Posts tagged ‘books’

January 17, 2014

Reading Update (September 24-December 31, 2013)

Boy howdy, have I really not done a reading update since September?! Shocking.

I read some good books in that chunk of time, and the total for 2013 was 137 books. Not record-breaking (especially with all those picture books), but more than I expected.

  1. Widows and Orphans by Susan Meissner – Weak.
  2. The Book of Common Prayer Daily Devotional – I was reading it every day, and then I became impatient and read the whole rest of it in like 9 days.
  3. Irish Tenure by Ralph McIrney – Not bad.
  4. Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle – Delightful.
  5. Die Trying (Jack Reacher #2) by Lee Child – I rather like Jack Reacher, it happens.
  6. The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff – I was a bit disappointed.
  7. Rutland Place (Thomas & Charlotte Pitt #5) by Anne Perry – Love.
  8. Bluegate Fields (Thomas & Charlotte Pitt #6) by Anne Perry – Also really good.
  9. Tripwire (Jack Reacher #3) by Lee Child – Yay Jack Reacher!
  10. The Subversive Copy Editor by Carol Fisher Saller – Loved it, grammar geek that I am.
  11. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith – JK Rowling really did quite a good job on this one.
  12. Death in the Devil’s Acre (Thomas & Charlotte Pitt #7) by Anne Perry – Not my favorite Thomas & Charlotte Pitt, truth be told.
  13. To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander – Fine. Liked A Lasting Impression much better though.
  14. The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry – Slightly better than eh.
  15. Running Blind (Jack Reacher #7) by Lee Child
  16. The Big Over Easy (Nursery Crimes #1) by Jasper Fforde – I like Fforde’s off-beat crime novels, but I seem to tire of them once the novelty wears off.
  17. Echo Burning (Jack Reacher #8) by Lee Child
  18. Cardington Crescent (Thomas & Charlotte Pitt #8) by Anne Perry
  19. These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf
  20. Eldest (Inheritance Cycle #2) by Christopher Paolini – This was great. Can’t believe it took me more than 6 years to finally pick up this second book (which I owned!) – really excellent.
  21. The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins – Had to reread after seeing Catching Fire. Loved, again.
  22. Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins – Loved better this second time around.
  23. Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins – Finally really appreciated this one.
  24. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis – I think this was my 3rd read-through.
  25. Old Man Winter: The New Season by Bethany Burke – This picture book has beautiful colored pencil illustrations.
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January 13, 2014

Love is holy because it is like grace – the worthiness of its object is never really what matters.

Marilynne Robinson, Gilead, 209

September 24, 2013

Reading Update (31 March – 23 September)

There are a lot of these. Fifty-one, to be exact.

Ok. Here we go. Most of these have notes. Some of them do not. One universal concept you can keep in mind is that I always love Agatha Christie.

There are probably altogether too many words in this post. Oh well.

