Saturday, September 25, 2010

Phryne Fisher

Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher mysteries are a whole bunch of fun. Phryne is an ass-kicking woman who is years ahead of society.

Phryne lives in Australia in the 1920s. Her stories are a bit far-fetched, but you don't mind since the stories are so entertaining.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Top 100 Killer Thrillers

I found this NPR list of thrillers from PinkFlipFlops a couple months ago. I love book lists of all sorts so I book marked it to read when I had some time. The listed was voted on by NPR listeners.

The bolded books are ones I've read. The green ones are one I own, but haven't read.

As you can see, I haven't read a lot of the books on this list. I'm such a sucker for a book list though.
  • 1. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
  • 2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larrson
  • 3. Kiss the Girls by James Patterson
  • 4. The Bourne Identity, by Robert Ludlum
  • 5. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
  • 6. The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown
  • 7. The Shining, by Stephen King
  • 8. And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie
  • 9. The Hunt tor Red October, by Tom Clancy
  • 10. The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • 11. Dracula, by Bram Stoker
  • 12. The Stand, by Stephen King
  • 13. The Bone Collector, by Jeffery Deaver
  • 14. Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton
  • 15. Angels & Demons, by Dan Brown
  • 16. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
  • 17. The Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton
  • 18. Mystic River, by Dennis Lehane
  • 19. The Day of the Jackal, by Frederick Forsyth
  • 20. Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
  • 21. Eye of the Needle, by Ken Follett
  • 22. It, by Stephen King
  • 23. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
  • 24. The Girl Who Played with Fire, by Stieg Larsson
  • 25. Jaws, by Peter Benchley
  • 26. The Alienist, by Caleb Carr
  • 27. Red Dragon, by Thomas Harris
  • 28. Presumed Innocent, by Scott Turow
  • 29. The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett
  • 30. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, by Stieg Larsson
  • 31. No Country For Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy
  • 32. Gone Baby Gone, by Dennis Lehane
  • 33. Gorky Park, by Martin Cruz Smith
  • 34. Rosemary's Baby, by Ira Levin
  • 35. Subterranean, by James Rollins
  • 36. Clear and Present Danger, by Tom Clancy
  • 37. Salem's Lot, by Stephen King
  • 38. Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane
  • 39. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, by John Le Carre
  • 40. The Poet, by Michael Connelly
  • 41. The Boys from Brazil, by Ira Levin
  • 42. Cape Fear, by John MacDonald
  • 43. The Bride Collector, by Ted Dekker
  • 44. Pet Sematary, by Stephen King
  • 45. Dead Zone, by Stephen King
  • 46. The Manchurian Candidate, by Richard Condon
  • 47. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, by John Le Carre
  • 48. The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith
  • 49. Tell No One, by Harlan Coben
  • 50. Consent to Kill, by Vince Flynn
  • 51. The 39 Steps, by John Buchan
  • 52. Blowback, by Brad Thor
  • 53. The Children of Men, by P.D. James
  • 54. 61 Hours, by Lee Child
  • 55. Marathon Man, by William Goldman
  • 56. The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins
  • 57. 206 Bones, by Kathy Reichs
  • 58. Psycho, by Robert Bloch
  • 59. The Killing Floor, by Lee Child
  • 60. Rules of Prey, by John Sandford
  • 61. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
  • 62. In the Woods, by Tana French
  • 63. Shogun, by James Clavell
  • 64. The Relic, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
  • 65. Intensity, by Dean Koontz
  • 66. Casino Royale, by Ian Fleming
  • 67. Metzger's Dog, by Thomas Perry
  • 68. Timeline, by Michael Crichton
  • 69. Contact, by Carl Sagan
  • 70. What the Dead Know, by Laura Lippman
  • 71. The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • 72. The Cabinet of Curiosities, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
  • 73. Charm School, by Nelson DeMille
  • 74. Feed, by Mira Grant
  • 75. Gone Tomorrow, by Lee Child
  • 76. Darkly Dreaming Dexter, by Jeff Lindsay
  • 77. The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
  • 78. The First Deadly Sin, by Lawrence Sanders
  • 79. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
  • 80. The Brotherhood of the Rose, by David Morrell
  • 81. Primal Fear, by William Diehl
  • 82. The Templar Legacy, by Steve Berry
  • 82. The Hard Way, by Lee Child [tie]
  • 84. The Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper
  • 85. Six Days of the Condor, by James Grady
  • 86. Fail-Safe, by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler
  • 87. Strangers on a Train, by Patricia Highsmith
  • 88. The Eight, by Katherine Neville
  • 89. The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown
  • 90. Goldfinger, by Ian Fleming
  • 91. Bangkok 8, by John Burdett
  • 92. The Kill Artist, by Daniel Silva
  • 93. Hardball, by Sara Paretsky
  • 94. The Club Dumas, by Arturo Perez-Reverte
  • 95. The Deep Blue Good-by, by John MacDonald
  • 96. The Monkey's Raincoat, by Robert Crais
  • 96. Berlin Game, by Len Deighton [tie]
  • 98. A Simple Plan, by Scott Smith
  • 99. Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith
  • 100. Heartsick, by Chelsea Cain

