Here’s what I read in May:

Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff. A nice chick-lit kind of book about a woman trying to restart her life by opening a vintage clothing store.

Knitters’ Home Companion by Michelle Edwards. Sweet, heart-warming little book of stories, patterns, and recipes.

Philosophical Breakfast Club by Laura Snyder. The history of science, all in one neat little package. Or, well, not the ENTIRE history of science, but it follows four men who, while at Cambridge, got together and decided they were going to transform the way science was studied and treated … and then went ahead and did it. Fascinating and incredibly wide-ranging.

Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand. The story about the horse, which I decided I had to re-read after re-watching the movie. It’s still a really great story.

World Without End by Sean Russell, and…
Sea Without a Shore by Sean Russell. You’ve seen this pair on my list a lot. I love this duo—both fantasy books, but taking place in a world much like our 18th century with a main character who would have fit nicely in with the real-life mean in the Philosophical Breakfast Club above.

Alleluia Files by Sharon Shinn. Favorite author. Favorite book. Beautiful cover. Good story. There’s a reason it appears periodically on my list.

Packing for Mars by Mary Roach. An interesting and somewhat irreverent approach to the idea of space travel and what we need to do to get ready for a trip to Mars. There might actually be more detail than I really wanted to know about vomiting in space, or how weightlessness affects certain bodily functions, but it’s still fascinating—and entertaining—to read the author’s exploration into sending fragile humans into space.

Ten Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer. Hmm. She’s a good author and talented. The story sounded fascinating, but … I was bored and ended up closing this one before I technically finished it. (Yawn)

The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma. Such a nice little memoir. When she is in third grade, Alice and her father decide to challenge themselves to not missing a night of bedtime reading for 100 nights. When they’ve accomplished that, they decide to go for 1,000 … and then keep going. Right up until she left for college. Sweet. Touching, and full of the love of reading.

Last Bookstore in America by Amy Stewart. A Kindle book that supposes that we all—every one of us—suddenly were so enamored by e-readers that we simply didn’t want paper books any more. (Yes, the author knows that’s a stretch.) How do you suppose the last bookstore in America would survive? Light and entertaining.

Only Mr. Darcy will Do by Kara Louise. Light, fluffy little pastiche based on Pride & Prejudice (because that’s nothing new, right?) This one supposes that Mr. Bennet had passed away shortly after Mr. Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth at Rosings. Mr. Collins therefore moves into the Bennet’s house and Elizabeth becomes a governess. And when Mr. Darcy hears about it? Naturally, he invites the family she works for for a visit… An entertaining little look at the “what might have been” theme.

An Assembly Such as This by Pamela Aidan, and…
Duty and Desire by Pamela Aidan, and…
These Three Remain by Pamela Aidan. Well, while on a P&P-pastiche kick … I reread this trilogy that tells the whole story from Mr. Darcy’s point of view. They’re not perfect (and book #2 is by far the weakest and most ridiculous of the three), but it’s still fun.

Wildwood Dancing byJuliet Marillier. Fairy tale of 5 Transylvanian sisters who go dancing on the “other side” every full moon.

Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Because everyone should read the original once in a while, right?

What Ho, Automaton by Chris Dolley. Okay … imagine if P.G. Wodehouse were writing steampunk stories about an airhead named Reginald Worcester and his robot valet named Reeves…

Winston’s War by Max Hastings. History of WWII as shaped by Winston Churchill. I so wanted to love this book. It’s thoroughly researched and chock-ful with information (not to mention a certain amount of hero-worship on the part of the author), but I didn’t. It was wordy with the ridiculously circular, passive-verb sentences that are the worst in British writing styles, and it assumed the reader already knew too much. If you had no idea what happened at Dunkirk, or what the Battle of Britain was, you would flounder trying to catch up. No comparison in interest, readability, or good writing to the two-part Churchill biography I read last month.

Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony, and…
Source of Magic by Piers Anthony, and…
Castle Roogna by Piers Anthony, and…
Centaur Aisle by Piers Anthony. Okay, so I loved this fantasy series about Xanth when I was younger. My best friend and I devoured them in junior high and even wrote fan letters to the author, but it’s been years since I read them. And, well, they’re not as much fun as they used to be. The dialog is hopelessly unrealistic, the puns are already taking over the series (which they had completely done by book #7 or so), and yes, God yes, they are so sexist. How did I never see this before? But, still, they’ve got some good laughs and they certainly are creative so I guess revisiting them every 20 years or so isn’t a terrible idea.

The Wish by Alexandra Bullen. A YA book about a girl who wishes to have her dead twin sister back … and thanks to a magic dress, gets it.

Memoir by Ulysses S. Grant, Volume 1. A little too much with the military tactics but that’s certainly no less than one would suspect. This is still interesting and impressive as memoirs go. (Especially knowing that he was dying of cancer the entire time he wrote it.)

Reading Jackie by William Kuhn. A look at Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s life through her reading, and the books she edited. Interesting look at the woman and the reasons she worked with the authors she did.

2 Thoughts on “Books read in May 2011

  1. The Last Bookstore in America is a Kindle book? So, so wrong.

    The Philosopher’s Breakfast Club looks interesting. Along with a dozen others.

    How’s Chappy doing? Did that bad tick go away yet?

  2. You know that we have a huge overlap in books read, right? Due to that, and due to the fact that we seem to also have an overlap in books we enjoyed the most, I just got like there book recommendations off this post. Thank you kindly.

    PS. I’ve often said that God is indeed cruel to have given Piers Anthony so many wonderful plot ideas. The Incarnation or Xanth or Adept series in the hands of a better writer could have been some current favorites instead of my childhood favorites.

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