  1. Future Grace by John Piper – very good
  2. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – On my b-i-l‘s “favorite books” list, so I had to read it. Not on my “favorite books” list, but that’s ok. It was definitely worth the read.
  3. Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie
  4. Marianna May and Nursey by Tomie dePaola – This is the beginning of a run of picture books. This one was not so great
  5. The Clown of God: An Old Story Told and Illustrated by Tomie dePaola – Another picture book. I thought I liked Tomie dePaola. I guess I was wrong.
  6. The Song of Francis by Tomie dePaola – Another picture book. This one was weird too.
  7. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling – I’ve heard about this one since I was seven. Now that I’ve read it, I can safely say it does not live up to the hype.
  8. Fly High, Fly Low by Don Freeman – Another picture book. I’m pretty sure I love Don Freeman.
  9. Will’s Quill: or, How a Goose Saved Shakespeare by Don Freeman – Another picture book. This one is very cute.
  10. Manuelo the Playing Mantis by Don Freeman – Another picture book. Now I KNOW I love Don Freeman.
  11. Be Gentle with the Dog, Dear! By Matthew J. Baek – Another picture book. I need to get this one for my nephew Brad. He likes to pounce on Westley.
  12. Half a Pig by Allan Ahlberg – Another picture book. It was kinda weird.
  13. Monsieur Saguette & His Baguette by Frank Asch – Another picture book. Yay for teensy bits of French.
  14. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl – I kind of get why this one is beloved.
  15. James & the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl – Eh.
  16. Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger – Eh (disappointingly)
  17. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien – LOVE.
  18. Inside Out by Larry Crabb – Sanctification ain’t easy, chaps, but it’s good.
  19. On Beauty by Zadie Smith – I did not like this book. Occasionally disturbing and gross.
  20. The Killing Floor by Lee Child – Hello, Jack Reacher. I think I love you.
  21. Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield – SO AWESOME.
  22. Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie
  23. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck – This is so depressing. SO. DEPRESSING.
  24. The Pact by Jennifer Sturman – Clever, wry, and suspenseful.
  25. Writing Jane Austen by Elizabeth Aston – You have to suspend your disbelief a little bit for this one, but it is SO fun. If you love Jane Austen and wish you could read Pride and Prejudice or Mansfield Park or Sense and Sensibility for the first time all over again, this book is what you’ve been looking for.
  26. Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture by Adam S. McHugh – Read this aloud to my brother and dad on our roadtrip this summer. (Of course, right? The extrovert is reading the book OUT LOUD to the introverts.) It was really good and profound and thought-provoking. Oh, and apparently I’m like 70% introvert, 70% extrovert. Which is confusing.
  27. The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Tim Keller – Excellent, quick read.
  28. Christians Get Depressed Too by David Murray
  29. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry – Glad I read it; glad I’m done.
  30. Susanna Wesley by Charles Ludwig – I loved this book when I was a kid. I wanted to be like Susanna Wesley in many ways. She was a pretty awesome lady.
  31. The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien – FINALLY. (Also – LOVE.)
  32. The Ghosts of Cape May: Book One by Craig McManus – I think someone should write a collection of ghost stories who actually thinks they’re interesting as folklore and cultural artifacts. This is not that book. Dude is a medium and has lots of channeling sessions and this book is just creepy.
  33. The Cater Street Hangman (Thomas & Charlotte Pitt No. 1) by Anne Perry – Hello, new series. I love you.
  34. Are Women Human? Penetrating, Sensible, and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society by Dorothy L. Sayers – This was a 100% worthy reread. Sayers is spectacular.
  35. The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson – Living in North Korea sucks. Want to really feel the weight of that? Read this book.
  36. The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories by Agatha Christie
  37. The Charming Quirks of Others (Isabel Dalhousie No. 7) by Alexander McCall Smith – At the behest of a dear friend, jumped straight into book 7 of this series and adored it, which surprised me since the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series bores me to Snoozeville.
  38. Wise Words: Family Stories That Bring Proverbs to Life by Peter Leithart – This is a horrible book. Some theologians should NEVER try to write fiction.
  39. When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy by John Piper – Very good.
  40. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen – You know what I think about this one.
  41. Callander Square (Thomas & Charlotte Pitt No. 2) by Anne Perry
  42. Paragon Walk (Thomas & Charlotte Pitt No. 3) by Anne Perry
  43. The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White – Excellent. (I’m such a nerd.)
  44. See Delphi and Die (Marcus Didius Falco No. 17) by Lindsey Davis
  45. Resurrection Row (Thomas & Charlotte Pitt No. 4) by Anne Perry – By this point in the series, I am quite determined to own all of them. Because they are that good.
  46. Noah’s Rainy Day (Liv Bergen No. 4) by Sandra Brannan – This is a raw, gritty series, but I really appreciate it. About 40% of this particular book is narrated by a boy with severe cerebral palsy. Masterful work.
  47. Crown of Fire (Firebird No. 3) by Kathy Tyers
  48. The Sunday Philosophers Club (Isabel Dalhousie No. 1) by Alexander McCall Smith
  49. Decked by Carol Higgins Clark – Cute and cozy; brings to mind Agatha Christie’s travel mysteries – a slight twist on your traditional, run-of-the-mill locked room mystery.
  50. The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – Excellent, if you go in for magical realism.
  51. The Lost Books of the Odyssey by Zachary Mason – I liked this by the end, but I’m still confused about why it was written.
September 21, 2013

A Few Things

1. God apparently agrees with me that there should be more babies in my life. So many of my friends and acquaintances are pregnant. YAY!

