Book #103

Dec. 30th, 2011 09:09 pm
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103) Dietz, Margreet. A HUNDRED REASONS TO RUN A 100KM. 2011.

100 reasons and short essays; good pre-race inspiration (even if I am only running 50km tomorrow). :)

Book # 102

Dec. 29th, 2011 09:23 am
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102) THERE ARE THINGS I WANT YOU TO KNOW" ABOUT STIEG LARSSON AND ME / Eva Gabrielsson ; with Marie-Franìoise Colombani ; translated from the French by Linda Coverdale. New York, NY : Seven Stories Press, c2011.

Memoir by Larsson's partner of 30 years about the author, and a plea for her case to gain control over his estate.

B says he doesn't like knowing about artist's lives, that it spoils the art for him, but I on the other hand quite like memoirs and seeing what personality quirks and life events have informed the creative process.
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100) Harvie, Robin. LURE OF LONG DISTANCES. Public Affairs: 2011.

Robin Harvie was a fairly ordinary runner. He ran his first marathon after a bet. Then he found that although he couldn’t run fast, he could run long distances—very long. A casual hobby turned into a 120-miles-a-week obsession, and a training route along the River Thames morphed into a promise to himself that he would tackle the oldest and toughest footrace on earth: the Spartathlon, 150 miles from Athens to Sparta.
The author writes with a true memoirist’s tone, exploring the reasons why he runs – grief, ambition, boredom – with an almost brutal honesty, as he relates his experiences from the mundanity of daily training routes to the extremes of ultra running. LURE is also filled with analogies and quotes from explorers, poets, historians and artists, readers learn a thing or two about the history and lore of running, as well as what it takes to muster up the courage to continue.

Book #99

Dec. 21st, 2011 11:35 am
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99) Morgenstern, Erin. THE NIGHT CIRCUS. Doubleday:2011.

Listed as one of Publishers' Weekly's Best Books of 2011, and I agree! Charming, enchanting, magical, and just dark enough.

book description:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the fantastical Victorian circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, a beautiful, marvelously captivating debut novel.
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98) Hillier, Jennifer. CREEP. Gallery Books: 2011.

I like creepy well written thrillers, too bad this wasn't one.

And it's one of those days where I feel the need to write down minutia in an effort to show myself that I have accomplished something:
--showered
--swept bathroom floor
--finished laundry
--sorted, bagged, hauled out one more large bag of trash
--1.5 mile walk at Morgan Wilson Park
--paid utility bill
--returned library books
--at work on time

Book #97

Dec. 18th, 2011 02:45 pm
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97) Cashin, Sheryll. THE AGITATOR'S DAUGHTER. Public Affairs: 2008

Sheryll Cashin, professor of law at Georgetown University, writes a memoir of four generations her african-amarican family. She traces the history of the black struggle for equality and civil rights, in Alabama and the Deep South, from Reconstruction to the present day, using family stories as the focal point for political events. Her family knew the leaders in every generation and they appear both as historical figures and real people as the history unfolds. If that were all that the book was about, it would be worth reading. But it is very much more. it is a story of her family with all its strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures, laughter and tears. (Amazon review by J. Bauman)

I read this book largely in tribute of my friend Myrna Copeland, who was herself a civil rights activist and is mentioned in Cashin's book. I loved the anecdote about Myrna there, when she and her husband Don helped John Cashin and his wife in 1963 to integrate the audience of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville TN. They procured tickets, and arrived at the Ryman Auditorium in a Rolls Royce, with the (white) Copleands dressed and acting as chauffeur and maid to the (black) Cashins in evening finery, the two couples stopping the show while sashaying down the aisle to their front row center seats. Cashin called it an example of peaceful audacity. :)
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94) Kirkman, Robert. WALKING DEAD: Vol 3 Safety Behind Bars. Image Comics: 2010.

95) Robb, J.D. et al. THE UNQUIET. Jove Books, 2011.

96) Moore, Christopher. THE STUPIDEST ANGEL: A HEartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror. William Morrow, 2004.

Book #93

Dec. 8th, 2011 05:20 pm
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93) Kirkman, Robert. WALKING DEAD: Vol. 2 Miles Behind Us. Image Comics: 2004.

I'm awful. I bought this as a present for someone else and read it first before giving it to them! :)

I've also got Vol 3 checked out from the library and am wondering how to convince our fiction purchaser to buy the other dozen or so graphic novel volumes in the series.

And, so I don't feel quite so bad about finishing off the year reading fluff, I am also working my way through a 700 page nonfiction history of the settling of Australia.

Book #92

Dec. 4th, 2011 09:31 am
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92) Green John & David Levithan. WILL GRAYSON,WILL GRAYSON. Dutton: 2010

YA novel; relationships, best friends, growing up, Two different authors, two different narrative voices, two different teenage protagonists, both named Will Grayson. Oh, there's also a character in a high school musical called "Gil Wrayson" as written by Tiny Cooper, the large gay flamboyant force that brings all the Wills and the story together.

