Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Books Read For June

So this was a pretty good month for reading! I don't know why I got so many more books read then any other month (could have been reading while sitting at the pool!) but I am pretty proud that I did it. The 16 books I read (or listened to) this month were:

The 19th Wife - David Ebershoff
Dance With Death - Barbara Nadel
DeNiro's Game - Rawi Hage
Sepulchre - Kate Mosse
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Audiobook)
Friends Like These - Danny Wallace
My Own Country - Abraham Verghese
The Witches - Roald Dahl
The Girl Who Played With Fire - Steig Larsson
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
The Ghost Map - Steven Johnson
Outlander - Diana Gabaldon (Audiobook)
Devil's Peak - Deon Meyer
The Breaker - Minette Walters
Tracks - Louise Erdich
Messiah - Boris Starling

I listened to 2 audiobooks (both were excellent!), read 2 children2s books (Roald Dahl is soooo good!), 2 non fiction, 5 murder mystery, 2 for the Diversity Rocks Challenge, 1 British comedy novel and 2 literary fiction. I had a good variety this month but I did overload on the murder mystery. My husband brought a bunch home from the book exchange at his work. I read books by authors from England, South Africa, Sweden, Lebanon, Turkey, India and the United States.

My favorites this month were Devil's Peak by Deon Meyer, The Girl Who Played With Fire by Steig Larsson, DeNiro's Game by Rawi Hage and The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff.

I am finished work for the summer as of today and hit the beach with my mom for a week before heading to England for the summer. I have no idea what books I will be reading for the month of July. I have a few to bring to the beach (mostly murder mysteries) and I will get to use a real library in England (YEAH!!!) so who knows what I will be reading.

I won't be posting much in the next few weeks but will update as soon as I get back from the beach.

The 19th Wife - David Ebershoff

A short synopsis from Amazon.com, "This sweeping epic is a compelling and original work set in 1875, when one woman attempts to rid America of polygamy. Ebershoff intertwines his tale with that of a 20th-century murder mystery in Utah, allowing the two stories to twist and turn into a marvelous literary experience."

I found this book really really interesting. After reading 50 pages I realized how little I knew about polygamy - even though it has been in the news a lot in the past few years. I also never knew that The only thing I knew about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints is that they made some pretty good commercials that were on TV when I was younger. I never knew that they were once a polygamous group. It is all really intriguing and I found myself stopping reading the book so I could look info up online to see how much of it was true.

I loved Jordan, the main character in the present day setting. His character was strong and sweet and sad all wrapped in one young boy. To be left on the side of the road by your mother because the Prophet said he was a sinner would leave anyone a bit bitter. But when he sees that she is in jail for murder he returns right away to Mesadale (his hometown) to see her. I also loved that Jordan was gay and that the author included a scene where him and his friend Tom go to a LGBT friendly Mormon church because you can be homosexual and still have religious faith.

I myself am not very religious but I was compelled by the faith that people have, even when it means giving up there own children. It is amazing that there are areas in North America where children are taught vastly different histories than the rest of us. It also makes me horrified (as both a woman and a social worker) that young girls are being forced into marriage (not legally) at a really young age to men that could be their grandfathers. It is sad because many of these girls think that this is their path to heaven and they just have to do it. I strongly believe that everyone should be free to practice their own religions but I think people cannot ignore how some religions oppress women and children.

Everyone should give this book a read. It was informative as well as interesting.

Rating - 4

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dance With Death - Barbara Nadel

Amazon.com says "A body is discovered in a cave in the remote region of Cappadocia, Turkey. The woman died of gunshot wounds, and her corpse has lain undisturbed for twenty years. Who is she and who killed her? Inspector Ikmen is summoned from Istanbul to investigate but discovers a complex web of intrigue. Was it her boyfriend, driven mad by love, or her husband, believing she would never bear the son he wanted so badly? When it is revealed the girl was pregnant when she died, the whispers and accusations increase. Ikmen, stifled among a rural community thriving on legend, folklore and intrigue, begins to think he will never see clearly through the lies surrounding this case. One thing, however, is clear: the past is as potent as the present."

