Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Oh My Golly, Gee Whiz!!! I'm Reading Stephen King!

I know I can't believe it! My husband has attempted to read a few Stephen King's and quit before the first chapter ended. My brother read one and wanted to quit but was afraid something bad would happen to him if he did. But on the recommendation of Fifty Books I am going to give The Talisman a try.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Lisa Scottoline

This is a relatively new author for me, but she is one that I'm going to keep track of. Her earlier books are legal thrillers that feature the all-female law firm of Rosato & Associates. Bennie Rosato built up the firm and hired Anne Murphy, Mary DiNunzio, and Judy Carrier. These women share friendship, advise, legal prowess, and some intense situations. Different books highlight different members of the law firm, allowing the reader to get to know each woman, but the others are still supporting characters. This relationship is one of the reasons I like these books. Add to that page turning action without over-the-top violence, sex, or language. The books do not need to be read in any order, but if you'd like to read them in order there's a chronological list on Lisa Scottoline's webpage.

The first novel I read was Courting Trouble. Newly hired to the Philladelphia law firm, Anne Murphy decides to spend the 4th of July weekend in New Jersey. When she reads about her own 'death' in the newspaper, she immediately realizes that the girl watching her car was shot in the face and the media had a case of mistaken identity. She decides to remain dead in order to catch the killer.

Dead Ringer - Bennie's law firm is barely staying afloat when she is hired for a class action suit that will safe the firm. While working n the case, Bennie runs into some problems. Her bad twin is running around town ruining Bennie's reputation. While she is trying to find the twin, somebody kills the person she's representing in the class action. Lots of thrills and chills.

Killer Smile - Mary DiNunzio is retained to investigate property appropriation of long-ago internment camp veteran Amadeo Bandolini. Scottoline was inspired to write this book when she discovered her grandparents' alien registration cards. Her Italian-American grandparents were forced to register as enemy aliens during World War II. This book is not about her grandparents, but about a young Italian-American who apparently committed suicide in an interment camp near Missoula, Montana.

Devil's Corner - I was disappointed that this book didn't include the Rosato & Assts. Law Firm, but I got over it real soon. This was probably the best yet, but I do look forward to more books with the girls.

Scottoline's latest book, Dirty Blonde, hit the bookstores on March 14. Looking forward to reading it.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Storyteller Quotes

I should be fixing dinner, but I'm just not feeling up to it. Hope the family won't mind fast food yet again! A couple of qoutes from Orson Scott Card's Storyteller in Zion.

When we (we intellectuals, scholars, and artists, who have ingested great dollops of the wisdom of the world) take a poise outside the church, speaking as if our distance gave us greater perspective, we have crossed the river, taken the elevator, rented a room, and now lean out the windows of the great & spacious building, jeering at those who are trying to guide others to take hold of the iron rod.

It is not beause the charaters do evil that we find them interesting. We identify with them because we recognize both their good and evil desires in ourselves, and through their acts we learn the consequences of our own, as yet, unmade decisions.

Non-Fiction Favorites

As you can see, I don't read as much non-fiction as I do fiction. There was a time in my life that I never read fiction. Things change...

What Matters Most by Hyrum W. Smith
Storyteller in Zion by Orson Scott Card
Reflections of a Scientist by Henry Eyring
Fooling With Words by Bill Moyer
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
The Magic of Believing by Claude M. Bristol
Island in the Center of the World by Russel Shorto
The Red Scarf Girl by Ji-Li Jiang
The Greatest Salesman by Og Mandino
John Adams by David McCullough
Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach
Wild Swans by Jung Chang
Book of Mormon
New Testament
Doctrine and Covenants
Pearl of Great Price

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Thanks for the Recommendations! :>

These are the recommendations I have right now. I will continue to add new ones as they are presented. Appreciate your help. Some have sent suggestions for books I've already read. I won't list those so don't think it's an oversight. There have been a few suggestions that just didn't appeal to me and I didn't list those either. If you come up with any more suggestions, please let me know.

