September 1, 2010

A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, A Dog’s Purpose touches on the universal quest for an answer to life's most basic question: Why are we here?

Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey’s search for his new life’s meaning leads him into the loving arms of 8-year-old Ethan. During their countless adventures Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog.

But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey’s journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders—will he ever find his purpose?

Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud funny, A Dog's Purpose is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog's many lives, but also a dog's-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man's best friend. This moving and beautifully crafted story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose. (from Barnes and Noble)

This is my read for September and after reading the reviews I'm making sure I have the Kindle in one hand and a Kleenex in the other. Review coming soon!

August 31, 2010

The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey

THE YELLOW HOUSE delves into the passion and politics of Northern Ireland at the beginning of the 20th Century. Eileen O'Neill's family is torn apart by religious intolerance and secrets from the past. Determined to reclaim her ancestral home and reunite her family, Eileen begins working at the local mill, saving her money and holding fast to her dream. As war is declared on a local and global scale, Eileen cannot separate the politics from the very personal impact the conflict has had on her own life. She is soon torn between two men, each drawing her to one extreme. One is a charismatic and passionate political activist determined to win Irish independence from Great Britain at any cost, who appeals to her warrior's soul. The other is the wealthy and handsome black sheep of the pacifist family who owns the mill where she works, and whose persistent attention becomes impossible for her to ignore. (from Barnes and Noble)

My pick for August and it's great! I promise I've read since January--but not much--and will work on getting this site updated.

January 31, 2010

Ford County by John Grisham

In 1989, John Grisham published his first novel, A Time to Kill, set in the town of Clanton, in Ford County, Mississippi. Twenty years later, he now brings us his first collection of short stories, returning to that rural corner of the world—a place populated by hucksters and their honest victims, the simple-minded and the shrewd, the rich and the poor. From three good ole boys on a fateful road trip to Memphis to the tale of Stanley Wade, a litigator whose encounter with an old adversary turns violent, the cast of characters in Ford County will keep you enthralled on every page. Brimming with suspense, each of these stories confirms Grisham’s reign as America’s master storyteller. (from Barnes and Noble)

Nope, can't recommend this one. I rarely not finish a book but I just wasn't enjoying it at all, so with only 2 short stories left to read, I closed this one up for good. None of the characters were likeable, the stories weren't all that interesting, and can he just stick to courtroom thrillers please? This is the second Grisham book that I couldn't finish. WD didn't care for it either, although he did like "Fetching Raymond." I was drawn to "Casino" and thought both could've been developed into full length novels. But I guess when you've written as many books as he has, they can't all be winners.

December 31, 2009

The Associate by John Grisham

Kyle McAvoy grew up in his father’s small-town law office in York, Pennsylvania. He excelled in college, was elected editor-in-chief of The Yale Law Journal, and his future has limitless potential.

But Kyle has a secret, a dark one, an episode from college that he has tried to forget. The secret, though, falls into the hands of the wrong people, and Kyle is forced to take a job he doesn’t want—even though it’s a job most law students can only dream about.

Three months after leaving Yale, Kyle becomes an associate at the largest law firm in the world, where, in addition to practicing law, he is expected to lie, steal, and take part in a scheme that could send him to prison, if not get him killed.
(From Barnes and Noble)

This was such a good book I almost finished it in one night. It was entertaining and suspenseful and a really fast read. I liked it. Most of the criticism of this book is that it's too much like The Firm. It didn't bother me. Most of his stuff is the same anyway. Lawyers disgusted with the way big firms are run and would rather make a difference in the world. That kind of thing. But that's Grisham and I think he would be the first to admit that he doesn't write great literature and that's okay with me. There's nothing wrong with a little junk food for the brain. Makes life fun. My only complaint with this particular story is that he short changed us on the ending. I wanted the problem solved, instead he just kind of brushed it under the rug and sent Kyle on his happy little way. But if you're a Grisham fan, it's forgivable.

December 28, 2009

Lamb by Christopher Moore

The birth of Jesus has been well chronicled, as have his glorious teachings, acts, and divine sacrifice after his thirtieth birthday. But no one knows about the early life of the Son of God, the missing years — except Biff, the Messiah's best bud, who has been resurrected to tell the story in the divinely hilarious yet heartfelt work "reminiscent of Vonnegut and Douglas Adams" (Philadelphia Inquirer).

