books I've read

Anne Hawn's books

Who Moved My Cheese?
If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans
Scientific Secrets for Self-Control
Just One Damned Thing After Another
The Vanishing
Exercises in Knitting
The Good Dream
The Very Best of Edgar Allan Poe
The Chosen
BT-Kids' Knits
Talking God
The Professor
The Christmas Files
The Finisher
Home Decor for 18-Inch Dolls: Create 10 Room Settings with Furniture and 15 Outfits with Accessories
Dracula and Other Stories
A New Song
All Quiet on the Western Front
File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents

Anne Hawn Smith's favorite books »

I'm reading 150 Books

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Child 44

Child 44 Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was spellbinding, even better because it is based on a true story. Besides the mystery, this book is a window on Soviet life during the time of Stalin. It is hard to imagine how people's view of the world differs from that in a free country. I'd recommend this to everyone.

The story is based on the life of ANDREI CHIKATILO who was supposed to have killed over 52 children and young women. The events that led to his disturbed mind are not proved, but they were based on known facts. What is more fascinating is the detective who can't let this mystery go and the penalty he has to pay for discovering the murders in a Communist society that claims to have no crime because the "comrades" are all happy!

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Friday, April 17, 2009

The Alchemist

The Alchemist The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book does not take very long to read, but it will stay with you for a lifetime. Without being a spoiler, I think I have to say that it is the quest that is the object and not the jewel. It is a beautiful book and one worth reading again.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Eragon (Inheritance, #1)

Eragon (Inheritance, #1)Eragon by Christopher Paolini

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this book with my grandson who was 12 when we read it. The plot doesn't have much originality for an adult, but I think that kids will get enough pleasure out of it. There are enough adventures in it to hold kids interest without dragging the adventures out for too long.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Way of All Flesh

The Way of All Flesh (Dodo Press) The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I've read this book at least 5 times and I always come back to it. It has seemed to have something unique to say to me no matter what age I am when I read it. I first read it in my Freshman year of college and there were very few of us who really liked it. I couldn't understand why at the time, but I think I do now.

The book is very introspective and if you are looking for some kind of action or plot, this isn't the book for you. The main action takes place in the character's minds. Butler takes his main character and gives him an upbringing that is deplorable and then uses the rest of the book showing how Ernest works through the hand life has dealt him. I found some profound statements on the process of education and the effect on the young...things that are just as present today as in the 1700's.

This book is a wonderful book to take on a vacation when you have time to sit and ponder on Butler's ideas and relate them to your own life. I've read this at just about every major stage of life and learned something different each time.

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Books I've read recently

I have gotten into some fantastic books lately and I just have to pass them on. I heard about some of them in a podcast from the BBC book program. The topic was fiction book that recreated history in an accurate way. Using the Internet and the following books, I was able to fill in some gaps in my knowledge of world history in a very entertaining way.

The Catastrophist by Ronan Bennett is set in the Belgian Congo in the early 1960's. The plot centers on two writers who are caught up in the rise and fall of the charismatic leader, Patrice Lamumba. I remember the headlines vaguely, but was never able to set the memories in a clear context. The story focuses on a writer, James, and his Italian correspondent lover, Inez. While the book focuses on the relationship between these two, the awful history of that era unfolds with a nice balance.

Another book recommended was My Enemy's Cradle by Sara Young.

This was set in Holland and Germany during WWII and is about the Lebensborn program conceived by Heinrich Himmler. The purpose of these camps was to birth and rear Aryan babies for the Fuhrer. Cyrla is half Jewish and she takes the place of her Aryan looking pregnant cousin in one of the camps. The book is well written and compelling and deals with a subject that is little known.

Next I found Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie which takes place in Nigeria and concerns the break-away state of Biafra. The story is told through the eyes of 13 year old houseboy, Ugwu. I remember seeing the starving children in Biafra and I sent some money, more than I could afford, for their relief, but never really understood the politics of their suffering. This book shows the reader the conflict from various people's viewpoint and I felt gave a good synopsis of the conflict. As with the other two books, this was very well written.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Dolphin Song

Dolphin Song Dolphin Song by Lauren St. John

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a sequel to The White Giraffe and is also very good. Martine and her school class go on an ocean trip to watch the spectacular sardine run, but they are washed off the boat into shark infested waters and are saved by a pod of dolphins. They make it to a deserted island and have to learn to care for themselves and the dolphins. This is a great kids book with enough information to have adult appeal.

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