The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It

by Neal Bascomb

The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less than Four Minutes to Achieve It by Neal Bascomb

Spoiler alert* Roger Bannister got to the four minute mile first, and I’m assuming you know that if you’ve been alive the last 60 yrs or so. I assume Bascomb also knew that you’d know the outcome before he even started this book and that was his challenge. How to make common knowledge into a bit of a nail biter? How to mimic the feelings of watching an actual race? Bascomb manages to do just that, and to recreate an era of sports before ‘doping’ and big money endorsements. Read More »

Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans

by Gary Krist

Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans

Jazz, scandal, murder? Sounds like a book for me… sadly, it was only okay. Read More »

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

by Max Brooks

World War Z by Max Brooks

This book was a pleasant surprise. Normally, I don’t get into Zombie post apocalyptic books (I’m looking at you, Cormack McCarthy), but this was written in such an interesting way that I couldn’t resist. Read More »

Gilead

by Marilynne Robinson

Gilead by Marilynn Robinson

I’d never heard of this book, but my well read friend sent it for Christmas and I was intrigued. I went into the book with no background information and was pleasantly surprised. Gilead is the name of a town in Iowa where Congregationalist minister, John Ames, is preparing to die. Read More »

The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices

by Xinran

The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices by Xinran

Spoiler alert. This book is depressing. SUPER depressing. I purposely saved this gem for a time when I am not pregnant because I knew I would not be able to handle it in a highly charged emotional state. That being said, I still cried. Read More »

The Light Between Oceans

by M.L. Stedman

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

What makes a good fiction book? That is a difficult question. Does it entertain? Does it educate? Does it evoke a strong emotional reaction? The Light Between Oceans is not a book that I would typically choose for myself but as I discussed my reaction to the non fiction book An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken with a good friend, she brought over the Stedman book and wanted to see what I thought. They both deal with women who have lost children and there the comparison ends. Read More »

Ten Big Ones

by Janet Evanovich

Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich

I have three kids aged 3 months, 2 years, and 4 years. Even at University I managed to do my school work and still read for pleasure. Whenever I feel like I am slipping behind and not reading, I crack out of few of these books. I enjoy Plum series because they are easy to read, don’t require 100% attention, and the bright colors are a favorite of the 2 year old. She likes to stack and unstack and pull them off the shelves.  Read More »

Hard Eight

by Janet Evanovich

Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich

So, I am clearly reading my way through the Stephanie Plum series. Though, after this book, I decided to take a little break. I have read too many too soon to really appreciate the books as they should be read. Read More »

Hot Six

by Janet Evanovich

Hot Six by Janet Evanovich

Another Stephanie Plum book and things are as crazy as ever in Trenton, New Jersey. Read More »

The Secret Place

by Tana French

The Secret Place by Tana French

It is no secret among my friends and relatives, as far as genre fiction goes, Tana French is one of my favorites. I deliberately saved this one for my hospital stay with the birth of my third child. Tana French and I have a little tradition. She produces new books at the same rate that I produce new children. I hope she stops pretty soon because I can’t keep this up forever! Read More »

The Longest Race: A Lifelong Runner, an Iconic Ultramarathon, and the Case for Human Endurance

by Ed Ayres

The Longest Race by Ed Ayres

So, spoiler alert, I would like to one day run a marathon. Until I am back to my spritely running form, I have decided to read one book a month about running in order to keep my enthusiasm up and learn a thing or two. I don’t have a lot of runner friends that READ about running, so getting good recommendations has been mostly trial and error. As previously stated, I don’t like to read reviews prior to reading a book because I don’t want to taint my own feelings. I had already started this one when I added it to my goodreads.com profile. Unfortunately, I caught a glimpse of some negative reviews so this might feel like an apologist essay. If so, I apologize (do you see what I did there?). Read More »

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken by Laura Hilenbrand

Though I have vowed to cut back on my WWII reading, this book came highly recommended from nearly all my non fiction reader friends. I thought I’d read it before it became a movie and a weirdly watered down Hollywood version replaced the memory of the actual book. I am glad I did. Read More »

High Five

by Janet Evanovich

High Five by Janet Evanovich

This is the fifth installment in the Stephanie Plum series. And I am not going to lie, it was hard to suspend my disbelief at times. Generally, the plots are implausible, but this one was just too much.  Read More »

12 Years a Slave

by Solomon Northup

12 Years a Slave by Soloman Northrup

This book was written in 1853 about a free black man who was kidnapped and transported south to live as a slave for 12 long years. I’ve read other memoirs written in the same time frame, and I have to say that I don’t love the style of personal narratives written at the time. So that dislike of the way this memoir was written is reflected in how much I was able to enjoy the book as a whole, if one can enjoy reading about the utter misery of another human being. Read More »

Four to Score

by Janet Evanovich

Four to Score by Janet Evanovich

Disclaimer: I’m beginning to feel like the titles have very little to do with what is actually happening in the book. I picture Evanovich in her office thinking, “Okay, we’re on four… hmmm… I got it, Four to Score!” though what it means she hasn’t the vaguest idea. That being said, I genuinely liked Four to Score. I think it is my actual favorite in the series thus far. Read More »

