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What did you read last month? > What I read ~~~ August 2013

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message 1: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17629 comments Here is a Thread for you to list the books you read in August 2013.


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

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message 2: by Michele (new)

Michele Weiner | 161 comments Up late tonight, so I will be first.,
[$[book:The Devil's Cave|16085475] a nice mystery set in the French countryside where life is lived differently. How do they eat like that and not drop dead from fat at 50? 3.5 stars

She Left Me the Gun: My Mother's Life Before Me
Well told story of a Mom who emigrated from Australia to live and work, and marry in England. Upon her death, her daughter investigates her life. 4 stars
Woke Up Lonely a young man finds love, but fears it will not solve all the existential problems of living, so despite loving them deeply, he leaves his wife and daughter and founds an organization not unlike Scientology. Trying to fill up his own soul, he becomes perverted and controlling. After many years, he has lost his way and concocts a very desperate and dangerous plot. His wife Esme, a master of disguise, is a govt agent assigned to track her husband's every move and catch him doing something illegal. their daughter Enid hangs on for dear life as her parents' lives unravel. The characters are amazing, the plot wild and wooley, and the ending is cool. 4.5 stars

Lost Luggage: A Novel. Four young men discover that each had the same father, a long-distance truck driver. each of the mothers was an independent single woman, from Paris, Frankfort, London, and finally the father Gabriel's hometown, Baecelona. The boys are all named
Christopher - in their own languages of course, and as young adults they set out together to find him. Interesting, but a little lacking in feeling. More like e fairy tale. 4 Star[

book:A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar: A Novel|15793857]Old fashioned novel about three English women cycling through Central Asia to make converts to Christianity, each for her own reason. So much a period piece that I found it lifeless, but a plot that brings characters together unexpectedly gets good points from me. 3.5 stars

This TownMark Leibovich begins his tale of the village of
Washington with the story of the networking and jockeying for position at Tim Russert's funeral. Gossip, and most of it useless, but fun. 3. Stars

Night Film: A Novelby the author of Special Topics in Calamityy Physics, another novel of genius at work. This time a Hitchcockian
Director of films becomes a cult figure. An investigative reporter is ruined when he is given misinformation about the director, which he publishes. Years later, he appears to get a second chance when the director's daughter commits suicide. The reporter meets two other souls who are contemporaries of Ashley and want to find out what happened. Supernatural events vie with realism. All is revealed, or is it? 4 stars


message 3: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments Michele, your books sound great. The story for each intrigues. Thanks for being the first to post.

For myself, i didn't read a single book in August. To be fair, i read many, many magazine articles i've clipped over the years with the intention of reading them later. I tried to reduce my packing needs. LOL! Not books, nooooo, read slim magazine articles. Typical.

ANYway, after 2 weeks of this i realized i could read them at the hotel. This way i won't have to store them, either. Simple solutions for the simple minded. ;-)


message 4: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17629 comments Michele wrote: "Up late tonight, so I will be first.,

Thanks, Michele ! You had a nice interesting mix of books. Good month. :)


message 5: by Alias Reader (last edited Aug 30, 2013 06:57AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17629 comments I hope you can read and relax a bit now that you are "settled" into your new digs, Deb.


message 6: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17629 comments Here are my August Reads -

The Last Campaign Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America by Thurston Clarke The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America~Thurston Clarke
Rate: 3/5
Non-fiction
Audio
Reader: Pete Larkin
The reader of this audio book was very good. I found the book and that time period fascinating. The author is clearly a RFK admirer. The focus, as the title suggests, is the 82 days before RFK was assassinated. The books sole focus is the political campaign. The book gives you a good feel for that period. The tension builds as you know what is to be and the final climax gives one chills as the reader does an excellent job. One can't help but think what might have been.

You Can't Take it With You by Moss Hart You Can't Take it With You~Moss Hart
4/5
Fiction
Play
We read this as a group here at BNC and also watched the movie. I thought the play was better than the movie. I thought the play was very funny and still managed to raise some serious topics. I would love to see this on stage.

April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Death and How It Changed America by Michael Eric Dyson April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Death and How It Changed America~Michael Eric Dyson
Rate: 4 minus/5
Non-fiction
Audio
Reader: Michael Eric Dyson
April 4, 1968 is the date that Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. The first half of the book is about MLK and the second half is what has happened to his dream since. I learned a lot and enjoyed the book very much. Dysson is the author and the reader of the audio. He does an excellent job as the reader. Clear and modulates his voice very well. In the afterward, Dyson does a fictional Q&A with MLK as if he were alive today. It's more a platform for Dyson and his views. I found it interesting and informative, though I don't know if it really belongs in the book.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray~Oscar Wilde
Rate: 3/5
Platform: Book ~ Movie ~ audio

I enjoyed the 1945 movie very much. In fact, I plan on watching it a second time.

The novel is a re-read for me. I thought it was good and it gives the reader more to think about that you might guess at first blush. I knocked the book down one rating because the author goes off on tangents that needed to be curbed. I enjoyed out group discussion, which is still ongoing. A big thank you to all who participated in our Book & a Movie selection.

