Saturday, September 29, 2007

Rose's Garden

Rose's Garden by Carrie Brown

Conrad is a 75 year old man who has recently lost his wife of 50 years. Four months after her death, he is still struggling with depression. She had been the focus of his life. He hasn't been eating, except when a stranger leaves food on his porch. He has neglected Rose's garden, which has become overgrown since her death.

On one stormy night, Conrad is visited by an angel in the garden. The angel tells him to "go home." Conrad shares the story with anyone who will listen and is amazed to learn other people have similar stories-either themselves or someone they know. Conrad slowly learns what "home" is. A home without Rose, but with pieces of her left in the people she influenced. The people who are there for him now.

"Rose's Garden" is a sweet book. It moves back and forth through time telling the story of Conrad and Rose. It's the story of a romance that doesn't end with death.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Candide by Voltaire

Candide lived in the magnificent castle of Thunder-ten-tronckh with the Baron and his family. Candide was rumored to be the illegitimate son of the Baron's sister. The tutor to the children, Pangloss, teaches the philosophy "all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds."

The Baron's daughter, Cunégonde, sees Pangloss in an intimate moment with the servant Pacquette. This leads her to tempt the naive Candide. Caught by the Baron, Candide is expelled from the castle.

As Candide travels the world and sees one evil after another, he begins to question the optimistic philosophy taught by Pangloss. During one voyage he meets Martin. Martins philosophy is pessimism that sees evil as the dominate force of the world.

Voltaire's satire pokes at philosophy, religion and government. It's a small book, but it's action-packed and very witty. It's a thought provoking book I'd recommend to everyone.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fall into Reading Challenge 2007

Fall into Reading 2007
A new place to list all the books I have laying about with no challenge to claim them. Here's My selections:
1.) Playing for Pizza Ж John Grishom
2.) Ricochet Ж Sandra Brown
3.) The Wrong Hostage Ж Elizabeth Lowell
4.) Frankenstein Ж Mary Shelley
5.) Veronika Decides to Die Ж Paulo Coelho
6.) Love in the Time of Cholera Ж Gabriel García Márquez

This is a good way to get several books off my TBR pile.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Seventh Category

Yesterday "The Stand" was on TV and I watched all 8 hours. It made me decide to make Stephen King my 7th category. It's been a long time since I read one of his books and I know I can find 8. Piece of cake. Maybe old rereads. I barely remember "Thinner." But I know for sure I'll read "Insomnia." About 8 or 9 years ago I was halfway through it and there came a flood. We had about a foot of water in the house. And since I would slide my book under the edge of the bed, it was ruined. I never got another copy. That was the last time I put a book under the bed.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

888 Challenge

I spent several days co-ordinating my challenges, goals, TBR and plain old want-to-read. I've got 6 of the 8 lists ready. The other two will come later. I'm leaning toward biography and history lists, but if time gets away from me I may switch to Little Golden Books and Dr. Suess. Some of the books (Children's Favorites) may be easy but Look! I've got Homer!! And two Faulkner's!!!

1. Banned Books
1.) Catcher in the Rye Ж J. D. Salinger
2.) Lord of the Flies Ж William Golding
3.) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Ж Maya Angelou
4.) The Handmaid's Tale Ж Margaret Atwood
5.) Native Son Ж Richard Wright
6.) Brave New World Ж Aldous Huxley
7.) A Wrinkle in Time Ж Madeleine L'Engle
8.) Flowers for Algernon Ж Daniel Keyes

2. Children's Favorites
1.) Adventures of Tom Sawyer Ж Mark Twain
2.) Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Ж Mark Twain
3.) Up a Road Slowly Ж Irene Hunt
4.) From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Ж E. LO. Konigsburg
5.) Treasure Island Ж Robert Louis Stevenson
6.) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Ж C. S. Lewis
7.) Little Women Ж Louisa May Alcott
8.) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Ж Betty Smith

