Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Our America

What I really liked about this book is that it was told from a child's point of view. We hear a lot from people who have survived "the ghetto" or from people who have worked with people in "the ghetto", but I thought it fascinating to hear what a teenager who was actually experiencing it (not reflecting on it later. It was a good portrait of the neighborhood in the mid-'90s... I wonder how the story would be currently? Worse? Better?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Beatrice and Virgil

Wow! This is one of the most engaging books I have read in a long time. I absolutely loved Life of Pi and this did not disappoint! Martel's writing style catches me and doesn't let go. I am a person who loves animals and has a high interest in the Holocaust, so book sits high on my list. I also tend to love books about strange topics or characters. The ending wasn't what I was anticipating, but actually I think it was better than I had expected.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I cried, you didn't listen

This book started off as a train wreck and only got worse. Okay, sure I sympathize a bit for what Abbott went through, but I felt like he was so completely biased (and I don't really blame him) that this book was basically his way of blaming someone for how he turned out. This book wasn't exactly written well. ( I suppose considering he hadn't been in school since he was 10, it wasn't bad.....) Anyhow.... I find some of his story hard to buy. Was there really that much rape and abuse going on? I am not sure I am totally convinced.....

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wishin' and Hopin'

This was a charming, cute little book. I was saving it to read around the holidays and read it in almost one sitting. It made me laugh and I always love Wally Lamb.. what else can I say?

Sunday, November 21, 2010


This book was quite fascinating, but also a bit long. I found some parts very interesting and other parts I would skip over. Some of the history lessons were just a bit much for me. But I did find out that there are people out there who actually re-in act the crucification! Wow. Never really thought much about it... but just, wow. Also -- that there are places out behind university buildings that are full of cadavers just sitting there, rotting. People study them. I don't think I will be having that job any time soon......

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Poisonwood Bible

Finally. I feel like this book took me forever! Well.. yes, it's long. But it's also very intense. I absolutely loved it. Part of the reason it took me so long was that I was savoring every bit. Wow! What a powerful book. This is one of those books I know I will think about long down the road. I love Kingsolver -- not much more to say about it!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Little Bee

This book was strange, but I did like it. The story was interesting intriguing. Little Bee was a fascinating character, but Sarah was not. She was boring and annoying to me. Some parts of the story what were in her voice I just breezed through, because I didn't really care. I wanted to hear Little Bee's story. I wish it would have just focused more on her that going back and forth between the two voices.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ana's Story

This book was obviously geared toward a middle school/high school age group. (I didn't know that going into it.) It turned out not to be half bad. Didn't like the ending much, but I understood why it stopped like it did. I feel like there could have been some kind of better way to tie things up. I was also slightly perturbed that Bush never mentioned exactly what country this was taking place in -- but maybe it was meant to leave some anonymity to it? Not sureIf I were a high school health teacher this would be a great book to read and have a discussion about.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Camel Bookmobile

I am not really sure where to start. I really enjoyed the writing style -- very gentle and able to grab my attention. I love the story it's self -- as a novel. (Which, thank goodness it is!) But I am unsure of the whole message of the book. I was actually a bit glad in the end -- it went to show that everything doesn't always turn out the way you expect it to. Nothing is perfect. I would hardly think that something like this would ever really be a true story -- because how could an American really understand the minds of this culture? It was a bit too romanticized for me. I liked the quote at the end of the book: " Do they want to be part of a 'larger world'? And who should be teaching whom?"

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I absolutely loved this book! The character building was fantastic and the story just kept taking lots of unexpected twists and turns. At some points, I thought... okay what's next? And every time it was great. I am already on a mission to visit ever NPS site in the country and now I want to go to Kalaupapa even more after reading this. What a fascinating history. Rachel was a great character. I loved it!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Strange Case of the Walking Corpse

This book was quite entertaining. I loved reading about all of the crazy diseases and illnesses. I wished the book would have focused more on that than some of the more ancient remedies. ( but those were interesting too). Who knew there were so many different types of sexual maladies?!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids

Honestly, I didn't really care for this book. It was obscene in places and I found it a bit disturbing. The ending was awful. This book was translated from Japanese and I could tell that in some places some of the translation lost. I kept hoping that something more was going to happen and it didn't. That hope pushed me to finish, but I was disappointed in the end.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Road

This book was fantastic. I loved it. So vivid and intense. It was actually quite frightening. This book makes me interested in reading more post-apocalyptic literature. What I liked most about this was how realistic it was! No zombies, mutated people or anything. Just raw emotion. I also like the ending. It will probably keep me wondering for a long time.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sarah's Key

