2010 – 47/100
This was my 2010 project but I really really need to get my 2011 books documented. I promise I still read! Some of the books are dull MBA books but I promise, I’m reading. I could use suggestions for what else to read, or, what are you reading? Comment away!
I am going to see if I read 100 books in 2010. 100 is a pretty high number for me, thats just under 2 books a week, so I am also going to count audio books. I feel more productive when I can listen to a book while driving and I often clean more while listening then I would if I was reading. I do not promise high quality books for the year. I like to read the candy and donuts of the book world. One thing I am doing is letting Niamh pick out at least one book for me. She loves books and loves picking them so as long as she in in the fiction area I’m willing to read anything she chooses but I reserve the right to maybe not finish.
45,46,47 Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King; I’m counting this as four books because it was really three long short stories – a fact I didn’t know when I started it and I began to wonder what would happen in the remaining 300 pages since the story I was reading seemed to be winding up. Lars got this for me for my birthday because he knows I just love Stepehn King but he didn’t ‘vet’ the book at all (never does, never will…) because the fist story is about a man murdering his wife (she haunts him!). The story was good and very King with the hero being false and not really getting to ever win. The second was good too, and, the hero gets to win even though it is a pretty morally gray area if he disserved to win or not – a modernish version of working with the devil. The next I liked alot, the heroine was well done and King totally got me with a plot twist so that was nice. The last book had another female hero who gets to win and she is the most ordinary and beleavalbe story. I don’t want to give too much away since this is a newish book but King’s afterward put it well, he likes to write books that make you think AFTER not During and these are good stories.
44 An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon; this is the most recent in the Outlander series and was 50 hours long. I started listening to it on maternity leave and didn't finish until I was back at work for a month at least. I didn't listen to it night and day but it was a nice companion on my transition. In a weird way, the characters journeyed from their home to various interesting places and activities just like I was journing through the first months of baby and then back to work life. It was a constant in change. Anyway, I love this series, even the gross parts and this one happened to be during my favorite time in the American Revolution and even included my favorite battle of Saratoga. From what I can tell it was very very well researched and compelling as always. The cast of characters has grown but not so much that you can't keep track of everyone like Robert Jordan but she doesn't just kill off people willy nilly like mean RR Martin. I felt completely emersed in the world and engaged in the lives of the characters that I can't wait for the next. I actually went and read everything else out there just so I didn't have to leave her world...
43 Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon; This is technically a novella but still a good complete book and since I read so many long books, the short ones average it out. Lord John is a spin off from the Outlander books and his story is totally different because he is a Lord and an officer so a completely different look at society. He is also gay, so, another huge difference from the love story of the Outlander series. I could have done without the fairly graphic love scene she included but other then that it was a nice mystery/story that I enjoyed reading. This character, being related to Outlander, is a nice way to ‘skip’ the total explanation of the world, and a great way to fill in other detail of the motivation, history and background of the sub character because it would not belong in the other books but is really good to read. Lord John’s stories fill in alot of gaps in time when ‘nothing’ is happening in the other story line but the other characters are mentioned to tie it into a timeline. This is something I love about King, the related characters, but way less gross and gory (well different gory I guess). I liked the Lord John story so much I went and got the rest of them. Just for me, this story will always remind me of running the Polaris 5k and was my companion for getting back in the grove of Osceola days and work commuting.
42 Lord John and the Hand of Devils by Diana Gabaldon; I do get in a grove of an author, I like to read as much as they have before I move on and Diana Gabaldon was kind enough to publish in audio so Lord John kept me company doing tons of household chores and driving around. This was a short story collection but I’ll count it as one book to be fair over all. The three stories were complete in themselves but felt alot like chapters in John’s life. I like her detail of military campaigns and the english side of the army – how its made up and run etc. This book saw me through Oklahoma; all my driving time and some jogging time. Relating the details of the stories would ruin it but again, his stories fill in the gaps in the Outlander time line but are good all on their own. I’m hoping that the next Lord Jon story fills in how he ends up married and adopting since I know it happens but I don’t recall it ever being explained more in the other books. I thought one of the stories would cover it but they didn’t actually. Reason to wait and read more!
