Saturday, April 30, 2011

What did I read in April, 2011?

Finally, some variety to the list!  Some very good books, and a real stinker.  Enjoy, comment, share what you've been reading!  Remember, the number at the front is how many books this year, the number after the title is rating, 1 being so bad you almost never see it (who could finish a book that bad) and 5 being so good, almost life-changing, or at least giving me something to really think about!
28. A Boy At War – 3.5 – first in a JA series about a young man, Adam Pelko, during WWII. Adam’s family is stationed at Pearl Harbor, and he is an up-close witness to the attack on 12/7/41. His father is a Naval officer on board the USS Arizona. It deals mainly with fear and predjudice towards the native Hawiian people (many of which are of Japanese descent), as well as the attack itself. There are two more books in the series. I like how it portrays the history of what happened, I don’t like that there is some minor cursing, smoking (I know more people smoked in the ‘40s, I still don’t like it, though!) and Adam’s disobedience to his parents. They are portrayed as being stiff and not understanding (Adam’s father forbids him to continue a friendship with a Japanese-American boy, because he anticipates they will be at war soon and he is a Naval officer) and Adam as being empathetic and wise. We are going to read the next two books in the series, though.

29. Lucifer’s Flood – 2 -Linda Brook Rios – read for book discussion. So much bad theology and “re-writing” of the Bible that I could scream. I don’t mind some historical fiction, based on Biblical people (fine example is Francine Rivers’ Lineage of Grace series) but this book is Creation through the Tower of Babel, told through the eyes of a fallen angel/demon. Pretty common setup – ancient texts delivered to scholar by strange man with unusual name, story unfolds, bad guy in present time is coming looking for it – there are four books in the series, and I will not be picking them up.

30. A Country of Strangers – 4.75 -Conrad Richter – excellent. A companion book to his more famous “The Light in the Forest”. Stone Girl was captured by Indians as a small child. Now she is a grown woman, married to an Indian and has a small son. And she is part of a negotiation to be returned to the white people. Heart-wrenching story. Like his other book, told from the point of view of the Indians, not settlers. This is one that will stay on my shelf forever, right new to The Light in the Forest.

31. Miss Dimple Disapears – 4 -Mignon F. Ballard – fun murder mystery, set in a small town in Georgia during WWII. I have the feeling it is the beginning of a series, since there were (of course!) romantic involvements left unresolved.

32. The Confession – 5 -John Grisham – generally I would not give Grisham a 5, and his writing in this one is no better than any of his others. It is a fast-paced page turner, heavy on melodrama, light on character depth, where the bad guys are stereotype bad and the good guys are somewhat conflicted. However, it was good, I couldn’t put it down. And, it did change my views on how the death penalty is carried out in our country.

33. Crazy Love – 3.5 -Francis Chan – didn’t like it anywhere near as much as I expected too. I like to watch his sermons on youtube, though.

34. Left Neglected – 3.5 Lisa Genova – no where near as good as “Still Alice” – one of my all-time favorite books. The protagonist (can’t even remember her name) is a corporate mom-on-the-go. It is so easy to see where this is going. She and her husband have incredibly stressful jobs (they went to Harvard, can’t waste that diploma) and three kids, fancy house, house in Vermont, fancy clothes, work 70-80 hours a week. Her kids are the ones who get dropped off for before school and after school care, plus they have a full-time nanny. No one cooks, no time to go to the kids’ soccer games, and their son is having trouble in school (duh). She is in a car accident (cell phone while driving) and has a head injury resulting in “left neglect” – her brain does not recognize anything on the left, including her own body. Her estranged mom comes to help them, imagine how that turns out. Anyway, it was an okay book, and the left neglect was interesting, but she and her husband were so over-the-top that you knew what was going to happen. Pretty cliché.


  1. I know what you mean about Grisham. The Testament was OK. But anyone who can change someone's mind about anything to do with the death penalty, has got to be writing in a convincing manner. Maybe I'll pick it up. I haven't read anything by him in a while.

  2. This was better than The Testament. I have not loved most of his books - A Time To Kill is one of my all-time favorites, and I liked Skipping Christmas. The rest were just brain candy. Some of them have been pretty bad though - The Associate comes to mind in that category.


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