I was actually visitng this area of Turkey with my mom and husband when I bought this book. There was a cute little used bookstore in the middle of town called 1001 Book that had loads of great books and when I say this one I knew it would be a great read while I was staying in a cave hotel.

I have read 2 other Barbara Nadel books since I have lived in Turkey and really enjoyed them - this one was no exception. I loved reading about the mysterious and wonderful place of Cappadocia (if you haven't seen pictures of it you should google it because it is AMAZING). The houses are built into the sides of caves and you can explore underground cities that were built by the Christians hundred and hundreds of years ago. It is a great place for a murder mystery setting.

Inspector İkmen is excellent in this novel. He is funny and I love how we see the character develop in each novel. I also liked that there was a sub plot going on in Istanbul involving Inspector Mehmet Suleyman. It is interestşng how he handles the case he is working on without Inspector İkmen's help and insight.

The ending of this novel is by far the best in any of the books in this series that I have read. It wraps things up nicely and some parts made me laugh. Overall it was an excellent murder mystery. I think if this author got more worldwide recognition it would be wonderful. Turkey is such an interesting setting for books such as these because there is so many different people and places.

Rating - 3

Saturday, June 27, 2009

DeNiro's Game - Rawi Hage

I find it really hard to describe this novel. Booklist describes it as "Bassam and George have been best friends since childhood, when they roamed the ruined streets of their hometown of Beruit, making a game out of collecting empty bullets and cannon shells to trade for cigarettes. Now, years into the civil war, "ten thousand bombs had landed," and the two have lost their parents and many neighbors to them, growing hard and cynical in the process. Every day is a test in survival, a mad scramble for food and petrol. Bassam dreams of escaping to Rome, where even the pigeons look "happy and well-fed." He and George concoct an elaborate ruse to rip off the gambling parlor where George works, but after joining the local Christian militia, George is a changed man."

It was amazing and heartbreaking and beautiful and so very sad. The lyrical writing style as well as the decriptions of war reminded me a bit of The Cellist of Sarajevo. The characters were wonderfully written. Bassam just wants to get out and live somewhere that is safe. On the other hand his best friend George gets caught up in everything and will do anything to fight for the Christian militia.

DeNiro's Game allows us to see what can happen to young men and women during times of war. But more importantly it shows us what can happen after either it ends or they leave the area of conflict. It is difficult to change a mindset that has been set during times of conflict. It was hard for Bassam to give up his gun when he left Beruit and even harder for him to believe that he didn't have to fight for his life in the streets of Paris. Bassam does some terrible things but some of it is forgiven when we look at the bigger picture (at least for me they were forgiven).

We find out near the end of the book what the title Deniro's Game means to the characters and how it really isn't a game at all but a way of life for some people in Beruit.

I think everyone should read this book. It makes you think about how countries survive and rebuid themselves after a war when their own people have been so damaged.

Rating - 5

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sepulchre - Kate Mosse

From Publisher's Weekly "In 1891, Parisian teenager Léonie Vernier and her brother visit their young aunt at an estate in southern France. After finding a startling account of her late uncle's pursuit of the occult, Léonie scours the property for the tarot cards and Visigoth tomb he describes, unaware that more tangible peril in the form of a murderous stalker is seeking to destroy her loved ones. Present-day biographer Meredith Martin is in France finishing a book and tracing her ancestry when she sees a reproduction of the same tarot, which bears her likeness. She investigates the connection when she, too, arrives at the estate, now a hotel in which a new battle between good and evil rages."

I read Kate Mosse's previous book Labyrinth and had a really hard time getting through it. I remember being really interested in the setting (Carcassonne) so I forced myself to finish it. Despite not liking her previous book I was drawn to Sepulchre. I thought the author had good ideas and I was willing to give her a second chance - especially because her newest book is set in an area outside of Carcassonne that my husband and I will be visiting in the summer.

