Thursday, March 1, 2012

February 2012 Books Read

I read 16 books in January but only 8 in February. I watched more TV in February so that cut down on reading time. I was also a bit burned out at the end of January, because I crammed in so many books that I didn't read anything much during the first week of February.

TV watching is great for getting a crochet project done though! The only drawback to the DVR: I skip most commercials, rarely watching TV "live" anymore, and that cuts out time for reading during commercial breaks.


  • Sybil Exposed by Debbie Nathan
    • In the mid-1970s a book called Sybil came out. Sitcom star Sally Field took the lead role in the miniseries and she moved into the realm of "serious" actresses.
    • Sybil was a pseudonym for a woman named Shirley with 16 multiple personalities. She had endured abuse and torture from her schizophrenic mother and disassociated to withstand the abuse.
      • Before Sybil there were barely a dozen cases of multiple personality disorder. After Sybil there were thousands.
    • All the principals of Sybil are now dead: Sybil herself, her doctor Cornelia Wilbur and the writer Flora Schreiber. Debbie Nathan uses the archives of Schreiber and puts together a compelling case that Sybil did NOT suffer from multiple personalities, nor was her mother abusive. 
    • Dr. Wilbur violated all sorts of ethical standards as a psychiatrist (she married one of her patients for example) and she comes off as quite a fame whore.
      • She used the technique of "recovered memories" which really took off in the 1980s (all the children in the daycare scandals and the people who "remembered" abuse). This technique involves drugs, hypnosis and very leading questions to elicit details to support multiple personalities/abuse.
    • The book was really interesting. I had read Sybil many years ago and seen the miniseries.
    • B+

  • Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
    • A book of 5 short stories (I think the hardcover included only 4; the paperback included a bonus story) about some pretty creepy subjects.
    • I have been a King fan since I read Carrie in high school. I adore The Stand and It especially. But The Tommyknockers really put me off him for a while. HATED that book. Lately I have been reading him again: The Cell, Under the Dome (good but for a poor ending) and this one.
    • One story, "Big Driver", concerns a writer who is raped and left for dead. Her survival tale is tension-filled. I also liked "A Good Marriage" where a woman married to a serial killer finds out about her husband's activities.
    • A-
  • Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
  • Specials by Scott Westerfeld
    • Books 2 and 3 of the Uglies trilogy.
    • I read Uglies last month and was irritated by the premise that every girl-based dystopian series features a main character trying to dismantle her society but is still torn between two boys. Will Tally end up with Zane or David? That's really the only question to be answered because the heroine ALWAYS ends up dismantling her society.
    • In each of the books Tally gets surgery to alter her memories and her body. We spend the first third of each book waiting for her to regain her old memories so the plot will move along. Besides the "which guy" plot the other main character is a girl named Shay. She is always angry at Tally because all the guys keep falling for Tally instead of Shay.
      • How about a book where both girls get along and the boys are not the driving force of the girls' actions? If I ever write a book this will be my goal!
    • The characters use the societal slang which gets old fast. And they call each other Tally-wa and Shay-la and that also gets old fast.
    • C, C
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society & the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society & the Prisoner's Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart
    • A book series for the 9-12 year old age group. These 3 books were really good and I can't really classify them in a simple manner. Some people say they have a Lemony Snicket vibe to them and they do but that's not the whole story.
    • Mr. Benedict organizes some tests and four children pass them all and are sent on a spy mission at a boarding school in the first book. The children, Reynie, Kate, Sticky and Constance, are all gifted in different ways and they spend time deciphering clues to figure out the story's mystery.
    • The next two books chronicle further adventures.
    • I read the first 6 or 7 Lemony Snicket books (A Series of Unfortunate Events) but I finally gave up because each book was EXACTLY THE SAME. The orphans are left to the care of some new person to keep them safe from Count Olaf but Count Olaf shows up in disguise. The children know it's Olaf but the adults are oblivious and it's up to the children to get themselves out of a jam. And there were 13 books in the series. Ugh.
    • The Benedict Society books are all have different story lines so you never know how the problems will be solved until they are.
    • A-, B+, B+
  • One Day by David Nicholls
    • The two main characters, Emma and Dexter, spend one night together on July 15, 1988 and the novel covers their lives on that day for the next 20 years.
    • Emma starts out slowly in life, taking a crummy waitress job before finding success while Dexter starts out successfully and then goes downhill.
    • I really liked the book but I only liked Emma; Dex was kind of an ass.
    • I would like to see the Anne Hathaway movie to see how they transferred the story to the screen.
    • B+
  • 8 books read
  • 1 non-fiction
    • 1 biography
  • 7 fiction
    • 5 children/young adult
    • 2 general
  • Grades
    • A: 2 (2 A-)
    • B: 4 (4 B+)
    • C: (2 C)

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