The Columbus Affair by Steve Berry
Jewish treasure, treachery, deceit, murder are woven together brilliantly with an infusion of the historical Christopher Columbus. Accurate depictions of Jamaica, Prague, and Florida complete this excellent journey.
Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel
The Pope of Greenwich Village
professional psychic hires one of her clients to be her manager. The
psychic is struggling with an obnoxious and toxic spiritual guide who is
trying to bring in all the other spirits who in corporal form were part
of her dysfunctional childhood. Her client only half believes in the
spiritual stuff but she has a deniable awareness of it herself. This
book is interesting but spends too much time developing the two main
characters. (Hilary Mantel is the author of the excellent historical
fiction about Thomas Cromwell, Wolf Hall.)
by Vincent Patrick
Have you ever re-read a book after a long time (decades) and wondered what you ever liked about it? Or perhaps you didn't like it. This is one of those books, for me. A small-time novel about some small-time crooks, it seems too familiar, perhaps.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
This was one of the most magical, beautiful books I've ever read. I would highly recommend this book to everyone who is a dreamer.
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Great plot twists kept me turning page after page! My favorite part was when the doctor gave her an Rx to cure her of her over-romantic infatuation with romance books! (I'd take Sherlock Holmes over Jane Eyre any day!)
Vision in White by Nora Roberts
Lovely photographer finally finds love with a former classmate.
Victorine by Catherine Texier
This is an excellent novel for anyone who loves the Victorian period. It is set in France, China, and short stints at stops along the way. It is a passionate love story as well as a tragic story of loss. The period detail and historical accuracy is amazing. For anyone who likes this type of novel it is mesmerizing.
The First Law by John Lescroart
I started reading Lescroart's series with Dismas Hardy a number of years ago. This year I decided to start at the beginning and read them all chronologically. I love them--the characters are believable, the plots have twists & turns. A really good read.
Some Sing, Some Cry by Ntozake Shange and Ifa Bayeza
Great page-turner. Full of African American history in reference to jazz and different periods in history. Follow a family from slavery through seven generations.
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
The book takes you on the spiritual journey of a Brahmin's (priest's) son. He deviates from his divine spiritual path & begins living a very secular lifestyle. Freedom to choose and make decisions is a major theme of the novel.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
Literally laugh-out-loud funny. Mindy's love for all things pop culture make this an amazing read.
The Cradle in the Grave by Sophie Hannah
Psychological thriller, police procedural, and murder mystery rolled into one. In the UK, women are in jail for infanticide. They say crib death. They get acquitted, then murdered, along with the doctor for the prosecution.
Tesla: Man out of Time by Margaret Cheney
Inspiring and a nice view of what it takes (or what takes away from) being successful.
Call of the Mild by Lily Raff McCaulou
As the author learns to hunt she takes the reader through the pros and cons of hunting. Makes the reader think about the readers actual attitudes about hunting and food.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
After I saw the movie, reading the book became more clearer. I had compared the movie as I read the book, and I felt it had followed closely together. It was easy flowing in reading the book. I did not want to put it down.
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
This is a weird book. Kind of bloody and some parts will screw with your mind.
The Other Side of Paradise by Staceyann Chin
Chin's memoir is a raw account of what it was like to grow up as an abandoned child in one of the poorest parts of Jamaica. While some parts might be hard to read due to their graphic nature, I believe they're essential in understanding the depth of Chin's strength, as she was able to overcome her fate and become a successful writer. I also liked this memoir because the reader is exposed to how females, particularly lesbians, are regarded in Jamaica. Class, education, and gender are recurring themes that the reader encounters through Chin's eyes and the constellation of people who inhabit her life, for better or worse. Truly an educational and emotional read.
Crystal Gardens by Amanda Quick
It was a little bit better than a snooze, but not by much, and it's definitely not a story that would keep me up all night! I used to really enjoy books by Jayne Ann Krentz (here writing as Amanda Quick), but unfortunately I think she's been phoning it in lately. Not as much humor/witty repartee as there used to be, and the plots are increasingly hokey. But whenever I see any of her aliases on a book cover, I still reach for it...
