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

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Donna in Southern Maryland (cedarville922) | 207 comments Thought I'd start this monthly thread while I'm thinking of it. I still cannot believe it is 2011!

We appreciate all of you who take the time to post your monthly reads, along with the GoodReads link and your thoughts and reviews!

It's people who share their reading with us who keep all of our TO BE READ lists so long. I believe it was JoAnn that said she couldn't die until she had read all the books on that list! :o)

Donna in Southern Maryland


message 2: by Alias Reader (last edited Feb 25, 2011 03:41PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19487 comments I hope you post your list, too, Donna.

I will finish The Tortilla Curtain tonight. I will probably be able to fit in 1 or two before the month ends. I read a lot on the weekends as I only watch Book TV and the news. There is nothing else on TV that interests me.


JoAnn/QuAppelle | 737 comments How are you liking the Tortilla Curtain, Alias?


message 4: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19487 comments It's a re-read for me. I read it back in 2000. I'm reading it again for my F2F book club. I recommended the book to the group.

I just finished it and it's a top rated book for me.
Excellent. Well written and a good plot. It should give us a lot to talk about.


JoAnn/QuAppelle | 737 comments RE: Tortilla Curtain Alias Reader wrote: "It's a re-read for me. I read it back in 2000. I'm reading it again for my F2F book club. I recommended the book to the group.

I just finished it and it's a top rated book for me.
Excellent. ..."


I remember commenting on how tightly it was written. Not a lot of extra words, which is my pet peeve.


message 6: by J (new)

J (blkdoggy) | 131 comments Up from Slavery

The Souls of Black Folk

The Exorcist

Soft Money

A little behind last month, alternating between bank branches. Been working at the one closer to my house, the trip is closer so I do not have as much time to read.


message 7: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments I believe it was JoAnn that said she couldn't die until she had read all the books on that list! :o)

Hey JoAnn is that a deal? I love the thought.
Not putting in my reads until Tuesday. Who knows what the weekend will bring.


Susan (aka Just My Op) (justmyop) | 234 comments JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "...I remember commenting on how tightly it was written. Not a lot of extra words, which is my pet peeve..."

I sometimes love authors who throw in all those extra, beautiful words. Pat Conroy comes to mind, and he certainly wasn't sparing the words when he wrote My Reading Life. Here's what I thought of that book, also using too many unnecessary words: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

Lean, sparse writing can have a beauty all its own, as well. It all depends on my mood and the talent of the author.


message 9: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19487 comments Susan: Lean, sparse writing can have a beauty all its own, as well. It all depends on my mood and the talent of the author.
--------------

I wouldn't call T.C. Boyle's writing sparse and lean. For that description I would think of someone like Hemingway. Though he is not overly flowery in his prose, I think it is still descriptive.

He has a new book out that was given very positive reviews in the NY Times Book Review. He was also on NPR last week.

When the Killings Done (Playaway Adult Fiction) by T. Coraghessan BoyleWhen the Killings Done~~T. Coraghessan Boyle

Audio NPR interview:
http://www.wnyc.org/shows/lopate/2011...

NY Times Book Review: (Barbara Kingsolver wrote the interview)
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/20/boo...


message 10: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 737 comments HMMM...I guess I do not think of "tightly written" as synonymous with "sparse and lean".

By saying that Boyle's book was tightly written, I meant that he did not go off on unnecessary tangents or write a lot of words that distracted from the plot and the story.

Susan, I love every single one of Conroy's overwritten novels. EVERY WORD!


message 11: by Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) (last edited Feb 26, 2011 10:27AM) (new)

Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "HMMM...I guess I do not think of "tightly written" as synonymous with "sparse and lean".

By saying that Boyle's book was tightly written, I meant that he did not go off on unnecessary tangents or ..."


So do I, love that man!


Susan (aka Just My Op) (justmyop) | 234 comments My misinterpretation, not unusual I'm afraid. Boyle's new book is calling to me, even though I haven't read The Tortilla Curtain yet.


message 13: by Alias Reader (last edited Feb 27, 2011 03:44PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19487 comments Here is what I read in February. I read 7 books which was good for me, especially for such a short month.

Sarah's Key-Tatiana de Rosnay
Fiction
Rate: 2 minus /5
I read this for my library book group. I thought the premise was good but the execution bad. It turned into a schmaltzy Lifetime movie read. This topic is too important for this type of treatment.I am probably in the minority on my dislike for this read.

The Turn of the Screw~Henry James
Fiction
Rate: 1/5
Long on words, slim on plot. The only horror in this book was having to wade through the tangle of words and convoluted sentences. Each sentence had multiple commas and semicolons. In fact, I never saw so many semicolons in my life ! Just making my way to the end of a sentence was like running through a maze.

My Jesus Year: A Rabbi's Son Wanders the Bible Belt in Search of His Own Faith~Benyamin Cohen
non fiction
Rate: 3/5
I enjoyed this book, but would have found it more interesting if he didn't just concentrate on the South.

