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What did you read last month? > What I read in January 2011

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Donna in Southern Maryland (cedarville922) | 207 comments Hi Book Friends!

I thought I would start this thread to post your monthly reads for January while I was thinking of it. As always, we all appreciate everyone's participation. It doesn't matter if you read Fiction or Non Fiction. Hard Boiled or Cozy Mysteries. American authors, or foreign. We all have many and varied tastes. Your reviews and suggestions help make sure none of us will EVER get to the bottom of our TO BE READ lists!

Hope you have enjoyed what you read!
Donna in Southern Maryland


message 2: by Debbie (new)

Debbie (debatl) | 36 comments Have not been able to post mine, as they were stored in my laptop, which the screen quit working, so until I can transfer them to a new computer, IO am dead in the water. as mt memory is notgood enuf to remember all that I read.


message 3: by Michele (new)

Michele | 172 comments I read The Lacuna (4 stars), The Hare with Amber Eyes (3.5 stars), Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (3 stars) and The Hangmans Daughter (2 stars). I have to be more careful with the mysteries. They sound interesting, but are not much.


message 4: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments There's another whole week and I am hoping that I will complete at least one more book maybe two so I will wait to post.


message 5: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Langer | 119 comments the great gatsby: I read this in HS but really didnt remember it. Now after living in LI several years ago and now in the city it has a different relevance. I enjoyed it greatly!

zeitoon (our book club read)


Amexica: War Along the Borderline I started this non-fiction last week, I realize this will take me some time to read. THere is alot of name dropping and I am not familiar with the southwest at all so I have to keep looking back at a map. But very interesting so far!!!


message 6: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19942 comments Bobbie57 wrote: "There's another whole week and I am hoping that I will complete at least one more book maybe two so I will wait to post."
--------------
Same here. I am in the middle of one book and may get another in before the end of the month, so I'll wait to post.


message 7: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments I am fostering the dream that i'll actually read ONE book this month. So far, not happening.

deb


message 8: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Langer | 119 comments Madrano wrote: "I am fostering the dream that i'll actually read ONE book this month. So far, not happening.

deb"

I have had plenty of months like that. Sometimes i read so much at work that the thought of more reading makes me sick...Lately though I been doing alot more writing. SOmetimes I get stuck on a book. I hate to leave one unfinished even if I despise it. :/


JoAnn/QuAppelle | 741 comments Elaine wrote: ".I hate to leave one unfinished even if I despise it. :/ .."

I would bet that you are a lot younger than I am LOL...I used to be like that until I was in my mid-40s and then I realized that life was too short....


Donna in Southern Maryland (cedarville922) | 207 comments Elaine, I agree with JoAnn on that. We have both been known to throw books across the room! LOL

My favorite sayin': "Life is too short to waste time reading a book you don't enjoy!" Break FREE Elaine! We hereby give you PERMISSION!

Donna


message 11: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 741 comments Here are my daughter's books for this month so far (even though you do not know her!) We both read the second book.

South of Broad by Pat Conroy. I've never read any of his books, but think I might start now. This was the kind of book that I'd only let myself read 20-30 pages at a time because it was so good and I wanted to make it last.

Making Toast: A Family Story by Roger Rosenblatt. I would not recommend reading this on a train, a plane, or anywhere else in public unless you are OK with crying in front of other people. He writes stream of consciousness, which works for the subject matter. I did read a review on Amazon that said it read like an obnoxious holiday letter, which I think is a bit harsh, but Rosenblatt does name drop a lot. I read around that and the rest was touching.


message 12: by Christina's Book (new)

Christina's Book Chronicles (christinasbookchronicles) Lol these are the books I've read this month (and their challenge association) I'm never going to read all my TBR books if I keep adding for challenges sake!

Well actually, I wanted to read all of these, including the children books, with the exception of the Miki Falls series I am reading now. They aren't bad but I've never heard of them before :-P

01/02 The Secret (ROAR)
01/03 The Prophet (ROAR)
01/04 Coraline (ROAR)
01/04 Where the Wild Things Are (ROAR)
01/12 The Book Thief (ROAR, A-Z)
01/13 The Burning (None)
01/21 Say You're One of Them (ROAR, A-Z)
01/25 Miki Falls: Spring (ROAR)


message 13: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "Here are my daughter's books for this month so far (even though you do not know her!) We both read the second book.

