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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Caught Up

I'm caught up on reviews as I'm not going to review the cookbook, even though I've already spent as much time on it as I would have with a novel. I'm about half way through Immortal--which is...interesting.

Last night, I watched the entire first season of Slings & Arrows, a Canadian television series. I didn't intend to watch both disks, but I got so wrapped up in it that I couldn't keep myself from putting that second disk in. Mostly the behind the scenes goings on of the fictitious New Burbage Theater, the series is witty, blackly funny, intelligent, and fascinating. The characters are marvelous. The series had me from the opening song:

Cheer up Hamlet
Chin up Hamlet
Buck up you melancholy Dane
So your uncle is a cad
Who murdered Dad and married Mum
That's really no excuse to be as glum as you've become
So wise up Hamlet
Rise up Hamlet
Buck up and sing the new refrain
Your incessant monologizing fills the castle with ennui
Your antic disposition is embarrassing to see
And by the way you sulky brat the answer is To Be
You're driving poor Ophelia insane
So shut up you rogue and peasant
Grow up it's most unpleasant
Cheer up you melancholy Dane

The Winter Rose

Donnelly, Jennifer. The Winter Rose. (I'm really catching up on my Advanced Reader's Copies.) An enjoyable romance/historical novel that reads very quickly. India Selwyn Jones has just graduated from medical school and, eager to help those who most need her skills, joins a practice in Whitechapel, one of the poorest areas of London.

Like many of us who have high ideals and little exposure to the complexities of the problems, India finds that she must compromise to succeed and must acknowledge that good diets and cleanliness are almost impossible in extreme poverty. In her practice, India also comes in contact with the leader of the criminal element in Whitechapel, Sid Malone. Ahhh, here is that prickly love interest, worlds apart, but inevitably drawn together.

There are a lot of characters in this novel (some from Donnelly's previous novel) and Donnelly does a decent job of sketching them in. The likable characters are very likable, with strengths and weaknesses, but are not highly developed. I cared about India and Sid, but they never quite came off the page for me. The villain is completely one dimensional.

Much of the plot is typical of this type of novel, but there is something vibrant that pulls you along-- through the lives of the rich and the poorest of the poor, through the streets of the East End and beyond, through the heartaches and adventures. The next novel will evidently be concerned with Seamie and Willa and pursue the theme of The Tea Rose (which I've not read) and The Winter Rose--love, separation, reunion.

Fiction. Romance/historical. 2008. 707 pages.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Forgive Me


Ward, Amanda Eyre. Forgive Me. An ARC. I'm going to quote from the Publishers Weekly review of the audiobook, rather than write my own:

From Publishers Weekly

Before Nadine has fully recovered from an assault that left her hospitalized, she is already on a plane to South Africa. As luck would have it, she flies the same flight as two parents who are to appear in front of a tribunal created in the postapartheid era to reconsider the crimes of political criminals. Their testimony will decide the fate of a young woman who was involved in the murder of their son, Jason. A hard news journalist, Nadine wants the scoop, but returning to South Africa will bring up some dark memories from her past. Lee's narration proves to be the best part of this audiobook. Her soft and smooth voice captures and improves the emotion and energy of the book. Her accents and different vocal characterizations are also impressive and consistent. While she will seduce listeners, her skill won't necessarily improve the story, which feels hackneyed and forced. Though Ward provides an intriguing look at the issue of recovery in postapartheid South Africa, her protagonist's personal journey proves clich├ęd and counterintuitive to the politics of the story. Simultaneous release with the Random House hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 30).

The above review pretty much sums up the novel for me, with two exceptions: the boy's diary and the feeling of manipulation at the end of the novel.

Fiction. 2007. 234 pages.

Dedication


McLaughlin, Emma, and Nicola Kraus. Dedication. Another ARC, this book is by the authors of The Nanny Diaries. Kate Hollis has a successful career but is still obsessing about Jake, the high school boyfriend who became a big rock star. Unfortunately, he used intimate details about his and Kate's relationship and other personal issues in many of his songs. She hasn't seen him or heard from him since he took off without any good byes thirteen years earlier. When Jake visits his mother's home (first time in thirteen years?), Kate's best friend calls to tell her that Jake is in town. Dropping everything, Kate gets a flight home. So flustered she doesn't even take any clothes. ? ?

Everyone tells Kate to get over it. I must add my voice to that chorus: GET OVER IT! I don't recommend this one.

