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

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Donna in Southern Maryland (cedarville922) | 207 comments Sorry this thread is late! Here's the place to post and share all the wonderful........and not so wonderful books you read in May 2011.

Donna in Southern Maryland


Carolyn (in SC) C234D | 82 comments My May books:

Separation of Power--by Vince Flynn. An excellent thriller in a series that I enjoy very much. This was published in 2001, and the main problem was that Saddam Hussein was partnering with the North Koreans and was almost ready to produce nuclear bombs. I was just finishing the book when the news broke about the successful mission to capture/kill Osama Bin Laden. The similarities to an episode in the story were amazing. A real page-turner.

A Pearl in the Storm--by Tori Murden McClure. I loved this! It's the story of a highly intelligent young woman who was successful in many different areas, despite a tough childhood spent defending her older, developmentally-disabled brother from cruel kids and some ignorant adults. Tori is attempting to row a twenty-three-foot boat across the Atlantic, solo. As she describes the journey, she talks about certain events from her childhood and college/early adult years. I found the writing gripping and the story just fascinating.A Pearl In the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the

[book:To the Nines
Sometimes I just feel like reading something funny, and Stephanie Plum always fills the bill.

Mudbound A well-written book about two Mississippi delta families post WWII, one black and one white. Some great characters and a powerful depiction of racism. Chapters were narrated by different characters, giving their own perspectives as events unfolded. A wonderful first novel.

Deception A good mystery in the psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware series set in L.A. A female substitute teacher in an exclusive prep school is found dead in a tub of dry ice, and it seems she had quite a few irons in the fire.

Scoop An English satire on journalism and foreign correspondents, set after World War I. It was rather madcap in many ways, with mistaken identities and some outrageous characters. This is the third of Waugh's books that I've read, I do enjoy his writing.

Killing the Shadows A very good psychological thriller. This author writes some popular series that I like, but this book is a stand-alone. It involves a psychologist who uses a computer to track serial offenders by analyzing data from crimes and finding common factors; she is not a behavioral analyst. In this novel, thriller writers have been targeted, and she happens to live with one. Always an interesting story by this writer.

A pretty good month for me.


message 3: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16273 comments Thanks for sharing, Carolyn. You had a good month indeed.


message 4: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16273 comments My May reads: rating on a 0-5 scale plus/minus


1- Witch-Hunt: Mysteries of the Salem Witch Trials~Marc Aronson
Nonfiction Young adult
rate 1
I read this for our May group read. This is the second book by this author that I've read and I've been disappointed in both. This will be my last.

2- C. S. Lewis: The Man Behind Narnia~Beatrice Gormley
nonfiction young adult
rate 2 plus
interesting bio of Lewis.

3- The Bee Eater: Michelle Rhee Takes on the Nation's Worst School District~Richard Whitmire
nonfiction
rate 3
Interesting read about Rhee and the D.C. school system. Good companion read to the movie Waiting for Superman.

4- One Hundred Names for Love~Diane Ackerman
nonfiction
rate 3 minus
author's husband suffers a stroke. Interesting read that got a bit too repetitive and new age for me.

5- Fail Up~Tavis Smiley
nonfiction
rate: 2
okay book. It was a bit too simplistic for me.

6- C.S. Lewis: Creator of Narnia~Michael White
nonfiction
rate 3 plus
A friend loaned me this book after I mentioned that I had read a Lewis bio this month. This one was superior to the other book. I liked that it gave a balanced view of Lewis; warts and all.

7- Bookplate Special~Lorna Barrett
fiction
rate 2 minus
This is a "cozy" mystery. It is the second book I've read in the series. The main character and her sister and not very likable, imo. The plot was silly even for a "cozy" mystery. I won't be reading anymore of the series.

8-The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time~Mark Haddon
fiction
rate 4
This is a re-read for me. I read it for our June group read. I fell in love with Christopher all over again. I enjoyed the story and the character of Christopher.


message 5: by John (new)

John My May reads.

1. The Railway Man - only ok

2. The Glass Castle - didn't like it, didn't even bother finishing it.

3. The Danube Caper of Cornelius Burke - a fun book with interesting illustrations.

4. Ape House - another best seller that I couldn't bother to finish.

5. Give Me Back My Legions! - ok but not one of Turtledove's best.

6. The Flying Carpet - best book of the month. The story of two fellows flying from Paris to Manila in 1931 - NF.

7. Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World - a cute story, pretty light.

8. Snow Mountain Passage: A Novel - interesting book, really well written.


message 6: by Madrano (last edited Jun 01, 2011 04:10AM) (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments I like reading what others are up to, even though it extends my own TBR list!

