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
Christy
All Quiet on the Western Front
File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents


Anne Hawn Smith's favorite books »

I'm reading 30,000 pages.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Summer On Blossom Street (Blossom Street, #6)

Summer On Blossom Street (Blossom Street, #6)Summer On Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lydia Goetz, owner of "A Good Yarn" knitting shop decides to start a novel new knitting group. "Knit to Quit." It doesn't matter what you are quitting, just let knitting get you through it. She doesn't have to wait long for willing customers and new knitters. First there's Phoebe Rylander who wants to end her relationship with a man and Alix Turner who has to quit smoking when she and her husband want to have a baby. Then there's Bryan Hutchinson whose doctor recommends he take up knitting as a way of reducing stress.

Anne Marie Roche has made a pleasant life with her adopted daughter, Ellen when someone from the past comes in the shop to complicate it and then Lydia, herself, has her own stress when she and her family agree to keep a rebelious teen-ager for a week until she can be placed.

As usual, the knitting group becomes more than just a place to learn to knit. In bits and pieces stories are told and friendships are forged. This is a delightful book about what happens when strangers are thrown together by a compelling hobby called knitting.


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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Murder At Ebbets Field

Murder At Ebbets FieldMurder At Ebbets Field by Troy Soos

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mickey Rawlings is a utility player for the New York Giants during the pennant race for the 1914 World's Series. When he is picked for a bit part in a movie about baseball, he meets a glamorous movie star and a young woman who is also in the movie. Unfortunately, the movie star is murdered and Mickey has a hard time proving that it isn't him. He and a young Casey Stengal cross paths and become friends in the midst of the mystery. This is not just a mystery, but a lot of fun historical information, both about Casey and baseball in it's infancy. It is a great read for anyone who has any interest in baseball.


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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter (Ballad Mystery, #2

The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter (Ballad Mystery, #2)The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter by Sharyn McCrumb

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This story is as odd as the several mountain stories that are told within it. Nora Bonesteel has the second sight and she often has the coffee poured and plates of cookies out arleady when the visitor comes up the road. She is the character around whom the story is told although she is not the main character. There is a terrible tragedy and four members of the Underhill family are dead and the remaining two children are dazed and left without kin to take them in. There are several more stories which thread through the book, a young woman's struggle to bear a child, a tragic fire and the sad death of a farmer suffering from fatal cancer from toxic chemicals leached into the stream that runs through his property.

The stories are a window into the Appalacian culture, its strengths and its weaknesses. The characters are vivid and real and the story telling is just as it should be...dark stories of mystery, love and tragedy. This is a wonderful book to sit back and enjoy


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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood

Sickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy ChildhoodSickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood by Julie Gregory

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the story of a young woman whose mother constantly took her to doctors or hospitals. The mother suffered from Munchausen's by Proxy whereby a person, usually the mother attempts to make herself feel important and validated by causing illness in her child and then working with the doctors to try to correct what is wrong. Julie Gregory was taken to doctors constantly as a child, sometimes for real illnesses, but more often by induced by her mother. She was frequently starved and was denied treatment when her wrist was broken until it was almost too late. She frequently missed school and when she was there, she was often too sick or tired from being in the emergency room all night to learn.

As Julie grew up, she began to rebel against her mother's treatment, but she could find no help in her family. Her father was ineffectual and often just didn't care to go up against his wife even though he knew what was happening to Julie. Eventually, her mother brought in elderly boarders and foster children and when Julie wasn't available she began to shift her attention to the foster children. It was at this point, and after her mother burned down the house for insurance money that Julie was successful in finding someone to believe her.

This is a terrible disease, but Julie provides enough background for the reader to understand her mother's family and the terrible life her mother had growing up. In fact, the disfunctional family seems to go back for generations. While this book is sometimes hard to read, it is important to know that these situations exist and that children need to be listened to.

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Taken into Custody: The War Against Fatherhood, Marriage, and the Family

Taken into Custody: The War Against Fatherhood, Marriage, and the FamilyTaken into Custody: The War Against Fatherhood, Marriage, and the Family by Stephen Baskerville

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was a real eye opener. I had the idea that it was the men who ran off with "Tiffany" and left the women and children behind. Both this book and my experience is that there are so many more women who are leaving with the kids and the husband is left behind, often forced to leave his home, get an expensive lawyer and fight to see his kids.