Fiction. Chic Lit. 278 pages.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Savannah

Returned from Savannah Sunday afternoon. Wonderful trip! Such a beautiful and fascinating city. Here is the kitchen where we ate breakfast with the fire in the fireplace.
One of the gardens at the Gastonian Inn where we stayed.
I liked this door, but didn't go up stairs to see if Mr. Marlowe was in.Yesterday and today, I've been keeping Bryce so Amelia could get back to work to catch up on a few things. She and Bryce will be staying home tomorrow. I've been so lucky with both of my children and all 3 grandchildren. Good babies all. Feed, change, and admire them -- almost all that is required.

While in Savannah, I found that Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes was a great conversation aid. I'd started the book (an ARC from Anna that has been neglected for a long time) before leaving, but didn't take it with me because it is a 400 page hardback. Marc Penn is the pollster who spotted the importance and named the political force of the "Soccer Moms" in 1996. There were several conversations (with Fee and with people we met at the Gastonian or found ourselves talking to on a tour) that echoed things I'd just read: in 2005, single women were the second-largest group of home-buyers and women are investing and retiring alone (and the implications of this trend), commuter couples, and the working retired. The working retired trend has huge implications: politically and economically (for example, Penn notes that men & women who continue working after age 65 could help avert the Social Security crisis.

I have finished two books: Dedication by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Krause. and Forgive Me by Amanda Eyre Ward. Will review them soon. I'm over half way through The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly which was waiting for me when we returned from Savannah on Sunday. I have not read The Tea Rose which has several of the same characters, but I'm enjoying this one.

Gave in and bought a cookbook while in Savannah and read it through several times on the plane and in the airport on Sunday. Mmmm...some really good recipes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Wish List

Ariana Franklin's new novel The Serpent's Tale will soon be out. I read Mistress of the Art of Death (reviewed here) last year and loved it. I certainly want to read the latest adventure of Adelia and Rowley.

Due out in April: Shadow Gate: Book Two of Crossroads, sequel to Kate Eliot's Spirit Gate. I've been waiting on this one as well. Here is my review of Spirit Gate.

Also to come in July of 2008, David Webber's By Schism Rent Asunder, which is hopefully the next in the series begun by Off Armageddon Reef, reviewed here. I fell in love with David Webber's work with O. A.R., but went on to explore his Honor Harrington series which I loved as well.

Perhaps, if I put in a request at the library, they will consider ordering all three (if they have not already done so); after all, I checked each one of the above out from the library shortly after publication. And the sooner I can get my hands on these, the better!

------ later---

I've begun pulling out books that have been forgotten. You know, those stacks that are out for frequent perusal...mine are usually on the hearth or on top of the book shelf or on the old trunk and frequently in all three places. When company is expected I usually move them to one of the bookshelves. In my case, stacked in front of books that are already there, where I forget about them.

Ooops! ARC's and purchased books galore, neglected, unread. So I will be eliminating a few of them--now that they are back in the open, rubbing shoulders with library books and more recent acquisitions.

Monday, January 21, 2008

An Absolute Gentleman

Kinder, R.M. An Absolute Gentleman. Although Kinder has won awards for her short stories, this is her first novel, and a remarkably polished and suspenseful first novel. I'm most impressed with her skillful treatment of a subject that easily could have been sensationalized in the manner often associated with novels about serial killers.

Kinder takes an almost diametrically opposite approach by letting Arthur Bloom reveal the ordinary, mundane side of his life. His concern over the manuscript he is writing, his desire for a tenured position at a small college, his need for others to recognize his feelings. Not one of these needs or desire does he present in an twisted way. Bloom wants to have his manuscript published, but doesn't make unnecessary fuss about his much-praised first novel and is willing to work hard at revising his manuscript; he wants the security of the steady salary that tenure would offer; and he wants people to be reasonably considerate of his feelings. His needs don't seem unusual. As he relates his experiences, nothing stands out as a red-flag. On the other hand, neither does he fit comfortably into the status quo.

Arthur Bloom does not fit the multiple murderer profile we so often see. The murders are not frenzied, nor are they elaborately planned. They don't show a marked increase in frequency. In some ways, to Arthur, the murders must seem a combination of circumstances, almost spontaneous. Yet, when the chapters on his childhood are revealed, many of the clues of the sociopath are there.

