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 150 Books

Thursday, January 08, 2015

The Professor

The ProfessorThe Professor by Charlotte Brontë
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have mixed feelings about this book.  It wasn't as good as Jane Eyre .  The characters were not developed as well.  I also had a problem with the numerous long passages in French which I don't speak, and which, were made even harder when listened to on an audiobook.

The book starts out well as we see William Crimsworth, the Professor, long before he is a professor.  He goes to work for his much older, industrialist brother who seems to despise him.  He leaves and makes his way to Brussels where eventually becomes a teacher (which the Flemish call "Professor.)  He starts out fairly well, but then there is intrigue between William, the head of a girls school, and the head of the boys school William works for.  That part seemed very weak to me as the characters of the two women involved seem to change their natures radically without much precipitating reason.

I also felt like the end of the book was problematic.  There was an explanation of what happened to the main character's industrialist brother, but not a resolution.  The book has a secondary theme of industrial reform, as in Dickens, but it is never developed.  There is a "they lived happily ever after" feeling about the book, but it falls flat.



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Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Neverwhere

NeverwhereNeverwhere by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gaiman is a master at creating kingdoms.  This is the third of his books I have read and each has a different setting which starts out being something we are familiar with and turns out to be a world within a world.

Inadequate Richard sees a girl named Door beaten and bleeding whose eyes plea for him to help her.  When he responds the only way he thinks a human being ought to, he catapults himself into the world of Under London.  Nothing is normal and what is worse, he can't get back into his world.  He doesn't exist.  The underworld though has plenty enough to keep him occupied.  There are ratspeakers, an angel, a floating market, and a myriad of other creatures.  As he goes on this journey with Door, be becomes a new person.

This is a great fantasy and hopefully there will be more in this setting.



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Monday, January 05, 2015

Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St Mary's, #1)

Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St Mary's, #1)Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was wonderful!  It's a time travel book with lots of new twists.  The setting is St. Mary's Institute of Historical Research.  It is known locally as an eccentric group of quirky scholars who do heaven only knows what.  The institute is shrouded in mystery.  Into this group comes historian Madeline Maxwell, a fiery redhead, mainly known as Max.

What is actually going on is historical research based on time travel.  The scientist take pods back in time to research and solve puzzles and correct inaccuracies. There are limits.  They are only to observe and not to change anything.  They can't bring anything back because doing so could cause untold problems.  Some little, most casual event such as a lonely peasant taking one path versus another might prevent him from meeting another person and that could reverberate down to the Battle of Hastings and on into the present day.

The book, despite it's serious setup, is madcap thanks to the heroine, Max, and her propensity to become involved in any number of catastrophes.  Not one to follow the rules blindly, she manages to get herself into trouble again and again.  There are problems in the Cretaceous Period as well as in the burning of the Great Library of Alexandria.  There is also romance and some mysterious people weaving in and out.  It's just an all around good book and I'm looking forward to what I hope is a long series.


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Saturday, January 03, 2015

The VanishingThe Vanishing by Wendy Webb
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was light and a bit predictable, but I enjoyed it.  A young woman is left stranded after her "Bernie Madoff" husband was exposed and died leaving her with all the mess.  She had no friends, money or a place to live when a man came to her doorstop and asked if she would like a job as companion to his elderly mother, Ameris Sinclair.  Sinclair turns out to be Julia's favorite horror story author who became a recluse in her Scottish castle on the border of Wisconsin and Canada.  She doesn't know what to think but is about to become homeless in a day, so she agrees.

Once she gets to the castle and meets the inhabitants she is enchanted.  Everything is just as the man said, the job won't be onerous and the setting is beautiful.  Julia bears an uncanny resemblance to a beautiful woman who lived 100 years ago and she feels right at home. There is just one problem...a ghost. What follows is a clever twist on the old haunted mansion/ghost theme with a bit of romance thrown in.


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Scientific Secrets for Self-Control

Scientific Secrets for Self-ControlScientific Secrets for Self-Control by DeWall, C. Nathan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was excellent!  Just about everyone knows they have self-control issues, but this series of lectures not only explains why scientifically, but also gives ways to attack the problem based on lab tests.  Just one example gives an idea.  Since the Internet, we can shop all day and night which can be murder on the budget.  It is the purchases at night that often are most problematic.  The explanation is that practicing self control can actually be stressful, so after a long day of practicing it, we are worn out so the decisions about purchases can be made when our supply is depleted. The simple answer is to wait until morning to purchase something!  I can't think of the times when I've gone on a website to see what is new and put a number of things in my shopping cart.  Coming upon it at some later date, I have wondered why in the world I wanted some of those items.

The lectures also deal with how you can build your self-control muscles.  Each time we resist something, we get better about it.  The author advises "Implement Intentions – Takes your mind out of the middle of “Desire vs What you actually do.” You make a one step intention that only tackles one part of the goal. In this example, the author says to never purchase anything at night, but to wait until morning. My first intention was "When I am waiting for my coffee to warm, I will take the dishes out of the drainer." also "When I go from one room to another, I will tidy one thing."  Those decisions are very easy but they help build the habit of self-control.

I agree with some criticism of some that the author's delivery isn't the best, so it only gets 4 stars, but the content is great. I'm glad this is an Audible book that I purchases because I plan to listen to it a lot!


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