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Preview: Enough to Read

Enough to Read



My musings on books which I've read and am reading.



Updated: 2018-03-06T20:16:06.539-05:00

 



New year, new format

2017-01-17T14:22:02.547-05:00

It's 2017, and I am way behind on sharing my thoughts about the books I read in 2015 and 2016. And then, there are the books I've read so far this year!  So, I decided to change the format.  Sometimes I'll just list what I read, linking the title to the LibraryThing.com page, and will indicate my rating, and sometimes I'll share my thoughts about books that stood out to me.



Deathbringer by Bryan Smith

2017-03-29T14:35:05.786-04:00

First sentence:

"Hannah Starke watched a fly make its slow way up the length of her slim, tanned leg."

Description:

"Hannah Starke was the first to die. And the first to come back. In the small town of Dandridge they all come back. The buried claw their way out of their graves. The recently killed get up and kill. As the dead attack the living, the number of the dead continues to grow. And the odds against the living get worse and worse.

In the middle of it all stands a dark, shadowy figure, a stranger in town with an unspeakable goal. If he is successful, death will rule Dandridge and the terror will continue to spread until all hope is lost. Who can defeat an army of the living dead? Who can stand face-to-face against the . . .DEATHBRINGER" -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I don't read much in the zombie genre so I wasn't sure if I would like this book, but I did. I think what made this book a little different was that the zombies retained some of their memories and were aware of what they had become.


Date read: 10/24/2016
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Horror

ISBN-10:  0843956771
ISBN-13:
Publisher: Leisure Books
Year: 2006
# of pages: 342
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing page:



Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick

2017-12-19T15:54:14.929-05:00

First sentence:

"For sixty-five days, the Mayflower had blundered her way through storms and headwinds, her bottom a shaggy pelt of seaweed and barnacles, her leaky decks spewing salt water onto her passengers' devoted heads."

Description:

"How did America begin?

That simple question launches acclaimed author Nathaniel Philbrick on an extraordinary journey to understand the truth behind our most sacred national myth: the voyage of the Mayflower and the settlement of Plymouth Colony. As Philbrick reveals in this electrifying new history of the Pilgrims, the story of Plymouth Colony was a fifty-five year epic that began in peril and ended in war. New England erupted into a bloody conflict that nearly wiped out the English colonists and natives alike/ These events shaped the existing communities and the country that would grow from them." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I learned a lot from this book concerning early interactions between Europeans and the various tribes in New England. For example, I didn't know, before reading the book, that Plymouth was a separate colony from the Massachusetts Bay colony to the north. I also learned that a big part of the reasons for the wars between the settlers and the natives was desire for power and for land.

Date read: 10/1/2016
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: History

ISBN-10: 0143111973
ISBN-13: 9780143111979
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year: 2006
# of pages: 463
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing page



Plainsong by Kent Haruf

2017-03-31T12:01:03.311-04:00

First sentence:

Here was this man Tom Guthrie in Holt standing at the back window in the kitchen of his house smoking cigarettes and looking out over the back lot where the sun was just coming up.

Description:

"Ambitious, but never seeming so, Kent Haruf reveals a whole community as he interweaves the stories of a pregnant high school girl, a lonely teacher, a pair of boys abandoned by their mother, and a couple of crusty bachelor farmers. From simple elements, Haruf achieves a novel of wisdom and grace--a narrative that builds in strength and feeling until, as in a choral chant, the voices in the book surround, transport, and lift the reader off the ground." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

A quiet and beautiful book! Haruf's description of place and characters drew me in to discover a family of friends.

Date read: 10/16/2015

Series: Plainsong, #1
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fiction

ISBN-10: 0375705856
ISBN-13: 9780375705854
Publisher: Vintage
Year: 1999
# of pages: 301
Binding: Paperback
LibraryThing page



Books I read in September 2015: Dust: Thin Air; Girl in the Dark

2017-12-11T14:56:40.892-05:00

20. Dust by Elizabeth Bear

My thoughts:

This is an interesting book of characters on an aging space ship. At times, I would forget that the world of "angels" and gardens were in outer space and the characters of Rien and Perceval kept my interest as they make their way through the ship. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, Chill.