The Souls of Black Folk~W.E.B. Du Bois
non fiction
Rate: 3 minus/5
I'm glad I read this classic. Many of the chapters first appeared as essays in The Atlantic magazine. The book was a bit of a rebuttal to Booker T. Washington. I think I would side with his point of view more than Washington's. I agree with others who said if it were written in a more plain and simple manner his message would have been easier to understand.

The Tortilla Curtain~T.C. Boyle
fiction
Rate 4/5
Excellent read. T.C. doesn't disappoint with this book. He gives the reader a lot of food for thought. I've read this one twice, and I highly recommend it.

Booker T. Washington: Innovative Educator~Kristin Thoennes Keller
nonfiction
Rate 4
I simple love these Signature Series books. They are aimed an young adults. Each one is 100 pages. In a concise and entertaining manner it gives you a good basic bio. I've read quite of few books in this series. I highly recommend it.

Around Sarah's Table: Ten Hasidic Women Share Their Stories of Life, Faith, and Tradition~Rivka Zakutinsky
Fiction
Rate 3 plus/ 5
"It's based on a real study group in Brooklyn, where Hasidic women from many walks of life gather to share Torah insights and give support to one another. "

I know little about the Jewish religion or Hasidim. After reading Unchosen: The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels last month for my F2F book group, I went on-line to find out about a term a didn't know. I happened upon a terrific web site.
http://www.pinenet.com/~rooster/hasid...
The website is basically an easy to understand Q&A for people who are not Jewish or Hasidic. On this site they recommended Sarah's Table. Since I like learning about different religions, I decided to check this book out. I am glad I read this book as I learned a lot and it gave me food for thought.


message 14: by RNOCEAN (new)

RNOCEAN | 29 comments JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "HMMM...I guess I do not think of "tightly written" as synonymous with "sparse and lean".

By saying that Boyle's book was tightly written, I meant that he did not go off on unnecessary tangents or ..."


Conroy's words are lyrical, I love his writing, EVERY WORD!


message 15: by Meredith (new)

Meredith | 105 comments I read 2 books in February.

A Noble Radiance byDonna Leon
rating 4/5

This book is part of the series with a Venetian policeman, This was one of the books on my determination list.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan byLisa See

Rating 4/5

Meredith


message 16: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 737 comments RNOCEAN wrote: "Conroy's words are lyrical, I love his writing, EVERY WORD! ."

me too....every single overwrought word!


message 17: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19487 comments Meredith wrote:This book is part of the series with a Venetian policeman, This was one of the books on my determination list.
-----------

Good going on reading a DL book, Meredith !


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I think we have a few "Conroy" addicts here.


message 19: by RNOCEAN (new)

RNOCEAN | 29 comments http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/...

I am not only a "Conroy" addict but also Alice Hoffman, who is my favorite author. Only 2 books this month, shame on me! Just started "End Game" about the life times of Bobby Fischer, the world chess champion. I always found him to be a fascinating person.


message 20: by Michele (new)

Michele | 169 comments Interesting lists, as always. I read The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, which is the story of a Dutchman in Japan ca 1800. Very interesting and complex story, as always with David Mitchell. I would rate it a 4.

The Sherlockians is a mystery. A murder takes place at the yearly convocation of the official worshippers of Holmes and Doyle. The Sherlockians are the half of the group that tend to think of Holmes as real. One of their number steps in to solve the murder. Two and a half stars.

Searching for Mercy Street. Having read the account of Linda Gray Sexton's childhood maltreatment at the hands of her famous Mom, I had to read the continuation, Linda's adult breakdown. 4 stars.

The Weird Sisters. Three daughters of a professor and Shakespearean scholar grow up - finally. Two stars. Don't bother.

I'm currently working on The Three Weissmans of Westport (very nice) and Hellhound on his Trail about the assassination of MLK, but will not finish them in Feb.


message 21: by Carrie (new)

Carrie Zagzebski (zag_runner) I read a few really good ones in Feb.

Room by Emma Donoguhe
Die for you by Lisa Unger
Fragile by Lisa Unger
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

I have a huge stack I hope to get thru in March :)


message 22: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 737 comments At the beach a few summers ago, we passed Speak around in my family. In one week, three of us read it! Great book.


message 23: by Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) (last edited Feb 28, 2011 12:29PM) (new)

Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I read the following:

Pride and Prejudice 5 stars
Loved it for the second time around. I wonder sometimes if picturing actors in the roles makes a book more enjoyable as you think of their faces as the characters? This is a wonderful book that had so many "cute" moments and twists of love that one's head might spin. I guess with five daughters, The Bennetts sure had their hands full with the girls and the possibility of finding good husbands for their daughters. (at least Mrs. B. did). I loved Mr Bennett as he often gave wonderfully witty counseling to his daughters. He was a perfect father to a house full of women. He was my favorite character as he made perfect sense always and was the voice of reason in a house full of women.

