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ARCHIVE > CANDY BEANS' 50 BOOKS READ IN 2015

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 37666 comments Mod
Candy Beans, here is your new thread in 2015. Happy reading in the new year.

Our Required Format:

JANUARY

1. My Early Life, 1874-1904 by Winston S. Churchill by Winston S. ChurchillWinston S. Churchill
Finish date: January 2015
Genre: (whatever genre the book happens to be)
Rating: A
Review: You can add text from a review you have written but no links to any review elsewhere even goodreads. And that is about it. Just make sure to number consecutively and just add the months.


message 2: by CandyBeans (last edited Sep 01, 2015 07:56AM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments JANUARY

1. Inés of My Soul by Isabel Allende by Isabel AllendeIsabel Allende
Finish date: January 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: B
Review: I'm having trouble writing a review for this book. The writing is great, but nothing stands out enough to really seize upon ...

The characterization of Inés is wonderfully robust. She's telling her own story, and Allende has the good sense to allow Inés to show us who she is, rather than tell us. The voice was so impeccable that I felt like I was reading a memoir.

While I didn't completely love this book, I suspect that I can blame that on the long chapters. I would recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone with an interest in solid historical fiction and/or the beginnings of Chile.


message 3: by CandyBeans (last edited Apr 06, 2015 12:19PM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 2. The Secret Daughter of the Tsar by Jennifer Laam by Jennifer Laam Jennifer Laam
Finish date: January 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: C-
Review: This book was a bit dull and repetitive It’s full of characters with secret or unknown identities, and they all manage to be shallow. The story jumps between three time periods, and they are ultimately related because of the children people had. Thematically, there’s not much of a common thread. The romance that develops in the contemporary story-line isn’t very exciting, which is quite a feat considering that the couple ends up being held hostage together. Then again, that scene was odd, and there was an awful lot of casual, and even awkward conversation going on at gunpoint.

I would give the writer a second chance though. The characters were close to likable, and the story had potential, it was just underdeveloped.


message 4: by CandyBeans (last edited Apr 06, 2015 12:20PM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 3. The Martian by Andy Weir by Andy WeirAndy Weir
Finish date: January 2015
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: A
Review: This is the book I keep recommending to family and friends this year because it’s entertaining. Weir handles suspense well, which is something that too many authors squander. Likewise, the shifting perspectives and person views actually help to highlight the conflict. Overall, it’s an solidly constructed and entertaining read.


message 5: by CandyBeans (last edited Sep 01, 2015 07:45AM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 4. The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1) by Robert Galbraith by Robert GalbraithRobert Galbraith
Finish date: January 2015
Genre: Mystery
Rating: C+
Review: I listened to this book, and I don’t know how that changed my experience, but it made the non-stop conversation aspect a non-issue. The story didn't do much for me, and I couldn't tell if the character templates (washed up detective with inner demons and dark secrets; intrepid and clever young woman with a career and family ahead of her, and a secret desire for adventure, troubled model who was more than she seemed to be; unlikable good guys/suspects; and wilting villains) were meant to be a nod to a genre or a pitfall of a genre.


message 6: by CandyBeans (last edited Sep 01, 2015 07:57AM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments FEBRUARY

5. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce, #1) by Alan Bradley by Alan BradleyAlan Bradley
Finish date: February 2015
Genre: Mystery
Rating: A
Review: I’m a sucker for florid language, but I usually dislike overly-precocious story children. I don’t know if the language won out, or if Flavia was just charming enough, but I really liked this book. The atmosphere is rich, the characters are all lovable curmudgeons in some way, and the mystery is entertaining.


message 7: by CandyBeans (last edited Apr 06, 2015 12:28PM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 6. Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg by Simon Pegg Simon Pegg
Finish date: February 2015
Genre: Memoir
Rating: A
Review: I admit to a very heavy bias in favor of anything touched by Pegg: I loved it. It was as darling and funny and poignant as Pegg himself is. I would have liked to read a lot more from the Spaced era, and more about his relationships with the actors he commonly works with, but then this book is about him.

It was a little drier than I expected it to be, but I'm not complaining. I enjoyed the sometimes-serious tone, especially as it was often a result of respect for the people in his life that influenced him. Besides, the serious moments are well balanced with chapters casting the author as a tongue-in-cheek sci-fi hero.