South of Broad by Pat Conroy. I've never read any of his books, b..."


JoAnn -- I think that if you liked South of Broad you will like Conroy's previous books even better. Go for it. Enjoy!!


message 14: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Langer | 119 comments Donna in Southern Maryland wrote: "Elaine, I agree with JoAnn on that. We have both been known to throw books across the room! LOL

My favorite sayin': "Life is too short to waste time reading a book you don't enjoy!" Break FREE Ela..."
Thanks guys. My husband tells me the same thing...but i hate getting 100 pages in or so and thinking i really dont like this. I did that with crime and punishment. I put it down and said, I cannot do this to myself anymore!!! :)


message 15: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 741 comments Bobbie, those were my daughter's book and I think she has a real treat ahead of her...months of pleasure reading Conroy's books. I have read them all and brought her a couple that I owned, to get her started.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I love that man!!!


Donna in Southern Maryland (cedarville922) | 207 comments JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "Bobbie, those were my daughter's book and I think she has a real treat ahead of her...months of pleasure reading Conroy's books. I have read them all and brought her a couple that I owned, to get h..."

I'm so glad to hear that Laura savored Conroy's use of language in South of Broad. She has much ahead to enjoy!

Donna


message 18: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "Bobbie, those were my daughter's book and I think she has a real treat ahead of her...months of pleasure reading Conroy's books. I have read them all and brought her a couple that I owned, to get h..."

Sorry misunderstood. And yes, we know she has a real treat ahead of her.


message 19: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19942 comments Elaine wrote: My favorite sayin': "Life is too short to waste time reading a book you don't enjoy!" Break FREE Ela..."Thanks guys. My husband tells me the same thing...but i hate getting 100 pages in or so and thinking i really dont like this. I did that with crime and punishment. I put it down and said, I cannot do this to myself anymore!!! :)
------------------

I rarely don't finish a book that I start. I think I've done this maybe 10 times in my life. Though I did this twice at the start of this year.

As to Crime and Punishment~~Fyodor Dostoyevsky
I thought it was very good. It's not an easy book to grasp. It takes a lot of work. There is a lot of philosophy involved. I used Cliffs notes to help me. It's a book I would read again.


message 20: by RNOCEAN (new)

RNOCEAN | 29 comments So far in January, I have read:

"Zeitoun" by Dave Eggers (Rate 4/5)
"Rescue" by Anita Shreve (Rate 4/5)
"The Good Daughters" by Joyce Maynard (Rate 5/5)

I thought that Zeitoun was a good book about New Orleans after the assault of Hurricane Katrina, sad but interesting none the less.

Rescue is a revival of Anita Shreve's talent as an author since I have been disappointed by her last couple of books.

I have not read anything by Joyce Maynard until I read "The Good Daughters" and she has now become a writer I will follow. I loved, loved this book as well as her ability to capture emotions of love, loss and empathy so well. Great book, I hated finishing it.


message 21: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 60 comments Me too. I just started The Reversal by Michael Connelly and this gives me an incentive to finish it by Wednesday.

Alias Reader wrote: "Bobbie57 wrote: "There's another whole week and I am hoping that I will complete at least one more book maybe two so I will wait to post."
--------------
Same here. I am in the middle of one book ..."



message 22: by Brenda (new)

Brenda (missbrenda) Nicole Brown Simpson The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted by Faye D. Resnick

"This book is dedicated to the most wonderful friend I have ever known,and every women every where who are trapped in corrosive and humiliating relationships like the one that Nicole did not survive."(Faye D. Resnick,P.VII.)


message 23: by Fiona (Titch) (last edited Feb 01, 2011 01:47AM) (new)

Fiona (Titch) Hunt (titch) This is what I've read this month:

BROKEN - KARIN SLAUGHTER (8/10)

THE DYING PHOTO - ALAN GIBBONS (8/10)

MIND'S EYE - GILLIAN PHILIPS (8/10)

THE PHONE GOES DEAD - ANTHONY HOROWITZ (8/10)

ROOM - EMMA DONOGHUE (10/10)

CROSS FIRE - JAMES PATTERSON (9/10)

HOLD TIGHT - HARLAN COBEN (8/10)

COMIN 2 GET U - SIMON PACKHAM (7/10)


message 24: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments Good reading month, Fiona. I actually read an entire chapter of one book thus far this month. Go Deb! ;-)


Donna in Southern Maryland (cedarville922) | 207 comments Brenda wrote: "Nicole Brown Simpson The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted by Faye D. Resnick

"This book is dedicated to the most wonderful friend I have ever known,and every women every where who are trappe..."