Switching Time by Richard Baer
This is an engrossing book about a young mother afflicted by demons from her past. The author, a psychiatrist practicing in Chicago, treats a young woman later identified as having multiple personality disorder (or dissociative identity disorder). The book describes Dr. Baer's efforts of helping the patient come to terms with her abusive parents and dying marriage. It's an intriguing discussion about a years-long therapeutical relationship. The pace is good and the descriptions vivid. The only thing lacking would have been to have collateral information from other parties (friends, family, newspaper clippings) that would have provided a more textured discussion.
I Feel Bad about My Neck by Nora Ephron
Sooo funny, and spot -on for us women in our fifties and sixties. Goodbye, Nora, we'll miss your writing.
An Uncertain Place by Fred Vargas
The newest novel about Commissaire Adamsberg, the chief of police in a Parisian community, takes on a whole new depth with international intrique and a centuries-old fable. Two gruesome murders take place in France while severed feet are found outside a London cemetery. The connection? Adamsberg and his team are in charge to find out. The commissaire is still at the top of his game but his investigation is threatened by superiors who have a different motivation and by a new-found discovery of a long-lost relative. His sidekick Danglard remains an enjoyable addition and we meet others in the force who enrich the novel. Fast-paced with dry wit and heart, it's a book well worth reading throughout the night!
Who Owns History? by Eric Foner
This is a great collection of essays that helped me think about the uses of history and the tasks of historians. I particularly liked Foner's essay about his own history and becoming a historian. Totally interesting!
Diners, Bowling Aleys, and Trailer Parks by Andrew Hurley
Very interesting -- the guy begins by talking about Eastern Avenue in Essex as an example of what he wants to discuss in the book.
White Nights by Ann Cleeves
Actually this book is somewhere between stayed up all night and ZZZZ. It is police procedural, not a thriller as advertised, and it is the second in a series taking place in the Shetland Islands. A local detective, Jimmy Perez, is joined by an ambitious lead detective from Aberdeen, Roy Taylor. Given the local connections needed and his own uniformly antagonistic methods of interogation, Taylor is not likely to solve the mystery himself, but he persists. The current murder of an actor in a mask seems rooted in the past of an artist and the community that that artist had gathered around her years before.
My Left Foot by Christy Brown
I'd seen the movie a few times but reading of his life in his own words was a rich experience. His prose is easy, poetic, & elegant. He writes not only of his experiences & difficulties but of his emotions & thoughts. Honest, he brings us into his life.
Think of a Number by John Verdon
Gurney follows the twists and turns of this crime thriller in figuring
out who the murderer was and solving the puzzle of footsteps stopping in
the snow and knowing numbers ahead of time, for example. Scylla and
Carybdis also play a role.
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
It’s elementary, this book has withstood the test of time. The narrative, at first, does take the reader some time to get used to. However, once you have found Sir Doyle’s rhythm you becoming entirely engrossed in the case yourself. One of the most endearing aspects of this book is that it transports you back in time and space without overdoing it. There are no verbose and weighty descriptions about a glass of water and yet at the same time you can feel Watson’s tweed coat on your arms, see the haze of the moor and sense the anxiety of the tiny town. Holmes observes and studies the world around him with stunning attention to detail and a razor-sharp, objective mind. Another reason I find him fascinating is how downright weird he is, and the fact that all his friends and colleagues know and respect this galvanizes his position as a great detective and crime fighter. Even though it is natural to fall in love with Holmes’ eccentricities (which are numerous, hilarious and at times just downright scary) I want to draw attention to what I find the great triumph of this series. I have never read a Holmes story and not thought, “Wow. Dr. Watson just had the exact same thought as I did!” Watson is likable, smart and just average enough to make the reader feel completely at ease. I’ve never been so mesmerized and simultaneously terrified by anything as I was reading about the moor. The imagery of this decaying, empty, dangerous bog where the supernatural lurked made me wish I could visit it at night. The characters were all affected by this place somehow, like the huts in the moor that time and weather wore down over the years. Watson’s letters describing the place and the people somehow made the night look darker and the wind feel colder where I was. Bravo and hats off to this classic.