Book Nook Cafe discussion

71 views
What did you read last month? > What I read in July 2014

Comments Showing 1-50 of 84 (84 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18822 comments Share with us what you read in July 2014

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 Carol (last edited Jul 31, 2014 07:39AM) (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 830 comments CAROL'S Reading List for JULY 2014


Y by Marjorie Celona
(1) Y--Marjorie Celona-2013-(7/31)--4 stars!
The story of Shannon who was abandoned outside a YMCA, hours after her birth by her mother, Yula, wrapped up in a sweatshirt with a Swiss Army knife. In alternating chapters, we follow Shannon's life throughout the years (going from one foster care to another) from birth to 17 years old. Shannon is short, dumpy and wears odd things. Most of the characters are are damaged: addiction, abusived, and lost. Shannon finally finds stability with Miranda (new loving foster mom), and her self-centered daughter, Lydia-Rose.


Far from Xanadu by Julie Anne Peters
(2) Far from Xanadu--Julie Anne Peters--2008-3 stars-(7/2)
Mike (aka Mary Elizabeth) over the last 2 years has major challenges in her life: two years ago her father jumped to his death from the town water tower; her mom has no relationship with her, and "Mike's" life is pretty much dull until a new girl (Xanadu) moves into town (as a result from her "party/drug friends" which could have ended her life; instead sent her to Coalton to straighten up.) But Mike's life changes drastically when she falls in love with Xanadu, and unfortunately Xanadu falls in love with a local.


True Believer (Jeremy Marsh & Lexie Darnell, #1) by Nicholas Sparks
(3) True Believer--Nicholas Sparks--2006-4 stars-(7/2)
Not my genre, but I needed a character that begins with the letter L for Lexie.


Pearl Buck in China Journey to the Good Earth by Hilary Spurling
(4) Pearl Buck in China: Journey to the Good Earth--Hilary Spurling--2010-304 pp.-5 stare! -(7/4-6)
What an amazing woman who persevered no matter what. Check out my review -- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7...


The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
(5) The Enchanted April--Elizabeth von Arnim--
2007-247 pp.-5 stars!--(7/1-7/8)
What an enjoyable read, originally published in 1922, these wonderful women decide to leave their dissatisfaction with their boring everyday life, and instead replied to a London ad about an Italian medieval castle available in April for those who are looking for a change. Love the characters -- Rose (there for the poor), Lotty (who seems to say and do the wrong thing), Lady Caroline is tired of being the attracted to others, and Mrs. Fisher who has a lonely, sad disposition. At some point, each woman (and husbands) were all transformed for the better.


Grace More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine by Max Lucado
(6) Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine--Max Lucado--2012--240 pp., -5 stars !! (7/8-12) Max Lucado's writing is wonderful and helpful!


Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman
(7) Orange Is the New Black--Piper Kerman--2010--298 pp., -- 5 stars! (7/12-20) It was very eye opening. Never thought about drug dealing, etc. but I couldn't put the book down. Excellent job!


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
(8) All the Light We Cannot See--Anthony Doerr--2014--544 pp. --5 stars!! (7/13-17) Love his writing, something about it makes it very personal and different. I truly enjoyed the writing and the characters. A beautiful story about a blind French girl (Marie-Laure) and a German boy (Werner) whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.


Four Seasons in Rome On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World by Anthony Doerr
(9) Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World-Anthony Doerr--2007--210 pp.-- 4 stars! (7/29-31)
The Rome Prize (one of the most prestigious awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters) with it a stipend and a writing studio in Rome for a year. Doerr learned of the award the day he and his wife returned from the hospital with newborn twins!! It was interesting how he was writing "All the Light We Cannot See" while reading Pliny, Dante, and Keats (my favorite) -- the chroniclers of Rome who came before him -- and visits the piazzas, temples, and ancient cisterns. Love his writing.


Making Masterpiece 25 Years Behind the Scenes at Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery! on PBS by Rebecca Eaton
(10) Making Masterpiece: 25 Years Behind the Scenes at Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery! on PBS-2013--320 pp., --(7/18-20) -- 4 stars!
I felt exhausted for Rebecca after reading Making Masterpiece. It was amazing how many people that she worked with throughout the years. I also liked her mother's career during a time when women were just beginning to have a serious role in the theater. Over the years, I watched Masterpiece, it was very interesting to hear about all the actors who worked for Rebecca, and all that happened.


Unstill Life A Daughter's Memoir of Art and Love in the Age of Abstraction by Gabrielle Selz
(11) Unstill Life: A Daughter's Memoir of Art and Love in the Age of Abstraction--2014--352 pp.--(7/14-30)-- 5 stars!
What an amazing period!! Peter Selz travels to NYC, becomes the chief curator of Painting and Sculpture at MoMA, with a wife and two daughters. Set in the beginning of the Hippie Counter Culture Movement/ The Beat Generation/ Beatniks period. Peter Selz seems to have many "wives" and pretty much treats his first wife and daughters as he sees fit. I have to say that this book was well written and I truly enjoyed reading it.


