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My Reviews

The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
 
Insightful, Brilliant, Boring
A satriical look at spiritual life

This book is one to read again and again, and glean more from it every time. If you do read it for a book club, please let everyone know it is a SATIRE and is meant to be funny, and is extremely so if you read it that way. I found that if people did not understand this they were terribly confused and did not understand what the author was trying to say.

Moloka'i: A Novel by Alan Brennert
 
Informative, Inspiring, Interesting
Book about a young girl's formative years while living with the chronic and devastating disease of leprosy in the era before antibiotics

excellent book. interesting subject material. Great fodder for discussion in a book club setting.

 
Informative, Brilliant, Beautiful
Immaginative historical novel

Our book club found this a relatively enjoyable read, howver, it was not all that interesting or enjoyable to discuss.

 
Insightful, Dramatic, Brilliant
Story of friendship and betrayal, and redemption

Excellent book!! We loved it and have "A Thousand Splendid Suns" on our list for next month.

 
Interesting, Informative, Beautiful
Fanciful reinterpretation of well know biblical accounts

This book would probably make for a great discussion in a book club. However, it was a very dificult read because it was obvious that the author was very contemptful of men, and suspicious of them. Also, the accounts in the Bible were highly distorted to the point that it was obvious that the author was trying to say they were obvious lies, written to make men look good and hide the truth. I think that some history can be that way ("the winners get to write the history books") but men and women are not at war.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
 
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting
A young victim watches what happens after she is taken from this world

Kind of silly, actually. The plot was not grabbing, you know what happens. Then, she is still in love with her "crush" from Jr. high, and he still loves her too? Right!!! Not a great book

 
Fun, Adventurous, Inspiring
A crazy dog works its way into a family's hearts

Really funny book. Enjoyable read. I actullay bought it for a couple of people for Christmas. It was not neccessarily the most thought-provoking, but it was a lot of fun. A good pick for summer months

 
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
Circus love story

Wondrfully written, fun love story. Also lots of information about the circus and what it was like in the early 20th century.

Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian
 
Epic, Dramatic, Adventurous
lots of twists in the multi-layered novel

Very interesting book.. Lots of fuel for discussion as it deals with the vegetarian (anti-meat) movement, teenagers coming of age, relationships both marital and family. Told from multiple angles.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
 
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting
Boring book. Predictable

This book was given to me by my Mother-in-law, and I had anticipated it to be a good read since I had heard a lot a bout it. It turned out to be a boring "teen-age"story. Not a thriller since you know from the beginning "whodunit". The descriptions of heaven were ridiculous. The main story is about the dead girl's ongoing thoughts (not really relationships since she is dead) and how she is still in love with a boy years later, and he is with here (from when they were 11 or 12 Years old? come on). The characters in the novel never solve the murder mystery, so it is not even satisfying in that way. Not recommended.

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
 
Interesting, Informative, Beautiful
Alternative history to the familiar genesis story

This book was OK, but not great. I think the most compelling reason to read it for a book club is to get at the idea that "the winners get to write the history books". This book portrays men as the "winners" (and not in the positive way) and basically sets forth the idea that the entire Genesis account of the sons of Joseph is a big lie put together by the men in the Genesis account to serve their own interests and egos. If you like that kind of story, this book is for you. The author takes great liberties with her history, and there is nothing to base it on historically. For instance, the whole RED TENT thing--is that what happened historically? I doubt it. Doubt that in a farmning, shepherding society the womenwould be allowed to take a whole week off to lounge around a tent and do no work. Would be nice but I don't think that happened. What she fails to tell us is why this would be neccessary to rewrite history this way. I also thought the story dragged a lot.

Seduction of Water by Carol Goodman
 
Interesting, Dramatic, Adventurous
Wonderfully written novel

I picked up this book from an on-line weekly book club, and loved it. I love the story of the Silkies, mythical animals that transform themselves into women and woo unsuspecting men. The love story is a lot of fun, too. A good read.

Cloud Atlas: A Novel by David Mitchell
 
Brilliant, Interesting, Insightful
Very thought provoking book

This book took a lot of mental effort to read, in the most positive sense of the phrase. It was written in a completely unique style--5 books that are encased within one another. Each is unique in its own literary style, and COMPLETELY different from one another. If your book club readers are savvy enough to get through this book (and it does take a little tenacity) there will be an excellent discussion at the end of it. If your club is in it for best seller/quick action/ easy read this is not the book for you.

