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Books I've Read in 2009 (July - Dec)

Bookworm Girl
 
The Lost
The Lost
"A very touching account of one man's journey to research what happened to 6 relatives from Bolechow, Poland who perished in the Holocaust. Along the way he discovers the heart-wrenching stories of other survivors, reconnects with his siblings, and completes his own self-discovery. I especially liked how the book chapters are integrated with themes from the Bible (Torah)."
Term Limits
Term Limits
"Ten years later the plot and characters could have been ripped from today's Washington! A quick & entertaining read, focused on career politicians pandering to special interests that leads to bold egos and fatal errors. Can a lone freshman Congressman reform the system or will he be bullied by higher-ups? What does it take for politicians to remember those who elected them?"
My Life in France
My Life in France
"I positively enjoyed this book! It was good to read it before watching the movie. The book certainly captures Julia's bold essence and love of French cuisine. Plenty of photos too help the reader to identify with the people behind the scenes in Julia's life. This book could also be classified as a travelogue - very educating regarding people and places in France and life post-WW2."
Frommer's Utah (Frommer's Complete Guides)
Frommer's Utah (Frommer's Complete Guides)
"Bryce, Arches, Monument Valley, Salt Lake, Park City, Promontory - this book has helped us see it all! Typical of the Frommer's travel series - restaurants, hotels, attractions. Includes explanations of Utah history, Mormonism and what to expect on alcohol laws (although needs updating). I especially liked the travel route recommendations & how to fit top sites into various schedule options."
Othello (Pelican Shakespeare)
Othello (Pelican Shakespeare)
"This play follows the tragic romance between Othello and Desdemona in a domestic setting on Cyprus. It contrasts purity (Desdemona's faithful duty to her husband Othello) and evil (Iago's manipulations for profit and revenge). The basic message is things are not always what they seem and could we all misjudge so quickly without rational weighing of the evidence?"
Catastrophe
Catastrophe
"Another winner from Dick Morris, President Clinton's prior political consultant, & Eileen McGann loaded with facts in language anyone can understand. Current issues are grouped into catastrophies caused by the President, by Congress or by Special Interest Groups. Each issue provides an action plan so readers can get involved to effect change!"
In the Woods
In the Woods
"Detective Ryan is haunted by childhood memories as the lone survivor when his best friends are murdered in the woods near their homes. Now in his 30s he is assigned to investigate the murder of a 12-year old girl in the same woods. Are the cases 20+ years apart related? Well written. Flawed characters over the top annoying at times. I liked the ending despite criticism from others."
The Lost Symbol
The Lost Symbol
"Save yourself the time and watch the movie National Treasure - it's much more entertaining! Professor Langdon is back to unwrap the secrets of the Freemasons entrenched in the US government, and this time the plot is predictable, pretentious and plodding. Yes, it was an easy read for a plane ride. But, it was too repetitious of the other books in this series. Brown has the talent to do better."
4th of July (Women's Murder Club)
4th of July (Women's Murder Club)
"Detective Lindsay Boxer faces charges of police brutality after an arrest of minors goes terribly tragic. With her career hanging by a thread and her reputation in doubt, she heads to her sister's beach home for some R&R. Instead of rest she embarks to solve the serial murders in this small town, which are eerily reminiscent of the first unsolved murder from her past."
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
"This book needs an adult-fiction warning. It is quite graphic in describing the sexual victimization of women in Sweden. Nonetheless the reader is captured by the bizarre world of Lisbeth Salander, brilliant computer hacker declared incompetent to function normally in society, and Mikael Blomkvist, part owner of independent news magazine Millenium. A unique mystery plot!"
The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium )
The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium )
"Book 2 in the Millenium Trilogy. While the plot is not as unique as Book 1, this book was a better read. Lisbeth Salander is hunted by the police for 3 brutal murders after her fingerprints are found on the murder weapon. The reader learns details of Lisbeth's past that explain her personality disorder as Mikael Blomkvist races against the police investigation to prove her innocence."
Glenn Beck's Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government, Inspired by Thomas Paine
Glenn Beck's Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government, Inspired by Thomas Paine
"The first half is Beck's musings why our politicians (right and left) are out-of-touch with the Founding Fathers' original views of government. Beck's objective is to inspire ordinary citizens to take action, i.e. through the 9-12 Project. The second half is Thomas Paine's Common Sense republished, which inspired the colonies to fight for their independence from Britain."
Welcome to Obamaland: I Have Seen Your Future and It Doesn't Work
Welcome to Obamaland: I Have Seen Your Future and It Doesn't Work
"This conservative political rant is by a British author who draws parallels between the newly-elected US gov't and his own country's increasing progressivism during Tony Blair's term as Prime Minister and the growth of New Labour. The chapters are organized around topics such as global warming, health care, multiculturalism and defense spending. Interesting to learn more about the UK system."
The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium, An Englishman's World
The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium, An Englishman's World
"A fascinating, short read about England around 1000AD at the climax of Anglo-Saxon society and prior to Norman invasion. It details a year in the life of a Medieval Englishman. Each chapter represents the main tasks of that month. It covers topics such as food, health, religion, government, jobs, warfare and economics. Written by journalists - not a dry academic thesis!"
