Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Book Report...Serious Catch-Up!!!

I have been really bad at keeping this up...I can't believe it's been 4 months since I last gave a book report. My excuse is mostly that I was busy moving, but I don't think that is much of a valid reason anymore. So, here's what I've been reading (and this was a lot to write tonight and I'm too tired to proof it...so ignore the spelling and gramatical errors :)):

NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children
by Po Bronson
Super fascinating look at the science of raising children. If you have kids, you really should read (or listen to) this book. If you don't have kids, it's fun to read it anyway because it sure makes having kids and raising them successfully sound exhausting and almost impossible.

Luck Be A Lady
By Cathie Linz
I picked this up hoping for a feel good romance/adventure along the lines of Bridget Jones. It wasn't. Fortunately, it was a quick read so I didn't waste too much time finishing it.

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
By Charles Yu
This book just had a great title. I didn't hate it....didn't love it either...it was kind of boring. Imagine a strange mix of 'Life of Pi', 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy', and Jasper Fforde's 'The Eyre Affair'. Strange but interesting, I suppose.

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating
By Elisabeth Tova Bailey
I really enjoyed this book. It's a short collection of essays by a woman who went from a very active life to being completely bed ridden. She is given a garden snail which becomes a therapeutic pet as she copes with her illness and learns to live life at a slower pace.

The Book of Mormon
Just thought I'd throw that in there. I finished it again and once again enjoyed the inspiration and instructions. I can whole heartedly recommend!

The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession
By David Grann
Basically this is just a collection of true crime articles. Some more interesting than others. I was left somewhat underwhelmed..but maybe I just wasn't in the mood. I have no good reason for my negative impression.

Fighting Ruben Wolfe
By Markus Zusak
This is a book Zusak published before 'The Book Thief'. It's about two brothers who start boxing in a type of underground tournament. Of course, since it's Zusak, it's a lot deeper than that. Zusak's writing is just beautiful regardless of the story he tells. 'The Book Thief' is still my favorite but I enjoyed this a lot as well.

By Ally Condie
This is a new series that is bound to be really big. A lot of these YA dystopias seem to a bit the same to me, but this was very enjoyable. A 17 year old girl is part of a society which allows very little personal freedom, but keeps its citizens very safe and content. During a ceremony she is 'matched' with her best friend but later sees that another boy she knows may have been intended for her as well.

Getting the Girl
By Markus Zusak
This is a sequel to 'Fighting Ruben Wolfe'. Zusak's brilliant, what more can I say? If you ever wanted to know what goes on in the mind of an adolescent boy...this is a pretty good glimpse (anyway it seems to be...I don't actually know what goes on in the mind of boys...adolescent or otherwise).

The Immortal Live of Henrietta Lacks
By Rebecca Skloot
Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed with cancer while still in her mid thirties. As a black woman living in a low income area, the best medical attention she could get was from the free clinic at Johns Hopkins. After her death, cultures of her tumor cells were harvested and those cells became perhaps the most valuable tools researchers have had in the past 50 years toward curing all types of diseases. This book tells that story. It was interesting but not my favorite.

Bartimaeus: The Ring of Solomon
By Jonathan Stroud
I was so sad when the third book of the Bartimaeus Trilogy was over. But now, there's more. You don't have to read the others to enjoy this one and I recommend listening to them. The reader is really fun to listen to. I just love the demonic snarkiness...it's brilliant.

Science of Kissing: What Our Lips are Telling Us
By Sheril Kirshenbaum
Interesting but don't expect anything too earth shattering. It kind of seemed like the information in this little book would be great for a magazine article or two...but a whole book was a bit of a stretch.

Water for Elephants
By Sara Gruen
The movie is coming out soon. So, I guess you could read it for that. Not fantastic, but I read it fast and enjoyed most of the story. Reminds me of Nicholas Sparks (even though I've never actually read a Nicholas Sparks book...).

The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival
By John Vaillant
A Siberian tiger on a killing spree. A government sanctioned hunting party tracking the cat through the frozen wasteland. A truly fantastic piece of nonfiction. LOVED it! Seriously, I loved the regional and natural history and it was told at a perfect pace with excellent timing.

