Here is the running tally, so to speak, of the books that I am reading and have read during 2014. They are broken down by month, with the most recent at the top of the page. In May I decided to change the way I was presenting this page. I had been adding a picture and a paragraph review for every month, but the formatting got tricky when I came back every month to add more books. Needless to say it was just taking too much time. Below you will find the titles, names of the authors, and the paragraph reviews for each book up to the end of April. For May on you will only see a one or two work description of what I thought, but if you would like to read a more in depth review then you can click on corresponding link to the monthly reading review post. Thank you for checking in andasalways if you have a must read book, please let me know!
The Link for the May Reading Review will be posted after next week when the post is published!
The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett – Fun and imaginative writing
The Black Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey – Childhood Favorite
The White Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey- Childhood Favorite
The Silver Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey- Childhood Favorite
Cultures of the World: Cambodia – Dull and barely informative
Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussman – I gave up on it
Dragon Flight by Anne McCaffrey – Childhood Favorite
The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells – Beautiful!
The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman. Please see below for the Amazing Mrs. Pollifax in February!
Owlsight by Mercedes Lackey. This is the sequel to the book I read back in February. Since it is much the same please check out that review further down.
Heavenly Date by Alexander McCall Smith. I love Alexander McCall Smith. I heard him speak once when I was in college. Someone asked him what his trick was for writing so much successfully. He said, and I will never forget this, that he writes about nothing. That was his trick. He writes about the simple everyday life, which so many of us consider nothing. This is a great short story collection. Some of the stories were sad, some were funny, some were just simply beautiful.
For Your Eyes Only by Ian Fleming. Oh My God Sexist. I love the movies and I am fully aware of the sexism, but while the movies are fun and you can kind of laugh it off, the books are blatant. They are not a fun kind of sexism. I had all of the James Bond books on my list to read, but after reading this one I took them all off. To me, they are not worth it. The story wasn’t good enough for me to have to but up with that kind of crap.
What to Expect Before You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff. For a book all about expectations, this left a lot to be expected. I just wasn’t impressed. There are better resources out there. It’s not that there wasn’t anything particularly wrong with the book, I just felt that it wasn’t as informative as it could have been.
The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy. This was definitely interesting, but sometimes it felt like a chore to get through. It is relatively short, but it is basically an extended monologue by a man who murdered his wife. The whole thing is a lengthy diatribe about marriage at times very far ahead of its time and others fairly typical. I sometimes felt like I had whiplash, half the time agreeing with Tolstoy and the other half thinking him crazy.
Mrs. Pollifax and the Hong Kong Buddha by Dorothy Gilman. Please see below for the Amazing Mrs. Pollifax in February!
Mrs. Pollifax, Innocent Tourist by Dorothy Gilman. Please see below for the Amazing Mrs. Pollifax in February!
The Ellusive Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman. Please see below for the Amazing Mrs. Pollifax in February!
I have a disclaimer for this month. A lot of what I read in the month of February were reruns from high school. This was pure escapism as a beloved family member was suddenly hospitalized with a head injury and a coma (thankfully she is expected to make an almost full recovery) and during this time I needed some easy literature to get me through–hence the two chick-lit’s and the multiple fantasy novels.
Decision at Doona by Anne McCaffrey. I have to say that I love Anne McCaffrey and her sci-fi creations. This I believe is one of her earlier novels, and while it is a good story and a fun read there are some rather traditional tones to the book. The men are the adventurers and the providers, while the women stay home, cook for all the men and take care of the children. Now this isn’t a bad thing as long as you remember that this book is a product of its time.
Owlflight by Mercedes Lackey. I appreciate this book for its nostalgia value. I read all (and I do mean ALL) of Mercedes Lackey books back in middle school and high school. I still enjoy them from time to time. I think this particular series is of the more cheesy of hers, but I like her fanciful characters and the world that she has created.
Winds of Change by Mercedes Lackey. This is another repeat from middle/high school. Let’s just face it–I have a thing for Mercedes Lackey. I do at least most of the time. There are a couple of her series that are a little to generic, too sappy, and because I didn’t fall in love with them when I was younger, I do not have the patience for them now that I am older. I am happy to say that this is not one of those books. This one falls safely into the “Love” category. Probably because I read it so many times years ago.
Winds of Fury by Mercedes Lackey. Please see review above!!
Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich. I do not think I am ever going to get over my love for this author. There are some artists you never do. For me it is Louise Erdrich and the band Paramore. The love in my heart knows no bounds for these two. This book is no exception (there is only one book of hers that has disappointing me so far). This is a beautifully written, tangled mess of a novel. Characters are intertwined, story lines are truncated, but the effect is wonderful.
The Bees by Carol Ann Duffy. I got this book mainly for the cover. I thought it was beautiful and I then discovered that the inside was beautiful too. I think I read it too fast, because I am having a hard time remembering what exactly I liked about it. I know I dogeared four pages of poems that I really liked and would like to easily come back to. I am not sure I would recommend buying it right off the bat. I would go the library route until you felt absolutely sure you wanted it on your shelf.
The Art of Hearing Heart Beats by Jan-Phillipp Sendker. This is beautiful story. I couldn’t put it down. So often in life we get stuck in the “world is black and white” rut, and it can be hard to be compassionate and understanding. This book shows that life can be complicated, that certain choices are out of our hands, and that love is universal. This story gave me the warm and fuzzies when I had finished, and it doesn’t help that it was masterfully crafted and lovingly told.
A far Cry from Kensington by Muriel Spark. This was an easy read. If you like simple mysteries, where the protagonist sort of trips through the story, this is for you. The main character is easy to like and comfortable. This is a fun, short book for tea and a rainy evening.
Squirrel Seeks Chipmonk by David Sedaris. As a disclaimer I have to say that I usually love David Sedaris. He is usually very entertaining, but for me this short story collection fell short. Very Short. I think there was one story I actually liked, and the rest felt like a heavy-handed statement on the shortcomings of humanity.
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams. Fun Fun! If you want more of a description look under January for the Hitchhiker’s guide.
So Long and Thanks for all the Fish by Douglas Adams. Fun Fun! If you want more of a description look under January for the Hitchhiker’s guide.
The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman. I am love with these books. They are VERY fast reads, very easy, and a ton of fun. Mrs. Pollifax is exactly what you would expect: a widow with white hair, fantastic flower hats, and a membership to the local gardening club. But she also loves spy work and often works for the CIA.
The Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot. Let me just say that I do not read romances, and IF I ever do it’s not like I would ever admit it. But I have loved this book since freshman year in high school, and sometimes there is just no resisting its allure. For one, this book is funny. For two, it is completely written in emails. For three, the characters are endearing. This is a wonderful girls night in book.
Boy Meets Girl by Meg Cabot. This is the sequel to the book above and just as fun! Written in the same format.
America’s Greatest Blunder by Burton Yale Pines. This was a very interesting, but long read. It made me realize how little I know–and how little is taught–about this period in history. Here is the link to the review I did for the Portland Book Review, if you would like more information.
Greatest Women’s Classic Fiction stories by Willa Cather, Kate Chopin, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Edith Wharton. Since this is a compilation of different short stories, but different authors there were some that I loved, some that were okay, and some that I didn’t like at all. But I still think it was worth reading. I loved getting to know different authors–women authors. I liked getting to see the different style side by side. Overall, this was a fun read.
Poser by Claire Dederer. This was recommended to me by my beautiful sister-in-law and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sometimes brutally honest, sometimes a little non-sequitor the book is laid out poses. Each chapter is a different yoga pose, sometimes taking Claire through the rocky patches of motherhood and her marriage, or forcing her to explore her VERY interesting childhood and family life. This is a pretty fast read and very well written. It was also nice to read about the life of a local Seattle writer. I was able to identify with a lot that she wrote about.
An Irish Country Wedding by Patrick Taylor. I started reading this series years ago, and fell in love with the charming little Irish town. Now this isn’t a great work of literature, but it is a good, simple story. I also recommend listening to this as an audio book – the accents are divine.
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. If you love the blog, you will love the book and you will even recognize sections of the book as posts on the blog. I do have to say that this is generational. Husband and I loved the book, while my parents didn’t quite get the appeal. This is not really all that surprising; it’s just something to keep in mind. Allie is a local Pacific Northwest Writer and I am pretty sure Husband has a secret thing for her.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. This is a reread for me, and I have to say it was just as good the second time around. I thoroughly enjoy Adams’ sense of humor. I don’t know how he gets his crazy ideas, or how he allows them to get written down on the page. I would have chalked the whole idea up as crazy and scrapped it after page 1. I am thankful he is less critical of himself as a writer than I am, otherwise these books would not exist.