Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Book List

I had a request to post a list of the books I've been reading and to rate them. I do want to mention, that my taste has been for books that are purely entertaining and aren't depressing. So here is my oh so sophisticated ratings and a few comments. Two good sites I use to check out books are Books at the New York Times and Amazon.

Here you go!

Janet Evanovich - Stephanie Plum series - There are 15 in the series and I read them all from 1 thru 15. These books will never make any literary great list, but I loved them. They are perfect to read when battling cancer, on an airplane or at the beach. Stephanie and her friends are so funny, I literally laughed out loud when reading. And if you've got any Jersey friends, you will remember them fondly - all of their accents, phrases etc are perfectly captured here. Now don't get your panties in a bunch!

New York - Edward Rutherfurd - I liked this book, but if you aren't a big detailed history fan, it will get tedious. Obviously the main character is New York City and starts with the early Dutch settlers and goes all the way thru 9/11. The focus is definitely more on the history of NYC than on the family it follows.

A Gate at the Stairs - Lorrie Moore - I wound up just liking this book when I thought I was going to love it. It is beautifully written, but I felt it just never came through with a coherent story line. It just seemed to kind of jump around without pulling it all together. It didn't leave me wowed at the end.

The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith - I had heard of the movie, but never the author until I read an article about a recent biography in the NYTimes. This book was written in the 50's and is about a guy who murders a wealthy "boy" in Europe and assumes his identity. But it is really so much more. I would highly recommend.

The Help - Kathryn Stockett - I know this is on all the book club lists right now, but I really enjoyed it. A fast read and makes you feel good at the end. It kind of reminds me of Shawshank Redemption in that the characters perservere in a deplorable situation.

Sara Petresky - VI Warshawski series - I read the first 2 in the series and tried to start on the 3rd, but just couldn't get into it. Part of it is the old books just seem so dated that they are boring. Some day, I might try a more recent one and see if it improved at all.

Sue Grafton - This is the ABC author (A is for Alibi), again these are just ok - didn't thrill me.

The Magnificent Ambersons - Booth Tarkington - I found this book on a 100 Best Novels of all time list and I loved it. It was written around 1912 or so and was still so timely today. One of the themes was the build up of the suburbs at the expense the original city - if only we'd learn our lesson!

A Friend of the Family - Lauren Grodstein - very good.

That Old Cape Magic - Richard Russo. I think I liked Empire Falls better, but this was good

Prep - Curtis Sittenfeld - I liked this.

American Wife - Curtis Sittenfeld - on the NYT 2008 Notable Novels list. Loved this book. Liberal wife is married to conservative US president. You can't help but think of Laura Bush.

Ten Days in the Hills - Jane Smiley - good. I love Jane Smiley, but this isn't my favorite book of hers.

Commencement - J Courtney Sullivan - good. I got this off of a summer beach list in the NYT. And basically it lived up to my expectations as an entertaining read.

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet - Reif Larsen - I think I'll say very good. The only reason I hesitate is the ending is lame. The rest of the book is marvelous.

Let me know if you have any recommendations!



  1. recently I read some good books:
    1. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls...awesome! don't be fooled into thinking it is a sad book because it isn't.
    2. And Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane--crazy stuff! wowza.
    3. have also been reading Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series...not sure if you like historical romance/adventure or not, but they are very good if you do.

  2. Laura, I've had the Glass Castle in my stack since before Christmas. Miles' swim coach gave it to me, but I thought it would be depressing. I'll move it up to the top. I just keep hearing so much about it and now she has another book out. I'll check out the Outlander series. Thanks for the recommendations!