SUMMERS WITH JULIET by Bill Roorbach
(12) Summers with Juliet --Bill Roorbach--2000--304 pp.--(7/21-30)
I enjoyed this lovestory, bought a first copy years ago.


At Home with Books How Booklovers Live with and Care for Their Libraries by Estelle Ellis
(13) At Home with Books: How Booklovers Live with and Care for Their Libraries by Estelle Ellis --4 stars! (7/18) Trying to get ideas on how to put ALL MY BOOKS on bookshelves. A variety of styles - traditional, contemporary, small vs large . . . truly enjoyable read.


The O. Henry Prize Stories 2003 by Laura Furman
(14) The O. Henry Prize Stories 2003--341 pp. --(7/30) Twenty short stories by A. S. Byatt, Anthony Doerr, T. Coraghessan Boyle, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, William Kitteredge, William Trevor, Alice Munro and much more.


message 3: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments Enchanted April is a gem of a book. Without the film, i suspect i would not have found it or author Arnim.

I agree with your assessment of the writing of Michael Doerr. I read his collection of short stories, The Shell Collector: Stories years ago and found them memorably well written. Eager to read his novel, so am glad to see your comments, Carol.


message 4: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18822 comments Awesome reading month, Carol !

Glad you enjoyed Pearl Buck In China. I purchased it for a friend and I have it on my TBR list.

The Enchanted April is one of my favorite books and movie.

I must read Max Lucado as you read so many of his books and love them.

I will put All the Light You Can Not see on my TBR. Thanks! Four Seasons in Rome sounds delightful. Thanks for the new to me title.

I listened to the audio of Orange is the new black and enjoyed it quite a bit. I've never seen the show.

Thanks for sharing, Carol !


message 5: by Alias Reader (last edited Jul 31, 2014 04:19PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18822 comments My July Reads

The World's Strongest Librarian A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family by Josh Hanagarne The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family by Josh Hanagarne
Non fiction
Rate: 3/5
The author, Josh, has Tourette's Syndrome. The book explains how he tries to deal with it. He found extreme exercise to help a bit. I found this a very inspiring book and also a bit sad.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green The Fault in Our Stars--John Green
YA Fiction
Rate: 4-/5
This book has been on the bestseller list for some time. It's also now a movie. We read it for BNC's Group read. I found it very moving. A good YA book.

The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up A Breakthrough Medical Plan to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Steven Masley The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up: A Breakthrough Medical Plan to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease--Steven Masley
Non fiction
Rate 3/5
As the title suggests it tells you what to do to keep your ticker healthy. Good book but since I read a lot on health most was not new to me.

The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín The Testament of Mary --Colm Tóibín
Fiction
3 plus/5
Interesting alternate look at Mary. I thought it was quite interesting. Quite thoughtful read.

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes One Plus One--Jojo Moyes
Fiction
Rate 5/5
This is my new favorite author. The first book I read by Moyes was Me Before You which I enjoyed a great deal.

Someone by Alice McDermott Someone---Alice McDermott Fiction
Rate: 3 plus/5
Read this with my library group. Quiet book. A non linear look back over a life.

The Heart Health Bible The 5-Step Plan to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by John M. Kennedy The Heart Health Bible: The 5-Step Plan to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease--John M. Kennedy
Non fiction
Rate: 4 minus/5
Just what the title says.

Weekends at Bellevue Nine Years on the Night Shift at the Psych E.R. by Julie Holland Weekends at Bellevue: Nine Years on the Night Shift at the Psych E.R.--Julie Holland
Audio book
Reader: Author
Rate: 3/5
The author was the weekend emergency room psychiatrist at Bellevue. Because her job is to do a quick triage the reader doesn't really get an in-depth view of the patients. Unfortunately she also does a few things which can turn the reader off. Still it kept me interested.


message 6: by Carol (last edited Aug 02, 2014 03:23PM) (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 830 comments
And so August begins my research in Northampton, MA at the Forbes library . . .

About the Forbes Library -- http://www.forbeslibrary.org/about/ab...


***** CAN YOU BELIEVE that I went to The Forbes Library and unfortunately two male adults came into the library and started a fire on the stairwell to the second floor. Terrible damage, smoke everywhere. I will have to wait while they clean everything up, and hopefully nothing is damaged?!

What is wrong with people? Why would anyone want to destroy a library?!


message 7: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 239 comments That's an amazing looking building Carol.