Date read: 9/10/2015
Series: Jacob's Ladder, #1
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: SF
LibraryThing page

21. Thin Air by Rachel Caine

My thoughts:

I liked this book featuring Weather Warden Joanne Baldwin who faces the daunting task of saving the world while putting together her memories.

Date read: 9/18/2015
Series: Weather Warden, #6
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Urban Fantasy
LibraryThing page

22. Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey

My thoughts:

This is a fascinating book about a woman coping with a mysterious ailment leaving her in the dark for most of the day. I liked how she described her condition, her relationships, and how she sometimes was able to tolerate very low levels of light.

Date read: 9/30/2015
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Memoir
LibraryThing page



August 2015 - Part 2: I was Amelia Earhart; Mermaid; Firestorm

2017-03-29T14:18:06.076-04:00

20. I was Amelia Earhart by Jane Mendelsohn

My thoughts:

This was an interesting book of the possible life of Amelia Earhart after she disappeared flying over the Pacific Ocean.

Date read: 8/21/2015
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fiction
LibraryThing page

21. Mermaid by Eileen Cronin

My thoughts:

I liked this book about growing up strong despite having missing limbs due to thalidomide. Cronin doesn't let anything get in her way and her determination to live her life fully is an inspiration.

Date read:
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Memoir
LibraryThing page

22. Firestorm by Rachel Caine

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this entry in the Weather Warden series. I liked how Weather Warden Joanne Baldwin worked to alert her colleagues of the dangerous collapse in the Warden-Djinn relations. I look forward to reading the next book, Thin Air.

Date read: 8/25/2015
Series: Weather Warden, #5
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Urban Fantasy
LibraryThing page



August 2015 - Part 1: The Memory Book; The Care and Management of Lies; Tell; Windfall

2017-01-17T14:50:15.697-05:00

16. Memory Book by Harold Engel

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this mystery featuring Benny Cooperman. I picked this book to read after Engel's memoir, The Man Who Forgot How to Read, as the main character also developed the same condition, albeit under different circumstances (head injury (Cooperman) vs stroke (Engel)).  I liked how Engel had Cooperman not just struggle with reading and memory but also try to figure out why he was attacked and who did it. I look forward to reading other books in this series.


Date read: 8/5/2015
Series: Benny Cooperman, #11
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Mystery
LibraryThing page

17. The Care and Management of Lies by Jacqueline Winspear

My thoughts:

This was a good book about World War I, describing conditions both on the battlefield and at home.

Date read: 8/11/2015
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Historical Fiction
LibraryThing page

18. Tell by Frances Itani

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this sequel to Itani's book Deafening. Taking place after World War 1, the book brings to front the struggles of families dealing with men home from Europe with wounds, physical and mental.

Date read: 8/14/2015
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fiction
LibraryThing page

19. Windfall by Rachel Caine

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this book featuring Weather Warden Joanne Baldwin as she negotiates her work and life among the Wardens and the Djinn. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, Firestorm.

Date read: 8/17/2015
Series: Weather Warden, #4
Genre: Urban Fantasy
LibraryThing page





July 2015: Ghost Train to New Orleans; Deafening

2017-04-05T15:01:41.148-04:00

13. Ghost Train to New Orleans by Mur Lafferty

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this sequel to The Shambling Guide to New York City. I especially liked the Ghost Train with the ghost train robbers on horses galloping along beside it!

Date read: 7/1/2015
Series: Shambling Guides, #2
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Urban Fantasy
LibraryThing page



14. Deafening by Frances Itani

My thoughts:

This is a very moving and thought-provoking book about deafness and the importance of listening in many different ways during the years up to and including the first World War. I know I really like a book when I wish I could meet the characters in real life, and I would love to meet Grania and Lloyd.

Date read: 7/15/2015
Rating: 4*/5 = great
Genre: Fiction
LibraryThing page





The Man Who Forgot How to Read by Howard Engel

2017-04-05T15:00:42.001-04:00

First sentence:

"My name is Howard Engel."