I was interested in Tarot Cards when I was much younger so I found it interesting that they played such a large role in this novel and in the characters lives. It made me shiver to read about how realistic the pictures on the tarot were and how how the present day character say herself in them. The elements of the supernatural made Sepulchre a page-turner.

I did enjoy this book. I liked the main female characters Leonie (in the 1890's) and Meredith (present day). They were interesting women who were always seemed to be searching for something. I liked how the author wrote the book - she broke it up well, making the chapters short and moving from one point of time to another by rotating sections. It made it easy to read and never got boring. I wouldn't say it was the best novel I have ever read but it was much better then I thought it was going to be when I began it.

Rating - 3

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J K Rowling (Audiobook)

I am pretty sure that most people know about Harry Potter. I am not going to bother giving a synopsis of the book since everyone I know has either read the book or seen the movie. I read the book twice - the first time a number of years ago. I started listening to the audio book last year but my copy was given to me by a friend and was one long MP3. It made it impossible to listen to on my iPod, so I gave up. Finally a few weeks ago I got all of the Harry Potter Audio books (ones that are broken up into chapters and way easier to listen to) and just finished listen to the first one - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

I loved the narrator Stephen Fry. He did a great job of changing voices - moving from Hermione to Harry with ease. And he did an EXCELLENT job of sounding like Hagrid. For a while I thought he might e the character himself! This audiobook was really enjoyable to listen to. I would put it on when I went to the pool and get through a few chapters of it in no time. It has been a while since reading a Harry Potter book (the last one did come out two summers ago and I read it the day after it was released!) and I forgot how much I love the characters.

Harry Potter is such a fun series. I am so happy that I have Harry Potter in many different forms - book, movie and now Audio book! I look forward to listening to the rest of the series. It is fun to listen to tales of magic and friendship - especially when life gets a bit hard!

Rating - 5

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Friends Like These - Danny Wallace

This book was funny. Laugh out loud funny. I love British humor. Amazon.co.uk says "Danny Wallace is about to turn thirty and his life has become a cliche. Recently married and living in a smart new area of town, he's swapped pints for lattes and had even contemplated buying coasters. Something wasn't right - he was feeling way too grown-up. Until - Danny finds an old address book containing just twelve names. His best mates as a kid. Where are they now? Who are they now? And how are they coping with this scary concept of being grown-up? And so begins a journey from A-Z, tracking down and meeting his old gang. He travels from Berlin to Tokyo, from Sydney to LA. He even goes to Loughborough. He meets Fijian chiefs. German rappers. Some ninjas. And a carvery manager who's managed to solve time travel. But how will they respond to a man they haven't seen in twenty years, turning up and asking if they're coming out to play?"

I didn't realize till I was half-way through it that this wasn't a fiction book but a book based on his own experiences. That made it even funnier. Some of the things he does are brilliant and I couldn't imagine doing them. I liked the idea of getting to an age where people feel that they need to look to their past and to get in touch with people who were imporant to them. Growing up we make friends pretty easily and many times we grow apart from old friends when we make new ones. I have moved around a lot since I finished high school so I have made new friends in a lot of different places but there are only a few that I keep in touch with. The invention of Facebook has allowed me to see what everyone is up to from my past and my present.

There was one scene in this book where Danny Wallace visits Tokyo and goes to a ninja-style restaurant. It was sooo funny and so a place that I would love to visit. He has quite a lot of adventures. He wrote the book Yes, Man and I had just watched the movie last week. Once again I didn't know that the movie was based on his real life. I think I will have to pick up some more of his books!

Rating - 4

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Own Country - Abraham Verghese

I have been trying to read more non-fiction recently so when I saw that they had this at the university library I picked it up. I have been reading it for almost a month now..picking it up and putting it down. This is not because it isn't a good book but because it is really a gut wrenching read.

