Posts

Showing posts from 2011

Books Read in 2011

Image
January Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith, The Dragonfly Effect Susanna Fraser, The Sergeant's Lady Matthew Gallaway, The Metropolis Case Sadie Jones, Small Wars February Ida Lichter, Muslim Women Reformers Helen Simonson, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi, The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay March Camilla Gibb, The Beauty of Humanity Movement   Valerie Laken, Separate Kingdoms Michael David Lukas, The Oracle of Stamboul M.L. Malcolm, Heart of Lies: A Novel Tara L. Masih, Where The Dog Star Never Glows Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins, Kiss Her Goodbye Danielle Trussoni, Angelology April Isabel Allende, Ines of My Soul Apex Magazine, January 2011 (Issue 20) Lauren Belfer, A Fierce Radiance India Drummond, Ordinary Angels M.L. Malcolm, Heart of Deception: A Novel Molly Peacock, The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72 Sandra Worth, Pale Rose of England May Sarah Addison Allen, The Peach Keeper

Friday Reads and I'm all messed up...

Image
I'm operating on vacation time, which means I've no idea what day of the week it is, what the date is, and I can barely keep track of time (East Coast vs West coast because I've only changed half the clocks in my life). But I'm having a fabulous time! My vacation plans got all changed once my wife and I reached San Francisco -- my brother and his wife decided to join us for these two weeks, so we scrapped some of LA and will be hitting other towns instead. I love trips like this, and I'm thrilled to spend time with my brother and his awesome wife and adorable children. My FridayReads is The Imaginary Emperor: A Tale of Old San Francisco by Steve Bartholomew, a historical novel inspired by the man who, in real life, declared himself emperor in 1859.  Isn't that just so California? Happy New Year's to everyone.  We'll be celebrating quietly this weekend as my wife  will be running a half marathon on New Year's day.  What a crazy woman!  I

Historical Fiction Challenge 2012

Image
Last year, my most successful reading challenge was Historical Tapestry's Historical Fiction reading challenge. My goal was 20 books and I read 44 books. Go me! This year, I plan to do the same. Read Anita Amirrezvani, Equal of the Sun Ellis Avery, The Last Nude Anne Clinard Barnhill, At the Mercy of the Queen April Bernard, Miss Fuller Nancy Bilyeau, The Crown Jesse Blackadder, The Raven's Heart Christine Blevins, The Turning of Anne Merrick  Michael Boccacino, Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling D.L. Bogdan, The Sumerton Women DeAnna Cameron, Dancing at the Chance Clare Clark, Beautiful Lies Angela Davis-Gardner, Butterfly’s Child Jill Dawson, Lucky Bunny Debra Dean, The Mirrored World Tan Twang Eng, The Garden of Evening Mists Jennie Fields, The Age of Desire Nicole Galland, I, Iago Francine du Plessix Gray, The Queen’s Lover Jennifer Haigh, Baker Towers   Karen Harper, Mistress of Mourning Jane Harris, Gillespie and I

Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg

Image
Title: Island of Wings Author: Karin Altenberg Genre: Fiction (Historical / 1830s / Rural Scotland / Marriage / Isolation / Motherhood) Publisher/Publication Date : Penguin Paperback Original (12/27/2011) Source: The publisher Rating: Liked a great deal. Did I finish?: I did! One-sentence summary: A Scottish missionary's wife learns about the savage cruelty of men and nature when she lives on a remote island off Scotland in the mid-19th century. Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction Do I like the cover?: I do as it captures the really gorgeous aspects of the novel -- the staggering landscape and the mystery of new arrivals. I'm reminded of...: Sadie Jones, David Rocklin First line : The young woman rose from her berth almost before she heard the knock on the cabin door. Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy -- this is a quiet but intense, almost adventurous historical novel that moves and entertains. Why did I get this book?: 1830s + mission

Hitting the road once more!

Image
by Kerne Erickson Happy winter holidays, for those who celebrate! Today my wife and I are off on two week holiday on the west coast! We'll be visiting my brother and his wife, my darling niece and my brand new nephew! (Baby squishing, here I come!) We'll also be road-tripping along the Pacific Coast Highway, from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and everything in between. As always, food and literature will be the cornerstone of our trip, from Hammett to Chandler to Steinbeck to Twain (I got a tip that Twain had a cabin out that part of the world!). Our tentative reading/audiobook list includes: The Imaginary Emperor: A Tale of Old San Francisco by Steve Bartholomew The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (audiobook/performance with Michael Madsen and Sandra Oh, yum!) Nightmare Town: Stories by Dashiell Hammett The Colorado Kid by Stephen King (my wife is getting bold since I so enjoyed Lisey's Story !) Selected Readings