I barely read last month, although the last week gave me much promise for the summer!

Midnight Angels: A Novel by Lorenzo Carcaterra. JoAnn tried to warn me! Seriously, the book held promise, being about art and art heists. Even as i read i realized that the components were present but the writing was lackluster. It was as though he had a checklist of "what sells" but felt that was adequate. Disappointing. Worse, i didn't even feel i learned anything! The ultimate disappointment when i read.

The Enchanted Isles (Hesperus Classics) or The Encantadas by Herman Melville. This is a series of sketches about the Galapagos Islands, which Melville visited in his younger days. Mixed with authentic descriptions of the land itself are tales of those who tried to live there. It seemed to me there was a mythic quality to those lives, even though some were based on real people/events. I enjoy Melville's writing very much.

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois. While some of the material was dry, overall i had a strong impression of the way DuBois wrote, which i liked very much. His thoughtful comments helped me with several problems we still see today. And i learned so much! :-)

That's it.
deborah


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Carolyn (in SC) C234D wrote: "My May books:

Separation of Power--by Vince Flynn. An excellent thriller in a series that I enjoy very much. This was published in 2001, and the main problem was that Saddam Hussein was partne..."


Great books, Carolyn. I really liked Mudbound.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Alias Reader wrote: "My May reads: rating on a 0-5 scale plus/minus


1- Witch-Hunt: Mysteries of the Salem Witch Trials~Marc Aronson
Nonfiction Young adult
rate 1
I read this for our May g..."


Alias, I did read the one bout Michelle Rhee. She and the Tiger mother should get together. They would form some school!


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) John wrote: "My May reads.

1. The Railway Man - only ok

2. The Glass Castle - didn't like it, didn't even bother finishing it.

3. The Danube Caper of Cornelius Burke, but agree with you on Ape House. It was awful!



Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Madrano wrote: "I like reading what others are up to, even though it extends my own TBR list!

I barely read last month, although the last week gave me much promise for the summer!

[book:Midnight Angels: A Novel|..."


Deb, I share your feeling about the DuBois book. Glad to hear you are able to read more.


message 11: by Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) (last edited Jun 01, 2011 05:37AM) (new)

Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) It was a good month for me reading wise and I had a few I really liked and would recommend them. So, here they are:

The White Queen It is always an eye opener when you read about the struggles that people had holding and maintaining the English throne. Why anyone would want to be king is beyond me with all its intrigues, plots, poinsonings, beheadings, and wars. I think Philippa Gregory wrote an interesting tale in this trilogy about the Cousins' War. (The War of the Roses) 3+ rating

Kings of the Earth by Jon Clinch This powerful moving saga of a family that doesn't seem to have moved away from the nineteenth century is both compelling and shocking. The story of these three dirt farmer brothers is one that makes the reader aware that no matter how far we have come, there are always those that harken back in some way, shape, or form to a former time. The question, is it because of choice or is it one of destiny often comes to mind. 4 star rating

These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner
This was quite a remarkable story told through the diary format of a woman named Sarah Prine. I found the book to be not only interesting, but also an authentic story of this woman's strength, courage, and love. Determined in so many ways to face what life had to offer, Sarah offers a vivid portrayal of a woman that is all heart and loyalty. 4 star rating

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
This book just did not grab me at all. I found it long winded and the length was to me appalling. I wish I could have enjoyed the tale, but Dumas kept on throwing in character after character into the tale and seem to be bent on making this a long saga. It in my estimation should have been about 400 pages shorter and I am not one who shys away from lengthy novels. 2 star rating

The Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoThis book was only ok in my estimation. I can't say that I enjoyed it all that much as it was a trudging journey through its pages. I do not understand why this book is considered such a highly rated book. I was oftentimes confused and frankly just plain bored. 2 star rating

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
Wow! What a book! It sure had me going with all kinds of thoughts and interpretation of my own that went in a million different directions. I adored the writing and the characters and couldn't help but think alien invasion (The Invasion of the body snatchers for one), as I was reading, But, of course, that comparison leaves a very wide gap in what this novel truly was. 5 star rating

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
This is one of those books that one could read many times and come away with different ideas and concepts each time. In this novel we meet Toru Okada, a man who is trying in a figurative way, to find himself and understand his marriage. Into this beginning comes a lost cat who seems to set off events in a most dramatically evil way. Evil/sin seems to be the theme set forward and the fact that it lies in each of us is brought to the surface of all the assorted characters. People are defiled by the defilers who seem to spread evil as part of their personna. The most evil defiler is the brother of the wife of Tora. Tora is he character who represents the good, the antithesis to the evil present within Noburo Wataya. He (Noburo) has defiled his sisters and has in the meantime risen to prominence in the world of government and power. Norburo seems to represent the devil and to destroy him seems to be a task that is somewhat impossible for how does one desstroy the evil that is in the world? 4 star rating

Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer
There is so much to say about this travesty that was fostered on Pat Tillman and his family. To know that there are people in our military who are so devious and such cover up liars is super upsetting. Jon Krakauer paints a very depressing picture of the events that surrounded Pat Tillman's death. The fact that Pat will killed by friendly fire is horrible, but the idea that the army covered up this occurrence was awful. Soldiers are often killed by friendly fire and many of our troops are aware that this is a possibility. Most alarming in Pat's story was that others tried to advance their own careers by covering up what had happened. 4 star rating

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
I am sure I have read books that have started out with a bang and then sort of fizzled. I felt this way about this book. While the premise was excellent, that of a mentally handicapped girl falling in love with a deaf boy, the book or mostly its characters did not ring true. It was of course heart breaking at times, but hard as I tried, I just could not get to know the characters or just even feel involved in their struggle and I am not sure why. Perhaps it was an awkwardness with their personna and the fact that none of them seemed real to me. They were entirely fictional and when writing a book such as this, one needs to feel that yes, these people could have existed and these things could have happened. It was for me, so unemotional that it just seemed like words on a page and while a story not one told with the pathos and emotional nature needed to portray these horrible circumstances. 2 star rating

Night Road by Kristin Hannah
I was looking for a book that was not so heady after finishing Murakmii's books The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore and this book fit the bill. So coming off of those two metaphysical books, I was feeling pretty snobbish and decided that in the beginning of Night Road we had nothing but (pardon the expression ) chick lit. As I read further, however, I was very interested in the character which is always a good sign. 3 star rating

The Priest's Graveyard by Ted Dekker
Ok, well, maybe a one star rating is a bit too harsh, (so I will up it to 1 and a half), but I have read Ted Dekker novels before and felt this one was just not "right". The beginning of the book had a great premise, that of a priest turned vigilante going after all those bad guys that the law just couldn't or wouldn't touch. I enjoyed his character and the background of what made him chose to follow the path he does. Even the inclusion of the druggie, soon to be sex slave was not bad, However, when Dekker put these two together as a team, I felt the novel fell right apart. 1 star rating

The Bee Eater: Michelle Rhee Takes on the Nation's Worst School District by Richard Whitmire
Interesting, scary and eye opening are some of the adjectives I would use to describe this book. Written about the former chancellor of the DC schools, it makes one aware of the dire straights these schools were in before Michelle Rhee took over. Ms Rhee went in there like gang busters and aggravated teachers, administrators, parents, and stirred up the racial/political game. Tough and determined to put the kids first, she ruffled many feathers in order to achieve what she wanted, that of better educating the children of DC. 3 star rating

Family Affair by Debbie Macomber
Silly fluffy stuff! I nice break from all the huge reads recently. s atr rating

A Discovery of Witches and The Paris Wife, I already spoke of on another thread here.

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
I did like this story of a brave, resilient young girl who has leprosy and the trials she goes through in her life dealing with the repercussions of this illness. Rachel, our heroine, comes from a loving family living in Hawaii. However into this somewhat idyllic life, comes the surge of leprosy. Because of it, she is separated from her family and sent away to the colony of lepers sequestered on Molokai. She was only seven at the time and although terrified Rachel maintains her spirit and her strength as she is brought to the island and taken in by the Sisters of Charity. Life is never good separated from the ones you love (particularly her father) but with the nuns care, compassion, and love, Rachel is able to go forward, make friends and find love. 3 star rating

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


message 12: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments 1- Witch-Hunt: Mysteries of the Salem Witch Trials~Marc Aronson
Nonfiction Young adult
rate 1
I read this for our May group read. This is the second book by this author that I've read and I've been disappointed in both. This will be my last.

Alias, I got stuck in the middle of a book by this author and didn't finish. Or why I really didn't participate in the discussion as much as I thought I would. So I definitely agree with you on this author.


message 13: by Maria (last edited Jun 01, 2011 08:19AM) (new)

Maria | 12 comments In May 2011 I read those books:
1."Evening Class Bk/CD Pack" by Maeve Binchy. I read this book last year, but this year I read again because I liked this story about 30 people who's going enjoyed Italian class in the evening and it was nice story.