Recommended by Fifty Books:
1. The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub (read Apr '06)
2. Timeline by Michael Crichton. (2nd by Myke)
3. Peacegiver by James Ferrel. (2nd by Myke)

from Cardine:
4. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang (read Mar '06)

from Susan R.
5. March by Geraldine Brooks (read Apr '06)
6. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

from Myke:
7. Kitchen Table Wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen
8. My Grandfather's Blessings by Rachel Naomi Remen
9. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
10. The Frankenstein series: Prodigal Son and City of Night by Dean Koontz

from my Mom:
11. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
12. Any of Sue Grafton's mysteries--I see she's up to the letter S. So I think I'll go with S for Silence .

from Cardine's sister, Cash:
13. Cat's Cradle byKurt Vonnegut
14. Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor

from my cousin Pam S:
15. And There Was Light: Autobiography of a Blind Hero of the French Resistance by Jacques Lusseyran
16. Body in the Belfry by Katharine Hall Page (read Apr '06)

from my sister Shaneen:
17. Fine Old High Priests by Donald Smurthwaite
18. A Wise Blue Autumn by Donald Smurthwaite
19. The Secret Journal of Brett Colton by Kay Lynn Mangum
20. Trinity by Leon Uris
21. Exodus by Leon Uris
22. Kate Shugak mysteries (Alaska) by Dana Stabenow (read Mar '06 - A Cold Day for Murder)
23. Anna Pidgeon mysteries (National Parks) by Nevada Barr

from Jennifer
24. Memoirs of a Geisha byArthur Golden

from Alyson
25. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

from Cardine
Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang

from Shaneen
27. Between You and Me by Mike Wallace

from Pam
28. Fool's Puzzle by Earlene Fowler
29. Thyme of Death by Susan Wittig Albert

from Ben
30. The Meaning of Everything by Simon Winchester

from Katie
31. The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau
32. The People of Sparks by Jeanne Duprau

Monday, March 13, 2006

Recommendations Wanted

I'm following suit with Fifty Books and asking for reading recommendations. I always love to hear what people are reading and if they like it or not. And I'd love hearing what your favorite books are. Make as many recommendations as you want. Keep in mind that I love mystery/suspense, but I enjoy books from all genres except romances. Having said that, I do try to read one romance every summer for the library's summer adult reading program, so if you have a suggestion for a romance that is not too steamy or inane I would appreciate the suggestion. Two years ago my sister-in-law recommended Mt. Vernon Love Story by Mary Higgins Clark and I really liked it.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Fiction Books I Would Recommend

These are books I've read that I would recommend to others, and even though most rank among my favorites this list does not include all my favorites. I've provided a link from each book to my review of that book or to it's listing on This list is arranged alphabetically.

The #1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

An Instance at the Fingerpost by Ian Pears

An Unfinished Life by Mark Spragg

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Sijie Dai

Boston Jane by Jennifer L. Holm

Camel Club by David Baldacci

The Chosen by Chiam Potok

Crispin: the Cross of Lead by Avi

A Conspiracy of Papers by David Liss

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

DaVinci Code by Dan Brown

Devil's Corner by Lisa Scttoline

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

Face Down in the Marrow Bone Pie by Kathy Lynn Emerson

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Folly by Laurie King

Forever Odd by Dean Koontz

From the Corner of His Eye by Dean Koontz

Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland

The Giver by Lois Lowry

I Heard the Owl Call My Name byMargaret Craven

Holes by Louis Sachar

The Illuminator by Brenda Rickman Vantrease

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

Killer Smile by Lisa Scottoline

Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Little Country by Charles deLint

Locked Rooms by Laurie King

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

March: A Novel by Geraldine Brooks

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Naked Once More by Elizabeth Peters

No Graves as Yet by Anne Perry

The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The Queen's Fool by Phillipa Gregory

Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

The Secret Life of Bees bySue Monk Kidd

Someone Not Really Her Mother by Harriet Scott Chessman

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

The Swallows of Kabul by Yamina Khadra

Sky Burial by Xinran

The Tales of Despereaux by Kate DiCmillo

Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

White Midnight by Dia Calhoun

The Winner by David Baldacci

Monday, March 06, 2006

My Commonplace Book

In my reader's journal I try to record the main characters, a brief storyline, my feelings about the book and an occasional qoute or two. Before I started keeping a reader's journal, I had what I call a commonplace book. It was specifically a collection of striking passages that I had read and recorded in one place so I could easily refer to them. I would identify the book the qoutes came from, but nothing else about the book. It's interesting as I reread the passages from my commonplace book. Often the orginal impression I experienced at the time of reading the book reemerges. With time and experience some of the passages take on added layers of meaning. Here are a few passages I recorded.

from Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver
Sympathizing over the behavior of men is the baking soda of women's friendships, it seems, the thing that makes them buble and rise.

Anybody could get worked up . . . it's peacefulness that is hard to come by on purpose.

from Range of Motion by Elizabeth Berg
I say things like that sometimes, and then immediately feel as though some bottom has dropped out, as though I'm driving along and the road suddenly disappears and I am sitting there, suspended in black space, my hands fiercely clenching the steering wheel as though I still had some control. (that was all ONE sentence!)

from Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz
You have to be careful of your feelings. It's a mistake to let them go just because they're summoned.

