Monday, June 23, 2008

Deb's Book Reviews

A good book review by a trusted friend is essential, especially if you only have time to read one or two books a month. I hope this series of mine will help all the bookworms out there find some interesting titles. These volumes were selected by myself and members of my women's book club, who I trust completely, and enjoy spending time with once a month (if I don't see them around town.) If you have some good titles by or about women, let me know.

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Feb. - Crossing the Creek, by Anna Lillios.  A double biography about two Florida women authors, Zora Neale Hurston and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

March - The Tiger's Wife by Teo Obreht.  A wonderful novel about a woman doctor who remembers her  grandfather's stories after his death in the Balkans.

September - Come, Tell me how you live, an Agatha Christie autobiography.  Not a mystery reader myself, but this little autobiography is Christie's life in the Middle East.  Taken from her notes and diaries.
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Jan - Sophia Tolstoy, by Alexandra Popoff.  A woman's look at how the wife of this famous Russian author lived in the 19th century.

Feb - A Severed Head, by Iris Murdoch.  A very risqué book, written by an award winning British author.  Short and easy to read.

March - Pearl Buck in China, by Hilary Spurling.  An interesting book about Pearl Buck, especially in China.  The author points out where the topics to Buck's books come from.

April - The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton.  More than just a love story.  Here's wonderful character development wrapped in an interesting fictional history of New York's well-to-do at the end of the 19th century. 

May - Living History, by Hilary Clinton.  If you didn't like Hilary before reading this book, you will definitely change your opinion.  What a supporter of human rights, especially women and children.

June - The Memory Keeper's Daughter, by Kim Edwards.  A great story about a doctor and his wife who have twins.  There are two families' lives that are followed, with a surprise ending.   

Sept - The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.  Not in my book club, but rave reviews from everyone.  And they were right.  Haven't seen the movie, hear there's a different ending in parts.

Dec - Louisa May Alcott: the woman behind Little Women, by Harriet Reisen.  You don't have to be a big Alcott fan to enjoy the book.  Fascinating woman and life.
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Jan - The House at Sugar Beach, by Helene Cooper. Fantastic, slow beginning...

Feb - Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. My suggestion, read on vacation in Ireland. The story is set in the 17th century, about a housemaid in England during a year of plague.

March - Scarlet Sister Mary, written by Julia Peterkin, was a Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction in 1929.

April - The Woman behind the New Deal, written by Kirstin Downey. Great biography about Frances Perkins.

May - The Bonesetter's Daughter, by Amy Tan. Put this on my list to read, when Tan became a speaker at an annual convention I attended. It's great - yes, it did have a mother/daughter theme... and more!

June - I started this month The Artist's Way - A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron. It's a 12-week program that will surprise anyone who "indulges." Spent the summer working with it, and developed a series on my blog every week.

August - Dorothea Lange : a life beyond limits, by Linda Gordon. An in-depth look at a 20th century artist's life, the photographer who "invented" documentary photography.

September - Passing Strange: a gilded tale of love and deception across the color line, by Martha A. Sandweiss. An interesting look at a famous man who lived two lives in the same city.

November - Wolf Hall: a novel by Hillary Mantel.  Historical fiction focusing on Thomas Cromwell, who becomes one of the most powerful men in Henry VIII’s English court.

December - The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver.  A historical novel using 20th century artists and writers in Mexico and America as a backdrop.
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Chronological order (can't help myself, keeping things neat) from 2009:

January - The Plague of Doves, by Louise Erdrich.

February - Couldn't get into the book chosen for February - glad I didn't buy it! Read another book by Erdrich, The Master Butchers Singing Club and worth the read. The plot involves a love triangle, their families and friends, dealing with hardships after World War II in a small North Dakota town.

March - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. The subject is actually more serious than the title lets on.

April - we were treated to Virginia Woolf's, To the Lighthouse. Such a unique writer!

May - started Ladies of Liberty (by Cokie Roberts), but didn't finish. For vacation, though, I picked up a book that was set in the 17th century, about a housemaid in England during a year of plague, called Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. It was fantastic!

June - Home (by Marilynn Robinson). This was completely depressing, and I didn't get too far through it.

Our book club doesn't meet during the summer (July and August). Brooks is such a good author, I decided to read another one of her books, March, a Civil War historical fiction about the father figure in Little Women.

September - memoir by Doris Kearns Goodwin, called Wait Till Next Year.

October and November (combined) - A Distant Mirror, by Barbara Tuchman. Sorry, too boring for me. Didn't make it half way - and that's not like me to put down a book!

December - Elizabeth Cody Staton : An American Life, by Lori Ginzberg. Nice to read a biography of a famous woman that isn't complete adoration.
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December 2008 book: another eastern non-fiction the book club read was Scheherazade Goes West, by Fatema Mernissi.

November 2008 book: Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, is an autobiography about a young Islamic woman from Africa.

Marketing and selling your handmade jewelry is a quick read on marketing, specifically designed for jewelry artists.

Just finish a novel by Senator Fred Harris, Following the Harvest, a coming of age story of a boy on a harvesting crew in 1943.

So many people are talking about August, Osage County that I decided to see what this Pulitzer Prize winning play was all about.

In July 2008, our book club didn't meet, but I read two great books Reading like a writer: a guide for people who love books and for those who want to write them by Francine Prose and The Widow's War by Sally Gunning.


June 2008 Book of the Month ** The far traveler: voyages of a Viking woman, by Nancy Marie Brown.

May 2008 Book of the Month ** Nuns: a history of convent life, by Silvia Evangelista

1 comment:

Splendid Little Stars said...

I, too, am in a book club. love it.

Here are 2 posts about a book we read this year:
(Barbara Kingsolver is great! I have listened to a couple of her books on CD that she herself has read. Her voice is a lovely one.)
http://splendidlittlestars.blogspot.com/2009/03/book-club-fun.html
http://splendidlittlestars.blogspot.com/2009/03/turner-farm-book-club-adventure.html

I don't believe I have heard of any of the books you mention above so I will need to check them out.
Once our book club read Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross. She was gracious to speak with us by phone during our meeting.
http://www.popejoan.com/author.htm

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