41. The Manny by Holly Peterson; The last book I read in 2010 was fluffy and fun. It was a bit dramatic too and predictable but I liked it. The explanation for why one would need a male nanny was great (and true); if the husband in gone alot, the boy children really do need someone to play baseball and wrestle and fish etc because no female nanny would really get into that if they would do it at all (maybe some would, but more rare). A manny was supplemental to a nanny who took care of the kids. This is all in the snooty super rich Park Ave group in NYC – a group I’m glad to not be in. The other cool detail was in a dinner party scene where everyone got their own salt and pepper – we need that for our family holiday dinners. Anyway, this book was total fluff but had a bright orange cover so I got sucked in.
38, 39,40. City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass by Cassandra Clare; A random gift from Lars and I think it is actually teen fiction but it was still a good read. This is f a series, I’m not positive how long but I read the first three in about 2 weeks. They are set in our world, but, with the premise that there is a whole world of supernatural that normal people can’t see and the shadowhuntes (human but not) were created by an angel to defend humans from the bad elements. Vampires and werewolves exist, so do the Fae and there are a ton of daemons that are drone like killing machines and what the world is really being defended from. The story is predictable but the world is fun. I’ll keep an eye out for future books.
36, 37 Family Business by Poza, and Strategic Planning for the family business ; both book for class and a decent book. I read it and strategic Planning for the Family business at basically the same time so they are mixed in my head. Poza was more narrative and ‘you should do this’ style book. strategic Planning was more case studies and options and tons of charts and questionnaires. Together they balanced out. The books (and the class) were valuable even if you don’t have a family business because most of the teaching is about the business of family. I feel like this is the adult version of ‘Happiest baby on the block” because it describes some of the pitfalls of adult children, adult siblings, and cousins. It is framed in the view of working together in a business, but, equally valuable are the general lessons of how to be an adult but still a family member. I don’t think I was really too bad at that but this increased my knowledge and gave some common language. Not to mention tips for our family business Not exactly pleasure reading but good.
35. Next by Michael Crichton; I spent the first 100 pages or so thinking this was a Dean Koontz book and wondering why he was being so scientific all of a sudden when Lars pointed out that it was a Michael Crichton book. That made much more sense… The man does his research and this one is based around the arguments surrounding genes, cloning, and genetic theory. There are a whole bunch of seemingly independent story lines that get tied together in the end and he represents the complexity of the subject well and mostly fairly. He certainly does lean toward a certain opinion but he does not make the contrary opinion seem too ridiculous or evil. It was a fast read and pretty fun – it got me through a weekend that Zoe wanted to eat constantly (darn growing) so there was alot of sitting and reading while nursing.
33, 34 Ladies with Options and Ladies with Prospects by Cynthia Hartwick ; These were a cute set of books based in MN with alot of MN inside jokes that I’m impressed that I got alot of. There was irony to me reading two MN books while in NY. The basic plot was that some housewives in the early 80’s get super lucky in the stock market but the other personal stories wrapped around them are interesting and worth the read. I’ve always liked the stock market and this renewed the interest, and, it also stresses socially conscious investing that my friend who is an ethics professor would throughly approve of. Both books were just the right length and left me wanting more but not feeling short changed.
32. What to read and when by Pam Allyn; Ok, I didn’t read this cover to cover but it turned out to be more a reference book then I originally thought. The first part was very cool, it pointed out alot of tips on how to read aloud and how to help instill a love of reading (other then just reading infront of your kids). The author discusses the fact that after you finish reading out loud in elementary school that you never really do it again until you suddenly have kids who you want to read to and you may or may not have any out loud reading skills. I consider myself ok at reading out loud but the tips were good. My favorite one was to read the inscription and discuss who that person might be to the author – i usually just skipped that part but I can see the value in that discussion. The rest of the book was a loooooong list of books and what age they are good for and what lessons they teach and this bit I skimmed because we are still at the very short story stage but someday I hope to read long chapter books just like my mom did – she read us Little Women, a ton of Brian Jaque Redwall books, I believe there was some Shakespeare in there and others I don’t remember right now.