Description:

"One hot midsummer morning, novelist Howard Engel picked up his newspaper from his front step and discovered he could make no sense of it. The letters had mysteriously jumbled themselves into something that looked like Cyrillic one moment and Korean the next. While he slept, Engel ahd experienced a stroke and now suffered from a rare condition called alexia sine agraphia, meaning that while he could still write, he could no longer read.

Over the next several weeks in hospital and in rehabilitation, Engel discovered that much more was affected than his ability to read. His memory failed him, and even the names of old friends escaped his tongue. At first geography eluded him: he would know that two streets met somewhere in the city, but he couldn't imagine where. Apples and grapefruit now looked the same. When he returned home, he ahd trouble remembering where things went and would routinely find cans of tuna in the dishwasher and jars of pencils in the freezer.

Despite his disabilities, Engel prepared to face his dilemma. He contacted renowned neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks for advice and visited him in New York City, forging a lasting friendship. He bravely learned to read again. And in the face of tremendous obstacles, he triumphed in writing a new novel.

An absorbing and uplifting story, filled with sly wit and candid insights, The Man Who Forgot How to Read will appeal to anyone fascinated by the mysteries of the mind, on and off the page." -- from the inside flap


My thoughts:

A few years ago, I saw a cartoon from WNYC's Radiolab about Harold Engel, a Canadian mystery novelist, who had a stroke and developed the rare condition alexia sine agraphia. He became unable to read, though he could still write. This was a fascinating book about the Engel's ability to adapt and to find new ways to read.

Date read: 7/23/2015
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Memoir

ISBN-10: 031238209X
ISBN-13: 9780312382094
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Year: 2007
# of pages: 147
Binding: Hardcover
LibraryThing page



The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty

2017-04-06T14:59:13.188-04:00

First sentence:

"The bookstore was sandwiched between a dry cleaner's and a shifty-looking accounting office."

Description:

"Because of the disaster that was her last job, Zoe is searching for a fresh start as a travel book editor in the tourist-centric New York City. After stumbling across a seemingly perfect position though, Zoe is blocked at every turn because of the one thing she can't take off her resume --- human.

Not to be put off by anything -- especially not her blood drinking boss or death goddess coworker -- Zoe delves deep into the monster world. But her job turns deadly when the careful balance between human and monsters starts to crumble -- with Zoe right in the middle." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this travel guide to the hidden areas of New York City that monsters need to know about. After reading it, I don't think about places like the Statue of Liberty or the subway quite the same way!. I look forward to reading the next book, Ghost Train to New Orleans.

Date read: 6/24/2015
Book #: 13
Series: Shambling Guides, #1
Rating: 4*/5 = great
Genre: Urban Fantasy

ISBN-10: 0316221171
ISBN-13: 9780316221177
Publisher: Orbit
Year: 2013
# of pages: 339
Binding: Trade Papeback
LibraryThing page



The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles

2017-04-06T14:58:32.248-04:00

First sentence:

"He awoke, opened his eyes."

Description:

The Sheltering Sky is a trade mark of twentieth century literature. In this intensely fascinating story, Paul Bowles examines the ways in which Americans' incomprehension of alien cultures leads to the ultimate destruction of these cultures.

A story about three Americans travelers adrift in the cities and deserts of North Africa after World War II, The Sheltering Sky explores the limits of humanity when it touches the unfathomable emptiness and impassive cruelty of the desert." -- from the inside flap

My thoughts:

I found this a compelling book about relationships in a harsh environment. I liked the characters' interaction with each other and the world they're in.

Date read:  6/23/2015
Book #: 12
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fiction

ISBN-10: 006083482X
ISBN-13: 9780060834821
Publisher: HarperCollins
Year: 1949 (original); 2000 (this edition)
# of pages: 313
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing page



Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

2017-04-06T14:56:57.601-04:00

First sentence:

"The village headman, a man about fifty.."

Description:

"In this enchanting tale about the magic of reading and the wonder of romantic awakening, two hapless city boys are exiled to a remote mountain village for reeducation during China's infamous Cultural Revolution. There they meet the daughter of the local tailor and discover a hidden stash of Western classics in Chinese translation. As they flirt with the seamstress and secretly devour these banned works, they find transit from their grim surroundings to worlds they never imagined." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I liked this book about young Chinese men who learn about life and love during China's Cultural Revolution.

