Monday, November 30, 2015

The Reader

Fiction by Bernhard Schlink.

The Reader

Often I am wary of translated literary works, because sometimes the book loses its essence when it is translated away from its original language. This novel was originally written in German, but I did not know that when I purchased the audiobook. Now I'd like to know who the translator was, because he or she did a great job! No one is credited with the translation anywhere on the edition I downloaded or in the book's publicity listing. This is sad. I don't think translators get enough credit in general.

This book was very good. It is narrated by a boy who becomes a man over the course of the story, but at its center is Hanna Schmitz, a female character whom many would call pure evil. But of course no human being is really pure evil, are they? We are so much more complicated than that.

All in all, it's a very thought-provoking book, as well as being an interesting story.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Organized Mind

Nonfiction by Daniel J. Levitin.

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload

My daughter looked at the cover and size of this book (528 pages!) and said, "Who would want to read THAT?!"

Granted, it's not the sort of thing I usually read, but....

This was a really interesting in-depth look at how the mind works, how we store and retrieve information, and how we can use our knowledge of these two things to make our own lives better. In particular, I liked the chapter about medical decision-making.

I'll admit I didn't read every word of this weighty tome, but it's an amazing book.

Monday, November 23, 2015

One Child

Nonfiction by Torey Hayden.

One Child

I've read almost all of Torey Hayden's books and loved them. (see below) This is her first book, the story of a child almost everyone would call unreachable, unmanageable, and unlovable.

I also read by this author: Beautiful Child, Murphy's Boy, Ghost Girl, Just Another Kid, Twilight Children  

Friday, November 20, 2015

Finders Keepers

Fiction by Stephen King.
Mr. Mercedes
Finders Keepers

I'm not exactly a Stephen King devotee, but some of his books I really like. This one was very good. It had great characters and an engaging plot.

After I read it I went back and read the book that took place before it: Mr. Mercedes. Amazingly, that one was good too, and I was able to enjoy reading it even though I'd read the sequel and already knew essentially how it came out.

So I recommend both books, in either order.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Playing With Fire

Fiction by Tess Gerristen.

Playing with Fire

Tess Gerristen is known for her "Rizzoli and Isles" series of books, but this is not one of those, and that's why I picked it to read. (I've mentioned before the trouble I have with serial mysteries, click here to read that if you're interested.)

The story in Playing with Fire centers around a piece of violin music (which the author apparently actually composed as a companion to the novel, although I haven't listened to it). The mysterious music is a link with the past and seems to threaten the protagonist's ordered life.

It's an exciting thriller, and a short read.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Secret History

Fiction by Donna Tartt.

The Secret History

This novel held my attention from the beginning, although it's a strange type of story. Basically, it's about a boy who transfers from a community college in his native California to an exclusive private college in Vermont, and then tries to reinvent himself to fit the change, falling in with an even more exclusive group of classical Greek students. The characters were very realistic and believable, but not always likable.

I enjoyed this book, but it's not for everyone.

I also read by this author: The Goldfinch.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Girl on the Cliff

Fiction by Lucinda Riley.

The Girl on the Cliff

This story was like a Gothic romance, but more believable for the modern age. Also it was mostly set in Ireland, which is always nice. Good book.

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Furies

Fiction by Natalie Haynes.

The Furies

A sort-of modern Greek tragedy, this was an interesting book.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Who Do You Love

Fiction by Jennifer Weiner.

Who Do You Love

This was a fun read, a romance without the sappiness. Good book!

I'd give it one and a half thumbs, if I had a picture for that. (I really need to get a better rating system.)

I also read by this author: All Fall DownThe Next Best Thing, 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

We Never Asked For Wings

Fiction by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.

We Never Asked for Wings

This was a great story! It grabbed my attention right away and held it with the fascinating characters. I definitely recommend it!

I also read by this author: The Language of Flowers.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Vanishing Girls

Fiction by Lauren Oliver.

Vanishing Girls

This young-adult novel got difficult in the middle because it was confusing, but the ending was good. I'd give it slightly less than a thumbs-up if I had a picture for that.