I read this when it first came out in '94. I don't watch the HOUSEWIVES shows, but did I hear that Faye Resnick is one of them?

Donna


message 26: by Michele (new)

Michele | 172 comments I watched one episode the other night. It happened to feature a party at which everyone had a big fight over nothing. Faye Resnick isn't a housewife, I don't think, but a friend of one maybe all.

Michele


message 27: by Meredith (new)

Meredith | 105 comments Elaine wrote: "Donna in Southern Maryland wrote: "Elaine, I agree with JoAnn on that. We have both been known to throw books across the room! LOL

My favorite sayin': "Life is too short to waste time reading a ..."


Elaine,

My rule of thumb is if by page 50 I do not care about thecharacters it is time to stop reading the book. I am with Joanne and Donna "Life is too short to read something you are not enjoying.

Meredith


message 28: by Jen (new)

Jen | 13 comments What I've read this month:


1. The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur by Daoud Hari
2. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
3. Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
4. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
5. The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran by Hooman Majd
6. Dead Until Dark(Sookie Stackhouse #1) by Charlaine Harris
7. Pigtopia by Kitty Fitzgerald
8. Beyond the Highland Mist (Highlander #1) by Karen Marie Moning
9. But Is It Art?: An Introduction to Art Theory by Cynthia A. Freeland
10. The Alchemyst (Nicholas Flamel #1) by Michael Scott
11. The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson
12. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
13. The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond
14. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

I have a thread going here, where I write a rating and a little bit about the book, whether I liked it or not.
&
@Meredith,
I do that as well. I hate getting half way through a book and deciding I don't want to read it anymore, cause that bothers me and then I end up finishing it anyway, so I try to decide in the beginning.


message 29: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19942 comments Donna in Southern Maryland wrote: "Brenda wrote: "Nicole Brown Simpson The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted by Faye D. Resnick

"This book is dedicated to the most wonderful friend I have ever known,and every wome
n every where w..."

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

Yes. She was in one episode of the HW of Beverly Hills. She had a small part as a guest at a dinner party.


message 30: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments Jen wrote: "9. But Is It Art?: An Introduction to Art Theory by Cynthia A. Freeland..."

Thanks for this title, Jen. Did you learn much from it? Other reviews on the GR site sounded mixed but it may be that they were more familiar with the topic than i am. Regardless, it sounds as though i would like it.

deborah


message 31: by Alias Reader (last edited Jan 30, 2011 06:34AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19942 comments Jen wrote: "What I've read this month:


1. The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur by Daoud Hari
2. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
3. Everything Is Illuminated

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

14 books ! Great reading month, Jen.

From you list I've read Everything is illuminated. I liked it.

I also read his other book
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I liked this one a lot.



message 32: by J (new)

J (blkdoggy) | 131 comments Here's my list for last month. Think I pretty much went in all directions. I go to the library with a list and end up getting more books just wandering the aisles.

I'm trying to squeeze one more book in, but It always seems to come out to 5 a month.

Lucy
The Likeness
Altered Carbon
Zeitoun
The Unnatural Inquirer


message 33: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19942 comments How would you rate the books you read this month withing their genre, Jorge? Say on a 0-5 scale plus/minus.

0- Not fit for man nor beast. Yuck. Painful. Back away. Don't even think about it.

1- didn't like it. Disappointing.

2- it was ok

3- Good. Met expectations, did not exceed them. A solid read.

4- Very good. Exceeded expectations. Special.

5- Wow ! Excellent. Amazing. In a class by itself.


message 34: by Jen (last edited Jan 30, 2011 09:00AM) (new)

Jen | 13 comments Madrano wrote: "Jen wrote: "9. But Is It Art?: An Introduction to Art Theory by Cynthia A. Freeland..."

Thanks for this title, Jen. Did you learn much from it? Other reviews on the GR site sounded mixed but it ma..."


Yes, it was very interesting. If you're really into art, I'd say go for it!

