Readers and Reading discussion

note: This topic has been closed to new comments.
19 views
Monthly "READS" > February, 2012 reads

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
post here about last month's books


message 2: by thewanderingjew (last edited Feb 29, 2012 05:00PM) (new)

thewanderingjew | 9 comments JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "post here about last month's books"

The Cow in the Parking Lot A Zen Approach to Overcoming Anger by Leonard Scheff
The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano
Garfield Food for Thought His Thirteenth Book (Garfield Classics) by Jim Davis
The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Sacred Trash The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza by Adina Hoffman

A Walk Across the Sun by Corban Addison

The Lake Shore Limited by Sue Miller

Three Weeks in December by Audrey Schulman

Calico Joe by John Grisham
The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht


message 3: by Schmerguls (new)

Schmerguls | 257 comments What I Read in February 2012

4901. Scottsboro A Novel by Ellen Feldman (read 3 Feb 2012) I read the best book on the Scottsboro case when on 7 Dec 1969 I read Scottsboro, by Dan T. Carter. I also read Clarence Norris' autobiography on 12 Jan 2002, and on 29 Sep 2009 I read Scottsboro and Its Legacy, by James R. Acker. I have now read this 2008 novel, based on the case but with some fictional characters. The author appears to have studied the actual trial transcript but the story revolves around Ruby Bates, one of the two women accusers--the one who recanted--and a fictional reporter, who befriended her. Like most novels based on fact one is not sure what is fictional. What Alabama did in the case is so abominable--but it is neat that George Wallace (of all people) freed the last living Scottsboro boy. I wonder what older Alabamians think of the course the State followed. It is great that in my lifetime something has improved as dramatically as the condition of blacks in the South.

4902. A Pair of Blue Eyes, by Thomas Hardy (read 9 Feb 2012) When on 25 Dec 2007 I read Claire Tomalin's superlative biography of Thomas Hardy I said to myself that I should read this novel, published in 1873. So now I have. It is not as well-written as his masterpieces but it held one's interest and it told an appealing story. A clergyman's daughter decides to elope, goes to London with her boyfriend, Stephen Smith, changes her mind, and returns home. Stephen then goes to India , and Stephen's best friend meets the girl, Elfride, and they fall in love but when said friend, Frank Harris, hears of the trip with Stephen he decides she is morally compromised and won't marry her. Stephen comes back from India, finds Elfride with Frank and figures he has lost out. When Stephen finds out Frank did not marry Elfride Stephen renews his quest and when Frank finds out how innocent the trip actually was Frank also seeks to renew his quest. There are many dramatic events and these make the book often exciting, but the ending was not satisfactory to me. This is the 10th Hardy novel I've read, and it was better than many modern novels, though not as good as Hardy's best, such as The Mayor of Casterbridge (read 27 Dec 1964), and of course not as good as Hardy's best: Tess of the D'Urbervilles (read 8 Dec 1964).

4903. The Right Stuff, by Tom Wolfe (read 14 Feb 2012) Back on 24 March 2011 when I read John Glenn's memoir I decided I should read this book so I now have. It tells the story of the first seven astronauts, the most famed of whom is John Glenn. It is written like fiction but so far as I know is factually accurate. But it is not written like history and of course has no footnotes, etc. Besides dealing extensively with the first seven astronauts and the Mercury project the book also relates a lot about test pilots of experimental airplanes--including a gripping account of Chuck Yeager's ordeal when he had to eject from a plane flying over 70,000 feet up. So there is considerable excitement in parts of the book but I did not always find reading it enthralling, probably because of my deficiency in appreciating the technical description of the astounding feats described therein.

4904. Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane (read 19 Feb 2012) This is the first book I have read by Lehane. It was published in 2003 and I think is the most highly famed of his novels. It opens with Teddy and Chuck (Federal Marshals) going to an island near Boston to see why a patient at the hospital for the criminally insane has disappeared. Teddy and Chuck have all kinds of strange events happen to them, and it develops Teddy wants to go to the island to kill a guy there who burned down his home, killing his wife. Well that's the way the book develops but then it is suggested that Teddy himself is crazy and himself killed his wife. So one is not sure who the bad guys are, though earlier it appears that the guy running the hospital, Dr. Cauley is a bad guy. It is never definitely established who is right but one must conclude Teddy is off his rocker. I did not find the book satisfying because of the ambiguous story line. A book with a puzzle, where fiction, which is never definitively solved, is not my idea of a good story.

