Here are the books I finished in the month of May 2008.
There’s a legend that explains the rating system below the reviews.
1 Losing It by Valerie Bertinelli ©2008 –☻☻ The likeable Bertinelli spills the beans about her marriage to rocker Eddie Van Halen and her emotional problems with weight gain. This book is like candy, quickly consumed but with no lasting benefit.
2 The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby – ©1997 ☻☻☻☻☻ Non-fiction. The author, who suffered from “locked-in syndrome” after a stroke, died two days after this book was published. Having no use of any part of his body except his left eyelid, this short memoir of his inner life was written with the physical help of another person. The author was shown letters and painstakingly blinked for each letter he wanted to use in each word, sentence, and paragraph.
3 The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls – ©2005 ☻☻☻☻☻ Non-fiction, memoir. Hair-raising tale of free-spirited couple who choose to live in poverty. The trouble is their 4 children must live through it with them. The author is one of those kids.
4 The Beautiful Miscellaneous by Dominic Smith – ©2007 ☻☻☻The son of a physicist tries to live up to his father’s dreams for him. After an accident injuring his brain, he becomes endowed with savant abilities which he attempts to impress Dad with.
5 Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography by Andrew Morton – ©2008☻☻☻☻We all know there are two sides to every story. But if even half of what the author says is true, Tom is not the nice guy you might think he is. Kind of scary, actually.
6 The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards – ©2005 ☻☻☻☻ Due to a harsh blizzard, an orthopedic surgeon is forced to deliver his child, which actually are twins (they couldn’t detect twins in advance in the 1960’s?). One twin has Down’s Syndrome and the doctor tells his anesthetized wife later that the second baby died. He gives the baby to his nurse and asks her to institutionalize it. But the nurse decides to adopt the baby instead. How will the doctor live with his betrayal? What kind of life will the child have?
7 Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan – © 1991☻☻☻☻☻White woman goes on walkabout with an Aborigine tribe across the Outback. She not only learns lessons about survival in this harsh land, but about teamwork, taming the ego, and realizing everything is one with everything else. Fascinating read. Author actually lived through this situation.
8 Driving with Dead People by Monica Holloway – ©2007 ☻☻ Non-fiction, memoir. The author writes about her cruel father, selfish mother, child abuse, and how a friendship with a mortician’s family helps her through it. A little too much animal abuse at the beginning for me. Not particularly recommended.
9 Snow in August by Pete Hamill – ©1997 ☻☻☻☻ Set in 1946, this novel revolves around a young boy of Irish descent in Brooklyn and how his developing ethics are shaped by neighbors and a rabbi. I didn’t really care for the ending which suddenly turned the book into a science fiction story, but I understand why the author used this device. Still…a real-life resolution would have been better.
10 Secrets of a Fire King by Kim Edwards – ©1997 ☻☻ Collection of short stories. I used this book as something to read while waiting for sleeping pills to kick in, because I knew I’d have temporary amnesia (side effect of sleeping pills) while reading it. I do remember not being impressed by these stories as the author uses way too much descriptive language for my taste. Perhaps I should have flushed the sleeping pill and just tried to read this, it would probably have had the same effect.
☻☻☻☻☻ Excellent. I highly recommend this book. Wonderfully plotted or chockful of insights.
☻☻☻☻ Very good. May have minor aspects of style or plot that prevented it from getting 5 smileys.
☻☻☻ Flawed, but of some entertainment or thought-provoking value.
☻☻ Read this book if you are stranded on a desert island and have nothing else handy to read.
☻ Don’t bother, it’s a waste of time. A suggested use is to light the fire for cooking your fish on the desert island.