3. Time 100
1.) I, Claudius Ж Robert Graves
2.) The Sot-Weed Factor Ж John Barth
3.) Their Eyes Were Watching God Ж Zora Neale Hurston
4.) The Spy Who Came in From the Cold Ж John le Carré
5.) The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Ж Muriel Spark
6.) 1984 Ж George Orwell
7.) The Sun Also Rises Ж Ernest Hemingway
8.) Light in August Ж William Faulkner

4. Books I Missed on TheClassicsClub
1.) Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Ж Robert Louis Stevenson
2.) The Invisible Man Ж H. G. Wells
3.) Silas Marner Ж George Eliot
4.) The Bridal Wreath Ж Sigrid Undset
5.) The Mayor of Casterbridge Ж Thomas Hardy
6.) Rebecca Ж Daphne Du Maurier
7.) Jane Eyre Ж Charlotte Brontë
8.) The Bridge on the Drina Ж Ivo Andric

5. Oprah's Selections
1.) Anna Karenina Ж Leo Tolstoy
2.) East of Eden Ж John Steinbeck
3.) The Pilot's Wife Ж Anita Shreve
4.) Stones From the River Ж Ursula Hegi
5.) As I Lay Dying Ж William Faulkner
6.) The Bluest Eye Ж Toni Morrison
7.) One Hundred Years of Solitude Ж Gabriel García Márquez
8.) Song of Soloman Ж Toni Morrison

6. Books in My House
1.) Notes on a Scandal Ж Zoë Heller
2.) Empire Falls Ж Richard Russo
3.) The Hours Ж Michael Cunningham
4.) Heart of Darkness Ж Joseph Conrad
5.) For Whom the Bell Tolls Ж Ernest Hemingway
6.) The Red Badge of Courage Ж Stephen Crane
7.) Illiad Ж Homer
8.) Odyssey Ж Homer

7. Stephen King
1.) Insomnia
2.) Thinner
3.) Cell
4.) The Stand
5.) Rose Madder
6.) Dreamcatcher
7.) Black House (with Peter Straub)
8.) The Regulators

8. Suspense
1.) Black Lightning Ж John Saul
2.) The Search Ж Iris Johansen
3.) Always Time to Die Ж Elizabeth Lowell
4.) The 6th Target Ж James Patterson
5.) A Cold Day in Hell Ж Stella Cameron
6.) Death Comes as the End Ж Agatha Christie
7.) The Ugly Duckling Ж Iris Johansen
8.) Double Image Ж David Morell

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bookin Through Thursday-Sunshine and Roses

Booking Through Thursday

Imagine that everything is going just swimmingly. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and all’s right with the world. You’re practically bouncing from health and have money in your pocket. The kids are playing and laughing, the puppy is chewing in the cutest possible manner on an officially-sanctioned chew toy, and in between moments of laughter for pure joy, you pick up a book to read . . .

What is it?

Usually a classic. If everything is going good, I know which book won't spoil the day. I'm on a kick to read all the books I should have already read. Right now I'm into Don Quixote and if ever there was a book written that tells you "Don't worry," this is it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Prior Bad Acts

Prior Bad Acts by Tami Hoag

A Jack the Ripper style murder of a woman and her two children have rocked Minneapolis. And Judge Carey Moore has made an unpopular ruling to the inadmissibility of the suspected perpetrators past behavior. Now the victims family and the lead detective are equally enraged. Then the suspect escapes police custody. The judge begins receiving threats, gets attacked in a garage and is finally kidnapped. Now the race is on to find her before she becomes a victim too. But first the police have to figure out who's victim will she be.

My sister loaned me this book. She also loaned me another from Tami Hoag, called "Straight From the Heart" which turned out to be a romance. I don't think my sister knew that when she bought it. I got halfway into the book before I realized there would be no murder. There was a couple of situations that could have turned into something but didn't. Mind you, every now and then I like a good romance. But not very often anymore. I went through that phase in high school. But I do like a good mystery nowadays.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Magician's Assistant

The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett

Sabine has recently lost her husband, Parsifal, after 6 months of marriage. He was a handsome and charming magician and she had been his assistant for 20 years. She had also been in love with him all those years. The problem was he was gay. After his partner Phan died, he married Sabine so she would be entitled to the estate he and his partner left behind.

