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Archive for March, 2009

As I write this post, it is March of 2009.  I actually have not at all kept a list of books I read in 2008.  With that said, I wish I had so am going to just keep adding to this post as I think of books I read last year.

  1. The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel
  2. Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz
  3. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert*
  4. Still Life by Louise Penny
  5. A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny
  6. The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny
  7. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer*
  8. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens*
  9. A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie*
  10. Steps to the Altar by Earlene Fowler
  11. Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff
  12. High Country Fall by Margaret Maron
  13. In the Presence of the Enemy by Elizabeth George
  14. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins*
  15. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear*
  16. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins-Gillman
  17. Uncommon Clay by Margaret Maron
  18. Quiet, Please:  Dispatches from a Public Librarian by Scott Douglas
  19. The Land of Spices by Kate O’Brien
  20. Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke
  21. Death Qualified by Kate Wilhelm*
  22. The Best Defense by Kate Wilhelm*
  23. If you lived here, I would know your name by Heather Lende
  24. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  25. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  26. Find Me by Carol O’Connell*
  27. Killing Critics by Carol O’Connell
  28. The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West
  29. Time After Time by Molly Keane
  30. Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe

* These were audiobooks.

Thank you Bibliophile by the Sea for the idea!

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This week I have come across three great finds.  One from the local library’s for sale shelf and two more from a local thrift store.

  1. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  2. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  3. Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik

All three for a total of $4!  I have to confess to having already “read” Eat, Pray, Love.  I put in read in quotes because I actually listened to the audiobook version of it.  I would highly recommend it.  The audiobook version was read by the author herself.  To me, it seems to add so much depth and feeling to the book when you are listening to it as it is being read by the actual author.  It just makes it feel like you are there with her, experiencing what she did.  We were discussing the book “around the water cooler” at work recently.  The question arose, which was your favorite section of the book – eating in Italy, praying in India or loving in India?  I have to say when reading the book, one did not stand out over the other, I truly enjoyed the entire book.  With that said, if I had to pick, I would say India was my favorite.  The ideas and experience as told through Ms. Gilbert’s eyes about praying and devotion in India were just a very new and enlightening topic, for me.

Did you have any great book finds this week?

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The Worst Hard Time was written by Pulitzer Prize winner, Timothy Egan.  It is the story of the individuals who survived the dust bowl of the thirties.  This book was brought to my attention by my future father-in-law.  He was born in Oklahoma in the thirties.  After reading this book, he mentioned that it was one of the best accounts of the dust bowl that he had read.  I have to say, it was a wonderful book about a topic, I am sad to say, I knew absolutely nothing about. 

The dust bowl of the thirties encompassed parts of several states, including Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.  This book starts in the twenties.  It talks about the economic and agricultural events and decisions that led up to The Worst Hard Time.  For me, this book was an eye opener.  I only knew, in passing, that these events even took place.  The depression, yes, but the dust bowl?  It was not a topic I was familiar with.  This story is one of the strength and perseverance of the human soul in times of trouble.  Not to mention one of mistakes we don’t want to make again.  Very moving.

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Although I love buying books to add to my own personal library, I am also a frequent patron at the local public library in Fairfax County, VA.  Today I stopped by the library to pick up a copy of The Gardner Heist, the True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft by Ulrich Boser.  Sounds fascinating, doesn’t it?  I heard about it from the Corcoran Art Gallery events list, the author will be doing a book signing on April 2nd.

Finding ideas on books to read or just add to my personal library is a constant quest for me.  While I was at the library today picking up the book listed above, I also picked up a brochure put together by the library titled, “Looking for a Good Book?”.  It contains a great list of books with lists of books.  I haven’t looked into them but will definitely be taking a look next time I am at the library!  Check out my listmania list of these books on Amazon.

There are two I am most interested in checking out.  The first is 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, by Peter Ackroyd.  This one  has a group on LibraryThing that is worth checking out for further information.  The second one I am definitely checking out is 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century.  I LOVE mysteries and am always looking for new authors so can’t wait to get my hands on this one!  Read on!

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I am fascinated by religion but know very little about most religions. On that note, I decided to read up on Buddhism and found this book, Buddha by Deepak Chopra. This is a fictionalized account of Buddha’s life and how he came to be what we know him as today. I do not know what type of resources Chopra used to build this account but the story itself is fascinating. Buddha is born as Siddhartha, a prince. Because of some predictions when he is born he protected from birth from seeing anything “bad”. This includes the aged and infirm. First discovering the existence of a poor village is what sets Siddhartha on his path to enlightenment. Overall, I enjoyed the book immensely. However it did not really clarify to me what it means to be a buddhist today and the meaning behind self, non-self and non-thinking. I will have to read more books on the topic. I give it four stars.

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I found one book at the local thrift store last week.  “The Comedians” by Graham Greene.  Ironically I would not have recognized the title, however, the book is mentioned in Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains (see my earlier post).  I can’t wait to dig in to it but I have quite a long list of books in front of it.  I have started reading The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan.  I have it on good authority that this is a really good depiction of what it was really like in Oklahoma during the dust bowl of the thirtees.  So far so good.  I will let you know how it plays out.

Mysteries are absolutely my favorite genre.  I finished listening to Dark Assassin by Anne Perry (I have a long commute and couldn’t do it without audiobooks).  This book features Anne Perry’s detective William Monk.  While this book kept me entertained, I can’t say I loved it.  The mystery did not seem as well developed and involved as what I prefer.  I have preferred Anne Perry’s Charlotte Pitt novels over the Monk series.

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My first review is of the book “Mountains Beyond Mountains:  The quest of Dr. Paul Farmer a man who would cure the world” by Tracy Kidder.  This book for me was a wonderful surprise.  It caught my attention and held on.  Dr. Farmer is a fascinating man who, as the title says, tries to cure the world.  More specifically he works in mostly with the poor in third world countries curing tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS, to the extent he can.  He is inspiring in that he does the work of 10 people, at least.  His is a classic story of humble beginnings that then use a degree from Harvard, and the assistance of many many supporters, to jump start a career curing the world.  He is one of the founding members of the Partners in Health Foundation.  At times in the book, he seems extremely idealistic.  However, it really makes you realize that that is a good thing (this coming from someone who is herself idealistic).  It is individuals like Dr. Farmer that can and do inspire the rest of us.

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