The audio was excellent. The reader of the audio is Simon Vance. He does an excellent job. I think out of all three formats, book, movie and audio, I enjoyed the audio most.

I am still reading and enjoying Washington: The Indispensable Man~James Thomas Flexner


message 7: by Susan from MD (last edited Aug 30, 2013 09:08AM) (new)

Susan from MD | 402 comments Most of my August reading is further described in other threads, so I'll just list them here! Note, the links to my comments included here are an abridged version of what is in my determination list thread.

The Secret History - 3.5/5
Describes the exploration of "the higher mind" by a group of college students that results in murder, cover-up and the disintegration of a social/academic clique. My thoughts are in my Determination List thread and at http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/....

You Can't Take it With You - 4/5
As Alias described above, this was very fun! Our first foray into "book/play and a movie" was terrific. More discussion is in its thread under Plays, Short Stories & Essays.

The Corfu Trilogy - 4/5 overall
I read the 2nd and 3rd books that follow My Family and Other Animals, which was our July group read. The first book was a 5/5 and the other two were 3.5/5 - very entertaining, but didn't have a story line (essentially just stories that didn't make it in book 1). There are more comments in the My family and Other Animals thread under Book Buddy!

The Heart of the Matter - 4/5
This book follows a British man, his wife and mistress in West Africa. It's an enjoyable read and, as usual with Greene, really gets into characters who are complex and get themselves into all kinds of trouble. More comments are in my Determination List thread and here:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/....

Brave New World - 4/5
Very entertaining story focused on world domination by exploiting people's desire for pleasure and breeding people to serve particular functions in society. It is certainly lighter than 1984 (which was a 5/5 for me when I read it earlier this year - also in my Determination List), but in some ways perhaps more viable. Additional comments are in my Determination List thread and at:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

The Picture of Dorian Gray - 4/5
Another group read - with 3 movie versions! This is an interesting book and we had a great discussion on it. The desire to remain young and beautiful is certainly a prominent notion in today's society. My comments are in my Determination List thread, our Group Read thread on the book and at: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

A Passage To India - still reading
Will have more on this when I finish, probably tomorrow.

Like Alias, I hope more people join in on our "book and movie" adventures - they are a lot of fun.


message 8: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17629 comments Thank you, Susan. You are the best !

I enjoyed reading your comments on the various books.

You had a very nice reading month.

And I also hope more will join in our Read/Watch/Listen group reads. As Susan noted, they are a lot of fun but only if we have people who join in and share their thoughts with the group. It is by the number that participate that we can judge whether you want this to continue.


message 9: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments Susan wrote: "A Passage To India - still reading
Will have more on this when I finish, probably tomorrow...."


I am a fan of E. M. Forster. As i mentioned elsewhere, i am copying notes from some of my paperbacks so i can donate them & buy hardbacks later (guilt-free!). Two Forster books were included, Where Angels Fear to Tread and Howards End.

Copying those notes has almost been like rereading them, as i make many notes when i read Forster. He had a way of presenting ideas which fascinates me. My copy of HE was used & the person had written notes on every page. I tried to ignore them as i read, so as not to be influenced. As i made notes, i read hers & see we noted many of the same things.

ANYway, i hope you are enjoying the book, Susan.


message 10: by Susan from MD (last edited Aug 31, 2013 09:32AM) (new)

Susan from MD | 402 comments A Passage to India is very interesting and I'm enjoying it. It's amazing how much more depth this story has than A Room with A View, which I read a month ago. The latter was written early in Forster's career; Passage was published about 16 years later and it is evident that he has grown as a writer and as a person. The book focuses on relationships between British and English characters in an Indian town in the 1920s, during the Indian independence movement.

It's a quiet story, but interesting because it focuses on what the characters are thinking and how they interpret the actions and comments of others. It really gets to the importance of knowing not only historical and cultural context, but also the impact innocent comments may have - we have no control over how people interpret what we say.

I am enjoying the writing - it's clear and yet evocative. How great about the notes in the used book being similar to yours. But, I think it would drive me crazy to read a book with notes from someone else in it - unless it was a really challenging book, like The Canterbury Tales, and the notes help make sense of it!


message 11: by Alias Reader (last edited Aug 31, 2013 09:30AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17629 comments Madrano wrote:I am a fan of E. M. Forster. As i mentioned elsewhere, i am copying notes from some of my paperbacks so i can donate them & buy hardbacks later (guilt-free!). Two Forster books were included, Where Angels Fear to Tread and Howards End.

Do you mean you are getting rid of the paperback edition and buying the same book in hardcover?

I think I own but have not yet read,
Where Angels Fear to Tread---E.M. Forster


message 12: by Susan from MD (new)

Susan from MD | 402 comments Finished A Passage to India and I gave it a 4/5 - further comments are in my Determination List thread. Really interesting book that is about interpersonal and intercultural relations, and the misconceptions that exacerbate tensions. What struck me is how devastating it can be to when communication is not straight-forward, when people are quick to blame and when people avoid or delay expression of the truth.


message 13: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Do you mean you are getting rid of the paperback edition and buying the same book in hardcover?..."