I have added The Testament of Mary to my reading list. I know the library has a copy which is great. I already have The Enchanted April on there, and I notice that the library also has a copy of the movie. I must get to it!


message 8: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18822 comments And so August begins my research in Northampton, MA at the Forbes library . .
-------------------

Wow! What an amazing building. Have fun !


message 9: by Danielle (last edited Aug 01, 2014 09:31AM) (new)

Danielle (daniellecobbaertbe) Finished two books in JuLy.


The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie narrated by Adjoa Andoh
★ ★ ★ ★

“The thing around your neck” is a collection of 12 short stories. One story “Ghosts” features a retired university professor who looks back on the Biafran war. The other stories focus on the lives and experiences of Nigerian women, both in Nigeria and the United States. The stories focus on gender, sexuality, relationships, religion, culture and social differences and identity.

I’m not a big fan of short stories. When good however, I really enjoy short stories and wonder why I don’t read them more often. I sure hope that Adichie has more short stories to fill a book as I really loved this collection. This collection offers a good variation. And yet, there seems to be link in all of them: how are lives and views can change either by coincidence or due to the impact of others.

Also liked the narration by Adjoa Andoh a lot.


The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa ★ ★ ★ ★

I had already come across the title of this book a few times, but had my reservations. After reading ‘The dream of the Celt’ I decided to give this one a go. At first I found it hard to get into ‘The feast of the Goat’ as it follows four interwoven storylines and knows two different time frames, but nevertheless the story as a whole flows quite naturally.

The first story line concerns a woman, Urania Cabral, who suddenly after 35 years, turns up in her birth country: the Dominican Republic. Urania ends up recalling incidents from her youth to her aunt and cousins who never understood why Urania left so suddenly. Important to know is that Urania is the daughter of Augustin Cabral, once a loyal member of the Trujillo government.

The other storylines take us back in time, mostly to 1961. The second story line focuses on the last day in Trujillo’s life: 31 May 1961, the day on which the Goat (one of Trujillo’s nicknames) gets assassinated. In this story line Trujillo himself gets a voice. In the third strand we come to know Trujillo’s assassins while they wait for Trujillo’s car late that night, and their individual reasons for killing the dictator. After the assassination, the fourth story line follows the brutal man hunt and killing of Trujillo’s assassins and the political aftermath.

Due to these several storylines and time frames Vargas Llosa creates a kaleidoscopically view on the dictatorship of a man who ruled the Dominican Republic for 3 decades and the impact on everyday life for its inhabitants. Moreover the book is a reminder of the danger of absolute power. And it shows, especially in the fourth story line how politics work. This was for me, the most powerful storyline.

Not an easy read, especially due to the many names, and it takes some time to get into the story, but definitely worth reading. I would have liked less graphical details at times though.


message 10: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18822 comments Thank you for the new to me titles, Danielle.


message 11: by Amy (last edited Aug 01, 2014 11:59AM) (new)

Amy (amybf) | 514 comments My reads for July:

4-STAR READS:
1. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck: Wonderful tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. I can't believe I haven't read this until now. Looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.

2. The Good Lord Bird by James McBride: Rollicking tale of Henry (a.k.a. "Onion), a young boy born a slave who joins John Brown’s antislavery crusade — and who must pass as a girl to survive the attack on Harper's Ferry. Written in a first-person narrative from Henry's point of view, the dialogue and the language are first-rate. A wonderful mixture of history and imagination, I was amused, entertained and educated.

3. For Adam's Sake: A Family Saga in Colonial New England by Allegra Di Bonaventura: A nonfiction account of life in southeastern Connecticut and colonial New England, based on the diaries that settler Joshua Hempstead kept from 1711-1758. Very well written. Reads like a novel.

4. Live by Night by Dennis Lehane: The sequel to Lehane's "The Given Day," which I enjoyed. (Although I will read anything that Lehane writes, even if it's just text on the back of a cereal box. He has a way with dialogue that is just so fresh and believeable. Although it might help that I lived in Boston for 10 years, and when the characters in Lehane's books speak I can hear their voices in my head.)This continues the story that began in Boston, just at the end of World War I. In this outing, the focus is on Joseph Coughlin, the youngest son of Boston Police Chief Thomas Coughlin. You could call this a gangster saga, as it takes place in prohibition-era America with all its violence, rum running and vying for power.

5. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes: Based on its cover, you think that this one is going to be a sappy chick lit. Instead, it's joyful, poignant and heartbreaking, with a thought- provoking ending. This book made me run out to get other novels by this author.

6. Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith: Read this as a child and loved it for the story. Read it again as an adult as part of a summer reading Bingo challenge (to check off the box for a YA selection) and loved it for the history. This is a book that stands the test of time and holds up as a novel for adults. And it is more meaningful for me now, as the parent of a young man who is planning a career in the military. Reading about young boys going to war is even more heartbreaking when it becomes personal.