Three to Get Deadly

by Janet Evanovich

Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich

So, spoiler alert (not really), I read six of these books in quick succession as I prepared for the birth of my third child. I needed some light bubble gum reading to feel like I was getting something accomplished and I can crack two of these books out in a day. So be prepared for lots of Evanovich reviews in the future. Also be prepared for me to start enjoying them marginally less. I find this series should not be devoured whole, as it were, but nibbled in bites here and there. I find I appreciate the individual books more that way.
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The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History

by Lewis Buzbee

The Yellow Lighted Book Shop by Lewis Buzbee

I like books about reading. And books about books. And books about loving books… Buzbee’s book about bookstores was right up my alley. I think all book lovers can relate to the themes he touches on, and as he takes his little walk down memory lane, a lot of what Buzbee remembers will be familiar. Read More »

The Devil’s Gentleman: Privilege, Poison, and the Trial That Ushered in the Twentieth Century

by Harold Schechter

The Devil's Gentleman by Harold Schechter

Finally, a delightful non fiction about murder… just what you were all hoping for, I am sure. This book follows the poisoning murders of two people and the subsequent trials of Roland Molineux in the late 1800s.

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The Big Ditch: How America Took, Built, Ran, and Ultimately Gave Away the Panama Canal

by Noel Maurer and Carlos Yu

The Big Ditch by Noel Maurer and Carlos Yu

Finally! An academically written book about a historical event from an economics perspective! I have been hoping to read something of this nature for a while now and happily my kindly husband obliged with this little birthday gift. Maurer and Yu have all the academic credentials one could hope for which lead me to worry that the writing would be dry, it wasn’t. Read More »

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

by Hampton Sides

In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides

I have a fascination with arctic (or antarctic) adventure biographies. It isn’t exactly that I wish I was born in a different time, I love my modern conveniences, but I have a great admiration for those who dared to venture out and discover the world that we know today. I’d heard a little about the USS Jeannette’s turbulent journey, but not enough to make the book uninteresting. Also, not enough to spoil the ending. Read More »

The Clinic

by Jonathan Kellerman

The Clinic by Jonathan Kellerman

This was another free book from my brother’s bargain book hunting. I’d just read one of Kellerman’s wife’s books and decided I should decide who was the better writer. I hadn’t been terribly impressed with Faye Kellerman’s book, but Jonathan Kellerman had an interesting spin on the suspense novel. Read More »

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches

by Alan Bradley

The Dead and Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley

I have been a vocal fan of the Flavia de Luce novels since I read the first. I’ve been deeply invested in the mystery and watching the characters unfold, but I must say this last book was challenging to me. Not because it wasn’t well written. Not because Flavia didn’t get up to her usual mischief. Not because some questions weren’t finally answered. What I found disconcerting was that I am not sure I like where the series is going. Read More »

Critical Conditions

by Stephen White

Critical Conditions by Stephen White

I’ve never read anything that Stephen White had written before. This little gem came into my hands via my brother who got a bin full of books for me from some sort of heavily discounted sale. This isn’t a book I would have selected to read on my own, but I was pleasantly surprised with the results. White’s series follows Alan Gregory a clinical psychologist who gets involved in all sorts of bizarre criminal cases/situations. Read More »

The Battle for WondLa

by Tony DiTerlizzi

The Battle For WondLa by Tony Diterlizzi

The third and final book in the WondLa trilogy was a sweet little read. Though much was predictable, clearly Eva Nine is going to triumph, but it was an interesting journey. Read More »

The Shadow Thieves: The Cronus Chronicles Book One

by Anne Ursu

The Shadow Thieves by Anne Ursu

When I first started this book I was unsure of whether I liked it, or not. The whimsical narrative style seemed a little too cutesy for my personal taste, but when I was young I had an interest in Greek and Roman mythology. Read More »

The Quality of Mercy

by Barry Unsworth

The Quality of Mercy by Barry Unsworth

I was unaware that this book was the highly anticipated sequel to Sacred Hunger. It only took 12 years to follow-up so I am sure fans of the original book might differ from me in their opinions of the book. Sacred Hunger follows a slave ship and talks a lot about greed, apparently. Well, at least if wikipedia is to be believed. Read More »

Pigs in Heaven

by Barbara Kingsolver

Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver

I seem to be burning through these fiction selections that my younger brother got for me. Pigs in Heaven is not a book that would have appealed to me, or that I would have chosen on my own. But as a free book, what a nice addition. A note, this is actually not the first book in a series of books about a lot of the same people so… proceed with caution. Read More »

Carter Beats the Devil

by Glen David Gold

Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold

I am surprised that I’d never heard of this book before I read it. It won some awards and sold well, but the first time I saw it was when my little brother dropped of a bin full of books he’d purchased for me at one of those bookstores going out of business sales. Read More »

You Were Always Mom’s Favorite! Sisters in Conversation Throughout Their Lives

by Deborah Tannen

You Were Always Mom's Favorite: Sisters in Conversations Throughout Their Lives by Deborah Tannen

I wanted to read this book from the moment I read a review on NPR.com. I don’t have sisters, but I have always been fascinated with the dynamic. Having come from a home with three brothers and moving into an all girls apartment in college, I could tell you stories of culture shock! Read More »

V is for Vengeance

by Sue Grafton

V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton

Another Kinsey Millhone mystery and the series is winding down. It seems that Grafton has decided to stick with telling the narrative from various points of view. I enjoy this, as sometime Kinsey is a bit too cute a narrator for my taste. Read More »