Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Water For Elephants, by Sara Gruen

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Did I only read this because it is supposed to have been a NaNoWriMo book? Yes. Does Sara Gruen mention that "fact" ANYWHERE in the book acknowledgments, on her website or in interviews? No. (Although she doesn't contradict the claim, which has been made very publicly by one of NaNoWriMo's founders.) Was it still worth the read? Meh. I don't know. I guess. Whatever. It wasn't a waste of time to read it, but it didn't enrich me or leave me with any lingering thoughts or feelings about the book. As a matter of fact, I barely remember what it was about (I want to say circuses?). All in all, it was a zero balance book. Some good footnotes though. I'd definitely recommend those.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore

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I loved this book! I think it would appeal equally to cynical atheists and Christians with a sense of humour. I actually find myself thinking of it often. It really transported me into that time and place in which Jesus is said to have lived, even though the story is wholly fantastical, made-up and hilarious (But really, isn't the real Bible like that too? Maybe not as funny.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

[A Holly, Jolly Murder: A Claire Malloy Mystery, by Joan Hess]

Holly Jolly Murder
I gave this book more than enough chances to wow me. I started it, set it aside, plugged along a little more, read something else, came back to it, all the time hoping to at least finish it despite the fact that I was clearly bored. The premise was cozy enough: a book shop owner gets roped into helping a bunch of neo-Druids solve a murder at Christmas time. I expected the Druid characters to be delightfully weird for weird's sake--like how they'd be portrayed by the writers of Law & Order or any other fuddy duddy show on NBC (which, don't get me wrong, I love nearly universally)--and they were, but that wasn't why I eventually stopped reading.

The main character, who it seems has her own series, is unreadable. And by that I don't mean the colloquial "I can't get a read on her motives," I mean I cannot read about this character for an entire book! She runs a bookshop and yet closes it several times a day to run the most trivial of errands, then wonders why she has no customers! It's the week before Christmas and there are days she only makes seventeen dollars in sales all day! Then she complains about the financial difficulties of being a single mother! She has no employees (hence the frequent closing of the store based on her own schedule for the day) but when her teenaged daughter is desperate for work she never suggests she come to the shop! Honestly, how on earth could she afford a can of tuna, let alone her store rent and home mortgage? It boggles the mind.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Sherlockian, by Graham Moore

Sigh. I don't know. I was so excited by this book that I kept my library copy long after the seven-day loan period (it was taking me a while to read it, not because it wasn't fast-paced, but simply because I was busy) and when I finally realized I had to return it I used the Chapters gift card I had received for my birthday to order it online. In fact, I was so excited to read the ending that I even downloaded the lending copy of the eBook from the library, even though I hate reading on a screen.

And here I am, finished the book at last and...(spoiler after the jump)...

***************SPOILER ALERT**************************

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson, by Lyndsay Faye

I really enjoyed this. I'm neither a Ripperologist nor a Sherlockian but I think I really enjoy the fan fiction of those who are. The only thing as gripping as the story itself was the desire to run to the internet and research all the new facts I was learning about Sherlock Holmes, Jack the Ripper and late nineteenth century London. A great first novel!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Bonesetter's Daughter (audiobook), by Amy Tan (performed by Amy Tan & Joan Chen)

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I listened to the audiobook and I was transfixed. I am convinced this is the only way to read an Amy Tan novel. Her writing is good but her storytelling is transformative, and for that you need to hear her.