3-STAR READS:
7. Breakfast with Buddha: A Novel by Roland Merullo: This is a book that I think can either bore you or inspire you, depending on where in your life you are at the particular moment that you read it. In terms of the actual structure of this book, I felt that it was OK. It wasn't horribly written, but it certainly wasn't great literature by any means. It was a quick read if you are just looking to get through it. But if you are at a place in your life where you are starting to wonder if this is all there is, this will not be a quick read because it will lead you to other places. And some of those places might make you uncomfortable. This book might be life-changing if you are at a juncture where you are asking the deeper questions. And if you are willing to seek out and accept the answers.

8. Destroyer Angel by Nevada Barr: Book #18 in a long-running mystery series about National Park Ranger Anna Pigeon that I've enjoyed for years.

9. Mourning Gloria by Susan Wittig Albert: Book #19 in another long-running cozy mystery series I've enjoyed for many years. This one features herbalist (and former lawyer) China Bayles.

10. Cat's Claw by Susan Wittig Albert: Book #20 in the China Bayles series (see above).

11. Swim Back to Me by Ann Packer: A collection of short stories.

2-STAR READS:
12. Where You Left Me by Jennifer Gardner Trulson: A memoir written by Jennifer Gardner Trulson who lost her husband in the attack on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center.I thought it would be better than it actually was.

WORST BOOK I read this month:
13. One Last Dance by Eileen Goudge: This book manages to cram in every single horrible cliche of "chick lit": adult women who still lust after their first-love/teen-aged "bad boy" boyfriend who has grown up to become a respectable, totally hot guy (who is conveniently either still single or divorced and still pining after his old girlfriend); women who make a mess of their lives and are grateful for a man to "scoop" (literally) them off their feet and save them from their problems; men with "smoky eyes and broad shoulders"; name-dropping references to designer clothes and shoes; unrealistic dialogue; plot lines with holes so large that you can drive a truck through (seriously? You can only get pregnant when you are in TRUE LOVE with the guy you are sleeping with?); characters who have been complete assholes their entire lives but who suddenly have an epiphany and discover their inner decent human being; characters who are one-dimensional and written in such a way that you are obviously supposed to either love them or hate them (there are no shades of grey); and a tidy, predictable ending that you can see coming from 150 pages away. If this is the kind of writing that appeals to you, you will love this book. For me, I've come to the conclusion that I'm too old for this kind of crap.


message 12: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18822 comments Amy-- 2. The Good Lord Bird by James McBride: Rollicking tale of Henry (a.k.a. "Onion), a young boy born a slave who joins John Brown’s antislavery crusade — and who must pass as a girl to survive the attack on Harper's Ferry.
===

I read and enjoyed his other book The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother


message 13: by Alias Reader (last edited Aug 01, 2014 05:24PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18822 comments Amy -5. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes: Based on its cover, you think that this one is going to be a sappy chick lit. Instead, it's joyful, poignant and heartbreaking, with a thought- provoking ending. This book made me run out to get other novels by this author.
------------
Welcome to the Jojo Moyes fan club ! Me Before You was the first book I read by her. Next I read and enjoyed One Plus One. Next up I already have from the library The Girl You Left Behind


message 14: by Alias Reader (last edited Aug 01, 2014 05:30PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18822 comments Amy--
3-STAR READS:
7. Breakfast with Buddha: A Novel by Roland Merullo: This is a book that I think can either bore you or inspire you, depending on where in your life you are at the particular moment that you read it. In terms of the actual structure of this book, I felt that it was OK.
----
My library doesn't have this book but it does have another one that looks interesting by this author.
The Italian Summer Golf, Food, and Family at Lake Como by Roland Merullo The Italian Summer: Golf, Food, and Family at Lake Como----Roland Merullo

Thanks for bringing this author to my attention.


message 15: by Amy (new)

Amy (amybf) | 514 comments Alias--I just finished reading "The Girl You Left Behind" today! Going to request "One Plus One" from the library. Also want to read "The Last Letter From Your Lover." I'm really enjoying Jojo Moyes.


message 16: by Alias Reader (last edited Aug 01, 2014 06:27PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18822 comments Amy wrote: "Alias--I just finished reading "The Girl You Left Behind" today! Going to request "One Plus One" from the library. Also want to read "The Last Letter From Your Lover." I'm really enjoying Jojo Moyes."

:) I'm happy my library has a bunch of her books.


message 17: by Lesley (last edited Aug 02, 2014 02:48AM) (new)

Lesley | 239 comments I have not tried any Jojo Moyes books, so I should give one a go I think.

Here is a brief summary of my July reads.

5 stars

The Absolutist two British soldiers fight alongside each other in WW1. One survives. A different take on the devastation. I listened to an audio read by Michael Maloney and loved his performance. (I probably rated it up one star for this reason alone!) I recommend this one, particularly the audio.

