Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ghost Boy

Nonfiction by Martin Pistorius.

Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body

This was a really interesting true story about a South African boy who had been totally unresponsive for a decade before someone figured out he was aware and learned how to communicate with him. Amazing.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Fiction by Janis Cooke Newman.


This is a good fictionalized account of the life of Abraham Lincoln's wife. Somewhat like Philippa Gregory,  this author possesses that rare talent which can make the long-dead breathe again. I enjoyed feeling like I was actually getting to know the real Mary Todd Lincoln. 

She was not just a crazy lady, as history likes to dismiss her. In fact, I developed so much empathy for Mary it was difficult to read sometimes, knowing the life tragedies coming for her.

One drawback to this novel is its length, a full 700 pages. But I can tell you from experience: carrying about a book of such girth can make you appear much more intelligent; although, to be fair, sometimes you just look like a weirdo, depending on the audience. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Mountain Between Us

Fiction by Charles Martin.

The Mountain Between Us

This was an interesting survival tale with a mostly unexpected ending.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Devil in Pew Number Seven

Nonfiction by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo.

The Devil in Pew Number Seven

An amazing true story about the author's father (who was a small-town preacher in the seventies), this book gave me a lot to think about. When Jesus said to bless those who curse you, did He really mean it?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Replacement Child

Fiction by Christine Barber.

The Replacement Child

This was a pretty good mystery set in Santa Fe, although the ending was a little unsatisfying.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Melody Lingers On

Fiction by Mary Higgins Clark.

The Melody Lingers On

Mary Higgins Clark can still deliver a page-turner, over forty books into her career. Wow.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Luckiest Girl Alive

Fiction by Jessica Knoll.

Luckiest Girl Alive

Reading like a young-adult novel but definitely meant for adult-adults, this book was both fascinating and disturbing. I had some trouble liking the main character, but the plot was amazingly good.

Not for the squeamish, shall we say...

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Lake of Dreams

Fiction by Kim Edwards.

The Lake of Dreams: A Novel

This was a good enough story, but nowhere near the caliber of The Memory Keeper's Daughter, for which this author is famous. This novel is completely different, but one can't help comparing.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Case of Need

Fiction by Michael Crichton.

A Case of Need

This was Crichton's first novel, written way back in 1968. It's a straight medical thriller with a bit of a political argument thrown in-- a pro-abortion one, interestingly enough. They had those back before Roe vs Wade. It's funny to almost to hear that side argued with the same half-desperate I-know-I'm-morally-right-but-the-establishment-will never-get-it air that the pro-life movement seems to have now.

All told, it's an interesting period piece, and not a bad mystery.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

In the Unlikely Event

Fiction by Judy Blume.

In the Unlikely Event

A great novel about New Jersey in the fifties, this book starts a little slow but it stick with it!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Early Warning

Fiction by Jane Smiley.

Early Warning

This is the sequel to the book Some Luck, which I read recently. Apparently it is the centerpiece to a trilogy about this family, so there should be a third book forthcoming.

Early Warning covers the family during the time period from the fifties through the seventies. It was less engaging to me that the first book, maybe because I like the Depression period better than the Swinging Sixties. (Which is weird of me, I know.) It could also be because it was covering many more characters as the family grew and branched out. This meant that when the author hopped back and forth between characters (which didn't bother me in the first book), I started getting lost and wondering whom we were talking about. Another factor here was that I started to truly dislike some of the people, and so was annoyed whenever the story moved to those individuals.

In any case, I found it much more difficult to read than the earlier novel, and a bit of a chore to slog through the 476 pages. Not a thumbs-up...

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Book of Speculation

Fiction by Erika Swyler.

The Book of Speculation

An interesting story about carnival freaks, librarians, and a family curse, this novel definitely held my attention.