I listened to the book on tape, but I suspect I'll purchase a copy so that I can refer to his musings on the "social mathematics" that are interchangeable with fate.


message 8: by CandyBeans (last edited Apr 06, 2015 12:25PM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 7. The Blue Sword (Damar, #2) by Robin McKinley by Robin McKinleyRobin McKinley
Finish date: February 2015
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: B+
Review: This is a solid YA fantasy book set in a fictional world. I couldn't really get into it though. It seemed a little too trope-reliant for characters' national backgrounds. It's definitely a book I'd suggest for a kid though.


message 9: by CandyBeans (last edited Apr 06, 2015 12:23PM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 8. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson by Laurie Halse AndersonLaurie Halse Anderson
Finish date: February 2015
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Rating: A
Review: I wish that everyone would read this book. It’s important enough that the reader discovers the Miranda’s story over the course of the book, that I don’t want to say too much about it. AUTHOR handles it artfully, realistically depicting the way a young woman communicates her pain. This is the kind of story that will open eyes and change minds.


message 10: by CandyBeans (last edited Apr 06, 2015 12:26PM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 9. Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1) by Hilary Mantel by Hilary MantelHilary Mantel
Finish date: February 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: A
Review: This isn't another easy and salacious historical fiction romp through the court of Henry VIII. I couldn't be happier. Historical figures who don’t get a lot of airtime in the typical Tudor romance are present in this work. Reading names like Cranmer and Tewkesbury took me back to my undergrad history days. The book focuses on another underrepresented figure, Thomas Cromwell. That alone requires a tone shift.

Mantel’s style requires careful reading, and probably a fair amount of background knowledge. Before I began this book, I read somewhere that “he” should always be taken to mean Cromwell, unless specifically stated otherwise. Sage advice that was. The book will require your attention, but if you like immersing yourself Tudor history, you’ll be all to happy to give it.


message 11: by CandyBeans (last edited Sep 01, 2015 07:57AM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments MARCH

10. Bossypants by Tina Fey by Tina Fey Tina Fey
Finish date: March 2015
Genre: Memoir
Rating: B
Review: Overall a fun, and funny book with moments of astute social commentary. I found it easy to relate to Fey on a variety of topics. Some of her notions about what's cool are a little cringe-worthy because of the stereotypes they endorse.


message 12: by CandyBeans (last edited Apr 06, 2015 02:00PM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 11. My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor by Sonia Sotomayor (no picture)
Finish date: March 2015
Genre: Memoir
Rating: A
Review: Sotomayor’s storytelling is engaging. Our backgrounds are very different, and yet I found her relatable. I liked learning the personal details of her childhood, and seeing how they shaped her career and learning paths. There is a lot to learn about what privilege is and is not, but not because Sotomayor is every heavy-handed or moralizing. She tells the story, and allows readers to see why things unfolded as they did.


message 13: by CandyBeans (last edited Sep 01, 2015 07:44AM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 12. Quiet The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain by Susan CainSusan Cain
Finish date: March 2015
Genre: Non-Fiction
Rating: B
Review: I was hesitant to read this book because I am an introvert, and I hate the recent surge in internet click-bait articles on why introverts or extroverts are the best. That is further compounded by the mass misunderstanding of what those words actually mean.

I'm glad I did finally pick this up though. Cain illustrates how the world assumes extroversion as the default, and how people are rewarded for compliance. It's helpful if one is trying to understand the world around her.

It's probably a much more interesting read for extroverts though. Where I kept thinking, yes I know this already, some of my extrovert pals found passages enlightening and helpful.


message 14: by CandyBeans (last edited Apr 06, 2015 02:00PM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 13. Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan by Jim Gaffigan Jim Gaffigan
Finish date: March 2015
Genre: Memoir
Rating: B
Review: I like to listen to memoirs while I clean or work out. i think Jim Gaffigan is funny. I borrowed this book not realizing that it would be entirely about children. That's not a problem - I don't have any children and I never plan to, but I'm a teacher. I have taught many, many children, and have had a lot of schooling and training, so I'm not in the dark about how their minds work.

The book was cute and funny, but I couldn't relate to most of it. And obviously, that's fine. If you like Gaffigan and have kids, this might be just the ticket for you.

