October 31, 2008

The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld

Good book. Freud is visiting America for the first time with his collegues Jung and Ferenczi. He is met by another follower of psychoanlaysis, Stratham Younger, when he arrives. Younger is pulled in by the Mayor of New York to analyze a seeming victim of a violent crime similar to other recent crimes in the city. It is Younger's job to find the truth about the incident from Nora, the young woman who was attacked. Younger ends up on a quest to help solve all the murders with a green detective and downtrodden coroner. Freud and his collegues are involved in Younger's investigation. 

This is a story with many threads which are surprisingly all wrapped up nicely at the non-typical ending. A literary work of fact/fiction that is astounding, insightful and makes you question what is or is not true. 

My Rating: 4.0

October 27, 2008

All About Romance's 2007 Top 100 Poll

I was recently browsing at Heather's Reading Romance and saw her post on how many books from the AAR's 2007 Top 100 list that she has read/owns and much to my surprise after perusing the list myself, I actually own 39 books on the list and plan to buy at least 4. Never knew I had such good book sense. A lot of the novels I bought years ago when searching for new favorite authors and then ended up collecting each new release from them (Julie Garwood, Julia Quinn, Linda Howard, Judith McNaught).

How many do you have? Check it out. 

October 20, 2008

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton

Meg Waite Clayton has written a well researched, cleverly woven story of 5 women, Frankie, Linda, Kath, Brett and Ally, who first meet each other at a park in front of their homes, and subsequently discover each have a dream of writing. They make a pact to meet once a week to help critique each other’s scribbles and over 4 decades they support each other through turmoil and success, with an enduring loyalty to their sisterhood.

The Wednesday Sisters inspired in me a yearning to have such a sisterhood of my own. The author speaks to the loneliness and wish for accomplishment, friendship and personal growth that is present in all of us. Though the story starts in the late 1960s the themes of self-discovery, dreams, prejudices, and disappointments are familiar no matter what era you live in. Weaved into the story Clayton also confronts many stereotypical ideas of the time related to gender, race, and science, an admirable and bold literary effort. This is a book I never knew I wanted to read but was waiting for to find me.
My Rating: 4.0

October 17, 2008

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a uniquely charming novel with a distinctive voice. 

Juliet Ashton is living in an England emerging from the aftermath of World War II. During the war Juliet wrote a humorous column called Izzy Bickerstaff Goes to War, which was subsequently bound into a collection because of its popularity. We meet Juliet at the end of her promotional tour for the book and, although proud of the accomplishment of Izzy, she is determined next to write a not so humorous narrative of…something. Not sure of what her future holds or what she will do next, a telegram arrives for Juliet from a Guernsey Island native who happens to possess a book by Charles Lamb that was once hers, and he requests her help in knowing more about the author. A correspondence is struck and Juliet becomes ever more interested in the man, his friends and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society that they formed during the German occupation of the Island during the war. As the Society members write to her she becomes more and more interested in their lives until finally she decides to set sail for Guernsey Island and determine her future. 

The uniqueness of the novel is that all of the writing is in letter format. Like others who have read this novel I was drawn into the evermore-interesting details of the Society members and the intertwining relationships of the characters. I fell in love with Juliet and all of her new friends on Guernsey and was sad to say goodbye.

My Rating: 4.5

October 13, 2008

Darcy's Story by Janet Aylmer

I am having a mostly enjoyable time reading Jane Austen fan fiction (I decided to start a collection to accompany my complete works of Jane Austen) but having read Pamela Aiden's series of Pride & Prejudice from Darcy's perspective first, I can state positively that this version by Janet Aylmer is almost lifeless. The story is more explanatory and observational of his experiences than how Darcy may having been thinking and/or feeling emotionally at the time. It is a good attempt but sounds like an essay, so I would invest in the Aiden series first instead of spending your time and money on this version. Ok, so maybe I am being too harsh (feel free to debate with me!), as I was also harsh with Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, but where at least CJAA was entertaining this effort did not seem inspired in any way. 

My Rating: 2.0

Ice Hunt by James Rollins

Another solid action/adventure from James Rollins. I won't bother with a detailed description but Rollins books are usually about a group of people, good against evil of course, and they race to save the world...or try to destroy it. I get bored easily so I mix in a Rollins book amongst the classics, historical fiction and romantic suspense I usually read. Always guaranteed an exciting, fast-paced read and you learn about obscure scientific facts. I also appreciate how his books are not geared to just a male audience. Can't wait to read the next one. 

My Rating: 4.0

October 7, 2008

Stranded on a Desert Island

An often posed question: What 10 books would I bring if I were stranded on a desert island? This was really hard for me.  I get bored easily so I picked more weighty works that I could get lost in, instead of more practical ones.  Also, there are so many great books I own I have not read yet. Which list should I choose?  
Have Read? 
1 The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova 
2 The Complete Works of Jane Austen 
3 Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden 
4 Lord of the Rings Trilogy (The Hobbit too.) 
5 The Tailor’s Daughter (amazing, well-rounded historical fiction novel) 
6 Harry Potter Series 
7 Contact by Carl Sagan 
8 Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon 
9 The Thirteenth Tale by Dianne Setterfield 
10 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee   
Or Not Yet Read? 
1 The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger 
2 Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke 
3 The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas 
4 Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand 
5 The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck 
6 Katherine by Anya Seton 
7 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 
8 Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley 
9 Outlander by Diana Gabaldon 
10 Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov