Decembre 2009 Book Challenge - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-01-2009, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Is it really December? It can't really be December, can it? Really? It is? *sigh*

Now, repeat after me...

So, just by way of clarification (for comers both new and old), new and improved guidelines for the Book Challenge Thread are as follows:

1) Post the books you read ... or not
2) Post a recommendation ... or not
3) Number your book ... or not
4) Make a goal ... or not
5) Have fun with books (This one, unfortunately, is MANDATORY)



So, with that, avante, allons-y and a happy reading December to everyone!


2008's Threads can be found HERE
January's Thread can be found HERE
February's Thread can be found HERE
March's Thread can be found HERE
April's Thread can be found HERE
May's Thread can be found HERE
June's Thread can be found HERE
July's Thread can be found HERE
August's Thread can be found HERE
September's Thread can be found HERE
October's Thread can be found HERE
November's Thread can be found HERE

"A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." - Tyrion Lannister

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Old 12-01-2009, 12:13 PM
 
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I am listing these books I read in November but did not post

Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich. http://www.evanovich.com/novels/novel/35
This is the 2nd book in the Stephanie Plum series, a series that was recommend to me on this forum that I did not think I would like but totally LOVE. They are so entertaining, funny, suspenseful, light, without being trashy or mindless. I recommend them!

Spirtwalk by Charles De Lint http://www.sfsite.com/charlesdelint/...alk-desc01.htm
This sequel to Moonheart http://www.sfsite.com/charlesdelint/...art-desc01.htm
I would only recommend it if you read Moonheart. Moonheart is a great novel, but IMO but Spirtwalk is not as strong and is really only for those who want to see what happens to the Moonheart characters.

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong http://www.kelleyarmstrong.com/aSummon.htm
Another YA (I discovered teen books because of The Twilight Saga !)
Very good,well written and scary! Really! I was afraid I’d get bad dreams but could not stop reading!

Now I am reading De Lint again a Novel called Yarrow.
http://www.sfsite.com/charlesdelint/yarrow-desc01.htm
I think De Lint is a fantastic writer. I don’t understand why he is not better known. I only recently discovered him myself.
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:56 PM
 
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Bryan -- on purpose this time, right?
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Old 12-01-2009, 05:42 PM
 
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The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

the book goes back and forth between 1690s Salem MA (witch hunt time) and 1990s MA (protagonist working on her PhD). the author has a background in colonial history and i felt she did well in bringing the 1690s to life. the story is suspenseful and that kept me going. as always seems to happen, i found the historic part more interesting than the contemporary characters.

caveat: annoying habit of sometimes writing dialogue phoenetically, in attempt to capture a greater Boston accent (e.g. "ovah heah" for "over here"). as a Bostonian i found this both distracting and condescending.
caveat#2: minor characters, such as a clerk in a wicca/magic supplies store, and also a police officer, are drawn very stereotypically. again

mama to one amazing daughter born 1/2004
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Old 12-01-2009, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Bryan -- on purpose this time, right?
Actually no. In fact, since I had taken French classes so recently and since my wife speaks French, it took me a while to even figure out what was wrong.


I think I'll leave it.

"A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." - Tyrion Lannister

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Old 12-02-2009, 09:50 PM
 
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Well, I was thoroughly enjoying "The Great Influenza" and was about 3/4 through it when I got the email that the library was holding a book for me. So I pick it up today and of course it is only a two week loan so now I have to cheat on the influenza book and get started on this one. I hate it when that happens. So anyways now I am reading "Every Man Dies Alone"~by Hans Fallada. Here is the Amazon review...


