Trudy loves to read fiction, especially fiction with a historical bent. When she can bear to put a novel down, she also reads history, biography and other nonfiction (although she avoids anything with post-modern in the title).
I’m rereading this with my son, & it’s such a joy! This ingenious fantasy centers around Milo, a bored ten-year-old who comes home to find a large toy tollbooth sitting in his room. Milo enters the tollbooth & begins a memorable journey where he meets such characters as a watchdog named Tock, the foolish, yet lovable, Humbug, the Mathemagician, & the indecisive “Whether Man.” This humorous book is filled with clever word & number play that provide Milo (& the lucky reader) with a cure for boredom. Written over 40 years ago, this fabulous book is possibly even more meaningful for our electronic-age children.
My new year's resolution for 2011 was to read Moby-Dick, which I must admit I avoided as a student. I finally read it in December and...WOW...I loved it! Great characters, great story, lots of interesting information, and much more humor than I expected.
In 2006, a tragic texting-while-driving car crash killed two scientists on their way to work and dramatically changed the life of Reggie Shaw, the young man who caused the crash. This page-turner of a book covers the ground-breaking investigation by a persistent officer who wouldn't let the crash be dismissed as an unfortunate weather-related accident, the science of driving while distracted, as well as the efforts of Reggie Shaw and others to change the way we look at cell phones and driving. An important book.
The Lacuna works on many levels: as an historical novel (with Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Trotsky!); as a political novel, examining the Red Scare in the U.S.; and as a tender (and surprising) story of a writer attempting to protect his privacy and a rather heroic stenographer who quietly helps him.
I read this after having traveled to Paris, thinking it would simply be a "trip down memory lane." It did serve that purpose, but it offers much more than that. The essays are very well-done with a wide range of perspectives. I highly recommend this collection. Also, if you are planning a trip to Paris, there are some great travel suggestions in here.
In this quirky memoir, Walls chronicles her upbringing at the hands of her eccentric, nomadic, & self-absorbed parents—her frustrated artist mother (who can rationalize almost any hardship as “an adventure”) & her brilliant, alcoholic nonconformist father. While parental neglect is certainly at the heart of the memoir, the tone is amazingly loving & (mostly) forgiving & often very funny. A wonderful storyteller, Walls is able to capture her parents’ knack for making hardships feel like adventures, yet she also conveys just how necessary it was for each of the siblings to leave home in order to survive.
I loved The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (read it first!) but Larsson’s second is even better. A complex thriller with explicit feminist sensibilities, this tale of corruption and sexual abuse is at times horrifying but always gripping and wonderfully written. Lisbeth Salander is a fabulous heroine—angry, punk, fearless and a brilliant computer hacker!
Quite enjoyable. Wise cracking, nerdy hero. Funny with interesting use of science.
A fabulous introduction to the Sonoran Desert.
To use a not-so-literary term to sum this up… WOW!!! Lots going on here, including time-travel and a spiritual war. And, I really like the portrayal of Holly Sykes. This is a dark and mesmerizing read that will stick with you.
The 2018 Booker Prize Winner is a challenging novel and is probably not for everyone, but I loved it. Some of the challenges include: long sentences, very long paragraphs, characters with no names. But, these are also the rewards. Once I gave myself over to Burns's unusual writing style, I truly "felt" her community, with its gossip, violence, absurdities, rigidity, and even tenderness. As to the unnamed characters: it stops mattering. For example, the main character is "middle sister," also known as "the girl who reads while walking" and "maybe-girlfriend." In my reading, these descriptions became wonderful substitutes for the names.
Working undercover in various low wage jobs, Ehrenreich discovers what it’s like to survive on low wages & work in demeaning environments. I felt I had a good understanding of the struggles of the working poor in America, but this book was an eye-opener. I highly recommend it!
This 2013 Pulitzer prize winner blew me away. The details of the case against "the Groveland boys" as well as the general abuse of black people in the area are chilling. The actions of the racist, Klan controlled sheriff are enraging. And, Thurgood Marshall's bravery and resolve in the face of all this is truly amazing. This reads like a thriller but (sadly) it is true.
This is a fabulous collection of short stories. While the focus of the collection is on the immigrant experience, the uniqueness of each story stands out. There is humor, chaos, sadness, and many surprises. Highly recommended.
Very funny, very unusual adventure story featuring a 100-year-old retirement home escape (and explosives expert!) This completely far-fetched adventure will keep a smile on your face.
Given the depressing times we live in, it is nice to read a memoir by someone who survived some very depressing times...and can still laugh. This book conveys some of the horrors, the complexity, and the ridiculousness of apartheid. But, it is, above all, Trevor Noah's tribute to his amazing mother. You end up with a smile on your face, despite it all.
This epic novel grew out of stories handed down to Urrea about his great aunt, Teresita, who was born in 1873 on a ranch near the Mexico-Arizona border. A healer & activist, Teresita was considered a heretic by the Catholic church & a rabble-rouser by the government of Mexico at a time when both the United States & Mexico were oppressing & exterminating large numbers of Native people. Urrea effortlessly weaves the supernatural stories about his aunt with the gritty reality & turmoil of the southwest during this time. A fascinating novel!
