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Showing posts from November, 2008

book review: deep end of the ocean by jacquelyn mitchard

After haphazardly reading Oprah's book club selections for years, I've decided to systematically read them all, beginning with her first choice: Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard. It's the story of Beth and family, including her son, Ben, who disappears at Beth's high school reunion.

It's heartbreaking, and I must admit, I was completely captivated for the first two-thirds of the book. Perhaps it's because the story truly is heartbreaking, and I pulled away from the sadness, or perhaps the story really did run out of steam, but I was heading dangerously close to lukewarm by the end. It's a big book, and a lot happens, but it also seems the story is not fully appreciated it. Granted, Jacquelyn Mitchard is a gifted writer, and I'm sure she made a conscious choice to tell the story from only two points of view, but there is a vibrant cast of supporting characters I'm still curious about.

It's definitely worth a read, and I'm eager to re…

book review: access to power by robert ellis

After absolutely loving the third book Robert Ellis wrote, City of Fire, and loving his second book, The Dead Room, I finally read his debut mystery, Access to Power. While Access to Power is an entertaining political thriller, it lacks the depth of his later works. Granted, it's ten years old, and it's about political corruption and campaigning, so perhaps it's unfair to judge the book by modern standards.

If you're a fan of politics and mysteries, it's worth a read, but you must promise to read City of Fire too. It's a brilliant mystery, and I think it's the only book nomadreaderboy, his mother, grandmother, step-father and I all agree is spectacular. It's quite a feat. Our intrepid Lena Gamble is back in February 2009 in The Lost Witness, in case you weren't paying attention.

rating: 2.5 stars out of 4 (really liked it)

book review: American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

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Sentence(s) worth writing down: "It provided him with a way to structure his behavior, and a way to explain that behavior, both past and present, to himself. Perhaps fiction has, for me, served a similar purpose--what is a narrative arc if not the imposition of order on disparate events?--and perhaps it is my avid reading that has been my faith along." -Alice, on her husband's fundamentalist Christianity

My thoughts:
I've been wanting to read Curtis Sittenfeld for quite some time, and I'm so glad I finally did. As most are aware, American Wife is a fictionalization of Laura Bush's life. It's set in Wisconsin instead of Texas, which the Midwesterner in me loves even more. Several details are imagined and more are rearranged, but the crux of many characters is immensely recognizable. I admit, I don't know much about Laura Bush. I know she's a librarian, and I knew she was a Democrat until her wedding day, but I never even gave her much thought. Now I…

reading challenges

I've recently discovered reading challenges online. They're not new, but I'm late to hop on the bandwagon. I'm trying to resist the temptation to join too many, as I hardly need help with reading goals. There are two I'm signing on for, however: What's In a Name? and Support Your Local Library. The rules are simple: follow the guidelines of the challenge, post reviews of the books you read along the way, and enjoy yourself. I believe some prizes are awarded along the way too.

What's In a Name deals with words in book titles. You must read a total of six books, one each with a title word that is (1)profession, (2)time of day, (3)relative, (4)body part, (5)building, (6)medical condition. I'm curious to see how little I may have to plan for this challenge.

Support Your Local Library offers three options: read 12, 25 or 50 books from the library in 2009. Given my short reading list this year, I'm opting for 25 and hoping for 50.

I've also been slowly …