Recent Reading and teeny tiny reviews

June 2012

  1. Holy Ghost Girl: A Memoir by Donna Johnson
  2. Gilded Age by Claire McMillan
  3. The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits
  4. BUST DIY Guide to Life
  5. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
  6. Bombay Time by Thrity Umrigar
  7. Between You and Me
  8. The Mother Daughter Show
  9. Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline
  10. Inside: A Novel by Alix Ohlin
  11. What Happened to Sophie Wilder by Chris Beha
  12. Canada by Richard Ford
  13. Snobs by Julian Fellowes
  14. The Most Beautiful Villages in Tuscany

May 2012

  1. Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips- another funny Brit. Loved this
  2. Would it Kill You to Stop Doing That? by Henry Alford- funny look at etiquette
  3. Winter Palace by Eva Stachniak- new series about Catherine the Great
  4. Gunn's Golden Rules by Tim Gunn- humorous
  5. Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman- Wow. Scary and creepy
  6. Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison- Strong start then meanders
  7. The Listeners by Leni Zumas- reviewed
  8. The Submission by Amy Waldman- loved
  9. Money Class by Suze Orman- interesting info but uses her tag line until you want to throw up
  10. The Most Dangerous Thing by Laura Lippman
  11. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
  12. Seven Seasons in Siena by Robert Rodi- meh, not what I was expecting
  13. The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay- the plot became one of the lost things.

April 2012

  1. Silk by Rupert James- fun chick lit raunchy
  2. Silver Girl by Erin Hilderbrand- ficitionalized look at what Bernie Madoff's life is doing now
  3. Mink River by Brian Doyle- unusual and beautiful
  4. Beaton in Vogue by Josephine Ross- Glorious, gorgeous, sigh.
  5. More Than You Know by Penny Vincenzi - not one of her best. Tedious child character.
  6. Ed King by David Guterson- Twisted and hilarious
  7. Girl Unmoored by Jennifer Hummer- beautiful story mired in too much prose.
  8. The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani- very good multi-generational tale but ending fell flat.
  9. Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson- hilarious memoir
  10. Insatiable by Marne Davis Kellogg- one of her earlier works, not as good.
  11. Sky of Red Poppies by Zohren Ghahremani- nicely written story of two girls in 1960s Iran.

March 2012

  1. Believing the Lie by Elizabeth George- love Inspector Lynley but this was not one of the best
  2. If Today Be Sweet by Thrity Umrigar- one of my favorite go-to authors. Always does a beautiful job
  3. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles- very well done- looking forward to what he does next
  4. 11/22/63 by Stephen King- Love loved it!
  5. The Job Search Solution by Tony Beshara- useful but am very tired of reading these books. No job.
  6. Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close- almost there but ultimately a miss
  7. The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate- OK. Biggest take-away is that you can't help a junkie. Never.
  8. I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron- funny but getting too cranky
  9. Anthropology of an American Girl by Hilary Hamann- horribly overworked
  10. Close Your Eyes by Amanda Ward- murder mystery but so much more
  11. The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford- couldn't live up to the title

February 2012

  1. The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard- no. Didn't work for me at all
  2. Bespoke by Richard Anderson- fascinating look at the world of Savile Row tailoring
  3. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach- loved this, review to follow
  4. I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella- another fun bit of chick lit 
  5. When She Woke by Hillary Jordan- Wow, Wow, and wow. Dystopian America, almost doesn't feel like fiction
  6. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad- there's a reason why it's a classic. Read it.
  7. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh- painful beautiful debut novel
  8. Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue- realistic fiction on life for young women in England in the 1700s
  9. Sarah's Key byTatiana de Rosnay- meh. Strong plot premise weak execution
  10. The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman- no one writes about women the way she does. Powerful
  11. Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen- Book 1 of her second series. So far not as good as the first one
  12. Another Woman by Penny Vincenzi- British women's writer somewhere between fluff and substance. Love her books, great plots
  13. The Weight of Heaven by Thrity Umrigar- deep sigh when this one ended. Grief spirals out of control for this man and begets more grief.