I admit to having resisted reading a novel that focuses on the AIDS epidemic (enough depressing news, I reasoned). But, I really loved this novel. Yes, it's sad and even harrowing at times, but also funny, suspenseful and loving. Highly recommended.
Critics call her the "queen of noir" and rightly so. Her depiction of Los Angeles in the 40s is so vivid. Her ability to get into the mind of a serial killer (without giving us gruesome detail) is amazing. But, what surprised me the most is that this is a truly feminist novel.
If you like your detectives more intuitive than hard-boiled, give Fred Vargas a try. Her mysteries feature the intuitive Commissaire Adamsberg who often baffles and irritates his more logical, yet still eccentric, team. In addition to enjoying a cast of quirky characters and an extremely complicated mystery, you will learn a bit about French history and culture along the way. And, in this mystery, you even get a trip to Iceland.
I loved this book. The two main characters -- a Civil War veteran who makes a living reading the news in small towns across Texas and a 10-year-old white girl who had been captured and raised by Kiowa but is now being returned (against her wishes) to white relatives -- are unforgettable. The writing is beautiful. And the adventures of this unlikely duo are both frightening and hilarious. If my crystal ball is working, I'd say someone will turn this into a movie -- but, of course the book will be better!
Read this on a long airplane ride. What a hoot! It's got lots of action, humor, twists and turns - and women with super powers. As a former academic, I especially loved the "academic treatise" interspersed throughout the book. Quite original and strange.
Woods' year visiting America's national parks did not go exactly as planned. But, it led to this beautiful book -- which is a loving tribute to his mother (a Tucsonan and lover of the Sonoran Desert) as well as our national parks.
This wonderful debut novel opens in 18th century Ghana, where the lives of two half-sisters diverge dramatically. One stays in Ghana; one becomes a slave in the US. The novel then follows the descendants of the two sisters forward into present day. Each chapter focuses on a different person and manages to provide an in-depth look at that person while also keeping an eye on the larger historical context. An amazing book.
This is a moving memoir by the brother of the "unabomber," Ted Kaczynski. David Kaczynski, a Buddhist and anti-death penalty activist, provides glimpses of family life with a troubled older brother...a brother who (as a child) could be sweet and thoughtful but eventually severed "every last tie."
I loved Lab Girl – loved her voice and her description of what it takes to do science – especially for a woman. And, her perspective on plant life…WOW!!…so interesting and unique.
Quite a unique book. At once, a gripping account of a woman dealing with grief and an amazing introduction to the world of raptors and the people work with them.
This indictment of our criminal "justice" system will/should make you lose sleep. The stories of people wrongfully convicted or receiving excessive punishments are often unbleievalbe - but they are true, and we need to pay attention.
- Fabolous Women's History (Tidbit: One law firm told O'connor they'd only hire her as a legal secretary)
- The fact that these two trailblazers are so different from each other makes a great story
- An eye-opening account of the workings of the Supreme Court
I loved this book -- part travelogue, part history. Rinker Buck has a distinctive voice -- funny, self-deprecating, anxious but also cocky. His modern day journey in a covered wagon is fascinating and full of interesting history. And, the mules....WOW! Who knew??
This book is about the fastest ride on the part of the Colorado River that runs through the Grand Canyon, and that is certainly thrilling. But, I loved the book for other reasons. Kevin Fedarko's writing about the beauty & importance of the Grand Canyon is fabulous as is his telling of the history of the folks who saved the Grand Canyon from numerous dams. This is a nonfiction page-turner.
James McBride won the National Book Award for this funny and engrossing novel. Onion, a 12-year old boy (thought to be a girl by his rescuer, the abolitionist John Brown) is the narrator of the novel. He is a sometimes innocent, sometimes cynical observer of John Brown and other abolitionists. Somehow, McBride manages to be irreverent and funny without trivializing our anti-slavery heroes. Storytelling at its best.
This is a memoir, an ode to the bicycle, and an interesting history of Amsterdam. It is wonderful to read about a place where cars don't rule!
If you are in the mood for a psychologically creepy read with lots of twists and turns, Gone Girl is for you! Wow! Narrated by a husband and wife in a failing marriage (to put it mildly!), this book is riveting. The reader must wade through the unreliable accounts of both characters to try to figure out what is really going on. A page-turner.
This page-turner of a novel is now in paper. Mary Doria Russell has given us an unusual and at times very amusing view of the "wild west" and Doc Holliday. Action-packed and fun but also thought-provoking.
This novel is both a page-turner and a philosophical look at gender and body issues. And it is a beautiful and surprising love story. And it is speculative fiction that is not dystopian.
There's a lot going on in Egan's new book. We meet Anna, the complicated and feisty heroine, when she is twelve in Depression-era New York and follow her through the war years as she becomes the sole provider for her family. There's a mystery (what happened to her father?). There's beautiful writing and, for us desert rats, a lot of water imagery! And, the historical detail is so interesting and surprising. A novel to get lost in.