Date read: 6/10/2015
Book #: 11
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3*/5 = good

ISBN-10: 0385722206
ISBN-13: 9780385722209
Publisher: Anchor
Year: 2002
# of pages: 184
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing page



May 2015: Sea of Glory; The Last Hot Time; Gray Mountain

2016-10-01T22:04:34.902-04:00

8. Sea of Glory: America's Voyage of Discovery, The U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 by Nathaniel Philbrick

My thoughts:

I liked this book about the U.S. Exploring Expedition. Philbrick's prose nicely details both the discoveries and the people involved.

Date read: 5/15/2015
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: History
LibraryThing page

9.  The Last Hot Time by John M. Ford

My thoughts:

I liked this fantasy of a man who crosses worlds to become a doctor for otherworldly characters.

Date read:  5/21/2015
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fantasy
LibraryThing page

10. Gray Mountain by John Grisham

My thoughts:

I liked this book about a lawyer who enters a new world and discovers she can make a difference in people's lives.

Date read: 5/27/2016
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fiction
LibraryThing page




April 2015: Call the Midwife; Shadows of the Workhouse; Murder at the National Gallery of Art

2016-10-01T22:03:31.732-04:00

6. Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth

My thoughts: 

I liked the second book in the Midwife Trilogy series. I especially liked how Jennifer learned to look past the conditions to engage with the people directly. I'm looking forward to reading the third book, Farewell to the East End.

Date read: 4/3/2015
Series: Midwife #2
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Memoir/History
LibraryThing page

7. Murder at the National Gallery by Margaret Truman

My thoughts:

I like this mystery set in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and in Italy.  There were a lot of twists that kept me guessing throughout the book.

Date read: 4/11/2015
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Mystery
LibraryThing page





Mr. Darwin's Shooter by Roger McDonald

2016-10-18T15:42:43.261-04:00

First sentence:

"The day was hot and dusty with scattered leaves of poplars lining a towpath."

Description:

"In this richly detailed novel based on the life of Syms Covington, Charles Darwin's hard-working shipboard assistant and later his house-servant, Roger McDonald shines a light on a man forgotten by history, capturing the breathtaking excitement of the historic voyage of the Beagle and brilliantly illuminating the scientific, religious, and social controversies that exploded around Darwin's watershed theories.

As "Darwin's shooter," Covington collected and preserved invaluable specimens; as the scientist's clerk in London, was he the first man to grasp the full import of their research--the seeds of Darwin's theory of natural selection? Twenty years later, Covington awaits his copy of The Origin of Species with mixed emotions. Embittered by Darwin's failure to acknowledge him, he is also profoundly troubled by his own role in the discoveries that subverted sacred doctrines and shook the Victorian worldview to its very foundation." -- Amazon.com
 
My thoughts:

I liked this account of Syms Covington, an English sailor, who became Darwin's assistant during the voyage of the Beagle. Through his writing, McDonald illustrates well the times and beliefs of mid-18th century England and Australia.

Date read: 3/26/2015
Book #: 5
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Historical Fiction

ISBN-10: 0802143563
ISBN-13: 9780802143563
Publisher: Grove Press
Year: 2008
# of pages: 364
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing page






Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth

2016-10-18T10:11:37.119-04:00

First sentence:

"Nonnatus House was situated in the heart of the London Docklands."

Description:

"At the age of twenty-two, Jennifer Worth leaves her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in postwar London's East End slums. The colorful characters she meets while delivering babies...from the plucky warmhearted nuns with whom she lives, to the woman with twenty-four children, to the prostitutes and dockers of the city's seedier side...illuminate a fascinating time in history." -- LibraryThing.com member description

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this memoir about working as a midwife in the East End of London in the 1950s. Worth's description of the people she met and worked with brought the period to life. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse.

