Wednesday, February 23, 2011


we all know reading is fundamental(ly free) and that I'm always reading a book. Now that I'm employed (but still poor - go figure) I've really been on a low-cost entertainment spree. I've been maxing out my unlimited dvd rentals (Dinner for Schmucks was funnier than I thought it would be, Frozen and The Canyon were taut suspense movies) and pretty much looting the library.

Between reconnaissance strolls through Barnes and Noble and recommendations from an author/blogger I'm in smit with (I'm sure I mentioned her before but in case I haven't her name is Jen Lancaster and she's hilarious) I have been finding new books and authors to read and it has netted me some great reads. I created a spot on the right hand side of this here blog, to tell you what I'm reading or have recently read and as I'm a book nerd, I assume others might be. Here are some recent stand-outs that I think you might enjoy (provided sweeping historical sagas written by depressed Russians/Icelanders with umlauts/priggish Victorians aren't your thing either). Here you go:

Carla Buckley'sThe Things That Keep Us Here [Hardcover](2010)Incidentally, I've been into apocalyptic stories lately, maybe it's because I  feel like my world isn't in my control, maybe reading about others who have it worse makes me feel better, but this book blew me away. I saw it at Barnes and Noble after a useless coffee date and I knew instantly that I wanted to read it. I put in on reserve at the library and the minute I picked it up I started reading. There's a blurb on the back from Jacquelyn Mitchard where she said she read the book in one sitting. I laughed at that, I mean really, the book is 405 pages, how do you sit long enough to read 405 pages?  Well, I found out; a day and half is how long it takes to read 405 pages of incredibly suspenseful well written story telling. This is the rare Doomsday book that doesn't involve zombies. No. It's an avian flu pandemic and while it doesn't sound interesting Jacquelyn and I found it riveting and books don't make sounds anyway. This book is author Carla Buckley's first and I eagerly await her follow-up.

Product Details Oh did this book blow me away. The moment I closed it I looked for someone to discuss it with. What a great, twisty, gothic story this was. In 1990's London a reserved college student befriends a wildly eccentric classmate who lives in 'Great Expectations' like mansion with her brother and other artsy types. Reserved coed becomes completely enmeshed in the mansion's hedonistic patchwork 'family' and before you know it she's not so reserved and soon after everything has gone off the rails. A grievous act occurs (the book flap will tell you precisely), lies ensue and no one is left unscathed. The book slowly ratchets up the tension while throwing in a red herring or two just in case (like me) you're a smug mystery reader who's surely figured it all out. You haven't. This is Erin Kelly's first novel and another first time author who has me looking forward to novel number two.

The Amateurs
This book was a pick up from Jen Lancaster. She recently posted a winter reading list and this was one of the books mentioned. This is a straight up thriller with screenplay written all over it. It was not the most cerebral book I've read but the story was engaging enough that I eagerly kept turning the pages and read it in two days or so. Four longtime friends in their late 20's/early 30's, bored, slightly disillusioned and not where they expected to be in life decide to shake things up. Shaking things up rarely turns out well though (unless you're Julia Roberts in any movie and have a killer soundtrack) and what seemed like a good idea just might end up destroying each of their lives. My only two complaints: the ending was overwrought and the author has Jenn (the only female in the story) constantly brushing her hair behind her ear as though that's the only tic he could think of to assign to a female. She doesn't 'chew her lip', 'bite on her thumbnail', 'bounce from foot to foot'. Nope, she gets nervous she brushes her hair behind her ear. Surely the author could have mixed it up a little. Maybe next time. Still a definite page turner that was enjoyable without having to be a complex mindfuck.

Eighteen Acres: A Novel A slower than-Aaron-Sorkin-paced walk through the White House and still a juicy Beltway insider look at the things that go on over the 18 acres which encompass it. Nicolle Wallace (no apparent relation to CBS's Mike or his son FOX's Chris) was the communications chief under George W. Bush and a senior campaign advisor for McCain-Palin. That said, she doesn't use the words strategery or refudiate even once and no one ever shoots a moose! I found the writing to be sharp and witty, her 3 female characters are well thought out, they have individual traits while being smart and interesting. This is no David McCullough/David Halbertstam fare but it kept me entertained.

Your turn, what books do you want to recommend to me?


  1. I'm just coming to the end of reading my way thru the works of Denise Mina. Highly recommend the garnet hill trilogy. (crime/suspense)
    In similar vein, and location, irvine welsh or Kate Atkinson

  2. I LOVE Kate Atkinson! Have you read Sophie Hannah?

  3. Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand (published 1957). Read it now before the Part I movie comes out in April. (Talk about apocalyptic and cerebral!)

  4. I am mildly ashamed that I recently got hooked on Lee Child's Jack Reacher series of novels. Fyodor Dostoevsky it is not, but they all have good story lines and I like the quick pace. "Tripwire" was probably my favorite of all those.

    Speaking of Dostoyevsky I recently reread The Brothers Karmazov. It was a wonder to read it again +/- twenty five later - this time through my now middle age eyes.

  5. From one bookworm to another -- check out

    You register for free and then create a profile and bookshelves of what you've read, want to read, etc. You can then post reviews of books, very much like you did here and invite your friends to join so you can share books, discussions, etc.

    It also has selection areas and of course, you can steal reading ideas from your friends bookshelves and I think you can even join online book clubs through the site.

    If you do check it out, enjoy!

  6. Did you know that you can shorten your long links with BCVC and get cash for every click on your short urls.


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