2. I have decided to make a playlist for my trip to upstate NY next week that is exclusively songs I listened to before sophomore year of college. (Now taking recommendations…)

3. I just started my own college admissions consulting business! Check it out at http://www.ljohnsonconsultingllc.com. 

4. I am currently reading book #111 of the year. That means I reallllllllly need to update you guys on what I’ve been reading. 

5. My dog is awfully snuggly tonight. Image

May 30, 2013

The Next 37: An Annotated Bibliography

So I’ve been putting this off because I’m reading David Copperfield and it’s taking me SO LONG, but I wanted to be able to put it on this list. But I can’t. So here it is, as it stands today.

  1. A Pocket Full of Rye (Agatha Christie) – This one is quite clever.
  2. Into the Wild (Warriors Book 1) (Erin Hunter) – I read this because it has been such a successful series in children’s literature of late. I did not expect fighting clans of wild warrior cats would be interesting, but in the hands of Erin Hunter, they are.
  3. Flood Summer (Trenton Lee Stewart) – Boy, if anyone ever started out in the wrong genre, it’s Trenton Lee Stewart. His children’s books (you may have heard of them – The Mysterious Benedict Society series) are brilliant, delightful, and timeless. Flood Summer, on the other hand, nearly killed me. It’s not that it’s a bad story, or that it’s badly written, or that the characters are flat – I think if it had been by someone I’d never heard of, I would have been more pleased. But knowing what Stewart can do gave me high hopes. Alas.
  4. Snow White Must Die (Nele Neuhaus) – Classic small town mystery story. Or is it?
  5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky) – I think I was distracted by all the drugs.
  6. The Casual Vacancy (J.K. Rowling) – Fine, if a bit rambly. Lacked the universality of Harry Potter, and every single one of the characters was pitiable for a good chunk of the story.
  7. The Serial Killers Club (Jeff Povey) – It was fine. I’m surprised it hasn’t been done before (at least to my knowledge), although Dexter kind of fills this niche a little.
  8. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (John le Carre) – Very good. Why haven’t I been read le Carre before?
  9. Mr. Parker Pyne, Detective (Agatha Christie) – I’m a huge Christie fan, but if Parker Pyne is a detective, I’m the keynote speaker at the American Glassblowers Association summit in Nome, Alaska next summer.
  10. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (JK Rowling) – It’s at this point in the story that I realize I cannot possibly pick a favorite book, let alone character.
  11. The Hangman’s Daughter (Oliver Potzsch) – Fine. I liked the “young love” romance angle. The size of the story’s tangled web was a little silly.
  12. Good Dog! (Steve Dale) – This little ebook was full of great advice, and as a first-time sighthound owner, I appreciated the nuances of Dale’s approach. “Breeding will out,” as they say – and I think particularly that’s the case with animal breeds.
  13. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (JK Rowling) – Love.
  14. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (JK Rowling) – Also love. This was my first time to read the whole series through since the first time, right around when this 7th book came out. It doesn’t get old.
  15. Firebird (Firebird Trilogy #1) (Kathy Tyers) – Read this for the first time in high school. Not be the best sci-fi out there, but I think it’s pretty good.
  16. Leaving Everything Most Loved (Maisie Dobbs #10) (Jacqueline Winspear) – To my thinking, this is the weakest so far of the Maisie Dobbs series. I feel about Maisie like I do about Stephanie Plum in Janet Evanovich’s bestselling series – MAKE A DECISION YOU ARE KILLING ME HERE. Being in limbo for multiple books on the same decision makes a character begin to feel dull.
  17. Fusion Fire (Firebird Trilogy #1) (Kathy Tyers) – The sequel to Firebird; not as strong as it’s predecessor.
  18.  Galahad: Enough of His Life to Explain His Reputation (John Erskine) – Hilarious, if you’re an Arthurian legend junkie.
  19. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America (Erik Larson) – Absolutely fascinating. Talk about a chunk of history I had only the vaguest clue about. I’m sure not everyone would go in for a story about the rise of Chicago, architecture, personal politics, and a serial killer, but, man, I thought it was great. And apparently so have millions of other readers.
  20. The Accusers (Marcus Didius Falco #15) (Lindsey Davis) – Books like this are the payoff for sticking with a series for a long time. Fantastic.
  21. The Gates of Zion (Zion Chronicles #1) (Bodie Thoene) – I read this series, and most of the connected series, in middle and early high school (starting in 5th grade). I was completely obsessed. If you and I went to elementary or middle school together, you might even remember what the covers look like, simply because of me! (Note: No, you are not remembering wrong. The cover didn’t look back then like it does in the edition they are selling now.) Rereading this book made me embarrassed for my 5th grade self. There is so much kissing! And the theology is kind of wack! And the people are bizarre caricatures of actual human beings! And there is so much kissing! And the plot is silly! And there is so much kissing! And the writing is not very good! And there is so much kissing! I decided that I owed it to my 5th grade self to finish the book I had so loved, but then abandoned the series, hopefully forever. (Another note: I am by no means opposed to kissing. But HOLY COW.)
  22. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (Agatha Christie) – After reading The Gates of Zion, I needed my faith in fiction restored. This book helped.
  23. Scandal Takes a Holiday (Marcus Didius Falco #16) (Lindsey Davis) – So did this.
  24. Tuck Everlasting (Natalie Babbitt) – I finally get what the fuss is about with this book. Not my favorite, but not all good books are.
