Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Good Book

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love to read. Not only do I spend a lot of my time writing books (200 to date) but I also love to read them. I buy them wayyyyyyyyy faster than I can possibly read them, mind you, but books are my only real vice. I mean, I don't smoke, drink or gamble. I don't cheat on my husband. I just love to buy books. That has, naturally, changed in recent months as my income has dropped . . . well no, the LOVE of books hasn't changed, just the PURCHASING of them.

Anyway, I have a friend online who writes a GREAT book review site (check out Worducopia) and it inspired me to share a few brief reviews of books I have read recently. If you're not a reader, then skip this post and tune in another day.

When I was younger, I kept a journal of all the books I read. This is no surprise--I am a list maker from way back. I had reached more than 400 on the list when I got married. Over the years, I have lost that journal which saddens me. Of course, this way the kids can't blackmail me with information like, "Can you believe Mom read 17 Partridge Family books?" either.

At the beginning of this year, I started keeping track of what books I read each month. Sure, a detailed review of each one would have been good but I stuck with title, author and a grade of A to F. So far, in the first half of the year, I have read 35 books. There are no D's and F's. Why? Because if I am reading a book that bad, I STOP. Time is toooooo precious to spend it on crappy literature.

So, I am going to share with you some books that earned A's with me. That way, in case you're headed to a bookstore or library or Goodwill and want to pick up a recommended title, you have a few of my suggestions.

The Messenger by Jan Burke
Typically Burke writes a series of mysteries with a main protagonist named . . . Irene, I believe. I have not read any of these. I picked this one up because the story line sounded like my type. It was. It had romance, intrigue, supernatural elements and a damn fine story. I really, really liked this one.

Dog on It by S. Quinn
This is such fun. It's a story of a mystery that is solved by a guy and his dog. Much of the story is from the dog's (I will not tell you how many times I typed god instead of dog . . . ) point of view. It's entertaining and cute and just plain fun. Another book I recommend for sheer laughter is The Yes Man by D. Wallace. It's the basis for the Jim Carey movie but wayyyyyyy different (and better). I laughed out loud so often at this one that I ended up reading entire pages to my family.

Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult
If you haven't read Picoult, you have missed an amazing experience. I have never in my life read books that made me THINK more than hers do. She has this incredible ability to put the reader right in a situation that requires you to figure out what you would do. Her book, My Sister's Keeper, is coming out as a movie any day now and I am sure there will be an upsurge in reading all of her titles. I recommend keeping tissues nearby (my family always knows when I am reading one of her books because I am sitting on the couch sniffling a lot) but don't let the emotionality dissuade you from trying one. Really, her topics are riveting. Try Nineteen Minutes for an exploration of school violence . . .A Perfect Match for child abuse . . . Vanished for child abduction or Change of Heart for organ donation. Honestly, if I could only recommend one author to people, it would be Picoult.

One Second After by W. Forstchen
What happens to the U.S. when it is hit by an EMP blast? This book explores that topic from the perspective of a father trying to take care of his family in a mysterious national crisis. Not for the faint-hearted--no supernatural stuff here--no zombies or alien forces--but researched, accurate and sometimes horrifying focus on how people cope in a disaster like this one. I was completely fascinated from beginning to end, even when what was happening in the story was not what I wanted at all.

The Spellman File books by Lisa Lutz
Please, please pick these up--there are three to date and the first two are in paperback already. I guarantee you will laugh out loud at each one and be sooooo sad when you're finished. These are the types of books that I loan to my friends the minute I am done because I want them to have as much as I did. They are truly delightful--and I hope Lutz keeps writing them for my entire lifetime. The characters are so real you miss them when the books are over and the side notes written at the bottom of the page, plus the many appendices at the end are hysterical. Don't miss these.

Relentless by Dean Koontz
Okay, yes, I am prejudiced. I read EVERYTHING this man writes. Most of the time, I love it. Sometimes I am a little disappointed. But Relentless confirms why I adore his books. No one on the planet can nail a happy man/woman relationship and its dialogue better than Koontz. Despite the fear and tension and thriller parts of the book which I enjoy, I laugh out loud all the time at the conversations characters have. I can tell this man must be happily married because he NAILS relationships. In this book, the happy couple have a fabulously intirguing young son and an equally fascinating dog (a hallmark of Koontz's books), all pursued by one of the nastiest villians I have encountered in a long time.

All right, that is enough for now. If you do happen to pick any of these up and read them, I'd love to hear about it. It's even okay if you don't love them as much as I did. Let me know if you'd like to see more reviews or possibly a list of the Don't Bother titles as well. I love feedback.


Ellen said...

I enjoy Jan Burke's mysteries and didn't realize that she's done non-mysteries. I'll have to look up Jodi Picoult because I love books that make me think from a different perspective, though I really don't like having to invest the emotional energy that it sounds like her books require. Really hate books written from an animal's perspective; They're way too cutesy to be bothered with. At least that's been my experience so far. Life's too short to spend time reading a books that irritate. I'll be looking up Lisa Lutz, and Dean Koontz, though I have avoided reading him simply because I've seen his name on the best sellers lists, and always assume if they're best sellers, they must be written on a 12 year-old reading level. Ditto for anything Oprah recommends. But I've really enjoyed Janet Evanovich's earlier stuff, so I'm not a total reading snob.

Definitely make more recommendations! I'm always on the lookout for authors I haven't discovered yet.

Ami said...

You like books?!!

Wow. You think you know a person....

Gary & Bev said...

heeheehee. Ami you always make me chuckle. :D

Thanks for the recommendations. Gonna check out The Yes Man. Always looking for a way to laugh.

I love Lisa Lutz' books. The Spellmen's are the best!!

Gonna check out some of the rest too. More recommendations would be great!