Starred Review. This disturbing novel, written in 24 days by a German writer who died in 1947, is inspired by the true story of Otto and Elise Hampel, who scattered postcards advocating civil disobedience throughout war-time Nazi-controlled Berlin. Their fictional counterparts, Otto and Anna Quangel, distribute cards during the war bearing antifascist exhortations and daydream that their work is being passed from person to person, stirring rebellion, but, in fact, almost every card is immediately turned over to authorities. Fallada aptly depicts the paralyzing fear that dominated Hitler's Germany, when decisions that previously would have seemed insignificant—whether to utter a complaint or mourn one's deceased child publicly—can lead to torture and death at the hands of the Gestapo. From the Quangels to a postal worker who quits the Nazi party when she learns that her son committed atrocities and a prison chaplain who smuggles messages to inmates, resistance is measured in subtle but dangerous individual stands. This isn't a novel about bold cells of defiant guerrillas but about a world in which heroism is defined as personal refusal to be corrupted.

Adrienne~SAHM to DS1~9, DS2~7, and DD1~4/08, partner in crime to DH since 98~
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Old 12-02-2009, 10:18 PM
 
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The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

Well, I was at the bookstore treating myself to a book last week and grabbed this one. Unfortunately, didn't love it. It was okay. Some parts really good, some parts dull. I think history buffs would like it.

It was a the story of a guy with a white father and Mexican mother. Lives part of his life in the US and part in Mexico. Ends up a famous writer but then is ousted as a communist (though he isn't) during the McCarthy era . . . spans a lot of history, he works for Trotsky in Mexico, and for the US government during WWII.

Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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Old 12-02-2009, 10:41 PM
 
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Your Family Constitution by Scott Gale

Another so-so book. While I loved the idea of a family constitution, the book is mostly telling how bad the author's life was before the constitution and how wonderful it was after the constitution. It's finally in the last few pages that we actually get to see what it is . . . really this could have been an article rather than a book.

Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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Old 12-03-2009, 12:30 AM
 
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105. Brooklyn By Colm Toibin

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Committed to a quiet life in little Enniscorthy, Ireland, the industrious young Eilis Lacey reluctantly finds herself swept up in an unplanned adventure to America, engineered by the family priest and her glamorous, "ready for life" sister, Rose.
I thought this book was very quiet and restrained, like the other books I have read that won the Booker or got shortlisted like this one. It reminded me of how Ian McEwan writes. It's nice. The last part had my stomach tied in knots and I was glad for the ending, but I wish he would have gone on to explain in more detail what happens.
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Old 12-03-2009, 11:26 AM
 
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Well, I was thoroughly enjoying "The Great Influenza" and was about 3/4 through it when I got the email that the library was holding a book for me. So I pick it up today and of course it is only a two week loan so now I have to cheat on the influenza book and get started on this one. I hate it when that happens. So anyways now I am reading "Every Man Dies Alone"~by Hans Fallada. Here is the Amazon review...


Starred Review. This disturbing novel, written in 24 days by a German writer who died in 1947, is inspired by the true story of Otto and Elise Hampel, who scattered postcards advocating civil disobedience throughout war-time Nazi-controlled Berlin. Their fictional counterparts, Otto and Anna Quangel, distribute cards during the war bearing antifascist exhortations and daydream that their work is being passed from person to person, stirring rebellion, but, in fact, almost every card is immediately turned over to authorities. Fallada aptly depicts the paralyzing fear that dominated Hitler's Germany, when decisions that previously would have seemed insignificant—whether to utter a complaint or mourn one's deceased child publicly—can lead to torture and death at the hands of the Gestapo. From the Quangels to a postal worker who quits the Nazi party when she learns that her son committed atrocities and a prison chaplain who smuggles messages to inmates, resistance is measured in subtle but dangerous individual stands. This isn't a novel about bold cells of defiant guerrillas but about a world in which heroism is defined as personal refusal to be corrupted.
I'll be really interested to know what you think of that one! I've read his "Little Man, What Now?" years ago, and saw some coverage of Every Man Dies Alone when it was released this year. I hadn't realized how fascinating the author's own story is; I understand the novel is also based on a true story. Gosh.

But, in the meantime...

#72 - The Mystery at Lilac Inn by Carolyn Keene

Yes, I read another one of my kiddo's Nancy Drews. Just what I needed!
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Old 12-04-2009, 03:32 AM
 
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Jungle Crossing by Sydney Salter

This juvenile novel was about a 13 year old girl on a vacation in Mexico with her family. She'd rather be with her friends and is quite a grump about being there but through a teen tour thing, she ends up learning about the Mayan culture and something about herself as well.

