Jul 22, 2011

Book Reviews

Best Lesbian Romance 2012; edited by Radclyffe
You may laugh at me, but in my naïveté I picked up this book thinking it'd be lesbian love stories. As in, girl meets girl. So... that's not exactly what it means. Not that I'm complaining...
Best Lesbian Romance 2012 is a compilation of short stories published by Cleis Press, edited by Radclyffe. The 2012 edition that I happened upon at a small independent book shop is actually the 4th edition (it looks like the first one was in 2009)....read more
Fancy Pants; by Cathy Marie Hake
Every so often, I set aside my endless reading lists and just browse at the library for something new and different. This book caught my eye with the playful cover and title, and I was intrigued to flip to the back cover and learn more.
Fancy Pants, by Cathy Marie Hake, is the story of Sydney Hathwell, a young girl from Britain who is sent to America, after her parents pass away, to meet a man she's been arranged to marry. She finds him very distasteful and schemes up a plan to escape and meet her long lost uncle living in Texas....read more
Fifty Shades of Grey; by E L James
I can already see you rolling your eyes at me! I know, I know. I basically just recognized that I would probably read it at some point in time, why not just get it over with? I had to understand why on earth this book by E.L. James has become so wildly popular. So, after reading it, do I understand why this book has become so wildly popular? No. No I do not....read more

The Girl Who Fell From the Sky; by Heidi Durrow
Heidi Durrow's novel, "The Girl Who Fell from the Sky", is about a young girl's search for identity. As a girl, Rachel is born and raised in Germany, with a black American G.I. father and a white Danish mother. Her parents struggle with alcoholism, and when her mother moves to Chicago to start a new life with the children, for the first time, Rachel is confronted with racism, still alive and well in early 1980's U.S.A....read more
The Girl Who Stopped Swimming; by Joshilyn Jackson
The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, by Joshilyn Jackson was an unexpected, beautiful story. I listened to the book on CD during some long driving hours (it's read by the author - she did such a wonderful job!), and it was one of those books where you don't want to turn off the car because you want to hear what happens next. This is my first Jackson book, and she really caught me by surprise. A beautiful writer, I mean really beautiful....read more
Girls of Riyadh; by Rajaa Alsanea
I was intrigued by this book the moment I saw it on the library shelf. I am always interested in learning about other cultures, but most especially when the information is coming from someone of that culture. Rajaa Alsanea is a girl of Riyadh herself.
I sadly did not even know what "Riyadh" was when I picked up the novel. Which shows you how pathetically little I know about Saudi Arabia.....read more
The Hunger Games Trilogy; by Suzanne Collins
Finally, I am finished being consumed by the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games, Catching Fire, & Mockingjay). Once you start reading, there's no turning back, you must accept that you will read all three books and just cut out blocks of time for it. (Or rather, stay up late reading even though you have work first thing in the morning).....read more
In One Person; by John Irving
This was my very first John Irving novel, but it definitely won't be my last. The thing I search for most, in good fiction, are true-to-life characters: three dimensional people that step off the pages, speak to you, and interrupt your life for a time.
We not only spend 60 years with Billy Abbot, the narrator, we get to know an entire cast of friends, families and others that wander in and out of his life. Time passes through the 50s, 60s, all the way up until current day, when Billy is a 70-year-old man looking back on his life and telling his story......read more
Keeping Faith; by Jodi Picoult
 I've read a handful of Jodi Picoult's books now. Here's what I like about them:
-She is quite a master at weaving a plot that will keep your interest until the very end (watch out for twists!)
-She does thorough research for each book, they're always about some relevant topic in our society, so they are usually pretty educational.
-She usually takes on a variety of characters in each book and helps you see
different perspectives.
-She has courtroom drama in every book I've read. I love courtroom drama....read more 

Landing; by Emma Donoghue
With "Landing", I welcome Emma Donoghue into my life. Someone (thank you Courtney!) recommended this to me after I posted a lesbian must-reads list. I'd not only recommend this one  for lesbians, but for anyone who has experienced a long distance relationship.
We meet young Jude, a 25 yr old Canadian, who's never known much outside of her small town life. She's comfortable with things just the way they are, and she's a traditionalist at heart. When tragedy strikes, fate crosses her path with Síle....read more
The Last Nude; by Ellis Avery
"The Last Nude", by Ellis Avery is the story of the passionate affair between artist Tamara De Lempicka and one of the models that inspired a series of paintings. After a brief amount of research, I'm pretty sure most of the story is fiction, and is loosely based around some of the facts of De Lempicka's life.
The sad truth is, when I picked up this book on the shelf, I did not know who De Lempicka was! I am the worst art student ever! But to be fair, I never took a western art history class. So, I began reading as though the book was complete fiction....read more

