Cis H. (californiadreamin) - , - Reviews

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365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life
Review Date: 8/18/2014


Very inspiring book! An easy and enjoyable read. Kralik is really at the end of his rope, living in a small apartment, his law firm failing, his love life on the rocks.....life sucks. He decides to show appreciation to clients who have paid their bills, friends who have shown him kindness, employees who have worked so hard for him. These thank you notes are hand written, in this age of emails and texts. Gradually his life improves, more clients are paying their bills, his sons repay loans, his attitude toward life is cheerier. It's a very uplifting book. Even inspired me to write a few thank you notes myself.


700 Sundays
700 Sundays
Author: Billy Crystal
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 93
Review Date: 4/11/2008
Helpful Score: 1


Great book! I felt like I was listening to Billy instead of reading his words. I could hear his intonation, his voice was in my head during the entire reading (one day)! And how profound to put your time with your father in perspective with Sundays. That was the only day the whole family spent together-a time they SHARED each other. My favorite passage was when Billy stated, "Time is a bastard. When you're sad there's too much of it, and when you're happy, there's not enough." This story reminds all of us of how precious time is and how we must not waste it. We only have a limited number of Sundays.


Aches and Pains
Aches and Pains
Author: Maeve Binchy
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 10
Review Date: 5/7/2016


This is not a novel, just a cute little book on how to deal with being in the hospital, and visiting patients in the hospital. It's light, funny in a few spots, nothing memorable except now I know if I ever need a hip replacement, it's a breeze....ha-ha. I'm happy to pass this book on to next reader.


Alice I Have Been
Alice I Have Been
Author: Melanie Benjamin
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 52
Review Date: 9/12/2016


Had a hard time getting into this book, almost quit reading a few times but based on reviews I kept at it. Am so glad I did as the story finally became interesting and believable. It is, of course, historical fiction so while most of the info is factual, there is a bit of fiction involved. Very well written. And I appreciated Melanie Benjamin's explanation of how she structured the story and filled in the blanks.


Alice Let's Eat: Further Adventures of a Happy Eater (On Food)
Alice Let's Eat: Further Adventures of a Happy Eater (On Food)
Author: Calvin Trillin
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 5/6/2014


Having read Trillin's tribute to his wife, Alice, I thought this book might be as funny and perhaps as tender. It was somewhat enjoyable, and Alice plays a major part in the stories, but I was amazed, nay, appalled at the amounts of food this man would eat in a day. I felt as though my arteries were clogging as I read his daily intake; so much so that it distracted from the pleasure of reading as I was so concerned about his health! Overall an enjoyable book, and if I EVER want to throw caution to the wind, I have some new restaurants to try when traveling.


American Adulterer
American Adulterer
Author: Jed Mercurio
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 1.8/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 7/8/2012


I don't understand why the author claimed with was 'fiction' while telling readers who he was writing about throughout the book. His constant reference to "the subject" was so annoying, I had to put the book down several times in order to read something more enjoyable. I'd pick it up again, trying to get in to the story, but finally gave up. I was a teen when JFK was President, so am familiar with many news items of that time; even the speculation of his affairs, but I was so disgusted by JFK's apparent sense of entitlement to have sex because he 'needed' it, I just couldn't finish reading it. What a despicable husband and father. Jackie deserved better. This book was not worth my time.


American Story: A Lifetime Search for Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things
Review Date: 8/19/2017


I looked forward to read this uplifting book, especially in these tumultuous times of riots and picketing. The true stories are enlightening but Dotson's writing style needs help. Very choppy, little distinction between one story and the next so got confusing more than a few times. Overall, these wonderful Americans give hope that our country is full of truly caring individuals.


An Underachiever's Diary
An Underachiever's Diary
Author: Benjamin Anastas
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 2/5/2013


What a peculiar little book. Very well written, this diary starts in the womb. Story of twins, the writer being the underachiever with his brother being the overachiever. Quick read. Gives you an inside look at people we've all met in life that just don't seem to fit in, don't meld with the masses. The kind of person you walk away from thinking, "I wonder what went wrong? What made him/her just give up on their life?" Surprisingly, it was not depressing; instead, it made me open my mind to being more accepting of the losers I've encountered, giving them credit for coping with such a debilitating lifestyle. As Dorothy Parker said, "What fresh Hell is this?"


And When She Was Good
And When She Was Good
Author: Laura Lippman
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 29
Review Date: 6/24/2014


Another gripping Lippman novel that kept the pages turning! Story of abused teen who turns to men for acceptance and love, and the world's oldest profession. Helen parlays this into a business that affords her a 'normal' life for her son. But she's feels she owes her mentor and that financial, ethical obligation may bring her death. The story twists and turns with interesting pieces of Helen's life revealed. And I won't spoil the ending, just make sure you read to the last page!