Kinder does a fine job of giving the unusual upbringing of this intelligent, well-read man who appears gentle, refined, reasonable, and yet who is capable of murdering women with a kind of vacant logic that doesn't affect his own self image. He does not see himself as a monster and does not want anyone else to see him in that light. He is justified in his actions.

Although I tried to find more information online about Robert Weeks, the multiple murderer that Kinder knew and whose story inspired this novel, I was unable to find much beyond the fact that Weeks/Smith was convicted of two murders and suspected of many more. Kinder tells, at the conclusion of the novel, about her attempt to write about the real-life murderer-- and her inability to do so. Arthur Bloom is loosely based on Kinder's knowledge of Weeks, but is a character who evolved to large extent on his own. In her Afterword, Kinder says, "He lives among us as a friend, colleague, neighbor, nice guy, and surprises us--but not totally--by being, simultaneously, murderer."

The writing is precisely moderated for suspense, not sensationalism, and is a compelling portrayal of an "occasional murderer."

Fiction. Crime. 2007. 288 pages.

Finished, Begun, In Progress, TBR

Finished An Absolute Gentleman yesterday and will try to get a review posted today. Fascinating first novel.

I'm trying to decide what to take with me to Savannah; although I know there won't be a lot of time to read, the plane ride must be taken in to account and one should always read before sleep. I put Little, Big aside a while back and keep forgetting about it, so it is definitely a possibility. The reason I put it aside is because I inadvertently read something that revealed a later event in the novel and that put me off.

Started Perdido Street Station by China Mieville and will have to give it another chance, but at this point, the novel isn't calling to me.

I've been very good about refusing to invest in more books so far this month. Will continue to resist the urge to order every new title, but have a long list to check to see if the library has available copies.

Deanna Raybourn's new novel is out (I read Silent in the Grave last March- reviewed here) and loved it. So I definitely want Silent in the Sanctuary, but will not, will not, will not order it!

Nothing but fiction this month, and that needs to change. Not one biography/memoir so far this month, and that must be remedied. I've several contenders in this category including The Lion and the Unicorn (Gladstone and Disraeli) recommended by Jill, one of Penelope Lively's autobiographies (maybe A House Unlocked), Travels with a Donkey (Robert Louis Stevenson) which received good reviews from Kate and Dorothy, and Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Outlander

Gabaldon, Diane. Outlander. I'm late coming to Gabaldon's novels, but I really did enjoy the majority of this first novel in the series. Once involved with the novel, it was almost impossible to stay away from it for any length of time, so despite its length, I sped through it rapidly.

Shortly after the close of WWII, Claire Randall and her husband are in Scotland enjoying a second honeymoon after having been parted for the majority of the war. Claire, who had been a nurse, is enjoying the leisurely renewal of their relationship when she approaches a local circle of standing stones and is transported back in time to the Scotland of the 1740's as events are in the making for the Jacobite Uprising that would attempt to put Bonnie Prince Charlie (or the Stuart Pretender - according to which side was supported) on the throne and replace the Hanovers.

The characters and their relationships make the novel -- and while some complications are a result of Claire's time travel and knowledge resulting from her 20th century life, most of the complications are a result of human relationships on the edge of actual historic events. Favorite character: Jamie Fraser, of course.

Fiction. Historical/time travel. 1991. 627 pages.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

From the Highlands to the Show Me State

I've finished Outlander and must review it, but it was quite a romp through the highlands!

I've begun An Absolute Gentleman an ARC that I received a while back. Chilling! A tale told by a serial killer that makes you a part of his thought processes. Not gory at all so far, but engrossing as you follow Arthur Bloom in his explanation of his life. The fact that you can identify with some of the ordinary, everyman aspects of Bloom's life just makes the tale more eerie and uncomfortable. Especially sense Arthur Bloom is an English professor at a small college in Missouri...


Where Does the Money Go! Another ARC, this one examines the federal budget (mostly in layman's terms) and is particularly relevant right now.

A little sample:

"There are basically three categories of government money gone wrong.
*Fraud and abuse, which pretty much means stealing.
*Waste, which can best be summed up as bungling.
*
Pork, which is politically motivated spending designed to keep an office holder's supporters and constituents happy."

Some examples of pork that I've heard on the news recently: The Bridge to Nowhere and - on the positive side - a possible return of pork funds. I couldn't find the one I heard about on last night's news because I couldn't remember the state (it was a Southern state) but they, too, decided to return the federal money received for a pork project.