Shantaram: A Novel by Gregory David Roberts
 
Adventurous, Beautiful, Fun
good book, but a little lengthy

Good book, but it took too long to tell the story. Parts of it dragged. LOts of very accurate descriptions of Indian people and their personalities. Characters were well-drawn, but there were a lot of them and hard to keep straight. I think it might be a little daunting to read for a book club since it is over 900 pages.

 
Inspiring, Informative, Insightful
Awesome book about a man's personal quest to help impoverished and opressesd children in Pakistan and Afganistan

Well written account of Greg Mortenson's life. Inspiring, and thought provoking. Excellent fodder for discussion at book club!! We have read Hosseni's books for our book club, and I think this book gives even more insight into that part of the world.

Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali by Kris Holloway; Consulting Editor John Bidwell
 
Insightful, Interesting, Informative
An Anerican Peace Corp worker befriends and African Midwife. Her experiences tell a wonderful story of friendship bridging two very different cultures

Excellent book. Our club rated it one of the highest we have ever rated a book. We all learned so much about African society, and especially about being a woman (pregnant) within a patriarcal and sometimes very unfair society. Highly recommend

 
Inspiring, Informative, Dramatic
A memoir that will take your breath away.

I picked this book up because there was an article about the author in "Ohio" magazine as she and her husband run a restaurant/bar in Cleveland, Ohio. I was intruigued that someone from the Killing Fields would be living so differently now. The story is incredible, and she tells it well, looking full-face into the horrors she experienced as a very young child from an upper-middle class family forced to try to survive during the Cambodian civil war. A wake-up call to Middle Class America, for sure, to realize the rest of the world is not as fortunate as we are, and not to take freedom for granted.

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
 
Interesting, Inspiring, Dramatic
a memoir that highlights redemption in a family of horrible neglect and abuse

Great book. Reads well. Told well from a child's perspective. At times, unbelievable--how can a partially schooled child get into an Ivy League school? Remarkale tale of the resiliance of the human spirit.

The Ten-Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer
 
Unconvincing, Slow, Poorly Written
horrible. I actually threw the book away

Terribly written, story did not go anywhere. I kept trying to read it until my husband asked me if I was enjoying my book and I realized how stupid I was being, so I threw the book away. Not even good enough to give away or try to sell. NOT WORTH READING

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
 
Dramatic, Interesting, Dark
good story

 
Interesting, Life Changing, Informative
Ok book. Not super

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
 
Slow, Brilliant, Insightful
Very long, tedious book. Somewhat juvenile ideology

I was glad to have read this book as an adult. I was not required to read it in college, and for that I am glad. I was able to see the significant flaws in the philosophy, the most blatant being the author's own life!! She could not live her own ideology. Characters were very flat and one-dimentional, and not believable. Our discusssion at club was very good, mostly because several members rated this as their favorite book ever.

 
Epic, Romantic, Adventurous
wonderful book about a little known story

 
Dramatic, Optimistic, Interesting
lighthearted suspense novel. Makes you love coffee and the coffehouse experience!

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
 
Dramatic, Insightful, Beautiful
haunting tale. Interestingly written. Compelling Characters.

A wonderful book. I don't know why it is "teen" rated. I am not sure teens would like it. Apparently it was not published in Austrailia that way--not sure why it is here in the states. Excellent story. Will make you cry. Narrated by Death, which takes a little getting used to (press on through the first few pages when the story really starts)

 
Adventurous, Inspiring, Dramatic
Mesmerizing. One of my all time favorite books

I have read and recomended this book over and over again.

 
Difficult, Confusing, Epic
difficult read, story dragged, not nearly as good as other reviewers have said

I picked this book up because it had gotten high marks on this website. I hated it,and finally stopped reading it after getting 3/4 of the way through, and I probably only have done that once or twice in my life. The story dragged, there was nothing catchy about it. The author's writing style was too wordy, and difficult to connect with--the metaphors and similies did not make sense, at least to me. Then there were the graphic portrayals of gay love, which got more descriptive as the book went on, which I found repulsive. I would never recomend this book to anyone.

