Beth C. (BethC) - Reviews

1 to 18 of 18
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.
 989
Review Date: 4/24/2012


I love this book. The dog's point of view is written very sympathetically and plausibly. Also, although I have little interest in car racing, I soon began to appreciate the metaphorical concepts that the author puts across in his descriptions of the sport.


At the Sign of the Naked Waiter
At the Sign of the Naked Waiter
Author: Amy Herrick
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 2/27/2009
Helpful Score: 1


I ordered this book just because of the title and found it enjoyable. It is a coming of age book with a twist..odd things like naked winged men and sponges that take on the smell of the nearest person's motives or emotions. As Sarah grows from her teen years to womanhood, she is constantly trying to make sense of her life as it is shaped by her unstable best friend, her boyfriends and finally her husband and baby. There's humor and symbolism and philosophy, but it's light and fast moving, not heavy. Interesting book, I think it would especially appeal to the college age and early 20's reader.


Bonk
Bonk
Author: Mary Roach
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 19
Review Date: 4/24/2012
Helpful Score: 1


Funny in spots but a bit tedious in others.


The Book of Joe
The Book of Joe
Author: Jonathan Tropper
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 118
Review Date: 3/25/2009
Helpful Score: 8


I was reminded of a recent tv series when I got this book..the basic premise being an author who wrote a potboiler about his hometown and then returns home years later to interact with estranged friends and family. No, it isn't original, but the characters are dimensional and real and the plot line entertaining. Joe, the main character, is flawed and not always such a nice person, but the reader is drawn to him because he embodies a certain humanity we all share. The tone of the book kept me reading for long periods of time and the end was satisfying.


The Book of Reuben
The Book of Reuben
Author: Tabitha King
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 17
Review Date: 1/29/2009
Helpful Score: 4


As Stephen King's wife, Tabitha King is most likely used to living in the shadows. However, she is an able author in her own right. The Book of Reuben takes place in Maine, and follows the life of an ordinary guy from a small town who tries to do his best to build a good life for himself and later for his family. He has some disastrous love affairs with women whose own problems cause disasters for both him and themselves. It is a coming of age book with a male main character, but the book really focuses on how American culture of the 60's was sometimes destructive for both men and women. It has some graphic sex and violence, but it isn't gratuitous, it just sets a mood. My only problem with the book was the ending...it goes out on a hopeful note, but it seems a bit tacked on. A dark but fascinating read.


Brick Lane
Brick Lane
Author: Monica Ali
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 177
Review Date: 11/15/2008
Helpful Score: 2


I was fascinated with this story of a young muslim woman who married and moved from her home of Bangladesh to England. On one level, as a native American, I was interested to read about how the many immigrant women I see on the streets view our culture. True, this takes place in England, but the culture clashes are similar. On another level, it was also interesting to read about how some problems related to marriage, child raising and running a household on a limited income, are universal. It's a slow moving book, but a worthwhile read.


The Elegant Gathering of White Snows
The Elegant Gathering of White Snows
Author: Kris Radish
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 183
Review Date: 11/15/2008
Helpful Score: 1


I hated this book, it made no sense at all to me, and I usually have a pretty high tolerance for nonsense.


Exit the Rainmaker
Exit the Rainmaker
Author: Jonathan Coleman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 12/5/2008
Helpful Score: 2


This is a true story of a man who walked out on his life. He was successful, seemingly happy and one day he just left. It shows the inner workings of this man's experiences and a glimpse of a life many people may have fantasized about. It also offers some insights into why people make the choices they do and explores the darker hidden side of humanity.


The Last Days of Dogtown (Audio CD) (Unabridged)
Review Date: 12/4/2008
Helpful Score: 7


My husband and I just finished listening to this book on a trip and we both agree it was fabulous. I read The Red Tent also, and I liked this even better. It is written like a series of short stories told in chronological order over 20 or more years and featuring a core cast of characters. At first, it was a little hard to keep all the characters straight..if it had been a book, I would have been turning back to check names, but we soon got to know everyone and really got caught up in their lives. The story takes place in the early 1800's and is interesting both historically and for the personalities and experiences of the characters. Another plus for travelling, it was really long, 9.5 hours, and so we covered a lot of ground while listening. Also, the narrator does an excellent job.


Love Warps the Mind a Little
Love Warps the Mind a Little
Author: John Dufresne
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 11/11/2008
Helpful Score: 1


Ok, I chose this book for the funny title but I was soon hooked by the story. The main character, a struggling writer, is also struggling with life in general. He has trouble leaving his failed marriage and trouble committing to a new relationship. The book is full of quirky characters that remind me of those found in books by Anne Tyler or John Irving. And like those characters, they're funny and eccentric, but also very human and complex. I love a book that can both make me laugh and cry, and this one did.