4 stars

Frankenstein No my usual genre, but I liked this. Victor Frankenstein creates a creature that turns on him, whilst it has human feelings. I also loved the Swiss Alps descriptions which reminded me of my time in that part of the world.

A Tale of Two Cities Audio. This gives a vivid account of society in London and Paris during the Fench Revolution, whilst based on the storylines of a handful of connected characters.

The Turtle Warrior The dysfunctional Lucas family are Wisconsin farmers, whose world falls apart when a son is killed in the Vietnam War. Moving and beautifully paced writing.

3 stars

Beneath the Darkening Sky Written by a South Sudan refugee now living in Sydney, this is a graphic story of a 10 year old boy stolen from his village to soldier for the Sudan People's Liberation Army.

Hazel's Journey NF. Mrs Hawke's struggle with Alzheimer's Disease written by her daughter. Easy to read, informative and honest.

The Fault in Our Stars Our group read. I thought Green did a good job presenting from a teenage girl's point of view.

Emma Audio. Emma plays matchmaker to all those around here, whilst declaring she will never marry. She does, of course. Some funny moments.

The Commandant A tale of hardship set during the early days of Brisbane's penal settlement. This is listed in 'the 1001 books to read before you die'; really don't know why, though I did learn a few things I didn't know a few things about Queensland's capital.


2 stars

Drylands A Miles Franklin winner. A small rural Queensland town in dying of drought and desperation in the early 90s. Started well but ended up full of stereotypes.

The Metamorphosis Gregor Samsa turns into a beetle but retains human feelings and continues to live with his family. Another that I would not normally attempt but it was a radio book club choice, and a quick read anyway.

Harvest Most likely set in 18th century England, a peasant farmer's village is taken over during the Enclosure Act, whilst newcomers are accused of starting unrest. I enjoyed the rural setting and the historical context but that's all.

The Geometry of God Three young people negotiate their early adult lives in Pakistan in a society constricted by traditional values. I could have done with greater knowledge of Pakistan's history.

Black Dogs Audio. A confrontation with wild black dogs whilst in the south of France has far-reaching effects on a marriage. I found this one too odd.


message 18: by Alias Reader (last edited Aug 02, 2014 05:55AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18822 comments Lesley---A Tale of Two Cities Audio. This gives a vivid account of society in London and Paris during the Fench Revolution, whilst based on the storylines of a handful of connected characters.
--------------------

I've read this one and loved it. I would put it on my top 5 best classics list.

I've not listened to the audio or seen the movie.
Do you recall who the reader was for the audio you listened to?

Thanks for sharing your reads with us !


message 19: by Amy (new)

Amy (amybf) | 514 comments Lesley, you always have such an interesting and eclectic list of books. Thanks for sharing!


message 20: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments What a great list of books people have read. One pleasure is seeing the various genres we span and how we like them. I am grateful so many folks share, although my TBR list continues to swell as a result.

My own reading was rather lightweight in July. Some days i'm surprised i've read as much as i have, as we are doing touristy (& some less so) things most days. Additionally, the lighting in the apartment is appalling, so most of my reading is done during the day, unless i'm reading an e-book.

Death in Little Tokyo by Dale Furutani is an older cozy featuring Ken Tanaka, an aspiring amateur detective. The author incorporated many facts about Americans with Japanese ancestry that were interesting & probably not well known when the book was first published in the 90s.

Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage edited by (& featuring an essay by) Elizabeth Siegel. Fascinating look into the scrapbooks of the early Victorian era, not long after photography began. The aristocracy were initially the only ones who could afford to make collages of photos, as the reproduction was expensive. Worse, often the photos were trimmed to use only the heads or bust. Still, it was a mini-history of both crafts, as well as insightful into Victorian society parlours.

Looking at Greek Vases, another compilation of essays which are edited by Tom Rasmussen and Nigel Spivey. These essays cover the Ancient Greek works, including what is known about the potters, painters and uses of their products. I learned much but was disappointed by the artwork, the cover of which was the only color art.

Flight is a YA by Sherman Alexie, an author whose proses & poetry i have enjoyed for years. In this one the male teen protagonist has spent years entering & exiting foster homes. Finally he met a young man who led him to kill, which set the teen on a time travel of emotions. I really liked this one...enough to ask my husband to read it. He, too, found it a very good book.

Emil and the Detectives is another YA, this one by Erich Kästner from the past. The translator opted to use today's slang, which was a bit disconcerting. It' was a clever book, set in Germany in the 1930s. I found the title on one of the lists which are shared here. I think this one was about top mysteries a person should read.

