Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Food Rules- Pollan (Book #18)

I wanted to read this book since I found his other books to have quite an impact on my life and how I view food. While this is a light read, the downside is its a light read. Its really just quotes from his other works. It felt like a publisher who just wanted to make more money off the same concept recycled it to make this book. I wouldn't buy it, but if its at the library or if a friend wanted to lend it to you then you could read it since its not bad, just not that useful if you've read his other stuff. And honestly, if you've not read his other stuff, read that, not this.

The Hate List-Brown (Book #17)

A powerful YA book about a girl who is living with the after effects of her boyfriend performing a "Columbine-like" massacre on the students that had picked on him and Valerie, his girlfriend, for years. Valerie and him had compiled a notebook with a list of people they hated. It was from this list that her boyfriend picked his victims. Though Valerie never knew he would use the list as anything more than a tool to vent with, she is looked at with suspicion when she returns to school not only from teachers and classmates, but from her own parents who also not-so-secretly blame her for what happened. This is a story about healing and forgiving oneself. I enjoyed it though it followed a very predictable format for me. Still, over all, a poignantly written novel.

Revenge of The Spellmans- Lutz (Book #16)

A humorous tale of a former-detective trying to leave the family business but finding it near impossible to actually do. We follow the lead character as she investigates minor cases, figures herself out, and tries to discover what secrets are ailing her family.

I thought this was an okay book. Not awful by any means, but not quite as funny as it was promised to be. Just a very solid medium. In defense of this book- I did not read the first two in this series, so perhaps had I done so I might have a different opinion on this book.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Butterfly Mosque- Wilson (Book #15)

Can't say enough about this book. I thought it would be another conversion story full of effusive good words for Islam and while this is well and good, this book is far more than this. It's elegantly written about Willow's journey to Islam and meeting her husband as she taught in language school in Egypt. She discusses challenges in our faith, in the west, and how she is forming a third culture in between with her multi-cultural families. She is not a perfect Muslim. She is human. And Muslim. And that is why I loved this read.

Book of Joe- Tropper (Book #14)

I love anything this guy writes. He is similar to Nick Hornby who I also love though he deals with sometimes a bit harsher issues. This is a story about Joe and how he wrote about his town Bush Falls in scathing terms and never returned for 17 years until his father got ill. He returns to learn that the town residents hate him for the words he wrote. What follows is a look into dying, prejudice, the meaning of life, and so and so forth. I find myself often underlining passages and parts of this book. Its just beautifully written. It's deep without being heavy handed. I find it interesting though, as a side note, that the more ou read certain author's collective works, the more you learn a bit about them too. I've begun to identify themes in Tropper's books that show up in all of them. As you read more and more of an author's book you begin to feel you're treading in autobiography more than you previously thought. Still, this is definitely a book I might read again.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Hand Wash Cold- Miller (Book #13)

I read this because I had read Momma Zen and loved it and wanted to devour anything else she penned. Hand Wash Cold is about enjoying and appreciating the life you currently have instead of being dissatisfied because you want more or the next big thing. This one was a little bit more boring than her previous book and not as insightful as I had hoped. It was still okay, but I struggled trying to finish it.

Pride and Prejudice- Austen (Book #12)

Wonderful and perfect each and every time. I've read Austen's other works but this is my favorite book by far. I particularly liked Penguin's new cover for the book. Very cool. I know you should not judge a book by its cover but when a cover is this cool it does make you look twice. In any case, this is a perfect love story that is awesome on every read, and I can't wait to now watch the BBC miniseries!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Momma Zen- Miller (Book #11)

There are a million and one books written about motherhood and parenting but if you must purchase one book let it be this one. Miller writes beautifully about her journey in motherhood with small chapters filled with beautiful reflections and advice that I truly took for heart. It's a must buy and re-read.

Can You Keep A Secret- Kinsella (book #10)

This is a re-read reviewed here!

Your Baby And Child- Leach (Book #9)

I got this as a baby shower gift and I really do find myself relying on this for a great deal of knowledge. I find the author a little bossy in some of her views which turns me off since I appreciate a more objective read when it comes to things like childcare but overall its been a book I have relied on considerably and is worth the read.