Sorta. I don't plan to go out immediately and buy a hardcover but i've added it to my "if you see it, get it." I prefer hardcovered books, particularly of books i know i really like, as is the case with these Forster novels. As Susan mentioned, it was quite distracting to read with the numerous notes from the other person. When i read it again, i want to read without the interpretation of anyone, even myself & my own notes.

Susan, i agree about the difference between the two novels you mentioned. I think he had more meat or, rather, more opinions on what he wanted to express, in regards to relationships with people from other countries. And i suppose a case could be made that he had the maturity to express it better, too. I much preferred India to Room. Indeed, i returned to Room after having read numerous Forster novels & was struck by how little substance was there in contrast to other works of his.


message 14: by Carol (last edited Sep 01, 2013 07:47PM) (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 830 comments August 2013 reads --

You Can't Take it With You by Moss Hart You Can't Take it With You by Moss Hart
Rate: 4/5
Fiction
Play
Group reading, enjoyed the book more than the film but overall did enjoy it.

The Heart of Arcrea (The Arcrean Conquest, #1) by Nicole Sager book:The Heart of Arcrea|16041031] by Nicole Sager
Rate: 5/5
"Christian/Medieval" Fiction
kindle (free offer)
Recommended to me by a girl in another goodreads group. This is the author's first published work (first in the trilogy). The author, Nicole Sager is a home-schooled graduate from Texas. Long ago, Ulric of the Ancients was approached by the seven men who discovered the kingdom, with a question that would affect the people of Arcrea. Who will become king? Each man longed for a throne of glory... The story has a fast moving plot, many unexpected turns and discoveries to surprise you. Very different, liked it a great deal.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Rate: 5/5
Novel/"drama" - Film: 2009 with Ben Barnes, Colin Firth, Rebecca Hall
The entire plot is focused on Dorian, Lord Henry, and the artist Basil. Their character descriptions and motivation are left mainly to be interpretated by the reader. The main focus of the novel is beauty, as one sees it; but it also focuses on narcissism/self-love. The weakness of beauty is to age, and it begins to destroy Dorian. The moral message is hedonism for the sake of hedonism is empty and beauty only lasts for a short time. I thought it was well written, and enjoyed the 2009 film.

Louisa May Alcott The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen
Rate: 4/5
Biography
Just reading about Louisa May Alcott made me tired. I would have to say that she was truly a devoted person to her family, friends, and to herself. With regards to her writing, she set her goals and completely finished them on time. Her father was a loner, who had his head in the clouds, never concerned with finances, or even if there was food on the table. Her mother was amazing, always ready to help others or find ways of income to feed her family. She came from a prominent family and married Bronson for love. Without Louisa’s writing, they would have never been able to get on their feet. Poor Louisa was the one who literally supported her parents and siblings. She was always writing and sometimes overdid to the detriment to her health. She also wrote poems, short stories, thrillers, and juvenile tales under the pen name of A.M. Barnard. Some were even made into plays. But it was her account of her Civil War experiences, Hospital Sketches, that confirmed her desire to be a serious writer. She began to publish stories under her real name in Atlantic Monthly and Lady's Companion. What shocked me most was that she had been diagnosed with Lupus. Excellent biography.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Rate: 5/5
Fiction
I love this book!! I read it last year and decided to have it as a group read with my mother's senior reading group. Everyone loved it! The husband, Jack, and his wife, Mabel, decide after losing their only child, to move from Pennsylvania to a remote log cabin in the Alaska wilderness.
From the blurb "Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone.

Flannery A Life of Flannery O'Connor by Brad Gooch Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor by Brad Gooch.
Rate: 4/5
Biography
This book is the story of a gifted and complicated woman who was determined to persevere despite her differences and her disability, which cut her life short due to Lupus (he father also died from Lupus). The book covers all her years in school, as well as her Catholic faith. She was an interesting character.

An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor
Rate: 5/5
Fiction
This book (first in a series) introduces two general practitioners: a new, young doctor, Dr. Barry Laverty, fresh out of medical school, who sets out to his new position in Ballybucklebo. There he meets his mentor, Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly who has been treating patients his entire life. O’Reilly, physically a large individual, has been referred to as an “intimidating” man, but in reality he’s just a “gentle giant” who is loved by all in the community. His methods of examination, diagnosis and treatment are eccentric, yet he’s always sensitive to people’s needs—even giving them a hand when they need it, and perhaps even when they don’t know they do. O’Reilly brings out these characteristics in the young Dr. Barry Laverty. O’Reilly’s demeanor gives Laverty permission to have that same sort of empathy for his patients and matures him in a way that school alone did not. Dr. Laverty becomes attracted to a young lady, Patricia Spence, who limps from polio as a child, but she has put their relationship on hold as she attends her civil engineering studies.
The book gives a real sense of small town community with a variety of interesting, quirky, loveable characters who speak the Ulster dialect of Ireland. There’s Sonny, who is a bit eccentric and lives in a car, Mrs. Kinkaid, known as Kinky, who is the housekeeper and cook extraordinaire for Dr. O’Reilly and Dr. Laverty; Arthur Guinness, O’Reilly’s dog who is extremely happy and drinks beer; a half-crazy old couple who won’t marry due to lack of a roof; a young unwed mother who refuses to name the father of her child; a hypochondriac major and his pushy wife; and a corrupt and arrogant city councilman.

