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.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts (1991)

Just had to read a Nora Roberts book now that I am home. "Innocence" in the title is the name of a fictional town in Mississippi. I couldn't resist and Google Mapped the name of Innocence in all 50 states and did not find one town with that name, just an Innocence Lane in the UK and a few establishments that used the name. Roberts didn't play off the name in the conversations of the townspeople, but pairing the name with "carnal" showed that the town was far from innocent. I don't recall Roberts going into so many details of a whole town's personal lives, but this time it was actually difficult to keep track of all the characters she had running around. Usually there are too few. Caroline is a world renowned violinist, who inherits her grandmothers home and needs to get away from her touring, her parents, her cheating boyfriend. Tucker Longstreet is the laid back owner of half the town, along with his drunken brother and sister who likes all men. Tucker and Caroline are our main love interests, but a major plot line is a serial murder mystery, with a good old local sheriff (friend of Tucker's) and Yankee FBI agents. There are the local hangouts - bar, cafe and beauty parlor, a sense of the heat of Mississippi, the land. As usual, just an enjoyable read.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Pamodināt Lāčplēsi. Vilis Lācītis (2011)

I picked this up because a colleague said it was about the new wave of Latvian immigrants in England today. Not great literature, but a quick read (127 pages) giving a glimpse into the daily lives of Latvians in England. It talks of a group of fairly young people, who work together in a construction firm, and their wives or girlfriends. Their language is full of slang and curses from Russian, English and Spanish, and I appreciate that it all gets translated, as I only understand the English phrases. I got more of a sense of why people are leaving and why they think it is worth staying. These were simple working folks, but they too philosophized about their country and their relation to it. There was a goofy plot about a terrorist wanting to blow up a dam and riff on jet ski's, but all in all fun.

Pateikt un pateikties by Anda Līce (2011)


This was given to me by my half brother to read, as it is written by a woman who married a distant cousin of ours and she mentions our sister, their childhood home and area. I started reading the book, but once I met Anda Līce, I was determined to finish reading the book, as I really felt a connection with her.   

The title translates into something like „To tell and to thank.” This is her life story, her family story, about losing her father early, being deported to Siberia with her mother, returning to Latvia, finding her way through schools and jobs, having a family. What I really liked about this book are the moments where she steps back and addresses her mother – this whole book feels like a conversation with her mother, but those parts specifically addressing her mother are in italic. They often include direct quotes from either her own or her mother’s letters, which make it all so much more real. I am now tempted to go back into my unkempt piles of papers and finding my letters from mom and dad. I don’t remember what they wrote about, but they wrote me often, especially in college. The other thing I like are Līce’s observations on the times, how they affected people, and her own philosophy of life. I would enjoy getting to know her better. Unfortunately, I have to give the book back to my brother, and I have been trying to find a copy of my own, but so far unsuccessfully.

Grega dienasgrāmata. Neglītā patiesība. Jeff Kinney (2010)


Translation into Latvian of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth. (original date 2010, translation 2012).

My cousin’s 14 year old granddaughter likes these books, so I bought her a couple in the series  of at least six that have been translated into Latvian. I thought I would read one and found it very amusing. With at least one illustration per page, it is like a comic book with more text than usual, and about a really wimpy kid and his „diary.” In this book he has gotten in a fight with his best friend, Rowley, so he is not quite sure who will be his best friend when he returns to school. There are funny descriptions of sex ed in school, an overnight lock-in at the school, his uncle’s fourth wedding, etc. I will have to look at one of these in English. This may also be a fun way of getting kids reading Latvian.

Saving Faith by David Baldacci (1999)


I don’t know why Baldacci is the only author I keep finding in English here in Europe. I have already forgotten where I bought it, but part of my need for mindless reading in English.

This was kind of a strange twist on inner Washington and intrigues were killing someone is the answer. Danny Buchannen was a successful lobbyist that has made a lot of money, but after seeing world poverty has been focusing his lobbying efforts on helping these impoverished nations. His side-kick is Faith, but then he is pressured into working partially for the CIA, though he tries to protect Faith from this side of his life. Of course she gets involved inadvertently, and you have CIA working against FBI with a private investigator thrown in. Gets confusing, but a nice action read.