The Mercy of Thin Air
The Mercy of Thin Air
Author: Ronlyn Domingue
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 152
Review Date: 1/24/2009
Helpful Score: 5


There are a number of books using a similar premise...a story told through the eyes of a person who has died, but this one is particularly well done. For one thing, the author uses language to invoke both the past (the 1920's) the present time. For another, the love stories in both eras are both compelling with quirky and memorable characters and parellel each other to some degree. Finally, the "rules" for what ghosts can and cannot do are interesting and imaginative. I listened to the audio tape on a recent trip and found it entertaining and "haunting".


New and Selected Poems
New and Selected Poems
Author: Mary Oliver
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 2/20/2015


Nature, life, tragedy....wrapped in layers of observations about nature, stories, essays that sound like poems...I keep it by my bed and open it up at random and read.


The Parables of Peanuts
The Parables of Peanuts
Author: Robert L. Short
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 11/14/2008
Helpful Score: 1


This is a must for "Peanuts" collectors. With it's companion book, "The Gospel According to Peanuts", it links Charles Shulz's characters homespun philosophy with the lessons and stories in the Bible. I found it interesting that Charles Schulz himself did actually try to convey his beliefs and to teach lessons through his cartooning. In this book he is quoted as saying "..if you do not say anything in a cartoon, you might as well not draw it at all. Humor which does not say anything is worthless humor. So I contend that a cartoonist must be given a chance to do his own preaching." While baby boomers were raised on "Peanuts", I think younger readers would truly enjoy this book as a delightful introduction to these gentle characters.


The Pearl Diver
The Pearl Diver
Author: Jeff Talarigo
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 32
Review Date: 6/21/2009


This is both a very interesting book, due to the subject matter and also a book that is beautifully written. The story takes place in post WWII Japan and is based on fact...that people with leprosy were so feared and shamed that they were removed from their families, their names changed and they had to live on an island for the rest of their lives. Although an effective medicine was found right after the WWII, the fear and shunning continued for another 40 years. The main character was a young pearl diver who was sent to that island after contracting the disease and the story is of her experiences. The author's style is spare and reminds me of the writings of ancient Asian poets. He uses a few perfectly chosen words and chosen "snapshots" of incidents in her life to paint a picture of her life. I'd recommend it highly.


Silk Paper: A Guide To Making It And Using It In Textile Art
Silk Paper: A Guide To Making It And Using It In Textile Art
Author: Sarah Lawrence
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 1/30/2012
Helpful Score: 2


Silk paper is wonderful fun and has so many applications. This book has good instructions for making it, coloring it and also has several projects to show you its possibilities and jumpstart your own creativity.


Twilight (Twilight, Bk 1)
Twilight (Twilight, Bk 1)
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 5131
Review Date: 1/27/2009
Helpful Score: 2


I agree with the previous reviewer, Lisa M. that Twilight is definitely "high-school", but I enjoyed it for a couple of reasons. First, I like to occasionally read other genres just because I like to know what younger people are thinking and valuing...keeps me from getting too out of touch "in my old age." Second, it was just a light, entertaining read. I love to contrast the various "rules" that vampires from various authors have to follow regarding light, diet, and other problems of daily life in the mortal world. Lisa M. also talked about how she found it hard to believe that "plain jane Bella" got Edward to fall for her just because of her smell. My understanding was that Bella was really quite beautiful, but, because she'd never fit in, had low self-esteem and only thought of herself as plain. Also, hey, in high school, who doesn't dream of having the most gorgeous boy in the school fall for you because he sees something no one else doesn't?


Unexplained Sniglets of the Universe
Unexplained Sniglets of the Universe
Author: Rich Hall
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 6/16/2009


I ran across this book on my shelf awhile ago. A sniglet is a made up word for an item or experience that lots of people encounter but rarely name. Hasn't everyone experienced Medipeep (the uncontrollable urge to look inside a host's bathroom cabinet to see what kind of afflictions he suffers from) at one time or another? And most of us regularly use Hemoplugs (small pieces of toilet paper applied to shaving nicks) on our legs or chins.
While some entries are dated (Cinedraft: n. The mysterious rush of air that sucks your money into th ticket window at the movie theater) because most of us are accustomed to the large inside bank of cashiers at the megaplex instead of the tiny booth on the street at old theaters, most sniglets are just a applicable to the human condition as ever. Whom of us have never sworn at a ninker (a utensil that positions itself inside a drawer to prevent the drawer from opening) or a diagonerd ( a person who angles his car across 2 spaces to prevent people from parking to close)? Now you can amaze your friends with your useful new vocabulary!


The Wall
The Wall
Author: Marlen Haushofer
Book Type: Paperback
  ?
Review Date: 7/16/2008


This is a strange story but with an interesting premise. It is about a woman who is visiting in a mountain area and, when her hosts go away and don't return, goes looking for them. She encounters an invisible wall that she cannot pass through and she can see no life on the other side. The rest of the story is about her attempts to survive as apparently the only living human on earth. It has some holes plotwise, but raises some interesting questions about how a person would react to such conditions.


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