This book also presented the idea that "No Fault Divorce" is the only contract where one person can break the contract and force the other person to pay. The left behind spouse has to get a lawyer, divide his or her income, be faced with hardly seeing his/her own children and often forced out of the house he/she has paid for. There is something seriously wrong here.

So often, the person who leaves has an unrealistic idea of what the future is going to hold. They see themselves as getting on in a new life and building a life with someone eles, leaving the old problems behind. Unfortunately, when that dream is crashed it is too late. They end up with vastly reduced circumstances, a more demmanding job to pay the additional expenses and children who are unhappy and very frequently having behavioral problems which take their lives in a totally different direction.

This book is important for all fathers involved in a divorce to read. It is not just "the other side", it is a cost that society pays as well as the involved parties. No one would sign a business contract in which one partner could leave and not pay a penalty; and especially leaving the other partner holding the bag and paying for the default while loosing most of the assets. Divorce is costing everyone and society has a right to limit the behavior of people whose actions are going to impact it. This book doesn't say that there should be no divorce, but that "no fault" does not serve society or the children of these marriages. On a personal note, I have found this to be a true representation in several cases I know of myself. It is no always the case, by any means, but it is happening much more than is known


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Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You

Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around YouArthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You by Holly Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a beautiful guide to go along with the Spiderwick Chronicles. The artwork is amazing, as it the creativity of the series authors. This is a great seriese for the 8-15 year olds...and fanciful adults.


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A Beautiful Child

A Beautiful ChildA Beautiful Child by Matt Birkbeck

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the story off a young girl who was abducted by a man (or she was given to him by her father) when she was about four to six years old. She was a beautiful child even then, but she managed to be an exceptional student who received a scholarship to Georgia Tech and a stunningly beautiful young woman. She wanted to be an astronaut and it appears as if she would have achieved that goal had she been allowed to. Instead, her father put her in stripper bars and basically became her pimp. Eventually he was implicated in her death.

I just finished this and found it to be impossible to put down. It is amazing to think about all "Sharon" accomplished in school, knowing what her home life was. I can't help but think of what she could have done in a nurturing home. Her abductor blamed all his trouble and bad behavior on his upbringing and yet he provided such a horrible life for her and she rose above it. What a tragedy all around.

My feelings about then end of the book are divided. It is amazing how much law enforcement has improved in the area of missing children. Where once there was little done nationally and local law enforcement didn't get involved until the child was missing 24 hours, now there are the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, America's Most Wanted, and numerous other groups to help families whose children are missing. Local law enforcement have the child's description on the police database within the hour, but still too many children are abducted and murdered.





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Friday, November 05, 2010

The Devil's Gentleman: Privilege, Poison, and the Trial That Ushered in the Twentieth Century

The Devil's Gentleman: Privilege, Poison, and the Trial That Ushered in the Twentieth CenturyThe Devil's Gentleman: Privilege, Poison, and the Trial That Ushered in the Twentieth Century by Harold Schechter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was the story of Roland Molineaux, a poisoner from the turn of the 20th century. He was the son of a famous and beloved General of the Civil War. He was accused of poisoning a rival for his intended wife and a man from his health club whom he had taken a severe dislike to. While the case added up, the motive seemed extreme for a gentleman of his class. The story was very interesting, especially as it was something of a "bad seed" affair. This is also another "Lizzy Borden" case in which there was a great deal of controversy about the verdicts which have not been agreed upon to this day.



Along with this is the story of the tabloid press or "yellow journalism" engendered by Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. Both men took over failing newspapers and turned them into wildly successful enterprises which left them multi-millionairs. What was especially interesting to me was the fact that the papers had detectives of their own and often managed to stay one step ahead of the police. This case changed journalism forever.



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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Lucy Rose: Working Myself to Pieces and Bits

Lucy Rose: Working Myself to Pieces and Bits (Lucy Rose)Lucy Rose: Working Myself to Pieces and Bits by Katy Kelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lucy Rose has one big problem in school and she is called Ashley...the same Ashley who tried to spoil her Parks and Rec. summer. She's a word-thief and she tries to be better than Lucy Rose in everything, which Lucy Rose isn't taking lying down.

But that isn't her only job. The McBees are opening a bakery and Lucy Rose has to come up with some ideas to earn money and get the bakery decorated without costing money...it isn't easy and can keep a girl on her toes!

On top of everything else, she and Jonique have a job at a retirement home calling Bingo. How did they get the job and what do they learn there? Just read on about the adventures of this delightful little hurricane.


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