  25. The Singer (Singer Trilogy Book 1) (Calvin Miller) – HOLY COW. I read this in third grade, and apparently (understandably) DID NOT UNDERSTAND ALL THE TRINITARIAN AND CHRISTOLOGICAL HERESIES being voiced here. In the words of El Guapo, “a plethora.” I think that probably, Miller is extremely orthodox, but since he was trying to write an epic poem (which had some more minor theological problems, btw), he got all kinds of “creative” with describing the Trinity and wound up voicing tons of different heresies, one right after another in many cases. Poor guy was trying to 1) explain the ineffable and 2) was using language long-since trashed by the church councils in the, you know, 4th century AD. Good times.
  26. A Lasting Impression (Tamera Alexander) – This was just fun historical fiction, with some mystery, some romance, and some art. I may be a terrible painter/sketcher/sculptor, but I sure do love art, and reading about art and artists. Oh, and it’s set in Nashville, in a real house, and stays true to the real character of its mistress at the time.
  27. Touch & Go (Lisa Gardner) – Typical of the DD Warren books, this one barely featured the series’s eponymous character and was quite engaging. I like this series so much better than the FBI Profiler series she did before.
  28. Bossypants (Tina Fey) – Good. Worth the read.
  29. Behind the Scenes at the Museum (Kate Atkinson) – I think somewhere along the way I got in my head that Kate Atkinson and Kate Morton are sort of similar. This is NOT the case. At all. I think I will stop reading Kate Atkinson. I just am not that into her style. If you liked The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise, it might be your sort of thing.
  30. Far in the Wilds (Deanna Raybourn) – This novella served as backstory for her then-soon-to-be-released new novel, A Spear of Summer Grass. It did a decent job of that, and I appreciated that backstory when I read the actual book (see below).
  31. A Spear of Summer Grass (Deanna Raybourn) – Let me go out of my way to say how much I like Deanna Raybourn as a person and an author; in fact, it’s safe to say she is my favorite living novelist. BUT. This book. I did not like it. It was interesting – Raybourn always does copious amounts of research, and doesn’t let her characters do anything unless she has proof it was done by someone, at least, in that time period. I learned some very interesting things about English imperialism and the colonization of Africa. BUT. When a book revels in debauchery, I have a hard time liking it. And I felt like this book reveled. And the redeeming qualities in the main characters, while valuable and important traits, were just insufficient to make up for the hot mess that was sprawling throughout the book. (And by “hot,” I mean both sexy – as in sex-related – and very warm. After all, it is Africa.) Bring back Lady Julia. (Raybourn is, never fear.)
  32. Murder Is Binding (Lorna Barrett) – This book is Exhibit B of the “cozy mystery” genre. (Exhibit A would have to be either a Father Brown story or a Miss Marple, no question.) In my opinion, it was a little too cozy and cute.
  33. The Mind of the Maker (Dorothy Sayers) – If I didn’t already adore Dorothy Sayers for Lord Peter Wimsey, or for Are Women Human?, or for “The Lost Tools of Learning,” this book would have demanded my adoration of her. This was so good. In contrast to The Singer (#22 on this list), Sayers writes a long, complicated, extended metaphor of the Trinity, and specifically for the type of reader most likely to understand it best – artists. And I think that it’s the best metaphor for explaining the Trinity I’ve ever heard of, except maybe a triangle (which is nice and simple because everybody can grasp the concept of a triangle). I know that the intention of this book is not to teach people to write – or create any type of art – but it sort of does help with that, particularly if you are interested in “theology of ____” type things (in this case, creative work). Also, Madeleine L’Engle’s introduction is delightful.
  34. Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking #3) (Patrick Ness) – Ness shines here, closing out his trilogy with a really well-thought-out plot, and world, really. I was pleased, especially as book 2 (The Ask and the Answer) had not lived up to the promise of book 1 (The Knife of Never Letting Go). This is in the same genre as The Hunger Games, but I think is thought-provoking in a more personal way. The Hunger Games makes you think about society and government; this trilogy makes you think about yourself as a person, and how we as individuals try to hide from each other. Some of that is, I think, ok – privacy is not a bad thing per se – but there is much in our application of it that looks more like Adam and Eve hiding in the Garden when God comes for their daily walk, dressing up in fig leaves and feeling so alienated and alone.
  35. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (Stephen King) – I loved it. Loved it loved it. Marked it up like crazy. And have begun writing daily (except for Sundays).
  36. Carrie (Stephen King) – He talked about it so much in On Writing that I had to read it to figure out what he was talking about. Side note: It turns out that I don’t like horror. Shocking, I know. (But I was shocked that books like Relic and Reliquary by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child are classed as “horror,” and I enjoy those and would never classify them as such. If monsters make the genre, I guess they are, and I guess I like some horror, but I think that’s silly.)
  37. Interrupted (Jen Hatmaker) – What if American evangelical Christians are missing out on a huge part of the kingdom Jesus came to establish, namely, caring for the poor? Hatmaker describes how she and her family were changed by exploring the answer to this question. I think it shook me out of some lazy-weird thinking.
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March 1, 2013