 
Dark, Dramatic, Difficult
Mysterious, Dark mystery

Excellent story telling by Goodman.

 
Boring, Inspiring, Slow
good book, not super, entertaining

I enjoyed reading this--it was a light, quick read. However, the author's opinions about religion, love, and life really were (and she addmitted this in the book, too) just opinions. I feel like the author was writing a cathartic book about overcoming her depression.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
 
Dramatic, Insightful, Beautiful
Everyone loved this book in our group, even the pickiest readers

Get through the first 2 or 3 pages, and you will be hooked. The characters get into your head. Well drawn, well written.

 
Beautiful, Interesting, Inspiring
Really stupid

ridiculous. Don't bother reading. It is annoying

The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
 
Difficult, Boring, Confusing
excellent, humorous book. A satire on spiritual life

not your average book club book. Make sure people know it is supposed to be a satire, and therefore very funny. lots to talk about

 
Interesting, Informative, Slow
Well written. Interesting subject

 
Epic, Dramatic, Adventurous
great book

Sweeping tale.

World Without End by Ken Follett
 
Epic, Interesting, Insightful
excellent book

could not put it down--what a great sequel to "Pillars"

A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
 
Adventurous, Romantic, Dramatic
A book that stays with you for a long time

This is a book to read and re-read. What a wonderful story!

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
 
Inspiring, Optimistic, Insightful
Kind of ridiculous

very sappy. Would not recomend

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
 
Fun, Adventurous, Interesting
lots of fun

don't miss this book club favorite

 
Poorly Written, Interesting, Confusing
Lots of characters to keep straight

OK book. Probably would generate some fun discussion.

The Blessing Stone by Barbara Wood
 
Inspiring, Insightful, Adventurous
slow to start up, dense style of writing with lots of details

I took a long time to get into the book, and even then it did not grab me. The first section that deals with a group of prehistoric "people" (?ape men and women?) was very difficult to read. Who wants to read about a bunch of people acting like animals (or animals sort of like people, but pooping, copulating, and killing each other)?

I don't think this would be especially good for book clubs.

 
Not worthy of a book club's time

This reads like a b-rated movie. Characters not compelling, story-line predictable. Not a book that brings any new ideas to the table to discuss at a book club

 
long-winded. difficult to stay interested in the story

 
Informative, Fun, Insightful
A man tries to take the Bible literally for a year

very funny, insightful. Jacobs tries to take every command in the Bible literally, with very funny results.

 
Informative, Interesting, Dramatic
What a wonderful read

I didn't know anything about this sport, but reading this book makes you cheer for the horses,especially (of course) Seabiscuit. I loved it.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
 
Epic, Brilliant, Adventurous
If you have not read it, you should

This is the first in the "Lord of the Rings" series--a prequel, so to speak. A great adventure story.

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
 
too wordy and long

good story but took too long to tell

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
 
Interesting, Adventurous, Informative
not as good as

Was expecting more after enjoying the Davinci Code, and did not like it. I believe this was published first. It is a good adventure story, but does not spark the same kinds of discussions as the DaVinci Code did.

 
Adventurous, Slow, Confusing
Writing style is nice, story haunting

Descriptions of the Canadian Wilderness are wonderful. Lots of Characters. Sort of "Film Noir"

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
 
Interesting, Dramatic, Informative
Enjoyable book

I enjoyed this book immensely even though I knew what the outcome was going to be, given that is is historical fiction. Entertaining.

 
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
Not super, did not live up to hype

Great idea for a book, but jumped around too much. Also, the title character (the "daughter) you never get to know at all, only the people who surround her. It was interesting to see how much has changed for care of people with disabilities of all kinds since the 1960's.

 
Inspiring, Optimistic, Insightful
I suppose this book would spark some discussion, but I did not enjoy it

I found this book a little silly. Did not enjoy it.

 
Adventurous, Insightful, Inspiring
Interesting

I liked reading this, but I wish it was a written a little better. I felt like I sort of only understood about half of what the author was talking about in regard to the art of dog-sledding. I would have liked to know more about the history of the Iditarod. I was expecting to read something more along the lines of "Seabiscuit" with a personal touch to it. I think this book would be a nice alternative to the "usual" book club book as I am sure many in the lower 48 don't spend a lot of time thinking about this race.