1984 4stars
There are times in this book where you think you are actually living 1984. It is a book that certainly is timeless in its descriptions of how we are controlled by governments, by war, and by fear. Winston Smith, the main character, decided he hates the control and lack of freedom and love and sex within the confines of The Party. Exploring the darker neighborhoods of Oceania, he finds a dairy and begins a life where he flaunts the rules with disastrous results.

Year of Wonders 4 stars
I was looking for a book about the plague and the culture of the time after recently finishing (for the second time) Pillars of the Earth. This book certainly fit the bill. It was wonderfully written, informative, and told a story of love and devotion with a bit of a twist. I enjoyed all the characters and felt that Ms Brooks presented them so that the reader liked them and got to know them and the issues that they faced.

Let the Right One in 2 stars
I have continued my "vampire" exploration with this book and I did find it came up quite short in my estimation. While it is gory, full of adolescent angst, and all the elements which make a vampire novel scary, it just did not rise up to the challenge. I guess reading Dracula has spoiled me for all its various inceptions.

A Visit from the Goon Squad 2 stars
I really don't know what to think about the back and forth and ramblings of the lives of the two main protagonists is this novel. Bennie Salazar, the once icon of the recording industry is a lesson in all that we have heard and thought about the music industry from the '70s up to the current times. Sasha, the kleptomaniac assistant fill one with the kind of ideas of what the heck is she up to, doing, and why is she here in this book other than to give it some more of its weirdness factor .

Dragonwyck 3 stars
I liked this book as it was quite gothic in its environment. The characters were typical, the beautiful heroine, the dark mysterious man, and the good looking fine charactered other "man in my life" figure. Taking place along the area of the Hudson River and NYC, the book evoked a setting that was both familiar and beautiful.

The Bells 5 stars
Absolutely fantastic! The ending gave me chills. This was a little unknown book to me but one that left me in awe. It was written about an 18th century opera singer and the struggles he went through in his life. From his impoverished beginnings where he learned the love and feel for his mother's bells, to the opera house where he became a great virtuoso, the reader becomes involved with his life, his friends, his love, and his ability to sing like no other.

Every Man Dies Alone 3 stars
I have to say I was looking forward to reading this book greatly. It was a most enlightening book on what a person(s) can do even up against the huge Nazi regime. It is a story about a couple Otto and Anna Quangel, who after losing their only son in the war, embark on a postcard writing campaign against the Third Reich. There are so many elements of courage defined in this novel as half of Germany seemed to be watching the other half for activies against the Nazis. In many ways the book had shades of 1984 where Big Brother was always watching and waiting for a chance to turn someone in to the Gestapo.

The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse 2 stars
This is not a book I would recommend. I found it boring at best and for lack of a better word clunky. It details to story of a nun/lover/priest and yes, that is one and the same person! While some of the book was interesting and some of the characters were deep but funny, the rest of the book was slow and prodding.

Cleopatra: A Life 3.5 stars
I always think that a book you learn something from is not a bad book. I found this to be so with Cleopatra: A Life. It took this book to educate me on the queen we so often hear about but know so very little of. I enjoyed this trip to see the aura of Cleopatra unfold from the little that can be gleamed from antiquity. Her story is one of intrigue, prosperity, and finally ruin. How one looks at this queen depends on who was writing the history. To some she is almost the devil incarnate while to others she is a sex crazed brazen floozie. Suffice is to say, that all that was written (and there is very little that remains) was done so by her enemies, the Roman males, who desired her fortunes and her kingdom, and possessed a bit (?) of a jealous streak.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption 5 stars
This book was utterly amazing. The trials that these men, particularly Louis Zamperini went through were just incredible. I had to wonder often how much more a human body could take? Emotionally draining but ever so fulfilling, this book takes the readers into the throes of the war to the oftentimes brutalization of the POWs by the Japanese. It is a testament to these men who withstood the ravages of war with bravery, honor, and a zeal to survive in the most horrendous of circumstances.

The Good Daughter: A Memoir of My Mother's Hidden Life 3 stars
I did become very interested in this topic of an Iranian mother and an American daughter. Although the story really should be entitled something like My Mother's Trials and Joys In Iran, as the book details a life of hardship and happiness in a culture that really has had such a tough time granting women any say or any power.

An Object of Beauty 2.5 stars
Who knew Steve Martin could write? This book was a pretty good story of what goes on in the art world of Sotheby's and art auctions. I did learn about the value of some of the works that sell and the various galleries that are in New York City. There was also a bit of intrigue in one of the art dealer's life that added a bit of suspense to the story. I liked that the author included in some cases pictures of the art work.