An Irish Country Village by Patrick Taylor An Irish Country Village by Patrick Taylor
Rate: 5/5
Fiction
This is the second book in the seven part series of "An Irish Country" books. This story begins where we left off in the last book. Dr. O'Reilly has offered to Dr. Laverty to become a partner in his practice. Dr. Laverty is becoming comfortable in the quaint town of Ballybucklebo, and his relationship with Patricia finds him head over heels "in love." Dr. O'Reilly's home is endearing. Both doctors and Mrs. Kinky Kinkaid live like an everyday family. Kinky scolding Dr. O'Reilly for eating too much dinner, and not saving anything for Dr. Laverty. As well as all the other family members -- nasty, white cat named Lady MacBeth; and Arthur Guiness, the beer drinking, wellington boots stealing, dog.
Unfortunately a patient dies unexpectedly and Dr. Laverty's reputation could be ruined, since the widow threatens to sue him. Dr. Laverty is concerned about his practice and about Patricia, who has applied for an engineering scholarship that would take her to Cambridge /England, putting more distance between them. The delivery of a baby to one woman, and the loss of a child to another gives the reader the perspective of what GPs went through in those days. In the end, it is discovered that the greedy local councilor threatens to turn the Black Swan (a local pub) into a kitchi tourist trap.

An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor
Rate: 4/5
Fiction
This is the third book in "An Irish Country" series set in 1964. For me, this book is different than the first two books which were filled with great character development and the quirky things going on in Ballybucklebo. About half way through this book, I was bored and had the desire to skip pages (but didn't). It seemed that the writing was overly descriptive, and I was tired of listening to Patricia, who was more concerned with her freedom on school break, then being with the man she loves?! She seemed like a broken record regarding her feminism. Was she just leading him on? "Is this girl committed to this guy or what?" Personally I don't know of any real loving relationship, where the girl -- in a serious relationship -- would (1) not immediately buy a ticket in order to be with her boyfriend that she professes to "love", and (2) why was her priority to vacation with her school chums for a mini-vacation and visit birds? Meanwhile, Dr. Barry is distraught because his girlfriend, a civil engineering student, can't seem to make it home from Cambridge for the holidays. I liked the relationship between Dr. O'Reilly and Kitty O'Hallorhan, a friend of his from his earlier days. Dr. O'Reilly lost his first wife in the wartime bombing of Belfast, and is trying to decide if he will allow himself to fall in love with the nurse (Kitty) he knew as a student. A new, obnoxious, self-centered doctor (Dr. Ronald Hercules Fitzpatrick) whose quackery threatens the health and well-being of the good people of Ballybucklebo. Can one territory support three hungry doctors? Barry has his doubts.
Both Dr. O'Reilly and Dr. Laverty are more than doctors in their community. Being a country doctor, Dr. O'Reilly has learned, that you treat more than just medical conditions. For example, the doctors want to help Eileen Lindsay, a young widow who is worried finding money to buy her three children presents as well as food on the table. The community makes it possible for her family not only to win the turkey raffle but also a great deal of money to help them get back on their feet; and making the Shanks family, who are new in town and don't yet know the local customs, are received like family.

An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor
Rate: 4/5
Fiction
This is the fourth book in this series. This book is about the life of their housekeeper and cook, Mrs. Maureen "Kinky" Kincaid. On Christmas day, several school children singing Carols are invited in to hear Mrs. Kincaid's story. First she has them sit around her, (quite pleased that the boys took the floor, so the girls could sit on the chairs.) Then she gives them homemade sweet mince pies and hot black-current juice and begins her story about a young girl, Maureen, a farmer's daughter growing up in County Cork. Maureen has dreams of her future life, falling in love with her husband-to-be and has a special gift: being able to see beyond the ordinary into the mystical realm of fairies, spirits, and the dreaded Banshee. Maureen, in the story, as well in real life is blessed with the "sight." It is a wonderful Irish tale, both sad and sweet.

VB6 Eat Vegan Before 6 00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good by Mark Bittman VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good by Mark Bittman
Rate: 4/5
Nonfiction
Mark Bittman is a well known food writer. When he turned 57, he went for a checkup and the doctor, Sid Baker, said, “You should probably become a vegan.”