4905. Pity Is Not Enough, by Josephine Herbst (read 24 Feb 2012) On May 25, 1985, I read a biography of the author of this book, who was born in Sioux City on Mar 5, 1892. I suppose it is the only biography of a writer I ever read before I read anything by the writer. . I have now read this 1933 novel of hers. It is based to some extent on the author's family. It begins right after the Civil War when the eldest son, Joe, of a family called Trexler, goes to Georgia at about age 19 and is involved with the carpetbagger regime then in power in Georgia. Joe does stupid things--using his position as a clerk to get money from the State. These dumb acts haunt him for years as he seeks to avoid prosecution (and does) , There are two other boys in the family, Aaron and David, and three girls, Catherine, Hortense, and Anne. The book tells of their ups and downs (mostly downs) and the book kind of sprawls. All the family have bad things happen to them, but they generally are loyal to each other. The book is the first of a trilogy, but whether I will read the other books therein remains to be seen. The writing is not great but one does keep reading and the leftist ideology of the author in not obtrusive. The main reason I read the book is that the author was born in Sioux
City and had an interesting if unhappy life.

4906. Field Gray A Bernie Gunther Novel by Philip Kerr (read 27 Feb 2012) I never heard of this British author, but he has written seven novels about the character in this book, That character is a German guy who went through World War I, was a detective in 1931 in Berlin, The book jumps around from 1931 , 1940, 1946, and 1954--I would much have preferred a straight chronological account. Gunther is not a Nazi but while in the German Army did evil things--but not as evil as the Nazis. The book begins in 1954 with Gunther in Cuba. He is soon captured by Americans and sent to Europe. There are episodes at various times, all involving Erich Mielke, who was a real person and was an East German Communist chief (1907-2000) from 1957 to 1989. Since the evil guys in the book are real, some get their comeuppance and some don't, depending on reality. The book is sprightly enough, and describes interesting events , but with the main character of dubious morality I cannot say the book is a good one. I like to have some good guys in a book, and do not like to have Americans to be portrayed as evil unless they really are. I probably should not have read this book before reading an earlier book about the central character. But I don't think I care enough for Bernie Gunther to read more about him,


Carolyn (in SC) C234D | 123 comments Schmerguls wrote: "What I Read in February 2012

4901. Scottsboro A Novel by Ellen Feldman (read 3 Feb 2012) I read the best book on the Scottsboro case when on 7 Dec 1969 I read Scottsboro, by Dan T. Carter. I ..."


Of all the Dennis Lehane novels that I have read, SHUTTER ISLAND is my least favorite. I've read all of his earlier books, and liked them very much, found them gripping stories, although I'm not sure that they would be your cup of tea, Schmerguls, because of the language.


message 5: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 211 comments Carolyn (in SC) C234D wrote: "Schmerguls wrote: "What I Read in February 2012

Of all the Dennis Lehane novels that I have read, SHUTTER ISLAND is my least favorite. I've read all of his earlier books, and liked them very much, found them gripping stories, although I'm not sure that they would be your cup of tea, Schmerguls, because of the language."


I thought Shutter Island was an interesting experiment that was not totally successful. I did admire the author's willingness to try something new though and not just write the same book over and over.

Enjoyed the movie version of The Right Stuff but thought the book was even better.


message 6: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 211 comments thewanderingjew wrote: "JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "post here about last month's books"

The Cow in the Parking Lot A Zen Approach to Overcoming Anger by Leonard Scheff
The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano
..."



Rules of Civility was one of my favorite audios of 2011. Really enjoyed the story and the narration by Rebecca Lowman was top notch.


message 7: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 211 comments Had a good month quality wise. Here are my February reads:

Top Reads

The Dead Yard (Michael Forsythe #2) by Adrian McKinty The Dead Yard
Adrian McKinty
Well written but very violent. Michael Forsythe is coerced into infiltrating an IRA cell in Boston that seems to have a bunch of misfits and rejects as members. Listened to the audio version which was narrated by Gerard Doyle who was excellent.

The Defection of A.J. Lewinter A Novel of Duplicity by Robert Littell The Defection of A.J. Lewinter: A Novel of Duplicity
Robert Littell
A great cold war spy novel. The book had plenty of intrigue, competing motivations, and a darkly cynical tone that I really enjoyed. I listened to the audio version which was narrated by Scott Brick.