31. Monster by Walter Dean Myers; I listened to this book and I think that was a good thing because if I was reading it I might have skimmed over the stage directions that were written into it. The story is told from the protagonist PoV and he is on trial for accessory to murder and to keep himself sane he documents the process as if he is writing a movie so about half the action is described like a screen play. The point of the title is that innocent or guilty the jury and everyone, including his parents, start to see him as a monster and he is only 16. This is a book that appears on many school reading lists and I can see why, it is short enough and simple enough to draw out the lessons but they are valuable lessons for your average kid. The ending is a decent surprise, you don’t really know the truth and you can argue it both ways but it ends with the jury’s decision. A good short read.
30. Odd Hours Dean Koontz – This was a little bit of a re-read since Lars gave me this book (and all the others too) atleast a year ago but I kept starting and stopping it. This time I picked it up and finished it within the week, my previous inability to read was not a statement of quality but of my time/attention span. Anyway, the Odd Thomas series follows a guy named Odd in an Odyssey like drift through life. He is a take it as it comes type and a fun character to follow. There are a few annoying things about the character too but generally good. in Dean Koontz style there is supernatural but with a wholesome/Christian bend to it. Unlike Stephen King who goes for dark sometimes mean endings, Koontz always ends with a positive so that is always good to know while reading – kinda like a roller coaster – you know its safe even if its scary for a little while. So in this installment Odd ends up saving a pregnant woman and thats the end of the book so I’m looking forward to what comes next.
24, 25, 26 The Restorer’s (The Sword of Lyric Series ), The Restorer’s Son, The Restorer’s Journey by Sharon Hinck; I grabbed these three obviously related books in a dash through the library with Niamh preZoe and I didn’t even read the cover, I was hopeful they were 1, 2, and 3 of a series not 2, 4, and 7 and at least I got that much right. The theme is very religious…. very very religious, but after I got into the story of it the world(s) are interesting enough to read. The author really creates a very dynamic and complete world not like any other I’ve read, she reminds me of Robin Hobb like that. Even though I kept calling it my ‘weird’ book I persisted to read the second and third and only partially because I didn’t have anything else to read in the house and was pinned down by a nursing baby. It was a nice change of pace to have a book dependent on character and plot and not sex and relationships (there was violence) but by the end of the third there was not much more to do with this set of characters. I think I liked the second book best but the third tied it all up nicely. It was also nice to read a book that had so much faith it. I can admire that trait and while they take it to an extreme in a ‘Jesus take the wheel’ sort of way it put good thoughts in my head. [in getting the links for this I noticed that there is another series by this woman I might look up when I need another dose of God]
23. Alphabet Weekends: Love on the Road from A to Z by Elizabeth Noble; This is the same author as the Reading Group I enjoyed earlier this year and this book is a similar style. Each chapter was dedicated to a letter in the alphabet and within each chapter there was a sub chapter on each of the primary protagonist. The central couple are the ones on the alphabet journey – the woman was dumped by a long term boyfriend and her best guy friend does this to cheer her up and show here that they are meant for each other. It is a clever game and something that I think would be fun to do – just a nudge toward different things. Anyway, you can imagine how that story line ends. The other main couple is really a set of couples where one woman begins an affair with her best friends husband. Again, you can imagine how that one ends… Even with the endings being pretty obvious they have interesting paths to get there and not totally predictable. I wonder about the author, this is the second book where falling out of love and growing up are synonymous – the women grow out of their husbands…. I’m glad there are equal good stories in each book too to balance it out. The author is alot like Maeve Binche in her style but maybe I’m just lumping them together because they are both Irish/English. I’ll definitely read more from her as I find it, I read this one in about 3 days.
22. The Girl’s Guide to Being a Boss (Without Being a Bitch): Valuable Lessons, Smart Suggestions, and True Stories for Succeeding as the Chick-in-Charge by Caitlin Friedman and, Kimberly Yorio; This was another book for my leadership class and I got a few things from it. Really there was not alot of new info but the stories were illustrative of concepts I already knew. I don’t think I really need to read many leadership style books because they really start to sound alike after a while… It is an easy choice between the two leadership books – the Bill George one is way more professional and better all around book but this one was not too bad.