The one complaint I have is that Gaffigan does resort to the dumb dad/capable mom trope ... which I hate, but I struggled with here because it fits his persona completely. The redemption is that he's not presenting it as an excuse, but as a fact. I got over it faster that I was able to type out this paragraph.


message 15: by CandyBeans (last edited Apr 06, 2015 02:00PM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 14. David and Goliath Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell by Malcolm Gladwell Malcolm Gladwell
Finish date: March 2015
Genre: Non-Fiction
Rating: B
Review: This is a hard review to write because there's not a whole lot to say. The book was full of stories and data that made me rethink some of my approaches in education and dance. In fact, I liked that rather than saying, here's the data, here's the conclusion, Gladwell left more space for the conclusions.

He doesn't say what the reader should think or take away; he does make suggestions though. I came away with more questions than answers, and that's a huge positive. It's clear to me that the book challenged my thinking.

Well worth the read.


message 16: by CandyBeans (last edited Apr 06, 2015 02:00PM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 15. Stone Mattress Nine Tales by Margaret Atwood by Margaret Atwood Margaret Atwood
Finish date: March 2015
Genre: Fiction, Short Story
Rating: A
Review: Loving something by Margaret Atwood feels like a cop-out. She makes it easy. What I loved the most about this collection of stories was atmosphere. Some of the most unremarkable situations were made fascinating by language that was easy and poetic.

I loved reading so many stories about older people and about aging. It's unusual in general, and was the antidote to the large number of young people's books that I've read lately.


message 17: by CandyBeans (last edited Sep 01, 2015 07:45AM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments APRIL
16. The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag (Flavia de Luce, #2) by Alan Bradley by Alan Bradley Alan Bradley
Finish date: April 2015
Genre: Fiction
Rating: B+
Review: I liked this book for all of the same reasons that I liked the first Flavia de Luce book. Flavia is cute and self-aware, and I enjoyed how Bradley refined the character a bit in this second installment.

These are quick and relaxing reads, and I actually don't spend a lot of time trying to solve the mystery. I am able to just let the tale unfold.

I'm looking forward to more in the series.


message 18: by CandyBeans (last edited Apr 06, 2015 02:01PM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 17. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee by Karen Foxlee Karen Foxlee
Finish date: April 2015
Genre: Children's Fiction
Rating: C
Review: This is one of those books that guilts me. I try to keep up on what's new in the children's and YA literary worlds so that I can speak to my students competently about books that they might like. So I read this, and I feel like I should have liked this book a lot. I didn't.

The writing was fine, but really a little too precious. The main character didn't come across as precocious and quirky, but as a pale imitation of such. She also was the chosen one for no real reason. There was some talk of love and kindness and friendship, but Ophelia seemed to accomplish these things by accident.

The pacing was off, as well.

I gifted the book to a child, so I will update if her review sheds any light on the story.


message 19: by CandyBeans (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 18. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius by Marcus Aurelius Marcus Aurelius
Finish date: April 2015
Genre: Philosophy
Rating: B
Review: It's a fairly straightforward work. While nothing in it was particularly earth-shattering, some passages gave me some new perspective. I was surprised by how many of Aurelius' ideas could apply to my work life. In my personal life, I'm comfortable with how I regard myself and others. At work, people drive me a little bananas, but if I apply some of the wisdom in Meditations, I may find peace.

The best bit was near the end when Aurelius urges the reader to trust her opinion of herself. Reminds me of the admonishment that Mr. Darcy lays on Mr. Bingley in response to the latter's criticism of his own handwriting.


message 20: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) Good progress Candy!!


message 21: by CandyBeans (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments Jill wrote: "Good progress Candy!!"

Thanks so much! I had to review a bunch of books at once, but now that I'm caught up, it'll be easier.


message 22: by CandyBeans (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 19. Teach Like a Champion 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College by Doug Lemov by Doug Lemov (no picture)
Finish date: April 2015
Genre: Education
Rating: A
Review: This book is worth reading if you teach or work with teachers. Not all of the techniques are useful all of the time. What you can and should use will depend based on where you're teaching, and what your kids need. I agree with reviewers who say that many of the techniques cater to teachers in tougher schools or in schools that are striving to do well in the high-stakes testing game.

That is an ugly necessity. I loathe high-stakes standardized tests, and I know that the kids I work with go to a school that is in big trouble if they don't demonstrate progress on scores. This book is a tool kit, not an endorsement.