The Souls of Black Folk 2 stars
What to say about a book that tries to describe the way a black person thinks, acts, and is? While the book was written with a lot of energetic meanderings, the tone of the essays left me feeling bereft of feelings. There was so much rhetoric that at times I thought I was reading a dissertation on the problems the slaves faced after the Civil War. The matter of fact style bothered me. I felt that Du Bois was not writing for the masses, but rattling on about how awful things were and providing an excuse for Negro behavior. I really wanted him to provide models for the black soul that gave them some hope. All I read was a type if despair that seemed to have no end and certainly no solution.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand 3 stars
I thought this book was great, so adorable in its presentation of the somewhat stuffy Major Pettigrew and Mrs Ali. There was many times that I outright laughed at the quips and barbs that the Major threw about as he made his way through life and love. I did enjoy all the characters and felt the author did a fine job of letting the reader get to know them all.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers 3 stars
This was a most unusable book to put it lightly. Certainly not written for the faint of heart, Ms Roach bring her story "to life" of what happens to our corporal bodies when we die. It is interesting and gruesome as she explores various topics that deal with the dead. Of course if you have ideas in mind for your body when you are deceased, you can find the various options one can have to its disposal.

I actually had two favorites this month The Bells and Unbroken
The one I disliked the most was The Report on Miracles At Little No Horse
...and the weirdest award this month goes to A Visit From the Goon Squad

For the full reviews you can go here if you want.. http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/...


message 24: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (last edited Feb 28, 2011 02:00PM) (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 737 comments Marialyce, I think Mary Roach is an interesting writer. She sure has a variety of interests.

this link will take you to a bunch of her SALON articles. I am working my way thru them. http://dir.salon.com/topics/mary_roach/


message 25: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19487 comments Michele wrote: "The Weird Sisters. Three daughters of a professor and Shakespearean scholar grow up - finally. Two stars. Don't bother. "
-------------

Sorry to hear that, Michele. I had it on my TBR list.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Alias Reader wrote: "Michele wrote: "The Weird Sisters. Three daughters of a professor and Shakespearean scholar grow up - finally. Two stars. Don't bother. "
-------------

Sorry to hear that, Michele. I had it on my..."


I have heard just the opposite, Alias...I hope so since I just got that book as a gift....


message 27: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19487 comments Marialyce wrote:
The Bells 5 stars
Absolutely fantastic! The ending gave me chills. This was a little unknown book to me but one that left me in awe. It was written about an 18th century opera singer and the struggles he went through in his life. From his impoverished beginnings where he learned the love and feel for his mother's bells, to the opera house where he became a great virtuoso, the reader becomes involved with his life, his friends, his love, and his ability to sing like no other.
---------------

Loved the way you presented your monthly reads. I enjoyed reading your post.

As to The Bells, I might suggest this to one of my groups. In the past we had read a bio of Maria Callas and at the last meeting said they wanted another "music" related book.

You sure had a terrific reading month ! Congratulations.


message 28: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19487 comments Carrie wrote: "I read a few really good ones in Feb.

Room by Emma Donoguhe
Die for you by Lisa Unger
Fragile by Lisa Unger
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

I have a huge stack I hope to get thru in March :)"

----------

Nice reading month, Carrie ! Thanks for sharing with us.


message 29: by Michele (new)

Michele | 169 comments I was probably a bit hard on the Weird Sisters. You have to tell me what the (expletive deleted) quotes were all about. Don't think I understood even one of them. But different strokes----you may love it. I also enjoyed Marialyce's reviews. I'll try harder next time!


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) That's ok Michele. I came down pretty hard on The Goon Squad so I know what you mean. Thanks....and I know there is a lot of Shakespeare in the book so I may be at a loss for it too! I am not a lover of Shakespeare for sure.


message 31: by Julie (new)

Julie (readerjules) | 1219 comments Marialyce,
I also read 1984 this month and gave it 4 stars!

My other read this month was March which is a story based on the father in Little Women. I gave it three stars.

I was also reading War and Peace but gave up halfway through. Too much boring stuff to get to the good stuff.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Julie wrote: "Marialyce,
I also read 1984 this month and gave it 4 stars!

My other read this month was March which is a story based on the father in Little Women. I gave it three sta..."


Julie, I so agree with you on War and Peace. I did read it and it took six weeks of my life to do so. I just wanted the peace stuff but the war stuff kept getting in the way! :) I am glad you liked 1984 too!


message 33: by Schmerguls (new)