My personal opinion is that pork is a form of stealing and elected officials who engage in some of these ridiculous projects should be prosecuted. Rant over.

The last ARC just arrived. Four Wives by Wendy Walker. I'm not sure this one is up my alley at all, but I'll put it in the TBR stack for now.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hunting Fear


Hooper, Kay. Hunting Fear. Kim at Mouse Medicine recommended this author. The novel is the first in a trilogy (Chill of Fear, Sleeping with Fear), but also part of a larger series that features psychic special agents, members of Noah Bishop's FBI Special Crimes Unit.

In this novel, Lucas Jordan, FBI profiler and psychic, must stop a serial kidnapper, whose victims die even when the ransom is paid. Samantha, a carnival fortune teller and genuine seer, is one of the early suspects and has a background with Luke Jordan, as well.

Fast paced and suspenseful, this paranormal mystery is a page-turner. My first experience with Hooper was a positive one. Far-fetched, but a thrilling read.

Fiction. Mystery/suspense. 2004. 338 pages.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Baltimore, or The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire

Mignola, Mike, and Christopher Golden. Baltimore, or, the Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire. I really did not know what to expect with this book; I saw it on the new book shelf at the library and remembered that it was on Carl's list of favorite books for 2007.

The first chapter shifts back and forth between the Ardennes Forest, a bloody battleground in two World Wars (but apparently set in WWI) and the story of a tin soldier belonging to a young boy. I say apparently WWI because eventually some notable differences occur. The story of the tin soldier, while containing elements of the Hans Christian Andersen story, is also part of Sir Henry Baltimore's memories of childhood and the hallucinations resulting from a severe wound and a terrible supernatural event .

From the beginning, I was impressed with the writing and thought immediately of All Quiet on the Western Front. Then there was a drastic shift from the horrors of the war as Lord Baltimore confronts an even greater horror -- one that was beyond his imagination.

The story then shifts to several years later and an inn where three men meet: three men who have been summoned by Lord Baltimore to this time and place. Each of the men have known Baltimore, each has had a direct contact with evil, and each will join Baltimore in a terrible and crucial battle. Here the elements of Dracula, the classic vampire story begin to emerge. As with The Steadfast Tin Soldier, it is not an exact fit, but a careful lifting of certain components and an adapting of those components to the tale Mignola and Golden want to tell.

I've read three excellent modern versions of the vampire story based on Bram Stoker's novel: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, Renfield: Slave of Dracula by Barbara Hambly (recommended by Chris), and Baltimore by Mignola and Golden. Baltimore differs from the other two in several ways, but is ultimately the one with the greatest sense of malevolence. It leaves one gory battlefield in Ardennes and advances to another battlefield, one of the soul and the spirit, as a plague devastates the land. Allegorical and drawing on the Dracula/vampire legend, WWI and the flu epidemic of 1919, and Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tale, Mignola and Golden and have rendered a beautifully crafted, but chilling literary analogue complete with equally well-crafted and chilling illustrations.

Anyone interested in vampire stories should definitely add this to their list. Although, like Carl, I found the ending less than completely satisfactory, the book itself should be considered a must read for those who love Dracula, The Historian, and/or Renfield.

Fiction. Gothic horror. 2007. 285 pages.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Interred With Their Bones (or -- who did write those marvelous plays?)


Carrell, Jennifer Lee. Interred with Their Bones. Although I was quite interested in the theories about who may have written Shakespeare's plays if not Shakespeare himself, the book was too long, too fantastic, too full of unnecessary and unrealistic murders.

I did find the information on Delia Bacon (friend of Nathaniel Hawthorn) fascinating; Bacon was the first to propose the theory that the plays were written not by Shakespeare, but by Francis Bacon, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Edmund Spenser. Of course, other alternative authors such as Marlowe and the Earl of Oxford, are also mentioned. The historical information is intriguing and Carrell, who holds a Ph.D. in English and American literature from Harvard and taught in both the history and literature programs there, is certainly up on her history. I'd never heard that Frances Howard was tried for murdering Sir Thomas Overbury with some poisoned tarts, but found several interesting accounts online, here is one.