He was 40 lbs. overweight, had knee issues, sleep apnea and was looking at taking a drug like Lipitor. So his answer to this was -- "become a part-time vegan." After 6PM, eat whatever you like. He discovered along the way that he preferred eating vegan over SAD.


message 15: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17629 comments Excellent month, Carol ! Not a book under 4 stars.


message 16: by Carol (last edited Sep 01, 2013 08:44PM) (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 830 comments I decided to try a new genre, and began reading a book series. I really enjoyed Patrick Taylor's fiction. (The first three books were everything from low 300 pages to just under 500 pages.) His stories are filled with quirky, mostly sweet people who all gathered together as a community, in order to help each other during difficult times. And the doctors, both older and younger, even their dog, Arthur Guiness, and the nasty white cat, Lady Macbeth were like family to them.Honestly, Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly reminded me of my pediatrician, Dr. Mauck. Plus when we go to Ireland next year, I thought that I could at least say that I read some Irish authors. And became familiar with the Ulster dialect in Ireland.

Michele-- Lost Luggage looks interesting. I will have to find it at the library.

Alias-- I will have to check out the book on MLK.

Susan-- I wanted, but have yet, to read the Corfu Trilogy. Thanks for your posting. I liked Brave New World.

Madrano-- I love Forster's work. I have read everything but The Longest Journey and The Machine Stops. And I love hardcovers because I want to read them throughout my life. (I dont watch TV, only PBS.) I don't think paperbacks can hold up to multiple readings. And maybe someday share with my future grandchildren, if my "adult" children ever get married.


message 17: by Alias Reader (last edited Sep 01, 2013 10:22PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17629 comments Carol wrote: "I decided to try a new genre, and began reading a book series.
-----------

Good for you ! Trying to expand ones reading horizons isn't easy. It's something most people do not do. I know there are many genres I won't read. For example I dislike westerns. Though I don't think I've ever read a western. It's very narrow minded of me. I think a book can be terrific no matter the genre if I only would give it a chance. Why I don't....can't say.

It's one thing I do like about group reads. I know that has expanded my reading horizons a lot. I've read a lot of books that I would never have picked up on my own. For example, I don't particularly like love stories. Because of the title I know I would have never picked up The History of Love I read it for a f2f book club and I absolutely loved it and gave it a top rating.


message 18: by Meredith (new)

Meredith | 105 comments My August reads were:

The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny
Rating 4/5.

Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
Rating 4/5

Believing the Lie by Elizabeth George
Rating 3/5

Maine byJ. Courtney Sullivan
Rating 3.5/5


message 19: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17629 comments Nice month, Meredith! Thanks for sharing.


message 20: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 830 comments Meredith wrote: "My August reads were:
Maine byJ. Courtney Sullivan
Ra..."


Who was your favorite character in Maine?


message 21: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments Carol wrote: " I don't think paperbacks can hold up to multiple readings. And maybe someday share with my future grandchildren, if my "adult" children ever get married. ..."

This is why i held on to some of my paperbacks as long as i did. I like being able to give someone i care for my own copy of a book i'll not read again. However, when it falls apart as i'm reading it, i'll buy a hardcover to replace it.


message 22: by Amy (last edited Sep 04, 2013 06:08AM) (new)

Amy (amybf) | 514 comments Pretty decent month, with some good selections. My reads for August:

Five Days by Douglas Kennedy: I have a love/hate relationship with Douglas Kennedy. When I like his books, I really like them. When I don't, I want to throw it across the room. Luckily, this one didn't need a flight plan. It takes place over a five-day period when Laura, a radiology tech, goes to a medical conference. During that time, she meets a guy who makes her question her marriage, her career, and the decisions she's made in her life. It sounds like it would be typical cheesy chick lit, but it's not at all. It's a well written, provocative novel about the risks we take and the ones we don't that ultimately dictate the course of our lives. 4/5 stars

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini: Since I thoroughly enjoyed The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, I was eagerly awaiting this book. It did not disappoint. The book is structured differently in that it does not follow one main character--it instead follows the lives of several characters and shows how each one of them interacts and intersects with the others as it skips from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos. It's just a really, really good book. 4.5/5 stars

The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison: Because this book was billed as "the next Gone Girl"--which I really liked--I picked this one up for a go. Like "Gone Girl," it's a story about the unraveling of a dysfunctional marriage. As a psychological thriller, it didn't quite hold up--I figured out what was going to happen long before the story played out. But it was still a decent read. 3/5 stars

What They Do in the Dark by Amanda Coe: Another book that I picked up because it was compared favorably to another I had enjoyed. This one was supposed to be like We Need to Talk About Kevin. It really wasn't. It had a promising start, but the story was rather meandering and the ending, which came out of nowhere, was too abrupt and unsatisying. 2/5 stars because this is the auther's debut and I think she might have it in her to do better next time.