Date read: 3/15/2015
Book # 4
Series: Midwife Trilogy, #1
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Memoir/History

ISBN-10: 0143123254
ISBN-13: 9780143123255
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2012
# of pages: 352
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing page




One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson

2016-10-17T10:11:31.359-04:00

First sentence:"On a warm spring evening just before Easter 1927, people who lived in tall buildings in New York were given pause when the wooden scaffolding around the tower of the brand new Sherry-Netherland Apartment Hotel caught fire and it became evident that the city's firemen lacked any means to get water to such a height."Description:"In One Summer Bill Bryson, one of our greatest and most beloved nonfiction writers, transports readers on a journey back to one amazing season in American life.The summer of 1927 began with one of the signature events of the twentieth century: on May 21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh became the first man to cross the Atlantic by plane nonstop, and when he landed in Le Bourget airfield near Paris, he ignited an explosion of worldwide rapture and instantly became the most famous person on the planet. Meanwhile, the titanically talented Babe Ruth was beginning his assault on the home run record, which would culminate on September 30 with his sixtieth blast, one of the most resonant and durable records in sports history. In between those dates a Queens housewife named Ruth Snyder and her corset-salesman lover garroted her husband, leading to a murder trial that became a huge tabloid sensation. Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly sat atop a flagpole in Newark, New Jersey, for twelve days—a new record. The American South was clobbered by unprecedented rain and by flooding of the Mississippi basin, a great human disaster, the relief efforts for which were guided by the uncannily able and insufferably pompous Herbert Hoover. Calvin Coolidge interrupted an already leisurely presidency for an even more relaxing three-month vacation in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The gangster Al Capone tightened his grip on the illegal booze business through a gaudy and murderous reign of terror and municipal corruption. The first true “talking picture,” Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer, was filmed and forever changed the motion picture industry. The four most powerful central bankers on earth met in secret session on a Long Island estate and made a fateful decision that virtually guaranteed a future crash and depression.    All this and much, much more transpired in that epochal summer of 1927, and Bill Bryson captures its outsized personalities, exciting events, and occasional just plain weirdness with his trademark vividness, eye for telling detail, and delicious humor. In that year America stepped out onto the world stage as the main event, and One Summer transforms it all into narrative nonfiction of the highest order." -- Amazon.com  My thoughts:This is a very good book focusing on one summer in American history. I liked learning about Lindbergh's transatlantic trip to France and other pilots in this era, Babe Ruth and his setting a new home run record, and other events and people of the time.Date read: 2/23/2015Book #: 3 Rating: 3*/5 = goodGenre: HistoryISBN-10: 0767919408ISBN-13: 9780767919401 Publisher: DoubledayYear: 2013# of pages: 509Binding: HardcoverLibraryThing page [...]



Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire

2016-10-16T19:57:17.607-04:00

First sentence:

"So the talk of random brutality wasn't just talk."

Description:

"Ten years after the publication of Wicked, beloved novelist Gregory Maguire returns at last to the land of Oz. There he introduces us to Liir, an adolescent boy last seen hiding in the shadows of the castle after Dorothy did in the Witch. Bruised, comatose, and left for dead in a gully, Liir is shattered in spirit as well as in form. But he is tended at the Cloister of Saint Glinda by the silent novice called Candle, who wills him back to life with her musical gifts.

What dark force left Liir in this condition? Is he really Elphaba's son? He has her broom and her cape -- but what of her powers? Can he find his supposed half-sister, Nor, last seen in the forbidding prison, Southstairs? Can he fulfill the last wishes of a dying princess? In an Oz that, since the Wizard's departure, is under new and dangerous management, can Liir keep his head down long enough to grow up?

For the countless fans who have been dazzled and entranced by Maguire's Oz, Son of a Witch is the rich reward they have awaited so long." - Amazon.com

My thoughts:

I liked this second book in The Wicked Years series. Liir is an interesting character and I liked his interactions with Candle and Glinda as he learns about who he is.  I look forward to reading the next book in the series, A Lion Among Men.

Date read: 2/16/2015
Book #: 2
Series: The Wicked Years, #2
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fantasy

ISBN-10: 0060747226
ISBN-13:  9780060747220
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Year: 2006
# of pages: 352
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing page



The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury by Sam Weller

2016-10-15T21:12:17.805-04:00

First sentence:

"I remember the day I was born."