The section on reading is a little out of place, but I was still happy to see it there. I don't agree with all of Lemov's ideas about reading, but I see the importance of what he's saying. Especially when he states that a strategy alone isn't enough. I disagree with his analysis of the strategies, but it still gave me pause. I see now some pretty serious pitfalls that I didn't think about before. He also says that all teachers should be reading teachers, and I can't applaud that enough.

What I like best about this book is that it takes ideas like having high expectations for your students, and presents them as actions with concrete instructions and examples on how to perform them. This is going to help a struggling teacher turn the classroom around pretty quickly.


message 23: by Douglass (new)

Douglass Gaking | 334 comments Thanks for the review. I added this to my summer reading list. I like to get in at least one book each summer that will help me teach better the next school year.

Teach Like a Champion 49 Techniques That Put Students on the Path to College by Doug Lemov by Doug Lemov (no photo)


message 24: by CandyBeans (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments I'll be looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the book then! This book made me miss teaching kids - I teach the teachers now. I did find it to be helpful for that though. I would also recommend it to anyone who is or wants to be in a coaching or consulting position.

One of the teachers I work with suggested that I put post-its on favorite passages and then pass it along. So I did! I'm hoping that as the teachers I work with read it, we'll end up having some ideas exchange.

Douglass wrote: "Thanks for the review. I added this to my summer reading list. I like to get in at least one book each summer that will help me teach better the next school year.

[bookcover:Teach Like a Champion:..."



message 25: by CandyBeans (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 20. Mistress of Rome (The Empress of Rome, #1) by Kate Quinn by Kate Quinn Kate Quinn
Finish date: April 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: A
Review: I couldn't put this down. I didn't have terribly high expectations, but Quinn is a solid writer who creates characters that are never completely likable. That appeals to me.

I really liked the ancient Roman setting and the historical details. I would have liked to see more little details about daily life, but the book was already pretty big.

There's a lot of violence and a fair amount of sex, but I wouldn't dismiss the book as trashy romance. It was certainly an indulgence, but the story itself was worth reading.

I picked this up at the Baltimore Book Bank, never expecting to read the rest of the series, but now I really want to.


message 26: by CandyBeans (last edited Sep 01, 2015 07:57AM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments MAY

21. The Heart of Education by Dara Feldman by Dara Feldman (no picture)
Finish date: May 2015
Genre: Education
Rating: D
Review: I received this book as part of a Virtues Project training at work. The Virtues Project is an undertaking to end youth violence by strengthening character by building virtues in young people. We use many of the methods and ideologies at work, and I admit that it's influenced my personal communications as well.

The project is great, but this book is not so much. I'm a little unclear about its purpose. Feldman starts with the story of her journey. It's a little bland, and she hails coincidences as huge events that prove that all of this was predestined. I'm always turned off by the thought that we should embrace everything that happens to us as a divine sign, rather than an event that shapes our critical thoughts on a subject.

Later chapters focus on certain key concepts in the Virtues Project, and while there are little bits of wisdom sprinkled throughout, they're harvested from the ethos of the project anyway.

Feldman clearly has a lot of enthusiasm for this project and for her life's work. The biggest problem for this book is that she is not a writer. From the over use of idiom to the extremely basic and all too often exclamatory sentences, she makes enough common writing errors to turn this short book into a chore.


message 27: by CandyBeans (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 22. Duty Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert M. Gates by Robert M. Gates (no photo)
Finish date: May 2015
Genre: Memoir
Rating: B+
Review: I really enjoyed this book. It's crushingly long, but worth the time spent. I learned a lot about the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from Gate's perspective.

The first chapter is the toughest because Gates repeats frequently that he never wanted to be SoD, but that he had to because of patriotism and soldiers and honor and duty, etc. He wrote that often enough that I thought I was in for 30 or so hours of complaining. However, once he gets that out of his system, he only refers back to it a few times.

If you take what he says at face value, (which is always tough for me when listening to politicians) then you can believe that he cares deeply about the people he serves, and that he's willing to stand up for them at home. He also spoke with great respect about everyone he's worked with, even when expressing fury or disbelief over their actions.