At any rate, Carrell's scholarship may be excellent, but I found the plot far-fetched and overly complicated and the characters pretty thin. While I do love theories about the authorship of the plays, I also agree with Sir Henry in preferring to believe that a "third-rate player" (according to Delia Bacon) actually could have written the plays because like Sir Henry, I like the idea that genius can flower anywhere.

Fiction. Mystery. 2007. 416 pages.

On Gabaldon and Outlander

The comments on this post about Outlander brought back a memory of my first exposure to the novel. Recommended to me by a student about 12 years ago, I had every intention of reading it, but it didn't grab me, and busy grading a set of essays, I eventually let it slide.

However, I still remember E., with her head bent over that book and my surprise and pleasure because E., an athlete not a scholar, had shown little interest in books at all. But there she was reading that huge tome, day after day, with such pleasure. (I always gave credit for books of choice and often some class time for reading.)

I've no doubt that she has followed the series religiously. Whether or not I actually read Outlander this time and whether or not I like it, I cannot fail to be impressed by the fact that Gabaldon has created dedicated readers of many people who never enjoyed reading before. Her fans are amazingly loyal and unfailingly enthusiastic -- heady praise for an author.

These memories of students, and the different aspects of literature and the different novels that caught their attention, remain as moments of pleasure. The ones that loved Siddhartha and those who hated it-- and Wuthering Heights and Hamlet (well, most of them loved Hamlet) and Pride and Prejudice and The Mayor of Casterbridge and Mary Higgins Clark and Jane Austen and Stephen King and Walker Percy and Tolkien and Gabaldon and mysteries and fantasy and science fiction and Gothic tales...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Death Comes for the Fat Man

Hill, Reginald. Death Comes for the Fat Man. A Dalziel and Pascoe mystery, the 22 in the series! Another example of Hill's excellent storytelling and wonderful character development, full of all the literary allusions I love. The review, however, is a challenge because of fear of giving away too much.

The Fat Man--Andy Dalziel, that mountain of a man--is injured in an explosion involving terrorist activity. But who are the terrorists? Peter Pascoe is also injured but because the Fat Man was in front and took the brunt of the blast, Peter recovers quickly while Dalziel remains on life support and in a coma.

Pascoe is determined to find those responsible, and in the process, he abandons the diplomatic role he has always assumed and begins to "channel" Dalziel's behavior. The two made a terrific pair, but it was the combination of the brash, aggressive, and irreverent Dalziel and the diplomatic Pascoe that made their partnership successful. Pascoe, without even realizing it initially, brings Dalziel's brash personality into his own sensibility in order to find the culprits.

Although Andy Dalziel is not physically involved in the action, his indomitable personality is present both in his subconscious wanderings as he lies in a coma and in the influence he has on all of the characters who have known him.

Lots of twists and turns, and I really can't say much more because of events that should come to the reader only through the process of reading the novel...without spoilers.

It helps to have prior knowledge of the relationships between/among Dalziel, Pascoe, Ellie, Rosie and Wieldy, but Hill manages to convey most of it even if you don't have that background.

A great read! If you are a fan, don't miss it. If you've not read any in this series, I recommend that you find and read as many as you can. They are more than mysteries.

Fiction. Mystery. 2007. 404 pages.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Library

Carl's post this morning (actually, now it was yesterday morning, as I didn't finish this post yesterday) was about the benefits of the public library, one of my favorite places. This is my most recent stack of library books.
Interred With Their Bones by Jennifer Carrell (mystery, thriller - lost play by Shakespeare; murder and mayhem)

Outlander by Diana Gabaldonl (the 600 page time-travel romance that everyone else has read; first in a long series)

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville (one review says, "It can be read with equal validity as fantasy, science fiction, horror, or slipstream.")

Hunting Fear by Kay Hooper (rec. by Kim at Mouse Medicine; a thriller with psychics)

Death Comes for the Fat Man by Reginald Hill (Dalziel and Pascoe...Love them! newest in the series by Hill; just finished and must review.)

Baltimore,: or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden (rec. by Carl as one of his favorites from 2007)

I'm not finding much computer time lately and when I'm home, I have to limit myself in order to catch up with other things, but today I hope to have more time to visit some of my favorite blogs.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Consequences

Lively, Penelope. Consequences. I really liked this novel, a bit surprising as I was not much taken with Lively's The Photograph several years ago. Consequences is about the distaff side of a family and covers over 70 years, from the 1930's to the present.