Zeitoun- Eggers (Book #8)

A must read. The true story of a Syrian man Zeitoun, and his family's hellish ordeal through and after Hurricane Katrina. The book is so powerful without even trying to as we learn about what this heroic man Zeitoun had to endure both through the failed policies of Katrina as well as the 'war on terror'. I enjoyed this book thoroughly and feel sad that I knew so little of what happened in Katrina. Why. WHY doesn't the media actually do its job? These stories should have been front and center.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo- Larsson (Book #7)

A fast-paced story about a man accused of a crime he did not do. As he waits for his prison sentence, he is given an opportunity of a lifetime: discover who killed an elderly man's niece and in exchange receive a hefty sum of money and a chance to clear his name. Little does he know how complicated his journey will be. I enjoyed this story. It is just that- a story. There is no depth or thought-provoking situations, very much like a Koonz book- fun and light but worth the read.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Baby Bargains- Fields (Book #6)

If you are having a baby this is a must have book. It's an informative guide to everything you would need to buy for a baby with tons of reviews and options and advice on what you need and what you really don't. I take it with me whenever I go shopping and its been very handy in avoiding things I might have bought had I not known the safety ratings and issues the furniture had.

The Unnamed- Ferris (Book # 5)

I loved Ferris' first book and so eagerly awaited this book from the library. Its very well written, certainly a departure from the dark comedy of his earlier book but still you can tell you're in the presence of a good writer. This is a story of a man who suffers from something unnamed, he is convinced its biological but most doctors suspect its psychological. From time-to-time this successful attorney, husband and father, must take a walk that he cannot prevent himself from going on despite the weather, conditions, or where he is at the moment. This disease takes away everything in his life and this book involves us watching his life unravel. It's a sad disturbing book. While well written, I did not find the plot as satisfying as I would like. Still, its a good book but its not as good as his first novel in my opinion.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

No Place Safe- Reid

What an absolutely beautiful read. It has been so long since I've come across a book that I just can't put down and I thoroughly enjoyed this engaging well written memoir about life in Atlanta as a young black woman comes of age. Her mother is police officer and in charge of investigating a serial killer in the area killing mostly young boys, some blocks from where the author lived. The author writes powerfully about racism, the murders, being a single mother, and a child growing up caught between two worlds. Strongly recommend reading!

Any black person could probably tell you- no white hood is needed to see the truth in people who hate a race for simply being. The danger just rises from them like steam from just rained on asphalt in summer."- Reid

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

It Sucked and Then I Cried- Armstrong (Book #3)

I read the website of this author, and I was disappointed that her book seemed more or less her website in book format, nothing new or different. I thought the book was going to talk about post-partum depression since that's what some of the reviews implied but she didn't really get into it. Sure she talks about crying and checking herself into a clinic for a few days but I really didn't think she did the best job describing this condition and seemed more intent on being funny. If you want a good view of the first year that really is funny but also incredibly poignant I recommend reading Lamott's "Operating Instructions" instead. If you've never read Dooce's website you might enjoy the book though.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Happiest Baby on The Block- Karp (Book #2)

I'm a big Karp fan because I've found that when I instinctively have tried the five S's he advocates in his book, they do work on babies I've held in the past. This book is essentially a book on how to soothe colicky or fussy babies up to three months of age. He has five things called the 5 S's that he says are guarunteed to work each time.
  1. Swaddling
  2. Sucking
  3. Side/stomach holding
  4. Swinging
  5. Shhing
This book should serve as a companion to watching his DVD of the same name where he demonstrates how to actually implement the five S's into the life of your newborn child. This book is good to get the theory behind why these five Ss work so well.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Help- Stockhard (Book #1)

I have considered reading this book so often but I always put it back in 2009 due to its length. A book club I joined was reading this book and I'm so glad I finally got a chance to sit down and read it. The Help focuses on three women in the south at the cusp of the civil rights movements. Jim Crow laws are still in effect and the south is resisting the changes to come. We follow the lives of two black maids and a white woman Skeeter as they live their lives and slowly decide to undertake a project that could jeopardize their futures but one they can't seem to walk away from. It took me about 30 pages to get into the book and I admit had I not been reading it for a book club I might have just put it away after the first few chapters because the vernacular threw me off and I could not seem to get past it. I'm glad I kept reading because Stockhard has a gift for story telling and her writing keeps you turning the pages and you are sad when you reach the end of this beautiful story.

Reading List for 2010

(Key: bolded: read. italicized: reading. Nothing: to be read)

1. The Help
2. The Art of Happiness
3. The Groom To Have Been
4. The Happiest Baby on The Block
5. It sucked and then I cried
6. Baby Bargains
7. Food Rules: An Eater's Manual
8. The Happiness Project
9. Push
10. The Wasted Vigil
11. Shantaram
12. The Seamstress
13. The Hours
14. The Turn Around

Books I gave up on
1. Middlemarch. Seemed interesting but I couldn't seem to get into it and its 800+ pages so I really did need to love it out of the gate.