As a writer, he's clearly an educated and well-spoken man, with the sort of old white business guy saying "fuck" at just the right moment to strike that humorous chord. (I suddenly miss my dad).


message 28: by CandyBeans (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 23. More Than a Score The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing by Jesse Hagopian by Jesse Hagopian (no picture)
Finish date: May 2015
Genre: Education
Rating: B
Review: I picked this up on a whim at my local socialist collective bookstore/cafe, and I can only conclude that this is an important book for people who don't know what the privatization of education is doing to our students..

The first 2/3 of the book had my really worked up and interested, but then it lost steam. All of the essays and interviews are by/with people who have stood up against testing - and that is a great place to start. However, eventually I found myself fatigued; it was as if I got to the rally and heard speech after speech, and never actually got to march.

This book could be such a strong tool if it had more resources. Whipping someone into a lather over high stakes testing and then leaving them with no real direction is futile. Had the editor dropped those last two interviews, and instead included a list of resources and next steps, this book would have easily been an A+.

All of that said, it's entirely worth reading. I left my copy full of notes and questions to return to as I continue on my path as an educator and activist.


message 29: by CandyBeans (last edited May 11, 2015 06:10AM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 24. Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl by Viktor E. Frankl Viktor E. Frankl
Finish date: May 2015
Genre: Non Fiction, Psychology
Rating: A
Review: I wish I had read this book a long time ago. It's simple and straightforward, but the wisdom about happiness and success is succinct in a way that would have provided me with a lot of guidance when I was younger. Now, it serves to shape a path that I've been on for some time.

It's a short book, and I'll probably need to give it another read or two before I can do much in terms of a review, but at this point I can at least recommend it to everyone.


message 30: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig It is a great book.


message 31: by CandyBeans (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 25. Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran by Michelle Moran Michelle Moran
Finish date: May 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: C
Review: It did its job. I downloaded this as an audiobook so that I could listen during workouts and housecleaning. It kept me entertained enough. I probably would have lost patience if I was reading the text though. The characters were a bit dull and lacked nuance, and the history was questionable at points.

Several reviews on Good Reads pointed out that this would be more successful if market as a YA novel, and I agree with that sentiment.


message 32: by Donna (new)

Donna (drspoon) I'm sorry to hear that CandyBeans. I have that book on my shelves as a "to read" but I don't like to take the time with something that's just mediocre.


message 33: by CandyBeans (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments Donna wrote: "I'm sorry to hear that CandyBeans. I have that book on my shelves as a "to read" but I don't like to take the time with something that's just mediocre."

I feel the same way! I really don't think it's worth the time to sit down and savor, but as a book on tape, it'll pass the time.


message 34: by CandyBeans (last edited Sep 01, 2015 07:57AM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments JUNE

26. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving by John Irving John Irving
Finish date: June 2015
Genre: Fiction
Rating: A+
Review: This is one of my favorite reads of the year.

Irving tells you from the very beginning what to expect at the end, and even still, I cried. I loved this book. It sucked me in, and while it lagged a bit in the middle, I felt panicked as I neared the end.

Honestly I felt and still feel a lot of things about this book, but anything I write would probably be pedestrian. Further, I don't want to share them. I'm pretty uncomfortable about feelings in general, so it's a little raw to just blurt them out in a book review.

Read the book, have the feelings, grieve for Owen Meany.


message 35: by CandyBeans (last edited Sep 01, 2015 07:57AM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments JULY

27. Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse, #4) by Charlaine Harris by Charlaine Harris Charlaine Harris
Finish date: July 2015
Genre: Fiction
Rating: B
Review: If all goes well, jury duty isn't too bad. I get called every year. You can get a lot of reading done, but I suggest something that isn't too dense, and it's nice to start something that day. In a bit of a scramble, I downloaded Dead to the World to fulfill these needs.

I spent the day at the courthouse, and never got called for a jury pool, so I tore through the majority of this book. I would have finished that day had we not been released early.

I read the first three in this series last year, and while not works of art, they were entertaining. The fourth installment is much, much better than I remember the first three being. The characters seem more realistic, and the dialogue is a little more natural. The sex scenes are less embarrassing, and (I am loathe to admit) even pretty hot. The plot is also a little less eye-roll-y.

Now there is a giant plot hole that allows two stories to be meshed, and I wish Harris would have weaved the two a but more artfully. The action scenes are also a little blah. It reads like: all of a sudden, the fight is over and everyone is fine or not fine.