Calamity: The Heppner Flood of 1903 by Joann Green Byrd. On June 14, 1903 a violent thunderstorm quickly filled the creeks near Heppner, Oregon, in the eastern part of the state. Within an hour over 200 people were dead & the town was ravaged. The author shares the story very nicely, contrasting it at points to the better known floods of Johnstown, PA, and Galveston, TX. There were no grave robbers or looting and citizens even returned much of the donated money sent for recovery after their needs had been met. The author attributes that to the same reason the town was settled there--the independence of the people. I could go on about this, as i found it full of fascinating details. It is another of those local books that i have come to treasure.


message 21: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 239 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Lesley---A Tale of Two Cities Audio. This gives a vivid account of society in London and Paris during the Fench Revolution, whilst based on the storylines of a handful of connected characters.
---..."


Alias, the narrator for the playaway version The Tale of Two Cities I listened to is Buck Schirner.

I narrator I have recently found to be very good is Michael Maloney.


message 22: by Rosie (new)

Rosie Donson (rosiedonson) | 10 comments What I read in July...
1. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini 3/5
2. A Tap on the Window by Linwood Barclay 4/5
3. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak 5/5
4. Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner 3/5
5. You Against Me by Jenny Downham 4/5
6. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho 4/5
7. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon 5/5
8. The Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter 4/5
9. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green 4/5
10. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote 3/5
11. One Night in Winter by Simon Sebag Montefiore 4/5
12. The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks 4/5
13. Let it Snow by John Green 4/5


message 23: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18822 comments Lesley wrote: Alias, the narrator for the playaway version The Tale of Two Cities I listened to is Buck Schirner.

I narrator I have recently found to be very good is Michael Maloney..."


Thank you for the names. I'll keep an eye out for those names. The narrator can make or break an audio book for me.


message 24: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18822 comments Rosie, Sorry to see that the latest Hosseini is not up to The Kite Runner

Your a Green fan I see. :)
I thought The Fault in Our Stars was good and glad we selected it as our current group read. Though maybe because it's a YA book it didn't generate a lot of discussion.


message 25: by Danielle (new)

Danielle (daniellecobbaertbe) Lesley wrote: "I have not tried any Jojo Moyes books, so I should give one a go I think.

Here is a brief summary of my July reads.

5 stars

The Absolutist two British soldiers fight alongside e..."



I also loved The Absolutist and I felt like reading it all over again when I finished it. There is so much that stays unspoken.

I also like Michael Maloney. I heard Salley Vickers' The Cleaner of Chartres narrated by him


message 26: by Danielle (new)

Danielle (daniellecobbaertbe) Amy wrote: "My reads for July:

4-STAR READS:
1. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck: Wonderful tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. I can't believe I haven't re..."


I had no idea that The Good Earth was part of a triology. I read it decades ago and need to re-read it.


message 27: by Amy (new)

Amy (amybf) | 514 comments Danielle wrote: "I had no idea that The Good Earth was part of a triology. I read it decades ago and need to re-read it. ..."

Yes, there are two more that continue the family's saga: Sons and A House Divided. I'm actually having a devil of a time tracking down "Sons." I've been to five different bookstores -- both new and used -- and none of them had it. I also went online to several book sites and they all said that the paperback edition of the book is out of stock. The entire trilogy IS available as an e-book through Barnes and Noble, though. I just might have to resort to downloading it, even thought I already have "The Good Earth" in paperback and I really did want to get the other two in paperback as well to save on my bookshelves. Ah, well.


message 28: by Alias Reader (last edited Aug 05, 2014 06:36AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18822 comments Amy wrote: I'm actually having a devil of a time tracking down "Sons." I've been to five different bookstores -- both new and used -- and none of them had it. ..."


Abe Books has a used copy for $6 and up. Their are various sellers.

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/Searc...

I've used Abe in the past I think one time and it worked well.


message 29: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments Rosie, it looks as though you had a good reading month in July. I hope August is as happily fruitful!

Re. the Buck trilogy. I have only read Good Earth. Has anyone else here read the other two? Is there a reason we only know the first?


message 30: by Carol (last edited Aug 05, 2014 11:23AM) (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 830 comments Regarding Pearl S. Buck's Sons & A House Divided -- in our state one library has ALL her books. Maybe it is like that in your state?!

Honestly, I bought many books by Buck at Goodwill / Savers/ used book stores for .99 each. If that doesn't work out check out Abe's books or Alibris which seems quicker.


message 31: by Carol (last edited Aug 05, 2014 04:37PM) (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 830 comments Madrano wrote: "Re. the Buck trilogy. I have only read Good Earth. Has anyone else here read the other two? Is there a reason we only know the first?."

The Good Earth  by Pearl S. Buck The Good Earth won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932. In 1931 there was a staged production, and in 1937 was the film.

My mom's senior book group discussed The Good Earth which was huge to them. Basically this book ran the gamut of universal themes -- women's rights, the importance of family, class conflict, spiritual and moral trails, hardships of the modern world.

Can you image how they felt as teens reading this book?

