Denise T. (tetz) - Reviews

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Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab
Review Date: 9/27/2009


This is really a marvelous book. It is very well written, very poetic and visual (sometimes unfortuantely so). The author ties in an abundance of historial information with her present reaction. Reading might be uncomfortable for some but I found it a fascinating peek into the world of medicine and the human spirit.


The Book of Ruth
The Book of Ruth
Author: Jane Hamilton
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 586
Review Date: 11/11/2009


This book started off slowly for me. I was also uncomfortable with the characters' life situation. The characters and their lives are unpleasant but they are beautifully written. The book remindes me of how often we write people off as ignorant, ugly, unsalvageable--when what separates us from them is often an accident of birth. I felt hopeful for Ruth at the end and the possibility that her sons will escape her fate. A must read, if for no other reason than to get in touch with your own prejudices.


Born On A Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant
Review Date: 6/4/2009


Certainly a good read but not quite as good as I had expected. It provides a peek into the mind of an autistic savant but, for me, it raised many more questions than it answered. I wonder what the author's life would have been like without his supportive family. I suspect that he would not have been able to achieve quite as high a level of function and success. The book inspired me to learn more about autism.


Bright Shiny Morning
Bright Shiny Morning
Author: James Frey
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 50
Review Date: 12/25/2009
Helpful Score: 2


I don't care about the controversy over Frey's earlier books. I loved them and I loved this one as well. James Frey writes to create an atmosphere and then populate it with interesting characters. I like his style. I like his point of view. Sometimes his punctuation drives me crazy but it is a small price to pay for this book.


The Buffalo Soldier
The Buffalo Soldier
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 144
Review Date: 8/9/2011
Helpful Score: 2


Having recently been by "Before You Know Kindness," I am now solidly back on th Bohjalian bandwagon. This is exactly what I have come to expect from the author--a character driven, page turner about people you may know or be. I love that the author creates his characters with flaws that you are willing to forgive, just like we do with our friends and family. Even some of the extreme situations are totally believable.

The last third of the book filled me with dread about possible outcomes. At one point I spoke outloud to one of the characters, giving some needed advice. I won't give it away but the ending was not what I expected. It was satisfying, though, I think. If you like Chris Bohjailian, you will love this book.


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Author: Mark Haddon
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 4420
Review Date: 7/10/2009
Helpful Score: 1


I resisted reading this book because it seemed like one of those love it or hate it offerings. It didn't blow me away but was a satisfying and well written story. The point of view is unusual and I found myself appreciating a different perspective of everyday things. It is a quick read and, although many may not like it, I think everyone should give a chance.


The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next, Bk 1)
The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next, Bk 1)
Author: Jasper Fforde
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 85
Review Date: 8/11/2009


The plot is unusual and that alone kept it interesting. There is some humor and the literary references are amusing. Beyond that I found it kind of ordinary. Worth reading and I will probably try the next one in the series.


A Gate at the Stairs (Vintage Contemporaries)
A Gate at the Stairs (Vintage Contemporaries)
Author: Lorrie Moore
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.
 81
Review Date: 2/6/2011
Helpful Score: 1


Having just been--just slightly--disappointed by Waiting for Columbus, I had some doubts that I would like this one. (Reason being that I decided to read both of them because of Anne Kingman's review on Books on the Nightstand.) Unlike Columbus, this book engaged me from the first page. I found Tassie's voice to be believable, poignant and, yes, slightly annoying. I could relate to her world and just loved the writing style. I know that lots of readers here did not like this book. I did and will add to this review when I figure out why.


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, Bk 1)
Review Date: 8/23/2009


I agree with those reviewers who said that this was a slow starter. I had heard about it on Books on the Nightstand podcast, and since I usually agree with their picks....I stuck it out. Once Lisbeth joined the story, I was hooked.

Not my usual genere, I got into the intrigue and mystery. I kept thinking what a great movie it will be. Very visual. I, also, found myself referring to the family tree quite a bit. I would also have liked a map to further enable my visualization but that is a minor point. I am looking forward to the next two books in the series.


The Law of Dreams
The Law of Dreams
Author: Peter Behrens
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 9/24/2009
Helpful Score: 2


Very sad and nicely written book about the famine and its aftermath. The images are so vivid, I kept wondering when the movie would be made. The book was so interesting that I am now reading more about the Irish potato famine. The book is certainly worth reading.


A Lion Among Men (Wicked Years, Bk 3)
A Lion Among Men (Wicked Years, Bk 3)
Author: Gregory Maguire
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 139
Review Date: 11/27/2009
Helpful Score: 8


Everytime I start one of Gregory Maguire's books, I am reminded that his style takes some getting used to. Once with the flow, however, I am happily on a new adventure. I loved Wicked, and liked Son of a Witch and A Lion Among Men is a worthy addition to the series. I would agree that nothing is resolved in the books. Questions are posed that I expect--and hope--will be answered in the next installment. That is how the original OZ books struck me, as well. Each book a little more about the old characters and a slew of new ones to look forward to learning more. Anyone who has read the series so far, and enjoyed it, is probably asking what exactly did happen to the Scarecrow after he left the limelight....or was it the Scarecrow at all?