Description:

"Accomplished journalist Sam Weller met the Ray Bradbury while writing a cover story for the Chicago Tribune Magazine and spent hundreds of hours interviewing Bradbury, his editors, family members, and longtime friends. With unprecedented access to private archives, he uncovered never–before–published letters, documents, and photographs that help tell the story of this literary genius and his remarkable creative journey. The result is a richly textured, detailed biography that illuminates the origins and accomplishments of Bradbury's fascinating mind." -- Amazon.com

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this extensive biography of Ray Bradbury as I not only learned about his life, I also learned how his short stories and books were born.

Date read: 2/14/2015
Book #: 1
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Biography

ISBN-10: 0060545844
ISBN-13: 9780060545840
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Year: 2006 (Reprint)
# of pages: 432
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing page



Ice Hunt by James Rollins

2015-08-17T09:35:49.245-04:00

First sentence:

The USS Polar Sentinel was gliding through the dark ocean.

Description:

"Buried deep in the earth's polar ice cap -- carved into a moving island of ice twice the size of the United States -- is the site of a remarkable experiment that blurred the line between life and death. Abandoned for more than seventy years, Ice Station Grendel -- the twisted brainchild of the finest minds of the former Soviet Union -- was designed to be inaccessible and virtually invisible.

But an American undersea research vessel, the Polar Sentinel, has inadvertently pulled too close. And a crew member has seen something alive inside, something whose survival defies every natural law.

As scientists, soldiers, intelligence operatives of two powerful nations, and unsuspecting civilians alike are drawn into Grendel's lethal vortex, no measures undertaken to protect its mysteries will be considered too extreme. Because the terrible truths locked behind submerged walls of ice and steel could forever alter humankind's future. . .or destroy it. -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this fast-paced thriller set in the Arctic. The story switches seamlessly between different protagonists, and it's easy to get caught up in the action.

Date read: 12/23/2014
Book #: 45
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Thriller

ISBN-10: 0060521600
ISBN-13: 9780060521608
Publisher: Avon Books
Year: 2003
# of pages: 505
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing page



The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen

2015-08-17T09:33:56.137-04:00

First sentence:

"He is coming for me."

Description:

"For untold years, the perfectly preserved mummy had lain forgotten in the dusty basement of Boston’s Crispin Museum. Dubbed “Madam X,” the recently rediscovered mummy is, to all appearances, an ancient Egyptian artifact. But medical examiner Maura Isles discovers a macabre message hidden within the corpse–horrifying proof that this “centuries-old” relic is instead a modern-day murder victim. When the grisly remains of two other women are found, it becomes clear to Maura and Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli that a maniac is at large. Now Maura and Jane must unravel a murderer’s twisted endgame before the Archaeology Killer adds another chilling artifact to his monstrous collection." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this thriller set in a museum and featuring Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles. I especially liked how they followed the clues to places far and near.

Date read: 12/19/2014
Book #: 44
Series: Rizzoli & Isles
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Thriller

ISBN-10: 0345509390
ISBN-13: 9780345497635
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Year: 2008
# of pages: 418
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing page



Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea by Gary Kinder

2015-08-16T20:26:41.226-04:00

First sentence:

"As was his habit each morning, James Marshall rose early to walk the gravel bar along his millrace to see if the water was yet deep enough and swift enough to turn the wheel for the sawmill he had built for John Sutter."

Description:

"In one of the most exciting adventure stories of our time, Gary Kinder combines maritime disaster with visionary underwater technology. In September 1857, the SS Central America, a side-wheel steamer carrying passengers returning from the gold fields of California, went down during a hurricane off the Carolina coast. It would be the worst peacetime disaster at sea in American history, claiming more than 400 lives and 21 tons of gold. In the 1980s a maverick engineer named Tommy Thompson set out to find the wreck of the Central America and salvage its treasure from the ocean floor.

With nail-biting suspense, Kinder reconstructs the terror of the Central America's last days, when passengers bailed sea water from the hold, then chopped up the ship's timbers to use as impromptu life rafts before being cast into the sea themselves. He goes on to chronicle Thompson's epic quest for the lost vessel, an enterprise marked by hair-raising weather, the hostility of the deep ocean at 8,000 feet, highly experimental technology, and unscrupulous rival treasure-hunters. The result is a magnificent tale, filled with heroism, entrepreneurialism, and perseverance." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this book about a shipwreck - both the history of the wreck and what led to it, and the struggle to find the wreck over a century later.