After his death, Sabine learns he had been lying to her about his family for the entire time she has known him. After the will is read, Parsifal's family come to visit Sabine. When he left home he broke contact, so they are desperite for contact with what he had become. That means embracing Sabine. And Sabine is desperate to learn all she can about the secrets her husband had kept from her. So she journeys to his childhood home in Nebraska. Then she learns more secrets than she bargained on.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


I've been neglectful of my blog---again. I've joined two new challenges and have had to co-ordinate my lists. It's been a chore and involved spreadsheets. Along with my book clubs and reading all the Pulitzer winners, I also have to get in books out of the Book of Great Books. So for the Index Librorum Liberorum I've chosen 8.
1.) Candide by Voltaire
2.) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
3.) Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
4.) The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
5.) The Prince by Niccolὸ Machaivelli
6.) The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
7.) Justine by Marquis de Sade
8.) Paradise Lost by Milton

And along with that, I had to rethink my Unread Authors Challenge. By the time the challenge started I had already read 3 of the books. But that's no sweat. I have oodles of authors I haven't read yet. So here's the final choices.
1.) The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
2.) The Locket by Richard Paul Evans
3.) Rose's Garden by Carrie Brown
4.) Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller
5.) The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett
6.) O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

Looking forward to reading these.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Bob Crane

You know, sometimes you come across something so stupid you have to pass it along. This is in that category. I realize it's meant to be touch-in-cheek, but still. Can't people find somethng better to do? Like read a good book?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Echo Maker

The Echo Maker by Richard Powers
2006 National Book Award Winner

The title comes from the Cherokee name for the birds, echo makers, calling to each other across millenia, answering to just the instinctive recognition that Mark Schluter lacks....From Guardian Unlimited

Karin Schluter returns to Kearney, Nebraska to care for her brother Mark who had a rollover accident. Severe brain damage has left him with Capgras syndrome. This condition causes a person to physically recognize another person, but there is no emotional recognition. The victim feels there is something "not quite right"; the person is an imposter.

"The Echo Maker" explores identity. Does memory make you who you are? Are we who we think we are or who others think we are? What makes us us? Time Magazine had a cover story on consciousness early this year that reported on the brain and the efforts scientists are making to determine what "I" means. "The Echo Maker" does the same thing from the emotional angle.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Booking Through Thursday-Goldilocks

So, this is my question to you–are you a Goldilocks kind of reader?

Do you need the light just right, the background noise just so loud but not too loud, the chair just right, the distractions at a minimum?

Or can you open a book at any time and dip right in, whether it’s for twenty seconds, while waiting for the kettle to boil, or indefinitely, like while waiting interminably at the hospital–as long as the book is open in front of your nose, you’re happy to read?

I'm in the happy to read club. Any time, anywhere, anything. I keep a book in my car, by the couch and by my bed. I can get into a book at the drop of a hat.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Executioner's Song

The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer
1980 Pulitzer Prize

Gary Gilmore was the first man executed after the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 11976. After committing two murders, he was sentanced to death. He then refused to appeal and demanded his sentance be carried out.

Gilmore had been defiant from a very young age. He was sent to reform schoolo at the age of 14. In 1976, after 13 years in prison, he was released and went to live with a cousin in Utah. But after so long in prison he was unable to adapt to life outside. He had a mean streak and was argumentative. He fought everyone. If he wanted beer, he's simply go into a store and take it. Finally on a quest to obtain a pick-up truck, he resorted to robbery...and murder.

"The Executioner's Song" is classified as a narrative nonfiction novel. The true story is compied from interviews from anyone who crossed paths with Gilmore in the nine months from his realease until his execution. It's a big book...1050 pages, but it's an easy read. Even with all the detail the legalities are written in layman's terms. You get a feel for the way Gilmore and his circle lived. And you understand why Gilmore would insist on his execution.