The girl kind of got on my nerves--she was so negative and even mean to her sister and this Mexican boy. The best part was this story that the boy made up about a Mayan "elite" who is captured and made a slave.

Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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Old 12-04-2009, 11:08 AM
 
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Candyfloss by Jacqueline Wilson (YA book)

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When Floss's mother and stepfather announce they are moving to Australia for six months, Floss has to decide whether to go with them or stay home with Dad--inept, but loving and always lots of fun. And how will her choice affect her friendship with her popular but not-so-loyal best friend, Rhiannon?

Jen, Mom to DS (8) , DD (5) & Alli
(1-04) (8-09)
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Old 12-04-2009, 09:56 PM
 
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went to the library to pick up my reserve item: Fantastic Mr. Fox on audio for dd (we read it 4 times this week, i hit my limit!). well, they surprised me with The Time Traveler's Wife. i requested it so long ago i had completely forgotten about it! i guess that will be next.

mama to one amazing daughter born 1/2004
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Old 12-05-2009, 07:08 AM
 
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The Ellie Chronicles #1: While I Live
The Ellie Chronicles #2: Incurable
The Ellie Chronicles #3: Circle of Flight

... all by John Marsden

This series is the sequel series to the "Tomorrow When the War Began" series. They are young adult novels, set in rural Australia.

The Ellie Chronicles occur after Australia's invasion and subsequent colonisation. Ellie and her teenage friends are involved with vigilante attacks against enemy militia.
Great novels, probably not quite as good as the first series, but that would be a seriously hard act to follow!!

Mothering my 4yo DS and 1yo DD
I knit : I sew : I read : I craft : and I very occasionally and irregularly blog
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Old 12-05-2009, 01:34 PM
 
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#21 - A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid

A short, angry book about the small island of Antigua, where Kincaid grew up. She has a lot to be angry about - a history of slavery and colonialism, and the corrupt government that arose after Antigua's independence from England.


#22 - The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

Stories about people from Earth who go to Mars and what they find there (including glimpses of the people who were already living there.) I liked it a lot.
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Old 12-05-2009, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#22 - The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

Stories about people from Earth who go to Mars and what they find there (including glimpses of the people who were already living there.) I liked it a lot.
One of my most favorite books of all times.

"A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." - Tyrion Lannister

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Old 12-05-2009, 11:10 PM
 
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106. The Three Theban Plays by Sophocles

(translated by Robert Fagles) Was very easy to read and I got to read the story behind the Oedipus Complex.
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Old 12-06-2009, 01:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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106. The Three Theban Plays by Sophocles

(translated by Robert Fagles) Was very easy to read and I got to read the story behind the Oedipus Complex.
We read Freud in my Literary Critical Theory class this quarter and it was fascinating to learn more in depth about Freud's theories and Oedipal Complexes and what not. For example, did you know that a Freudian Slip is "when you say one thing but mean your mother"?

"A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." - Tyrion Lannister

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Old 12-07-2009, 02:58 PM
 
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For example, did you know that a Freudian Slip is "when you say one thing but mean your mother"?


107. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
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Old 12-07-2009, 03:19 PM
 