I felt as though my insides, which had been twisted tight, like the elastic attached to the propeller of a balsa glider, had suddenly been released and were spinning free.

from Attitudes of Gratitude by M.J. Ryan
Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is the key to living in a spirit of joyful expectation.

from The Bird Artist by Howard Norman (The setting for this book was Newfoundland and, having lived there for 3 years, it intrigued me.)
Ours is usually a house where visitors don't come all the way inside. (I just thought that was funny!)

I prefer to be a widower of Ethel than a husband to anyone else, even in my imagination. (Ohhh, how sweet is that?! I try to convince my husband that's how he should think if I go first. He's probably already imagaining a cuter, more energetic, sweeter spirited wife! Notice I left sexier off the list!)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

My White States

The white states are the ones I still need to visit. I'll probably have to sell my house and everything in it now that I work 1/2 day instead of all day. Oh well, those are the choices we have to make. It sure is great coming home at noon.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Made An Impression

Sometimes when I'm reading I come across a thought that impresses me. Sometimes it's just a terrific arrangement of words, an unexpected expression of an idea, or a picturesque phrase. Here are just a few that I've recorded.

from The Secret Live of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
There was a gentleness in her words, like they'd been rocked in a little hammock of tenderness down in her throat.

That's the only purpose grand enough for a human life. Not just to love, but to persist in love.

from Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi
There's an old soldier's saying, 'If you have to choose between alertness and worry, being alert will bring you more days of life.'

You are full of sadness. Those who bring remorse are shunned. Do you know why? Because sorrow is the common fate of man. Who then would want more? But wit and laughter, why, no one has enough. When I think of the perfections of our Savior, I choose to think most on His most perfect laughter. It must have been the kind that makes us laugh, too. For mirth is the coin that brings a welcome. Lose your sorrows and you'll find your freedom.

from The Christmas Caroll by Charles Dickens. Scrooge said this when hearing his nephew's laughter.
It is a fair, even handed, noble adjustment of things that while there is infection in disease and sorrow., there is nothing in the world so irresisteibly contagious as laughter and good humor.

from A Parchment of Leaves by Silas House
You have to seek out the promise of joy, no matter your circumstances.

Guilt is the worst, smallest kind of jail. I was trapped inside myself as if my soul could not flutter past my rib cage.

from Whispers by Dean Koontz
The attorney's patience with her could fit into a thimble with room left over for one of Charo's stage costumes plus the collected wisdom of the last four U.S. Presidents.

More than anything else, our understanding and use of language shapes us. Language is the way we express every idea, every thought. Sloppy thinking leads to a sloppy use of language. But the opposite is also true. Imprecise language causes imprecise thinking.

from The Potter's Field by Ellis Peters
I think truth, like the burgeoning of a bulb under the soil will make its way to the light.

from One Corpse Too Many by Ellis Peters
As for justice, it is but half the tale. God disposes all. From the highest to the lowest extreme of a man's scope, wherever justice and retribution can reach him, so can grace.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


I recently finished reading 2 books by Jasper Fforde, The Eyre Affair and Lost in a Good Book, both mentioned in an earlier blog. One recurring idea that Thursday Next picked up from her father was that if it seemed like there were too many coincidences coming together at a certain point in time, then they probably weren't really coincidences.

Tonight I was reading over qoutes I'd written down from books that I've read. These 2 were on the same page, but from different books. That coincidence allowed me to thread together more meaning than each would have provided individually. (The sum is worth more than the parts?)

"God gave him just enough strenth for each day. No extra, none to invest for the future, but sufficient for each day." from Soul Harvest (part of the Left Behind series) by Tim LaHaye.

"She had often wondered exactly why the Lord's Prayer had the line in it "Give us this day, our daily bread." Now she thought she had it figured out. Perhaps it meant, "Let this day suffice."
from From Beginning to End by Robert Fulghum.

I remember the impact of these quotes at the time I read them. Usually I have the strength to get out of bed, make it to work and drag myself home again. By 8:30 pm my strength is gone. I've always grumbled and griped that I didn't have more strength. When I read the first quote, I stopped and thought about that concept in relation to my life. My whole paridigm shifted. Instead of feeling cheated, I felt grateful. I AM blessed with enough strength for each day! Thank-you, Lord, for giving me THIS day my daily bread. This day is enough. So what do you think, coincidence or not?