Lori M. (lormac) - Reviews

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Abide with Me
Abide with Me
Author: Elizabeth Strout
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 90
Review Date: 3/30/2011


Because I enjoyed 'Olive Kittridge" so much, I decided to try the author's earlier books.

I was slogging through this book until the final 30 pages, at which time it completely turned the corner for me. Tyler Caskey is a minister of a small church in rural Maine in the 1950s and his midlife crisis is brought on prematurely
by the death of his wife. Yet, throughout his difficulties he never really loses his faith in God, which may be why I began to warm to this book. I do not think I am giving anything away if I say that the author wraps the story up by the end in a manner that leaves no loose ends.

It would be tough book to recommend because you have to be willing to stick with it, and it is rough going at spots. Also, although the setting (small Protestant church) is familiar ro me, to others it may be like reading about a strange faraway culture.


The Accidental Tourist
The Accidental Tourist
Author: Anne Tyler
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 42
Review Date: 3/30/2011


The first Tyler I ever read, but not my favorite.


All Over But the Shoutin'
All Over But the Shoutin'
Author: Rick Bragg
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 236
Review Date: 3/30/2011
Helpful Score: 1


Terrific book! Well written and truly moving. If you do not have a tear in your eye, or a lump in your throat, by the end, you are simply not human. (See also 'Ava's Man.')


The Almost Moon
The Almost Moon
Author: Alice Sebold
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.6/5 Stars.
 467
Review Date: 3/30/2011
Helpful Score: 5


Couldn't get past the first chapter. The author wasn't doing a bad job writing it, but the story was just too sad to even consider dealing with. I might pick it up again if I need to become severely depressed.


The Anxiety of Everyday Objects
The Anxiety of Everyday Objects
Author: Aurelie Sheehan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.
 34
Review Date: 3/30/2011


Ehhh. (My first thought.)

Surprisingly hard to read considering the light and fluffy subject matter, probably due to the author's efforts to be clever. (My second thought.)

This is the storu of a hipster girl, working as a secretary, while thinking that she is a filmmaker, who discovers love and also that people are not what they seem. Sigh. At least the protagonist actually realizes, about, two-thirds through the book, that it is good idea if a film has something resembling a plot.


Arcadia Falls
Arcadia Falls
Author: Carol Goodman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 4/6/2011
Helpful Score: 1


The description of the plot promises so much and fails to deliver. The plot is littered with impossible coincidences and unrealistic developments. The one that bugged me the most is the length of time it took the main character to read Lily's diary - anyone else would have finished it in one sitting! But Goodman drags it out with Meg dipping into the diary when convenient for plot exposition. Also - do you think seductionis the same thing as rape? Well, apparently Goodman does. Almost immediately you will realize that there is a "love child" in this story, and also that there is some significance in the fact that the book Lily wrote was "The Changeling." Sigh.


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.
 977
Review Date: 3/31/2011
Helpful Score: 2


The last scene in this book stopped me from giving it another star. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this book. I listened to it on CD, and the reader had a wonderful voice for a dog which may have added to my enjoyment. The character of Enzo is great - cranky, affectionate, and wise. The chapters in which the author allows Enzo to discuss parallels between the way race car drivers handle their cars on the track and how people handle their lives are little gems. But the author brought my good feeling crashing down with the heavy-handed final chapter which was simply not necessary.


Ava's Man
Ava's Man
Author: Rick Bragg
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 81
Review Date: 3/31/2011


Wish I could have given this book four and three-quarters stars. I liked this one only slightly less than "all Over But The Shoutin'." Maybe this is because the subject is one generation removed from the author, because it is certainly not the writing.


Away
Away
Author: Amy Bloom
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 122
Review Date: 3/31/2011


Fascinating read. The characters were interesting even though they spent chapter after chapter engaging in unbelievable behavior. That said, the author made me really care about them. I liked the author's gimmick (technique?) of devoting a few paragraphs after each character left the story to letting the reader know what happened in their life. Vary satisfying. Hard to recommend this book because it is flawed in many ways, but it is unforgettable.