Publishers Weekly description of My Own Country states, "Nestled in the Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee, the town of Johnson City saw its first AIDS patient in August 1985. Working in Johnson City was Abraham Verghese, a young Indian doctor specializing in infectious diseases who became, by necessity, the local AIDS expert. Out of his experience comes a startling, ultimately uplifting portrait of the American heartland."

This was a really well written book. It was more about this mans journey through the HIV/AIDS crisis in a small town when no one had ever seen it before. It was interesting to read about Tennessee from a foreign doctors perspective. When I started reading the book I forgot that it takes place in the 1980's when prejudice and just basic lack of information made people with HIV/AIDS have very few resources and help. I have read quite a bit about HIV/AIDS in my life. I had volunteered and worked at an AIDS organization in a small community when I finished high school. Since then I had read more about HIV/AIDS internationally, especially in Africa. It was different to read about the effect of HIV/AIDS in a rural American town. I liked that Abraham Verghese included people of many different backgrounds into his story - people that had contracted the disease through homosexual and heterosexual sex, as well as through blood transfusions. It showed that diseases like HIV/AIDS can be contracted any type of person.

I found the stories sad. Most of the people ended up dying - I had to keep reminding myself that people who had HIV/AIDS in the 1980's usually didn't live very long because of the lack of medicine and research. I felt for the doctor because of all the sadness he had to see everyday and how that affected his home life. Abraham Verghese helped so many people when no one else wanted to take the responsibility.

I would recommend this book to people who want to learn more about the beginnings of HIV/AIDS and also if they want to know some stories of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Rating - 4

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Girl Who Played With Fire - Stieg Larsson

I read the first in this trilogy The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo a few months back and really enjoyed it. I had never read any Swedish fiction before and I was really happy when the second book was released. This book is not yet available in North America (my friend ordered it from England) so I was lucky to get a chance to read it early.

Amazon.co.uk review says "The highly intelligent computer hacker Lisbeth Salander, is a confrontational young woman, whose Goth accoutrements sometimes alienate those around her (except the individuals she opts to have sexual relations with – strictly, that is, according to the rules she lays down). In the second book in the Millennium sequence, The Girl Who Played with Fire (as in its its predecessor), Lisbeth's closest ally is the older journalist Mikael Blomqvist, even though she has abruptly ended her emotional relationship with him. Lisbeth has left all she knows behinds her and has begun a relationship with a gauche young lover. But after a grim revenge run-in with a man who has abused her, she becomes a suspect in three murders, and is the subject of a nationwide search. Blomqvist, however, is convinced of her innocence (he has just been responsible for a blistering report on the sex trafficking industry in Sweden), and is determined to help her – whether she wants his help or not."

This book was really large and a little intimidating at first because of its size. But when you start into it you realize how fast paced it is and you are through a hundred pages in no time! I loved how different this book was from regular North America murder mysteries. It had more of a European flavour to it. I totally understand why Stieg Larsson is considered a brilliant author in Europe (and now North America!!)

The characters are great. Salander is so interesting and I am really happy that this book explored more about her character. In The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo we were given only little bits of info and left hanging when it came to her character. She is such an interesting woman. I love books with really interesting characters who are not perfect.

I guess I will have to wait a while for the third book to be translated to English. It made me sad to find out that this author had died. He was such a great writer and I would have enjoyed reading more of his books.

Rating - 4

Monday, June 15, 2009

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

I read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a long time ago and I remember loving it. I decided to re-read all the Raold Dahl books after the school I work for received them all from a publisher. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is really good. I loved Charlie Bucket and what a sweet character he was. I loved Grandpa Joe and how excited he was when Charlie found the Golden Ticket and was able to visit Willy Wonka's Chocolate factory! As a kid I was never as much of a fan of the Oompa-Loompas as the other kids were. I wasn't much into their songs. But I do appreciate it now that I am older. There are so many lessons for kids on how they should (and shouldn't) behave and what might happen if they do. Of course everything is exaggerated. I think these books are really important (and timeless). They were written many years ago but are still being read by kids in schools today.