Plum Wine by Angela Davis-Gardner
 
Good book, interesting material. Disappointing ending

Sort of a "dark" romance between the leading characters. Unresolved issues remain unresolved, and therefore I found the ending unsatisfying. Still, a good read.

 
Adventurous, Informative, Fun
Humorous account of Bryson's hike on the AT

Humorous as always, and entertaining, but with a point--this book deals a lot with our national park system. Bryson's witty writing really makes you think about our values as a nation. Excellent choice for summer reads. I agree with the first reviewer--you will have to watch out for spontaneous outbursts of laughter, so pick your reading spot carefully!!

Bride Island by Alexandra Enders
 
excellent read

Good read. I enjoyed the characters--especially Polly. Very honest writing.

 
Confusing, Adventurous, Slow
difficult to read. Writing was rather "weird"

Did not enjoy. this was the second Chabon I have attempted and have not liked either one.

Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson, Gabrielle Charbonnet
 
Romantic, Fun, Addictive
a light, easy read; feel-good story

Very predictable, easy-to-read book. Not an especially good choice for book clubs as it affords nothing to discuss. A nice love story.

Republic: A Novel of America's Future by Charles Sheehan-Miles
 
Brings up a lot of good points. A good book for clubs

Probably a good choice this year with the military conflict in Iraq, and an election year. Brings up a lot of good questions, and things to discuss. Sometimes hard to follow with a lot of military jargon, and some of the battle sequences were tedious with too much dialogue to tell what was going on.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
 
Dark, Dramatic, Gloomy
very bleak, depressing book

Did not enjoy this book at all. Aside from the depressing content, it really did not have any sork of gripping plot-line. They walk, they die. It is about it. It seems that the same things keep happening again and again (i.e. they run into danger, and escape. then they find food, then they are in danger again, etc. etc. ad nauseum) All this to say, I am not sure that there is much to discuss at a book club.

 
I enjoyed this Jane Austen very much

This was a great book! A rather quick read. I enjoyed the drama of the love story, especially since it was about two people who had been in love, and were meeting again under different circumstances--can they love again?

 
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
Enjoyed this book. Easy read. Lots to think about

I liked Cee Cee, but I also feel like for as "good" as she was made out to be, she would have done the right thing at 16 rather than wait until she was much older. But then, there would be no story. Scary as probably something like this really could happen with a naive teen who has not had a lot of influence during very formative years to give a strong moral compass. Easily sucked into "cult-like" activity because of the facade of love and care for her.

 
Great series--easy, fun mystery read

I have enjoyed this series. Not especially good for book clubs unless you want a particularly light read, and like to discuss coffee.

 
Boring, Adventurous, Dark
Pretty good story, but not partucularly mezmerizing

I had a difficult time staying interested. It kept jumping from past to present and it was sometimes difficult to tell when it did that mid-chapter, and who was who in the present and past (since the main character changes his name). Might be good to discuss classes in society, etc.

The Wednesday Sisters: A Novel by Meg Waite Clayton
 
Inspiring, Interesting, Fun
Liked it!!

A good book club choice--has to do with a group of women as they "grow up" together though women's rights, etc. A lot of history is mentioned. I liked how the characters changed their convictions as they begin to think instead of just accepting societal norms for women.

The Condition: A Novel by Jennifer Haigh
 
Insightful, Interesting, Slow
interesting look at how a medical diagnosis affects a family

Enjoyed this look into a family where a significant medical diagnosis is made.

Same Kind Of Different As Me by Ron Hall, Denver Moore
 
Inspiring, Insightful, Life Changing
Loved it. Not you usual "christian cheese-y-ness"

A very well written book, honest in the people's shortcomings, and their triumphs. A true look at how true Christianity knows no bounds, and how it truly changes people.

 
Informative, Insightful, Beautiful
Interesting from many angles

Steven Lopez writes an honest account of his friendship with a man who is homeless and has schizophrenia. He chronicles the hardships of such a relationship, but also shows the rewards. A really interesting book.

 
Fun, Inspiring, Optimistic
I was skeptical, but I really enjoyed this book

A light read. I was not sure the author could pull off the premise very well, but she did. I was interested the entire story. A fun way to bring up some serious issues--purpose in life, love, death, etc. etc.