Another two books I read in slovakian language.
2."Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" by Lisa See.
3."Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen. First I watched a movie in the cinema and I really like it this film, and after I read book. In my opion both movie and book are good.


message 14: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16273 comments Marialyce wrote: Alias, I did read the one bout Michelle Rhee. She and the Tiger mother should get together. They would form some school!
============

:)



message 15: by Connie (new)

Connie (constants) | 73 comments Emily, Alone - Stewart O'Nan. Emily Maxwell is an 80 year old widow living alone in a changing neighborhood in Pittsburgh and this book tells her story. There's very little action in the story, but the details of Emily's daily life are heartfelt, beautifully written and so perfect and precise that you can see and smell and feel all of them. I loved this book and have to admit that even though I'm not 80, I saw myself in a few of the passages and events. I'm not sure if anyone under the age of 40 or so would appreciate it, but I happily recommend Emily, Alone to everyone. A+

The Last Brother - Nathacha Appanah. This book is set in Mauritius during World War II where a ship full of Eastern European Jews were imprisoned after unsuccessfully trying to escape their homeland. After losing his own two brothers, a young Mauritian boy, Raj, befriends one of the Jewish boys in the prison and this is the story of their brief time together. I wasn't as taken by this book as many of the other reviewers seem to be. It was fine, but nothing very special to me. B-

Mrs. Astor Regrets: The Hidden Betrayals of a Family Beyond Reproach - Meryl Gordon. What's better than juicy, gossipy, name-dropping nonfiction about one of the richest families in America? I didn't follow this story when it was happening, but reading about it later is fascinating. When Brooke Astor was 103, her grandson sued his own father (Brooke's son Anthony) for failing to provide for Brooke properly. The story is sad because Brooke did have Alzheimer's and was in a position to be taken advantage of, but her loyal friends and staff and seemed to have her best interests in mind and came to her defense in court and in this book. Stories like these make me happy I'm not rich. A-

Emily, Alone: A Novel

The Last Brother

Mrs Astor Regrets: Inside the Unraveling of a Great American Dynasty


message 16: by Maree (new)

Maree May! Yay!

The Shepherd's Tale (Serenity, #3) by Zack Whedon I'm a huge Firefly fan, so anything giving me more story is great.

Messenger (The Giver, #3) by Lois Lowry my Review: The conclusion to the loose Giver series. It was okay.

Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre my Review: This was cool, and very much like the Steerswoman for me, but it didn't have the awesome sidekick and didn't hold my attention as well.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time  by Mark Haddon my Review: As discussed

The Vespertine (The Vespertine, #1) by Saundra Mitchell my Review: Bleh. YA trash.

Beggars and Choosers (Sleepless, #2) by Nancy Kress my Review: Not liking this series very much. Interesting world building but not enough story.

The Mockingbirds (The Mockingbirds, #1) by Daisy Whitney my Review: Liked it, but thought that it wasn't quite right about a number of things

Witch-Hunt Mysteries of the Salem Witch Trials by Marc Aronson my Review: As discussed

The Steerswoman (The Steerswoman, #1) by Rosemary Kirstein my Review: A new favorite! A great adventure story and world.

The Outskirter's Secret (The Steerswoman, #2) by Rosemary Kirstein my Review: The 2nd in the Steerswoman series.

Timeless (Timeless, #1) by Alexandra Monir my Review: a very young book. Didn't like it much. I have no idea why it's so popular with the YA readers.

Specials (Uglies, #3) by Scott Westerfeld my Review: The finale to the Uglies triology; I liked the other books, but this wasn't my favorite.

Extras (Uglies, #4) by Scott Westerfeld my Review: An additional book in the Uglies universe that I liked a lot more than Specials. It plays with cool ideas about social media.


message 17: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16273 comments Connie wrote: "Emily, Alone - Stewart O'Nan. Emily Maxwell is an 80 year old widow living alone in a changing neighborhood in Pittsburgh and this book tells her story. There's very little action in the story, b..."
-----------------

Thanks for sharing with us, Connie. I always look forward to reading your reviews.


message 18: by Alias Reader (last edited Jun 02, 2011 03:42PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16273 comments Maree wrote: "May! Yay!

The Shepherd's Tale (Serenity, #3) by Zack Whedon I'm a huge Firefly fan, so anything giving me more story is great.

Messenger (The Giver, #3) by Lois Lowry my Review: The conclusion to the loose Giver seri..."

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

Wow, Maree ! You sure read a lot in May.


message 19: by Michele (new)

Michele Weiner | 160 comments My May books--- I don't know how to link my reviews, but I think it's a great idea, and a time-saver. I will figure it out when I have more time and do it next month. I hope.

Tangled Webs: How False Statements are Undermining America: From Martha Stewart to Bernie Madoff Unconvincing premise, but interesting summaries of what happened to Martha, Scooter Libby, Marian Jones, Barry Bonds, et al.