I enjoyed the first three books like you enjoy really bad TV, and I enjoyed this one more genuinely. I was ready to abandon the series, but after this I will keep going.


message 36: by CandyBeans (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 27. Tribal Leadership by John by Dave Logan Dave Logan, John King John King, and (no photo) Halee Fischer-Wright
Finish date: July 2015
Genre: Business, Leadership, Non-Fiction
Rating: B
Review: I've learned a lot lately at work about communication and leadership. (I cringe to use the word "leadership," because it seems trite, but oh well). However, I've wanted to bolster what I've learned with reading this year.

Tribal Leadership was fine. I didn't love it, but a lot of the ideas made sense, or at least matched up with what I've seen. It mostly reinforced ideas I was aware of though.

It helped me be more aware of my language use, but more importantly, it helped me with some realizations about the language patterns of my coworkers. Some patterns I've seen where I work are damaging, and now I understand why they are, and I have some sense of what to do to counter them.

This is probably worth a read if you have pr want leadership roles.


message 37: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (MsTaz) | 5746 comments CandyBeans wrote: "June
26. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving by John Irving John Irving
Finish date: June 2015
Genre: Fiction
Rating: A+
Review: This is one of my favorite r..."


One of my favorite books of all time, and a real tear-jerker.


message 38: by CandyBeans (last edited Jul 08, 2015 11:46AM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments Alisa wrote: "One of my favorite books of all time, and a real tear-jerker. "

Have you read any of his others? Friends have been raving to me for years, so I'm looking forward to reading more from him.


message 39: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (MsTaz) | 5746 comments Yes, I have also read The Cider House Rules and loved it. I have A Widow for One Year in my to-read pile and have been eyeing it recently as a candidate for my summer reading beach bag. I really like his writing.

The Cider House Rules by John Irving and A Widow for One Year by John Irving both by John IrvingJohn Irving


message 40: by CandyBeans (last edited Aug 12, 2015 07:24AM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 28. The Duchess by Amanda Foreman by Amanda Foreman Amanda Foreman
Finish date: July 2015
Genre: History; Non-Fiction
Rating: A
Review: I don't have much to say about this one. I liked it a lot; I learned a lot. The author clearly loved her subject, perhaps to the point of defending her where she didn't need it.

It seemed like the perfect hybrid book to satisfy my recent celebrity memoir kick and my long-standing history buff status.


message 41: by CandyBeans (last edited Aug 12, 2015 07:18AM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 29. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling by Mindy Kaling Mindy Kaling
Finish date: July 2015
Genre: Memoir; Non-Fiction
Rating: B
Review: It started a little slow and I quickly swore I'd never listen to another celebrity memoir. They're great for cleaning and push-ups, but I wouldn't bother otherwise. However, a few more minutes in, and I realized the book was pretty good.

I enjoyed hearing about Kaling's upbringing, and while I had no preconceived notions about it, I was surprised. The book showed me that she's very intelligent - more so than her TV personas would have you believe.

It's short, and funny, and a nice way to let your brain rest after a long day.


message 42: by CandyBeans (last edited Sep 01, 2015 07:44AM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 30. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi by Azar Nafisi Azar Nafisi
Finish date: July 2015
Genre: Memoir; Non-Fiction
Rating: C
Review: I just got so bored. I read the first 150 pages in a sitting and was interested, but I was also too far to abandon it when it got boring.

Worse than being bored, I feel guilty about being bored! Secret police, death penalties, torture, revolution ... I should be having feelings about these atrocities. And yet, all I could think was that this author should just write a Mary Sue novel, since that's clearly what she wants to do.

She can write a novel about the clever yet slightly withdrawn narrator, who sometimes appears frightened, but is brave - even though she doesn't even realize she's being brave in her small, but beautiful acts of incidental rebellion. The narrator can look at everyone around her, and draw wise conclusions about their souls, while she herself is still looking for her own. The narrator can be timid and untidy, with hair poking out from under her veil, and nervous hands, fluttering like birds. Meanwhile, unlike all of the people around her, it is her quiet strength that will mean the most in the end.

See what I mean?


message 43: by CandyBeans (last edited Sep 01, 2015 07:46AM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 31. Yes Please by Amy Poehler by Amy PoehlerAmy Poehler
Finish date: July 2015
Genre: Memoir; Non-Fiction
Rating: A
Review: I'm biased, as I adore Poehler already. Add to that that she sounds and has an affect just like my little sister, who I also adore, and I couldn't not love this book. This was a little more robust than most celebrity memoirs. Some of the stories were instructive without being lecturing.

