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.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Tsunami Quilt by Anthony Fredericks (2007)

Subtitle: Grandfather's Story.

I love these real life stories for kids. I fantasized about writing my father's or mother's story in a kid book form for my child. But... 

In 1946 Hawaii was hit by a tsunami, and a whole school was wiped out on a peninsula. This boy's grandfather saved himself by climbing up high early, but lost a lot of his classmates. There now is a tsunami museum in Hawaii and a quilt for all those that were lost from this one area.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Ship Who Searched by Anne McCaffrey & Mercedes Lackey (1992)

This was one of the books I found from my science fiction reading days and I

thought I would try rereading it. At some point I remembered what the final outcome was going to be, but it was still fun to get to that point. I ready quite a bit by McCaffrey and Lackey in my day, and I like these combined authorship books.

Seven-year old Tia lives with her archaeologist parents on a world that they are digging, when she feels ill with some virus that even the advanced medicine of the day cannot cure and leaves her paralyzed. She is considered too old to be transferred into a brainship to be its brain, but she is such a bright, flexible, adaptive child, that they do build her into a ship, and she becomes a brilliant, intuitive ship. She does need a human partner or brawn, and she finds a compatible partner in Alex. They supply archaeological digs and are especially adept at dealing with plague situations. A really intriguing and touching book. Remember liking it back when it came out and liked it again.

Christmas Train by David Baldacci (2001)

This was an intentional reread. I think it was the first Baldacci book I ever read/listened to, and it must have been before 2005, as it isn't even in this blog. I remember it being mellower than his thrillers, but still interesting, as an assortment of people with various issues gather together for an across the country trip on a train at Christmas time.

Tom Langdon is a journalist, who has retired from covering wars and other volatile situations around the world. He is taking the train to see his girlfriend in LA, because he has been banned from flying for losing it during a security check. He decides he will write about the train ride, as Mark Twain once planned to do. (I liked the Mark Twain references.) He runs into his old love Eleanor, so then I remembered the basic ending, but was still surprised at the turn of events. Baldacci writes a good story.

Gideon's Sword by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child (2011)

Not that I really needed another cloak and dagger book, but the most recent one of Gideon Crew books caught my eye and I though it best to start with the first one. It really helps to know how the characters end up doing these crazy things. Gideon's story is that he saw his father gunned down after he surrendered. He was falsely accused of being responsible for the loss of CIA operatives, though he was the one that warned of flaws in a new code. On her deathbed, Gideon's mother tasks him to seek revenge, so the first part of the book is about this revenge and we get to see the skill set he has. He is smart - works in Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. He has acting skills - he plays numerous characters to get information and access he wants. He has learned magic, so he is good at diverting attention and slight of hand. In the beginning it wasn't spelled out, but later we find out he is an accomplished art thief, can do more with computers than most, but need help on really geeky stuff, and can fight and use weapons. He has been so focused on his goal of revenge, that he has left out the people part, so has no real friends. So we have the lone wolf again.

The second half of the book has Gideon hired by an ultra-secret divison of the government to discover what a man from China is bringing into the country. Looking at some of the reviews in Amazon, most complained about too many unbelievable plot twists. It was a bit too much, but I understand that their other books are better, so I may try more.

Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy (2010)

I remember Maeve Binchy being a feel good author from Ireland, and in this book she again brings together a group of people with unhappy lives of various sorts and weaves them together into a caring community. The main lost soul is Noel, who doesn't finish school, is in a boring, dead end job, has become an alcoholic, lives with his parents, and sees no purpose in life. His life is changed by two people. Emily, a middle aged cousin who appears on his doorstep from America and seems to take over the reorganizing of the whole family and neighborhood, but who has disappointments of her own. And Frankie - a baby born to a dying former hook-up of his. Emily helps involve a whole community in caring for Frankie and helping Noel get back on his feet. The only one that doesn't really resolve her issues, but gets a bit mellower by the end of the book is Moira, the overly strict social worker, who is just waiting for Noel to fail.