Alias Reader wrote: "I also read his other book
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I liked this one a lot. "


I've been wanting to read that one for a while, maybe I'll bump it up on my to-read shelf.


message 35: by Alias Reader (last edited Jan 30, 2011 03:10PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19942 comments Here is what I read in January.


1- At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream~Wade Rouse
Humorous memoir
Rate: 4/5
Funny story about two gay men who move from the city to the country.

2- Margaret Mead: A Biography~Mary Bowman-Kruhm
biography
Rate: 2 plus/5
Her life is quite interesting, though this author makes it quite dry.

3- I Never Promised You a Rose Garden~Joanne Greenberg
fiction though based on the authors true experiences
Rate: 2 minus
This was a required read when I was in high school. The story is quite sad.

4- I Remember Nothing~Nora Ephron
humorous essays
Rate: 1 plus/5
Seems like Ephron was just was just trying to make a buck and quickly pushed out another book of essays quickly after her success with her last book. It wasn't funny or entertaining. A huge disappointment.

5- Here's the Deal: Don't Touch Me~Howie Mandel
humorous memoir
Rate: 3/5
I don't know Howie Mandel from a hole in the wall. I saw him being interviewed on TV and thought his story about life with OCD was interesting. Some of his humor I find a bit sophomoric, but the parts about his OCD were quite interesting.

6- Homer and Langley~E. L. Doctorow
fiction very loosely based on a true story.
Rate: 4/5
Well written story that is loosely based on the Collyer brothers. I found it very touching.

7- Up from Slavery~Booker T. Washington
memoir
Rate 3- /5
Will discuss the book this month with the group.

8- Unchosen: The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels~Hella Winston
non fiction
Rate: 3 plus / 5
This is a re-read for me. I read it again for my F2f book group. I was the one who brought the book to the groups attention. I hope they like it ! I get to meet the author at the meeting tomorrow. It's the first time we've had an author attend the meeting so that should be interesting.

9- Major Pettigrew's Last Stand~Helen Simonson
Fiction
Rate 4/5
Charming love story about an old fashioned British gentleman. I can be a bit of an Anglophile, so it's not a surprise that I found this book endearing. I love the cover of this book. It's based on a 1924 Life magazine cover (thanks for the info Amazon) http://www.ricsartshop.com/vintage-li...
This is the authors debut novel. I have to say I am quite surprised. It is written like a seasoned pro. The characters are a bit stock, and the plot is predicable, but I still enjoyed it as I drank my nice cup of hot, not tepid, tea. :)


message 36: by Julie (new)

Julie (readerjules) | 1219 comments Madrano wrote: "I am fostering the dream that i'll actually read ONE book this month. So far, not happening. "

I only finished one, which was Zeitoun. But I guess that's what happens when you are reading a 1444 page book....


message 37: by Julie (new)

Julie (readerjules) | 1219 comments Jorge wrote: "Here's my list for last month. Think I pretty much went in all directions. I go to the library with a list and end up getting more books just wandering the aisles.

I'm trying to squeeze one more ..."


Jorge, what did you think of Lucy? I have it on my to read list.


message 38: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 741 comments You can find my list of January books and my rather sparse comments here:

http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/...


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Here is what I read in this snowfilled month:

Water for Elephants 3.5 stars
The book was good, but not great. I liked the characters, and my favorite was Rosie, the elephant, who seemed to have more common sense and humanity than a lot of the characters. The circus theme was a good one, and Jacob, the main character, was more endearing as an old man in my opinion then he was as a young adult. There was a lot of things that just didn't ring true in my mind, but overall Ms Gruen did a fine job of keeping the story simple with a nicely developed plot. The ending was sort of predetermined in the start and so there were not any surprises along the way. It was revolting to read of some of the heinous practices in the traveling circuses of the 1930's. One could not believe at time the inherent cruelty of the people towards each other and the animals within their care. There were many times I cringed especially when August would pick up that hook and head in Rosie's direction. I guess the author wanted to show us the some people can be universally cruel and do not draw any lines between humans and animals.

The Historian 3 stars
Let me preface all I have to say about this book, by saying that I had started this book a number of times and of course never continued with it. The Historian is a massive tome on the existence of Dracula. Unlike Bram Stoker's Dracula, The Historian gives a authentic name to Dracula and that is Vlad Tempes (Vlad the Impaler) and makes him into the ever evil Count. The book tells of three generation's search and eventual finding of Dracula. It follows the family through assorted countries very connected with the legend and throws a considerable amount of folklore into the mix. It is massive in it depth and quite wordy as the novel is mostly told through letters and the interaction of the characters. I have read that the author took ten years to write this book and it shows in its depth of plot development.

