Friday, September 30, 2011

Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin

They have one summer to find what was lost long ago. "Never settle for less than the truth," she told him. But when you don't even know your real name, the truth gets a little complicated. It can nestle so close to home it's hard to see. It can even flourish inside a lie. And as Chase Walker discovered, learning the truth about who you are can be as elusive--and as magical--as chasing fireflies on a summer night. A haunting story about fishing, baseball, home cooking, and other matters of life and death.

My Review:
5 Looks
Yes! Five looks! I looked, I liked, I looked again, and liked even more. This is a new favorite author of mine. I read When Crickets Cry by Martin a few years ago, and find myself thinking about it every now and then. That is the mark of a favorite, in my opinion. A book you think of, dwell on, and eventually want to read again.

When you read the summary, how can you go wrong with a description like that? The characters are interesting, flawed, sympathetic. The story is compelling, intriguing, satisfying. But mostly, I love the writing. It's clear, clever, descriptive. Martin doesn't waste words and doesn't scrimp on them, either. He is everything I want in an author and I am very glad he has numerous books for me to enjoy.

Highly recommended!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Cure by Athol Dickson

National attention gradually settles on a small town in Maine, where damaged and wounded sufferers mysteriously find healing. Rumors about the town pass from ear to ear among those who most need a miracle. Destitute and nearly hopeless, Riley Keep hears of the phenomenon and journeys north to find out for himself, only to realize along the way that he is heading back to a place and people he abandoned long ago. A hope beyond his wildest expectations waits for Riley Keep, but will his past destroy this second chance at life?

My review:
2 looks
I didn't like this one very much at all. As a matter of fact, I was very disapponited and almost put it down. This is the reason I don't read Christian fiction: it's too over-the-top and a bit holier-than-thou. I found the character Riley to be too flawed to be believable, had no sympathy for him, and thought him overly simple, naive and weak. Since he was the main character, that pretty much ruined the book for me.

I do not recommend this book and will not read more by this author.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bibliophile's October Books of the Month

October's BOTMs
1. The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan (10/7)
2. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (10/14)
3. The Widower’s Tale by Julie Glass (10/21)
4. Bastard out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison (10/28)

I have read The Hundred Secret Senses and The Widower's Tale, so that leaves just two for me, if I want to read them all. Although, it has been many years since I read anything by Amy Tan, I may reread it.

I am very intrigued by The Language of Flowers and have recently added it to my list. It is a new book, though, so I may have trouble getting it. I have placed a hold on one of the three copies that are returned to the library in Huntsville.

I think I will pass on Bastard out of Carolina. I remember seeing this movie on television, tuning in just at the part where the stepfather rapes his stepdaughter on the kitchen floor. Since that was several years ago and I still remember it, I don't want to read about it. There are so many books out there without dredging up the underbelly of the world.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Widower's Tale by Julia Glass

In a historic farmhouse outside Boston, seventy-year-old Percy Darling is settling happily into retirement: reading novels, watching old movies, and swimming naked in his pond. His routines are disrupted, however, when he is persuaded to let a locally beloved preschool take over his barn. As Percy sees his rural refuge overrun by children, parents, and teachers, he must reexamine the solitary life he has made in the three decades since the sudden death of his wife. No longer can he remain aloof from his community, his two grown daughters, or, to his shock, the precarious joy of falling in love. One relationship Percy treasures is the bond with his oldest grandchild, Robert, a premed student at Harvard. Robert has long assumed he will follow in the footsteps of his mother, a prominent physician, but he begins to question his ambitions when confronted by a charismatic roommate who preaches --- and begins to practice --- an extreme form of ecological activism, targeting Boston's most affluent suburbs. Meanwhile, two other men become fatefully involved with Percy and Robert: Ira, a gay teacher at the preschool, and Celestino, a Guatemalan gardener who works for Percy's neighbor, each one striving to overcome a sense of personal exile.

My review: 4 looks
I am giving this one 4 looks and not a full 5 because I had such high hopes for this book when I started it, only to feel a little flat from the middle to the end. I loved the witty sarcasm of Percy, the full robustly different personalities of Trudy and Clover, and the clever writing of author Glass. However, once the characters started to take off, full of personality and flaws, I just didn't buy some of the scenarios.

