It's a good book, but it's not my Typee...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Book title poetry

LibraryThing has a nice collection of Spine Poetry people have submitted. Readers have stacked up books in order to turn the titles into poetry. Most are under eight books tall and the shortest are often the best, resulting in pithy, even shocking, statements.

Some of them are pretty bad (stacking up every book you own doesn't make you an amazing poet), but a few are charming and inspiring. I might even have to do some poetry of my own. The haikus are especially nice.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Organized Simplicity

This is a great book by Tsh Oxenreider (crazy name, huh?) about clearing out all the things and activities that keep you from living your best life. She explains the philosophy of simple living in a way that makes you want to throw away all your belongings. I consider this a good thing.

Coming from a family that hoards books and can't pass a thrift store without pulling into the parking lot, I have a bit more stuff than is strictly necessary. But this book has inspired me to clear out a few things. The bonus of this book is the appendix of recipes in the back. Oxenreider provides a list of natural cleaning products you can make at home, most of them including fewer than 4 ingredients.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Fifty Shades of How Did This Get Published?!

Oh, Fifty Shades of Grey, that rampantly popular, scandalous hit.

This is the kind of book people love if they can't read anything longer than a Slim Fast nutrition label without getting bored.

This book is badly written, has terrible characters, and does not live up to its hype in any way. It is a confused romance novel for women who have never grown up and want to read something "edgy" and "exciting" before drifting off to sleep on their Justin Bieber pillow case.

If you read Fifty Shakes of Dray (or whatever) looking for smut, you will find it. But it's probably not the type you're looking for unless you are one of the above mentioned Bieber case owners. If you read it in the hopes of being outraged because in this day of modern, feminist, blah, blah, blah, you will probably be disappointed. Because Anastasia Steele is not a heroine who trades her self-respect for being kicked around by some jerk. I'm pretty sure she's a member of the Babysitters' Club who happened to wander into the wrong book and was too "klutzy" (read Bella Swann clone) to find her way back out.

I gave it two stars rather than one because I never actually threw the book across the room in frustration or yelled at the author while reading it.

I'm glad I read it to see what all the fuss is about, but I was expecting something at least marginally better. I don't know why. It seems that most of the time a book is popular with the masses, I end up being very disappointed in the taste my fellow human beings have in reading material.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Craving Grace

Last summer I participated in the Tyndale House Summer Reading Program. One of the books I read still stands out:

~Craving Grace~
One of the best Tyndale books I've read  was Craving Grace by Lisa Velthouse. This second book by the author of Saving My First Kiss is a memoir about finding God's grace where you least expect it.

Velthouse is a young woman whose heart is in the right place but seems to have enormous trouble finding happiness. Throughout the book she strives for Christian perfection, professional perfection and a relationship with a man that lasts beyond the second date. The format of the book is at times confusing since her story jumps back and forth in time. Each chapter is appropriately labeled, but the reader can still easily get lost among the many similar emotions and situations Velthouse describes over the three year period the book covers.

I found Velthouse endearingly and charmingly flawed. At times I wanted very much to meet this woman who holds herself to such impossibly high standards. She makes me want to comfort her. Readers will want to place a hand on her shoulder and say, "Relax."

By the end of Craving Grace, most people will be so fond of Velthouse that the hint of a possible romantic interest towards the end of the book will have them cheering.

When I finished reading this book, I loaned it to a young girl who was going through a very difficult period in her life in the hope that the author's struggles would show her that everyone makes bad decisions, but that doesn't hold you back from making better ones in the future.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Woodchipper Murder

The Woodchipper Murder, by Arthur Herzog, Jr., could have been a much better book.

The story is true and incredibly lurid. Richard Crafts murdered his wife, Helle, in their own bedroom, froze her body, and then fed it through a woodchipper into a flowing river in an attempt to dispose of the remains. During and after this, he told everyone that Helle had disappeared, leaving him to care for their young children alone.

This book gets across the bare facts of the case and occasionally strays into muddy speculation. But it manages to make a fascinating story downright boring. The structure is poor and criticism of the police, forensic experts, and other investigators is thrown in with a heavy hand. Instead of being allowed to follow the information and come to conclusions on their own, readers are clubbed over the head with the idea that this person is EVIL or that person is STUPID.

If you like true crime and have a bit of patience, you probably won't be too disappointed by The Woodchipper Murder. But if there is another book out there on this same case, I can almost guarantee that it's better.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

She's baaaaack

I am a huge Anne Rice fan.

A while ago, I noticed on Twitter that the glorious Ms. Rice was talking about watching a lot of werewolf movies. "Mark my words," I said to my boyfriend (let's call him Will). "Anne Rice is going to write a book about werewolves." Will's response was "Um...ok."

One thing I love about Anne Rice is her passion for her topics. If she is going to write a book, she researches it thoroughly and immerses herself in the details, which is why all the werewolf-themed tweets tipped me off to her next move. I've probably also missed several articles and press releases about her new book which would have alerted me. But this way, I get to feel proud of my perception. Because it turns out I'm right.

The Wolf Gift
is Anne Rice's new book about, you guessed it (but we'll pretend I did first) WEREWOLVES!

This is very exciting as it is closer to the subject of Rice's best works, which are about vampires, witches and demons. My favorite Anne Rice character will always be The Vampire Lestat, but I'm sure her new work will not disappoint.

The Wolf Gift was published on February 14, 2012.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Doll

Daphne du Maurier is one of my favorite authors simply because she wrote the ultimate romantically Gothic confection: Rebecca.

Naturally, I was very excited to find that 13 of her early short stories have been collected in The Doll: The Lost Short Stories.

According to ELLE Magazine, the collection is every bit as mysterious and suspenseful as her later novels.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Michelle Obama and Song of Solomon

According to People Magazine, Michelle Obama's "favorite book of all time" is Song of Solomon.

I remember reading it in high school and finding it strangely beautiful. Michelle Obama says she's looking forward to hearing her daughter's interpretation of the book, but it seems to be one of those works best read later in life. Even the smartest teen lacks some of the perspective and life experience to really understand great literature. The classics should be introduced early, but they must be revisited in order to make the greatest impact.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


My reading goal for 2011 was 100 books. I made it closer than I did in 2010, when I read only 84. But try as I might, I couldn't manage it this year either. 95 books. So close. On New Year's Eve I powered through a mystery novel I've been reading for about 2 years and read a couple of short plays in between listening to audio books. But those last 5 books were beyond my grasp.

I became a little more realistic with my goal for 2012.

90 books.

Easily doable, right?