Ethan Frome 4 stars
This was a most tragically written book about poor Ethan Frome who becomes entangled in a loveless marriage and when offered the possible chance of escaping has not the wherewithal to do so. It is full of pathos as Ethan assumes responsibility and lives a life of dullness and sameness trying to atone for an accident he precipitated.

Truman 5+ stars
This was quite a book, written by quite an author about quite a man. I was totally over the top in my admiration for both Mr Truman as well as David McCullough. What a job he did bringing Harry S. Truman to life for generations to come. To read about Mr Truman made one feel proud and fortunate. Our country was so lucky to have had a man like Mr Truman in control of our government during this, a most unnerving time of our history.

Mr. Peanut 3 stars
This was a hauntingly strange book. It explores the institution of marriage and the love/hate relationship it often spurs. Mr Ross's writing is sensational, but the topic is ever so unnerving. It revolves around an author who is writing a book in which his wife dies. Then on a kind of "life imitating art", the wife is murdered. The question then is did the author (David Pepin) do it? Into this scenario comes the detective investigating the case who himself is living with a troubled wife who reverts to her bed and refuses to come out, as well as a forensic doctor, one Sam Shephard, who himself was recently exonerated from the brutal death of his wife. Into this tangled web come a hit man called Mobius who is eerie, brilliant, and of course ruthless.

Little Dorrit 3 stars
I did enjoy this book of family deception and interesting characters that they met along the way of their lives. Pursuing the point that all life lives in a prison of sorts, Dickens takes us to the debtor's prison, the Marshalsea where the Dorrit family is residing, to the lap of luxury enjoyed by many of the Victorians of the time. Into all of this comes Arthur Clennam, a man of principle and ethics, who feels that there is something greatly amiss in his family's dealings business wise. Left a cryptic death message by his father, Arthur returns home from China and tries to pick up with a bitterly cold mother and her servants Flintwise (a true vision of meanness) and his extremely frightened wife Affrey. The house is sinister and so is the plot of what his father meant by the words "Do not forget" enclosed within a gold pocket watch.

Oxygen 2 stars
This book was fair. It was semi interesting as we learn of an anesthesiologist's world and the struggle this particular doctor goes through in order to retain her good name and find a balance in her life and family. It was a book of many misunderstandings in the life of Dr. Heaton who is accused of manslaughter in the case of a young girl she surgically treated.

The Good Soldier 5 stars
I truly thought this novel was outstanding. The characters were so complex and the plot presented itself like the layers of an onion, each one needing to be peeled back in order to find the true story. John Dowell, our narrator and "tour guide" reflects and relates his life which intertwines with that of his amoral wife, his two friends, the Ashburhams, Nancy Rufford, and others. We have two Americans and two British as our main characters and the interaction between these four becomes the basis for our story. He tells his tale of heartbreak, deception, and manipulations through flashbacks. The character of these and others is explored and their many flaws and frailties are exhibited for all to see.

Up from Slavery 3 stars
I have completed the book and found that I admired the courage, strength, and integrity of Booker T. Washington. How womderful that he was given so many accolades during his lifetime! He certainly worked diligently for the betterment of his race and for that of better race relations I am happy to have read about this man and his contributions to history.

Twelfth Night 3- stars
It was ok, but still I can say that Shakespeare really does not appeal to me. He makes a story from words that glory, the actors as they say them. He tells of characters near and far and how so many carry a scar of love behind mistaken voices. To tell of their undying troth, and makes one think of speaking better, of those you love in totality. Let everyone become who they are, let their lives be intertwined and let the fool be above the rest, As he tells his story with zest.

So now my summary is done. Are you confused? Well, so am I to why so many love this guy. I guess you have to say it well. Will did tell a tale or two of people who didn't ' know who from who.

Katherine 3 stars
I did enjoy this historical fiction of the lives and love of Katherine de Roet and John of Gaunt. The author Anya Seton makes the characters come alive with their many faults, foibles, and dedication to one another. She was able to create a sense of fate well in the story, a fate that both seemed to embrace them, even though, eventually, it separates them from one another for years.