For example, Percy so taken with Sarah after all this time after Poppy's death of not even a date with any one else? Then when Sarah was a bit in the background, a slight attraction to Daphne? I just didn't buy that part of the story. I also didn't quite buy the story of Robert. Were those homoerotic undertones for Turo? They were just on the surface, but never really acknowledged, much less explored. And the shock of the ecoterrorism's last exploits were a little hard to swallow. For them to go from passive-aggressive displays to a suddenly violent and destructive protest ... again, I may be naive, but I didn't see the sudden change in their modus operandi as plausible.

On the other hand, I loved the ongoing pain and coming to terms with the death of Poppy. I loved the complex and deep relationship of Ira and Anthony. I loved the conflicts, hopes, dreams and yearnings for family of Celestino.  I liked the struggle of Robert with his dreams versus everyone's expectations. I liked the background of how Ira came to Matlock.

The very rich and real characters made me enjoy this book, but the hard-to-take scenarios keep me from giving it a "favorite" rating.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Maurice Sendak's New Book

Beloved children's book author, Maurice Sendak, (Where the Wild Things Are) was the guest on NPR's Fresh Air yesterday. The interview made me uncomfortable. I had to try very hard not to turn the station.

Why? He was so sad. Very sad and reminiscent, somewhat rambling and, at times, I think he was crying. He commented that he was in a very "soft mood" because he had just experienced the deaths of two of his very close friends.

He talked a bit about his partner (Sendak is gay) of 50 years, Eugene Glynn, and his death in 2007. Sendak is an atheist, so there is no afterlife, no opportunity to see anyone again that he loses in this life. I can see how this would make him sad. He is 83 years old, so he has seen many of his contemporaries pass away.

Sendak's first words in the interview are, "It's been a rough time. I've gotten quite old..."

An excerpt from the interview:

"I have nothing now but praise for my life. I'm not unhappy. I cry a lot because I miss people. They die and I can't stop them. They leave me and I love them more. ... What I dread is the isolation. ... There are so many beautiful things in the world which I will have to leave when I die, but I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready."

About his new book, Bumble-ardy:
"When I did Bumble-ardy, I was so intensely aware of death," he says. "Eugene, my friend and partner, was dying here in the house when I did Bumble-ardy. I did Bumble-ardy to save myself. I did not want to die with him. I wanted to live as any human being does. But there's no question that the book was affected by what was going on here in the house. ... Bumble-ardy was a combination of the deepest pain and the wondrous feeling of coming into my own. And it took a long time. It took a very long time."

I was so sad when the interview was over.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Books to be released in October 2011

Second installment from the Book Beast section of The Daily Beast site, here are a few books set for release in October.

The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright
The Man Booker award-winning novelist has an almost scary affinity for language, a skill she marries to an unblinking shrewdness about the way people behave. Here she dissects a love affair barreling toward disaster. The result is a stunning study of a woman turned inside out. [Oct. 3]

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
Pulitzer Prize-winner (Middlesex) Eugenides returns with a knowingly old-fashioned love story: Madeleine Hanna, an out-of-step English major in the ’80s who tilts toward Thackeray and Dickens when everyone else tilts toward Derrida, is wooed by not just one but two suitors, both wildly romantic in their respective ways, and maybe a little mad. [Oct. 11]

Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest
by Wade Davis
The notions of heroism and idealism died out almost entirely in the trenches of World War I. Six years after the Great War’s end, on the slopes of Mt. Everest, George Mallory and a group of climbers almost singlehandedly brought those noble ideas back to life. In this rigorously researched book, Davis shows how Mallory’s fatal climb reignited the idea of the hero for an entire culture. [Oct. 18]

Zone One by Colson Whitehead
A satirist so playful that you often don’t even feel his scalpel, Whitehead toys with the shards of contemporary culture with an infectious glee. Here he upends the tropes of the zombie story in the canyons of lower Manhattan. Horror has rarely been so unsettling, and never so grimly funny. [Oct. 18]

