Books and Reads on the Shelf of WITM

A summary of books read by WITM.

Currently reading "The Fourth Hand" John Irving

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Books Read Summer - December 2011

Not in exact order

1. "The Dogs of Babel" Carolyn Parkhurst
Really interesting novel about a college professor who tries to teach his dog to talk as a way to find out how his wife died. The dog witnessed her death. Interesting observations about grief/death.

2. "Loving Frank" Nancy Horan
Another interesting read -picked up for a buck at Half-Price Books. Fictionalized account of Frank Lloyd Wright's life.

3. "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" Sidney Sheldon
Good suspenseful tale of a murder conspiracy. Two scientist guys get killed and their young widows join forces to figure out what is going on.

4. "The Last Chance Saloon" Marian Keyes
Another good one by this Irish author. Age 30ish group of friends figuring it out together in London.

5. "Crossroads" Belva Plain
Great read centered on a wealthy glass-making family in New England. The story centers on the adopted daughter of the family and a woman who obsesses about her and her life.

6. "Firefly Summer" Maeve Binchy
My main summer saga read. 662 pages about a group of rural Irish townspeople in the 1960s.

7. "Unpredictable" Eileen Cook
Cute chick lit read about a 30ish career gal and her antics at impersonating a physic to win her live-in boyfriend back. Happy ending with a new guy predicted.

7. "Wish You Were Here" Stewart O'Nan
Liked this novel involving family relationships and the death of the father. Everyone spends a last vacation at the family lake house before it is to be sold.

8. "The Almost Moon" Alice Sebold
By the author of "The Lovely Bones." Interesting plot about a middle-aged woman who kills her elderly mother.

9. "Mystery" Jonathan Kellerman
n Alex Delaware novel, but as is per usual with me, once read, I don't recall much of the plot. Always enjoy the read though.

10. "Big Girl" Danielle Steel
Love her books, quick and enjoyable reads - and do remember her plots. This one interestingly about a larger-sized young woman. Appreciate Steel incorporating a size-14 wearing woman as her main character.

11. "The Kiss" Danielle Steel
Very dramatic tale set in Paris about a woman in a love-less marriage and her relationship with a male "friend." Aren't all Steel novels dramatic?

12. "The Way Men Act" Elinor Lipman
Just got introduced to this author from some books I picked up at the Library book sale. Love her quirky sense of humor - reminds me of Anne Tyler's style. This plot was about young, single adults returning home and their efforts at finding love and moving responsibly onward.

13. "The Widows of Eastwick" John Updike
30 years have passed in the Witches of Eastwick's lives and they have become widowed after remarrying so long ago. Great read - I loved "The Witches of Eastwick" too.

14. "Run" Ann Patchett
Good, interesting plot about the lives of two families who connect at the site of an accident and how they are really connected to each other as relatives, unknown to them before the event.

15. "The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club" Gil McNeil
I enjoy any book about knitting. Here is another English tale about a young widow who inherits her elderly relative's yarn shop and is able to move to a quaint seaside town and rebuild her life. Wish I had an elderly relative with a yarn shop to inherit. Still, good for the words about knitting and project inspiration.

16. "After the leaves Fall" Nicole Baart
Very good read about a young woman growing up in a small Iowa town and her life after losing both her parents. Five stars.

17. "6 Rainier Drive" Debbie Macomber
6th in the series about a small community in Washington state. There are about 6 more to go. Macomber has been writing these every year and I enjoy them because some of the characters knit and some of the characters are middle-aged and living active, love-filled lives. It gives me hope that I'll get remarried again too and have a rewarding career.

18. "Heart Full of Lies" Ann Rule
I like reading these true crime sagas - this one about an evil, conniving woman who murders her husband. Makes me wonder how these crazy people out there think they will get away with their evil actions.

19. "Skinny Dip" Carl Hiaasen
Just found this author at the library book sale. Very humorous and funny. Lighthearted to take your mind off the crappy stuff. Quirky characters like Seinfeld.

20. "Nature Girl" Carl Hiaasen
Ditto above.

21. "The Neighbor" Lisa Gardner
Mystery writer who comes up with some good tales. This one keeps you guessing til the end. About a young wife who disappears and the search for her while her husband is suspected.

22. "When Day Breaks" Mary Jane Clark
Good suspense novel about a murder in the community of a t.v. news program.

