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My Reading List - July 2013
Currently Reading -
Currently Listening to -
Last Edited on: 8/1/13 12:29 AM ET - Total times edited: 53
I am reading The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp. It's delightful!! And of course I am hearing Julie Andrews' voice narrating as I turn the pages of this first-person account.
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True Porn Clerk Stories by Ali Davis - A book of tales from a girl who worked in a video store that was known mainly for it's porn section. I was expecting mostly humorous anecdotes about the nasty things porn guys do but got mostly her opinions on whether porn is degrading to women and why men watch porn. What's funny is she claims that writing is her real profession and she just did this to supplement her freelance income but it is terribly written. If she spent more than a week putting these 'diary entries' together I'd be surprised. Apparently she was publishing them somewhere as a column because she made an occasional comment about letters received on one of her stories. The anecdotes that did make it in were rarely that funny or interesting. If it weren't a short book and I wasn't stubborn I probably would have binned it.
Twitter Wit: Brilliance in 40 Characters Or Less by Nick Douglas - A compilation of amusing tweets. No commentary, just the tweets. A little boring.
Every Day Is An Atheist Holiday by Penn Jillette - audio - a bit of a memoir, tales about life and show biz and being an atheist. He is a very smart man and I wish I knew him. Entertaining but intellectual. Perfect. Audiobook.
The Princess Of Burundi by Kjell Eriksson - He writes a bit too much philosophising for my taste but the stories are really good.
Dry by Augusten Buroughs - audio - Excellent telling of his struggle to get sober. What made him decide to get clean, the process of rehab, a rough relapse, and the struggle of keeping it up. Addiction can be hard for someone who has never felt it to understand but he makes it pretty clear.
The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman - Nice fantasy story about a little boy and a fantastic family down the lane. A malevilent spirit starts causing trouble in the area and the little boy is accidently caught up in the other world when a magical little girl tries to stop the incidents. Told as a big flashback, the boy is a grown man at the start and end of the book, and unsure if any of it actually happened......
Sudden Death by William X Kienzle - If you are a massive football fan or a hardcore Catholic you'll love this book. If you're a mystery fan, not so much. Long, long passages of football descriptions, in fact the first 10% were only the play by play of a football game, and long, long pasages of bible quotes and the rules of the Catholic church. I kinda hated it.
The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie - audio - Mystery tale about a man thrust into a world of spies and murder kind of by accident. There is a little bit of Hugh's humor in the lines of the MC, he can be a bit sarcastic and witty, but it is not a humorous book.
Torch by Lin Anderson - Quick read story about a couple of arson investigators who become the targets of a particularly twisted arsonist. It wants to be a complex story but it stays simple, it unfolds easily and goes quickly, stays interesting. I read it in about 4 hours even though it's 240 pages. A little gruesome, I don't like when they hurt animals, but it's a well moving story. No boring parts and not a lot of philosophising.
I Am Spock by Leonard Nimoy - audio - This is a second memoir, no life history but a memoir of his life playing Spock. Mostly about the character's developmemnt and stories of how tv shows and movies came about. Good book, informative if you're a Trek fan. Even if you aren't it's informative about the process but while he has had quite a bit more career besides ST it does focus on Spock.
Let Sleeping Vets Lie by James Herriott - audio - Tales from the British vet's life, this volume covering the period when he woos and wins his wife Helen.
World War Z by Max Brooks - Audiobook, read by a full cast. Henry Rollins, Carl and Rob Reiner, Alan Alda, Martin Scorsese, Nathan Fillion, and a ton more celebrities. This is written documentary interview style, with people telling their stories making up the history of a world-wide zombie war. It's a study of the morality, the politics, the meaning, of everything that happened when the world was thrown into a crisis. It's harsh and judgemental. Most of the stories are about how people failed to retain their "humanity" and the worst that comes out when we are forced to fight for our survival. The actions of the various governments are especially disected. They don't come out well. Much more a sociological study than a horror story, but a very good one. A lot of detail is put across in these stories, and it paints a full picture. Excellent book.
