Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A tale of two disappointing books

I recently finished two books that i was disappointed in. the first one was "Chicken Soup for the Grandma's Soul." i love the Chicken Soup series and i love being a grandma. i did not love this book. the cartoons weren't funny and the stories were for the most part disappointing. they were feel good stories, yes, but none of them usually touched me the way Chicken Soup books usually do. the book was a gift to me and i would not have bought it on my own. i am willing to pass it on should anyone be interested.
the 2nd book i will mention was absolutely horrible. entitled "Sudden Fiction - A Collection of American Short-Short Stories" edited by Robert Shapard and James Thomas this book was a genuine waste of time. i kept at it hoping to find at least one story that was any good. these stories were by famous American authors, among them Tenessee Williams, Joyce Carol Oates, etc. awful stories. many made no sense and many was just vulgar and ridiculous. my daughter got this book as a textbook for one of her English classes in college and i kept it as i am always interested in trying new things. we'd return it to the campus bookstore and get our money back except it was the text from a class a few years ago. it's been on my shelf that long waiting to be read.
if anyone is interested in this short story book or the Chicken Soup book mentioned above, please let me know within two weeks. after two weeks we plan to have a book sale on our street to pass on some of our overflowing collection of books. have a great day!

The Lost Symbol

our women's book club is going to be discussing Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" next week. this is Dan Brown's newest book and it features the Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon. he is tricked into coming to Washington DC by someone posing as a good friend. he is invited to give a speech in the Capital rotunda. he arrives there and ,of course, there is no audience. just a cryptic clue - a man's hand with tattoos on it and a Masonic ring. the hand is that of his friend's. thus begins a race around the capitol to save his friend's life and stop a mystery person from deciphering the clue to a hidden portal. i think this is Dan Brown's best book yet. i loved "The DaVinci Code" and even more, "Angels and Demons." ("Digital Fortress" and "Deception Point" were very disappointing.) i couldn't put this book down. i'd stay up way too late at night reading and be so tired the next morning for work. i am going to read it again to catch all the nuances. there is a lot of Masonic info and symbology in the book and it is fascinating. it really makes me want to read a book on the Masons. there is a huge twist towards the end that i should have figured out and didn't. i hope they make this book into a movie. it would be fascinating. i loved learning about the architecture in Washington DC. i'd love to go there some day. let me know what you think about the book. i am looking forward to hearing your comments as well as those of my book club members. For an exciting read, try "The Lost Symbol."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ice Cold by Tess Gerritsen

I have not read a Tess Gerritsen book in a long time. i have to say my favorite is still "Harvest". have any of you read that one? i have read a couple of her others and enjoyed them. i ordered this one from a mail order book service. it is her newest. it is another Rizzoli and Isles mystery. Dr. Isles, who is a forensice pathologist, attends a conference in Wyoming and meets and old friend from medical school. she is a very controlled and rational person, however, this old friend brings out the risk taker in her, and she agrees to go with him and some friends to a lodge and spend some time cross country skiing. they take a wrong turn, get lost, and come upon an abandoned little township where every house is exactly alike, and where the people are mysteriously missing from each home. a series of terrible events occur and Dr. Isles turns up among the dead who have died in a serious car accident and been burned to a crisp. Rizzoli and friends back in Boston start a search when Dr. Isles does not return home as anticipated. A cult is involved. there are a crooked sheriff or two involved and a run away boy. it read the book in a few hours in one sitting. it was pretty interesting as i wanted to see where things ended up. i will say that it is definitely not one of my favorite books of hers. i'd like to hear opinions from other readers of Tess Gerritsen and see what you have to say. have a great day! (it is sunny and warming up here in So.Cal.)

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

How many have you ever read this classic? our women's book club read this book for our August meeting which was last night. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." we had a really good discussion about the use of doubles, forshadowing, revenge, and mob rule last night. it was amazing how many of our group read the book. it is not the easiest book to read. he uses a lot of description that you have to sort through. he also descibes a lot of places that have significance but for someone in our time, it may not be something we know. i am glad for the Barnes and Noble version that my daughter found for me. it has a forward by an English professor about Mr Dickens and then has footnotes explaining some of the locations and terms that Dickens uses. it was really helpful in getting an understanding of what was going on. while Mr Dickens deplores the way the aristocracy abused the lower class, he also is clear that he did not favor the method used by the poor during the French revolution. mob rule is scary and dangerous. i have not had much time to read lately and so i have not yet finished the book. i will be doing so. it is not a quick read. it takes thought and some deciphering to understand what he is saying. i will say that the middle of the book is much easier to get through than the beginning. that may be because he has set the groundwork and explanations in what he terms as Book 1. our entire book group overwhelmingly liked the book. i like it, but i guess i am a little impatient. i am waiting for the real action to begin. the revolution has not started yet where i am in the book. how many of you enjoy the works of Charles Dickens? Do you have a favorite? most everyone knows "A Christmas Carol." critics say that his best book is "Great Expectations." What do you think?