Monday, September 20, 2010


It just came out last week, but several of the book bloggers I read had really enjoyed this book. I was looking for an audio book and thought this would be a good one. (I love non-fiction, but it's too hard to follow on my ipod. I like YA, chick-lit, etc for audio books.)

Like the other bloggers, I really enjoyed it. The DUFF is pretty racy for YA (some of those book banners might have a heart attack if they read it), so it seemed a little unrealistic for being in high school. It was a fun coming of age story, even if the lesson of the book was a bit over-emphasized. Some people have commented that the main character was hard to like, but I felt like our personalities were somewhat similar. I actually liked her a lot, though there were a couple points when I wanted to yell at her. So I have some of these minor negative comments, but I really enjoyed the story. I'm such a sucker for love/hate relationships and YA love.

As I mentioned, I listened to the audio version. I can tell a book is great when I can't stop listening-- I sit in my car after I've gotten where I was going or I decide to do a few more chores. I listened to this book (7.5 hours) in 2 days. I definitely wanted to keep listening to know what was going to happen.

However, I was not thrilled at all with the narrator. I thought she had a lisp and didn't like her voices. I went on to audible to see other books she's narrated and saw several more similar comments about her narration (both on this and other books.)

While I can't say I'd recommend the audio version, I definitely recommend the book. And, the author was 17 when she wrote it!

Oh- and there's a very short section when Bianca has a dig at all the YA novels with vampires. I laughed out loud. I really enjoyed Twilight, but ugg, there's just so many vampire books now.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Love is the Higher Law

I picked this up, or rather ordered it on my Kindle, on September 11th. My friend Pinky posted about it, and I immediately bought it. I was 20, an adult who had just spent the summer in Washington, DC, a junior in college on 9/11/01.

The students I teach were 9,10,11 when it happened. They remember the incident itself, but don't necessarily remember life before. It has really struck me how this will be a generational thing. There will be the people who remember and those who weren't around yet.

I visited the WTC site in May. Being there brought back such vivid memories of that terrible day. I'm from the south so wasn't anywhere near it and don't know anyone who was there. I did watch it all unfold on tv--from when it just seemed to be a commuter plane accident through the craziness of the afternoon and the immediate outpouring of grief.

So, back to the book. I really enjoyed it. It was interesting for me to read the characters who were just a little younger than I was at the time. I love stories with intertwining characters. The time line of the book was from the moment it happened to a year later, which was interesting to see how the characters pulled out of the enormity of the tragedy and on with their lives.

As I was putting this book on goodreads shelves, I thought, "Holy crap. This is historical fiction." It's about the most recent historical fiction you could have, but it was written several years after the fact. I am older than characters in a historical fiction novel!

It was a good read. If you want to remember some of your feelings--or experience some because you weren't old enough at the time, definitely pick it up.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

How about we ban stupidity instead of books?


I've been reading about books that have been challenged or banned. Most of the challenges make me want to scream at their sheer stupidity.

Walter, the Farting Dog was challenged because it used the words "fart" and "farting" twenty-four times.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time: challenged because it could pollute young minds.

To Kill a Mockingbird promotes racial hatred and division by using racial epithets.

Nickel and Dimed promotes "economic fallacies," socialism, and drug use.

Twilight is too sexual.

Real Girl/Real World: Tools for Finding Your True Self explores feminism.

Non-fiction books support the scientific theory of evolution.

Or the Alabama legislator that suggested a bill that would prohibit spending public money on books that recognized or promoted homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle.

My goodness. Have these people even read these books?!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dirty Sexy Politics

For those of you who know my political leanings, you might be surprised but I LOVED this book. I read a blurb about the book and thought it sounded good despite the fact she is John McCain's daughter. I downloaded a sample for my Kindle and really enjoyed it, so I bought it.

She's so honest about this-is-who-I-am even how it doesn't fit the Republican party. She's pro life, but very pro contraceptives and is against abstinence only teaching. She's supports gay marriage calling it the civil rights movement of this generation, and is not particularly fond of the conservative Christian movement in the party, wonders why the Reps write off young voters and say silly anti-intellectual things. Plus, she doesn't seem to think very much of Palin. She sounds kind of liberal by my description, but mainly she seemed like an honest, candid moderate.

