Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Books of 2011 - July

I had hopes of matching my June totals, but alas, two weeks of camp sank my average. I suppose I could have finished more books at camp, but it would have required giving up on oh-so-precious sleep. Two great loves in conflict (reading v. sleep) and sleep (usually) won.

Houses of Stone1. Houses of Stone. Fiction by Barbara Michaels. This is a suspense novel by the same woman who writes the Amelia Peabody mysteries. This book (originally released in the early '90s) is quite dated now and, all things considered, I much prefer the Peabody mysteries.

The Envoy: The Epic Rescue of the Last Jews of Europe in the Desperate Closing Months of World War II2. The Envoy. Non-fiction by Alex Kershaw. This is a true story that reads almost like a novel: the tension is high even though many of the events are well known now and the remaining unanswered questions still haunt. (What did happen to Raoul Wallenberg?)

3. Last Straw for Harriet. Fiction by Elizabeth Cadell. A vintage (late '40's) novel. Great characters and set up. Makes for cozy reading on a rainy day.

Distant Melody, A: A Novel (Wings of Glory)4. A Distant Melody. Fiction by Sarah Sundin. An admirable first effort. The author avoids many pitfalls of novice novelists (ahem) such as losing the POV or making her characters one dimensional. The weaknesses: 1.) Information dump. Yes, we know you did hours and hours of research. Just don't spill it out in one conversation or "You, know, Jim" type monologues and 2.) The outcome is never really in doubt. The "love triangle" is weak and the cover gives it away anyway (although it is an attractive cover). Authors do not, generally speaking, have control over their book covers, but I really hate it when that happens. If you want your romance to have any believability, you cannot put your boy and girl together on the cover. [/rant]

Anthem for Doomed Youth: A Daisy Dalrymple Mystery (Daisy Dalrymple Mysteries)5. Anthem for Doomed Youth. Fiction by Carola Dunn. Series mystery. This is one of the best in the Daisy Dalrymple series of recent memory. Atmospheric, good use of supporting characters, and quite good considering the author has written so many of these.

Fatherland: A Novel (Mortalis)6. Fatherland. Fiction by Robert Harris. Creepy as all get out: what if the Nazis had won? Well written but several caveats apply. (Language, gore, etc.)

Deeper: Living in the Reality of God's Love7. Deeper: Living in the Reality of God's Love. Non-fiction by Debbie Alsdorf. Helpful and moving. This is one book I did manage to finish at camp (and I think it actually helped me that week considering some of the spiritual issues we were dealing with). Definitely recommend this one.

Gay Pursuit8. Gay Pursuit. Fiction by Elizabeth Cadell. Another vintage (late '40s) story. Great characters and dialog though some of the language startled me in this otherwise cozy, well written little book.

The Arthurian Tradition9. The Arthurian Tradition. Non-fiction by John Matthews. (Note: pictured edition is different from the copy I had). I'm on something of a King Arthur kick these days (Thank you, Merlin!) and this book was sort of a refresher course, if you will. I was going along just fine until I got to the end and realized that this author is in some sort of Arthur related society (cult?). That's just weird, to say the least.

Memory Between Us, A: A Novel (Wings of Glory)10. A Memory Between Us. Fiction by Sarah Sundin. The second book in the "wings of glory" series (see #4 above). Diverting, if occasionally unrealistic, and managed to improve - slightly - on the weaknesses of the first book.

Enigma11. Enigma. Fiction by Robert Harris. So good! Well researched, well written, and draws you in almost immediately. (Note: the movie adaptation is also quite well done but it's rated R for a reason so watcher beware.)

Becoming a Woman of Simplicity: "I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity ... of devotion to Christ." 2 Corinthians 11:312. Becoming a Woman of Simplicity. Non-fiction by Cynthia Heald. Might make a good ladies' Bible study choice although I read through it on my own. And what it is about ladies' Bible study authors that makes them jump and skip their way through the Bible? Proof texts may be a way to write more books but they're not, by definition, a methodical way to study the Bible.

Cincinnati: From River City to Highway Metropolis (OH) (Making of America)13. Cincinnati: From River City to Highway Metropolis. Non-fiction by David Stradling. Borrowed this one from my grandpa. Read as research and also, to try to bring up my July total. {smile} This is just a quick treatment, not in depth by any means, but it is filled with interesting facts and pictures.

Totals for July:
Fiction: 8
Non-fiction: 5

So, what about you - read any good books lately?

All links in this post are Amazon Affilate links. Opinions are my own.

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