Books on My Nightstand

Here’s what is currently in my to-be-read stack next to my bed:

Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke (DZP book challenge)

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (DZP book challenge)

Claws & Effect by Rita Mae Brown

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Zombies of the Gene Pool by Sharyn McCrumb

Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark by Ridley Pearson

The Mystery Box (Collection of stories from Mystery Writers of America)

I need to find more time in my life to read!!!

Quick Review: The Lincoln Lawyer

As I mentioned in my review of Along Came a Spider, I’ve ventured outside my normal genres for my Mystery Reading Challenge by choosing modern day crime novels from authors featured in the TV series, Castle. The second book I chose to read for this challenge was The Lincoln Lawyer written in 2005 by Michael Connelly. Like Along Came a Spider, this was also turned into a movie.

My disappointing read of Along Came a Spider combined with the description of this novel as a “legal thrilled” made me quite wary. While I love crime, I’m typically not interested when lawyers become involved. I’m interested in detectives solving crimes, not the court proceedings that follow.

Thankfully, the writing in this book is really good. I can see why it has won awards. Unlike the aforementioned book, I actually understand why this writer is popular. His style is quite exciting. Additionally, he had plot twists that were unexpected yet logical. It made sense after I heard it, I just didn’t think of it- which is the kind of plot twist you want. Predictable is bad,  but so is far-fetched and unbelievable. This was a good balance. I moved through the book pretty quickly. I can’t say that it turned me on to this genre and I don’t see myself hunting down novels by Michael Connelly in the near future. BUT…if one was recommended by a friend, given to me as a gift, or part of a reading challenge, I would be delighted to read another of his works.

I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars, mostly because this isn’t my genre. If you do like legal thrillers, I’d recommend it.

Along Came a Spider

I just finished reading Along Came a Spider, the first novel in the James Patterson series about Alex Cross, a forensic psychologist. It was first published in 1993, and has led to 18 sequels and a movie.

I normally do not read modern day crime novels. I’m not certain why- I certainly love modern crime/law/mystery genre in games and in television. With books, I’ve always turned to classic detective stories such as Sherlock or Poirot. However, I decided to try out newer crime fiction for my Mystery Reading Challenge.

I wasn’t particularly impressed with this book. The plot was often a bit predictable, the crime wasn’t all that interesting, and the writing is just okay. Frankly, I’m not sure why it became so popular. Don’t get me wrong, it was enjoyable enough and an easy read. I just expected more given it’s popularity, and all I got was a standard crime novel. If you like this genre, it’s definitely worth the read. If you are like me and don’t normally read modern day crime novels than I’d recommend borrowing it from your local library (like I did), if you are in need of something.

I’d give it 3 out of 5 stars.

 

Books on My Night Stand

Here’s a list of the books that are hanging out on my night stand waiting to be read:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone- re-read so I can follow along with Pottermore

Starship Titanic

Countdown to Your Perfect Wedding

Jurassic Park

Mockingjay

Oliver Twist

The Cairo Trilogy

Saturday

The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Ultimate Hitchiker’s Guide

Seven Daughters of Eve

When Elephants Weep

Whole Earth Discipline

Football for Dummies

And a few more wedding books…

Of course, I’m not reading any of these since I’m reading Along Came a Spider on my tablet, checked out from the Toledo Library.

A Good Book

I own a Yahoo! Group for book lovers called A Good Book.

We are currently running a membership and activity drive- so it’s a great time to join up.

Here’s some of what we have going on in the group:

– Theme Lists- We come up with a theme, and each participant suggests a book based on that theme. We then post the list in the group files for all to enjoy. Personally, this is my favorite part, I’ve read a lot of really awesome books because of these lists, two of which I consider to be all time favorites.

– Book Swaps

– Book-themed Clue Games

– Reviews/Recommendations

– Discussions

– Weekly updates/goals

– Group reads

We are starting up another round of theme lists right now, and the membership/activity drive will ensure there’s quite a bit to do in the group. I invite you to join us! http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/a_good_book/info

Book Challenge #5 Progress!

I’ve made some progress on Book Challenge #5, which you can read more about here: 7 Continents, 7 Billion People, 7 Books, but as a quick refresher it’s the challenge where I read books from 7 different countries chosen based on geopolitical features.

My list was:

1)  the 7 countries with the most population: Garlic Ballads by Mo Yan (China)
2) the 7 highest countries in the world: Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (India)
3)  the 7 oldest countries of the world: Palace Walk (Cairo Trilogy #1) by Naguib Mahfouz (Egypt)
4) one of the 7 megacities of the world: Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto (Tokyo)
5) the 7 countries with the most immigrants: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (Russia)
6) the 7 richest (or poorest) countries: Hunger by Knut Hamsun (Norway)
7)  the 7 most rainy (or dry) countries: The Dark Child by Camara Laye (Guniea)

I have completed #4, Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto!

Wikipedia summary of the book:

“In Kitchen, a young Japanese woman named Mikage Sakurai struggles to overcome the death of her grandmother. She gradually grows close to one of her grandmother’s friends, Yuichi, from a flower shop and ends up staying with him and his transgender mother, Eriko.

From Mikage’s love of kitchens to her job as a culinary teacher’s assistant to the multiple scenes in which food is merely present, Kitchen is a short window into the life of a young Japanese woman and her discoveries about food and love amongst a background of tragedy.

In Moonlight Shadow, a woman named Satsuki loses her boyfriend Hitoshi in an accident and tells us: “The night he died my soul went away to some other place and I couldn’t bring it back”. She becomes friendly with his brother Hiiragi, whose girlfriend died in the same crash. On one insomniac night out walking she meets a strange woman called Urara who has also lost someone. Urara introduces her to the mystical experience of The Weaver Festival Phenomenon, which she hopes will cauterise their collective grief.”

My quick review: Pretty good! She has a unique voice . The book had a slower pace and there isn’t a lot of action, but it gives an interesting slice of time in someone’s life. I read both the main story, and the novella that came with it (Moonlight Shadow), and the voice carries through the second story as well. I felt immersed in a different culture, but I was still able to empathize and relate with the characters. Also, a pretty quick read. I’d recommend it to anyone.

Books for Challenge #5!

Yay! I finally have my list of books for Challenge #5: 7 Continents, 7 Billion People, 7 Books.

1)  the 7 countries with the most population: Garlic Ballads by Mo Yan (China)
2) the 7 highest countries in the world:
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (India)
3)  the 7 oldest countries of the world:
Palace Walk (Cairo Trilogy #1) by Naguib Mahfouz (Egypt)
4) one of the 7 megacities of the world:
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto (Tokyo)
5) the 7 countries with the most immigrants:
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (Russia)
6) the 7 richest (or poorest) countries:
Hunger by Knut Hamsun (Norway)
7)  the 7 most rainy (or dry)
countries: The Dark Child by Camara Laye (Guniea)