This book was hard to put down! I had to know what was going to happen next. I liked that there was lots of twists and turns. I never quite knew what was going to happen. I loved both story lines. Sarah's story was just heartbreaking. I have always liked fiction books about the Holocaust and this didn't disappoint.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Pact

This book just went on too long for me. It couldn't decide if it was going to be a romance, a law and order episode or an adult drama. I wanted to just start skipping over some sections. I mean, it was a good story, but it could have sped itself up a little bit. It was also slightly predictable. It kept me interested just enough to finish it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Update Mission 101 List

1. Goat -- Brad Land Finished 6/14/2009!
2. Sold -- Patricia McCormick Finished 11/27/2009
3. The Abstinence Teacher -- Tom Perrotta Finished 11/19/2009
4. The Girls -- Lori Lansens Finished 1/10/2010
5. Skinny Bitch -- Rory Freedman Finished July 6, 2009
6. The Joy Luck Club -- Amy Tan Finished 6/3/2009
7. Lessons in Taxidermy -- Bee Lavendar 3/9/2010!
8. The Book Thief -- Markus Zusak Finished 2/28/2010!
9. Unsweetned -- Jodie Sweetin Finished 2/14/2010!
10. Random Family -- Adrian Nicole LeBlanc Finished 1/18/2010!
11. Infidel -- Ayaan Hirsi Ali Finished 1/7/2010!
12. Zeitoun -- Dave Eggers Finished 9/15/2009!
13. Life of Pi -- Yann Martel Finished 7/25/2009!
14. The Pact – Jodi Picoult
15. Thursday’s Child – Victoria Poole
16. The Working Poor – David Shipler
17. The Camel Bookmobile – Masha Hamilton
18. The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz
19. Partly Cloudy Patriot -- Sarah Vowell
20. Saving Monticello -- Marc Leepson
21. Rats -- Robert Sullivan
22. The Bear Went Over the Mountain – Carll Tucker
23. The Lost Boys of Sudan – Mark Bixler
24. Stiff -- Mary Roach
25. Love’s Shadow – Ada Leverson
26. The Majic Bus -- Douglas Brinkley
27. Living at the Edge of the World -- Tina S.
28. Swallows of Kabul -- Yasmina Khadra
29. The Help – Kathry Stockett
30. Life on the Outside -- Jennifer Gonnerman
31. Girls of Riyadh – Rajaa Alsanea
32. A Dog Year -- Jon Katz
33. White Noise-- Don DeLillo
34. The Writing on the Wall – Lynne Sharon Schwartz
35. White Rabbit – Martha Morrison
36. Amerika -- Franz Kafka
37. With Their Backs to the World – Asne Seierstad
38. The Lottery – Shirley Jackson
39. The Warden Wore Pink – Tekla Dennison Miller
40. Stones into Schools – Greg Mortenson
41. White Tiger – Aravind Adiga
42. Homer’s Odyssey – Gwen Cooper
43. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down – Anne Fadiman
44. Nomad Diaries – Yasmeen Maxamuud
45. A Mile in Her Boots – Jennifer Bove
46. Committed – Elizabeth Gilbert
47. This Way to the Gas Ladies and Gentleman -- Tadeusz Borowski
48. The Elegance of the Hedgehog – Murial Barbery
49. Wishin’ and Hopin’—Wally Lamb
50.Sarah’s Key – Tatian De Rosnay
51. Bones Would Ran From the Sky – Suzanne Clothier
52. Home – Julie Andrews
53. The Case of the Missing Books -- Ian Sansom
54. Black Girl/White Girl -- Joyce Carol Oates
55. White Girl -- Kate Manning
56. A Hundred and One Days – Asne Seierstad
57. Surviving Justice -- Dave Eggers
58. Charity Girl – Michael Lowenthal
59. Acceptance – Susan Coll
60. Stolen Innocence – Elissa Wall
61. William’s Princess – Robert Jobson
62. The Latehomecomer – Kao Kalia Yang
63. Born in the Big Rains – Fadumo Korn
64. The Children's Hospital -- Chris Adrian
65. Alex Kotlowitz – The Other Side of the River
66. The Hour I First Believed – Wally Lamb
67. Our America – LeAlan Jones
68. The Lacuna – Barbara Kingsolover
69. Monique and the Mango Rains – Kris Holloway
70. An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England -- Brock Clark
71. Things I’ve Been Silent About – Azar Nafisi
72. The Middle of Everywhere – Mary Pipher
73. Amazing Grace – Jonathan Kozol
74. Unaccustomed Earth – Jhumpa Lahiri
75. Wasted – Patrick Murphy
76. Preserving Memory – Edawrd Linenthal
77. Fish – T.J. Parsell
78. There Are No Children Here – Alex Kotlowitz
79. I Walked The Line – Vivian Cash
80. Ghost Town – Patrick McGrath
81. A Good Dog – Jon Katz
82. Snoop – Sam Gosling
83. Dewey -- Vicki Myron
84. Without a Map -- Meredith Hall
85. Prisoner of Tehran – Mrina Nemat
86. Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures – Vincent Lam
87. Saints Behaving Badly – Thomas Craugwell
88. The Lost Daughters of China – Karin Evans
89. Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids – Kenzaburo Oe
90. When You are Engulfed in Flames – David Sedaris
91. Written in Stone – Sanford Levinson
92. The Lost Children of Wilder – Nina Bernstein
93. The Strange Case of the Walking Corpse – Nancy Butcher
94. Grand Central Winter – Lee Stringer
95. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
96. The Echo Maker – Richard Powers
97. Academy X -- Anonymous
98. Moloka’I – Alan Brennert
99. The Painted Bird – Jerzy Kosinski
100. Walking – Matthew Sanford
101. A Walk in the Woods