The story begins with Lorna in the years before WWII. Born into an upper middle-class family, Lorna finds herself out of sync with many of the goals and values of her parents, and when she finds Matt Farraday, an aspiring artist and engraver, the two marry and set out to live their lives in an old farmhouse with few conveniences.

The story eventually moves to their daughter Molly, who has a streak of her mother's independence, and when she finds herself pregnant, refuses to marry the father of her child, deciding to raise her daughter Ruth alone.

And finally, Ruth and her life and situations unfold. Eventually, Ruth feels a need to find a connection with her grandparents, especially with Matt, whose engravings are still valued and admired, and the sense of coming full circle is achieved.

Lorna, Molly, and Ruth are all independent women in their own particular ways, and while other characters are important (lovable or shallow or interesting or not), they are never the center, although they have impact.

Covering such a large expanse of time in a rather short novel means that much is eliminated in order to move from mother to daughter to granddaughter. There is also a sense of removal from the characters, as if you are viewing them from a distance, and they are not always visible, but in and out of shadow so that what you have are only glimpses. Sometimes I felt a little excluded. Sometimes I wanted a more complete rendition of their lives. Yet those feelings were because I liked these women and wanted to know more. Their difficulties are the difficulties of humankind; the lives the author presents are somewhat constrained -- minor disappointments and joys are swept away, but the key events are there: love and grief and those feelings of things not being quite right, as if one is waiting for something - to make a move, to be discovered, to find a direction, to take a risk - that we all have at one time or another.

I would have preferred a longer book, one that filled in more details and further enlarged on not only the women, but also the secondary characters like Lucas, Simon, and Sam; I am greedy when I like characters.

Nevertheless, despite wanting more, it was a book that I found strangely satisfying; partly because even as I was reading, there were certain events in Ruth's life that were coinciding with things that were on my mind. Thoughts on love, relationships, the end of relationships, the joy of a mother in her child, loss, memories, and wanting to know more about those ancestors whose faces look out at you from pictures....

I notice that Lively has written two autobiographies whose titles sound intriguing: A House Unlocked and Oleander, Jacaranda: A Childhood Perceived. I'm adding them to my TBR list because I'm planning on continuing my reading of biographies, memoirs, autobiographies.

Fiction. 2007. General fiction. 258 pages.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Hurrier I Go...

I was so determined to keep up with everything better this year - posting, reading blogs and commenting, but life always gets in the way.

My father had a stroke on New Year's Day, and although he is doing as well as can be expected, it is going to be a long ordeal, especially combined with AD. The stroke was on the right side of the brain, so his speech is not affected (with the exception of the aphasia from AD which has been a problem), and he can swallow and therefore, eat when fed. He cannot move his left arm or leg, and right now his vision is impaired, but that may improve.

When I can, I escape to the internet and check in on your blogs -- another benefit of the internet: distraction. Of course, I get some reading done, too. I'm loving Consequences by Penelope Lively.

I have the old stacks, the various books in progress, some new ARC's, and a pile of library books, so reading material will not be a problem for quite a while. Tomorrow, maybe I can give you a taste of some of the delicious books I have awaiting me, but tonight I'm off to bed!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

In Review

I read fewer books this year than last year, but I probably read as many pages; I just couldn't bring myself to try and add them up.

My goal was to read more nonfiction and more books in the category of biography/memoir. Achieved! I also read some pretty scientific nonfiction and some interesting social trend nonfiction. In fact, all that I read in nonfiction proved well worth the while!

Total: 106 books

A quick breakdown:

26 nonfiction
79 fiction

44 books by male authors

65 books by female authors

13 biography/memoir

1 essay collection

1 short story collection

I started trying to determine the best books in the nonfiction category, but could not narrow it down enough. Most of the biographies were excellent, and the general nonfiction books had too many that would also qualify.

The best fiction was Russo's Bridge of Sighs.

Favorite New Authors:

David Weber - science fiction/ space opera
Deanna Rayburn - historical mystery
Catherynne Valente - fantasy
Kate Elliot - fantasy
Aretha Franklin - historical mystery
Jason Goodwin - historical mystery
C.J. Sansom - historical mystery
Brunonia Barry - general fiction
D. J. Taylor - historical mystery

.Here is a link to the complete list: 2007 Books

Fresh Start

I got the last 2 reviews posted yesterday; it was a relief to finally get them done. Now, I can begin the new year with a clean slate - review-wise, anyway, there are still books in progress.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!