I loved reading it as an adult because there are alot of references that have been made in pop culture today (or when I was younger). For example the band Veruca Salt (which I loved when I was in junior high!) You look at these books a bit differently when you are an adult. I can't wait to move on to the next one!

Rating - 5

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Ghost Map - Steven Johnson

This was one of the best non-fiction reads I have had in a while. Pretty much this is a story about the cholera epidemic in London in 1854 and how some really intelligent (and very different) people discovered how cholera infected the public and how that discovery changed living in cities forever. It was a really interesting read and I never found it boring. I had read some really good reviews about this book and picked it up even though it is not something I would usually read.

I liked that the scientific aspects were intertwined with stories about the people who were affected by cholera. It made it enjoyable to read. I learned so much about epidemics and how epidemics can break out at anytime if we are not careful. It was interesting reading this book after the "swine flu" scare that has been going around recently. Steven Johnson talks about the "avian flu" and how that has affected people around the world. I see how everyone around the world has been worried about "swine flu".

Somewhere I read a review that said, "If you like a good story and infectious diseases then you are going to love this book!". I think that says it all.

Rating - 4

Friday, June 12, 2009

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2009

I have been waiting for months for the author list for The Edinburgh International Book Festival to come out. This is the first International Book Festival that I have ever attended and I am really excited. I attended the Stephen Leacock Literary Festival in Orillia, Ontario 2 years ago and really enjoyed it. That was my first time attending an author reading and I loved every moment of it. Since then I have traveled a lot so I don't often get to go to these things. But this year I will be spending the summer in England and my husband planned a trip to Edinburgh at the beginning of this festival. So not only will I get to see Scotland (which I have never been) but I will also be in readers heaven.

I am most excited to see Carlos Ruiz Zafon - the author of The Shadow of The Wind!!! As I have wrote previously - I love love love this book! His new novel
The Angel's Game comes out next month and I can't wait to read it. I will have to get a copy as soon as I get to England.

I also am going to attend a workshop on How To Write A Novel . I have always wanted to write a novel and I figure this is a great opportunity for me to learn some things and to really think about starting a novel. I feel that Edinburgh would be a great place to give me inspiration!!!

There are also some other lovely workshops going on and I haven't decided on everything I will do yet. Is anyone else out there attending The Edinburgh International Book Festival 2009?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Outlander - Diana Gabaldon (Audiobook)

I have read Outlander about 4 times and when I found the audiobook I thought that it would be so fun to listen to the characters rather then just read about them. It was so much fun!! If you don't already know about Outlander here is a description from Amazon.com "While on her second honeymoon in the British Isles, Claire touches a boulder that hurls her back in time to the forbidden Castle Leoch with the MacKenzie clan. Not understanding the forces that brought her there, she becomes ensnared in life-threatening situations with a Scots warrior named James Fraser. But it isn't all spies and drudgery that she must endure. For amid her new surroundings and the terrors she faces, she is lured into love and passion like she's never known before."

It took me about 5 weeks to listen to this audiobook - It is a long one, perhaps 28 hours. I listened to it at work and some before I went to sleep. I loved the narrator Davina Porter!! She will always be Clare Fraser to me. She was excellent at changing into different characters. I could picture the characters in my head for years so adding a voice to this was wonderful. Since I have read the book a few times before I could listen differently then if it was the first time. If I missed something it was okay. I really enjoyed listening to the Gaelic words - words that I had made up in my head were made real while listening. Sometimes when I can't pronounce a name I end up making up a similar one to call the character. It was fun to hear if I was even close to the actual names.

I found the parts about the torture that Jamie underwent by Randall to be hard to listen to. I remember skimming over it a bit when I was reading the book and listening to it was even harder. I heard the pain in the narrators voice when she was describing Jamie's pain - and it made me feel ill.

