Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I don't have time these days to write reviews of all the books I read or listen to, but in the interest of at least keeping track of what I have read, I decided I better post a list of those books I have read since my last post.

The Golden Compass Trilogy by Phillip Pullman
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
The Taking by Dean Koontz
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer
The Good Guy by Dean Koontz
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

That's all I can think of. I may have to add to this list, because I'm pretty sure there are a few more books that should be included.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

#39 Brother Odd

by Dean Koontz
I guess this really is the summer of thirds, because this is the third book in the Odd Thomas Series. Odd Thomas sees dead people, but this series is nothing like Sixth Sense. Odd decides to spend some time in a mission to get away from the life of seeing the lingering dead and trying to prevent bad things from happening. Unfortunately, Odd starts seeing bodocks, supernatural beings that gather in greater and greater numbers as a tragedy looms closer. Odd is faced again with the task of figuring out what tragedy is coming and how to prevent it.

Writing this and the previous review on the same day, I've noticed a lot of similarities. Both are the third in a series, both have main characters with strange names, both characters were on a "vacation" from their normal lives, and both found they couldn't escape their normal lives. That's where the similarities edd. The books are actually quite different; so much so that I didn't even think they were similar until now.

I really enjoy the Odd Series. Koontz is an excellent author, and he really knows how to pull you into a story.

#38 The Well of Lost Plots

by Jasper Fforde

This is the third book in the Thursday Next Series. As usual, Jasper Fforde's writting was extremely creative. In this book, Thursday, who is normally a literary detective in England's Special Ops, is in hiding within the book world. She only went in to hiding until her child is born; otherwise she would be out finding a way to get her husband back. Thursday is serving as an agent for jurisfiction, the policing agent for the book world. Other agents start turning up dead or go missing. She believes these incidents are not accidents and that they are connected, but she doesn't know who she can trust.

I still think the first book in the series was the best, but I enjoyed this one a lot.

#37 Austenland

by Shannon Hale
What a fun book! It wasn't too long, so I actually read it rather than listening to it. First book I've "read" in a long time. I don't have the mental energy right now to write my own review, so refer to Cassie's review and Katie's review.

I loved it and think everyone who has ever watched A&E's Pride & Prejudice and/or fallen in love with Collin Firth as Mr. Darcy should read this book.

#33-#36 Children of the Promise Volumes 2-5

by Dean Hughes
In the interest of saving me time (since I'm behind on writing reviews) I'm combining the review for the volumes 2 through 5 of this series into one review. Plus, I don't want to tell too much about the books following book 1 because it may ruin it for anyone who wants to read the series.

In the series there are four main stories that are followed. All of them about members of the Thomas family during World War II. Alex, the eldest son, is fighting in Europe. Bobbi, the eldest daughter, is serving as a nurse in the Navy, stationed in Hawaii. Wally, the second son, is a Japanese POW. And, of course, the story of the family members who are still at home in Salt Lake City. There is also a side story of the Stolzes, a family from Germany that knew Alex before the war. I think Wally is my favorite character. I've enjoyed rereading this series.

#32 Inkheart

by Cornelia Funke
This book was recommended to me mostly by my sister Katie, but also by many others. It was an excellent book. Very imaginative. It is about a young girl named Meggie and her father, who she calls Mo. Mo is able to read things out of books. He accidentally read an evil villain and his henchman out of the book Inkheart while reading aloud to his wife. The book tells the story of his and Meggie's attempt to remain hidden from this villain. When their attempt fails, they must figure out another way to rid him from the real world.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

#31 Rumors of War

by Dean Hughes
Rumors of War is the first novel in the series Children of the Promise. I've read this series before, but it has been about 7 years, so I decided to read them again.

The series is about the Thomas family, who live in Salt Lake City, and is based just prior to and during World War II. The father, Al, is a Stake President, owner of a car dealership, and a prominent citizen in the Salt Lake are. The mother, Bea, is a housewife. They have 6 children, but the three oldest children are featured more than the three youngest in the first book.

Alex is on a mission in Germany during the time the Nazis are invading Poland and other surrounding countries. Alex converts a German family, the Stoltzes, and grows really close to them. The missionaries are evacuated out of Germany, and Alex wonders if he'll ever see the Stoltzes again; especially their daughter Anna, who he is sure he is meant to marry. He goes home worried that he will end up fighting the German people.

Bobbi is going to the University of Utah and gets engaged to a man that everyone just adores; everyone except herself. She isn't sure about the engagement and eventually calls it off. She starts to have feelings for one of the English professors at the university, but she knows her family will not approve because he isn't Mormon.

Wally, the rebellious third son, is pushing the boundaries of his family. He is in love with Lorraine, but she won't be anything more than friends with him because of his rebellious ways. He decides to join the Army Air Corps and is shipped to the Philippines. He is on the Bataan peninsula when the Japanese invade, and he is taken as a POW.

The book ends with Alex joining the Army, and Bobbi joining the Navy as a nurse. The family has no idea if Wally is alive or dead, and they are all struggling to keep their from being torn apart by this war.

