Sunday, September 2, 2012

August 2012 Books

I often think that I read very few books. There's just never time to sit and read! And yet I have read 73 books so far this year! Over the 35 weeks of 2012 I have read an average of 2.08 books per week. I read quite a few books!

Anyway, here comes the August list of the 9 books I read...

NON-FICTION
  • Memories of the Future, Volume 1 by Wil Wheaton
    • Wil Wheaton, who began played Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" at the age of 14, writes this TV memoir of the first half of the first season of the show.
    • Wesley Crusher was a reviled character on the show and poor Wil was reviled as well. But as he points out, the writers created Wesley and Wil was only there to do a job as an actor. He points out the many silly scenarios Wesley features in, especially at the beginning of the series when it hadn't quite found its footing yet (despite a couple of classic episodes, one even winning a Peabody Award). Wesley was the character who invariably showed up the (supposedly) well-trained Star Fleet officers and saved the day. It's no wonder Wesley was despised.
    • Wil Wheaton is a funny and snarky writer. And now, especially that Wil is such a good sport about it, Wesley is more appreciated. (See various episodes of "The Big Bang Theory" guest-starring Wil Wheaton as "Wil Wheaton", Sheldon's nemesis.)
    • Grade: A- (because it's only a half season. This Trekkie wants more!)
FICTION
  • The Rebellion of Jane Clarke by Sally Gunning
    • Jane's story takes place in Massachusetts in the years just before the Revolutionary War. She moves from Cape Cod to Boston after refusing a proposal of marriage and finds herself caught between patriots and loyalists, sometimes dividing her from her own family members.
    • Several real people figure in the plot and Jane witnesses the Boston Massacre.
    • A good historical novel with a heroine to root for.
    • B
  • The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson
    • This story takes place in New York City just after the Civil War at P.T. Barnum's American Museum, where "freaks" like the Fat Lady, the Strong Man, the Bearded Lady, the Pinhead, and many others live and perform.
    • Bartholomew is the World's Thinnest Man who falls under the thrall of the new act, a mysterious woman with many secrets.
    • Interesting look into the world of sideshow performers, even though the characters are fictional.
    • B
  • The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan
    • The title refers to the Harvard alumni book published every five years with updates from class members.
    • The novel is about several women graduates of the Class of 1989 attending the reunion 2009. The story mostly stays in the later time frame with a few flashbacks to illustrate the women's lives before 2009.
    • My favorite part of the blurb on the book jacket is: "Addison yearned to shed the burden of her Mayflower heritage." All I could think was, then don't tell anyone about it! I was dying to see how this big issue this was going to be handled in the novel and then it was barely mentioned! 
    • I liked the book fine but I would have preferred to read more about when they were in college rather than their later lives.
    • B
  • Soulless by Gail Carriger
    • The first book of the "Parasol Protectorate" books, a series set in Victorian London in a world where vampires, werewolves, and ghosts exist in society. The main character is Alexia Tarabotti, a "preternatural" woman without a soul whose touch negates the powers of the supernatural creatures (who have too much soul).
    • Alexia is a proper Englishwoman and spinster with a sharp wit and tongue.
    • This book combines the Victorian period with vampires and werewolves and a touch of steampunk. 
    • I liked it and there are currently 4 more books in the series which I will hope to get to in September.
    • This is one of the book series where I have trouble at the library. Only books 1, 4 and 5 are available. Books 2 and 3 are not in the system at all! I am at a loss to understand why but I can only assume they once existed and then someone didn't return them.  Luckily I bought a cheap Kindle version containing books 1 to 3 so I can read them that way.
    • B
  • Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher
    • I got this book for free from a Paperback Swap trade. The woman asked me to look at her "shelf" and pick any book I wanted as she was trying to cut down her book stash. I chose this one.
    • A Rosamund Pilcher book is a lovely thing to read. You are introduced to a cast of characters who you like. Then each character has a problem or tragedy to overcome. And all comes right in the end just like a comfortable book should. 
      • I don't necessarily need every book I read to end happily but in this case you just KNOW all will be well and sometimes that's a very comforting type of book to read.
    • B+

  • Dear Pen Pal by Heather Vogel Frederick
  • Pies & Prejudice by Heather Vogel Frederick
  • Home for the Holidays by Heather Vogel Frederick
    • These young adult books are part of the Mother-Daughter Book Club series, specifically books 3, 4 and 5.
    • Each book's theme follows that of the book or books read by the book club. The stories take place in Concord, Massachusetts. The main characters are Jess, Emma, Cassidy, Megan and Becca and all their siblings, parents and grandparents.
    • In Dear Pen Pal the club reads Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster, gain new pen-pals with another book club in Wyoming and live through 8th grade.
      • I had NEVER heard of  Daddy-Long-Legs until I read this book. Is is a more obscure classic? How has it never passed my way? (It's waiting for me at the library to pick up Tuesday.)
    • In Pies & Prejudice the book club tackles Pride & Prejudice (of course). Now the girls are freshmen in high school and one of the families has relocated to England for a year. The other girls start a bake sale to raise money for Emma, the friend in England to visit for Spring Break.
      • Pride & Prejudice is one of my very favorite books.
    • In Home for the Holidays, the story focuses on the holiday season during the girls' sophomore year. The book club reads the Betsy-Tacy series.
      • I didn't read the Betsy-Tacy series (10 books) until I was in my 30s and I read them again a couple of years ago.
    • The stories feature the book club choices quite heavily. The characters discuss them all the time. They really make you want to read them too if you haven't already. It does help if you HAVE read the classics but it's not necessary for full enjoyment.
    • The characters are a well-rounded group and there should be at least one character for girls to identify with while reading. Since I am older than the PARENTS of the girls it's a wee bit harder to identify with any one of the young characters, but I would have to say Emma, the book-loving writer.
    • Book 6, called Wish You Were Eyre, comes out in October. I will assume it continues on with sophomore year. I imagine this series will go at least through the girls' senior year of high school so there should be a handful more books in the series.
    • All books: A

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the Mother-Daughter Book Club books! I believe "Eyre" is the last one, though. The author is coming to my house for dinner in a few weeks (!!!!) so I will ask her.

    Wow, really, you hadn't heard of Daddy Long-Legs? You're going to love it. Don't watch the Fred Astaire movie, it's dreadful. But now you have several lovely Jean Webster books to read; "Dear Enemy," the sequel, is lots of fun, and "When Patty Went to College" is one of my all-time faves. (Its prequel, "Just Patty," is Just Okay.)

    I will tell my truelove about the Wil Wheaton book - thanks for the tip!

    Hey - were you reading books on your iPad in Mendocino? I wondered why I almost never saw you with a book, then that option occurred to me. Just curious. I read six books over that ten-day period. Bliss!

    xx

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