Wuthering Bites
By Sarah Gray
Wuthering Heights with vampires. I really don't know how the story makes sense without the undead. Why else would Heathcliff dig up Cathy like that? Think about it.

Parrot & Olivier in America
By Peter Carey
At it's core, this is a novelization of Lafayette's time spent in America. I really wanted to like it and there were moments when it was almost brilliant...but just never quite got there for me. Interesting historical fiction.

Redeeming Love
By Francine Rivers
I read this for work as something representing 'inspirational fiction'. It's a retelling of the bible story about Hosea who was commanded to marry a prostitute. It was okay. A bit too sentimental for me, but not bad.

Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture
By Peggy Orenstein
A great look at the world of pink tulle and silver glitter. I think parents of little girls should give this book a chance. I didn't agree with everything she said...she has some interesting ideas...but overall I liked her message which I interpret as...you can't keep your girls from the image centered culture they are growing up in, but you can talk to them about it and help them navigate it.

The Orchid Affair
By Lauren Willig
One of my many guilty pleasures. Lauren Willig's 'Pink Carnation' series just makes me smile. It's a little bit romance (okay...a lot), a little bit historical fiction, and a little bit spy adventure. Plus this series always adds a bunch of words to my vocabulary. I don't know where she finds these words but she always has a bunch I've never heard before in my life. (I read it on my iPad and it was really great to have that little dictionary feature handy!)

Cleopatra: A Life
By Stacy Schiff
A really good biography of Cleopatra. I was really surprised about how much they actually know about her and her life.

Peace Like a River
By Leif Enger
If you haven't read it, you HAVE to! Seriously. Just read it.

Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott
By Kelly McNees
Just a little romantic version of what may have happened to Louisa May Alcott on her way to becoming one of America's most popular authors. I don't wholly recommend this book, but it was interesting to hear more about the Alcott home and how much it resembled the March's.

How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
By Mike Brown
I wrote a review of this one for The Daily Herald and got some mail back from some grad student trying to convince me that Pluto is not dead and that Brown's book only presents one side of the story. My response is: Whatever. I don't really care if Pluto is a planet or not....but I did enjoy this book and seeing a bit more of the world of astronomy.

Madame Tussaud
By Michelle Moran
Before she built her successful wax museum empire, Madame Tussaud lived through the horrors of the French revolution. This is a novelization of her and her contemporaries. Really fascinating perspective of this period of French history.

Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos
By Brian Greene
This is interesting but I think it's a bit optimistic to for me to claim to have understood even a third of the information presented here. What I caught I liked.

By S.J. Parris
A new mystery series taking place during the Spanish Inquisition and the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Giordano Bruno, our brave hero, is an ex-monk intellectual visiting Oxford for a debate but staying longer than planned due to a violent murder.

OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word
By Allen Metcalf
Um...a whole book about one word. Probably I shouldn't have expected it to be riveting. It did have its moments, though. The word's invention, survival, and infiltration of the world's lexicon is pretty interesting.

The Weird Sisters
By Eleanor Brown
Three sisters return home when their mother is diagnosed with cancer. The truly fascinating aspect of this book is that it was written in a first person plural tense. So cool.

A Discovery of Witches
By Deborah Harkness
In a world of witches, deamons, and vampires a group of creatures form an unusual alliance while trying to ensure the survival of their magical way of life. Pretty much just Twilight for adults. I didn't realize it was the first of a trilogy until I was half way through it. Not sure I'd still pick it up if I had the choice.

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
By Joshua Foer
A reporter decides to spend a year preparing to compete in the U.S. Memory Championship and shares his journey in this entertaining and interesting book. I really enjoyed this. Lots of great science and human interest.


Mary Ann said...

Wow. You exhaust me. But you're amazing!

Emily said...

I seriously don't know how you read so much. You're my hero. It's taken me a month to read the 2nd Harry Potter. I guess that's what happens when you only read about 20 minutes every day during lunch.

marlamuppets said...

i. adore. you.

and you got an ipad? you lucky girl!
can't wait to see your house... with a GARAGE :)

PS I LOVED peace like a river.
and i have matched on my nighttable. i love books!

glarcy said...

That's just sick how many books you read. I think I read one in that time