Schmerguls | 16 comments What I Read in February 2011

4797. Henry Clay The Essential American, by David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler (read 5 Feb 2011) Even though I read a biography of Henry Clay, by Glyndon Van Deusen, on 12 July 1969, and another one, by Robert Remini. on 30 June 1993 and Merrill Patterson's study of Clay, Webster, and Calhoun, on 29 March 2002, when I saw this new biography I wanted to read it, the ante bellum period of American history being one of the most fascinating times thereof. And I was not wrong. Clay had an amazing life--a Senator before he was 30 (they just ignored the constitutional requirement that a Senator be 30 years old), Speaker of the House in his first term there, part of the team which obtained the Treaty of Ghent--a great treaty for us, since we mostly lost all the land battles of the War of 1812--a presidential candidate in 1824. 1832, 1836. 1840, 1844, and 1848--coming closet to victory in 1844--though personally I am glad he was not elected in 1844 since our history would have been very different if he had been and so would the shape of the country. This is a very detailed book but unfailingly interesting. It is sympathetic to Clay but does not hesitate to show when he was wrong. The only error I found in the book is on page 472 where it is stated that President Zachary Taylor died June 9, 1850, whereas we know he died July 9, 1850 after eating iced strawberries after a hot 4th of July appearance. There is not a bad page in this great book, though unless the politics of the time interests you as much as it does me you might think it is too detailed.
.
4798. The Crisis, by David Poyer (read 8 Feb 2011) This is a 2009 novel by an author I never heard of but my brother said this book was, I think, the best book he read in 2010. The book is laid in a fictional northeast African country about as dysfunctional as Somalia. The U.S. comes in to prevent mass starvation and fanatic Moslems carry out terrorist activities to try to evict the U.S. forces. SEALS carry out fantastic things to overcome the terrorists--and particularly towards the end there are lots of exciting things going on. I disliked the fact that a chapter would end excitingly--like old time serial movies--and then the next chapter would talk about something else. There are lots of undeleted expletives, which adds nothing to the story, and some of the goings on are pretty incredible, which is I suppose a trademark of this thriller type fiction.

4799. No Surrender My Thirty-Year War, by Hiroo Onoda Translated by Charles S. Terry (read 10 Feb 2011) The author was a Japanese officer sent to Labang Island in the Philippines in 1944 and stayed there till 1974. not believing the war was over. I found this a super-interesting account, annoying though it was that he could not believe the war was over. He started out with three other Japanese soldiers. At the end he was alone. He had a radio and got many messages the war was over but refused to believe them. He reminded me of Robinson Crusoe. One had to admire his resourcefulness in living all that time, finding food, putting up with jungle life, etc. A most interesting book, never dull even though the life he lived seemed like it had to be monotonous. According to Wikipedia he is still alive--he will be 89 on March 19, 2011.
,
4800. Lincoln and the Decision for War The Northern Response to Secession, by Russell McClintock (read 15 Feb 2011) Even though on 25 Nov 1990 I read W. A. Swanberg's First Blood: The Story of
Fort Sumter and on 5 Aug 2008 I read Maury Klein's Days of Defiance: Sumter, Secession and the Coming of the Civil War I read this book, which tells the story of the road to secession after Lincoln's election in 1860 and of the response thereto. There was a lot of controversy as to what the North's response should be. This book deals in great detail with Lincoln's course after the election and what he did not do--and what he did after he was inaugurated. I have gotten the idea that Lincoln wavered on what the North should do--but this book makes clear that he would never agree to anything which would permit slavery to be extended to places where it did not exist--and so the South would not give up secession. This is a well-researched book, and very detailed (too much so to hold my interest high at times) but it is very well done--it was deemed the best Civil War book published in 2008. Scholarly and very clearly written, making its points in good detail.

4801. Fiorello H. LaGuardia and the Making of Modern New York, by Thomas Kessner (read 23 Feb 2011)
This is a 1989 book. LaGuardia was born in New York on Dec 11, 1882. His father joined the U.S. Army in 1887 and he and his family spent time in Arizona and other places. Fiorello was in the Army during the Spanish-American War but never got to Cuba. He spent time in Italy and in Budapest working for the American consulate. He began service in Congress in 1917 and served there, in disharmony with his Republican cohorts, and his career in the House is of great interest, he making himself heard as a progressive--but lost in the Democratic landslide in 1932, since he was on the Republican ticket. He was elected Mayor of New York in 1933 and re-elected in 1937 and 1941. He was an excellent mayor in the early years but in later years became autocratic and had some illiberal ideas. The account of his early years as mayor is full of praise for him, but not so in the years after 1940. He did not seek re-election in 1945, and died at 7:22 AM on Sept 20, 1947, of pancreatic cancer. The book is too long and not as chronological as good biographies should be, but it is a sweeping story and tells the story of a fantastic life well. It is well worth reading and is impressive in the depiction of the hugeness of the character of LaGuardia. I was caught up in the many aspects of his stupendous life, despite his flaws in the years after 1940.
,
4802. Summer of Shadows A Murder, a Pennant Race, and the Twilight of the Best Location in the Nation, by Jonathan Knight (read 26 Feb 2011) This is an advance copy of a book to be published next month, and tells the story of 1954 in Cleveland, weaving together the Indians' season (easily winning the American league pennant (111 wins!) and then losing in four games in the World Series to the Giants, and the Sheppard murder case. The account of the crime and the trial of Dr. Sheppard is of high interest. The U.S. Supreme Court held in 1966,in Sheppard v. Maxwell, 384 U.S. 333.the trial was unfair and ordered a new trial. He was being represented by F. Lee Bailey then and was acquitted in the 1966 trail--after spending 11 years in prison. This book details the baseball season and relates the events of the murder in detail, showing the press campaign against Sheppard--really sickening that papers could whip up hysteria as they did. I found the book getting better and better as I read, even though I never cared about the Indians except I was glad they beat the Yankees that year. The book also shows the decline so Cleveland as a city, and all in all the research is quite good . The way Sheppard was harassed in those awful days before Miranda and the right to remain silent was meaningful is stark--one can see that Miranda and its progeny were good things.


message 34: by Tuğçe (new)

Tuğçe Gökırmak (tugcenidasevin) | 19 comments The Challenge by Megan Hart **

I have read this one today while we had a system problem at work and were unable to do anything but just sitting. It is a short novella you might call, it was my pick for one of my challenges anyway... It was quite disappointing for me because I read only one work of Megan Hart and I really liked it, Broken, it was full of emotions and a very good, touchy story, but this one was lacking both. It felt like everything left un finished very quickened, superficial ending. No true emotions involved or at least described. They were sad, unhappy etc but you can not get the feeling or at least I couldn't. Maybe this is how it is supposed to be in a short one like this.