Listening is so different then reading. I don't know if I could listen to books that I haven't previously read - I don't know if I have the attention span for it. But I will continue to listen to books that I have already read. It will give me a new look at books that I already really enjoy.

Rating - 5

Monday, June 8, 2009

Devil's Peak - Deon Meyer

I started this book during the 48 Hour Book Challenge but didn't get it finished until tonight (I spent the last 2 hours reading in Starbucks with my husband). This was a great book. Another murder-mystery (I should have joined a murder mystery challenge this year) but a different kind because it is set in South Africa.

From Amazon.com, "Former mercenary Thobela Mpayipheli is trying to live a peaceful life, but these plans are shattered when his eight-year-old son, Pakamile, is shot dead. The two gunmen responsible escape before sentencing, and the grieving father decides to take matters into his own hands. As he pursues his son's killers, Mpayipheli begins to target pedophiles and other perpetrators of violence against children, meting out justice with a Xhosa tribal sword called an assegai.Dubbed Artemis by the papers as the killings increase, Mpayipheli becomes a kind of folk hero to the people of Capetown. Insp. Benny Griessel, an aging alcoholic whose struggles with the bottle have all but cost him his family and his life, works the case with a desperate intensity. Griessel finds an unlikely ally in Christine van Rooyen, a young prostitute, who lures the detective into a very dangerous plan of her own when her young daughter goes missing."

I really liked this book. I enjoyed reading about South Africa but not in a literary novel sort of way. I liked that this book was a good murder mystery but was really culturally different from ones that I am used to reading. I really liked the character of Thobela. My heart broke for him when his son was killed. The author did a great job in making the reader feel that he was justified in killing the people that he did. Of course there are twists and when it is all over you don't really know who was right or wrong. Makes you really think about your own views and values. I will be picking up more of his books.

Rating - 4

48 Hour Book Challenge - The Finish Line

So I totally didn't do this Book Challenge the way that I did the last one. I didn't stay home and read, read, read. Maybe that had to do with how hot it was this weekend (almost 30 degrees!). I read for most of the day on Saturday before heading out for dinner. On Sunday I went to town with my husband but read on the bus there and then in the evening. I read more then usual - but not as much as I should have for a Book Challenge. I finished one book that I have previously started (Tracks), finished a whole book (The Breaker), read half of another book (Devil's Peak) and listened to my audiobook (Outlander). Not bad for one weekend. I read some other blogs - but to be honest I spent most of my time out of the house. It is so nice to sit in a coffee shop and read a book in the air conditioning (especially when the heat is killer outside).

I hope that I spend more time reading in the next Book Challenge. But I did enjoy this one and I guess that is the most important part!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Hour 20 of the 48 Hour Reading CHallenge

I got a lot of reading in last night, had a good sleep then woke up at 6:30am to keep reading. I finished another book The Breaker by Minette Walters and listen to a bit of Outlander audiobook while I was sun bathing. I am going to start a new book and then listen to the rest of Outlander on the bus on my way to dinner. Hopefully I will get another book finished tonight. I haven't stopped my life to do this book challenge but I am definitely reading a lot more then usual.

The Breaker - Minette Walters

I must be in a murder mystery zone because I have read more lately then in my entire life. Apparently this author is a big writer in the UK and from reading this book (and I have heard this is not even one of her better novels) I can understand.

Amazon.com states "When Kate Sumner's corpse is discovered naked, bruised, prone and violated on the rocks of a sleepy South Coast town by two curious young boys and her tiny, traumatised daughter is found wandering alone several miles away, police are instinctively drawn to two suspects. William Sumner, Kate's husband, and Steven Harding, a handsome would-be actor, find themselves at the centre of the investigation and as police suspicions grow, their fatally flawed personalities are gradually disembowelled in the search for the truth."

This was pretty much a straight forward murder mystery. I thought I knew who did it, then I thought it was someone else, then I wasn't so sure. That is always a sign of a good book - it keeps you guessing. I liked how the book was broken up by putting coroners reports, police files and letters from friends in. It gave another outlook. All in all it was a good read - kept me reading and always wondering what was going to happen.

