The Sunday Review: A Mixed Bag of Books

Book reviews — the good, bad, and the ugly. I like to tell people about the books I read, but I really don’t like to give away the story. I don’t read the spoilers that other reviewers post, and I don’t do it on my own reviews. I figure that if someone really wants to know the story before they read the book, they can find it somewhere else.

At the beginning of 2014, I changed around some of my feeds on Goodreads and started posting reviews in my sidebar. I was dedicated and posted reviews right after I finished a book. And then I got lazy again and got WAY behind on my reviews. So now I’m back, trying to get in the groove again. I like the discipline of keeping track of my reading. I’ve also found that when I link them up to Facebook through Goodreads, I get recommendations from other friends about new books. It’s a good thing. 🙂

The Real Midnight in Paris: A History of the Expatriate Writers in Paris Who Made Up the Lost Generation by Paul Brody

At 74 pages with references, this book is a little primer for the reader who wants to learn more about the Lost Generation of writers. Riding on the coattails of Woody Allen’s movie, it gives brief biographies and a reading list of the most famous of the expatriate community in Paris and London during the 1920s and early thirties.

Breathe: A Novel of Colorado by Lisa Tawn Bergren

The book centers on three young adult siblings who go to Colorado Springs during the 1880s so that Odessa can be treated in a tuberculosis sanatorium in the clean mountain air. Part of a trilogy, Breathe sets up conflicts for each main character, with dastardly crooks and shining heroes that we will probably meet again in the next books of the set. While I found this Christian historical novel readable and the characters interesting, the best part about the book is Bergren’s descriptions of Colorado, where she lives. Having visited Colorado Springs and the Garden of the Gods as a teenager, I can still remember the stark landscape and the amazing rock outcroppings. Being able to visualize the Western setting of the book gave me greater enjoyment of the cowboys and outlaws that populate the story.

Thunderstruck by Erik Larson

Erik Larson somehow manages to find true stories that occurred at the same time in history and then connect them in engaging narratives. While not as good as either Devil in the White City or In the Garden of Beasts, the parallel stories of Marconi’s development of wireless communication and Harvey Crippen’s murder of his wife come together in a satisfying conclusion. I read this for book club and might not have chosen it otherwise. The detail in this book is vintage Larson — everything is meticulously researched and referenced — and the reader is drawn into the psyches of these driven men who will do just about anything to achieve their goals.

My Notorious Life by Kate Manning

Image Credit

Image Credit

I had no idea what I was getting when I put this book on my Kindle, but I’m glad I did. Based on a true story of a 19th century midwife and female health care provider, My Notorious Life reminds us that women’s reproductive rights and health care are a precious commodity that we need to protect. In the case of this book, I suggest that you click into the photo to read Kate Manning’s web site to see if it’s really your cup of tea. I hope that you will read it, though. It’s a special book.

A Desirable Residence: A Novel of Love and Real Estate by Madeleine Wickham

Madeleine Wickham is the real name of the author who writes the infectious Shopaholic series as Sophie Kinsella. I have read most of Wickham’s books, in both of her personnas. What I like about her Wickham books is that she creates flawed characters who live in real-life worlds and encounter real-life consequences. None of the characters in A Desirable Residence are likeable, yet I felt that this book, written early in her career, represents some of her best work — she’s created characters that we love to hate! She talks about the book in a clip on this page, which is quite interesting.

So those are the books that are going in the DONE stack. Do you have any comments or suggestions for something to add to my TBR stack?

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2 thoughts on “The Sunday Review: A Mixed Bag of Books

  1. Sound like some great reads; I’ll jot a couple down 🙂 Thanks so much for visiting me the other day. It’s wonderful to meet other bloggers. Blessings, Diana
    Adirondack Girl @ Heart

    • Thanks, Diana. I love sharing what I read and people often tell me that they do choose books sometime based on my reviews. I hope you enjoy the books that you have chosen as well.

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