Thursday, June 30, 2011

June Book Reports

1. Shutter Island, Dennis LeHane (library ebook) - I actually snuck this one in during the last couple of days of May. I found it while browsling the library's ebook options and thought, 'what the hell!' I'd seen the movie previews, but had had little interest in the movie. Honestly, I have no idea why I decided to read it, but I'm glad I did. It was quick and fun, and the ending honestly surprised me. (Trust me, I'm not often surprised!)

2. The Snowman, Jo Nesbo (library ebook) - Books on the Nightstand has mentioned this book several times, so of course I had to download it when I found it at the library. Norwegian crime fiction is apparently (thank you Steig Larson) on an upswing, and Nesbo's book is one of the beneficiaries. The only downside is that the translation occasionally seemed off - especially in the first half of the book. There was literally one chapter ending that stated something to the effect of "insert dramatic pause" and you just knew it was a mistake because it fit so oddly into the rest of the narrative. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this book a great deal, and I can only hope that US publishers continue to release Nesbo's work.

3. Caleb's Crossing, Geraldine Brooks (library audio) - I absolutely LOVED People of the Book, so I had high hopes for this one. It was good...but also disappointing. I love that Brooks once again tried to bring to life a slice of history. I was dissatisfied with the story and found the female protagonist to be (while likable) entirely too modern and self-aware for reality. Ah well.

4. The Bells, Richard Harvell (library ebook) The Bells is a great favorite of one of the cohosts of Books On The Nightstand. In fact, he mentions it OFTEN, and so of course I had to try it. It's now one of my favorite books, too. Historical fiction, fairy tale, love story, feast for the senses (especially your ears), adventure...The Bells has it all!

5. Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, Alison Arngrin (library ebook) My oh my, Nellie Olson wrote a memoir and I LOVED every minute of it! While yes, there was all sorts of fun backstage info about my beloved Little House (which is now beloved by my girls) the best part of this book is in the story of a child actor who grew up in a crazy household, had some really bad things happen to her, but was able to find healing before it destroyed her and then went on to use it as a catalyst for good. Argrin is funny, open and to the point, and I wish I knew her in person as she just seems like she would be someone great to know. (There are two other Little House memoirs, and I may have to hunt them down at the library as well.)

6. Dragon Keeper, Robin Hobb. Let me start by saying that I love Robin Hobb. Her fantasy novels have been among some of my favorites, and this one looked promising enough that I accidentally bought it twice. Now I can't get through it. Weird.

7. A Room With A View, E.M. Forster (Classic Tales Podcast) I think perhaps I've hit a B.J. Harrison threshold of some sort. I love him, and I love his podcast and all the great literary works that he's performed. But. I had trouble with this one. It seemed dull, and I don't think that was Forster's fault. It could be simply that Harrison does better with more masculine works and/or points of view?

8. In The Garden Of Beasts, Erik Larson (library ebook) Fascinating! I heard about this from several sources, and I am glad I read it. I think I would have liked Ambassador Dodd, although his daughter annoys and vexes me. My only complaint is that Larson spends too much time on the atmosphere of pre-WWII Germany. More historic details would have been a better way to convey how tense it was than constantly telling us it was tense.

9. Stardust, Neil Gaiman (my audio, performed by the author) I snuck this in before the end of the month. It's my idea of comfort reading, and I have no idea of how many times I have both read my copy of the graphic novel and/or listened to the audio. Quite simply one of the most perfect stories ever constructed, and Gaiman could read a phone book and make it sound fun.


Storme said...

Since I suddenly have a LOT more time than expected for reading this summer, I appreciate the reviews! I loved the movie "Shutter Island," but I suspect that knowing the ending would make the book much less suspenseful/enjoyable. Or was the writing so good that you think it would be worth a read anyway?
I'm with you on "People of the Book," but I didn't care as much for the second book I read by Brooks, "March," and the reviews I've read of "Caleb's Crossing" didn't make it sound like one up my alley.
"The Bell" and "Prairie Bitch" sound worth checking out, and "The Garden of Beasts" was already on my list. "The Bells" sounds like it might be to the sense of hearing what "Perfume" was to the sense of smell... Did you ever read "Perfume"? If not, I highly recommend.

A Day That is Dessert said...

I think this is the first time I haven't read *anything* on your list. Thanks, as always, for this.

Shelda said...

Speaking of Geraldine Brooks, I'm really enjoying March. When you posted last time that you were going to be reading this new one, I realized I kind of forgot about Brooks after loving Year of Wonders.

Interesting to read that Storme didn't like March much. Different strokes and all that...

I really enjoy your posts about books!