We, the Drowned

by Carsten Jensen

We the Drowned by Carsten Jensen

I LOVED this book! Loved it. I struggle to find non genre (lit fiction) fiction that is good. Much of it is broody, and depressing, and overly self-conscious. Most are trying to sell a message, and though they try to be subtle, I generally find it distasteful. We, the Drowned was fiction done right. Read More »

Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

by James McPherson

Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James McPherson

Bless you, James McPherson… I LOVED this book! Though I don’t consider myself a Civil War enthusiast, I do enjoy learning about the battles and the individuals who lived through that turbulent times. When I say individuals, I don’t necessarily mean the Lincolns or the Lees, but the lay soldiers, and those ‘ordinary people’ who witnessed what was going on and felt direct effects. Read More »

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

by Catherynne M. Valente

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

This book gets the highest grade possible because it was awesome. You should read it. The end… Read More »

Nothing To Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

by Barbara Demick

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick

I must say, I loved this book. Absolutely loved it. It had all the elements of a wonderful non fiction: compelling subject matter, new information, and nice writing style. I am sad that this book isn’t a best seller, but not terribly surprised when I see the types of books that become best sellers. Read More »

Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory

by Ben Macintyre

Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre

I feel like I am on a WWII kick. I promise that I have been reading other things as well, but with the discovery of Macintyre’s interesting WWII books which detail the lives of spies and intelligence secrets… well, I might be on this kick for a while. Operation Mincemeat offers a different side of the WWII story. It does talk about specifics campaigns but focuses on the Intelligence community’s unique role in the strategic gathering and decimation of information. Macintyre’s book was well written and well researched. You can tell that his background is in newspaper journalism because each chapter is short and snappy, like a well written article.

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

This book and I have history… I read a review before it came out and was very excited about it. Then, one of the defunct book clubs that I am a part of decided to read it. I was thrilled, then they decided to replace the selection with The Help *gag*. I was disappointed but always having 20 books or so on my to read shelf didn’t leave me time for moping. Read More »

The Graveyard Book

by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

I am always on the lookout for good children’s literature. I enjoy kids books that tackle interesting concepts without getting heavy handed and overly preachy. A children’s book should also be fun. Neil Gaiman’s book mingles fantasy and adventure with a bit of silliness. Read More »

Every Man Dies Alone

by Hans Fallada

Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada

I loved this book. Loved it. I’ve read my fair share of forgettable WWII novels. This wasn’t forgettable at all, and I was crying at the end. You have to love a book that makes you cry. To understand and appreciate this book one needs to know its writer. Hans Fallada is the pseudonym of Rudolf Ditzen, morphine addict and author who was institutionalized multiple times and lived through the Third Reich. He was neither overtly supported, nor criticized the Nazi Party. He took the middle of the road route that he so detests in his novel Every Man Dies Alone. Understanding Fallada’s self loathing helps one greater appreciate what he is trying to say. Read More »

Waiting for the Barbarians

by J.M. Coetzee

Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee

I am skeptical when I pick up books by Nobel Laureates. There is something so pretentious about the Nobel and Pulitzer prizes. Read More »

So Brave, Young, and Handsome

by Leif Enger

So Brave Young & Handsome by Leif Enger

Growing up, my siblings and I rode in the car with our parents for hours—one of the joys of growing up in the middle of nowhere. We only agreed upon three CDs (or rather, tapes in those days): ABBA’s Greatest Hits, Neil Diamond (anything), and Marty Robbin’s Gunfighter Ballads. Yes, we all love the gunfighter ballads. Read More »

The Search For WondLa

by Tony DiTerlizzi

The Search for Wondla by Tony Diterlizzi

Against my better judgment I picked up this book. I’ve promised myself that I wouldn’t start a new series that wasn’t already complete. I get tired of waiting for new books to come out and then re-reading to remember what happened… hence one of the reason I have sworn off the Wheel of Time Series until it is finished.  Alas, I am pleased that I rarely listen to my better judgment. The Search for WondLa was what I have been searching for in a middle grade novel. Read More »

