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rosemaryknits

rosemaryknits

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The Phantom of Fifth Avenue: The Mysterious Life and Scandalous Death of Heiress Huguette Clark
Meryl Gordon
End of The Chain: Life and death in the Aleutians
Robert Wallace Finlay
Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words: A Writer's Guide to Getting It Right
Bill Bryson
Seeing Further
Neal Stephenson, Margaret Atwood, Gregory Benford, Georgina Ferrey, Oliver Morton, Maggie Gee, Margaret Wertheim, Richard Fortey, John D. Barrow, Martin J. Rees, Philip Ball, Richard Holmes, Stephen H. Schneider, James Gleick, Simon Schaffer, Henry Petroski, Paul Davies,
Icons of England
Bill Bryson
Walking Away From Wall Street: From Corporate Bull to Building a Busines
Max Vishnev
Winter's Tale
Mark Helprin
To Marry an English Lord
Carol McD. Wallace, Gail MacColl
That Bear Ate My Pants!
Tony James Slater
Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune
Paul Clark Newell Jr., Bill Dedman

The Space Between Us

The Space Between Us - Thrity Umrigar
Gosh, I began this novel with such high hopes!!! It contains some of the most provocative and lyrically poetic prose that I've ever read, but it does not reach any sort of.... well... it just goes no where. I feel smarter about Bombay, and India in general, and I have to admire the fact that the two main characters don't fall into each other's arms and proclaim that the class divide will never keep them apart, but still, I already KNOW that education is good, and that money and intellect will grant one power, I don't need to be told this - endlessly - in novel form.

I had such high hopes. It seemed to be going somewhere. Ultimately, it was just a sad book about sad people who experience no growth and just keep in the slots which birth assigned. Very, very disappointing. Sooooooo poetic, just heartbreakingly poetic.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Where'd You Go, Bernadette - Maria Semple I can't do any better than the reviews already here, so let's just say that I am happier, and I feel smarter than when I started this book. I listened to the audio version and the person who performs this book does a spectacular job! This book is just so good that all I want to do is gush.

Other People's Dirt: A Housecleaner's Curious Adventures

Other People's Dirt: A Housecleaner's Curious Adventures - Louise Rafkin Disappointing. Not at all what the jacket led me to expect

Station Eleven: A novel

Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel I shouldered through when I really should have set this one aside. It's not worth it, actually. This author could be groomed to become a good one, she's just not quite there yet.

And I had to laugh out loud when one of the characters, "... went down to the river to fill the water jugs with Jackson..."

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

It would make more sense to just fill them with water. *snort* so that one line made up for it hahahaha

Seriously, skip this one and read King's The Stand, as it is thousands of times better.

Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero

Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero - Michael Hingson, Susy Flory This is much less a "True Story of a ... Guide Dog... Ground Zero" than it is a "True story of a Blind Man..." but that's OK, I enjoyed it just the same. I sure learned a lot about how modern day blind people fare in the US, and I'm happy and thankful for that, but I was really wanting to learn more about the dog and about the whole ground zero business. However, it did occur to me that the people directly involved probably knew less about what was happening than anyone else.

Also, the overweening Christian essays came as an abrupt surprise, not what I was looking for at all. Still, the story was a good one, and I'm happy to have read it. If I had known ahead of time that it was so heavy in religious lectures, I woulnd't have picked up the book, and would have missed out on learning just a little bit about this wonderful guide dog, Roselle.

Les Misérables

Les Misérables - Victor Hugo, Norman MacAfee, Lee Fahnestock I am so sad that I'm finished with this book. I don't want to leave these people. Oh, and I want to run away with Jean Valjean.

Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls and the Consequences of a World Full of Men

Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls and the Consequences of a World Full of Men - Mara Hvistendahl I have to admit that I couldn't finish this book, but I will someday. It makes me furious. What I don't get is why the women's movement isn't all over this. Supposedly, it's "profeminist" to be in favor of allowing women to kill their babies. However, it seems that the women are killing the next generation of women. Therefore, there will be far fewer women to fight the good fight, and it seems that in areas where women are killing the next generation of women, that the women in those areas are traded like commodities, which undoes all that the women's movement has done.

Also, will everyone stop saying, "Oh yes, they are doing that 'over there.'" WE ARE DOING THIS OVER HERE.

It was making me crazy. I had to stop. I fear for future generations of women.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot I've been interested in Henrietta Lacks ever since my college days (late 70's) and learned about Hela cell cultures. At that time, I was told that the woman's name was Helen Lane - now I know why this misinformation was propagated!