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lessons in Taxidermy

Wow. This book was a whirlwind. I couldn't put it down and I can't believe this woman is still alive. Being curious by nature I scoured the internet looking for pictures of Bee Lavender. I really wanted to know what she looked like. It is hard to find any pictures of her. (She does state in the book she doesn't like her photography taken.) It's horrible what she has been through at such a young age, yet the book ends on a hopeful note. She is going to live her life to the fullest while she can. That is amazing. I think she is a true hero in her own sense. She is also an amazing writer. She has a very strong voice and lays things out just as they happened. She doesn't try to get the reader to feel sorry or have sympathy for her.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Book Thief

This book was quite unusual. I am still on the fence on how I feel about it. A very well told story, but very sad. I think this book could have been shorter. There were some story lines which I thought could have been eliminated and others that I thought could have been elaborated upon. I did however enjoy the point-of-view of Death. I thought that was a really interesting plot point.

Monday, February 15, 2010


I was really looking forward to this book. I LOVED the show Full House and I also love memoirs. But this book just didn't do it for me. I found it pretty poorly written (no big surprise I guess), very repetitive and just too "hip" (I guess that's the word...) She was just trying too hard to relate or maybe impress the readers I think. I mean how many times can we read about her relapsing? She tells a sad, sad story, but in the end she wants us to think that she is recovered and I just don't believe it. I would not at all be surprised if she is still using or starts again. I was also disappointed she didn't write more about her Full House days. I guess she was pretty young at the time and maybe she doesn't remember all that much, but I thought that would have been more interesting than hearing about her endless partying and then lying on national TV.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Random Family

This book fascinated me. It took me a very long time to read, because it was so intense. I like the author's style of writing by the fact that she referred to everyone by name and not pronouns. Because there are so many players in the book I know I would be utterly confused if she didn't state people's names. This book is a true family saga, even though it reads like fiction. I am glad LeBlanc chose to write it this way, instead of first person. I think it makes it more credible in a way. LeBlanc dedicated something like 12 years of her life working on this book and immersing herself with these people. It's amazing to think about. It shines a lot of light on the social service system in New York. I would like to say this book made book made me sad or angry -- but it didn't. I am very interested in social work as a profession and this book made me feel even more passionate about it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Girls

This book fascinated me. What a truly unique story. I kept having to remind myself that this wasn't a memoir but fiction. I have never really put much thought on conjoined twins before. Never pondered what life must be like for them. After reading this book I don't think I will ever take for granted being able to truly do something alone. I am very impressed with the authors ability to really understand the feelings of what it must be like to live this way. I was totally engrossed in this book.

Friday, January 8, 2010


This book gave me mixed feelings. Although I do believe in what Ali stands for, I am not so sure how much I actually liked her. I found her very self righteous. She is obviously very controversial. I mean there are not many people who basically condemn one of the largest religions in the world. It's so wonder that she had to go into exile. Sometimes I wonder how it is she is still alive.

That being said, Ali had led an extraordinary life! I wish at the end of the book she would have tied up a few loose ends -- one being the current state of the relationship with her parents. I was also amazed at how well she remembered all of the details.

In the end I would recommend this book, especially those who might be questioning their own faith.