Saturday, August 28, 2010
I realize it's not quite the end of August yet, still three more days but I'm not likely to finish another book by then. In fact, I can't believe I read 14 this go round, especially since this quarter included all the g'kid visits and I only read during meals and before bed. Oh and then there's the sleepless nights. I read then too. Guess I've had a lot of sleepless nights this quarter.
So here's my take on some reading which I know you are waiting for because my opinion is, of course, intensely interesting.
Judge And Jury by James Patterson and Andrew Gross – I actually liked this one a lot. Better than I thought I would. A gangster is on trial and manages to escape after having the entire jury killed and there follows a manhunt by the FBI agent and the lone survivor of the explosion that killed the jury and her son.
Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini – it's very rare these days for me to get a book I have a hard time putting down, but this was one. Located in Afghanistan, it is the story of a rich (by comparison) kid and his servant/lesser caste best friend, his betrayal of same. He and his father leave Afghanistan for America when the Russians move in. Eventually, as an adult he returns and finds that the two families lives were entwined in more ways than one.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides – interesting read that covers three generations of a family of Greek descent who immigrate from Turkey. The storyteller is the daughter/son, the third generation, a hermaphrodite, genetically male who was raised as a girl, thinks of herself as a girl and discovers during puberty that he is not. It's his story but he starts with his grandparents who are actually brother and sister.
Mystic Rebel by Ryder Syvertsen – I was enjoying this little story about an American who agrees to fly medical supplies and money into Chinese occupied Tibet, is shot down, rescued by Tibetan nomadic freedom fighters who he lives with while he learns the language and comes to love the country. Then it turned kind of stupid when he is dug out of an avalanche by an evil worshipping cult who attempt to turn him into an assassin to send against the Dalai Lama, blah blah blah. It has an OK ending.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini – Another tale that takes place in Afghanistan, same time frame as Kite Runner, but this time about two women, girls really at first, and their lives. Not a pretty picture although there is a happy ending for one of them but only after years and years of misery.
The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards – a very ponderous read. Page after page after page of the father, mother, son going on and on and on about the distance between them. OK, ok, I get it, the secret destroyed the very thing that the father was trying to save. Now get on with the story. Which is that a doctor unexpectedly delivers his wife's twins one snowy night with the help of his nurse. The second baby, a girl, is born with Down Syndrome and he hands the baby to his nurse with instructions to take her to an institution and tells his wife the baby died. The nurse cannot leave the baby at the institution and leaves town with the child and raises her. She sends updates and pictures to the doctor but refuses to tell him where they live. It's a good story but I would have enjoyed it a lot more without all the constant mental anguish.
Demon Seed by Dean Koontz – stupid. Stoo-pid. A computer AI takes over a computerized house with plans to take over the world after it becomes born into an altered human body.
The Honey Thief by Elizabeth Graver – unsatisfying. I wanted a better ending when it really had no ending at all, except maybe a glimmer of hope for better for the characters. About 3/4ths of the way through I'm yelling at the mother to get over herself, get a freaking grip. Maybe I need to go back to popular culture paperbacks for a while instead of literature.
What The Dead Know by Laura Lippman – I enjoyed this one. It's sort of a mystery. Two sisters aged 11 and 15 disappear one day from the local mall. Thirty years later a woman involved in a traffic accident claims to be one of the missing sisters and then clams up to protect her privacy and leads the police on, giving them information that cannot be backed up or checked out. Eventually the story unfolds but it has a little twist at the end that I did not anticipate and a good resolution.
Nights Of Rain And Stars by Maeve Binchy – one of my favorite authors, I love the way she weaves her characters together and then weaves her books together with these characters. The books are not sequels but independent stories. This one was the back story of a character that featured in the previous book of hers I read. It takes place in a small Greek village on a small island.
Altar Of Eden by James Rollins – a fairly entertaining story about genetic experimentation gone bad with a little romance thrown in. A ship full of 'altered' animals is found floundered on the bayou coast of Louisiana and before more than a few of the animals are removed, it explodes. Then begins the search for the perpetrators who are ruthlessly covering their tracks.
Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich – the further misadventures of Stephanie Plumb, bounty hunter.
The Ark by Boyd Morrison – an OK read about a madman who wants to purify the earth by wiping out humanity, except for his chosen 300, with a genetically engineered plague.
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver – A story about a missionary who takes his wife and four daughters who were totally unprepared for what was to come to the African Congo to live in a small village for a year's post to raise up the heathen. Caught during the political upheaval of the Belgian withdrawal and the American political games in the fledgling new government, the father refuses to leave when all white people are urged to evacuate. It's the story of the four daughters and the mother primarily and their struggle to survive and their eventual desertion of their zealous father/husband and their long walk through the jungle. One child dies, two stay in Africa and two return to the United States. The book continues to follow the girls and how that year and a half impacted their lives and changed them forever. It's really a very good book but I thought it sort of just petered out at the end.