Undead and Unemployed by MaryJanice Davidson **

The first book was better I suppose. The heroine's attemps for sounding smart were sometimes annoying. She deffinitely talks too much :) There is no real action or no real romance just a lot of talking... I think I like Eric Sinclair better and hope Betsy admits that she loves him at some point and I hope I can see it because I am not sure if I will be able to go on till the end of the series. I will give the third book a chance to decide. I mean they are fluffy reads as Caran-marie said for sure and sometimes I definitely need them but this second book was not even funny at times. It was more like unbelievable and unrealistic and I am not talking about the fact about vampires and stuff, reading a PN/UR book I already already accept them as a reality. :) Some actions were so easily and superficially written I had a hard time to accept the scenes...

Awakened by PC Cast ***

I have started losing my interest in this series around the last book Burned. I had difficulties getting hooked in this one until the last 50-60 pages where everything happened and ended. However I must say, I love that part of the book. The scene and way they told it was really good at least for my taste, I even started to like Rephaim :) I suppose I will continue to read not because of enthusiasim for the next episodes but because I have read so far, will be wondering what will happen in the end. I think, someone needs to know where to stop reading when she starts reading a series, if she doesn't know, you can see what happens by looking at me... :)

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn ****

This was a BOM in one of my groups in GR. I enjoyed it very much. It is not a great book by any means but the emotions are very well described, they are all complicated and searching, not confident etc as in anyone around 18 would be. I also enjoyed the way it was written in two POV's. We can see what each of them felt and thought and also how the other one effected and responded. I felt like 18 again, when I was reading, full of energy, full of confusion, frustration and not knowing what I wanted etc... The joyment of first rush...

Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon **

I had this and read it for a challenge.It was an easy read,fast with almost no taste.So very average, predictable from the start, cliche and cheesy and eye roll worthy. It was unbelievable and unrealistic even for a PNR/UF whatever you may call the genre... It may be good or average in the year it was written by in 2011 with all the books out there...

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway ***

I started this book as a groupread last month, yes you heard me right, last month!IT was my first Hemingway and not I do not believe all the wonderful reviews and comments he got because this book kind of drained me. I forced myself to finish. I admit that I like the way he told the emotions and the story. But the book and the story itself just drained me. I don't like political or war books much I admit, although I like the movies of those kind, I am not very good with the genre in books. Maybe that or the book itself I couldn't make myself like it. I was going to go for a 2* but then that's a classic as far as I know and there I should have some respect I thought. I have got some recs for some of his books I will surely try them to see the real Hemingway everyone is talking about but that will wait for a little while until I get back to myself after reading this one.

You Slay Me by Katie MacAlister ***

This book was recommended read because it started with "Y" in one of my challenges. I picked it up and even though it was an easy read, I had some difficulties hooking up. But after some point, I enjoyed it. I even laughed out loud in some parts, especially where the demon Jim (the dog) talked with Aisling.
I wasn't sure about the dragons and witches and demons. I know, I read PN/UF, vampires are one thing I got used to but I am still struggling to adjust with the other creatures :) that maybe the reason why I was having difficulties in getting hooked.
Basically, I liked the first book of the series. It was enjoyable, fun and easy to read book. Paranormal Chicklit you may call it.

Undead and Unappreciated by MaryJanice Davidson ***

Well this series definitely for some easy reading, there is nothing but nothing in the books other than spending some nice time reading. Actually this one was at least better than the second book, I even laughed at times. But I gotta tell you, I like Eric Sinclair :)

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen ****

I loved this book, just loved it. I have been wanting to read it for a long while, I am glad it was a group read this month, thank you Andrea. It was very well told, I felt like living it while reading it. I loved Jacob, Rosie, not so sure about Marlena though I feel sorry for her. Listening both 90 or 93 years old and 23 years old Jacob was a very good idea, however it felt a little disconnected in between scenes switching back to 23 years old especially.

Butterfly Tattoo by Diedre Knight ***

I liked it but somehow, I couldn't get the feeling the writer wanted to give. The characters had painful pasts and they find comfort in each other. But I felt at times, the feelings were unrealistic and not sincere or at least didn't feel as deep as the writer tried to show. I couldn't feel the struggles they have been having. I couldn't see the reality in, being in love with someone for 13years as a gay suddenly falls in love with a women whom he barely knew and newly met and stated he was bisexual always :) I don't have any problems in reading m/m and this didn't really have that in it. It just was missing something somewhere that I couldn't put my finger right on it. It has the potential of being a really deep and good novel for my taste but unfortunately I felt disappointed in the end.