Angry Fat Girls: 5 Women, 500 Pounds and a Year of Losing It ... Again
Review Date: 8/27/2012


I adhere to Nancy Pearl's Rule of 50, except I'm a little more forgiving and will read 100 pages before deciding if I like a book enough to continue. I made it to page 111 and am sending it out through pbs.com for someone else to hopefully enjoy.
Angry Fat Girls is about fat women, weight loss, self discovery, etc ad nauseam. Really, in this age of reality shows and internet, we don't know WHY we eat? And I hope you find the humor, as I didn't. Too many great books out there to waste my time on this one:(


Annie's Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret
Annie's Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret
Author: Steve Luxenberg
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 20
Review Date: 7/2/2011
Helpful Score: 2


Interesting subject, and I agree with most reviewers that almost all families have secrets. When the secret holder dies, it leaves the rest of the family wondering. Luxenberg writes well, and is thorough in his investigation so you get the feeling his journalism kicks in when it could have been so simple to let the personal, family snooping take over. I appreciated all of the digging he did, especially in the old country. My impression was that the reason for the secret was not so much shame or embarrassment as it was fear. Fear of not being a viable bride if her family was 'tainted' by defect. Well worth the read!


Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama
Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama
Author: Alison Bechdel
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.
 12
Review Date: 9/22/2016


Bechdel is a talented artist and writer, but this book will only be enjoyed by a very special reader as it's not for the masses. Her drawings are great but the format drove me crazy (funny, since she constantly refers to Freud) as I wanted to read left to right but little boxes of writing are all over the page. I laughed when reading Fun Home and hoped this book would be as much fun, but I couldn't finish it. Passing it back thru swap program, hoping next reader enjoys.


The Art of Racing in the Rain
The Art of Racing in the Rain
Author: Garth Stein
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 976
Review Date: 7/4/2011


LOVED this book! It was so much fun to read! Enzo, the dog, is the main character. He tells the story of the family he's living with, loving life with, sharing their stories. I had a cat in my life that reminded me of Enzo; I swear she could understand what we were saying, not only to her but to each other. Enzo will make you laugh, and cry, and enjoy all of it. A quick read, totally delightful.


The Astor Orphan: A Memoir
The Astor Orphan: A Memoir
Author: Alexandra Aldrich
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 8/20/2017


I was fascinated by this story! American society thinks of the early aristocrats as wealthy and cultured. We don't realize that they are sometimes flawed and that the money eventually runs out! To think of that beautiful home falling in disrepair is sad enough, but to read of the dysfunctional family was even sadder. I hope Alexandra Aldrich has finally found happiness. Quick read, done in one day!


At Risk (Winston Garano, Bk 1)
At Risk (Winston Garano, Bk 1)
Author: Patricia Cornwell
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 365
Review Date: 4/11/2008


A shorter Cornwell novel in the true twist and turn who-done-it style. Quick read, a bit confusing in the middle but the ending was worth it.


Baker Towers
Baker Towers
Author: Jennifer Haigh
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 71
Review Date: 6/26/2012


Very moving story of mining family, kids growing up after WWII, leading up to Vietnam War. As this was timeframe of my childhood, I could relate to the simpler lifestyle these kids encountered.

This story follows the growth of each child into adulthood, with society changing around them, at different levels for each child. A rather dark story - not a lot of laughs. Very well written, makes me wants to read more from author.

Memorable line: "Her hair was wound into a bun at the nape of her neck. In the past year, gray had choked out the brown."


Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
Author: Dai Sijie, Ina Rilke (Translator)
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 51
Review Date: 7/7/2010
Helpful Score: 1


What a delight! Enlightening, educational, romantic, and inspiring. This little book mesmerized me. The author's descriptions of the villages, the work these boys were forced to endure, their euphoria in finding Western books to devour.....so well done. Now I want to see the movie.


Behind the Scenes at the Museum
Behind the Scenes at the Museum
Author: Kate Atkinson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 153
Review Date: 5/6/2015


I was so looking forward to reading this book, based on reviews and Kate Atkinson's reputation. I knew it would be different from her other novels, but didn't expect it to be so disconnected. I plodded through 84 pages and just felt like I was obligated to pick it up. When I feel like I 'should' finish a book, and am not reading for enjoyment, it's time to put it down. I found myself a little depressed the week I struggled to read it, not realizing it was this book making me feel so blue. Maybe a good murder mystery will lift my spirits! I hope the next pbs member enjoys it!


Being Dead is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral
Review Date: 6/3/2012


A few good laughs, and a few good recipes.


Bird in Hand
Bird in Hand
Author: Christina Baker Kline
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.
 14
Review Date: 8/14/2016


After reading Orphan Train by same author, I thought I'd found a new author that would thrill me with her excellent storytelling. Christina Baker Kline is, indeed, an excellent writer but Bird in Hand just didn't have the punch and fervor of Orphan Train. Story of two couples, the wives having been best friends since grade school, their husbands two very different personalities. Tragedy early in book makes them question themselves and their relationships. Flashbacks to college years, building the basis of their personalities but not strongly relevant to story. Predictable ending was major disappointment. Will give Ms. Kline another chance tho as her style is an easy read.


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