First 23 Books of 2013

Say Goodbye by Lisa Gardner – Lisa Gardner is good at the whole mystery/thriller-writing-thing
The Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung – very good
The Chestnut King by N.D. Wilson – 3rd book in the 100 Cupboards series
The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie – dude writes just like Dr. House talks
The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie – this one was particularly great fun
At Bertram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie
Adopting the Racing Greyhound by Cynthia A. Brannigan
A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie
The Priest’s Graveyard by Ted Dekker
Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowens – quite a bit of “meh” to be found here
The Devil Colony by James Rollins – who doesn’t love a ridiculous conspiracy theory thriller?
The Skeleton Key by James Rollins (novella)
Retired Racing Greyhounds for Dummies by Lee Livingood – most helpful book on greyhounds so far
My Life in France by Julia Child, with Alex Prud’homme – very interesting; strong motivation to learn how to make beurre blanc
Mystic River by Dennis Lehane – enjoyed it
The Lost Van Gogh by A.J. Zerries – ridic
The Racketeer by John Grisham
What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw by Agatha Christie
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Love Walked In by Maria De Los Santos – LOVE LOVE LOVE
Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis – LOVE LOVE LOVE
A Conspiracy of Tall Men by Noah Hawley – barely made it throug
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – very, very good – I can see why it managed to make most of the “best novels of 2012” lists