Pearl Buck was the daughter of missionaries and spent much of the first half of her life in China, where many of her books are set. In 1934, civil unrest in China forced Buck back to the United States. Throughout her life she worked in support of civil and women’s rights, and established Welcome House, the first international, interracial adoption agency.

In addition to her highly acclaimed novels, Buck wrote two memoirs and biographies of both of her parents. For her body of work, Buck was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938, the first American woman to have done so. Buck also wrote about her mentally retarded daughter, Caroline Grace Buck entitled The Child Who Never Grew. She was truly an amazing woman. Sadly she died in Vermont from lung cancer.


message 32: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments Interesting point about your mother's book group. Maybe when we are in retirement homes our book group will recapture the enthusiasm brought about by Fear of Flying by Erica Jong or something else which opened our eyes to new vistas.


message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

An OK month for me but in the past I would have read more than one book on holidays. That's the effect small children have on one's reading time I guess! At least that one book was a biggie:

East of Eden by John Steinbeck - This was a biggie indeed, full of important themes, riffs on biblical stories and universal truths about human nature. Steinbeck's writing is so brilliant it could carry me through anything, crisp and clean and beautiful. His descriptions of the landscape are knowledgeable and make you feel like you are seeing it yourself. The comments on human nature and the way people are never fail to blow me away - he can sum up a type of person in one paragraph and you think 'I KNOW someone like that!', so it makes his characters seem real. Samuel Hamilton and Cathy Ames, whilst being at opposite ends of the hero/villain spectrum are both incredible characters and the book was at its best when they were on the page. Despite it being an important and excellent book, it is not a five-star read for me. The story was a bit quiet and plodding and didn't really go where I though it would - I expected more of an epic I think (which is probably my failing). And it was one of those books that where I definitely appreciated it, I never got so far as to fall in love with it. For five stars I have to feel a book in my heart and gut and East of Eden didn't manage to settle there. FOUR STARS.

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris - This one was a disappointment. I have only scored it three stars really on the strength of Sedaris's other works which I have loved, in reality it is a 2 or 2.5. The essays are the same structure but with some political-leaning short fiction in there which I didn't want or need. I have a healthy appetite for satire but it wasn't very effective here. A lot has been said in other reviews about how these pieces have a darker tone, perhaps to excuse that they aren't really any FUN to read. I disagree with this reasoning as a lot of his other work I have read is based on darker themes like death, suicide and drug addiction but hasn't had this negative, almost bored tone. I didn't feel like Sedaris was getting any enjoyment out of telling these and therefore no enjoyment was transmitted to me reading them. I rolled my eyes at his grumpiness a few times (and I LOVE curmudgeons!) and worst of all I didn't laugh once. Compared to Me Talk Pretty One Day (where I was laughing so much late at night my husband thought I was having a coughing fit) this was like a book from another dimension. Sorry David, I love your stuff but this one was impatient, miserable and not up to scratch. 2.5 STARS.

Marking Time by Elizabeth Jane Howard - This is the second volume in The Cazalet Chronicles and is just as compulsive as the first. The family have moved from the eve of war fully into WW2 and this follows them until 1942, between their country retreat which has now become a safe haven and part of the war effort, to the increasing perils of London in the Blitz. Howard's conjuring of the period is just immaculate and even though things happen very slowly and incrementally (as family dynamics usually do), I always find myself completely immersed in what is going on. I love how she describes what the characters are wearing and exactly what they are having to eat because I adore that kind of detail. It helps give a wonderfully rounded picture of life and the world created feels very real. Can't wait to get onto the third one! FOUR STARS

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury - I have to be honest I only finished this because it was a short story collection for my DL and reasonably short. Otherwise for the most part I was bored. I was hoping for spooky short stories in miniature and the carnival-esque idea of the Illustrated Man was very interesting. Unfortunately Bradbury got so caught up with ROCKETS! and ASTRONAUTS! and MARS! and ROCKETS! and ROCKETS! and SOME MORE ROCKETS! that the idea of the scary Illustrated Man vanished without trace. I hate space stuff so it really wasn't for me but I maintain anyone could find his themes repetitive and not compelling. There were a couple of good ones - The Veldt about evil children and Usher II which references a lot of Edgar Allen Poe so I was happy. These were the spooky, unsettling stories I was expecting all the way through, but alas. Mainly rocketszzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. 2.5 STARS


message 34: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18822 comments We are on the same page, Soph. I could appreciate the writing of East of Eden but it wasn't a 5 star for me. I gave it a 4. Grapes and Charley I've enjoyed more.

I totally agree about Diabetes. I gave it 2 stars. I was so disappointed. I've enjoyed his other books so this was a real letdown.


message 35: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments I read East of Eden when it first came out and I think it took me all summer that year. I think I tend toward a 5 rating as it has lasted in my consciousness all these years later. However, must admit and think about whether or not the movie has had an effect on my continued positive review.


message 36: by Lori (new)

Lori Baldi | 40 comments Very late with my post but I haven't jumped onto GoodReads all month. I'm exhausting myself with the new job and just thankful to be gainfully employed once more.

