Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sources of Light

Fiction by Margaret McMullan.

Sources of Light

This is a young adult novel set in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1962. It's pretty good.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Still Life with Bread Crumbs

Fiction by Anna Quindlen.

Still Life with Bread Crumbs

This was a great book. It's a story about a woman who is an aging famous photographer. She runs into money troubles and worries she may never produce great art again, so she tries something different with her life. It was very interesting.

I have read several novels I loved by Anna Quindlen, including One True Thing,  which was made into that movie with Meryl Steep dying. Also I recommend  Blessings  and Rise and Shine.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Murderer's Daughters

Fiction by Randy Susan Meyers.

The Murderer's Daughters

What happens to children when their mother is murdered by their father? Things like this happen, and have been happening, unfortunately, long before OJ appeared.

This story is about a pair of daughters growing up in the 70's with a dead mother and a father in jail and how they learn to cope into adulthood.

A good character novel.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Rosie Project

Fiction by Graeme Simison.

The Rosie Project: A Novel

This a completely charming story about a socially-challenged college professor who decides to make a scientific project out of looking for a wife.

Think Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, only cuter.

It's hysterically funny, and also a sweet story. A very good book!

Friday, March 21, 2014


Fiction by Veronica Roth.

Divergent (Divergent Series #1)

This is a cool YA fantasy based in a future society that seems perfect but --SURPRISE!-- actually isn't. (Wait, where have I heard that?)

It's a good story and should be a cool movie--COMING THIS MONTH!!

I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, and sitting on the waiting list at the library.

Other good YA dystopian-future books:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (duh)

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Matched by Ally Condie

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Lost Gate and The Gate Theif

Fiction by Orson Scott Card.

The Lost Gate (Mither Mages Series #1)

The Gate Thief

What if the stories of gods and goddess were actually history and not mythology? What if a powerful, magical race had once lived among us, and still does, although stripped of most of its power and in hiding?

These are the first two books in the "Mithermages" series. I was hoping that there were only two books, but apparently it is a trilogy. And the conclusion hasn't been released yet. Grr.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Reason I Jump

Nonfiction by Naoki Higashida.

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism

This is basically a series of questions and answers written by an adolescent autistic boy in Japan. He is non-verbal, so it was written with a special alphabet grid, and then translated from the Japanese.

That synopsis sounds terrible, but it was actually very interesting. It's cool to see what is actually in this kid's mind, what he is finally able to say after being trapped in silence.

It's a reminder to all of us who are interacting with autistic kids, or other differently-abled people. Someone is IN THERE, whether the person is able to communicate with you or not.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

If You Believe

Fiction by Kristin Hannah.

If You Believe

I've read several really good books by Kristin Hannah, but I couldn't get interested in this one. It sat in my purse for two weeks and I was still on like page 85. This is my death knell for a book.

Sorry. Choose Winter Garden or Home Front instead.

Friday, March 14, 2014

After Her

Fiction by Joyce Maynard.

After Her: A Novel

This is the story of a pair of sisters, aged 13 and 11, in the year 1979, who become obsessed with trying to catch a serial killer.

Not exactly a feel-good story, but very interesting. A good character story.

Other books I read by this author: Labor Day.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories

Fiction by B.J. Novak.

One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories

Normally I don't really care for short story collections. This is because I get all interested in the story, and then BAM! it ends. This is annoying.

And this short story collection did do that. But the stories were (mostly) good enough that I didn't mind the BAM! so much. Although I did wish some of them were longer. There is --ahem-- some bad language, but there was seriously funny stuff here.

Note: Get the audiobook. The performances really enhanced the writing.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Me Before You

Fiction by Jo Jo Moyes.

Me Before You

This is a story about a British girl who loses her job and gets a new position as a companion of sorts to a quadriplegic man who is handsome and rich but troubled.

Since I knew it was supposed to be a romantic story from the title, I figured she'd (duh) fall in love with the guy. And she did. Eventually. But the novel was completely unexpected in every other way.

This was a fabulous story. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Here Burns my Candle

Fiction by Liz Curtis Higgs.

Here Burns My Candle

I had some trouble getting into this book. I'm not sure why, but it wasn't until about halfway through that I got really interested in the story. That's a long wait for me, but the book was worth it in the end.

This story is set in Scotland during the Jacobite Rebellion in 1745.  I knew that historically "Bonnie Prince Charlie" was doomed, so my characters were not on the winning side. (When it's called a "Rebellion" that means it failed; if the rebellion had succeeded it would have been a "Revolution.") Still, the story held a surprise at the end.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Invention of Wings

Fiction by Sue Monk Kidd.

The Invention of Wings: A Novel

This was an awesome book, about a pair of girls in early nineteenth century Charleston. One of the girls is a privileged daughter of a landed family. The other girl is a slave.

They are the same age and grow up together, but of course their lives are incredibly different.

Obviously this is not the first story written on this subject, but what I particularly liked about this book was its honesty. No one was a saint.

The Old South was not populated exclusively with evil masters and abused slaves, nor was it filled with happy darkies and their benevolent owners.

The truth is not exactly Gone With the Wind and not exactly Uncle Tom's Cabin. Human beings, both black and white, are not caricatures of Good and Evil. We are complicated and conflicted.

I think The Invention of Wings does a fantastic job of finding the middle ground where the real people of history lived.

One note to remember: If you get the e-book, choose the one without Oprah's comments included with the text. Everyone seems to find that distracting and annoying. (This was not a problem with the hardback copy I read.)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Murphy's Boy

Nonfiction by Torey Hayden.

Murphy's Boy

Another great read by special education teacher/psychologist Torey Hayden. The last one I read was Beautiful Child.