21.The Burglar in the Library (Bernie Rhodenbarr Mysteries) Lawrence Block; This was my first non Charline Harris book in ages and the change was noticeable. It was a book in the middle of a ‘series’ but I don’t think it is really a series you need to read in order but the character stars in other novels. The setting and characters were all decent and the mystery was not overly predictable. I enjoyed it after I got used to it and they tossed in alot of book lingo and trivia that I didn’t know before and I hope is true since it was a cool little extra to the book. Who knows if I’ll read more from this series, it was enjoyable but not compelling.
15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20; Three Bedrooms, One corpse – The Julius House – Dead over Heels – A Fool and His Honey – Last Scene Alive – Poppy Done to Death; I listened to all these books back to back so I was a bit on overload by the end. I like the character and she stays true through the whole series. Rather then ‘mysterious’ things always just happening around her she ends up going different places and chasing down some mystery and it was very good ‘reading’. I associate books with what I was doing at the time and this series took me from Korea all the way home and through the last trimester of Zoe. I tweaked the guest room, cleaned closets, and a ton of random little things to get ready for baby. I feel bad for the main character, I know it would be dull if she just stayed happy the whole time but in this one you could really see how the author was going to kill her happy, it was just a matter of time, and honestly it lasted a whole book more then I thought! She leaves the last book begging for the installment, Aurora is not done at all and I look forward to the next one.
13 & 14. The Hollow and The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts; Books two and three were just as well done as book one. The daemons grow in power as does the relationships. It is a very obvious match up with three boys and three girls but Nora Roberts does the obvious well and each book is told in the voice of the next boy/hero and the way he falls for the matching girl is interesting if not completely original. There is a ‘type’ for everyone to relate to in the ‘thats what I would do’ way but the other that are not you were still fun and believable. The ending is exciting and while it took me months to write this it only took me 2 weeks to read all three books.
12. The Authentic Leader by Bill George; I read a non fiction book! This is a ‘leadership’ book for class but we got to pick what we wanted to read. Bill George is an interesting man and the book is semi autobiographical about him and the companies he worked for. Pure luck in picking this because he was the CEO (or similar role) in a few MN companies I actually know and now I know alot about them. He stresses being the best ‘you’ you can be, acknowledging strengths and weakness. As a person who does not scream ‘strong, white, in-charge, charismatic, male’ it is nice to hear that other styles make good leaders too. Alot about values, choices, growth, and mission and after finishing it I feel better about my company in general and my potential down the road. Sadly, I should have just read this and skipped the lousy class.
11. Blood Brother by Nora Roberts; This is the first of 3 (all Nora Roberts books are triples) and I like the early American/small new england town setting. The characters have neat backgrounds and even though you know exactly what guy will end up with what girl (1 couple forming each book) it is still nice to see how it happens. The first main set of characters are the small town boy who has inherited the town in many ways and feels like he needs to be the one to save it. The female lead is there to write the story of the odd happenings. They fall instantly in love and the story does do well despite the chicle. I wonder a little about Nora Robert’s theory and experience with daemons etc because they are in alot of her books… I’m no expert but it is on the chilling side and a tiny bit nightmare inducing. Won’t stop me from reading the other two.
10. Summer’s Child by Luanne Rice; I got tricked on the author, thinking this was Ann Rice because the library put a sticker over the ‘Lu’ of the first name. It was a bit odd expecting something supernatural and having this turn out to be a nice story about a woman who runs away from her crazy husband. There are nice moments and a decent plot line even if it is predictable. I’m not looking for a squeal or anything but I would not mind reading more by her.
9. A Bone to Pick; Charline Harris; Book two in the same series and it was a good book. The mystery was believable but an odd amount of time passes between book one and book two completely skipping the romance that was starting at then end of the first book. The least believable part was the woman who gave birth while arresting two people – basically pushing out the baby in 4 pushes. Oh well, can’t have everything realistic.