Verily, the story Biff has to tell is a miraculous one, filled with remarkable journeys, magic, healings, kung fu, corpse reanimations, demons, and hot babes. Even the considerable wiles and devotion of the Savior's pal may not be enough to divert Joshua from his tragic destiny. But there's no one who loves Josh more — except maybe "Maggie," Mary of Magdala — and Biff isn't about to let his extraordinary pal suffer and ascend without a fight.
(from Barnes and Noble )

I love listening to Jonathan Goldstein's Bible stories for adults on NPR's This American Life. I thought about getting his book Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bible! but it didn't get very good reviews. Several reviewers mentioned Chris Moore's Lamb and how much better it is compared to Goldstein's. So I checked out the reviews for Lamb and wow. After 259 ratings it has an average of 5 stars. So I downloaded it to my kindle and it became my December read.

It was cute. Entertaining. It has it's funny moments. The sophomoric sexual humor seems overdone--Biff is a frat-boy at heart, I get it. I didn't love it though. I wanted it to have more dry wit than slapstick, I wanted Biff's death to be more poignant but it wasn't, I wanted to be moved to tears when he was unable to save Joshua (Jesus) on the cross but I didn't. I give it 3 stars.

It did provide the best message of Christianity ever though.

"You should be nice to people, even creeps.
And if you:
a) believed that Joshua was the Son of God (and)
b) he had come to save you from sin (and)
c) acknowledged the Holy Spirit within you (and)
d) didn't blaspheme the Holy Ghost (see c),

then you would:
e) live forever
f) someplace nice
g) probably heaven.

However, if you:
h) sinned (and/or)
i) were a hypocrite (and/or)
j) valued things over people (and)
k) didn't do a, b, c, and d,

then you were
l) f$#cked"

(That's an excerpt from chapter 28 of Christopher Moore's Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. I didn't write it. I'm not claiming to have written it. All credit goes to Mr. Moore.)

November 28, 2009

This Just In by Bob Schieffer

Bob Schieffer started his reporting career in Texas when he was barely old enough to buy a beer, joined CBS News in 1969, and became one of the few correspondents ever to have covered all four major Washington beats: the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, and Capitol Hill. Over the past four decades, he's seen it all-and now he's sharing the after-hours tales only his colleagues know. (from Barnes and Noble)

I have to live every day of my life listening to how much my sister loves autobiographies so I decided to give one a read. I found Bob Schieffer's memoir sitting on my bookshelf--WD had borrowed it from his dad but never got around to reading it--so I picked it up as my November read. Annnnndddd...this book is now in the running for the longest book ever. I didn't love it but I didn't hate it either. It was just a little slow. I enjoyed the behind the scenes/first hand accounts of the Kennedy assassination, his time in Vietnam and the presidential campaigns he's covered. I got lost in all the details of managing CBS news--the changing of presidents/board directors/producers.

Do I recommend it? Well, not whole heartedly. But if you're into politics and history I think you'll find a few stories in here worth your time.

October 10, 2009

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life on his family's farm in remote northern Wisconsin where they raise and train an extraordinary breed of dog. But when tragedy strikes, Edgar is forced to flee into the vast neighboring wilderness, accompanied by only three yearling pups. Struggling for survival, Edgar comes of age in the wild, and must face the choice of leaving forever or revealing the terrible truth behind what has happened. (from Barnes and Noble)

Great book! I had mixed emotions at the end though. The ending was not what I wanted. Not at all. But after a week or so I looked at the story as a whole and realized it for what it is--a really great story. I think if Wroblewski had given it a happy ending, it would've been too forgettable. I knew beforehand what the "tragedy" would be and anticipating that moment kept me glued to my kindle. Edgar's time on the run was a little slow but I loved the Stephen King elements of this book where Edgar talks to dead people. The description of the ghost taking the form as a sheet of rain was so vivid. I would definitely recommend this book but keep some tissues handy because this book is chock full of dogs and we all know what happens to dogs in books don't we?