I finished 3 books in July but already claimed 1 for the June books so I'll be totally correct and just list that 1 as a read.

The Uninvited Guests is the book read mostly in June. It was a disappointment and I have no idea what I rated it here but my memory says 2 at the best.

Next up was The Apple Orchard which I am puzzled with since I have no idea what made me so anxious to read this one. I know that the author writes romance novels and I think I made an attempt at 1 years and years ago, never finishing. Something about the book description caught my interest and that was a true description. Whatever, I had it on my wish list for a year or more and finally got it. A story of a woman who finds the identity of her birth father when she's in her 30s. Also finds a sister and grandfather -- along with an inheritance of a huge apple farm. It was good -- 3 stars -- but I needed much more. There was a fascinating bit on the country of Denmark during World War 2 which was underplayed. More attention given to the romance part. Better, though, than many.

The last book for July was The Janus Stone. I'm quite a fan of this series of mysteries featuring Ruth Galloway, a forensic anthropologist. Bones turn up, Ruth is consulted and mayhem ensues. Very engaging. Like the characters although they seem unrealistic. But who can turn down a good fun read? 4 stars!


message 37: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18822 comments Congratulations on the new job, Lori ! We appreciate you sharing your reads with us. Starting a new job can be exhausting.


message 38: by Meredith (new)

Meredith | 105 comments My July Reads
Daddy's Gone A HuntingMary Higgins Clark
3/5
The Mapping of Love and DeathJacqueline Winspear
4/5
I really enjoy this series and feel that Winspear gets better with each book. The stories take place in the years after WWI and the main character is a strong and independent young woman
The Beautiful MysteryLouise Penny
4/5

Another series That I enjoy for the character development and the wonderful descriptive writing


message 39: by Alias Reader (last edited Aug 10, 2014 03:41PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18822 comments The Beautiful Mystery sounds interesting. Meredith, is a stand alone or do you recommend starting the series with book 1 Still Life ?

Thanks !


message 40: by Amy (last edited Aug 11, 2014 06:06AM) (new)

Amy (amybf) | 514 comments Alias Reader wrote: "The Beautiful Mystery sounds interesting. Meredith, is a stand alone or do you recommend starting the series with book 1 Still Life? "

Somebody else recommended Louise Penny to me over the weekend as well. She suggested that I start with "Still Life" to get acquainted with the series.


message 41: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18822 comments Thanks, Amy. :)


message 42: by Amy (new)

Amy (amybf) | 514 comments I'm definitely going to pick up the first book. So many people have raved to me about Louise Penny--I'm wondering what I've been missing!


message 43: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18822 comments Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #1) by Louise Penny Still Life by Louise Penny

Amy wrote: "I'm definitely going to pick up the first book. So many people have raved to me about Louise Penny--I'm wondering what I've been missing!"

Amazon has it for the kindle for $3.


message 44: by Amy (new)

Amy (amybf) | 514 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Amazon has it for the kindle for $3. ."


Thanks, but I'm one of those people who refuses to shop at Amazon. :)

I've requested a copy through my account at Paperbackswap.com. Don't know when I will actually get to it, though.


message 45: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18822 comments Since I am not sure what type of book it is from the reviews ... A cozy mystery one review said? I am not usually into mysteries in any form. I don't hate them, just usually don't read them often.

I see my library has it, so I'll get it from them.


message 46: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18822 comments Amy wrote: "Alias Reader wrote: "Amazon has it for the kindle for $3. ."


Thanks, but I'm one of those people who refuses to shop at Amazon. :) .."


---------------

So you are that ONE person everyone talks about. LOL


message 47: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments Reading about the small Canadian town where Louise Penny sets her novels makes me sad. I don't have--and never have had--such talented & erudite neighbors. Ah, the glories i've missed over the years. Some times it's a wee bit too much for me, though. :-)


message 48: by Amy (last edited Aug 12, 2014 06:28AM) (new)

Amy (amybf) | 514 comments Alias Reader wrote:
So you are that ONE person everyone talks about. LOL ..."



Yep. And I'm proud of myself, too. :) "Stand for what you believe in, even if you are standing alone." That's my motto in life.


message 49: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18822 comments Good motto. I do the same with Walmart.


message 50: by Susan (new)

Susan | 5 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Since I am not sure what type of book it is from the reviews ... A cozy mystery one review said? I am not usually into mysteries in any form. I don't hate them, just usually don't read them often..."

I heard Louise Penny describe her books as "traditional" mysteries like Agatha Christie's. I recommend starting with the first in the series, Still Life, although I found it a bit slow.


« previous 1
back to top