The Ice Cage by Olivier Nilsson-Julien - Kindle book only as far as I can tell. The story is about a man who travels back to his native Finnland from London when his father dies and when he gets there he realizes things don't add up in the death. He ends up uncovering a mad man's plot to "clean the scum" out of the small island that was a part of Sweden until it was given to Finnland and has become poluted by immigrants and lost it's Swedish way. He ends up in a long chase sequence that goes on and on, with a female police officer who is just about the only authority figure not under the thumb of the mad man. They both do such stupid things, prolonging their run, that by the halfway point I was hoping they would get killed. Pretty badly written and a far-fetched plot. It is a stinker.
Junky by William S Burroughs - audio - story of how he started doing drugs and how he quit. Nothing else, just his drug use history. He does a pretty good job of describing the process and why he did it without sentiment or drama. Just the facts maam. Ends on an open note, he has quit heroin and coke and drinking but someone has just told him about a new drug that facilitates telepathy......
Hello Kitty Must Die by Angela Choi - Fiona Yu is an American girl with Chinese parents who want her to fit into the life of a perfect Chinese woman but that's the last thing Fiona wants. Between her parents interferance and working 90 hours a week as a lawyer she has enough issues in her life without the added issue of reconnecting with the love of her life, who she hasn't seen since childhood. This isn't a love story though, her man has now as he did then a very dark side. They remain best friends and while nothing is said outright some of the people bugging Fiona conveniently end up dead. Then she helps a few out of the way. This can only end up badly. A debut novel, this is an excellent story and I am looking forward to what she comes up with next.
Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen - audio - A former cop (he loses his badge when he shoves a car vac up his girlfriend's husband's ass when he overhears the husband call her a whore during a fight) ends up in a twisted web of crime and corruption and murder and a monkey between the islands of the FL Keys and the Bahamas, a lot of danger and even more humor. This would make a great movie.
The Man Who Went Up In Smoke by Sjowall & Wahloo - audio - Swedish mystery about a man who goes missing. I'm not crazy about these writers, I find them very dry and dull. They have good stories but I don't really enjoy the style. I have them though so I read them. Or in this case listen to them.
Murder At The Savoy by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo - audio - A little better, this one had a more complex plot and didn't go where you tought it was going.
A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch - Victorian mystery, I enjoyed it very much. Our MC is a society man, rich and idle, who solves crimes for fun. This is the first book in a series and I think it should continue to grow this character and his relationships quite well. I found the story interesting although there wasn't much tension. It unfolds calmly and politely for the most part, there is one minor attempt at violence but it doesn't go very far. Almost a cozy.
Animal Magnetism by Rita Mae Brown - audio - A memoir told in stories of the animals in her life. It was ok but I didn't like the reader, she sounded like a stuck up snob, and that put me off the book. It wasn't the author, so I tried to stay objective, but a bad reader can really mess up a book.
Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell - First of the Wallender series, one of the better ones. Stays interesting except for some tedium near the end. The writing is a little sloppy but not bad for a first.
I Am A Genius Of Unspeakable Evil... by Josh Lieb - audio - YA book, it was kinda fun but pretty out there. A middle school genius who pretends he is "special" (and has done since he decided it would benefit him if people underestimated him at 2 days old) decides he wants to win the class president election. He is the 4th richest person in the world, using a dummy adult as his proxy, and has a staff of hundreds at his disposal. He contacts them through sensors in his teeth so he can bark commands to them at any time. He has jet fighters and bodyguards at his disposal. No regard for believable technology, there is always a conveniently placed camera, microphone, or staff member. I thought it was fun though, thinking of the posibilities. It ends on a nice note of course, but not too sappy. I think kids would enjoy it as much as I did, if not more. Every kid can relate to feeling powerless and ostracized.
The Short Stories of Summerset Maugham vol 1 - audio - Stories about life and love, the human condition.