Black and Blue
Black and Blue
Author: Anna Quindlen
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 665
Review Date: 3/31/2011


One of her best novels - completely compelling.


Blessings
Blessings
Author: Anna Quindlen
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 255
Review Date: 3/31/2011
Helpful Score: 1


This was a pleasant book. A nice character study. The plot is somewhat silly, and the situations a little overblown (without giving anything away, I think I can safely say that the author manages to work in illegitmate pregnancies (2), homosexuality, bisexuality, suicide, abandonment by parent (2), depression, rejection of religious background, and racism) but still it does not reach of the depths of despair that a Wally lamb novel reaches.


Blue Diary
Blue Diary
Author: Alice Hoffman
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 79
Review Date: 3/31/2011
Helpful Score: 2


Good book club book. It generates lots of discussion. The question raised is 'If someone you have known for years as a wonderful and moral human being actually committed a morally reprehensible crime in the past, could you overlook that act and still care for that person?' Lots of strong opinions on this one!


The Book Thief
The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 1026
Review Date: 3/31/2011


Another book club hit. Billed as a young adult novel, but frankly, that sells it short.


The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Author: Junot Diaz
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 383
Review Date: 3/31/2011


I would never have picked up this book if it hadn't won the Pulitzer, but I was so glad that I did. It is a sweeping saga - yes, even though it is marketed as the life story of an overweight Hispanic nerd living in New Jersey. The characters are fascinating, and the authori manages to feed you a lesson on the history of the Dominican Republic without your noticing it. I couldn't give it five stars because I was wishing for a different end - for at least one or two of the characters.


Calico Palace
Calico Palace
Author: Gwen Bristow
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 3/31/2011
Helpful Score: 1


This may be the first book that I read that I determined never, never to throw out. It may not be a classic like "GWTW" but I don't know why not! Kendra, Marny, Hiram and Pocket are characters I will never forget. The San Francisco setting is wonderfully drawn. A little like a romance, but really not a romance at all.


Catching Fire (Hunger Games, Bk 2)
Catching Fire (Hunger Games, Bk 2)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 1623
Review Date: 3/31/2011
Helpful Score: 2


I tore through this one too. It was hard to see how the author would (a) resolve Katniss' Peeta/Gale dilemma; and (b) keep the reader interested, but she manages. Only one complaint: It is a bit of a contrivance to throw in the "Quarter Quell." One would think that it would have been mentioned in the first book because it would be such a monumentous event and due to the relevance of its timing in relation to Katniss' hunger game experience. Clearly the author did not have this in mind until the first book was such a hit. Still the use of the "Quarter Quell", even as contrived as it is, gives the second book the suspense it needs and moves the overall plot of the trilogy forward in a way I could not have foreseen. I am really looking forward to Book 3!!


Cherries in Winter: My Family's Recipe for Hope in Hard Times
Cherries in Winter: My Family's Recipe for Hope in Hard Times
Author: Suzan Colon
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 13
Review Date: 3/31/2011
Helpful Score: 3


IYou could read this book in an evening, but it will stay with you for a lot longer. It seems like a cookbook, but it is really one of those 'inspirational' books and much more. The author, who lost her job in the recent (on-going?) recession, uses her new free time to review (and cook) some recipes handed down to her from her mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, etc., and to reflect on the hard times that they endured in their lives. This process helps her put her own situation into perspective, and it will help the reader do so also. Read this book when you are feeling 'poor me' and it will perk you up!


The Color of Water : A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
The Color of Water : A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother
Author: James McBride
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 550
Review Date: 3/31/2011


Inspirational reading.


The Cornish Trilogy
The Cornish Trilogy
Author: Robertson Davies
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 3/31/2011


Take this book (Or any other book by RDavies) with you if you are planning on spending several years alone on a deserted tropical island, and you will never be bored.


Crampton Hodnet
Crampton Hodnet
Author: Barbara Pym
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 3/31/2011


I am a devoted Pym apostle, so, of course, I love this book.


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