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Holes, Sachar

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Stanley Yelnats is unjustly sent to Camp Green Lake where he and other boys are sentenced to dig holes to build character. Stanley learns the warden has them digging holes for something else- but what?
#1 Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker, #2 Moosewood Restaurant New Classics, #3 Autobiography of God, #4 The Ghost Orchid, #5 The Poe Shadow, #6 Knit One Kill Two, #7 Citizen Girl, #8 The Fourth Bear, #9 The Third Secret, #10 Change of Heart, #11 Guardian Angels, #12 The Gore, #13 The Undomestic Goddess, #14 From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil T. Frankweiler, #15 Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, #16 Blood Memory, #17 A Thousand Splendid Suns, #18 Then we Came to the End, #19 - Feed, #20 - Paper Towns, #21 - The Sparrow, #22 - Swim, Bike, Run, #23 Field Notes from a Catastrophe, #24 Pillars of the Earth, #25 The Geographer's Library, #26 Lady Killer, #27 Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, #28 The Abstinence Teacher, #29 Under the Banner of Heaven, #30 Duma Key, #31 The Portrait, #32 Dirty Blonde, #33 Death Gets a Time-Out, #34 Kiln People, #35 Baudolino, #36 Memories of my Melancholy Whores, #37 Sculpting Her Body Perfect,#38 Property Of, #39 A Brief History of the Dead, #40 Jane Austen in Scarsdale, #41 The Known World, #42 Disarming the Playground, #43 Little Bee, #44 The Sustainability Revolution, #45 Darling Jim, #46 Not Buying It, #47 Snow Crash, #48 What I talk about when I talk about running, #49 Needled to Death, #50 Unconditional Parenting, #51 Sepulchre, #52 Season of the Witch, #53 Seven Types of Ambiguity, #54 Poe Audio Collection, #55 There is No Me Without You, #56 The Lightning Thief, #57 True Detectives, #58 Let the Northern Lights Erase your Name, #59 Darwinia, #60 Make it Now, Bake it Later, #61 Slow Cooker Handbook, #62 Stop and Smell the Rosemary, #63 Emeril's TV Dinners, #64 Holes, #65 Angels of Destruction
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:47 AM
 
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The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Oooooo -- another great futuristic teen novel. Kind of like a cross between Hunger Games, City of Ember, and Lord of the Flies.

Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:51 AM
 
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The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Oooooo -- another great futuristic teen novel. Kind of like a cross between Hunger Games, City of Ember, and Lord of the Flies.

Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:54 PM
 
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#73 - Stiff by Mary Roach
I didn't finish this one, but I want credit for the 200 pages I did read! It's about cadavers - decomposition, use in crash tests, etc. That didn't bother me too much, although I'm not sure I enjoyed the author's sense of humor. I just couldn't handle the details of animal experimentation. I found I was forcing myself to get through it, but was increasingly disturbed and upset by it, so I stopped.
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:46 PM
 
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Gilding Lily by Tatiana Boncompagni

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As Lily Bartholomew navigates kiddie birthday parties starring chart-topping entertainment, society dinner-dances where any woman larger than a size 2 can barely stand to show her Botoxed face, and vacations to exclusive hideaways with the mother-in-law from hell, she constantly wonders, "On what planet have I landed?"

After all, she's just a down-to-earth gal from suburbia who felt as if she'd landed in the middle of a fairy tale when she married Robert. He's handsome, rich, and—best of all—able to make her laugh, and she happily jumped headfirst into his world. But now Robert's lost his job, Lily hasn't lost her pregnancy weight, and their once-golden existence seems suddenly tarnished.

Desperate to regain her self-esteem, Lily begins writing essays about life among the rich and snobbish, which tosses her into the spotlight and in the path of social disaster. But as Lily navigates her way through the shark-infested waters of Manhattan society, she starts to rediscover her own place in the world—and how to regain what truly matters.
This book was entertaining enough for me to finish but was still a great big disappointment. All of the characters -- even the protagonist -- are horribly self-centered people obsessed with money and fame. I am appalled by Lily's decision regarding her husband at the end of the book. He was a spineless Mommy's boy. I have read both of Boncompagni's book and I have to deduce that she can only write about people she knows -- and possibly is -- NYC snobs with no sense of reality.

Jen, Mom to DS (8) , DD (5) & Alli
(1-04) (8-09)
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:38 PM
 
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I'll be really interested to know what you think of that one! I've read his "Little Man, What Now?" years ago, and saw some coverage of Every Man Dies Alone when it was released this year. I hadn't realized how fascinating the author's own story is; I understand the novel is also based on a true story. Gosh.
Just finished "Every Man Dies Alone" by Hans Fallada. This book is based on the Gestapo files for the Otto and Elise Hampel case, where they were convicted of high treason for spreading postcards with anti-Nazi propaganda in various buildings during the war.