Poehler is vocal about how people should treat people, especially when it comes to women making choices for themselves, and judging one another. It's refreshing that she was willing to put it so baldly.

We are in a TV season on very funny women right now, and figures like Poehler and her colleagues have really led that charge.


message 44: by CandyBeans (last edited Sep 01, 2015 07:57AM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments AUGUST

32. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier by Daphne du MaurierDaphne du Maurier
Finish date: August 2015
Genre: Fiction; Gothic
Rating: A
Review: This is one of my favorite books of the year. On three different occasions, I bolted upright and gasped, or exclaimed an expletive. The narrative drew me right in, and I felt as haunted as the narrator did. The twists are exciting, and while the narrator behaved in a way I would not, I never felt like it was unrealistic or stupid.

There's a reason this book has not gone out of print since its publication.


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CandyBeans | 87 comments 33. Countdown to Zero Day Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon by Kim Zetter by (no photo) Kim Zetter
Finish date: August 2015
Genre: Non-Fiction; Technology
Rating: A
Review: A fascinating book! I learned so much about the nature of computer viruses and cyber-warfare. The style reminds me very much of a magazine piece, which is no surprise, as Zetter writes for Wired. This made it a quick read. Additionally, I found it suspenseful at times, to the point that it read like fiction.


message 46: by CandyBeans (last edited Sep 01, 2015 07:47AM) (new)

CandyBeans | 87 comments 34. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo by Marie KondoMarie Kondo
Finish date: August 2015
Genre: Non-Fiction; Self Help
Rating: A
Review: I listened to this book on tape in two days. It was very short, but I was captivated. Her advice runs counter to almost everything that most organizers preach as gospel. Yet her advice really spoke to me. Granted, some of it seemed far fetched, but by keeping an open mind, I realized the wisdom in the philosophies.

I'm going to listen to it again. I've already begun to practice some of the ideas, such as get rid of anything that does not spark joy. Many reviewers have complained about this as a frivolous metric that can't be applied to utilitarian things. I disagree for two major reasons.

One, this book is not about utilitarian things. It's about clutter. It's about eliminating clothing, books, and knickknacks that don't actually add to your happiness. Two, it is a metric that can be applied to utilitarian things, if you're willing to think critically about the broader philosophy. My broom does not spark joy when I touch it. However, it a necessity because a kitchen floor free of cat food kibble *does* spark joy. This book does not request that I even contemplate getting rid of my broom.

It's worth reading. If you're the type to scoff at any new idea that runs counter to "common knowledge," then don't bother. Some of the advice sounds so strange, and it might work for you anyway.


message 47: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 37666 comments Mod
Hello Candybeans - here is the format to follow:

Our Required Format:

JANUARY

1. My Early Life, 1874-1904 by Winston S. Churchill by Winston S. ChurchillWinston S. Churchill
Finish date: January 2015
Genre: (whatever genre the book happens to be)
Rating: A
Review: You can add text from a review you have written but no links to any review elsewhere even goodreads. And that is about it. Just make sure to number consecutively and just add the months.


message 48: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Aug 21, 2015 07:26PM) (new)

Bentley | 37666 comments Mod
MONTHS - CAPS AND SPACING

Some issues to correct - check out the format of the months - all in caps and all bolded - with one blank line between the MONTH and the citation itself. You have missed getting this part correct.

Edits and corrections to be done for the following months: 2. 5, 11, 17, 26, 34, 35, and 44 - none of these are correct or follow the format. I think these are easy fixes.


message 49: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Aug 21, 2015 07:30PM) (new)

Bentley | 37666 comments Mod
NO BLANK LINE BETWEEN THE CITATION AND THE NEXT LINE - FINISH DATE: (check out format)

Edits and corrections need to be done for the following posts: 13, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46


message 50: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 37666 comments Mod
SOMETHING STRANGE WITH THE SPACING IN 17

It could be that you tried to add a book cover in a strange location - put the full citation at the bottom of the comment box - book cover, author's photo and author's link not where you placed it - More than likely this will take care of the spacing issues. There should be no blank lines or issues between the Rating: line and the Review: one.


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