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

by Barbara Robinson

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

I remember the first time I ever encountered this book. I was in second grade and Mrs. Jordan (who wasn’t a very engaging out loud reader) read this book to the class. At the time, I did feel that this was a great book, and upon re reading… I think I liked it even more. Read More »

Exploration Fawcett: Journey to the Lost City of Z

by Col. Percy Fawcett

Exploration Fawcett: Journey to the Lost City of Z by Col. Percy Fawcett

In 1925 Col. Fawcett disappeared in the jungles of Brazil. He was looking for a legend called the Lost City of Z. In the 1950s his youngest son Brian Fawcett published his father’s manuscript that had been intended for publication after the expedition for the City of Z. Finally, finally, finally, a biography worth reading about someone who actually DID something. Read More »

Hunting Eichman: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World’s Most Notorious Nazi

by Neal Bascomb

A well researched, carefully crafted account of a series of events leading to the multiple escapes and captures of Adolf Eichmann, Nazi war criminal. The prologue begins with the tension of Mossad agents waiting for Eichmann to arrive in order to kidnap him and transport him to Israel, the only nation willing to prosecute him for his crimes. Though the tension is evident from the first page, the novel takes you back to Eichmann’s past as an SS officer in charge of implementing the ‘Final Solution’. Read More »

Peace Like a River

by Leif Enger

Peace Like a River is the kind of book I have been looking for. Enger creates the fascinating character Jeremiah Land, a father, and modern worker of miracles. We begin the story by remembering the story of Reuben Land’s miraculous birth. Read More »

The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag

by Alan Bradley

Another Flavia de Luce mystery that leaves one feeling warm and fuzzy and wishing for more. This book begins with an innocent puppet show coming to town. Flavia soon becomes entangled with the puppet master and his assistant. Rounding out the old faithful characters, are some new and interesting townspeople. Read More »


by Erik Larson

Erik Larson has done it again. Larson has a way to bring history to life. He spins a tale of murder and a tale of progress showing that man can evolve in evil and in technology at the same time. Read More »

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

by Alan Bradley

Flavia de Luce is a modern day Miss Marple. Sure, she isn’t set in modern times but she is a likable detective heroine that is sure to keep people reading this new mystery series. And she’s only eleven! Read More »

A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891-1924

by Orlando Figes

Perhaps it is the Political Scientist in me… but I REALLY enjoyed this book. Orlando Figes is not only an expert in Russian history he is THE expert and his novel could be used both as a textbook in a Russian history or Political Science class or works equally well when just read by someone with an interest in Russia, or the history of communism in Russia. What sets this book apart is that Figes uses the words of the people themselves to describe conditions and explain complex situations instead of relying on overused and sometimes unsubstantiated political theory. Read More »

Shades of Grey

by Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde has done it again. Any unfamiliar with the Thursday Next books, or the Nursery Crime series needs to stop what they are doing, immediately, and read them. They are that good. Read More »

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: A Political Marriage

by Nicholas Wapshott

One thing you mus know about me before I continue…  I LOVE Ronald Reagan. In the early 80s, I was an elementary school kid. President Reagan fascinated me then, and he fascinates me still. My husband has even expressed relief that Ronald and I were born decades apart because I would have married President Reagan if given the chance. As a self proclaimed Reagan devote, I’ve read a book or two about Reagan in my day. Read More »

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession

by Allison Hoover Bartlett

I loved this book. There, I said it. I don’t need to say it again even though I feel compelled to. Rarely do I feel comfortable paying full price at Border’s for a new book, when I always suspect that book will go on sale in a month or a few weeks. Read More »

Dear Undercover Economist: Priceless Advice on Money, Work, Sex, Kids, and Life’s Other Challenges

by Tim Harford

For a few semesters of my university career, I toyed with the idea of getting a minor in Economics. I enjoy economic theory and had done well in the subject. I abandoned economics and did not regret that decision when I later took Econ 451: Economic Trade Theory. Read More »