Lost
Lost
Author: Gregory Maguire
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.7/5 Stars.
 296
Review Date: 12/25/2009
Helpful Score: 4


I am a Gregory Maguire fan. As I wrote in other reviews, it usually takes me a few dozen pages until I get into the flow of whichever book that I am reading by him. Unfortunately, I never found that that place in Lost. Perhaps most disappointing was that the tie to Dickens and Scrooge is extremely loose. I wonder if he made it just to bring in readers who loved the concept of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and Wicked. If so, he set us up for a disappontment.

The story itself is okay but I would have liked it better without going into it with such high expectations.


Madness: A Bipolar Life
Madness: A Bipolar Life
Author: Marya Hornbacher
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 31
Review Date: 6/22/2010
Helpful Score: 3


If you, or anyone around you, has lived with mental illness, this book will ring very true. I think it is an amazing account of an accomplished woman who is living with bipolar disorder. Marya Hornbacher does not play down the devastating impact of her madness. Yet, I grew to like her and enjoy her perspective on things. My only warning--don't start the book unless you have some time to sit and read it. It ruined me for all other activities until I finished.


Martha Peake: A Novel of the Revolution
Martha Peake: A Novel of the Revolution
Author: Patrick McGrath
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 3/21/2010


This book is full of potentially interesting characters. The story has its twists and turns and there is a nice historical feel to the narrative. That said, I was disappointed in the book. I did not come away feeling any real empathy for the characters. Overall, the book is a good way to pass sometime but it left me feeling a little cheated out of the real possiblities this story offered.


Modoc : The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived
Modoc : The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived
Author: Ralph Helfer
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 79
Review Date: 11/16/2010


Once you get past the inelegant writing and, surely, inflated adventures, the heart of this book is a warm and touching story. Anyone who can love an animal and appreciate the unique bond that can exist between animals and their people can find something to like here. If you are looking for great literature, look elsewhere.


The Normals : A Novel
The Normals : A Novel
Author: David Gilbert
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 9/16/2008


Unlike the other reviewer, I enjoyed this book. It grabbed from the first page, read standing in the bookstore. I appreciated the humor and observations of all too human nature. Not great literature but a good, solid slice of life.


Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities
Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities
Author: Alexandra Robbins
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 266
Review Date: 2/10/2010


I had not heard about the controversy surrounding this book but when I picked it up, it looked interesting. I am not a sorority member--and actually never understood the entire concept. I did not find the book to be unbiased, even though I mostly agreed when the author started letting her's poke through. I did not find the book to be interesting, either. It was a chore to keep the characters straight because I did not find them interesting or engaging. Overall, I found it boring to read. Yes, I admit I was looking for a sensational slam against sority life. The author did make some important points about women and self-esteem but she could have accomplished that in a two page essay. I am happy to pass this on to someone who might get more out of it.


Secrets of Eden
Secrets of Eden
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 57
Review Date: 5/30/2011


My last Bohjalian book was Before You Know Kindness and I flat out didn't like it on all sorts of levels. I had been eagerly awaiting Secrets of Eden and decided I would at least give it a try. I am so glad that I did.

Here we have a tale of spousal abuse and violence told from the perspective of four narrators. In his usual fashion, as things go along, Bohjalian has us questioning the things we are reading. That tidy little package, all wrapped up with a bow, may not be what it seems. But who do we believe. A sub story about a famous new age author who is obsessed with angels did get a little tedious but I truly understand why she was there and what we can learn from her. I can't say the ending was a surprise because I expected just that around page 192 but I wasn't SURE until the end.

The book raises a lot of questions about love, friendship and accountability. It was a quick read, perfect for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. It was not as special as The Double Bind but much, much more to my liking than Before you Know Kindness.


Sharp Objects
Sharp Objects
Author: Gillian Flynn
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 89
Review Date: 6/30/2008


This book arrived while I was watering my plants on the front porch. I opened it decided to read a few pages. Except when I was interrupted by a hungry roomate who wanted to eat dinner, I kept reading until I was finished.

This book hooked me on page one. It is a very well written, sorid tale. It provides a sharp look at family dynamics, hopefully not your "typical" family. I trouble is, I think the issues revealed are far more present than we would like to believe.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves engaging writing and has a high tolerance for emotional pain.


Shoe Addicts Anonymous (Shoe Addict, Bk 1)
Shoe Addicts Anonymous (Shoe Addict, Bk 1)
Author: Beth Harbison
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 220
Review Date: 11/14/2011


A friend gave this to me while I was recuperating from surgery. AND because I love shoes!!!! It was a quick, breezy and funny read. Finished it in one day and was never bored.


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