Rating - 3

Friday, June 5, 2009

Tracks - Louise Erdich

I really don't know what to say about this book. I had a hard time understanding what was going on and I felt I was really missing something but I wasn't sure what. THEN I read a review of the book which revealed to me that this is the second in a series. Then it started to make sense on why I was feeling a little confused.

Library Journal says "The continuation of an escalating conflict between two Chippewa families, a conflict begun when hapless Eli Kashpawwho has passionately pursued the fiery, elemental Fleur Pillageris made to betray her with young Sophie Morrissey through the magic of the vengeful Pauline. That simple summary belies the richness and complexity of the tale, told in turn to Fleur's estranged daughter by her "grandfather," the wily Nanapush, and by Pauline, a woman of mixed blood and mixed beliefs soon to become the obsessive Sister Leopolda."

This is literary fiction and has I have blogged about before - I sometimes have a hard time with it. I like this at the beginning but then found myself skimming parts of it. That is never a good sign. What I did really love was the characters of the novel - Nanapush was a great character and I enjoyed reading of events from both his and Pauline's perspectives. I really wanted to read some more Native American/Canadian authors; I feel that is one genre that I don't really read. I have read a lot of Native American/Canadian non-fiction books but not a lot of fiction. Maybe I will try her first book Love Medicine and see how that goes.

Rating - 2

First Hour

So I have begun the 48 Hour Reading Challenge at 8pm. I have sent my husband out, got my tea and am ready to read! I had started a book a few days ago called Tracks by Louise Erdich and I hope to finish that up tonight as well as start another one. I won't post again until I have a review for Tracks but I will spend sometime checking out what other people are reading. Good luck everyone!

48 Hour Book Challenge

I signed up for the 48 Hour Book Challenge a month ago and totally forgot about it until I was browsing some blogs today. It seems to be for children and adults. Every since the 24 Hour Read-A-Thon I have been excited for another reading challenge. I am excited to get started and read as much as I can this weekend. I will be a little more casual abou this weekends reading - I plan on reading at Starbucks, while I sit outside at the Sports Club and on my deck. The weather is hot this weekend so I will take advantage of it! I will also listen to audiobooks while I am walking and at the gym. I have no idea what books I am going to read. I have to bring some back to the library after work tonight; I am sure I will find some good reads there.

I will begin tonight at 8 or 9pm and continue till Sunday night. I hope this is as much fun as the last one!

The link is http://www.motherreader.com/2009/05/fourth-annual-48-hour-book-challenge.html

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Books That Stick

I have never done Book Through Thursday before but this week was so interesting that I thought I would give it a try!
This week from BTT:

“This can be a quick one. Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.”

1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I read this series for the first time when I was going into university. A love story set in the Scottish highlands in the 1800's - the twist is that the main female, Clare, has traveled from the 1900's to the past. These books will stay with me forever and I am so happy that there are still more to come!

2. Lamb, The Gospel According To Biff Christ's Childhood Friend by Christopher Moore. This book as hilarious. I loved every minute of it. Christopher Moore is a genius. This book always reminded me of the John Prine song "Jesus The Missing Years".

3. Fall On Your Knees by Ann Marie MacDonald. I remember being 15 and curled up on Christmas day reading this book on the love seat in the kitchen. I couldn't tear myself away from it! Set in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia (my home too!) this is a wonderful novel about small town family and the secrets that they have. I was soooo excited Oprah picked this book for her bookclub. It is always nice when Canadian authors are recognized.

4. Beloved by Toni Morrison. This book was disturbing, still haunts me and a really really great read. My favorite out of all of Toni Morrisons books.

5. The Sirens or Titan by Kurt Vonnegut. I have a worn paperback copy of this novel that I found at a flea market. One of my favorite Vonnegut books. I just got the audiobook and can't wait to listen to it!