The Marriage Plot; by Jeffrey Eugenides
"The Marriage Plot" by Jeffrey Eugenides is a love story on the surface, but takes you behind the scenes of the human heart in a love triangle of three young college graduates.The novel begins at graduation from Brown in 1982. A time before texting or emails or social media. We meet three young, hopeful academics as they set forth on the next stage of life....read more
The Mermaid Chair; by Sue Monk Kidd
I recently finished Sue Monk Kidd's The Mermaid Chair. I'm not sure if you've read one of her books before, but she a beautiful story teller. You can tell she relishes creating worlds & characters rich with history, spirituality and depth.
This is the second novel I've read of hers, the first was The Secret Life of Bees and I've also begun to read The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, which is her personal tale of spiritual awakening....read more
Monday Mornings; by Sanjay Gupta
I would say that this book was an out-of-the-norm choice for me, but I'm beginning to find that I have no norm. Although I do tend towards fiction, I'm not usually drawn towards medical stories. I made the mistake of wandering by the new books re-shelving cart at the library and Monday Mornings by Sanjay Gupta caught my eye. A book written by a neurosurgeon about the good, bad and the ugly of the daily lives of five doctors/surgeons at a large hospital in Michigan....read more

The Muse; by Suzie Carr
"The Muse: a novel of romance and discovery" was my first Suzie Carr book. I had no idea what to expect... based on the title I figured it'd be something of a lesbian chick-lit romance. Yes, there was some of that. But it delved for something much deeper.
The story Jane Knoll is told in first person. I can't lie... this character vexed me for much of the book. A 29-year-old copywriter, Jane lives alone and has barricaded herself in a very small comfort zone. She trusts very few people. She doesn't venture out much. But worst of all, she lives in disgust and hatred of herself....read more
Unfair: Why the "Christian" View of Gays Doesn't Work; by John Shore
I just finished reading John Shore's "Unfair: Why the 'Christian' View of Gays Doesn't Work". The book is not in print yet, just available in digital editions.
I'm not trying to exaggerate, but anyone who reads this book and still has a hard heart towards gay people defended by a christian worldview, I would seriously question the existence of their soul, conscience, heart or ability to reason....read more
What God Has Joined Together: A Christian Case for Gay Marriage; by David G. Meyers & Letha Dawson Scanzoni
I love reading. So I thought it'd be good to incorporate some relevant reading materials into the blog on occasion.  I read this book quite a few months ago, and afterwards bought 4 copies on Amazon because I thought it was very well done, and wanted to share it.
If you are at all interested in a christian case for gay marriage, this is a great book to start with.  Authors David G. Meyers & Letha Dawson Scanzoni (both Christian and straight), worked together and came up with a rational, genuine, and persuasive case for gay marriage....read more

Where'd You Go, Bernadette; by Maria Semple
Maria Semple's "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" is the story of the bond between a mother and her daughter.Bernadette Fox is eccentric, she doesn't quite fit in with the other moms. In fact, she rather detests most of them. A once-famous architect, Bernadette has relocated to Seattle with her husband and daughter, Bee, and become something of a hermit.
Her past is riddled with secrets, and the story is unveiled through letters, emails and documents throughout the novel...read more
When She Woke; by Hillary Jordan
Just finished a new and intriguing book by Hillary Jordan, "When She Woke". It's the story of a girl named Hannah Payne, a futuristic reworking of the Scarlet Letter (Hawthorne).
In the future, the U.S. has implemented a new form of punishment for criminals: chroming. They literally inject a virus into you that changes the color of your skin. Depending on your crime, you get a specific color. Hannah gets a red injection after having an abortion. This branding is almost worse than prison, because although you are in society, you are shunned....read more

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson
This was a wonderful way to introduce myself to Jeanette Winterson. I think we will be quite close from now on. Her memoir, "Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?" was captivating, honest, and hopeful. I was amazed by her level of self-consciousness. I found myself repeating the same line just to let it sink in further. She doesn't waste one word. I loved her wry humor, philosophical viewpoints on the smallest life moments and her gift of seeing past black and white to the humanity in us all.....read more

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