Even being the candidate's daughter, Meghan was carefully watched to make sure she fit the image that the campaign wanted. She writes, "I needed to be fixed-improved upon or polished up-or sent to Siberia. That was the basic message." She graduated from Columbia, which was maligned as a socialist school by her father during the election, which highlights how she felt she was treated.

She has lots of great insight about politics, campaigns, and the Republican party. It's also a great story about accepting yourself as you are--even when there's lots of pressure that you aren't ok as is.

I want to be her BFF. She's awesome. Her honesty and humor were great!

I'd love to hear what some of my more conservative friends think about it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Musing Monday: Buying Books

Where do you buy/get most of your books?

Oh, lots of places!

I stock up at my library's book sale. I usually volunteer several days during it, so I have plenty of time to look around.

I get some from Paperback Swap. Right now, I'm on lots of wish lists. I don't think I'll be getting anything soon though.

I use audible and my library for audio books.

I have gotten lots of free books for my Kindle from Amazon and Project Gutenberg. I have also bought a few as well.

I buy from bookstores too, but usually those are books I found from browsing. I don't buy as many new as I used to.

Check out Should be Reading for more Musing Monday posts.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

2010 SuBC Winner!


I am one of the winners of my online book club's seasonal book challenge! As a reward, I get to choose one of the categories for the upcoming fall challenge.

Some of the ones we've had:

read a book and write the author
read a book and fix a meal inspired by it
read a book by Stephen King
read a book that is over 700 pages
read a classic that's over 500 pages and was originally published in a foreign language

I have a couple ideas, but nothing really good. Any suggestions?

Friday, September 10, 2010

If you shop at B&N soon

The Denver alum association of my sorority hosts a Book and Author Dinner every year. This year there are three authors including Meg Cabot. I really really want to see her, but I teach on Thursday nights.

During that time period, there is a Barnes and Noble book fair (all stores and online.) Both the dinner and the book fair raise money for college scholarships. Part supports the Craig Hospital Scholarship Fund. Craig Hospital treats spinal injury and traumatic brain injury patients. A smaller portion benefits undergrad sorority members through scholarships.

So, head on over to Barnes and Noble, use code: 10205094, and help support a good cause. It doesn't cost you any extra. The book fair goes through the 19th in stores and the 24th online.

Like you needed another excuse to buy books.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

We went to Denver on Sunday night. As with every trip to Denver, I got to stop by what is probably my favorite bookstore: Tattered Cover.

I, of course, left with several books.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hot Dog

Audible finally came out with an Android app. My library has a good selection of audio books, but nothing like audible. I love the ease of audible, and I'm really excited about being able to use it on my phone.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Sepulcre by Kate Mosse was suggested to me because I enjoyed The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, The Devlin Diary, and The Forgotten Garden. All three of those books had a historical fiction mystery that was also part of a present day story. As I've mentioned before, I really enjoy historical fiction and mysteries so I really liked the mix of the past and the present colliding with a mystery in the middle.

Sepulcre also had this format. However, I was pretty disappointed in it. I couldn't get interested in the story line from the 1890s until I was rather far into the book. The characters in this section did some rather stupid things. It was one of those instances where you wanted to yell at these fictional people. I enjoyed the present day characters and their stories. However compared to the historical sections of the book, the present day plot was much shorter. I also found sections of the book irrelevant to the story. My copy was approximately 550 pages. The book could have been edited down quite a bit without losing important aspects of the story. Finally, the whole tarot thing made some but not a lot of sense to me.

There were things I did enjoy, such as Meredith's relationship with her adoptive mom and Meredith's research about her family. In fact, I think I would have really enjoyed a culled down story more geared towards Meredith and the present with small bits of the historical part thrown in.

Oh well. They aren't all winners.

Banned Book Challenge

One of inspirations I had for starting this book blog was hearing Lauren Myracle speak about her books and the censorship she's faced. I think that freedom of press and freedom of speech issues are fascinating. I teach poli sci at the college level and over the years, the section on civil liberties has become one of my favorites. Books and constitutional law, what's not to like?

On the surface, the 1st Amendment looks pretty forthright:

"Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or..."

But as we know, it gets so much more complicated than that. So Congress can't pass a law, but what about when your local school district pulls a book from the middle school library? Or a private company is putting pressure on an author to change content in his book? These other ways hurt too, and there aren't easy answers.

Banned book week is at the end of September, and today I stumbled across a blogger challenge about banned books. Here's Steph Su's post about the challenge. The challenge runs from September 1 until October 15. My goal for the challenge is to read seven banned or challenged books, approximately one per week, and to reflect on the book and why it was banned. I'm not sure which books I'll pick up, but I will have a post about one soon.