To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918
I learned a lot about events surrounding the Great War, and how the world changed. Thesis is that if the US hadn't joined in, the peace would have been more fair and the Second World War might have been avoided. Many wonderful character sketches and lots of overview. I learned a lot a that I didn't know (or remember)-like the fact that the Germans finally learned how to attack entrenched troops while the British never did. They almost won the war. They might have if the Russians hadn't infected the German troops with the socialist disease, or if they hadn't begun to starve.

Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics The authors say the political parties have sorted themselves more thoroughly so that all the authoritarians are in one party and the non-authoritarians in another for the first time. This has come about because the authoritarian party wanted to split the New Deal coalition, and when LBJ passed the Civil Rights Act, they figured out how to do it. It turns out that the issues they chose to emphasize, like civil rights, gay rights, the fake war on Christmas, and the use of force in place of negotiation in foreign policy, turn out to divide people along the authoritarian dimension. When people believe they are being threatened, they tend to become more authoritarian. Whether you identify with the GOP or the Democrats, therefore, has a lot to do with how frightened you are in general. Democrats tend to be less frightened than Republicans (a conclusion that is supported by other studies). Elections are won in this country by scaring people to death. If they can scare enough independents each time, the GOP wins. Fear and voter suppression, of course.

A Conspiracy of Paper
A mediocre mystery with lots of good information about the creation of the stock market.

BossypantsTina Fey is wonderful. Loved this one.

The Devotion of Suspect X The best mystery I've read in years. Takes place in modern Japan and involves two Sherlock Holmes types facing off over a crime one of them has committed.

The Sun Also Rises I am not a big Hemingway fan, but this one made me reflect on The Lost Generation and the tremendous negative effect that WWI had on all participants survivors. It was a superb companion to To End All Wars. Hemingway has a great talent for witty repartee, and the dated slang is delightful. I can almost imagine how smart and up-to-the-minute he must have been as a young man in Paris. And how he might have chosen suicide in the end.


message 20: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments Didn't read as much as I would have liked but keeping on.

Stuff Randy O. Frost This was my F2F book club choice for May. An interesting book which brought up a lot of issues revolving around this topic which has been brought in front of the public more because of reality TV. It certainly created an interesting discussion.


Freedom Jonathan Franzen
I've been wanting to read this since it first came out. While it was an enjoyable read I don't think it will necessarily stand up for me over time.

What Happened to Cass McBride? Gail Giles This is our F2F read for June. It is a good thing I got it early because life is overtaking me. This is a YA book about a girl who is buried alive. I wasn't sure how I felt about this book but once I got into it I couldn't put it down.

Water for Elephants Sara Gruen This is a reread for me. Yet the next F2F book club choice and I am truly glad that I am getting ahead of myself. I read it a few years ago so even though we won't be discussing it for a couple of months that will be close enough. So now I have enjoyed it twice, but to be fair I knew I didn't remember enough details to discuss it from the last time.


message 21: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments Marialyce wrote: "Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami...

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami..."


It's been a few years since i read Murakami's A Wild Sheep Chase and Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World but remember liking both. He has a way of getting a reader to think and posit what will happen next. And why. Glad to learn the two you read were as good.

As for the Eco. I read and liked The Name of the Rose but still didn't see why all the hoopla surrounded it. Iirc, there was even a book published to explain all the references to art, literature and other things from the novel. I thought it would be a tough reading experience because i'm not well-versed in that time setting. Not a problem.

Thanks for sharing, Marialyce. And other people too. It enhances the board when we share this way!

deb


message 22: by Michele (new)

Michele Weiner | 160 comments I loved In the Name of the Rose, but found Focault's Pendulum and the rest too awful.


message 23: by Maree (new)

Maree Yeah, I tend to have a half-hour commute via public transit, so that plus lunchtime on some days is my reading time. :) With really good books, I'll actually read them at home, but it doesn't happen too often. This month, it happened with The Name of the Wind and The Steerswoman though.


message 24: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 669 comments Bobbie57 wrote: "This is a YA book about a girl who is buried alive.."

Bobbie, many years ago when I was in college, a girl was kidnapped and buried underground. I forget the details, but remember reading about it in TIME magazine and I started hyperventilating. I am so claustrophobic that just typing this is making me agitated!


message 25: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16273 comments Michele wrote: "
To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918
I learned a lot about events surrounding the Great War, and how the world changed. Thesis is that if the US hadn't joined in, the peace would have been more fair and the Second World War might have been avoided. Many wonderful character sketches and lots of overview. I learned a lot a that I didn't know (or remember)-like the fact that the Germans finally learned how to attack entrenched troops while the British never did. They almost won the war. They might have if the Russians hadn't infected the German troops with the socialist disease, or if they hadn't begun to starve.
-------------------------

Personally, I like seeing the reviews posted. I think a lot of people won't follow a link. And when the comments are posted on the board, it seems to generate more replies.