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
As with most Murakami novels, things begin in ordinary ways—a woman sits in a taxi in a traffic jam—and then quickly warp out of control: the woman winds up in an alternate universe before the cars begin to move. Add a novelist rewriting the work of a 13-year-old girl, a militant religious cult, a reclusive dowager who runs a battered-women’s shelter, and a very ugly detective, and the result is top-drawer Murakami. [Oct. 25]

Rome: A Cultural, Visual, and Personal History by Robert Hughes
Jerusalem: The Biography by Simon Sebag-Montefiore
These eternally twinned cities of Western Civ get the star treatment this season with blockbuster histories from master art critic Robert Hughes (Rome) and British historian Simon Sebag-Montefiore (Jerusalem). Between these two books it’s all there: religious violence, Renaissance icons, Mussolini, family history, the birth of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and more. [Nov. 1; Oct. 25]

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
For anyone interested in economics, cognitive science, psychology, and, in short, human behavior, this is the book of the year. Before Malcolm Gladwell and Freakonomics there was Daniel Kahneman who invented the field of behavioral economics, won a Nobel (for his work with Amos Tversky), and now explains how we think and make choices. Here’s an easy choice: read this. [Oct. 25]

Charles Dickens by Claire Tomalin
He was probably the most beloved author of all time. But the image projected through his fiction—that of a man who serenely and implacably saw into every character’s heart, who knew what there was to be known of life—was, while not a lie, certainly not the whole story. As Tomalin portrays him, with her usual uncommon skill, he was, for starters, hell at home, not at all nice to the children and beastly to his wife, on whom he famously cheated. He was, in other words, utterly fascinating, and so he remains. [Oct. 27]

I am thinking I will add Zone One and 1Q84. Both look pretty interesting. I may throw in the bio on Charles Dickens, too.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Operation Bonnet by Kimberly Stuart

Twenty-year-old Nellie Monroe has a restless brilliance that makes her a bit of an odd duck. She wants to be a private investigator, even though her tiny hometown offers no hope of clients. Until she meets Amos Shetler, an Amish dropout carrying a torch for the girl he left behind. So Nellie straps on her bonnet and goes undercover to get the dish.   But though she’s brainy, Nellie is clueless when it comes to real life and real relationships. Soon she’s alienated her best friend, angered her college professor, and botched her case. Operation Bonnet is a comedy of errors, a surprising take on love, and a story of grace.

Review: 4 Looks
I am not a fan of Christian fiction, even though I am a HUGE fan of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have read my fair share of this genre, and don't like the heavy-handed way (almost 100% of) the authors verily beat the reader over the head with their brand of Christianity.  The only book I can think of that I have ready this century that does not fall into that gross generalization is When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin, which I highly recommend.

Back to Operation Bonnet. I was very pleasantly surprised by the witty writing and real-life thoughts and feelings. There was not a holier-than-thou feel to the writing, story or message. The thread of Christianity was subtle though out the book as a standard way of life, and not some overpowering Mother Teresa-type of lifestyle. Being a Christian is a mind-set that is day-by-day, sometimes minute-by-minute for me. It's neither easy nor innate, as some would have you believe. This book made it real-life while providing a fun and entertaining story.

I will read more by this author.

Visit Kimberly Stuart's blog here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Books for Fall - September 2011 Release

Fall Books Preview
From the Book Beast section of The Daily Beast site, here are a few books set for release in September.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The hoopla surrounding this first novel’s publication—a high six-figure advance, movie rights sold, foreign rights sold in 27 countries—might distract our attention from a less powerful book. But a few pages into this story of a mysterious circus and its two stars, a young man and woman who are both capable of real magic, and you know you are in the presence of an extraordinary storyteller. [Sept. 13]

Confidence Men by Ron Suskind
Three years after the financial meltdown, the American economy is still limping along. How the recovery went awry is the subject of Ron Suskind’s reported account of the Obama White House’s struggle to fix the economy—and the response of the financial titans in New York. Still under wraps, Suskind’s book is likely to deliver fascinating revelations and a hard look at Obama’s leadership. [Sept. 20]