The Picture of Dorian Gray 4 stars
This was quite a tale with a bit of a Faustian edge to it. With all the concentration we seem to have with staying young today, it does hit a chord in its telling.

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel 4 stars
I really didn't know what to expect from this title and was greatly surprised when it turned out to be a story about the Holocaust. As many books as I have read about this horrendous event, I am still blown away by the cruelty and inhumanity of man. I can't hep but think how repulsive we look, in the eyes of God to have had this as a part of our inheritance.

Just Kids 3 stars
This was an interesting book written by Patti Smith about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe. It was a true artist's life that these two led. From abject poverty to the world of art and its many environs, the reader learns of the struggles and the gains of this couple. Theirs is a strange, but true love story. Living in run down places with little or no food, they believed in themselves and their craft. They were willing to settle for this environment because their art filled their body and souls.

The book I liked the most was Truman and the one I liked the least was Oxygen

If you want to read the full scoop you can go here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/...


message 40: by Schmerguls (new)

Schmerguls | 16 comments What I Read in January 2011

4788. Tap Roots. by James Street (read 2 Jan 2011) This is a 1942 novel and is the second book of a pentalogy on the Dabney family. This volume opens with the death of Sam Dabney and relates the effort of his supposed son, Hoab Dabney, in Mississippi at the time of the Civil War, to resist secession. There is a tangled love affair involving two of Hoab's daughters and Clay, who becomes an officer in the Confederate Army and eventually leads a force against Hoab's forces after marrying Hoab's daughter. The book is a bit slow-moving but is not bad reading though one is bothered by the irrational actions of some of the characters. I would not mind reading the next volume in the series, entitled By Valor and Arms, since at the close of this volume the Civil war is not yet over. It is kind of old-fashioned fiction, but I have read less exciting fiction so I kind of liked it.

4789. Unbroken A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand (read 7 Jan 2011) The author of this book wrote Seabiscuit which I read 25 Sept 2003 and which is such a good book, so I was glad to read this. It is the story of Louie Zamperini, who ran at the Berlin Olympics in 1936 and was noticed by Hitler! He went into the Army Air Force when the war came, crashed in the Pacific, and spent 47 days on a raft (reminding me of the book The Raft, by Robert Trumbull,which I read 25 Nov 1944) before reaching land and falling into the hands of the Japanese. Much of the book is an account of the horrific treatment by Japanese prison guards. I was disturbed by Zamperini's youth--he was a thief and abandoned his religion. The account of the raft ordeal is super-attention-holding. The time in Japan is searing and unpleasant reading. When he finally goes home he is converted by Billy Graham! Excellent reading but a character who was a Catholic and then becomes a Protestant is not high on my list of heroes--Tim Pawlenty take note.

4790. The Wild Man from Sugar Creek The Political Career of Eugene Talmadge, by William Anderson (read 10 Jan 2011) Talmadge was born in 1889, went to college (Phi Beta Kappa!) and law school, but was never much of a lawyer. He was elected Georgia Agriculture Commissioner in 1926 and re-elected twice. In 1932 he was elected Governor and re-elected in 1934. He ran in 1936 against Dick Russell for U.S. Senator and lost and in 1938 he ran against Walter George for the Senate and lost again. He was elected Governor in 1940 but lost in 1942 to Ellis Arnall. He won the Governor race in 1946 but died before beginning what would have been his fourth term as Governor. This is a fascinating book and is based on lots of oral interviews, and even though much concerns local Georgia politics it is good reading. Talmadge was a stubborn and obnoxious person, and a real demagogue. The book is balanced and points out Arnall was a racist too--he had to be to win in 1942 Georgia--but was liberal compared to the others in the race. This was a fun book to read and to rejoice that things are so much better race-wise today, even though the politics of Georgia is not better since it is now Republican.

4791. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Linda Brent [Harriet Jacobs], Edited by L. Maria Child, with New Introduction and Notes by Walter Teller (read 14 Jan 2011) This is the story of Linda Brent (real name Harriet Jacobs) and her time as a slave in Edenton, NC Her master sexually harassed her, but the father of her two children was Samuel Sawyer, who went on to serve a term in Congress from 1837 to 1839--Strom
Thurmond, in fathering a child with the black maid at his home, was just following an old Southern custom, apparently. In order to avoid her master's attentions when she was a teenager she spent nearly seven years hiding from him in a garret before finally escaping to the North, where she was afraid she'd be caught as a fugitive slave and taken back to the South, but she avoided capture and eventually a friend bought her freedom for $300--without her knowledge. The book is written with 19th century sentimentality, and not as well as Uncle Tom's Cabin (read by me in 1941 or 1942) but is true whereas Uncle Tom's Cabin is fiction.