Irresistible Forces by Brenda Jackson **

I don't know what I can say, I like reading romance novels most of the times. But come on! this was totally unrealistic, totally cliche, eye rolling worthy... I only didn't want to quit it because I never like to leave a book unfinished. The characters were always felt distant somehow even in the most intimate love scene,I could never felt the affection or electric there...

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote ****

I watched the movie a few times, it was one of my favourite actually. And I have been wanting to read the book for sometime, thanks to the Feb Pick it up for me challenge someone recommended it to me and I finally read it and loved it. though I might still like the movie a little more.


Mansfield Park by Jane Austen ***

This is definitely my least favourite Jane Austen book. I am normally awed with her books, but this one, don't know what to say. None of the characters seemed likable, all too arrogant and selfcentered. Nothing seemed to be happening really, couldn't just see why she wrote this. And I must say Mrs Norris was unbelievable, I wanted to shut her mouth many times. However by the way of its story telling its still a lot better than many books out there. And I was even ready to like Henry Crawford if things didn't turn out to be like that :)

Frostbite by Richelle Mead ****

I resisted reading this series last year, but after reading a lot of good reviews here and getting alot of recommendations on the behalf of the series. I have started them last month. I have to admit, I wasn't impressed with the first book, I thought there are pretty a lot of similar kind of books out there. Although I liked the heroine and the way Mead wrote the story and defined the new world. I thought it was worth giving another try (I can almost never quit reading series once I have started them no matter how much I am not hooked, that's not a good habit) I was also recommended to do so. So read this one, and I must say I loved it. I am not sure if it is still any different from similar series but something hooked me in this time. I read it in one sitting and wondered for the first time what will happen next. I even checked out the synopsis of the following books to get a glimpse of whats waiting for me :)

Heart of Fire by Linda Howard ***

This was probably the first novel I read this genre, I have to admit I enjoyed it but I wouldn't read it, if it wasn't a group read. Nothing much to say about it, it was a romantic suspense/adventure. Nice and easy read.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt ****

With a little dark mood this was a really good one. Probably one of my best reads this month. The was again for a challenge, but I love reading out of my normal line and finding the book good, it is definitly a treat.

Best reads for this month were Water for Elephants and The Secret History
Least favourites for this month were Irresistible Forces and Fantasy Lover


message 35: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments My reads for February --

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
An incredibly interesting book. It had the potential of being dry but it reads like a novel. There is a lot of science, regarding cells and the creation of vaccines and treatments but as a non-science person it was clearly written and interesting. And -- there is a lot about Henrietta's family and other issues.
It is too early in the year, but this might just turn out to be the best book I will have read in 2011.

Up from Slavery Booker T. Washington Read with our group. Honestly I found it kind of boring. But, besides being our group read it seemed to me a book that an educated person should have read and I never had. So OK with that.

Brooklyn Colm Tóibín
This is my F2F read for March. Just OK. Not so much Brooklyn background given that he chose to use that as a title. A bit Lifetime. A young woman immigrates from Ireland because there is nothing for her there. Comes to NY. Gets a job that she doesn't really like with the help of a local priest. Interaction with others in the boarding house in Brooklyn. Meets people at the church dance. Blah Blah well, you get the idea.

The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature Daniel J. Levitin Recommended by a "music" friend. A little dense at times but I was determined to finish it. Some good points made but I have read better books about the brain and music.

Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family Thomas Mann Yippee, I finished this.
I read this somewhere around 50 years ago and didn't remember much about it. I really enjoyed it. The characters are remarkable. Comparable with Dickens in my opinion. And a lot of psychological understanding for a book that was published back in 1900. You really want to know what is going to happen next to these people. It carries you amazingly through over 700 pages.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Bobbie, I didn't care for Brooklyn that much. It was (to use a word I dislike) boring. I could not figure what the hype was about. I loved The Immortal Life.


Carolyn (in SC) C234D | 82 comments What a lot of reading some of you got in this month! Great lists. At this rate, I may not make 30 books this year. Only completed two in February.

A Reliable Wife, by Robert Goolrick -- This made for an interesting book group discussion. Beautiful writing, but it became tedious for me, especially early on. Enough already, with his obsession about sex. I didn't dislike the book ultimately, but several members did. Not a happy read, that's for sure.

The Mephisto Club, by Tess Gerritsen -- She writes a good thriller. I don't know why so much time passes between her books for me. This is a Rizzoli and Isles story.