8. Real Murders – Charline Harris; Book one for a new heroine who is a librarian in a small town who has an interest in real murder histories. I started this audio book in Asia, the Korea airport to be exact and I fell asleep a bunch of times (not the books fault) over the next few days and never got to finish it until today (month later) because my Zen got lost in between. Anyway, I finished it and it was a satisfactory first book. Drama at the end, you didn’t really suspect the killer, and generally based in reality. I like what Charline Harris writes and this is a different sort of heroine from the others but Steven King like, they all resemble each other (and maybe her?). I’m already half done with the next book in the series (long car ride alone) so more to come.
7. The Reading Group by Elizabeth Noble – This book took a longish time to read, both because it was long and because they threw in a random stillbirth just for kicks so I didn’t read it for a few days. It is on the confusing side because it is told from alot of points of view but the stories are easy enough to follow. It is a group of women all different ages and stages and what is going on in their lives and everything is just a bit flipped around from ‘normal’. The young unwed mother does not get the abortion, the mother of 3 who decides to finally leave her cheating husband does get an abortion. Their is a woman practically having an affair but ends up with the best marriage of the bunch and the ‘in love’ couple, one of whom was cheating on a wife break it off in the end. Lots of story and a little look at the books they read each month – the only one I even half read is My Antonia (not actually finished). If I read too many books like this I’ll never make 100 but it was a good read.
6. 3rd Degree by James Patterson. This was a Niamh choice, I think she liked the big red 3 on the cover. I read this one in FL in about 3 days. It was not that I had a ton of reading time, more that the book was super short. It was predictable but nice, I wouldn’t pass up another James Patterson but I’m not going to hunt down everything he wrote.
5. The Lincoln lawyer by Michael Connelly. I read this book in Vietnam and finished it on the plane ride home. It was a good lawyer book, I always like lawyer books, and this one focuses on a lawyer who represents the ‘bad guys’. I agree with him that everyone deserves a good defence but maybe you see the authors internal conflict since he couples his main character with a state prosecutor as the love of his life and plenty of banter from the police about how he works for the scum so he can’t help get some on him. I think that he puts a decent face on the drug dealers and DWI guys who are either down on their luck or just don’t know much better and are guilty but are looking for the best deal. This story is about a rich guy who might actually be innocent and that scares him because defending the innocent the stakes are higher. The story of course twists and turns and the innocent man is probably the worst criminal he ever defended and he has a clever way to get him in the end while not going against his legal ethics of confidentiality. I enjoyed the story and I would read another one by the author. I have no idea if this character has a series but I’m not sure I would feel compelled to read more since the internal drama was well done and complete all the author could hope to do is duplicate it and that is kinda dull. This was a good stand alone book and a fun read.
4.Misery by Stephen King. I read this one in Malaysia, pretty morbid reading while sitting by the pool in a tropical paradise, and, a little scary for reading in an empty airport at 6am. In Steven King fashion the main character is an author who in the first 15 pages revels is polishing off the heroine in a many book series name Misery and then it flashes to him finishing another more worthy novel about a car thief that is thinks is pure gold. He felt trapped by the Misery series maybe because of the rabid female housewife following or maybe because he felt like it was trite writing that cheapened him somehow even though it allows him to live the good life and write what he wants. Most of the authors feel just a little autobiographical to me, I just wonder if Roland the hero from the Black Tower series is his personal Misery… I hope not, they were all good fun books and I really loved the world he created for them. I’m ok that they are over (or the circle just restarts) and I would never kidnap and torture King to make him write another book like the woman in Misery did. I’m also not crazy and she is. She does not exactly kidnap him because she finds him crashed on the road but she does detain and torture him. King loves the gross stuff, maybe he watches too much Law and Order because she isn’t water boarding him or anything just cuts off his foot in a fit of anger. He gets into the writing of the next book because he honestly loves writing and locked away from the world he re-finds the joy in the process even if at times it is his escape. The end is better then your average King book – read it yourself to find out but be warned, he is not in the ‘happy ending’ school of writing. I took a course in Steven King writing in college and really