Mailbox Monday, December 26

Image
Seen both at Mailbox Monday -- hosted in December at Let Them Read Books -- and The Story Siren , my Mailbox Monday/In My Mailbox -- on a Monday, for once!  You might be shocked to see I received no books as gifts -- my family thinks I have too many books and got me other things for Christmas!   But that's okay, because I did get some incredible books this week -- including the most darling package of books from Christine Blevins and a gift bag of Penguin Classics from the Harvard Book Store .  Happy holidays to me! ;)  Have you read any of these?  What did you get? For Review Lizard World by Terry Richard Bazes Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins The Tory Widow by Christine Blevins Graveminder by Melissa Marr Won Emma by Jane Austen The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Winners!

Image
Two winners this week! The winner of People Tell Me Things is ... Pearl ! The winner of The Printmaker's Daughter is ... Jackleen ! Congrats to the winners! I've got one open giveaway and more coming this week.

Friday Reads and I'm making a list...

Image
Vacation, finally! Or, in a few hours: I'm off this afternoon and then my whirlwind weekend begins. My wife's family celebrates Christmas, so we'll be spending some time with them, and in between that, I'm cleaning house and washing laundry in anticipation of our winter vacation! And because I can't stop myself, and since I had such fun with my top ten reads of 2011 , I'm making a list of my favorite author interviews of 2011, too (plus, there are some interviews that still make me smile! Why keep that to myself?). Despite the craziness, or because of, I'm still curling up with a book this weekend. My FridayReads is Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg which has this cold moody thing that doesn't quite match Boston right now (again, we're back in the 60s -- what's up, Mother Nature?!). Still, it has this moody ambiance which reminds me a bit of San Francisco (fog, mostly, but whatever), and since I'm heading to the Bay Area in a

Top 10 of 2011

Image
I was pretty pleased with myself in 2010 , having doubled my reading from 2009, but this year takes the cake. I hit my goal of reading 100 books (in fact, as of today, I've read 109!). Despite the increased reads, however, I had much harder time picking my top ten reads for this year. I enjoyed the majority of the books I read and only a few stood out to me as very clear winners for top ten. Rating books is still a challenge: last year I scored out of five, but I gave that up as it felt sort of arbitrary. This year I switched to ranking things as liked and loved (or hated). Still, something is flawed: in total, I 'loved' 21 books this year, but weirdly enough, only six of them made my top ten. For me, a top ten is not just books that I enjoyed in the moment, but books I can't stop chewing over and thinking about and most importantly, pushing on my friends. They're books I want to reread. This year, six of the writers on this list are male, as opposed to

All the Flowers in Shanghai by Duncan Jepson

Image
Title: All the Flowers in Shanghai Author: Duncan Jepson Genre: Fiction (Historical / China / 1930s / Mothers and Daughters / Arranged Marriage / Coming of Age) Publisher/Publication Date : William Morrow Paperbacks (12/20/2011) Source: TLC Book Tours Rating: Okay. Did I finish?: I did -- this reads very quickly. One-sentence summary: A young woman in 1930s Shanghai is transformed by her marriage and the changing political landscape of China. Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction Do I like the cover?: I'm not wild about the cartoon-y Chinese woman, even though it has a vintage-y look. However, the physical cover is gorgeous -- the paper is heavily textured, with embossing of the border and lettering. Plus French flaps and deckle edges, yum! I'm reminded of...: Philippa Gregory, Sidney Sheldon First line : I still know your face. Do... I hate the use of Papyrus font for the chapter headings?: YES. Not only is it a bit cheesy, but it doesn'

Lisey's Story by Stephen King

Image
Title: Lisey's Story Author: Stephen King Genre: Fiction (Marriage / Loss / Writer on Writing / Supernatural / Sisters) Publisher/Publication Date : Pocket (6/19/2007) Source: Personal copy. Rating: Loved! Did I finish?: Yes, although I put off finishing it for about three weeks because I wasn't ready for it to end! One-sentence summary: Lisey Landon, widow of famous author Scott Landon, finds herself the focus of a deranged fan. Reading Challenges: R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VI Do I like the cover?: I do -- the shovel is a huge motif in the story, but the wintry background doesn't quite fit (I think). I'm reminded of...: Laura Lippman, Jennifer McMahon First line : To the public eye, the spouses of well-known writers are all but invisible, and no one knew it better than Lisey Landon. Did ...I squeal when I caught two Lisey's Story references in the AMC miniseries of Bag of Bones ?: YES. for once, I got the inside joke! Did ...I a