As to the book you read, this past Sunday (May 29) in the NY Times Book Review they had an excellent article titled, The Battle for History. You might be interested in it.

Link to NY Times Book Review article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/29/boo...

Some of the books mentioned in the article are:

No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe 1939-1945

Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin

Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War"

Slaughterhouse-Five


message 26: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "Bobbie57 wrote: "This is a YA book about a girl who is buried alive.."

Bobbie, many years ago when I was in college, a girl was kidnapped and buried underground. I forget the details, but remember..."


Perhaps the good news is that the book is not so much about her being buried as it is about her previous interaction with her peers.


message 27: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments Alias, thank you for sharing the link about WWII & reflections about its "facts". I was unaware of many of the books mentioned. The line which sums it up for me is on the last page, "The best history writing reverses this process, restoring complexity to our sense of the past."

There could be many reasons we present the best first, so i won't touch that. However, i am glad that the time lapse between celebrating the greatness of the combatants and learning (or reexamining, in some cases like India) new facts and consequences of the actions is getting shorter. In this country it took almost a century before the reality of how our Founders let the slavery issue slide was considered fact & not opinion.

It seems that at the time those contradictory truths are sometimes presented but de-emphasized to keep morale high. A better look at periodicals of the time reflect that. Even today it takes a hardy soul to be willing to be associated with this sort of (my description) counter-history.

deborah


message 28: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16273 comments Deb, I thought the Times article was very good. I also didn't know many of the titles. I wrote them down for my TBR list.


message 29: by Michele (new)

Michele Weiner | 160 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Michele wrote: "
To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918
I learned a lot about events surrounding the Great War, and how the world changed. Thesis is that if the US hadn't join..."


Thanks so much for the titles. Missed the paper this week, so it's very helpful. I think I take more time with the reviews I post, and the information is more complete, but perhaps you're right. We don't really need all that info. most of the time.


message 30: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments Michele wrote: " I think I take more time with the reviews I post, and the information is more complete, but perhaps you're right. We don't really need all that info. most of the time. ..."

I am one who rarely follows the links, so appreciate more info in our monthly posts. What i like about it is that if what a BNC person shares tickles my interest, i can click on the link they (hopefully) provide to learn more about the story from well, i'm not sure who writes those synopses! LOL! But from folks here i get the flavor, from the GR info i can see if that's what others thought the book was addressing.

Several times i've begun books based on what one of us shares, only to realize that the publisher &/or others didn't see the book as being about that topic. Usually i'm rewarded but i've been disappointed just enough to want a bit more info.

The worst part of that is that i also despise spoilers. Yes, i AM hard to please. Ask my DH!

My bottom line is that i like folks wording what they thought of a book &/or what it was about. As for why i don't follow review links, i don't know. I suppose it's because i also have links to the titles (& sometimes authors) to follow as well.

deb, feeling this sounds as confused as it is :-)


message 31: by NancyInWI (new)

NancyInWI (nanckopf) | 56 comments I am ashamed to report that I finished ZERO books in May. I started 2 non-fiction books, and not really for enjoyment, but to learn, so I'm not ripping right through them and taking time to savor and try to remember. They both should be done to put on my June list though!


message 32: by NancyInWI (new)

NancyInWI (nanckopf) | 56 comments I like when posters include a link to the book and therefore more reviews of a book they've read, as well as saying what they did or did not like about it. That way, I can read multiple reviews of a book and see if the general consensus was that they liked the book and also what they did or did not like about the book.


message 33: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 669 comments Deb, when I put up a link it takes you to "MY BOOKS" and from there to my reviews (not someone else's reviews). It is NOT a link to a book.

So you would not click on these links of mine?


message 34: by Alias Reader (last edited Jun 04, 2011 01:47PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16273 comments There is no right or wrong way. It's just an observation of mine. If you post on the board, it facilitates conversation.

I will click on the GR link for a book. Which if you are a GR Friend of mine, it will note that you wrote something or rated the book.

I almost never click on the link to a persons "My books" or blog.

Just my preference.

I don't write reviews, I just rate on GR. As I read or finish a book I'll post about the book. Again, just my preference. I also think it generates more back and forth book talk. Which is the thing I love. :)

If people want to include both then that would be great, also. :)


message 35: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 669 comments Alias Reader wrote: "I almost never click on the link to a persons "My books"..."