1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year that Transformed America by David Pietrusza: This book covers basically the one-year period leading up to the four-way 1948 presidential election, which pitted incumbent Harry Truman against GOP candidate/NY Governor Thomas Dewey, Progressive Party candidate Henry Wallace, and South Carolina Governor/"Dixiecrat" candidate Strom Thurmond. Because the Democratic party was being split three ways (with the "communists" expected to go for Wallace, the Southern states for Thurmond, and the party faithful for Truman), the conventional wisdom was that Truman was doomed and Dewey would cruise to an easy victory -- a confident prediction that led to the iconic news photo of a jubilant Harry Truman brandishing a copy of the Chicago Tribune newspaper that ran with a headline proclaiming “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN." The book is written in an entertaining way (not dry, as many history books can be), and it details facts that are little-known, long-forgotten, or never before revealed. (I found the information about Strom Thurmond's relationship with his secret illegitimate biracial daughter to be particularly intriguing.) It's fun and informative, and if you are a history buff you will enjoy it. 3.5/5 stars

The Battle for America 2008: The Story of an Extraordinary Election by Dan Balz: While reading "1948," I noticed how appropos the statement "The more things change, the more they remain the same" really is. There were a lot of parallels between the 1948 race and the most recent presidential election, which were both amusing and depressing to read. So after reading about Harry Truman, I was prompted to pick up this book to compare and contrast the two elections. This was a good, well- written overview of the 2008 election, but I thought Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime was better. 3/5 stars

The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón: This book follows The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game to complete the author's triology of "The Cemetery of Forgotten Books." While I still appreciated Zafon's way with words and ability to tell an engrossing tale, I thought this one didn't quite measure up to the first two. 3/5 stars

The Son by Philipp Meyer: This book spans 200 years and six generations of a family from Texas. It begins with Eli, who is 13 in 1849 when his family is killed and he is abducted by Comanches during a raid. The novel then follows the changes in Texas culture, politics and economy over the generations; the flowering and destruction of Indian warrior societies; and the stories of latter-day Texans who made their fortunes in oil. It's a big, sprawling, uniquely American story that I enjoyed very much. 4/5 stars


message 23: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17629 comments Amy wrote: 1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year that Transformed America by David Pietrusza: This book covers basically the one-year period leading up to the four-way 1948 presidential election,

I enjoyed reading your reviews a lot, Amy. You had quite the reading month.

I'm glad Five Days didn't need a "a flight plan". LOL


message 24: by Lesley (last edited Sep 03, 2013 08:41PM) (new)

Lesley | 239 comments I read some good books last month.

Island Beneath the Sea An epic of a slave girl in Haiti, covering the Haitian Revolution and early history of Louisiana. Way too long and predictable, but engaging all the same. 3 stars.

The End of Longing A conman sails the world marrying wealthy woman in an attempt to avenge his difficult childhood. Also somewhat predictable. 3 stars.

Child of the Kulaks NF A moving account of a boy growing up in the poverty and hardship of the Russian Revolution, before migrating to Australia. 4 stars.

The Picture of Dorian Gray Our group read. An entertaining read, with some great one-liners. 4 stars.

The Dealer And The Dead Audio. Set in Croatia, a village seeks revenge on an arms dealer who failed to deliver weapons during a Serbian invasion. 2 stars.

A Woman Transported I won this through GR giveaways. A young London girl makes one bad decision after another from the grimy street of inner London to colonial Sydney Town. I enjoyed this overly long tale, even though it was a bit too romantic for me, an slightly unbelievable in places. 3 stars.

A River Not Yet Tamed Audio. A coming of age story of an orphan living alongside the Murray River in the early 1900s(?). 2 stars.

In Cold Blood NF. The story of the murder of the Clutter family in rural Kansas. A fascinating read. 4 stars.


message 25: by Darlene (new)

Darlene Deluca (darlenedeluca) | 4 comments Boy, I didn't read near as much as I would have liked! I managed to finish Benediction by Kent Haruf, and I'm still working on Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinsky.

I enjoyed Benediction, but not nearly as much as I liked Haruf's Plainsong. For some reason, Benediction just fell a little flat for me. I think partly it was because all of the real conflict in the story happened in the past rather than "real time" in the book.
Benediction


message 26: by Amy (new)

Amy (amybf) | 514 comments Lesley, I was interested to read your review of Island Beneath the Sea. That's one of the few books I was unable to get through for my f2f book club. I usually try to force myself through the book so I can participate in the discussion (I mean, I even managed to drag myself all the way through Fifty Shades of Grey, so you can see how committed I am to that principle...), but I just could NOT get into "Island Beneath the Sea."

I agree with you about In Cold Blood. It was a fascinating read. I recently recommended it to a colleague at work, and he finished it yesterday and also rated it 4 stars. I think he's moving on to The Executioner's Song--I also recommended that one to him as well.


message 27: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17629 comments Lesley wrote: "I read some good books last month.

Island Beneath the Sea An epic of a slave girl in Haiti, covering the Haitian Revolution and early history of Louisiana. Way too long and predictable, but engagi..."


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Wow ! You sure read a lot of interesting books this month, Lesley.

I'm glad you enjoyed our Group Read of Dorian Gray. :)


message 28: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17629 comments Darlene wrote: "Boy, I didn't read near as much as I would have liked! I managed to finish Benediction by Kent Haruf, and I'm still working on Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinsky.

I enjoyed Benediction, but not ne..."


It doesn't matter if you read just one book or a dozen. We want to hear all about it! :)

Sorry to hear Benediction wasn't that great. I've read Plainsong twice. Once for a book club.


message 29: by Lori (new)

Lori Baldi | 38 comments I still have not gotten to some of the books listed here. Plainsong is 1 that I mean to get to and will some day. Soon.