4792. Sea Cobra Admiral Halsey's Task Force and the Great Pacific Typhoon, by Buckner F. Melton, Jr. (read 17 Jan 2011) This exceptional book tells of Halsey's role in the Battle of Leyte Gulf (covered more fully in The Last Stand of e the The Can Sailors (read 22 Nov 2007) and in Evan Thomas's book Sea of
Thunder (read 18 Aug 2008) but its main focus is on the typhoon of Oct 18, 1944, wherein three destroyers (Hull, Spence, and Monaghan) were sunk. It is true I read Down to the Sea on 2 Feb 2008, which tells the typhoon story very well, but this is also an excellent telling of it, with full coverage of the court of inquiry which criticized Halsey somewhat. But this book goes on to tell of the typhoon in June 1945 when again Halsey sent his task force right into a typhoon--for which he was more pointedly criticized by the Navy, though not court-martialed . The account of the ordeal of the few survivors of the sunk destroyers is a most gripping one.. The book is based on heaps of original research in Navy records and interviews with survivors.

4793. The Emperor of All Maladies A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee (read 21 Jan 2011) This is a 2010 book, touted by The New York Times and by Time as one of the ten best books of 2010. Its opening chapters are intensely interesting (and appalling) as they relate how breast cancer was "treated" in past years. Then the book goes into all the work of the last 50 years, and is so heavy on the technical aspects of the hunt for medicine to treat cancer that I found it a drag to a non-scientist like me. Occasionally, when the author, an oncologist, of course, tells of successes in the hunt for effective treatment, the book becomes more attention-holding. It ends optimistically, indicating cancer is, more and more, being successfully treated . This book was a difficult read for me.

4794. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress a memoir of going home, by Rhoda Janzen (read 22 Jan 2011) This is a 2009 memoir by a 43-year-old woman who was raised a Mennonite. She was married 21 years to an atheist who was a real loser, and who finally left her for a gay guy named Bob, as she tells us about 50 times during the book. Particularly at the beginning the book it is funny although too crude at times to be really enjoyable. Her mother is funny and the author is one of the four children--the two boys are good Mennonites, but the girls are not. The author pokes fun at the Mennonites and they deserve it, I guess, but she appears to reject all religion except for a belief in God.

4795. A Month in the Country, by J. L. Carr (read 23 Jan 2011) This work, first published in 1980, is fiction, though supposedly based on the author's youth in the north of England. A veteran of World War One in 1920 goes to a small village to restore a painting in the village church. He lives in the church and various people in the village come to know him. The minister of the church is an unpleasant guy but his much younger wife is a beauty. The painting restorer falls in love with her, but he is married to an unfaithful wife. It is a beautifully written book, and makes the summer in the village seem idyllic--helping the veteran to put the horrors of Passchendaele into the past. A finely wrought book.

4796. Winner-Take-All Politics How Washington Made the Rich Richer - And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class, by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson (read 27 Jan 2011) This is a most timely book.. It shows that the people now running the GOP want the richest people to get richer--which was proved by the fact that in December 2010 they were willing to have no tax cuts no tax cuts for anyone if the super-rich did not get such. I found the book pretty depressing but the authors do show that with effort the enthusiasts for the super-rich can be overcome. The book relates the history politically of the last 30 years showing how the GOP has been taken over by those devoted to the welfare of the richest 1% of the country, and how the middle class has been abandoned by the Republican establishment. The authors do point out that some Democrats also served the richest, but when it comes to a choice between the parties the Democratic party is always the better choice, all the good Republicans having been purged from the power structure of the GOP.


message 41: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 741 comments Marialyce, you had quite a big reading month....and thanks for your insightful comments.