Date read: 12/15/2014
Book #: 43
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Nonfiction

ISBN-10: 0375703373
ISBN-13: 9780375703379
Publisher: Vintage Books
Year: 1998
# of pages: 507
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing page



As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling by Anne Serling

2015-08-13T11:27:52.248-04:00

First sentence:

"The last time I saw my father, it was 1975."

Description:

In Twilight Zone reruns, I search for my father in the man on the screen, but I can’t always find him there. Instead, he appears in unexpected ways. Memory summoned by a certain light, a color, a smell—and I see him again on the porch of our old red lakeside cottage, where I danced on the steps as a child.

To Anne Serling, the imposing figure the public saw hosting The Twilight Zone each week, intoning cautionary observations about fate, chance, and humanity, was not the father she knew. Her fun-loving dad would play on the floor with the dogs, had nicknames for everyone in the family, and was apt to put a lampshade on his head and break out in song. He was her best friend, her playmate, and her confidant.

After his unexpected death at 50, Anne, just 20, was left stunned. Gradually, she found solace for her grief—talking to his friends, poring over old correspondence, and recording her childhood memories. Now she shares personal photos, eloquent, revealing letters and beautifully rendered scenes of his childhood, war years, and their family’s time together. Idyllic summers in upstate New York, the years in Los Angeles, and the myriad ways he filled their time with laughter, strength, and endearing silliness—all are captured here with deep affection and candor.

Though begun in loss, Anne’s story is a celebration of her extraordinary relationship with her father and the qualities she came to prize through him—empathy, kindness, and an uncompromising sense of social justice. As I Knew Him is a lyrical, intimate tribute to Rod Serling’s legacy as visionary, storyteller, and humanist, and a moving testament to the love between fathers and daughters. -- from the inside flap

My thoughts:

This is a wonderful biography of Rod Serling and memoir of his daughter Anne. Like many, I am a Twilight Zone fan, and this book revealed not just how the show began but Rod's heart and interest in telling the stories he wanted to tell.

Date read: 12/13/2014
Book #: 42
Rating: 4*/5 = great
Genre: Memoir/Biography

ISBN-10: 0806536152
ISBN-13: 9780806536156
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp.
Year: 2013
# of pages: 276
Binding: Hardcover
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The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

2015-08-02T19:07:18.963-04:00

First sentence:

"There was a time in Africa the people could fly."

Description:

Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world.

Hetty "“Handful" Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid.We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved." -- Amazon.com

My thoughts:

I liked this book about the Grimke sisters and the early years of abolition and women's rights. I also liked learning about African customs through Handful and her mother Charlotte.

Date read: 11/29/2014
Book #: 41
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Historical Fiction

ISBN-10: 0670024783
ISBN-13: 9780670024780 
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year: 2014
# of pages: 373
Binding: Trade Paperback
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Daddy's Girl by Lisa Scottoline

2015-08-01T19:43:39.618-04:00

First sentence:

"Nat Greco felt like a cup in a double-D bra."

Description:

"Natalie Greco loves being a teacher, even though she can't keep her students from cruising sex.com during class. She loves her family, too, but her boyfriend fits in better with the football-crazy Grecos than she does. Then a colleague, handsome Angus Holt, talks Nat into teaching a class at a local prison, and her world turns upside down.

A violent prison riot breaks out, and Nat rushes to save the life of a mortally wounded guard whose last words are: "Tell my wife it's under the floor." Nat delivers the cryptic message, but before she knows it, she's suspected of murder and hiding from cops and killers alike. She is forced on the run to solve the riddle of the dead man's last words and to save her own life—and find real love." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this fast-pace thriller. It had many twists and the characters were engaging. I especially liked the way Nat gained strength and confidence.

Date read: 11/1/2014
Book #: 40
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre; Thriller

ISBN-10: 0060833157
ISBN-13: 9780060833152
Publisher: HarperCollins
Year: 2007
# of pages: 378
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
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