Maira's Books

In January of 2005 I started this blog as a record of books I’ve read as I was afraid I would forget what I have read. I have often referred back to my own blog to remember a book's contents or see what I have read by an author. I have enjoyed passing my books on to friends or recommending books to read. I know I have missed recording some, but in general I try to keep up with what I have read or listened to.

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Location: Kalamazoo, MI, United States

I am a librarian at Waldo Library at Western Michigan University.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The March by E.L. Doctrow

This is one I picked up because of reviews. I have not read anything by Doctrow, but am interested in novels about the Civil War that could help me understand it better. This novel followed Sherman's path through Georgia and the Carolinas in the last few months of the war. It told stories of slaves (I didn't know they followed the northern army), a Southern white woman, various soldiers from both sides, a doctor, and gave a good descriptions of the land and cities on the way. I was fascinated by the medical aspect of the war and wondered what innovations were really created during that war. It reminded me of the TV show Mash and the medical innovations made by those doctors in Korea. My favorite character was a slave girl that looked white (her father was a white), who falls in love with a white northern soldier.
(listened to in November, 2005)

Dazzle by Judith Krantz

Another rummage sale special. Never having read anything by Krantz, this was OK for a fluff romance. I did like the descriptions of the field of photography and the theme of saving land along the California coast from overdevelopment. I was in California acouple of years ago and learned that one family owned more or less all of what is now Malibu at one time and resisted creating a road along the coast. Though the ranch life was depicted as being hard work and simple lifestyle, there was a bit too much money and glamour in this book for my tastes.
(read in October, 2005)

First Wives Club by Olivia Goldsmith

Since I liked the movie years ago, I thought I'd enjoy the book, purchased cheaply at a rummage sale, and I did. Since infidelity seems to be a theme coursing through the lives around me this year, this book seemed appropriate. It is about the revenge three women take on their husbands and the husband of their deceased friend, after the husbands have taken up with younger women. I watched the movie again after reading the book, and though it is funny, the actresses wonderful, the book has a lot more to say about what is going on in everyone's minds. In the movie the women make the husbands support a crisis center, but in the book they really ruin all the men. I'm not thrilled that they were so upper class, but there was realistic angst in the men about overspending to live up to expectations, creating problems.
(finished reading in October, 2005)

Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn

I picked up this young adult book at the ALA conference and had it signed. I guess I picked it up because it talks about dealing with anger, and I thought it might be useful for me to understand teen anger. It was a very powerful book about a boy who hits his girlfriend, because his dad beat him up. Slowly through group therapy sessions he heals. Though this gave great insights into the mind of a teen, I liked Touching Spirit Bear more. Somehow it dealt with the same issues, but in a better tale.
(read sometime fall 2005)

Bagombo Snuff Box by Kurt Vonnegut

I hadn't read anything by Vonnegut in a long time, so this collection of short stories never published in a book seemed like a good thing to try out. I really liked Vonnegut in high school, early college, and I like him still, for his different take on the world. What I really enjoyed in this book was his introduction - read by him, about the demise of the short story, especially the short story magazines.
(finished listening to 9/20/05)

Giver by Lois Lowry

I had read this book in my children's literature class. We listened to it on our trip out West and my son like it. A strange, very prescribed world, and the boy just has to learn the truth about it and escape. I thought it was interesting how families told about their day and shared their dreams around the table. There was also a very strict asking for forgiveness and giving forgiveness ritual.
(finished listening to 8/24)

Divided in Death by J.D. Robb

Another Lt. Eve Dallas mystery. Great for keeping me awake on long trips.
(Listened to August 25, 2005)