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Thread: What are you reading in Jan of 2014?

  1. #41
    Senior Member Gardenarian's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    SF Bay Area
    Okay, I was stuck in bed with a broken foot and did a LOT of light reading over 6 weeks or so. Here is a quick take with asterisks for rating: (sorry so long)

    Thrifty chic : interior style on a shoestring / Liz Bauwens. meh. **
    Blackout / Robison Wells. Okay. ***
    It was the war of the trenches / art & story by Jacques Tardi. Graphic novel ***
    The permaculture handbook / by Peter Bane. Good, boring ***
    We are all completely beside ourselves / Karen Joy Fowler. Excellent *****
    The Quincunx / Charles Palliser. **** not sure it had to be SOOO long. Looking forward to his new book.
    The best of us : a novel / Sarah Pekkanen. ***
    Mr. Lynch's holiday : a novel / Catherine O'Flynn. Terrific book *****
    Japantown : a thriller / Barry Lancet. **
    Help for the haunted / John Searles. Okay ***
    The emerald mile : the epic story of the fastest ride in history, through the heart of the Grand Canyon / Kevin Fedarko. ****
    Night film : a novel / Marisha Pessl. Excellent *****
    Tree houses : fairy tale castles in the sky. Kind of cool, but actually too large and heavy to read in bed. Or anywhere!
    Everybody Has Everything / Katrina Onstad. ***
    Beatrix Potter's gardening life : the plants and places that inspired the classic children's tales / Marta McDowell. ***
    Brilliance / Marcus Sakey Decent thriller ****
    Special topics in calamity physics / Marisha Pessl. ****
    The apothecary / Maile Meloy. ***
    Bloodstone / Gillian Philip. Unreadable. 0 stars. I like the previous book....
    Amy falls down : a novel / Jincy Willett ****
    The goldfinch : [a novel] / Donna Tartt. As good as advertised. Excellent (a little editing would help, though.) *****
    Remodelista : a manual for the considered home / Julie Carlson. Not for the thrifty **
    Bertie plays the blues : a 44 Scotland Street novel / Alexander McCall Smith. For Mcall Smith fans only ***
    The cuckoo's calling / Robert Galbraith. Okay thriller **
    A short history of progress / by Ronald Wright. A little dull. ***
    Walden / Henry David Thoreau ***** (I'm sort of continually reading this.)
    Light of the world / James Lee Burke. Only if you like Burke. Very purple prose. ***
    The ascendant / Drew Chapman. The best of the thrillers I read. ****
    The edge of nowhere / by Elizabeth George Gearge goes YA. Good, poor ending. ***
    Ghost moth / Michèle Forbes. Ireland in the troubles. Okay. ***
    Return to Prior's Ford / Evelyn Hood. Much like Maeve Binchey. Okay **
    Save yourself : a novel / Kelly Braffet. Creepy, depressing. I didn’t like it. **
    The Circle : a novel / Dave Eggers. Weirdly amateurish, considering the author. **
    Pretties / Scott Westerfeld YA series of 4 books. Enjoyable. ***
    Being Henry David / by Cal Armistead Another YA – not bad. ***
    "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” -- Gandalf

  2. #42
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Currently reading Brookland about this girl who inherits a distillery in Brooklyn, NY. She wants to build the first bridge linking Manhattan and Brooklyn circa 1800ish. Well written, so far. A little tough getting started, though.

  3. #43
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    I'm reading Shantaram by Gregory Roberts. It's a swashbuckling tale of a fellow who escapes a New Zealand prison and flees to Indian where he ends up in the Bombay slums for a while before taking employment with the Indian mafia. It is labeled as a novel, but is supposedly based on the true events as encountered by the author. There is quite a bit of the philosophy of life thrown in and his experiences in the Bombay slums fall into the category of extra ultra simple living. This is not the cute Marigold Hotel version of India, but a gritty, heartful, exciting, sometime scary, and believable side of Bombay life well portrayed. It came out a few years ago but I had not heard of it until recently. It's really pretty good.

  4. #44
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    beyond the pale
    "Will Work for Food or $" by Bruce Moody. A memoir of his few months as a begger on the freeway ramp. He was just shy of 60 years old, a college grad, and had been laid off. He went through his savings, and was trying to get temp jobs, but it wasn't working. He was eventually greatly helped by a generous woman who paid him $15/hr to do some work at her home, which enabled him to save $90 to post an ad in the paper as a handyman, gaving him steady jobs thereafter.

    Was fascinating to read what was going through his mind as he stood there for hours every day, and the difference a few dollars can make to people who are destitute.

  5. #45
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    I just finished reading The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. I really enjoyed the counterstory of an old woman who lived through the orphan train experience and the modern view of an adolescent living in foster homes and the how they helped each other find their way free. Sad time period of orphan trains but positive growth in both characters sharing an understanding and an appreciation for what they experience.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  6. #46
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    beyond the pale
    "In the Sanctuary of Outcasts" - a memoir by Neil White. He was convicted of bank fraud (kiting checks) in 1993 and served 18 months in prison for it.
    Oddly, the prison was on the same campus as the only leprosy colony in the U.S.
    His description of how he came to terms with his behavior, how he came to befriend some of the lepers, and of course the epilogue because it was written 15 years after his release. Fascinating on several levels, and beautifully written.

  7. #47
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    I was going to throw this book in the donation pile and then remembered I never had time to read it, so I thought I'd give it a second chance, and it's awesome (if you are Buddhist/have Buddhist leanings). It's called Stepping Out of Self-Deception: the buddha's liberating teaching of no-self by Rodney Smith. Slightly dense, and I found it to be better to read front to back (don't laugh--I read a lot of books by just opening them up and grabbing something out of the middle).

    Really, really good.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town

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