Mailbox Monday, December 19

Image
Seen both at Mailbox Monday -- hosted in December at Let Them Read Books -- and The Story Siren , my Mailbox Monday/In My Mailbox on a Sunday. A very random assortment of reads this week -- but don't they look good? Have you read any of these?  What did you get? For Review Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron The Girl with the Crooked Nose by Ted Botha Our Man in the Dark by Rashad Harrison A Discovery of Witches: A Novel by Deborah Harkness Journey to the Heart of Luna (Space: 1889 & Beyond, #1) by Andy Frankham-Allen All the Flowers in Shanghai by Duncan Jepson Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

Winner!

Image
Just one giveaway ending today, and so... The winner of A Different Sky is ... Atlantisflygirl ! Congrats to the winner! I've a few open giveaways still and more coming, so check them out if you didn't win!

FridayReads and I sure miss breathing...

Image
Stupid cold is still lingering! My doctor said my cough may last another eight weeks, which makes me want to cry. As does my wife, who keeps getting rattled out of bed by my hacking. It's sadness all around. Thankfully, I'm immersed in some good reads this week and I've got some heavy lazing-about in my future. My FridayReads for this weekend is a collection of essays by Croatian author Dubravka Ugrešić, Thank You for Not Reading: Essays on Literary Trivia . It is marvelous . Published in 2000 (in English in 2003), it's funny, playful, sharp commentary on reading, readers, celebrity authors, and publishing. I learned about her via BookSlut , who featured her newest collection of essays, Karaoke Culture .  I'm also starting a new historical fiction novel, All the Flowers in Shanghai by Duncan Jepson, which looks promising (even though I'm not wild about the cover). So, what are you reading this weekend?

Little Miss Austen and Little Master Shakespeare, by Jennifer Adams

Image
Title: Little Miss Austen: Pride & Prejudice and   Title: Little Master Shakespeare: Romeo & Juliet Author: Jennifer Adams, writer; Alison Oliver, illustrator Genre: Fiction (Classic Lit / Educational) Publisher/Publication Date : Gibbs Smith (2011) Source: My public library Rating: Loved. Did I finish?: I did, because I can count to ten. One-sentence summary: Two classics, boiled down to ten items. Do I like the cover?: Yes, they're adorbs! Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Buy! Why did I get this book?: Hormones + classic lit + adorable illustrations. Review: Try not to judge me too hard, but I fell in love with these adorable baby board books while babysitting this past weekend, and I was deeply saddened that the children I had knew how to count and stuff. I'm a sucker for things like this, too, even though I don't want to be, and the sampler-esque feel to the Austen cover and the paper doll-style art of both books just charmed me from t

Charles Dickens: A Life by Jane Smiley

Image
Title: Charles Dickens: A Life Author: Jane Smiley Genre: Non-Fiction (Biography / Literary Criticism / Writers on Writers / 19th century / UK) Publisher/Publication Date : Penguin (11/29/2011) Source: The publisher. Rating: Liked. Did I finish?: I did, very easily! One-sentence summary: An easy, welcoming intro to the life and times of Charles Dickens. Do I like the cover?: Adore it. How quintessentially Victorian is it?! First line : The literary sensibility of Charles Dickens is possibly the most amply documented literary sensibility in history. Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy -- very readable, lovely size (easy to hold), and fascinating. Why did I get this book?: I like Jane Smiley, I like the Victorians, and I've always been curious about Dickens. Review: Terrible confession: I hate Dickens. At least, I think I do; I'm not sure I've ever read him, other than A Christmas Carol , and to be honest, I'm not even sure I've read

Mailbox Monday, December 12

Image
Seen both at Mailbox Monday -- hosted in December at Let Them Read Books -- and The Story Siren , my Mailbox Monday/In My Mailbox on a Sunday. A ton of historical fiction this week -- super fun! Have you read any of these?  What did you get? For Review The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau The Turning of Anne Merrick by Christine Blevins From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant by Alex Gilvarry The Maid and the Queen by Nancy Goldstone The Book of Lost Fragrances: A Novel by M.J. Rose

Winners!

Image
I've been sick for the last week or so -- dragging myself out of bed feels epically hard -- so my apologies for the late posting of these two popular giveaways! The winner of In the Forests of the Night is ... Tracy A. ! The winner of The Doll is ... Danielle ! Congrats to the winners (who have been emailed)! Check out my current giveaways . And now, I'm back to bed!