enjoyed it. He puts more into his books then the average fiction writer and you can see his point of view on issues shine through. In the course we were asked to take one of the themes and write what we feel King was trying to express and then our feelings on it. In this book I think I would pull on the thread of the Death Angel – the one who puts those who are too sick and in pain to ever recover out of their misery (tie to the title?). It seems King is in favor of the practice for those who led long and full lives and are now at the end of the line and not really in the world anymore. He would not seem to be in favor of the death angel visiting an infant even if they are as terminally ill or if they have horrible birth defects – this is where the main character is caught by the authorities but not convicted due to lack of proof. I would probably be able to tie in the main characters own ‘killing’ of Misery as unjustified in King’s theory since he is punished for the action and bringing her back to life saves his life on multiple levels. There are alot of Death Angel occurrences in the book, it could be a good paper, but I don’t really have the desire to write it and if I did I have no idea what to do with it. My teacher said one of my essay’s was good enough to publish but who really publishes essays about themes found in Steven King books? Let me know if there are any and I’ll write this one up…
3. Shakespeare’s Counselor book 3 in the Lily Bard Series by Charline Harris. Maybe because I read this one out of order I liked it least of the 5 books but I still liked it. Lily goes to a womans group to try and overcome some of her issues with something other then working out like crazy and learning martial arts. The counselor in this one is the center of a weird stalker scenario who escalates from pranks to murders and the twist ending was sorta predictable. On the positive side it was well written and Lily has some growth in her character like a real person would have. She is also going into the PI business since she is basically in it anyway between her odd luck and her boyfriend. I do hope there are more books in the series but not just for the sake of Lily finding another body because her town is relatively small, too much of this makes you wonder if she is cursed. I think the PI angle means she will be able to get out more and solve cases in a more realistic way. My ‘negative’ about that is that Charline Harris wrote a similar plot line in another one of her series but I’m sure I will enjoy it when I read it (if she writes it).
2. Shakespeare’s Trollop book 3 in the Lily Bard Series by Charline Harris. I actually listened to this one at the same time as reading #4 and I finished it in Korea. This time the cleaning lady job is far more of a focus because one of her long time clients dies and she ends up helping clean the apartment out with the bereaved mother and since she cleaned the apartment for so long she noticed the one clue that solves the mystery. This book also involves some other characters inserted in the plot line in the very first book and there was foreshadowing all through the other books so pretty clever set up and I always enjoy some sort of ‘pay off’ for being a reader of the whole series (one of the reasons I love Steven King, his characters pop up everywhere). I wish I had a cleaning person like Lily, she seems to actually clean rather then just go around items like the lady we had did. She cleans some pretty messy places and she actually puts stuff away and does all sorts of neat things for her weekly fee. Maybe she is pretty expensive but I bet she isn’t given who some of her clients are but really, she does an awesome (fictional) job – very complete and well done. Our ladies went for speed and the quality was basically what you get when you need to clean super fast because someone is coming over. Anyway, the twist at the end was well played and I liked meeting more people in the world and learning more about some of the others.
1.Shakespeare’s Christmas; book 3 in the Lily Bard Series by Charline Harris. I listened to #1 and read #2 before NewYears so this one was either finished on Newyears eve or the day after. Anyway, it is the continuation of the general story line of Lily Bard except this time she goes to her home town, the place she basically walked away from because of the tragedy in her life (read the book if you want to know what it was), for her sisters wedding. She is also newly involved in the first good relationship in her adult life and he is sweet and charming and surprises her by coming to her home town. He is a PI and is on a case where he was hired to find a little baby, who should now be around 8, who was kidnapped from her front porch around one week old. He has reason to believe from a tip that the girl is in Lily’s home town. Of course the person who gives the tip is murdered, one of the people under suspicion is the fiance, and Lily finds herself right in the middle of it. Hey, I didn’t say these were very realistic but the story is written well. The story was engrossing and I finished it in a day or two and throughly enjoyed it. I like the tough character of Lily and I even enjoy her descriptions of cleaning and mundane things in between the action.