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In Spite of Everything Susan Gregory Thomas
The Bonfire of Berlin Helga Schneider
Ask Me Why I Hurt Randy Christensen MD
The Violets of March Sarah Jio
All My Patients Kick and Bite Jeff Wells DVM
Forbidden Lessons in a Kabul Guesthouse Suraya Sadeed
Billy Ray's Farm Larry Brown
Don't Breathe a Word Jennifer McMahon
No Place Like Home Brook Berman
Faith Jennifer Haugh
The House I Loved Tatiana de Rosnay
Giant George Dave Nasser
A La Cart Hillary Carlip
Waiting Debra Ginsberg
How to Live with a Neurotic Cat Owner Stephen Baker
Last Edited on: 7/31/13 7:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 18
Books finished this month:
A Ruling Passion by Judith Michaels. It took me a while to finish this book, not only because it's over 600 pages, but because I got really tired of one of the main characters, Sybille. She is one megaegotist, completely amoral, with absolutely no redeeming qualities. Definitely someone you love to hate. The story was involved and interesting except when it came to Sybille and the authors kept bringing all of her behind-the scenes schemes into it. I'm sure some of it was necessary, but by the end of the book the reader didn't care one whit about what happened to her, nothing could be bad enough to pay her back for all she has done.
High on a Hill by Dorothy Garlock --- Dorothy Garlock knows how to bring the life and times of her stories to the readers. This book is set in the 1920s after WWI and during the time of prohibition. Annabel Lee's father is a bootlegger bringing in illegal whiskey from Canada, but wanting to get out of the business and find a permanent home for his daughter and himself. What follows is a tale of love, deception and ultimately, tragedy. Always an interesting read of the times of a by-gone era.
The Associate by Phillip Margolin --- This is a real page-turner with lots of twists and turns in the plot. Margolin knows how to build the suspense while keeping the ending a surprise. Daniel Ames, an associate in a powerful law firm, is accused of murder in the death of his boss. When others die he's drawn into finding not only that killer, but who else is involved. I read this book in one day....could not put it down.
Cat on the Edge by Shirley Rousseau Murphy --- This certainly isn't what I expected when I started reading this book, but I found I really enjoyed it after I got into it. Part mystery, part fantasy [cats who talk, think and act like humans and a woman who can shape-shift into a cat]. But it was a fun read and I will read more of the series and see how it goes.
The Color of Death by Elizabeth Lowell --- Kate Chandler is a gem cutter trying to find out who killed her half-brother while he was a courier transporting sapphires she had cut for a client. Sam Groves is an FBI special agent assigned to guarding a gem show after he has stepped on too many higher-ups toes. When he and Kate meet, sparks fly and then they work together to find the killer. A fun read.
Honeysuckle Summer by Sherryl Woods --- I needed a fun, quick read on a hot summer day and this fit the bill. The last of the Sweet Magnolia series, this one deals with Raylene Hammond, a woman who's left an abusive marriage, settled in Serenity, SC and has let her fear cause her to become agoraphobic. How she learns to deal with it while finding a new love makes for an interesting read.
The Hunt by Allison Brennan --- 2nd in 'The Predator' series, this one deals with a serial killer in Bozeman, Montana whose killing college co-eds. One of his former victims, the only one who escaped, and the FBI are searching for him. Very intense plot, kind of gruesome, but well-written.
Writ of Execution by Perri O'Shaughnessy --- One of the Nina Reilly series. In this one Nina has a client who has just won a multi-million dollar slots jackpot. What happens next leads to murder and court cases. Very interesting to learn about the gaming industry in Tahoe, Nevada. O'Shaughnessy really knows how to keep the reader's interest.
Letting Go by Pamela Morsi --- A really delightful book about 4 generations of women, from mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, Wilma to little 4-year-old Jet. Relationships are tested when Ellen Jameson, her daughter, Amber and granddaughter, Jet have to move in with Wilma who is about to be evicted from her home. How they cope, grow and learn to accept each other and move on makes for heart-warming reading. Pamela Morsi is a new author to me, but I will defintely look for more of her books.
