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Monthly "Reads" > Shomeret's December Reads 1/4

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message 1: by Shomeret (last edited Dec 31, 2010 10:33PM) (new)

Shomeret | 1395 comments What a year! I never expected to be able to read 162 books. But I did expect to be able to read more once I started vacation, but there was a friend that I needed to help move. So vacation reading didn't really ramp up until the last week of December.

1)Bury Your Deadby Louise Penny (mystery) 371 pages. Source: Library Started: 11/29 Finished: 12/3

Why Read: I was interested in the historical aspect. The victim was a historian who was obsessed with finding where Samuel Champlain, the founder of Quebec, was buried. No one has ever found him. This is the first book that I'm reading by Louise Penny.

Comments: Given another case in the background of this novel, everything else seemed like an anti-climax once it got resolved. It was a bizarre plot construction. I think it was designed that way either for characterization or because the author thought it would be more interesting. Since I've never read this author before, I don't know if it's de rigeur (a fine French phrase)for books in this series to deal with multiple cases at once. I do know that the secret about Champlain didn't surprise me. I can't say I was very interested in the the Three Pines case though it did involve some good characterization. Since Three Pines doesn't interest me, I probably won't want to go back and read the previous novels. It's like a Canadian version of Cabot Cove in my view. It's a charming and stereotypical village with the usual sorts of cases, and you don't want to live there because a disproportionate number of murders happen. I may want to read this author's books in the future because she is a good writer. If she takes her MC out of Three Pines again, or brings larger concerns to her picturesque village, I am more likely to read another in this series. Rating B

2)Designing for Interaction: Creating Smart Applications and Clever Devicesby Dan Safer (web usability)214 pages. Source: Amazon Started: 12/3 Finished: 12/5

Why Read: My web usability instructor mentioned that this would be the textbook for the web usability course next semester. I looked at it on Amazon, was favorably impressed and decided to order it.

Comments: Awesome! It's well organized and conceptually lucid. It also deals with multiple viewpoints on design and usability. He points out when a concept is controversial. I'm using material from this book for my final project for web usability class. I was also blown away by Safer's revelation about IBM's involvement in the Holocaust in his final chapter about ethics. I had no idea! I put IBM and the Holocauston hold and will be reading it in January. This book is rated A.

3)The Rembrandt Affairby Daniel Silva (thriler) 484 pages. Source: Library Started: 12/6 Finished: 12/16

Why Read: I'm interested in the art aspect, the WWII aspect and the political aspect. I've never read this author before. Because this book is dealing with both Rembrandt and the Holocaust, I thought it would be a good place to start.

Comments: The Holocaust aspect was sad and moving. It also lifted this book above the usual thriller a bit. It was mostly very usual, though I liked some of the characters very much--especially Gabriel Allon, the MC, Lena the Holocaust survivor and Zoe the British reporter. Rating B+

4)Rain Villageby Carolyn Turgeon (historical circus fiction) 328 pages. Source: Amazon
Started: 12/13 Finished: 12/15

Why Read: This was recommended to me on GR because I said I liked circus novels. My favorites areThe Catch Trapby Marion Zimmer Bradley which focuses on a gay couple who are part of a family act, and Ghost Boyby Iain Lawrence which includes a gypsy Holocaust survivor. Both are historical circus novels. This one includes a librarian who is former circus performer and plays the role of mentor to the protagonist.

Comments: I found it to be vague book. One GR reviewer calls it "timeless" but it has to be situated in a particular time period because the librarian character, Mary, who used to be a circus star, apparently left the circus and became a librarian without library school intervening. So the book had to take place before library school became a necessary requirement for the profession. As a library student, I kind of notice when a character is a librarian and hasn't gone to library school. She also behaves very un-professionally. I was surprised that she wasn't dismissed before the events of the book began. This librarian character reminds me of a book I read a while back dealing with a woman who had many lives, and just walked into a teaching position without any credentials or references. Bizarre! What is also bizarre about this book is the unresolved ending. I loved the circus aspect and there are some wonderful characters but I wanted some of the puzzles about Mary to be resolved. The author dangles the possibility of a resolution before us and nothing happens. Rating B-

To Be Continued...

message 2: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (melodieco) | 3651 comments I like Louise Penny's books and am a couple behind right now. I have them in The Pile and need to get to them!

message 3: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 15083 comments Congrats on finishing 162 books in 2010! I always learn such interesting things from your posts about monthly books read Shomeret!
The highest price for a Kindle book I have seen before was today looking up Designing for Interaction: Creating Smart Applications and Clever Devices on Amazon. #21.47.

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