January 2012

  1. Death in Summer by William Trevor- love everything he writes- this is no exception
  2. The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton- more wealthy Americans marrying Brits at the turn of the century.
  3. The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian- creepy ghost story
  4. This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman- slice of modern family life
  5. The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta- wrote review
  6. Off-Balance by Matthew Kelly- interesting guide to finding life satisfaction
  7. The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar- beautiful look at the lives of a wealthy Parsi woman and her poor Hindu maid.
  8. The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin-  Henry Jamesian look at what happens to wealthy Americans who want to marry royalty
  9. Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory- Book 3 in the Cousins War
  10. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra- marvelous. I was SO ready for this book

December 2011
  1. Birds of Paradise by Diana Abu-Jaber- gorgeous
  2. Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie- good escape read
  3. The Piano Man's Daughter by Timothy Findley- fascinating story
  4. 40 Love by Madeleine Wickham- fast paced and funny
  5. Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland- always wonderful to read good fiction AND learn something
  6. Before Versailles by Karleen Koen- loved this! Historical fiction at its best.
  7. Glaciers by Alexis Smith- OK. More of a short story than a novel. 
  8. David Golder, The Ball, Snow in Autumn by Irene Nemirovsky- wonderful short stories
  9. Faking It by Jennifer Crusie- great characters, lots of plot. A fun read.

November 2011
  1. With Friends Like These by Sally Koslow- witty insightful novel about friends
  2. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides- good read
  3. The Gatecrasher by Madeleine Wickham- funny chick lit
  4. Cousin Bette by Honore de Balzac- great trashy novel masquerading as literature
  5. Nowhere Near Normal: A Memoir of OCD by Traci Foust- amazing writer but intense reading
  6. Friends in High Places by Marne Kellogg- more Kick Keswick and I'm still loving every minute
  7. The Goddess of Vengeance by Jackie Collins- it's Jackie Collins. Nuff said.
  8. Blood Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton- as gifted with the word as she is with food. Delicious reading
  9. Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan- Irish Catholic intergenerational drama, drama, drama
  10. Thunder and Lightening: Cracking Open the Writer's Craft by Natalie Goldberg
  11. Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky- stunning
  12. Priceless by Marne Kellogg- still loving her, great plot and luxury

October 2011

  1. His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman-  thoroughly enjoyed until the end when it got a bit cheesy
  2. Perfect by Marne Kellogg- still loving her! Pure enjoyment
  3. Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen- regardless of subject this is one of my go-to authors; never fails to deliver.
  4. Lit by Mary Karr- turns the English language inside out. So strong.
  5. Brilliant by Marne Davis Kellogg- fabulous, I'm a new fan
  6. The Last Lie by Stephen White- most recent Alan Gregory novel. As good as always.
  7. Room for Improvement by Stacey Ballis- another chick lit author. Funny.
  8. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain- fictional look at life with Hemingway in Paris. Nice way with words.
  9. The Silence in the Garden by William Trevor- greatest Irish writer out there. Prose as poetry.
  10. Holy Cow by Sarah McDonald- fun and fascinating look at year spent living in India
  11. Confetti Confidential by Holly McQueen- fun fluff
  12. Floor Sample by Julia Cameron- memoir from a writing guru. What a life.
  13. The Heart of the Revolution by Noah Levine- great relatable writer of Buddhist teachings

September 2011

  1. Concierge Confidential by Michael Fazio- tell-all about working at the InterContinental hotel
  2. Inventing the Rest of Our Lives: Women in Second Adulthood by Suzanne Braun Levine- outstanding
  3. Social Lives by Wendy Walker- ugh. Tiny plot twist at end did not make this worth reading; badly written throughout
  4. The Social Climber's Handbook by Molly Jong-Fast- amusing
  5. Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery- prequel to Hedgehog. Lyrical writing about food and life.
  6. Under the Table by Katherine Darling- interesting look at life in culinary school
  7. War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy- groan. I did it but will not deny that I skipped an est. 100 pages about war because I forgot I don't like reading about war.
  8. Three Stages of Amazement by Carol Edgarian- all right but prose tried too hard