Book #91

Dec. 2nd, 2011 02:31 pm
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91) Beukes, Lauren. ZOO CITY. AngryRobot: 2010

Set in a wildly re-imagined Johannesburg, in which people who have committed a crime are magically attached to an animal familiar. The novel's protagonist, Zinzi December is a former journalist and recovering drug addict, who was "animalled" to a sloth after getting her brother killed. She is now attempting to repay the financial debt she owes her drug dealer by charging people for her special skill of finding lost objects, as well as making use of her writing abilities by drafting 419 fraud emails. The book mixes refugees, crime, the music industry, African magic and the nature of sin together into a riveting dark noir.

Sort of Blade Runner-esque, hard boiled sf. I liked it. Of course, how could I not like a book featuring a sloth as a magical familiar that was well reviewed by boingboing?

http://boingboing.net/2010/11/05/zoo-city-hard-boiled.html review by Cory Doctorow

Book #90

Nov. 27th, 2011 10:41 am
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90) Grant, Linda. THE THOUGHTFUL DRESSER: The Art of Adornment, the Pleasures of Shopping, and Why Clothes Matter. Scribner: 2009.

Book #89

Nov. 25th, 2011 10:15 am
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89) Simmons, Dan. A WINTER HAUNTING. William Morrow: 2002.

Similar in style to vintage Stephen King, a decent ghost and horror novel.

Book #88

Nov. 22nd, 2011 11:53 am
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88) Childress, Mark. GEORGIA BOTTOMS. Little Brown: 2011.

Sassy Southern belle Georgia has a lot of secrets: a rotation of gentleman callers, a mother with a tenuous hold on reality, her son from a forbidden high school romance, and a lucrative (if dodgy) business of selling the folk art quilts passes off as her own creations.

I was glad Georgia owned up to her secrets by the novel's end, but got a bit tired of her self-centered shallowness along the way. Mildly amusing, small town naughtiness, but not in the same league as Childress' Crazy In Alabama.

Book #86

Nov. 8th, 2011 12:35 pm
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86) Hornung, Eva. DOG BOY. Viking: 2010.

Gritty, richly imagined tale based on a news story about a Russian boy who lived for several years among a pack of dogs. In a post-perestroika Moscow, an abandoned boy follows a dog out of the brutal human world and into that of the pack. He is accepted as one of them, cared for, and in turn relied upon as they struggle for survival through two bitterly cold winters. As his interest in humans grows, so does the danger that comes with human contact. Feral children have long fascinated readers, perhaps because they blur the line between human and animal, and this novel examines with compassion and understanding the significance of family, belonging, and the painful sacrifices they sometimes require. The lyrical and concrete language is carefully chosen and composed for impact. Reactions to the climax and resolution will vary: The shocking brutality will seem either tragic or redemptive or both.

Very much worth reading.

Book #85

Oct. 30th, 2011 02:06 pm
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85)Domar, Alice. BE HAPPY WITHOUT BEING PERFECT. Crown: 2008.
Self-help pop-psych for one of my problem areas.

Bok #82

Oct. 14th, 2011 09:55 am
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82) Winer, Kathleen, ANNABELL. Black Cat: 2010.

Wayne, born into the harsh, rural landscape of Labrador, Canada, in 1968, is a hermaphrodite. It is his father who ultimately decides to raise him as a male and names him. Only Wayne's parents and their friend Thomasina Baikie, also present at his birth, are aware of his gender duality. The two women silently battle against Wayne's father's gender assignment, and as Wayne grows older, he must contend with the two genders struggling for dominance within him. A simple yet eloquent coming-of-age tale, this debut novel quietly questions our assumptions about gender by presenting us with a host of complex, evocative characters
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79) Love, Jeremy. BAYOU; Volume 2. DC Comics: 2010.
Graphic novel fantasy set in the reconstruction era South.

80) Ferguson, Craig. AMERICAN ON PURPOSE. Harper Collins: 2009.
Memoir.

81) Clark, taylor. STARBUCKED: A Double Tall tale of Caffeine, Commerce and Culture. Back Bay Books: 2007.
Last week it was a book about Gatorade, this week, Starbucks.

Book #77

Sep. 30th, 2011 10:59 am
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77) Rovell, Darren. FIRST IN THIRST: How Gatorade Turned the Science of Sweat into a Cultural Phenomenon. AMACOM: 2006

Rovell quenches the need for a light easy reading sports marketing book in this chronicle of Gatorade's inventors, memorable moments in sports history and rise to become an iconic brand. The author's journalistic integrity and skillful writing was quite evident. Business management and marketing is not one of my usual interests, but book this was interesting and informative and (about a product I do use).
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75) Smith, Patti. JUST KIDS. Ecco: 2010.
Elegantly written memoir.

76) Fowler, Therese. EXPOSURE. Ballentine:2011
This very contemporary take on teenagers, sexting, and the law gives a headline-grabbing phenomena Romeo and Juliet overtones.

book note

Sep. 22nd, 2011 10:41 am
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Both of these are "soon to be major motion pictures":

73) Shriver, Lionel. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN. Harper: 2003

Chilling contemporary novel about a family in the aftermath of a Columbine-like school shooting.

74) Wilson, Daniel. ROBOPOCALYPSE. Doubleday: 2011.

The author has PHD in Robotics, but this SF novel is more action than academia.


On the non-fiction front, I haven't finished reading this yet...but it's good. Smith, Patti. JUST KIDS. Ecco: 2010. Biography/memoir of Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe.

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