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

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


MarkerMarker by Robin Cook

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought this was one of Robin Cook's better novels. Laurie Montgomery has done 3 autopsies on young healthy people who have recently had surgery and have died unexplainedly. They seem to have recovered from the surgery with no problem, but some hours later are found dead and the autopsy doesn't reveal anything wrong. Laurie can't seem to get anyone to pay attention to her and especially not Jack Stapleton, who is more concerned with his basketball games with his "homies." When she gets her fourth case, she begins to do some investigating and turns up 6 more, all at the same hospital. The reader knows who the murderer is as we hear from her as the books goes along and this is very effective. Unfortunately, we don't know who hired her.

To add to that, Laurie is very aware that her biological clock is ticking and she sees that the realtionship with Jack is going nowhere and she moves out. Jack just can't get past the death of his first family and Laurie doesn't feel she has any more time to invest in this relationship.

I feel that the character of Laurie is developing very well and I feel as if I have gotten to know her, but Jack seems to be becoming more and more one dimensional. His refusal to take her seriously either in their relationship or at work makes him appear less intelligent than we were led to expect from earlier books. I hope that this downward spiral unto linear geometry doesn't continue.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bones to Ashes

Bones to Ashes (Temperance Brennan, #10)Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Temperance Brennan is curious about some old bones found in Arcadia. She had a friend from Arcadia who disappeared when they were girls. She was told nothing when her friend disappeared and discouraged from asking any questions. The bones bring back the old memories and she wonders if they could be her long lost friend. The skeleton has odd lesions that Tempe cannot explain and the don't seem to fit the situation of this girl's death.

I liked this book, but some of it was problematic. First, I am not a forensic anthropologist, but I knew what was wrong with the bones. I should think a professional would know right away. Next, the relationship between Tempe and Ryan is getting very tiresome. A real relationship doesn't proceed in such a painful and complicated manner. Tempe is an extremely intelligent person and yet her personal life is that of someone with an IQ of 80. There are some real problems with character development.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide

The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of GenocideThe Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide by Robert Jay Lifton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is so hard to read...not from the writing, but the events and the people who perpetrated them. I am finding that I can only read a few pages at a time. The book is extremely well researched with footnotes and an extensive bibliography. A great deal of it comes from actual interviews.

The extent of Nazi crimes is far more unimaginable that I could have ever thought and nothing is worse than doctors, who are trained to heal, turning into killers. The book deals with the SS doctors, German doctors, prison/inmate doctors and prison/inmate/Jewish doctors. I is also filled with the elaborate lengths the Nazis went to to cover up what they were doing to the world and to themselves.

As I continue to read this book, I am amazed at the amount of source material Lifton has used. The foundation of the book is interviews with the doctors, a few SS doctors, but mainly prisoners who were doctors. I am on the chapter on Mengele and it is one of the most extraordinary things I have ever read. I have read numerous books on Hitler and the concentration camps, but was left unsatisfied. No author could answer the question, "Why?" Why did seemingly normal people do such atrocious things?

The chapter on Mengele explains how he was able to compartmentalize his mind and do seemingly contradictory things. He would work hard to save a Gypsy from typhoid and then send him to the gas chamber later that week. In understanding the mind of Mengele, I finally began to understand some of these incredible events effected ordinary people. Make no mistake, Mengele was not a normal person. He had to have had a sadistic streak already, but, as the author says, he was “the right person at the right time and at the right place.” He saw himself as “healing” the German race and beyond that, healing mankind through genetic selection. He was an ideologue, as were the leaders of the party. They saw themselves as purging the race of man of the undesirables, which would lead to the “thousand year reich.” He was a demigod in Auschwitz and acted accordingly, but at times, he would be seen as honorable and courageous.

This is the book that I have always been looking for. I feel I have begun to understand the impossible.

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Bloodroot (China Bayles, #10)

Bloodroot (China Bayles, #10)Bloodroot by Susan Wittig Albert

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this book, Susan Wittig Albert takes China Bayles back to the Old South and immerses her in her childhood. Her mother, Leatha needs help with her Aunt Tullie and there is no one but China who can help.

I got the feeling that the mystery was just a vehicle to carry China back to her roots and untangle the fascinating story of her ancestors. Many of the characters in the book are extremely well drawn and the reader is able to establish a connection, but the crime and its victim are not as fleshed out. Never the less, it is one of her best books.

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Monday, May 10, 2010


PinocchioPinocchio by Carlo Collodi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We are all so used to the Disney version of Pinocchio that it is startling to read the original version. While there are differences, there is enough similarity to the original for everyone but the purist. Pinnochio has more adventures and meets more people in the original, but he is still the same little disobedient, gullible puppet. We read this as a homeschool book and really enjoyed it.

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The Basics of Genetics

The Basics of GeneticsThe Basics of Genetics by Betsey Dexter Dyer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was an absolutely fascinating book on genetics. The author used color of dogs as her example and I learned just how complex some colors of dogs are, especially white dogs. The most interesting part was how the genes have switches which activate them only under certain conditions...if the color is brown and if the hair length is ? then...

Ms. Dyer also has a way of explaining even the most complex concepts in ways that layman can understand. Not only will this book explain basic genetics to you, but you will never look at dogs the same way again.

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Damascus Gate

Damascus Gate Damascus Gate by Robert Stone

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I have to say I am a bit ambivalent about this audiobook. I picked it to try to understand about the daily conditions in this area of the world and the book helped in that respect. It is hard to imagine how people go about the daily business of life in an area filled with such conflict and animosity. All sides have their problems and have adapted to the powder keg they live on. On the other hand, the deep cynicism was a little hard to take and at times I felt like I was listening to a dream rather than a connected story. A lot of the characters melted into each other and I often lost track. There didn't seem to be a sane person in the bunch.I also had a problem with some of the hippie like discourses. I didn't like listening to people rambling on, saying things that didn't make any sense and thinking they were being profound. I think I understand what the author was trying to get at, but it was very tiresome. At times I had to go back and listen to a section again because I missed the tiny bit of action which propelled the story because I was so lost in the meandering of some of the character's long discourses.

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Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Quiet Game (Penn Cage series, #1)"

The Quiet Game (Penn Cage series, #1)The Quiet Game by Greg Iles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Penn Cage’s wife has died and now his five year old daughter is seeing glimpses of her mother everywhere, including Disney World. Page feels that a trip back home in Natchez, MS will settle both of them. Unfortunately, Penn’s father, a revered and respected doctor is being blackmailed for something from his past and the Judge has a personal agenda. On top of that, things are happening that appear to concern the murder of a black man in 1968 and Penn is drawn into the strange happenings surrounding the original murder.

Penn Cage is a sympathetic hero and his morals and ethics seem to be as above reproach as are those of his father. Unfortunately, even the best of people have things in their background that ma y be open to different opinions. While, I like this character a lot, there are some inconsistencies and lack of integrity that are unsettling. That said, this is a good book with lots of action and a clever plot.

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Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Dante Club

The Dante ClubThe Dante Club by Matthew Pearl

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel was an interesting twist on a mystery novel. Holmes, Longfellow and other noted giants are trying to solve some gruesome murders that are based on Dante' Inferno. I didn't find that the focus of the story. I was most intriuged by the brilliant, but poor student who was forced to rob recent graves to provide cadavers for the students to autopsy. To me he was the main character and certainly learned a lot about the state of medicine during that time. I found the mystery surrounding this young man's mother to be most interesting.

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