My month was not as filled with good books as I would have liked. The Return of Captain John Emmett took forever to to get through. It just dragged along and I felt that it didn't get to the point quickly enough. That can be good with some books so I think this was lacking in the character development department. 2 out of 5 stars for me.

The other book that I read was not much better and I think I gave it a 2 star grade as well. The Wyndham Legacy was my 2nd try at Catherine Coulter. She writes historicals as well as contemporary books. A very good friend gave Coulter's work the highest of thumbs up but I haven't had good luck. I tried this one in particular after reading a glowing review on Goodreads. Oh, well, better luck next time.


message 30: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17629 comments Sorry you reading month wasn't much fun, Lori. As you read the numerous recommendations here, I hope you find something for next month that will turn the tide for you.

Maybe join us for a group read ! We are probably doing a short story or a novel. We haven't settled on that just yet.


message 31: by Susan from MD (new)

Susan from MD | 402 comments Lori, I hope you get a winner next time!


message 32: by Rannie (new)

Rannie August was a good reading month for me.

Affection: There is no cure by Ian Townsend, 7/10 stars Dr. Rowe, a public health physician in 1900 Northern Australia, is deeply in mourning for his young daughter when the plague comes to town. I found this historical novel to be an engagingly readable exploration of a community's ability to respond effectively to crisis.

The Beautiful Mystery: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny, Canada, 6/10 stars. Chief Inspector Gamache investigates a murder within the cloistered walls of a formerly unknown monastery, dedicated to Gregorian chant. Interesting, but there were a few pieces that didn't add up for me.



The Call: A Novel by Yannick Murphy, US, 7/10 stars. An enjoyable tale of a year in the life of a large animal vet and his family in the rural mountains of New England.

The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang,
Laos, 8/10 stars. From the mountains of war-torn Laos, through the camps in Thailand to asylum in the US - a fascinating memoir of the Hmong.

The Magic of Saida by M.G. Vassanji, Tanzania, 7/10 stars. Dr Kamal Punja is a man between worlds - African, yet Indian, Swahil village boy, yet sophisticated Canadian physician. Returning to his homeland to find his childhood friend, he finds himself. This novel gave me an interesting glimpse into the people and 20th century history of Tanzania and East Africa.


message 33: by Susan from MD (last edited Sep 05, 2013 08:59AM) (new)

Susan from MD | 402 comments Rannie, lots of interesting sounding books!

You may have already read The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures, which is from 1997 and is an interesting account of interaction between physicians and a Hmong family. It caused a stir in the medical community when it came out. The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir sounds particularly interesting to me.

I know many people who are "between worlds" and trying to figure out how to balance their work and their family/cultural heritage. It is a fascinating topic. For many of the people I know, they are caught between wanting to help the people in their homeland and wanting to have the income (which provides needed money to family remaining in their homeland)/training/professional advantages offered in high-income countries. It's not an easy choice, as there are pros and cons to all options.

Since you seem to like some of the medical/public health stuff, if you are interested in non-fiction, you might want to look at House on Fire: The Fight to Eradicate Smallpox. Bill Foege is a really amazing person who was one of the leaders in the fight to eradicate smallpox. One of the stories in the intro to this book, which focuses on India - the last big challenge of the campaign - is that when they were nearing the elimination point, he decided to come back to the US because he knew that if he stayed, he would get the credit and he wanted to make sure that the Indian public health professionals, volunteers and the general population got the credit for wiping out the disease in their country. It's an interesting story about the real-life efforts and the balancing of work and family that so many people in public health still grapple with today.


message 34: by Rannie (new)

Rannie I've seen "The Spirit Catches You" at B&N, but haven't read it yet. The Hmong concept of the disease process is drasticly different from ours. I imagine there would be quite a culture clash with modern medicine. I have several family members who work/have been doctors in public health and my backround is medical lab so yes, I'd like to read "House on Fire" as well. Thanks, Susan, for two good recs!


message 35: by Rosie (new)

Rosie Donson (rosiedonson) | 10 comments I read 9 books this August. A Spot of Bother, The Forgotten Garden, Ketchup Clouds, Blood Red Snow White, Skin Deep, My Sister's Keeper, Ashes, Throne of Glass and I am Number Four


message 36: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17629 comments Rannie wrote: The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang,
Laos, 8/10 stars. From the mountains of war-torn Laos, through the camps in Thailand to asylum in the US - a fascinating memoir of the Hmong.

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Very interesting reads, Rannie ! Thanks for sharing your reads with us.

If you are interested in the Hmong, there is a really fascinating non fiction book that I read and would recommend,

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures~~~Anne Fadiman
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down explores the clash between a small county hospital in California and a refugee family from Laos over the care of Lia Lee, a Hmong child diagnosed with severe epilepsy. Lia's parents and her doctors both wanted what was best for Lia, but the lack of understanding between them led to tragedy. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest, and the Salon Book Award, Anne Fadiman's compassionate account of this cultural impasse is literary journalism at its finest. The current edition, published for the book's fifteenth anniversary, includes a new afterword by the author that provides updates on the major characters along with reflections on how they have changed Fadiman's life and attitudes.


message 37: by Alias Reader (last edited Sep 05, 2013 06:42PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17629 comments Rannie wrote: "I've seen "The Spirit Catches You" at B&N, but haven't read it yet. The Hmong concept of the disease process is drasticly different from ours. I imagine there would be quite a culture clash with mo..."