This confounds me, since if you clicked on my "my books" link it would take you to the six books I read. If I put six separate links to books, you have to click six times to get to the books that one click would have taken you to!

Oh, well, to each her own!


message 36: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 669 comments You can click here to see the 10 books I read in May, along with the short reviews for each. http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/124...

My top read was Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Other 5 star books were Avec Eric: A Culinary Journey with Eric Ripert and When the Lion Feeds by Wilbur Smith, the first in the Courtney series. I am so excited to have a series to read, something reliably good that I can look forward to.

My biggest disappointment this past month was Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef. I thought it was dreadful, whiny, and poorly written.

I really loved Emily, Alone: A Novel by Stuart O'Nan. After reading and disliking two books of his, I had sworn off reading him, but am glad I changed my mind.

William Cope Moyers's Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption was heartbreaking and Stash had some good twists and turns.


message 37: by Michele (new)

Michele Weiner | 160 comments An amazing month. You read both Broken and Unbroken. Nice job.


message 38: by NancyInWI (new)

NancyInWI (nanckopf) | 56 comments JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "You can click here to see the 10 books I read in May, along with the short reviews for each. http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/124...

That's bizarre, JoAnn, when I click that link, I get a booklist belonging to "Matt"????



message 39: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (last edited Jun 04, 2011 08:43PM) (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 669 comments Nancy/nanckopf wrote: "That's bizarre, JoAnn, when I click that link, I get a booklist belonging to "Matt"???? ..."

That IS bizarre, Nancy. So did I !!!!! I think I have it fixed now. "Matt" has a similar URL and when GR abbreviated my link, that is where it took you.

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

Thanks for letting me know.


message 40: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "Deb, when I put up a link it takes you to "MY BOOKS" and from there to my reviews (not someone else's reviews). It is NOT a link to a book.

So you would not click on these links of mine?"


JoAnn, i understand your logic--one click vs. one for each book. However, if i don't know the titles in the first place, it's unlikely i would click on that one. Part of the reason is that near the beginning of each month this is the most active thread we have, so there 50+ books to look up. By just going down the list on this thread i can see whether or not there are any of interest to me (or any i want to see how so-and-so liked, given the topic). If i want to follow up, i can.

Because some of us have been on BNC together for years, i would probably click on the one-link for those i know, as opposed to those i don't. And i am sure i would miss out getting better acquainted with the newbies, as a result. I suppose it's a trade-off i make and not a particularly fair one.

OTOH, when someone gives their title with the GR link, i know that if i click on it i'll get a description, not a review. Sometimes that's what i want. Other times (for example, if i am already familiar with the title) i would prefer to read what someone from this group thinks of the book.

Much of this is mood & time available. Some months i just want to make sure the thread is read. Other months, i want every detail of every book. As little as i felt like reading earlier this year, it's been more the former than the latter.

I never meant to offend anyone because i truly appreciate that lists of books read this month are offered, regardless of the form. And the time we spend sharing about the books we've read help us all add &/or eliminate titles from our TBR. How valuable is that?!

deborah


message 41: by Julie (new)

Julie (readerjules) | 1203 comments Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void - 4 stars
My review:
This was an entertaining book that occasionally had me giggling out loud. And I even learned a few things too! It covers various aspects of the difficulties of humans going out into space and all the testing and research that is done...everything from G forces to the psychology of having no privacy in a small space to things that might be more, um, unusual or taboo to go into depth on. I was reading during lunch at work and found myself wondering what my coworkers would think if they knew I was sitting there reading about the difficulties of pooping in space. But apparently going to the bathroom out there is a significant concern. Things just don't work the same without gravity

Everything That Rises Must Converge - 5 stars
A book of short stories that are pretty bleak but I loved them.

The Crucible - 3 stars
I read this for the Salem Witch Trails group read. I am interested in the topic, but this book didn't do much for me. I don't think I care for reading plays for one thing....

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life & Times - 3 stars
Very short book of modernized bedtime stories like Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs etc. Some things were funny, others were kind of overdone...like the whole vertically-challenged kind of wording. I have a few quotes in my review:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

The Eyre Affair - 3 stars
Kind of a fantasy/mystery book where people can actually go into books and interact with characters (Jane Eyre being one of them). I didn't care about the parts having to do with the main character's love life, but the rest of the book was pretty fun to read.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - 5 stars
My review:
I can't remember the last time I read a book so quickly. Usually my brain likes to multitask and think of a hundred things at once so I read fairly slowly, but this book sucked me in and I had no problems concentrating. Since Rain Man is one of my favorite movies, it is not surprising that I loved reading this. The weird combination of extreme intelligence with reliance on logic and child-like qualities and innocence makes autistic characters very interesting to me and I loved seeing inside Christopher's head. Near the beginning, the main character Christopher writes "This will not be a funny book. I cannot tell jokes because I do not understand them" but I found plenty to chuckle at....like when he says "I think people believe in heaven because they don't like the idea of dying, because they want to carry on living and they don't like the idea that other people will move into their house and put their things into the rubbish".
And of course, you gotta love someone who declares "And this shows that sometimes people want to be stupid and they do not want to know the truth".