August 2011
  1. Little Pink Slips by Sally Koslow- chick lit, readable 
  2. The First Husband by Laura Dave- good not great. If there was a deeper message re: relationships, I missed it.
  3. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton- great storytelling- lots of twists and turns neatly tied up w/ a bow at the end. Loved it!
  4. The Bake-Off by Beth Kendrick- fun frothy
  5. Rodin's Debutante by Ward Just- disjointed, flat, and distant. Couldn't connect with the theme or characters
  6. The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer- fell flat for me
  7. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery- stunningly wonderful
  8. The Whole World Over by Julia Glass- complex, beautiful, life

July 2011

  1. The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse- meh, not so new ghost story
  2. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan- amazing
  3. Dreams of Joy by Lisa See- great continuation of Shanghai Girls. Well done
  4. If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster- funny first attempt at fiction
  5. Blame by Michelle Huneven- interesting premise but the writing did not grab me
  6. The Stoning of Soraya M by Freidoune Sahebjam- you might want to believe it's fiction but it's not. It's real and it continues to happen in Iran.
  7. Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian- wonderfully drawn characters and a plot that may not go the way you think it will
  8. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie- one of the greatest storytellers of our time
  9. Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller by Judith Thurman- wonderfully written biography
  10. Feminista by Erica Kennedy- OK, not great

June 2011

  1. The Pale King by David Foster Wallace- borderline excruciating. review to follow
  2. Jackie As Editor by Greg Lawrence- Jackie w/ a job
  3. Rich Boy by Sharon Pomerantz- good up until the end then unsatisfying
  4. Buddha by Deepak Chopra- rounds out my spiritual leader reading and was my favorite. Beautifully done.
  5. An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin- erudite and funny
  6. Under the Tuscan  Sun by Frances Mayes- liked did not love. Her writing style is a bit odd- no flow.
  7. Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster- can't really add anything that I haven't already said. She makes me laugh!
  8. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins- well done but just 'too' for me. Too intense, depressing, and gory.
  9. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness- England, books, vampires, witches. Bring it on!
  10. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins- good good good! Scary and chock full of surprises.
  11. Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment by Deepak Chopra- fictional accounting of the missing years. Thought provoking

May 2011
  1. Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster- still funny and it actually made me think about getting in shape (for a minute).
  2. The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman- very good story; especially loved the antique cookbooks aspect
  3. Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff- fascinating, well researched book about a woman whom very little was truly known.
  4. The Secrets Of Jin-Shei by Alma Anderson- story of 6 friends set in a mythical place in China. Very good.
  5. A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life by Bethenney Frankel- a bit of oversell (wild exaggeration) in the title but some interesting ideas
  6. As Husbands Go by Susan Isaacs- seems odd to use murder and hilarious in the same sentence but that sums up this book!
  7. Elizabeth I by Margaret George- well written historical fiction of Elizabeth's later years
  8. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins- thoroughly enjoyed but so dark for young readers- I may be out of touch on what they read.
  9. Pounding the Pavement by Jennifer van der Kwast- her name is longer than the book. The job search stuff is funny but the rest doesn't quite add up.

April 2011

  1. Bright Lights Big Ass by Jen Lancaster- still funny
  2. Wait for Me! by Deborah Mitford- wonderful recollections of an amazing life in the British aristocracy
  3. The Bostonians by Henry James- interesting and frustrating from the perspective of today's women
  4. Strangers at the Feast by Jennifer Vanderbes- 3rd great book in a row! Wonderfully insightful take on family dynamics
  5. The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard Morais- loved, loved and one more time- loved!
  6. Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey- wow. more to follow
  7. Momzillas by Jill Kargman- I get the whole rich hip NYC thing but do they really say 'convo' instead of conversation? Not interesting.
  8. The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl- great mystery, well written