Last Man In Tower by Aravind Adiga
The Booker Prize-winning author of The White Tiger delivers a masterful portrait of booming Mumbai told through the struggle over an apartment building between an ambitious property developer and a humble, defiant schoolteacher. With this gripping, amusing glimpse into the contradictions and perils of modern India, Adiga cements his reputation as the preeminent chronicler of his country’s messy present. [Sept. 20]

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt
Can a poem change the world? Harvard professor and bestselling Shakespeare biographer Greenblatt ably shows in this mesmerizing intellectual history that it can. A richly entertaining read about a radical ancient Roman text that shook Renaissance Europe and inspired shockingly modern ideas (like the atom) that still reverberate today. [Sept. 26]

Nightwoods by Charles Frazier
Frazier once again spins a story of two people falling in love in the North Carolina mountains. It’s even the '60s again, but this time it’s the 1960s, and things move a lot more swiftly than they did in Cold Mountain—think Thunder Road meets Night of the Hunter meets old murder ballads. This is a suspenseful noir nightmare, complete with bootleggers and switchblades. [Sept. 27]

I am going to add The Night Circus, but will pass on the others. Stay tuned for books scheduled to release in October.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman

Her new novel, The Story Sisters , charts the lives of three sisters–Elv, Claire, and Meg. Each has a fate she must meet alone: one on a country road, one in the streets of Paris, and one in the corridors of her own imagination. Inhabiting their world are a charismatic man who cannot tell the truth, a neighbor who is not who he appears to be, a clumsy boy in Paris who falls in love and stays there, a detective who finds his heart’s desire, and a demon who will not let go. What does a mother do when one of her children goes astray? How does she save one daughter without sacrificing the others? How deep can love go, and how far can it take you?

My rating: 4 looks
When I checked this book out of the library, the librarian said to me, "This is an author that you either love or hate." I wondered at this comment, reflecting on my prior readings of Alice Hoffman. You know, she is probably not quite as polarizing as the librarian thought, but she was definitely on the right track.

This book caught me quite by surprise. The themes and situations of the book were agonizing and heart wrenching. Sister against sister, rebellion against loving parents, lost loves, suicide, drug use, child rape. This book had it all. On the other hand, it also had love, compassion, honestly, loyalty, love found late in life, redemption, nurturing. There was, at the end, far more good than bad.

After all, isn't this what like itself is? You have much bad and you have much good. In the end, you just want the good to outweigh the bad. In this case, I was quite taken with the book. It was real life with no whitewash. The novel was honest, brutal, straightforward and beautiful.

I recommend this one.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday School Book Club?

This was my second week in a new Sunday School class. They used the first 20 or 30 minutes of the first class talking about books. The favorite series, not surprisingly, is the Mitford Series by Jan Karon. Our teacher, Debbie, has read all of the books in the series several times, it is obvious. I love how Debbie innately applies a spiritual aspect to life. All of life. In her mind, there is a spiritual application to each and every life situation.

I'll give you an example. When Debbie and I were walking from the classroom to the sanctuary, I could hear my Dad talking. Turns out he was handing out bulletins at the side door. "I can hear my dad," I said. Debbie looked at me and said, "You can hear him from this far away? There is a spiritual application here! You can hear The Father's voice from far away."

That's John 10:27
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

Isn't that cool? I know I combined a couple of different ideas in this one, but the idea is that Debbie was trying to tell us that there is a spiritual application to everything, whether you are reading a book or walking down the hallway.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay


Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours. Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life. Tatiana de Rosnay offers us a brilliantly subtle, compelling portrait of France under occupation and reveals the taboos and silence that surround this painful episode.

Sometimes I think the summaries give too much information. But I suppose you also can't simply judge a book by its cover. This book has been made into a movie (poster above) for French cinema and is being converted to English this year.

My review: 4 Looks
The parallel stories of a family caught up in the 1942 roundup of French Jews and a present-day journalist who finds her life intertwines with that of one of the victims. The story goes back and forth between the two stories until they eventually converge at the apartment where it first began. Written with honesty and sensitivity, I think this will make a great movie.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A better way to rate books?