Ellen

 
Romantic, Adventurous, Dramatic
ridiculously stupid

Don't bother with this book, maybe if you want some mindless "beach reading" as long as you are not embarrassed to be seen with this title as an adult. The story kept me somewhat interested, but the plot was thin with a lot of holes in it (covered up by SOOOOO many descriptions of how gorgeous the vampire was--sorry, someone who is that pale with eyes that looked like he was punched can not be gorgeous) Anyway, not a great book

 
not book club material

not a lot to discuss. Juvenile writing

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Insightful, Informative
A book about divorce, separation, infidelity, and immature relationships

Have no idea why this is called "Matrimony". I think it is a cynical look at marriage. Might bring up some good discussion about what matrimony means.

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
 
Dark, Dramatic, Interesting
Dark tale, "film noir".

Very dark psycological thriller. Lots and lots and lots of sex, almost like the author was obscessed by it. A little nauseating after awhile since the characters are all such awful people. Would not recomend this book. Was hoping for something a little better

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Beautiful, Fun
A great summer read

I liked the descriptions of food, and the stories of the people and their interactions

The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue
 
Graphic, Gloomy, Dark
An intersting premise but not an appealing story

Dark weird and sometimes hard to follow. Never really clicked with the characters. In some ways the book is a little pointless.

The Fiction Class by Susan Breen
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Fun
Great summer read

Good 'beach read' fairly light, but gives you some things to think about. The romance was nice, if not a little predictable, but what do you expect out of a love story? I liked it a lot. Cried at the end. I think the main character's relationship with her mother was wonderfully told.

Little Bee by Chris Cleave
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Inspiring, Interesting
A difficult book, about things that we don't hear much about in the West. Eye-opening

Well Written, and in some aspects funny. But the main story is about something horrifying and gruesome. A good pick for clubs if you are prepared to talk about real issues.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Persuasive, Informative
A spectacular book about the Great Lakes

Having grown up in Michigan, and living in Ohio, this was great reading, although anyone would appreciate it. If you have not been on or around the great lakes, it would be worth the trip. They are spectacular, and you almost can't understand them without seeing them. The information and history was impecable and the writing was interesting. We dont normally do non-fiction in our club but everyone enjoyed this--really "couldn't put it down"

 
Dramatic, Interesting, Adventurous
this book sucks you in, but the story is really rather horrible

the book was ok, at times dragged and at other times I couldn't get enough, but the subject matter was grotesque--horrible abuses to women. I really can't see the fascination with this and don't really see why it is sensational. It really would have been better as just a murder mystery without all the ugliness. Kinda like you had to finish to see what happened after working that hard to keep all the characters straight.

 
Book Club Recommended
Brilliant, Insightful, Inspiring
I had forgotten how good this book was

Wow. I read this in high school, and remember liking it some, and now I remember why I liked it. It is an awesome tale.

The Tricking of Freya by Christina Sunley
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Adventurous
Book about Iceland and imigrants

Interesting book about Iceland. Maybe a little disappointing in the end. But a good book nonetheless. Something different for your club.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Dramatic
I liked how the author treated historic events and made them come alive

Took Latin in school, and have learned about Roman culture a bit. The book was good, enjoyable.

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Adventurous, Informative
interesting in some ways, a bit horrifying at times

I liked it enough, but there was a lot of descriptions of what the russians did under Stalin as torture. I have a feeling a lot of it is true since I hear stories from older relatives that lived through the war (because they escaped--other relatives were sent to siberia simply because they were land-owners) and hate what the Russians did to this day. The story was a little disapointing in the end--it has a bit of a sick twist at the end which I found unsatisfying.

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Informative, Beautiful
An excelent book

I think this is one of the best books I have read in a while. Well written, deals with a lot of issues--young love, families, history, etc in a great way without being too pushy about any of it.

Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
An child's view of a terrible crime

Really interesting perspective--written from a 5 year old's view of his world--which is the inside of a shed where his mother has been kept since she was abducted as a college student 7 years earlier. The 5 year old is the hero--an unlikely savior (Christ figure, really).

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Dramatic, Informative
Wow--what a book

Hillenbrand has put out another masterpiece. What a story! It really makes you appreciate what it means that "Freedom is not free".

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