Thursday, August 31, 2006

Interesting coincidences

So I haven't finished any books lately, but I am in the middle of the second Bubbles book, which I am enjoying for its silliness. Bubbles visits Amish country. Quite entertaining. Coincidentally, I received my latest Bookmarks Magazine in the mail a week or so ago and read it cover to cover. One of the books it reviewed as an interesting read was Rumspringa by Tom Shachtman. He is the man who also created the documentary "A Devil's Playground" which I believe was nominated for an Oscar. Then 20/20 had a show on this week about Amish gone bad. It's so strange that all in a week's time three Amish related things have popped up in my world. Not that I'm particularly fascinated by the Amish. It's just interesting how coincidences pop up sometimes....

Here are some books that I thought sounded like they might be good that were also reviewed in Bookmarks:

Theft by Peter Carey--a novel set in the art world and about art forgery

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen--a novel about a man studying to be a vet who runs away to the circus in the Depression-era

The Bookwoman's Last Fling by John Dunning--a detective book in the book world. Part of the Cliff Janeway series.

The Stolen Child by Keith Donahue--a science-fiction book about a boy kidnapped by changelings who then take his place in the real world (or something like that). I'm not super into science fiction but this one is touted at a fairy tale for adults and sounded entertaining. (Allison, I thought this sounded like a book you might like.)

If anyone reads these before I have a chance to, I would love to know what you thought of them.

Monday, August 14, 2006

On a streak...

I have finished three books in the last week and a half! Go me! I read Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich. I really enjoyed it. I like that she brought in a couple new characters with the gay funeral directors. I laughed picturing Grandma Mazur prancing around like Mick Jagger, and sort thought "Eww!" to Lula's outfits. But I was quite entertained by this one. Either my expectations for her books have been lowered or I feel like she has gotten out of her rut she was in for books 7-9. I also read Bubbles Unbound since Allison and Carol both recommended it. I was pleasantly entertained by these characters as well. And I plan on reading the rest of the series.

The third book I finished was The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. I was really enthralled with this book. It starts in the mid-1960's and goes through to late 1980's. Dr. Henry and his wife have twins, a boy and a girl. The boy is perfect and "normal" and the girl is born with Down's syndrome. Due to events in his family history, the doctor feels that the girl would be better off at an institution. And that there would be less grief for him, his wife and son if they believed the baby had died at birth. The doctor lives with the secret that his daughter is alive and well and living with the nurse he asked to deposit the baby at the institution. The nurse could not fathom leaving the baby in such a place, and chose to raise her in a different part of the country. The book is written with every few chapters alternating between the doctor and his family and the nurse and the little girl. It flows well and I really liked how the chapters switched back and forth. I would recommend it as a good read. It's also a quick read.

I keep saying I'm going to read The Lost Painting and there it still sits on my bookshelf. I really do want to get to it, bu I think it reminds too much of my college reading since its about one of the artists in my thesis topic. So even though I find the book interesting, its hard for me to think of it as light reading. I may move on to the next Bubbles book next. ;-)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Summer Re-Runs

Okay, we've been a little slow here at the Bookshelf lately. I'm not helping, either, since I've been stuck in a re-reading rut. I'm hosting my book club next week and I haven't even bought the book! I'm hoping they'll be too distracted by my wonderful cooking to notice :) All my "new" reading lately has been childbirth/early childhood stuff (and baby name books!), and maybe there's just not room in my brain for anything else.

So, I thought I'd try to start a little bit of discussion. What books (if any) do you re-read, and why? If you're not a re-reader, why not? Here's my list:

Harry Potter: I secretly really, really want to go to Hogwarts. But reading these is the closest I can get :) I love visiting the world JK Rowling constructed. The books are rich and full of detail, and really just delightful to read. The characters are well-drawn and believable, and even though I already know what's going to happen, the getting-there is so much fun that I can read them over and over.

Jane Austen: I love reading about all the social rules and who follows them or breaks them. I love Austen's gentle satire of social conventions (which you could easily miss by skimming) through making characters ridiculous with dialogue. And every time I get to the end of Pride & Prejudice, I'm so happy that Lizzy & Mr. Darcy finally got together.

Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next Series: My inner English nerd loves the wordplay and literature references, but those couldn't stand alone without the entertaining characters and clever situations. Plus, I've always wished I could literally enter my favorite books, and I think the way Fforde manages this is an impressive feat of imagination.

Kate Atkinson: I love her writing. I bought Human Croquet on the bargain table of Barnes & Noble without having heard of Atkinson, and I loved it. And that's not even her best book! Her sentences are just a pleasure to read, and I enjoy the unfolding of her intricate plots.

Gregory Maguire: Even his "not as good" books are fun retellings of fairy tales. It's the familiarity of a story you've heard since childhood, but with variations. I think my favorite of his is Lost, which incorporates Jack the Ripper and A Christmas Carol, if you can believe that.

Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit: Because I'm a big nerd, that's why.

HItchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (and sequels): Because sometimes, you need a little insanity.

Janet Evanovich: It's nice that Stephanie Plum's life/career/family are so much crazier than mine :) Even in the less stellar books in the series, you're always guaranteed to laugh out loud at least once.

Rita Mae Brown's Mrs. Murphy series: Because there's something comforting and lovely about animals talking to each other and solving mysteries, even if the mysteries aren't all that interesting.

Dorothy Cannell: Cozy mysteries at their finest. An injection of Britishness, crazy family members, fun mysteries that make you wish you were poking around an old mansion with lots of secret passages.

Jennifer Crusie: Her contemporary romances are engaging enough to re-read. Welcome to Temptation and Manhunt are really the best.

There are more, I'm sure, but these are the most frequently re-read for me.