I enjoyed the book as much the second time as I did the first. It's fun listening to it on CD, but I'm glad that I read it the first time, because in the book there are footnotes giving further description of actual people and events from this time period. I would recommend reading this book rather than listening to it on CD for that sole purpose.

#30 The Measure of a Man

by Sidney Poitier
This is an autobiography about the life of Sidney Poitier. I listened to it on CD and Sidney himself was the reader. Most of the book felt more like Sidney just sat down and told his story, rather than him reading it from the book.

Sidney lived on a small island in the Bahamas until the age of 11 or 12. Cat Island had no electricity and no running water. His parents were tomato farmers, but after an embargo on tomatoes the family moved to Nassau. Sidney started getting into trouble, so his parents sent him to Miami at the age of 15 to live with his older brother. In Miami, Sidney first felt the full effects of racism. At 17 years old, he left Miami and ended up in Harlem, NY where he worked at menial jobs until he joined the Army.

He and the Army didn't mesh well, so he went back to Harlem and decided to try his hand at acting. His accent and lack of skill in acting landed him back on the street. After being humiliated by a director, he was determined to become a talented actor. He studied acting for 6 months before landing the lead in a Broadway play. This was the launch of his career. He tells about the roles that were major stepping stones to his success, and also about most of his more well-known roles. He also tells about many roles he turned down because he didn't agree with their message; he refused to play any part that portrayed him in a way contrary to his character. He often accepted controversial roles for his time period.

Some of the more controversial roles he talked about were: A cop from Philadelphia who is pulled into a murder investigation in a small Southern town in the movie In The Heat of the Night; the friend of a blind white woman in A Patch of Blue, and the fiance of the daughter of a prominent and rich white couple in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. He was the first black man to win an Academy Award for best actor; he won for his role in Lilies of the Field.

Throughout the book he refers back to the many lessons he learned growing up, and from the example of his parents. He has a wonderful way of describing his experiences and making the reader understand the effects these experiences had on him. I enjoyed the book so much that I rented In the Heat of the Night and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. I would recommend both of these movies and the book. I also plan on watching many more Sidney Poitier movies in the future.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

#29 The Bluest Eye

by Toni Morrison

Another sad book, that's two in a row. This is a shorter book mostly about a girl named Pecola. Pecola isn't loved by anyone. She is poor and isn't pretty. Her one wish is for blue eyes, because she thinks everyone will love her if she had blue eyes. Her father is a drunk who dispisses his children and wife. Her mother is resentful of her husband and delights in only beautiful things. Because she wishes for beautiful things, she enjoys working for a rich white family, and taking care of their beautiful little daughter.

Pecola is picked on by the kids at school, and just about everyone she meets. I was suprised at the fact that young black children used derogatory black terms against each other, as if they were not black themselves. Let me clarify that a bit. I'm not talking about the way black children and even adults use derogatory black terms to their friends in present time. In this book they use them as insults and ways to hurt each other's feelings. It's really sad that the world had showed them such disrespect for black people that they felt they should treat each other with that same disrespect.

Pecola is rapped by her father and she gets pregnant. I was suprised that whole community shunned her for this. They gossiped about her and how horrible she was to get pregnant by her father. It was a really eye-opening book to the ways of life for blacks around the 1950s and 1060s. There were many lines in this book that stood out to me. If I had been reading it and not listening to it, I would probably have 10 or more quotes to put in this review, but in stead I have none.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

#28 The Lovely Bones

by Alice Sebold

I finished this book a few weeks ago, but I'm just now getting around to posting my review...that's why the date may not make sense if you've checked my blog recently.

When I first started listening to this book I didn't really enjoy the reader's way of reading. This actually happens often until I get used to the different voice, but this book was particularly unenjoyable. The reader read slow and was kind of monotonous. About a third of the way through the book, I decided that the style of reading was actually well suited for this was very poetic. It made the book seem like one long, sad poem.

This was a different book and strange to get into. It's about a girl who is rapped and murdered. The book is told from her point-of-view. She is in "Her Heaven", which is different from anyone else's heaven. Her heaven has the things she likes and wishes for, but it intersects others' heavens where their wishes and likes intersect. She often goes to a gazebo where she can view anyone on Earth. She watches her family, a couple friends, and even the man that murdered her. She watches the different ways her family and friends cope with her death, and she watches the police's futile efforts to solve the crime. Her father has to do something, anything he can do to help solve the crime. Her mother shuts down and eventually runs off to California to get away from it all. Her younger sister shuts everyone out and puts on an act that she is fine. She also watches her sister grow up and experience the things she was never able to experience. In some ways, she grows-up through her sister, because growing up is the one thing you can't wish for in any heaven.

This book made me think about a lot of different things, and it left an impression that will stick with me. I can't say it was an enjoyable book, because it was sad and a little depressing, but I am glad that I read it. I think what will stick with me most is the acceptance she had for the different ways each of her family members dealt with the tragedy. She didn't judge her mother for running out, or her father for never finding the man who killed her. Each member of the family had their problems, but she loved them all and accepted them for who they were.