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I see I should have read all the posts before responding as The Spirit Catches You was already mentioned. Oh, well. great minds and all that. :)


message 38: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17629 comments Susan wrote:Since you seem to like some of the medical/public health stuff, if you are interested in non-fiction, you might want to look at House on Fire: The Fight to Eradicate Smallpox. Bill Foege is a really amazing person who was one of the leaders in the fight to eradicate smallpox. One of the stories in the intro to this book, which focuses on India - the last big challenge of the campaign - is that when they were nearing the elimination point, he decided to come back to the US because he knew that if he stayed, he would get the credit and he wanted to make sure that the Indian public health professionals, volunteers and the general population got the credit for wiping out the disease in their country. It's an interesting story about the real-life efforts and the balancing of work and family that so many people in public health still grapple with today.
==================================

I would also add to that genre


Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World~~~Tracy Kidder
This compelling and inspiring book, now in a deluxe paperback edition, shows how one person can work wonders. In Mountains Beyond Mountains, Pulitzer Prize—winning author Tracy Kidder tells the true story of a gifted man who loves the world and has set out to do all he can to cure it.

In medical school, Paul Farmer found his life’s calling: to cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most. Kidder’s magnificent account takes us from Harvard to Haiti, Peru, Cuba, and Russia as Farmer changes minds and practices through his dedication to the philosophy that “the only real nation is humanity.” At the heart of this book is the example of a life based on hope and on an understanding of the truth of the Haitian proverb “Beyond mountains there are mountains”–as you solve one problem, another problem presents itself, and so you go on and try to solve that one too.

“Mountains Beyond Mountains unfolds with a force of gathering revelation,” says Annie Dillard, and Jonathan Harr notes, “[Paul Farmer] wants to change the world. Certainly this luminous and powerful book will change the way you see it.”


message 39: by Alias Reader (last edited Sep 05, 2013 06:43PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 17629 comments Rosie wrote: "I read 9 books this August. A Spot of Bother, The Forgotten Garden, Ketchup Clouds, Blood Red Snow White, Skin Deep, My Sister's Keeper, Ashes, Throne of Glass and I am Number Four"
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Welcome to Book Nook Cafe Rosie! :)

Did you enjoy the books you listed? How would you rate them ?


message 40: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments Lori wrote: "I think I gave it a 2 star grade as well. The Wyndham Legacy was my 2nd try at Catherine Coulter. ..."

Ditto, Lori. You tried one more than i did. Catherine Coulter has more series than i realized. Maybe i should try again?

Rannie wrote: "The Beautiful Mystery: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny, Canada, 6/10 stars. Chief Inspector Gamache investigates a murder within the cloistered walls of a formerly unknown monastery, dedicated to Gregorian chant...."

I read the first 4 or 5 Gamache mysteries but stopped, losing interest. However, this one, with the chants and an unknown monastery? Gotta try it. Thanks for the title, Rannie.

It is a pleasure to read what everyone is reading. The variety of topics and interests continues to delight. Thanks for all the contributions.


message 41: by Lori (new)

Lori Baldi | 38 comments Madrano wrote: "Lori wrote: "I think I gave it a 2 star grade as well. The Wyndham Legacy was my 2nd try at Catherine Coulter. ..."

Ditto, Lori. You tried one more than i did. Catherine Coulter has more series t..."


I need to try the Louise Penny books. I own the first of the Inspector Gamache story.


message 42: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments I think owning an unread mystery would burn a hole in me. ;-) Ok, not really but i can't keep mysteries in the house for that reason, i'd never read anything else. They are my "free cell" deep hole, so to speak, i just get hooked & am off...

deb


message 43: by Meredith (new)

Meredith | 105 comments Carol wrote: "Meredith wrote: "My August reads were:
Maine byJ. Courtney Sullivan
Ra..."

Who was your favorite character in Maine?"


Maggie. All th others were ver self centered


message 44: by Carol (last edited Sep 12, 2013 10:34AM) (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 830 comments Meredith wrote: "Who was your favorite character in Maine?"

Maggie. All th others were ver self centered


Originally I liked Maggie. A young, independent woman living in Brooklyn, and writing fiction. Her mother, Kathleen, was terrible, and Alice was a very complex, and at times I couldn't relate to her. I was completely surprised that by the end of the book, I felt sorry for Anne Marie. She tried so hard to be the "perfect" wife and homemaker, she goes out of her way for other people. And her sister-in-laws really didn't care for her, they all treat her terribly. I was shocked that I would pick her as my favorite.

I got the opportunity to speak to the author J Courtney Sullivan, and I asked her who was her favorite character, and she chose Ann Marie also, which surprised me.


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