Good Reads

The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie The Body in the Library
Agatha Christie
I always enjoy Miss Marple. When the Bantry's find a dead body in their library, Miss Marple agrees to help find the murderer. I listened to the audio version read by Stephanie Cole.

Let It Bleed (Inspector Rebus, #7) by Ian Rankin Let It Bleed
Ian Rankin
Another enjoyable entry in this series. Rebus can sometimes be a bit wearing and the plot became mired down in conspiracies but everything came together in a nicely done ending.

Gypsy in Amber by Martin Cruz Smith Gypsy in Amber
Martin Cruz Smith
A debut novel that packed a lot into a small amount of pages. Published back in 1971 this book explored antiques and gypsy culture along with providing a suspenseful plot.

Shaq Uncut My Story by Shaquille O'Neal Shaq Uncut: My StoryShaquille O'Neal
While not much of a Shaq fan during most of his career I've kind of come around on him and found this book about his life pretty interesting. Listened to the audio version which was performed by Dion Graham who really had Shaq's cadence and tone down perfectly.


JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
The Cove: A Novel by Ron Rash 5 stars
Another amazing book by this outstanding author. He writes of lost souls and of tentative and short-lived happiness in a place said to be cursed. Never a spare word in his books....but he tells a story it would take a lesser writer 500 pages to tell. The writing is flawless. I read this in one day!

Aftertaste: A Novel in Five Courses by Meredith Mileti 4 stars
Really liked this foodie book... Especially liked the part in Pittsburgh, a real foodie city. Kept me reading late a couple of nights.

The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy 5 stars
Excellent story. I am obsessed with all things "Guernsey" and loved this book. Leroy tells a good story, concisely and without a lot of frou-frou to detract from the main line. Characters were well-developed and realistic. I do think Vivienne took an awful chance, doing what she did.

Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner 3 stars
Four women, four good stories, one thread tying them together. An entertaining story that was a quick read. A few too many coincidences.

Sharpshooter by Nadia Gordon 3.5 stars
I always like books with chefs or restaurants or food in them....this had all three plus wine/Napa Valley, one of my favorite places. A quick and easy read. A bit of a surprise at the end.

I agree with another reader who said that the character descriptions were lacking, especially that of Sunny, the narrator. And Sunny becoming a "private investigator" was a bit of a stretch. I will try #2 in this series.


message 9: by Reeves (new)

Reeves Honey | 142 comments Since Downton ended I have been slogging through the massive tome,Fall Of Giants. It has kinda relieved my Downton withdrawal. I like the book when it deals with the human interest stories of all the characters. Not so much the battle scenes and a little too much of peasants being killed in the streets of Russia a la The Russian Revolution!


message 10: by Alison (new)

Alison Wilson | 3 comments My February Reads (the first time I've done this, what a brilliant idea!) -

"Constance" by Franny Moyle.
This is a biography of the wife of Oscar Wilde. One of the great things about this book is that Constance was an interesting person in her own right.For instance, she campaigned to have women's fashion changed to looser dresses so that they wouldn't have to wear the damaging corsets. Her relationship with Oscar Wilde, the trials and Constance fighting for what was best for her two sons, are all well covered. By the end, the reader gets a real sense of what Constance was really like and what she had to go through. An excellent read.


"Curiosities in Literature" by John Sutherland.

This is exactly what it says it is in the title. Some "curiosities" are more interesting than others, Samuel Johnson for instance, saying that "I mind my belly very studiously, and very carefully, for I look upon it, that he who does not mind his belly will hardly mind anything else." This is not as good as John Sutherland's other books on literary puzzles (such as how the Cratchit family manage to cook the enormous turkey in time to eat it some time on Christmas day).

"Chapman's odyssey" by Paul Bailey

This is a bit different! Central character is in hospital awaiting test results. He has imaginary conversations with, mostly, his dead mother, but also his dead dad and various figures in his past. At times funny and moving, very good.


message 11: by Meredith (new)

Meredith | 54 comments Only one book in February

The Scent of Rain and LightningbyNancy Pickard

Rating 4/5

I enjoyed this book. The characters were well drawn and the storyline interesting


message 12: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
Meredith wrote: "Only one book in February

The Scent of Rain and LightningbyNancy Pickard

Rating 4/5

I enjoyed this book. The characters were well drawn and the storyline int..."


If you only read one book, it was a GOOD ONE!!!


back to top
This topic has been frozen by the moderator. No new comments can be posted.