holiday in Japan. Here's my March reads;

=========

Japan ! That is so exciting. Did you enjoy your trip?


JoAnn/QuAppelle | 712 comments The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler 5 stars

There is no better writer, no one who chronicles the human condition like Anne Tyler does.

There is no better writer, no one who chronicles the human condition like Anne Tyler does. The characters in this book are simple, flawed people just working their way through life. They have loves, losses, weaknesses and strengths. The main character, Aaron, was so well-crafted that I felt like I had known him forever. At the beginning of the book he is a widower, running his family's vanity publishing firm which also publishes "The Beginner's....." series. Thus the title. He is also being visited by his dead wife with whom he had an odd relationship. Although this was not my favorite book by Tyler (A Patchwork Planet holds that honor), it is better than almost anything out there!

Restoration by Olaf Olafsson 4 stars

Well-done book about art restoration in Italy while World War II is raging. An interesting and unusual look at the war in Italy. Good, concise writing and descriptions.

Comfort Food Fix: Feel-Good Favorites Made Healthy by Ellie Krieger 2 stars

I really like Ellie Krieger on TV and her recipes always looks so good and good-for-you. So I really looked forward to this cookbook. But it was disappointing. Nothing really new or exciting. I don't think that I was inspired to make one of the recipes. Everything seemed somewhat insipid and boring. Oh, well.

Julia's Child: A Novel by Sarah Pinneo 3 stars

What a clever title! Book was an entertaining diversion, about a young mom who starts a toddler-food company. The trials and tribulations of such a venture seem pretty authentic. Hard work, for sure.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking by Jeff Hertzberg 1 star

This book's title was deceiving.....at best. No way could any recipe be made in 5 minutes a day. It was also repetitious.....so many recipes were almost exactly alike.

That Camden Summer by LaVyrle Spencer 2 stars

Too romance-y -----but I wanted to read it because of the locale - Camden, Maine. The historical aspects were pretty interesting, but on the whole the book was just okay.


Madrano (madran) | 2988 comments JoAnn, i like the way you discuss Tyler. It fits my feelings about her work as well. She is one author whose work i hate to see end.

Restoration by Olaf Olafsson sounds interesting. Until i looked, i thought it was nonfiction. Was there art restoration in Italy during the war? How odd, if so.

Re. the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking by Jeff Hertzberg. My sister gave me this link a couple of years ago http://www.lifehack.org/articles/life..., which claimed a minute of work would give you good bread. Well, the initial combining of ingredients might have taken that long (i doubt even that), but you had to wait 12-18 hours or so before you could bake it.

I never tried the recipe, although it intrigued me. (In the comment section i found other similar breads, btw.) However, today i looked at the recipe again & realize i just made a Bavarian Rye Bread, from Beard On Bread. It's a tasty little bread, which i'm serving with lamb shanks tonight, so we can sop up the pot liquor. So, how about that? :-)

This is the recipe i used, but with less salt. The first time i made it, i used the full tablespoon & it was too, too salty. This time i used half a TB & would probably go a bit more next time.

http://www.recipelink.com/cgi/msgbrd/...

deb, thinking i'll put this in the recipe thread, too


Madrano (madran) | 2988 comments Lesley wrote: "I'm late to this thread as recently got back from a holiday in Japan. Here's my March reads;
..."


Lesley, it's a pity your books were disappointing. I hope Japan was all you hoped it would be. Those two factors might equalize your month. :-)

deb


JoAnn/QuAppelle | 712 comments Yes, there WAS art restoration during WW II. The book was fiction but, of course, it led me to do some research after I finished it.

http://www.lifeinitaly.com/art/monume... this is just one of the articles I found...


message 47: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (last edited Apr 14, 2012 01:39PM) (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 712 comments Deb, that bread sounds good, but I have a problem with using yeast. My problem is...I hate to wait for the bread to rise and knead it and wait again, etc. for so many hours!

I prefer recipes like this for beer bread http://www.farmgirlfare.com/2005/11/b...

or hearty Irish brown bread. http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/irish...


Lesley | 213 comments Yes, Japan was wonderful. I went for the cherry blossom viewing which only just started - late this year because of a harsh winter. Traditions running alongside technology and such friendly people.


JoAnn/QuAppelle | 712 comments I just got photos of this cherry blossom festival in Japan, from a friend's daughter who is living there. Beautiful....and crowded!


Lesley | 213 comments The parties look fun and just started while I was there. Everyone comes out to see the blossoms so yes, very crowded, and I didn't see them at the peak. It can all end very quickly though with heavy winds blowing the blossoms off, then it's all over for another year.


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