Since I am reviewing quite a few books this year, I have noticed that my rating scare is not quite what it should be. I mean, I think I rate highly on one book one day that I may give a lower ranking the next day. I know that rating books is based on their ease of read, entertainment value, blah, blah, blah. However, I feel the need to get more subjective in my ratings.

With this in mind, I found the scale to the left on an initial Google search for "rating scale". I thought it was funny and I like the little pictures, and even though I don't agree with the disparaging remark about Ms. Palin (which I find a bit mean-spirited), I though enough of it to copy and post here.

So, after hardly any thought or deliberation at all, here is my new and improved book rating scale:

1 Look  I wish I hadn't looked.
This book is so bad that the irises in my eyes have constricted to such an extent that I can't read another word on this page. If I finished the book, it's because I had a bet with someone or it's so incredibly short that even I would feel badly if I put it down. More likely, though, I put this stinker down.

2 Looks  I looked and didn't like what I saw.
This book barely passes for literature and probably should never have been published, but it didn't make me want to burn it. I may, however, use it to line a bird cage or put it to use in the outhouse. I will forever be disturbed that I will never get this time back again. Probably not going to read any other titles by this author.

3 Looks  I looked and I liked it. As a matter of fact, I probably looked again.
This is a pretty good book. Maybe a little too long or maybe not quite descriptive enough. It is definitely lacking, though. I may try another one by this author, but only one more, if it is not written better than this one.

4 Looks  This is more like an ogle. I looked and turned my head to see it from the back.
This is a good book. Well written, fully-developed characters, satisfying story and makes me want more.

5 Looks  What's your name and number, baby?
This is fine, fine book. It's beautifully written and I find myself thinking about it when I am not reading it, wishing I had it in my hand. When it is finished, I miss it and wish I had read it more slowly, to savor the story and characters longer. I must own this book and will read it again and again.

So, there you have it. That is my new reading scale. What do you think?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Midwives by Chris Bohjalian


A talented midwife is arrested for murder when she saves a baby by performing a Caesarean section once she believes the mother has died--only to have her assistant insist later that the woman was still very much alive. Told in the mesmerizing voice of the midwife's daughter, Midwives depicts the aftermath of the tragedy.

My review: 3 stars
This contemporary story of a home-birth gone very wrong is compelling. The characters are richly drawn and much detail is given. Maybe a little too much detail. Around page 235ish, I started skimming much of it. I would have it enjoyed it so much more if it had been about 100 pages shorter.

I am not opposed to a long book, as long as the story supports the page number, and I think this one could have been edited. I will probably read more by this author, depending on the page length.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy made into movie

Perhaps if I went to the movies more, I would have seen the trailer for this one, but here is another book being made into a movie.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a 1974 British spy novel by John le Carré.

Stop right there. There is enough in that one sentence to keep me from reading it. First of all, the title is as dry as dust. I don't have any idea what a "tinker" is. When I Google it, I find that it's an English nursery rhyme:

Tinker, Tailor,
Soldier, Sailor,
Rich Man, Poor Man,
Beggar Man, Thief.

It's a clever play on words for the novel's title, I'll give the author that.

Next, the fact that it's a British spy novel completely loses my interest. I use The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley as an example. It was lauded and a best-seller. However, I am not British and therefore don't understand their customs, habits or humour (note the spelling in deference to my Engligh readers). I finished the book, but can't say that I enjoyed it and do not intend to read more of the series.

Lastly, it's already been made into a TV movie (circa 1979) starring Sir Alec Guinness. I doubt very seriously that a Hollywood production will beat it. The fact that a Swedish film director is at the helm is less impressive when you read his filmography (Bert: The Last Virgin, Office Hours, Four Shades of Brown, and Let the Right One In). Makes you want to jump right onto the Netflix website and add them all to your queue, doesn't it? No, me either.