I also admire David McCullough. My favorite book by him is The Johnstown Flood, which read like fiction. I had read Kathleen Cambor's In Sunlight, in a Beautiful Garden: A Novel which is about the flood, and wanted to get some more information, so I turned to McCullough's wonderful account of this tragedy.


message 42: by Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) (last edited Jan 31, 2011 06:30AM) (new)

Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) JoAnn, Imo, he is a fantastic author. I just picked up 1776 and John Adams because I was so impressed with his writing. I will certainly add the one you read too! Thanks

Schmerguls, I have Unbroken and The Emperor of All Maladies for my February reads. Thanks for your comments about them.


message 43: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 741 comments Schmerguls, whatever led you to read Mennonite in a Little Black Dress??


message 44: by Alias Reader (last edited Jan 31, 2011 08:07AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19942 comments Marialyce wrote:
Ethan Frome 4 stars
This was a most tragically written book about poor Ethan Frome who becomes entangled in a loveless marriage and when offered the possible chance of escaping has not the wherewithal to do so. It is full of pathos as Ethan assumes responsibility and lives a life of dullness and sameness trying to atone for an accident he precipitated.

Truman 5+ stars
This was quite a book, written by quite an author about quite a man. I was totally over the top in my admiration for both Mr Truman as well as David McCullough. What a job he did bringing Harry S. Truman to life for generations to come. To read about Mr Truman made one feel proud and fortunate. Our country was so lucky to have had a man like Mr Truman in control of our government during this, a most unnerving time of our history. "
-------------

I'm glad you enjoyed Ethan. I really loved it. It's a quiet book, but the writing just lovely.

I am also happy to see your review of Truman. That's a big honking book ! I saw the movie and loved it. I also have the book and hope to read it this year.


message 45: by Alias Reader (last edited Jan 31, 2011 10:36AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19942 comments JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "Schmerguls, whatever led you to read Mennonite in a Little Black Dress??"
-------------
I have to ask the same question. It doesn't seem like your type of book at all. I read this book, and I have to say, Schmerguls, you were much kinder than I. I thought it was horrid and a complete waste of my time.


message 46: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments Marialyce wrote: "Little Dorrit 3 stars
I did enjoy this book of family deception and interesting characters that they met along the way of their lives. ..."


Nice review. I still haven't read this classic but do have it on my shelf, should the notion strike. Have you seen the British film version(s) from 1988? It was released in two segments, each 3 hours or so long. I liked that it explored the scenes from two sides, Clennam's and Dorrit's. It was such a quiet film that i treasured the entire experience. Today i wonder if i would have the patience for it all.

Thanks for sharing.

deb


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Madrano wrote: "Marialyce wrote: "Little Dorrit 3 stars
I did enjoy this book of family deception and interesting characters that they met along the way of their lives. ..."

Nice review. I still haven't read this..."


Deb, I haven't seen the film you are speaking of, but I do have the BBC DVD's which are so well done. So, if you get a chance to view those, you probably will like them greatly. I think you can get them on netflix.


message 48: by J (new)

J (blkdoggy) | 131 comments Alias Reader wrote: "How would you rate the books you read this month withing their genre, Jorge? Say on a 0-5 scale plus/minus.

0- Not fit for man nor beast. Yuck. Painful. Back away. Don't even think about it.

1-..."


Lucy - 4
The Likeness -3
Altered Carbon - 4.5 ( As I mentioned in the review it
has been a long time since I found a Sci-fi book that really captured me and I found enjoyable.)
Zeitoun - 4
The Unnatural Inquirer- 3


message 49: by J (new)

J (blkdoggy) | 131 comments Julie wrote: "Jorge wrote: "Here's my list for last month. Think I pretty much went in all directions. I go to the library with a list and end up getting more books just wandering the aisles.

I'm trying to s..."


I really enjoyed the story, found the whole concept very interesting. At the same time I found it a little sad, it was a very good commentary on the societal/ religious aspect. I really connected with the the main characters (Mom and Lucy)I felt their struggles.


message 50: by J (new)

J (blkdoggy) | 131 comments Alias Reader wrote: "How would you rate the books you read this month withing their genre, Jorge? Say on a 0-5 scale plus/minus.

0- Not fit for man nor beast. Yuck. Painful. Back away. Don't even think about it.

1-..."


Lucy - 4
The Likeness -3
Altered Carbon - 4.5 ( As I mentioned in the review it
has been a long time since I found a Sci-fi book that really captured me and I found enjoyable.)
Zeitoun - 4
The Unnatural Inquirer- 3


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