Black Hills by Nora Roberts --- One of Nora Roberts better books. Interesting plot, likable characters [for the most part!] and an exciting ending. I especially liked it because it was set in the area where I grew up, made it more interesting. Lil Chance has a wildlife refuge in the Black Hills of South Dakota. One man wants to stop her and he will stop at nothing, including murder.
Currently reading: Dark Sky by Carla Neggers
Books read in 2013--- Jan... 13 Feb...11 March...9 April...5 May...7 June...6 July...10
Last Edited on: 8/1/13 10:06 AM ET - Total times edited: 11
Finished Shades of Earl Grey by Laura Childs
Reading Embers by Laura Bickle
Next up, The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton - reminded about it by the other thread in the Hidden Gems forum.
Sloggiing thru Anathem by Noel Stephenson. My brother loved this book and said, 'you gotta read it!'. I am now on page 250 out of about 1,000 and it better get
I just finished The Last-Original-Wife by D B Frank on my kindle and I really enjoyed it. I was working my way thru some old stuff on my TBR when this new release became avaible from the library, so I took a break from my plan and read it. I also finished Cell by S King in audio, it was okay. Now I am reading The Proable Future in print.
Last Edited on: 7/9/13 2:35 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Finished "The Pinochet Files". Bit of a tough read but lots of resourced information on the States involvement in Chile during the Pinochet reign.
Reading "The Picture of Dorian Gray" now, love it so far.
I'm visiting family in Illinois right now, and hit a local used bookstore with my mom. On the 50 cent shelf was PHANTOM by Susan Kay. I had never heard of it, but the plot about how Erik became The Phantom intrigued me. So far I'm pleasantly surprised! Great plotting, no purple prose and wonderful suspense and atmosphere- I recommend this as a great escape from a hot, noisy summer. On the plane I read Patton Oswalt's Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, which was great but so short I'm glad I only paid $5 used for it.
I've been in a big comic book mood, and when it comes to collected trades I've recently polished off The Sixth Gun by Cullen Bunn (recommended to those who enjoy Hellboy/B.P.R.D/Jonah Hex, this book is really cool) and Unwritten volume 4 (which is about writers and people actually entering books; a stunning series for book lovers.) I'm reading Fairest Volume 1: Wide Awake by Bill Willingham (I'm a HUGE Fables fan, but this has been harder to get into) and Planetary Volume 1: All Over the World and Other Stories by Warren Ellis.
Last Edited on: 7/12/13 12:42 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Finished "picture of dorian gray". Great book although it dragged a little in the middle. Attempted to read "Think and Grow Rich" but put it down after 44 pages. Am now reading "Blood Money" by T. Christian Miller.
Finished: Every Secret Thing~Laura Lippman: Enjoyed this one on my Kindle, well written twisty mystery which reveals human nature as opposite of whst it appears. Kept me guessing!
Started: Kitchen Boy~ Robert Alexander: My second time I am readimg this, this time for my book group.
Midway: Mission to Paris~Alan Furst: Engaging story about the underground world in Paris during WW2.
Midnights Children~Salman Rushdie: Florid wild tale of Indian twins born at the moment of India's independence form Britian.
The Paris Wife~ Paula McClain: In the voice of Hemingway's first wife, very well written story about thier lie in Paris,
Toronto and back to Paris, including famous stuff about Gertrude Stien, skiing, struggle and the Bulls at Pamplona, loving it !
Next: The Museum of Innocence~Orhan Pamuk.
On My Kindle: The Power of Three~Laura Lippman
The Hamlet~ Wm. Faulkner
Expensive People~Joyce Carol Oates:
Last Edited on: 7/19/13 3:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 5
I just finished The Color of Light, and I really liked it. But I have read so many books set at the beach this summer about woman with troubled marriages, that they are all starting to run together. Of the group, The Last Original Wife may have been my favorite this month. I think I will do something HF next to change it up.
I was up all night reading another book by Catherine Ryan Hyde titled Walk Me Home. Her characters are always in a world of hurt and the two main characters in this one are no different. I ordered a couple more of her's and will keep reading.