23. "House Rules" Jodi Picoult
Really good novel about a teen boy with Autism and the murder charges against him. Excellent, absolutely excellent insight into Autism - very realistic and curernt.

24. "The Inn at Lake Devine" Elinor Lipman
I'm loving this author. Period piece set in 1960s at an inn in Vermont and prejudice against Jews.

25. "The Ladies Man" Elinor Lipman
Enjoyable read about three unwed sisters and their brother and what happens when an old flame of one of the sisters who jilted her prior to marriage returns 30 years later.

26. "Ramona and Her Father" Beverly Cleary
Actually a very good vintage read because it involves how and 8-year-old feels when her dad looses his job and the family has to pinch pennies before Christmas.

27. "Seven Year Switch" Claire Cook
Love this author too. Her books include advice for mid-life women reclaiming their energy, love and relationships with themselves and significant others.

28. "Rebecca" Saphne DuMaurier
Have wanted to read this classic forever but always had a hard time getting into it. This time I stayed with it and it was worth it. Interesting to read a suspense novel from the 1938.

29. "The Right Thing" Judy Astley
Good read about a middle-aged "mum" in England near the Cornish surf who wonders about the daughter she gave up at birth.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Books Read June 2011

!. "Fly Away Home" Jennifer Weiner
Love this author. Great read about a midle-aged woman (57) having to face life-changing decisions after her husband has an affair. Nice that she has the money and a family vacation home on the ocean to retreat to for solitude and recovery, but I'll let that pass.

2. "The Bean Trees" Barbara Kingsolver
Have meant to read this one for years. Decent story about a young woman discovering herself in a move from Kentucky to Arizona and her relationship with the little girl "given" to her whom she ends up adopting.

3. "Best Friends Forever" Jennifer Weiner
Great beach read! Loved it. Kind of like Thelma and Louise. Fast-paced but meaningful. Two friends reconnect and reestablish their relationship within a crazy week.

4. "Life's a Beach" Claire Cook
Nice to read a novel about mid-life women. This one about two sisters, one in her 40s the other just turning 50. Like that Cook's characters face challenges and life events that cause them tomake new decisions and life plans as this one does.

5. "Mennonite in a Little Black Dress" Rhoda Janzen
Funny memoir about a young woman in her 40s raised as a Mennonite who has to redirect her life after her husband leaves her for another man. She ends up returning home and to her faith for healing.

6. "Rabbit, Run" John Updike
I love Updike but not this novel which is supposed to be his best. The characters are horrible and the plot line depressing. About a 26-year-old father who leaves his 7-month pregnant wife and two-year-old son to escape his drudgery. A terrible family tragedy results. Not sure I can read the three novels that follow this one in the series as this guy progresses though life.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Books Read May 2011

1. "Caught" Harlan Coben
Another suspense/action/mystery by this author. Many plot twists and turns. How does he do it and manage to wind it all up? This one about a plot involving old college roommates whom seem to all be experiencing revenge against them.

2. "Another Mother's Life" Rowan Coleman
British novel about two best friends who are reunited after 15 years. One ended up with the man the other wanted and the book explores what ifs, forgiveness, paths not taken and new decisions.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Books Read April 2011

1. "Angela's Ashes" Frank McCourt

2. "American Star" Jackie Collins

3. "The Wildwater Walking Club" Claire Cook
Loved this book. "Discovered" it while looking through the fiction shelves at Half-Price Books. Perfect for mid-lifers undergoing change and challenges. Three women form a walking club with a daily goal of 10,000 steps and this novel covers the first month of their friendship and walking goals. Can't say enough good things about this book. It inspired me to try and walk 10,000 steps a day too.

4. "No Second Chance" Harlan Coben
The first mystery/adventure book by this author I've read. Plot was about the kidnapping of an infant and related murders. How can there be so many authors I don't even know about? Saw a review for this author in a woman's magazine and decided to pick up one of his books at Half-Price Books. Suspenseful, fast, intriguing read.

5. "Multiple Choice" Claire Cook
Another delightful and creative read. Each chapter starts with a cute multiple choice quiz. Plot involves a middle-aged mom going back to college as her oldest child, a daughter also starts.

6. "Living Oprah" Robyn Okrant
Memoir of a the year a 35-year-old woman "lives" all the advice Oprah gives from her t.v. show, magazine and website. Good thing this woman doesn't have kids. A lot of time spent marking down the time spent with which activities but not enough "meat" about her actual feelings for me.