Susan (aka Just My Op) (justmyop) | 234 comments Lots of good books listed, as always!

Julie, I had the same reaction to The Crucible that you did. I listened to it as well as reading it, and that didn't work for me. So then I checked out the DVD, thinking I might like watching it, but I have to admit that I took it back to the library unwatched due to an inexcusable lack of interest.


Susan (aka Just My Op) (justmyop) | 234 comments Oh, and after learning that The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is a short book, I put it on hold at the library and should have it Monday or Tuesday. Of course, in the meantime, other books I'd had on hold came in, ones with long waiting lists and I don't want to go back to the bottom of the list.


message 44: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments Julie wrote: "Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void - 4 stars
My review:
This was an entertaining book that occasionally had me giggling out loud. And I even learned a few th..."


Julie, this sounds good. Back in the 80s would-be astronautBrian O'Leary, whose science-based missions were scrubbed, wrote about future space stations in Project Space Station: Plans for a Permanent Manned Space Center. It's good i am not a scientist because i wouldn't have thought of even half the things mentioned in the book. Reading about them & the problems with such a venture reintroduced me to space travel, though. Thanks for the new title, i'll have to check it out so i can be a bit more up-to-date.

Julie wrote: "The Eyre Affair - 3 stars
Kind of a fantasy/mystery book where people can actually go into books and interact with characters (Jane Eyre being one of them). I didn't care about the parts having to do with the main character's love life, but the rest of the book was pretty fun to read.


I agree with your point about the love life. The books were such fun & i realize the love story was needed when i read subsequent books in the series, but it was the adventure of jumping into books which fascinated me! I was fortunate enough to see the author, Jasper Fforde, when he was promoting another book several years ago. He is as funny in person as in his novels. Thanks for that memory, Julie.

deborah


message 45: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (last edited Jun 06, 2011 08:19AM) (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 669 comments Deb, what I did this month was put the book titles and a short comment, for My(May)Books, below the link in my post. Maybe this will let you know whether you are interested in clicking on the link or not.

I find it incredibly tedious to put a link to every book, then copy and paste my already-written comment - a comment that is sitting right there at MY BOOKS in Good Reads. Seems to me to be a waste of time to have to duplicate my efforts and put those comments in a post.


message 46: by Madrano (new)

Madrano (madran) | 3732 comments JoAnn, i fully understand. It is a waste of your time, in many ways. I appreciate the effort, if that's any consolation.

I also wonder if those who share about books they are reading AS they read them, or immediately thereafter, are bothered with our month-end roundup. If so, i want you to know i appreciate those efforts, as well. In many ways it's need just seeing the titles & whether one has a theme going or not.

deborah


message 47: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments JoAnn I fully understand you not wanting to duplicate. I tend to just do the post so I definitely wouldn't want to do it twice. And I don't usually do comments as I go along unless it is something that I am suddenly crazy about.


message 48: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (last edited Jun 06, 2011 06:11PM) (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 669 comments Bobbie57 wrote: "And I don't usually do comments as I go along unless it is something that I am suddenly crazy about. ."

If I waited until the end of the month to write comments, with my "Swiss cheese for brain", I would not remember enough to write unless it had been exceptional. Your brain definitely retains more than mine!

The MY BOOKS function of GoodReads has taken the place of my handwritten book journal, in which I wrote reactions and ratings as I went along.

I think the end of the month roundup is great, no matter how anyone decides to do it.


message 49: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16273 comments JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "Deb, what I did this month was put the book titles and a short comment, for My(May)Books, below the link in my post. Maybe this will let you know whether you are interested in clicking on the link ..."
--------------------

This totally worked for me, JoAnn. Thank you !


message 50: by Alias Reader (last edited Jun 06, 2011 04:38PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 16273 comments Madrano wrote: I also wonder if those who share about books they are reading AS they read them, or immediately thereafter, are bothered with our month-end roundup. If so, i want you to know i appreciate those efforts, as well. In many ways it's need just seeing the titles & whether one has a theme going or not.

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

That's what I do. Glad you like it. :)

I hope more people join in. During the month or at the end of month round-up, either way is cool. It takes people participating to make the board work. It's a matter of give and take.


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