6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I read this book so many times. As a little girl and as a young woman. I loved Jo's character and how close the family of gırls were.

7. The Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. One of the most interesting books I have ever read. I could not put it down. I love books that involve other books. I loved the mystery to this and how well developed the characters were. Not very often do I enjoy a mystery more the second time around!

8. The Grapes Of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Thinking about this book always gives me chills. I loved the Joad family and I loved the way this book was written. I remember hearing the Bruce Springsteen song "The Ghost of Tom Joad" before I read the novel and wondering how the song related to the book. I am so happy I read that book!

9. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. I remember reading this during a snow storm that left me without school for a week. I was curled up in bed and read and read and read! I daydreamed I was living in Russia and couldn't wait to travel there (still waiting!!).

10. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. Anyone who knows me will know I preach that this is one of the all-time best books. I only read it a few years ago but it really got to me. Having a social work background (and having a union man as a father) makes me interested in novels that have to do with social class, workers rights, immıgration etc. Just an amazing book.

11. Willard and His Bowling Trophies by Richard Brautigan. I got this book from one of my parent's friends. I remember reading it...not understanding it..reading it again and starting to get it. I was given a wooden carving of Willard the bird for my high school graduation.

12. Disgrace by J.M Coetzee. I found this book depressing, hard to read and really really angering. It brought up strong emotion (which is ually a sign of a good book no matter how hard it is to read). It is an important read but not a pleasant one. Some scenes I will never forget.

13. Matilda by Roald Dahl. I read this book so many times as a child. I loved that she was a book worm like me. I can't wait to read this book to my daughter when I have one!

14. Last Of The Mohicans by Jamea Fenimore Cooper. This could be my number one pick for least favorite book. I remember reading it so vividly because it was so boring and soooo overly descriptive. A friend of mine dared me that I couldn't read it because it was so boring. It took me a month to finish - and its not even a long book.

15. The Stand by Stephen King. This book was so good. Really long and interesting and scary. I used to read this on my hour long bus ride to work in Korea. Sometimes I would get the longer bus just so I could read more. I haven't read many Stephen King books but this one was a winner!

What are some books that will always stick in you head?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Messiah - Boris Starling

This book was creepy. And bloody. And interesting. And really really good! I couldn't put this one down.
Publishers Weekly says "Scotland Yard's Redfern Metcalfe "gets inside killers' heads and reels them in." But Britain's latest serial killer (an evil genius dubbed "Silver Tongue" for his grisly technique and distinctive "calling card") is the worst Red's ever seen, leaving the hardened investigator shaken to his core. While Red and his hand-picked team of detectives concoct half-baked theories and chase shadows, the elusive Silver Tongue taunts them by racking up victims. With no forensic evidence to go on, Red is forced to play an excruciating game of "wait and see" with the killer asending his personal and professional life into a downward spiral."

I never realized how much I really enjoyed murder mysteries until lately. I love how fast paced they are and how I don't want to put them down. I really liked this book because I thought I figured out who the killer was at the beginning but then was totally surprised by the end. I love books that really surprise me. This book was over 400 pages but it the chapters were only a few pages long - which made it really easy to read.

This is a definite beach book. But it is pretty gory and I had to skim a few paragraphs because it made me feel ill to read the details!

Rating - 3

Monday, June 1, 2009

Reading List For June

So this should be a big month for me. Summer is a big time for reading. My vacation begins on the 26th of the month so I should be able to read all the books I want to plus a lot more.

The books for June are:
Messiah - Boris Starling
The Last Temptation - Val McDermid
The 19th Wife - David Ebershoff
Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
The Ghost Map - Steven Johnson
My Own Country - Abraham Verghese
The Famished Road - Ben Okri
Tracks - Louise Erdrich
Netherland - Joesph O'Neill
The Girl Who Played With Fire - Stieg Larsson

Here are 10 books want to get read. My mom is visiting and may bring me a few new ones. Fingers crossed! I hope I get these read and do better than last month!