7. "Must Love Dogs" Claire Book
Haven't seen the movie yet, but the book is a pure delight as all by this author. A newly divorced 30-40ish woman is back in the dating scene again. Realistic, funny, endearing and hopeful without being corny.

8. "Water For Elephants" Sara Gruen
When this first came out it didn't grab me - the life of circus people in the 30s but with all the hoopla over it I decided I had to read it. Couldn't find it anywhere, even at Walmart. Kept going to HalfPrice Books and after four months finally got a copy that just came in as I was checking out. Great, inspiring and touching book!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Books Read March 2011

1. "Ghost In My Soup" Judi Miller
Middle-school-age geared book about a 10-year-old who moves into a home inhabited by a ghost whom he eventually helps cross over to the other side. Interesting that it was written in 1985 before all the ghost interest increased.

2. "The Tuesday Erotica Club" Lisa Beth Kovetz
A group of women working in a law office meet on Tuesday afternoons to read their erotic stories out loud. Interesting concept - a widowed, mom in need of sex has to get her fix someplace!

3. "The Ten Year Nap" Meg Wolitz
Picked this up for 3 bucks at the dollar store. Substantial novel about the lives of four middle-aged women friends in their 40s - where they are in their lives, their past decisions, regrets/fears, etc.

4. "The House of Mirth" Edith Wharton
Probably my favorite Wharton novel so far. Finding a lot to relate to in socialite Lily Bart's plunge into poverty at the turn of the century. Also, descriptive of how friends can so quickly abandon us.

5. "The Return Journey" Maeve Binchy
A nice collection of uplifting short stories.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Books Read Feb. 2011

1. "Be Mine" Laura Kasischke
Excellent read. Picked this up a few years ago at the community college bookstore sale hardback table. It was near Valentine's Day and I thought it would be fun to read a themed book as this one starts on that date. It has sat on my shelf for three years but was definitely a good buy. Intriguing story line involving a marital affair, some mystery, family drama and very good descriptive writing. I hope to find the other books this author wrote because her style is amazingly detailed. I was totally absorbed in her words and descriptions.

2. "Who Put That Hair in My Toothbrush?" Jerry Spinelli
Sibling rivalry described within these pages for middle school readers.

3. "The Berenstain Bears and the Galloping Ghost" Stan & Jan Berenstain
Mystery involving horse stables and ruthless developers trying to obtain the property.

4. "Dune Road" Jane Green
Really liked this book about divorce and new beginnings. Many insights about starting over and single parenting.

5. "Ghost In My Soup" Judi Miller
Middle-school-age read about a boy who moves and has to adjust to a new house, community, school, etc. A ghost in the new house helps him.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Books Read Jan. 2011

1. "To Have and to Hold" Jane Green
Chick Lit at its best. About an unfaithful husband and his marriage from the wife's perspective. Pure enjoyment reading.

2. "Bergdorf Blondes" Plum Sykes
Another fun chick lit read. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I have trouble remembering the details except vaguely that the plot involves young rich women husband husband hunting (I think).

3. "The Other Woman" Jane Green
Enjoyable read but also with some good substance about how acceptance and commitment is so needed in a marriage today.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Recent Reads

"Crewel Yule" Monica Ferris

This is the 8th book in the mystery series about the owner of a needlecraft and knitting store set in the real town of Excelsior, MN. I read it around the holidays because it was set in mid-December. In fact, I had started to read it in summer and put it aside to read until later and I was in a holiday mood. These types of books are quick and enjoyable reads. I love anything involving knitting and crafting and need to get the next book in the installment - I'll keep checking for it at the used book store.

"How to Be Lost" Amanda Eyre Ward

Great, intriguing mystery written in a very unique way. Some of the chapters are devoted to different characters and some are interwoven with the past and present. Plot is about a five-year-old child who disappears and her remaining family 15-years later. A very good read.

"Second Chance" Jane Green

I have rediscovered this author and find that I just love her. She taps into the emotional core of women, and definitely gets the struggles of single moms, parenting, grief and loss. I have decided to read all of her books that I have not yet read. This one is about four old school mates who reconnect 20 years later when one of the group is killed in a terrorist attack. They end up having to reexamine their lives and the choices they've made. I think I will add this book to the shelf where I put my grief books (fiction and non-fiction) because I found Green did an excellent job of portraying grief and its effect on friends, family members, relationships, etc .