January 1, 2013

Reading – The End of 2012

The final count for the year is 167. Here are the most recent 40+. I’ve bolded the ones I liked best, and made a few notes for fun.

The Next Accident by Lisa Gardner
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Lot’s Return to Sodom by Sandra Brannan
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (translated by Lowell Bair) – so it turns out Lowell Bair is AWESOME. I got all the books he’s translated from French after I read this.
The Jupiter Myth by Lindsey Davis
Dragons of the Valley by Donita K. Paul
The Alexander Cipher by Will Adams
Widow’s Might by Sandra Brannan – one heck of a mystery novel. you want a strong female? you got it in this series. (this is book 3)
Gideon’s Corpse by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
The Drop by Michael Connelly
Dragons of the Watch by Donita K. Paul
The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafor
Broken Harbor by Tana French
Killing Calvinism: How to Destroy a Perfectly Good Theology from the Inside by Greg Dutcher
The Disappearance at Pere-Lachaise (Victor Legris #2) by Claude Izner
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Death in the Floating City by Tasha Alexander
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Killing Hour by Lisa Gardner
Dragonspell by Donita K. Paul
Where the Lilies Bloom by Vera & Bill Cleaver
The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
Sandstorm by James Rollins
Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
Gone by Lisa Gardner
The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin
The Professor’s Assassin (short story) by Matthew Pearl
DragonQuest by Donita K. Paul
Silent Night (short story) by Deanna Raybourn
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me: A Memoir…of Sorts by Ian Morgan Cron
Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by Suzanne Collins
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – yep, read the British version. really appreciate the Britishisms that didn’t make the cut in the US version.
Maniac McGee by Jerry Spinelli
The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
The House of the Wolfings by William Morris – this book was very influential for JRR Tolkein, and you can tell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
The Night Tourist by Katherine Marsh
The Survivor’s Club by Lisa Gardner
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

September 22, 2012

Convalescent Reading List

Here’s what’ve I’ve read in the last 3ish months. It turns out I’m a grumpier reader when I’m sick, which means I give up on books more quickly. For example, this quarter (did not mean for it to get this long, sorry), I gave up on Eliza Haywood’s Love in Excess. It was slow and the guy was a complete jerk and she kept trying to get me to like him and I finally said, “You know what? I don’t have to read this!”

As for the rest, this time I’ve added some notes, but I should start by saying that Lisa Gardner and Michael Connelly write some fabulous mysteries. I prefer Gardner’s current D.D. Warren series, but I’m doubling back to catch her FBI Profiler series now as well.

Oh, and I’ve bolded my favorites.