This is probably both a book and a film that I will skip.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean

Dora has always taken the path of least resistance. She went to the college that offered her a scholarship, is majoring in "vagueness studies," and wears whatever shows the least dirt. She falls into a job at the college coffee shop, and a crush on her flirty boss, Gary. Just when she's about to test Gary's feelings, Mimi, the grandmother who raised her, suffers a stroke. Dora rushes back home to Forsyth, NC, and finds herself running her grandmother's vintage clothing store. The store has always been a fixture in Dora's life; though she grew up more of a jeans-and-sweatshirt kind of girl, before she even knew how to write, Mimi taught her that a vintage 1920s dress could lift a woman's spirit. While working there, Dora befriends Mimi's adorable contractor, Conrad. Is he after Dora, or is working from a different blueprint? And why did Mimi start writing down--and giving away--stories of the dresses in her shop? When Mimi dies, Dora can't get out of town fast enough and cedes control of the store to her money-hungry aunt who wants to turn it into a t-shirt shop for tourists. But ultimately, she returns to Forsyth, willing to battle whatever may stand in the way of her staying there. Dora can trade her boring clothes for vintage glamour, but can she trade her boring life for one she actually wants?

My verdict: 4 stars
A granddaughter rushes to the side of her dying grandmother and subsequently finds her passion in life: vintage. A little love story, a little coming-of-age, a little family conflict and a whole lot of wonderful vintage clothing. Highly recommended!

Now that I've posted my review, let me say that I have looked online at vintage clothing already. I have priced crinoline slips. I am planning a trip to my local thrift shops (first stop here because I think they will be less expensive) and then to my local vintage shops (second stop here because there aren't that many of them and they will be pricier).

Also, shoes are important! I think I probably have what I need in this category, but I will (of course) reevaluate.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Drowning Tree by Carol Goodman

Artfully imagined, intricately detailed, eerily poignant: these are the outstanding features of Carol Goodman’s literary thrillers. She is part novelist, part craftsman—and The Drowning Tree is her newest masterpiece. Juno McKay intended to avoid the nearby campus of her alma mater during her fifteenth reunion weekend, but she just can’t turn down the chance to see her longtime friend, Christine Webb, speak at the Penrose College library. Though Juno cringes at the inevitable talk of the pregnancy that kept her from graduating, and of her husband, Neil Buchwald, who ended up in a mental hospital only two years after their wedding, Juno endures the gossip for her friend’s sake. Christine’s lecture sends shockwaves through the rapt crowd when she reveals little-known details about the lives of two sisters, Eugenie and Clare—members of the powerful and influential family whose name the college bears. Christine’s revelation throws shadows of betrayal, lust, and insanity onto the family’s distinguished facade. But after the lecture, Christine seems distant, uneasy, and sad. The next day, she disappears. Juno immediately suspects a connection to her friend’s shocking speech. Although painfully reminded of her own experience with Neil’s mental illness, Juno nevertheless peels away the layers of secrets and madness that surround the Penrose dynasty. She fears that Christine discovered something damning about them, perhaps even something worth killing for. And Juno is determined to find it—for herself, for her friend, and for her long-lost husband. From the Hardcover edition.

My review: 2 stars
About a woman whose husband tries to kill her and their young daughter, causing him to eventually becoming a long-term patient at the local insane asylum. Her best friend ends up dead in a weird underground garden. The cop is nice, but I wonder why he owns a tuxedo. The nearby and the president of the college is hiding something. The doctor of the insane asylum seems ... well, not quite on the up-and-up.

Sounds like a pretty good basis, yes? Yes, and that's the reason I bought it. However, the author kept me just enough engaged to not put this one down, invoking the 100-page rule. Perhaps there were too many stories going here and they all kind of fizzled. You know, you can't do too many things at one time well. I guess that applies to writing, too.

The most tiring aspect of this novel was the prolific use of stained glass-making techniques, art-inspiration and mythological romances. I supposed that, since the book is titled from one of these works of art, it should be used, but I found it very cumbersome, confusing and distracting. It was almost like i was trying to read in quicksand. Not recommended unless you are (or were) a college art major.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bibliophile Challenge is Over!

So, the end of the summer reading challenge for my Bibliophile group is over, and the winner of the Amazon $50 gift card was announced.

Not me. <sigh> However, I am STILL a winner because I read over 20 books in that three-month period. I can't remember a time when I have ever been as motivated to read as I was for that challenge. As you saw in an earlier post, I am already excited about the winter reading challenge!