March 2011
  1. Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster- damn funny even though it hits a bit too close to home
  2. Muhammad: A Story of the Last Prophet by Deepak Chopra- fascinating as I knew nothing about his life or the beginnings of Islam.
  3. Bread and Dreams by Jonatha Ceely- what a lovely surprise! Beautifully written and a good story.
  4. The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of his Friend Marilyn Monroe by Andrew O'Hagan- book all right except I don't like dogs and so can't believe they have any thoughts remotely this complex.
  5. The Help by Kathryn Stockett- overhyped. I liked but not loved.
  6. Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray- fictional perspective on what happens to Cleopatra's children. OK
  7. 4 Blondes by Candace Bushnell-Candace being Candace but I need sorbet after making it through Freedom
  8. Holly's Inbox: Scandal in the City by Holly Denham- meh. One of those books that makes me think I really out to write a book
  9. The True Memoirs of Little K by Adrienne Sharp- I'm not surprised to see that Sharp was a ballerina as her prose floats over the page with the same grace and elegance a dancer does on the stage.
  10. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen- better than expected. review to follow

February 2011
  1. Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian- all right but not one of my favorites
  2. The Fall of Giants by Ken Follett- another really good story, could not stop reading and am ready for book 2
  3. The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope- love love this book. More to follow in blog
  4. Trading Up by Candace Bushnell- do you really need me to say anything? It's exactly what you think but she does it well.

January 2011
  1. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding- I tried I really did but this is one 18th century author who could not keep my attention. Gave up halfway through. Sorry.
  2. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender- another wow. reviewed in 1/29 post
  3. The Lady Matador's Hotel by Cristina Garcia- poetical and political, very nicely done
  4. How to Buy a Love of Reading by Tanya Egan Gibson- intelligent author but a bit too tied up in the prose which may just be a device as one of her characters has the same problem. meh
  5. Every Last One by Anna Quindlen- wow. Beautiful. Powerful
  6. Sunset Park by Paul Auster- it's Auster, it's NYC, it's angst
  7. Adam & Eve by Sena Jeter Neslund- Ahab's Wife is still my favorite but this is an interesting take on Genesis and all that the creation story evokes.
  8. The Girl in the Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold- fiction but reminds me once again that male creative talent is often accompanied by a complete lack of moral compass.
  9. Elena by Thomas Cook- read for the second time after 10 years. Very well written fictional look at the life of an author. The kind of book where you often want to underline sentences even if you don't love the book as a whole.
  10. Hush by Kate White- thriller suspense but not that well done. Found typos and grammatical errors which I really hate.

December 2010
  1. Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger- more chick lit
  2. Fabulously Fashionable by Holly McQueen- chick lit
  3. My Hollywood by Mona Simpson- I've never been a nanny, mother or lived the Hollywood life but her writing is so real you are sucked completely into each characters life. Beautifully written. 
  4. Fragile by Lisa Unger
  5. The Glamourous (Double) Life of Isabel Bookbinder by Holly McQueen- pretty much sums up (with hilarious humor) my take on how to become a best selling author- except that she did it and I never will.
  6. Remembering Laughter by Wallace Stegner- his first novel. Spare, stark, stripped of all extraneous prose. Gorgeous and a clear forecast of the work that lay ahead.
  7. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
  8. Peony in Love by Lisa See- a great tale of love loss, culture, the after life and redemption. Prose you could visualize as if watching a grand opera.
  9. A Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok- one of those works of fiction that hurts because even knowing that it is so wrong it does go on every day in America.

November 2010
  1. A Stolen Tongue by Sheri Holman
  2. A Desirable Residence by Madeleine Wickham
  3. The Last Talk with Lola Faye by Thomas Cook- OK but not one of his best.
  4. Room by Emily Donoghue- Wow. So odd and foreign and at moments beyond imagining but ultimately human.  
  5. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell- one of my favorite authors but not my favorite work (my problem, I'm not sure anything tops Cloud Atlas)