  1.  The Italian by Ann Radcliffe – deliciously all things Gothic, complete with swooning and convents
  2. Nothing to Hide by Mark Bertrand – absolutely love this guy and everything he puts out
  3. Echo Park by Michael Connelly
  4. The Overlook by Michael Connelly
  5. Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Gannett Stiles
  6. Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian by John Piper – This book isn’t revolutionary except for the fact that it’s TRUE. Racism is evil. Let’s kill it dead. 
  7. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith – so sad!
  8. The Pretty One by Cheryl Klam
  9. Where We Belong by Emily Giffin – she just keeps getting better, although my favorite is still Baby Proof
  10. The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman – very interesting 
  11. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Finally finished the whole thing!) 
  12. Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
  13. The Perfect Husband by Lisa Gardner
  14. The Other Daughter by Lisa Gardner
  15. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers
  16. The Calico Captive by Elizabeth George Speare – so racist! I never realized as a kid.
  17. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen – really cute
  18. The Technologists by Matthew Pearl – fascinating. get wrapped up in medium-old Boston for a little while. 
  19. The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity by Mike Carey and Peter Gross
  20. The Unwritten: Inside Man by Mike Carey and Peter Gross
  21. The Great Divide by T. Davis Bunn – a legal novel about  attacking human trafficking
  22. The Third Victim by Lisa Gardner
  23. Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman and David McKean
  24. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – absolutely enchanting; very clever 
  25. World War Z by Max Brooks – zombie war is over; oral history is compiled. very cool.
  26. The Last Oracle by James Rollins
  27. Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream by Dinesh D’Souza – investigation of the president’s ideological base
  28. The Knight at Dawn (Magic Tree House #2) by Mary Pope Osborne- if i can extrapolate from this book, i’d say that the Magic Tree House books are a fine way to familiarize kids with other times and cultures, but a TERRIBLE way to teach them to take notes. HORRIBLE. REALLY.
  29. Words Unspoken by Elizabeth Musser – a story of healing after tremendous loss
  30. Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Williamson and a host of illustrators

If you know much about about popular literature, you’ll probably see this list and pick out a bunch of what my 3rd grade teacher called “candy bar books” – basically junk food books. I am immensely grateful for them. Right now, they are easy for me to understand where lots of other books take more energy. Plus, they are fun. And I read fast.

August 4, 2012

Lady Julia Grey, Lady Emily, & Miss Dido Kent Books in Order

You know what drives me crazy? When I have a hard time figuring out what order the books in a series are supposed to go. I got all kinds of off on the Harry Bosch books recently – read about 3 books way out of order. Quite irritating. So, as a courtesy to the public, I thought I would occasionally list series like this in order. This is round 3. (You can find Harry Bosch and Falco books were rounds 1 and 2.)

Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia Grey Series

  1. Silent in the Grave
  2. Silent in the Sanctuary
  3. Silent on the Moor
  4. Dark Road to Darjeeling
  5. The Dark Enquiry
  6. Silent Night (novella)
  7. Midsummer Night (novella)

Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily Series

  1. And Only to Deceive
  2. A Poisoned Season
  3. A Fatal Waltz
  4. Tears of Pearl
  5. Dangerous to Know
  6. A Crimson Warning
  7. Death in the Floating City
  8. Behind the Shattered Glass

Anna Dean’s Miss Dido Kent Series

  1. Bellfield Hall: Or, The Observations of Miss Dido Kent
  2. A Gentleman of Fortune: Or, The Suspicions of Miss Dido Kent
  3. A Woman of Consequence: Or, The Investigations of Miss Dido Kent
  4. A Place of Confinement: Or, The Investigations of Miss Dido Kent

(Updated 4/16/2014)

July 26, 2012

Marcus Didius Falco Books in Order

You know what drives me crazy? When I have a hard time figuring out what order the books in a series are supposed to go. I got all kinds of off on the Harry Bosch books – read about 3 books way out of order recently. So, as a courtesy to the public, I thought I would occasionally list series like this in order. This is round 2.

Lindsey Davis’s Marcus Didius Falco Series

  1. The Silver Pigs
  2. Shadows in Bronze
  3. Venus in Copper
  4. The Iron Hand of Mars
  5. Poseidon’s Gold
  6. The Last Act of Palmyra
  7. A Time to Depart
  8. A Dying Light in Corduba
  9. Three Hands in the Fountain
  10. Two for the Lions
  11. One Virgin Too Many
  12. Ode to a Banker
  13. A Body in the Bathhouse
  14. The Jupiter Myth
  15. The Accusers
  16. Scandal Takes a Holiday
  17. See Delphi and Die
  18. Saturnalia
  19. Alexandria
  20. Nemesis

(Updated 4/16/2014)