This is an immensely interesting (to me!) topic, and while the author did a great job telling me what I wanted to know about the beginnings of the Hela line, she spent way WAY too much time telling me about her Henrietta's daughter was sexually abused by her step father or uncle or whoever that was. This sort of thing is just sensationalizing and is utterly useless and superfluous to the story. If I had been reading the actual paper book, I would have been able to skip over these parts. As it turns out, I listened to it on audio, so I was captive. I found this exceedingly irksome.

Towards the end of the book, there was a lot of information and commentary on the situation of mentally ill black folks in the 50's - this is a book unto itself, and honestly has nothing to do with the Hela story. I found this to be interesting, but out of place.

The upside is that some of the book was read by Aibileen! (From the audio version of The Help.) How I love this woman's voice, I can't even begin to tell. She read some of the parts of Deborah (Debra? Don't know, I listened, didn't see the name written out) Lacks, Henrietta's daughter.

Finally, the end material is enough to give us all pause. I like to think of myself as fairly knowledgeable and I had no earthly idea. It's worth the time to read the book just to gain this information.

On the whole, this book is very interesting and informative, but is wanting an editor. Worthwhile read, though.

At Home: A Short History of Private Life

At Home: A Short History of Private Life - Bill Bryson I can't get enough of Bill Bryson

We Took to the Woods

We Took to the Woods - Louise Dickinson Rich This book is really about nothing in particular. It's just the author's observations on life in the woods. However, it is excellent! She has a phenomenal way with words and it turns this "about nothing" book into a "can't put it down" book. I highly recommend.

Every Last Cuckoo

Every Last Cuckoo - Kate Maloy This book had such promise! The writer writes very well, but her ideas are somewhat all over the place. At some points, she makes such a wonderful observation, and then at other places, well, it's just dumb. (A kid's grades will fall because she learns to drive?)

Also, the author doesn't seem to know how teenagers function/behave/speak at all. Not at all at all.

The "bad guy" turns himself in? Seriously?

However, I love the overall concept of this book. I was hoping for so much more.

Gulliver's Travels

Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift, Robert DeMaria Jr. I read this about 30 years ago, and I loved this return trip through it. It's perfectly amazing to me how fresh Swift's comments and insights are. To think that this book is almost 300 years old - amazing! People just don't change. People's situations just don't change.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz I was planning to be blown away by this novel.... however....

It's odd. I couldn't put it down. Then when it was finished, I had to say to myself, "That really wasn't worth the time."

It's lyrically told, and I enjoyed learning something of the history of the Dominican Republic, but I found the liberal use of the Spanish with no translation to be off-putting.

When I learned that he did this so as to give the reader a taste of the "Immigrant Experience" - well, this simply means that I now know that I don't want to read any of his other books. This seems overly manipulative. I read to be told a story, not to have an immigrant experience. To me, this comes off as way way way too speshul-snowflake precious. Spare me.

On the whole, it was fairly enjoyable, and I'm glad that I read it, but it's nothing to go out of your way for, imho.

Dracula

Dracula - Bram Stoker I listened to the Craft Lit production - I liked it so much more than when I read it - Heather Ordover really brings so much to the story with her explanations of the era in which Dracula was written, and on the various nuances of behavior which was lost on me the first time around. For instance, it completly blew right by me when Van Helsing mis-used the term "bloody," over and over again. The first time I read that episode, it made no sense at all. Once she explained it, then it was quite interesting and humorous.

It's a wonderful tale, and it's even better enjoyed when you know the inside-scoop.

Dracula on Just the Books, aka CraftLit

Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Persuasion

Omnibus: Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Persuasion - Jane Austen My family and I just took a long car-trip, and listened to Pride and Prejudice on the ways there and back. We listened to Craft Lit's version,

Chapter one of Pride and Prejudice

which is perfectly awesome - the host, Heather Ordover, is a literature teacher, and she really does an excellent job presenting each chapter. She tells the modern reader about things which were common in the time of Austen, but which we don't know too much about today - customs, laws, terms, and other little tid-bits which make the book so much more enjoyable. It makes a good book all the more enjoyable to know these little things.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky I have a feeling that the younger you are, the more spectacular you'll find this book.

I loved the free and easy way that it was written, almost stream of consciousness. I loved the way that the author *said* some things. On the whole, though, I found it to be overly melodramatic and self-admiring book. If you want to read real teen angst, read the books that Charlie read. This one misses the mark, in my opinion.