I don't know why I can't post the titles as Goodreads links. Doing something wrong, I guess. I'll have to search again for one of the many instructive posts about it.


message 38: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19487 comments Schmerguls wrote:4801. Fiorello H. LaGuardia and the Making of Modern New York, by Thomas Kessner (read 23 Feb 2011)
This is a 1989 book. LaGuardia was born in New York on Dec 11, 1882. His father joined the U.S. Army in 1887 and he and his family spent time in Arizona and other places. Fiorello was in the Army during the Spanish-American War but never got to Cuba.
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I always look forward to your reviews, Schmerguls.

This month I particularly enjoyed reading your LaGardia review since I am from NYC.


message 39: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19487 comments Excellent reading month,Tugce Nida. Thanks for sharing with us.

Awhile back we did a group read of Breakfast at Tiffany's here at BNC. I enjoyed the book, but I enjoyed the movie more.


message 40: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19487 comments Barbara, congratulations on finishing Mann.

As to Henrietta, what did you think of the daughter. Her manic behavior, I have to admit, sort of turned me off. I was quite happy when the author finally told her off.

It was my top read of last year.


message 41: by Alias Reader (last edited Mar 01, 2011 09:21AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19487 comments Carolyn (in SC) C234D wrote: A Reliable Wife, by Robert Goolrick -- This made for an interesting book group discussion. Beautiful writing, but it became tedious for me, especially early on. Enough already, with his obsession about sex. I didn't dislike the book ultimately, but several members did. Not a happy read, that's for sure.
----------------

My library group selected A Reliable Wife~~Robert Goolrick for our June read.


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Carolyn (in SC) I don't know why I can't post the titles as Goodreads links. Doing something wrong, I guess.
------------------

How to make a Good Read book link.

- Right above the box you are typing in you will see
Add book/author.
- Click on that.
-type the title of the book.
- Click add.

Who will also see at the bottom that you can select either the book title or the book jacket.

Do the same for author. When the box open you will see a tab for either the title or the author.

At the bottom you will see you can select either the author picture or name.

Note- after each selection you must once again click add book/author.

It is really quite easy. Much easier than it sounds in these instructions ! :)


message 42: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Barbara, congratulations on finishing Mann.

As to Henrietta, what did you think of the daughter. Her manic behavior, I have to admit, sort of turned me off. I was quite happy when the author fi..."


On the off chance that we pick this book I'll hold off on my response. Hope that is OK with you.


message 43: by Tuğçe (new)

Tuğçe Gökırmak (tugcenidasevin) | 19 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Excellent reading month,Tugce Nida. Thanks for sharing with us.

Awhile back we did a group read of Breakfast at Tiffany's here at BNC. I enjoyed the book, but I enjoyed the movie more."


I totally agree with you on that :)


message 44: by kate/Edukate12 (new)

kate/Edukate12 | 183 comments My Reading Life by Pat Conroy
Edge by Jeffery Deaver
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape by Peter Hedges


I had a slow reading month. I loved the Conroy book. It was interesting so see who had influenced him through the years. I thought Edge was mediocre at best. Deaver is a favorite, but this one was slow and the plot repeated itself over and over. The movie Gilbert Grape is a favorite, and the move follows the book very closely. It's a book I will keep for a re-read.

kate


message 45: by Alias Reader (last edited Mar 01, 2011 02:53PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19487 comments Bobbie57 wrote: n the off chance that we pick this book I'll hold off on my response. Hope that is OK with you.
------------

No problem.

FYI- According to Amazon the book will be out in paperback on March 8

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks


message 46: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19487 comments kate/Edukate12 wrote: "My Reading Life by Pat Conroy
Edge by Jeffery Deaver
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape by Peter Hedges.."


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

Glad you could find the Gilbert Grape book, Kate. Some seem to be having a problem getting it.

I see that my copy is in route to my library. It was listed as in storage, but it seems out of storage now. :)


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) kate/Edukate12 wrote: "My Reading Life by Pat Conroy
Edge by Jeffery Deaver
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape by Peter Hedges


I had a slow reading month. I loved the Conroy book. It was interesting so see who had infl..."


I love the Conroy book too! He is fabulous.


message 48: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 737 comments Alias Reader wrote: "As to Henrietta, what did you think of the daughter. Her manic behavior, I have to admit, sort of turned me off. .."

And this was not the worst of this family. I saw so much about them on the Baltimore news, so much awful behavior, that I would never read this book. Their feelings of entitlement were very disturbing.


message 49: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (last edited Mar 01, 2011 03:37PM) (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 737 comments Schmerguls wrote: " This book details the baseball season and relates the events of the murder in detail, showing the press campaign against Sheppard--really sickening that papers could whip up hysteria as they did. ..."

And things have not changed much, IMO. The press is still sickening, on the whole. Still trying to sway public opinion instead of reporting.


message 50: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 737 comments Schmerguls wrote: " The Crisis, by David Poyer (read 8 Feb 2011) This is a 2009 novel by an author I never heard of but my brother said this book was, I think, the best book he read in 2010."

I assume you know Poyer's bio - he is a 1971 graduate of the Naval Academy (go Navy, beat Army!) and just retired from the Navy 10 years ago. He is a very prolific writer and much admired at the Academy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Poyer


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