I really enjoyed this book. For being written in 24 days it is highly coherent and easy to follow even though it has many subplots. The characters are either highly likable or highly vicious. The writing can at times be both uplifting and horrifying. I really loved the ending as well. Won't give it away but I would highly recommend this book to others, not only because it is well written but because of the great ending!

Now I am back on 'The Great Influenza' which I am almost finished with.

I can't wait for the new year to start so I can set a goal of numerous books to be read!

Adrienne~SAHM to DS1~9, DS2~7, and DD1~4/08, partner in crime to DH since 98~
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:00 PM
 
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#74 - Galveston by Paul Quarrington

Not all of it was totally to my taste but this was unputdownable. A small group of guests and residents hunkers down at a resort on the tiny island of Dampier Quay, awaiting what turns out to be a force five hurricane that will destroy the resort with its storm surge. Among them are Caldwell and Beverley, who have each spent years seeking out storms to fill the voids caused by horrible losses in their own lives. Quarrington really knows how to tell a story.
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:11 AM
 
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Muhammad by Martin Lings and
In the Footsteps of the Prophet by Tariq Ramadan

my head is now full of Arabic names, and i do not want to ever again read about a battle, anywhere, for any reason. however, i'm glad i read them together because the authors had different emphases, shared different anecdotes. i preferred Tariq Ramadan's style, and that's the one i would recommend (especially to non-muslims).

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Old 12-10-2009, 12:08 PM
 
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#74 - Galveston by Paul Quarrington

Not all of it was totally to my taste but this was unputdownable. A small group of guests and residents hunkers down at a resort on the tiny island of Dampier Quay, awaiting what turns out to be a force five hurricane that will destroy the resort with its storm surge. Among them are Caldwell and Beverley, who have each spent years seeking out storms to fill the voids caused by horrible losses in their own lives. Quarrington really knows how to tell a story.

I read Whale Music a few years ago and really like it. We have Fishing with My Old Guy on the shelf but I've never picked it up. Books on the shelf don't have the same weight as books from the library, I guess because they don't have due dates.
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Old 12-10-2009, 07:51 PM
 
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#82 The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B by Sandra Gulland

Fascinating historical fiction about the youth of Josephine Bonaporte up to when she marries Napoleon. The novel is written as Josephine/Rose's diary, which is an interesting perspective. I didn't realize that she had always gone by the name Rose prior to marrying Napoleon. And I learned quite a bit about the French Revolution. I'm really looking forward to reading the other 2 novels in this trilogy.
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:42 AM
 
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The Kids are All Right by Liz, Diana, Amanda and Dan Welch

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“Perfect is boring.”

Well, 1983 certainly wasn’t boring for the Welch family. Somehow, between their handsome father’s mysterious death, their glamorous soap-opera-star mother’s cancer diagnosis, and a phalanx of lawyers intent on bankruptcy proceedings, the four Welch siblings managed to handle each new heartbreaking misfortune in the same way they dealt with the unexpected arrival of the forgotten-about Chilean exchange student–together.

All that changed with the death of their mother. While nineteen-year-old Amanda was legally on her own, the three younger siblings–Liz, sixteen; Dan, fourteen; and Diana, eight–were each dispatched to a different set of family friends. Quick-witted and sharp-tongued, Amanda headed for college in New York City and immersed herself in an ’80s world of alternative music and drugs. Liz, living with the couple for whom she babysat, followed in Amanda’s footsteps until high school graduation when she took a job in Norway as a nanny. Mischievous, rebellious Dan, bounced from guardian to boarding school and back again, getting deeper into trouble and drugs. And Diana, the red-haired baby of the family, was given a new life and identity and told to forget her past. But Diana’s siblings refused to forget her–or let her go.
A well-written memoir by four siblings orphaned after their parents both die. In the midst of typical teen angst, the Welch children have to deal with emotional baggage of losing their parents. In the end, as the title says, the kids end up being "all right" in spite of their circumstances. I liked the different voices -- some are obviously strong than others -- because it helped complete some of the incidents.

Jen, Mom to DS (8) , DD (5) & Alli
(1-04) (8-09)
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