The Anglo Files: A Field Guide to the British
The Anglo Files: A Field Guide to the British
"An American ex-pat journalist for the New York Times marries an Englishman and continues to work and raise her children in London. The book is her attempt to explain the quirks of the English culture and her personal experiences as an outsider. It covers the usual topics for this type of book: weather, sports, National Health System, education, Parliament. Skip the hedgehog chapter."
Britannia in Brief: The Scoop on All Things British
Britannia in Brief: The Scoop on All Things British
"The best book I have read on the topic of understanding the British people better! It covers the usual topics: history, government, geography, education, sports, food, pop culture. However the information presented is more factual than anecdotal. Loved the bulleted lists contrasting do & don'ts."
The Pillars of the Earth (Deluxe Edition) (Oprah's Book Club)
The Pillars of the Earth (Deluxe Edition) (Oprah's Book Club)
"A medieval tale set in the 12th century revolving around the construction of the Kingsbridge Cathedral in southern England. Set during the battle for the crown between King Stephen and his sister Maud. Good character depth. The reader is easily drawn into their world by the author's vivid yet simple imagery. Love, politics, religion, civil war - big themes!"
Winter Ghosts (UK Import Hardcover) Mosse
Winter Ghosts (UK Import Hardcover) Mosse
"A short story of an English man anguished over the death of his older brother during WWI. Neglected by his grieving parents & confined to a sanatorium, he rejoins the living in the hills of southern France as he frees the ghosts of a 14th century Cathar village. Two histories 600 years apart woven into one. Written with the same beautiful language as the author's longer novels."
The Magician's Nephew, Color Gift Edition (Narnia)
The Magician's Nephew, Color Gift Edition (Narnia)
"I love the Narnia movies and decided to explore the book series. This short story is Book 1 and explains how Narnia was created, the evil of the Witch, the origin of the lamp-post and how the wardrobe got its magicial properties as a gateway to Narnia. A delightful read, and I plan to continue on in the series!"
Christmas Letters
Christmas Letters
"A cute holiday romance set in downtown Seattle. The main character was easy to identify with, even if her nickname was annoying and her weight obsession distracting. The plot centers around the hot-cold relationship between KO & Dr Jeffries, author of the Free Child, whose child-rearing principles - like "Bury Santa Under the Sleigh" - KO doesn't support."
The Christmas Train
The Christmas Train
"Tom, a freelance writer, is traveling from DC to LA via rail for the holidays and documenting the experience on assignment. Tom's fellow travelers are a cast of eccentric characters: train personnel, lonely wanderers, a retired priest, young elopers, and his long-lost sweetheart, Eleanor! I enjoyed the train lore sprinkled throughout. Of course there's a happy ending too!"
The Venetian Betrayal (Cotton Malone)
The Venetian Betrayal (Cotton Malone)
"Book #3 in the Cotton Malone series. One is never really retired! This time the adventure moves from Copenhagen to Venice to the fictional Central Asian Federation. Cotton and the familiar cast must save the world from an evil despot intent to conquer her neighbors with biochemical weapons, all while unraveling the ancient mystery of the burial location of Alexander the Great."
A Highlander Christmas
A Highlander Christmas
"This book is part of a larger series based on the MacKeage family which I have not read. I was intrigued by the plot. Camry, a NASA rocket scientist, abandons her job and absconds to Maine working as a dog walker. Luke, French physicist and her rival, shows up on the scene. Of course, a romance develops! Together they must race against time to find the answer to ion propulsion and space travel."
Two of the Deadliest
Two of the Deadliest
"Positively loved this book & highly recommend! After reading so many novels I had forgotten how enjoyable short stories can be! Bestselling mystery author Elizabeth George compiled short stories by both known & new female writers based on two of the deadliest sins: lust and greed."
Dashing Through the Snow
Dashing Through the Snow
"A quick Christmas mystery set in small-town New Hampshire on the first annual holiday festival. Grocery store co-workers win the mega-lotto. Will the festival be ruined when they promptly quit work? Crooks abound to claim their share of the grand prize. Can the good-hearted Duncan stop them and save his beloved girlfriend from becoming fish food in the local lake? Multiple mystery plots overlap."
The Piano Teacher: A Novel
The Piano Teacher: A Novel
"A fantastic debut novel and I look forward to more from this author. Beautifully written, Gatsby-esque. Historical fiction set in the UK-colony of Hong Kong, which focuses on the intertwined lives of high society British ex-pats and locals while the time period alternates between the war-torn 1940s and post-war 1950s. Romance and mystery, a story of survival and finding oneself."
Sacred Sins
Sacred Sins
"The second Nora Robert's book I've read. The plot was complex enough to entertain without being too simple. And the romance was interesting enough to avoid typical love-hate pitfalls. A serial killer dubbed "The Priest" is loose in Washington DC. Dr Tess Court, psychiatrist, teams up with Ben Paris, homicide detective, to solve the crime. Good twist when the killer is revealed."
Going Rogue: An American Life
Going Rogue: An American Life
"Sarah Palin's commonsense, tell-it-how-it-is voice shines throughout this self-biography of the 2008 Republican VP candidate. Clearly her love of God, family & country motivates her actions. I appreciated learning more about Alaska. The chapters are organized by her public service roles: city council rep, mayor, governor, VP candidate, post-2008 election, what's next."