I have to say that this was not a great month of reading for me. Most of the books I read are not ones that I'd strongly recommend. My three favorites were November Road, How Stella Learned to Talk (made me wish I had a dog) and Watching You. Everything else was pretty darned mediocre.
I hope you read some great books that you can recommend.
The Innocent Man by John Grisham - I'm not a Grisham fan to begin with but this is a true crime book so I thought I'd give it a try. It's very flat. Might be the writing. Might be the narrator. Eventually I just looked up the story on the web.
Save Me From Dangerous Men by S. A. Lelchuk - This should be a really good book and it does have great reviews but I couldn't take it. The main character is a woman who dispenses vigilante justice and is able to fend off men twice her size, even when there are 3 of them because 2 of them just stand back and watch. Meanwhile she owns a book store and is broadly self-educated and is developing a love interest with a Berkeley professor. This book is getting rave reviews so you might like it. Kick ass women are very much in literary vogue even if they are completely unrealistic.
By Davis McCullough, Read By David McCullough
I usually love McCullough's books but this isn't one of his finest. I believe that it's a collection of magazine articles about various historical people. Some were interesting and some were really boring.
We selected this to listen to in the car on the way home from our trip. We ended up skipping several chapters and gave up near the end. He narrated the book and that probably wasn't a wise decision. The whole thing was a kind of a ramble with a few interesting characters interspersed.
Good Calories, Bad Calories
By Gary Taubes
Last month I shared the book Bad Science by this same author. After reading that one I was anxious to read this one. I was not disappointed. This is such an incredibly well researched book! There are over 100 pages just of footnote references!
If you struggle with metabolic disease, weight control or heart disease I think you would find this book very interesting and helpful. It's a very long read at over 400 pages but it was so worth it to find out that all of out current dietary recommendations from the government and other health agencies, like the American Heart Association, are wrong and not based on actual research science. "Science" as it's practiced now is a total disgrace and waste of money.
The Good Nurse
By Charles Graeber, Read By Will Collyer
Don't read this if you are going into the hospital any time soon! This is the story of Charlie Cullen, probably the most prolific serial killer in US history. He worked as a nurse for 16 years in 9 hospitals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Graeber did a ton of research for this book and it's a riveting tale. Look up Charlie Cullen in Wikipedia to see if you think you might like to read this story.
What Alice Forgot
By Liane Moriarty, Read By Lovatt-Smith, Tamara
Alice is 29 and pregnant with her first child when she collapses at the gym. At the hospital she discovers that she is actually 39, has 3 children and is getting a divorce. She's lost 10 years of her memory.
This isn't my favorite genre, but this one held my interest. It's interesting to ponder what you might change of you put your mindset from 10 years ago to the events of today.
Simon The Fiddler
By Paulette Jiles, Read By Grover Gardner
I'm not sure why I even tried this book because I didn't like News of The World. This one was actually better. It's about Simon (a fiddler) and his life after the Civil War. It was pretty good but it took a long time to get into it and get invested in the characters. It seemed that just as I got really involved in the story that it abruptly ended.
Little Fires Everywhere
By Celeste Ng, Read By Jennifer Lim
The Richardson family is nice, wealthy family in Shaker Heights, OH and the lease an apartment to Mia Warren and her teen daughter, Pearl. Mia is a single mother and artist. Pearl, in a very unrealistic storyline, becomes heavily involved with the lives of the Richardson children. Meanwhile, Mia, who apparently has never cooked a real meal in her life, becomes the Richardson's maid and cook.
I didn't like it and I didn't hate it. It was a very low energy story. The characters and the storyline were predictable and it could probably be classified as a young adult book. I think it might have appealed to the teenage me more than the old lady me. I expect that the TV version expanded more on the adult female characters and made the story more appealing for an adult audience.
The Midwife of Hope River
By Patricia Harman, Read By Ann Witman
Patience Murphy is a midwife working in Appalachia during the Depression. She has secrets from her past and doubts about her abilities, blah, blah, blah.
I did finish this book but I didn't love it. To me it was a cozy mystery version of historical fiction. "Insurmountable" difficulties were easily overcome, including a lame attack from the KKK.
How Stella Learned To Talk
By Christina Hunger, Read By Ann Marie Gideon
I normally would not have picked this book up simply because it's only 7 hours long. But Laceflower recommended it last month (and I always check out the books you recommend) and it was available free at the library.
The I proceeded to listen to it all in one day.
Christina Hunger is a speech pathologist and works primarily with non-verbal children. When she got Stella as a puppy she noticed that Stella signaled in a way similar to non-verbal children and she wondered if shoe could teach Stella to talk with a device in the same way that she teaches children to talk with devices. It's a cool story.
You can find videos of Stella online if you want to see her in action before reading the book. Apparently there are now a lot of products to help you train your dog to talk.
By Lou Berney, Read By Johnathan McClain
This book was refreshingly different than most of what I've read in the past few months. The book opens with the assassination of JFK in 1963.
Frank Guidry has been working for a mob boss in New Orleans and the day of the assassination he realizes that he may have played a part in the deed and he knows that everyone associated with it is going to be killed.
Meanwhile in Oklahoma, Charlotte has 2 daughters and an alcoholic husband. One night she decides that she's fed up and packs to leave. She's heading West to California.
Frank sees Charlotte and her daughters broken down on the side of the road. When he comes upon them again in town he decides that they should travel together. It will provide some protection for her and cover for him. But the road is also a trail for the people searching for him.
It's a dark and gritty tale with great characters. The ending was a little abrupt for me but I get it, it had to end the way it did. Id' read more of his books. The audio version includes a podcast interview with the author where he shares more information on how the book and characters developed.
By Michael Robotham, Read By Sean Barrett
Thanks to my friend, Chris, for reminding me to get back into this series. Joe O'Laughlin is a therapist with his own problems (divorce and Parkinson's disease). One of his patients, Marnie Logan, has bigger problems. Her husband went missing 13 months ago and left behind gambling debts that she must repay and she feels like she's being watched.
These books always feature some crazed psychopath so if you aren't into psychopaths this isn't the series for you. I couldn't put it down.
By Ann Cleeves, Read By Julia Franklin
This is the second installment in the Vera Stanhope series. I read the first one last month and mostly liked it. This one just didn't do it for me.
The story is about a murder that occurred in this little town 10 years ago. One of the victim's friends, a teenage girl, was convicted of the murder. She's been offered parole if she will just accept responsibility and show some remorse. She holds to her position that she is innocent. Realizing that she will never get out of jail, she commits suicide. Then suddenly someone comes forth with proof that she was not even in town the day of the murder.
Enter Vera Stanhope to investigate. Everyone has lots to hide including the original investigator.
I don't know why but this book just didn't interest me at all. It took forever to really develop and I had trouble keeping up with all of the bland characters. I doubt I'll read any others in this series.
9/30/2021 11:08:21 am
My win this month is 'The Beauty of Living Twice' by Sharon Stone, read by SS. She has had an interesting life and a glimpse into real hollywood stuff as well as very well narrated by herself. Thanks for your recs, I've put a few on hold.
10/1/2021 08:04:39 am
I have Good Calories, Bad Calories now on hold from the library. Thanks for the recommendation!
10/2/2021 05:37:27 pm
I just finished The Rose Code by Kate Quinn and liked it.
10/3/2021 06:34:26 pm
As usual one or two of these are going on my wish list at the library. Thanks Vicki!
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I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.