Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Totally Unscientific Study of The Search for Human Happiness by Paula Poundstone

I love Paula Poundstone. I have seen her in person (at the Aladding theater in Portland, Oregon), I love listening to her on NPR's Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me show, and I really enjoyed reading this book!

In it, she describes various things she does to try to find happiness. She tries to get fit. She tries backpacking with her daughter. She tries getting connected on the computer. She tries driving a fancy car. She tries volunteering. I really appreciate how honest she was. Many of things did not provide much happiness at all, and other things provide a lot of happiness. Some of the things provided momentary happiness, and other things gave her longer lasting happiness.

One of my favorite things is how she uses her cats to describe the amounts of happiness she finds or doesn't find - heps and balous. I'm going to pay attention to how many heps and balous of happiness I find in my own life.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Woman No. 17 and The Stolen Child




WOMAN No. 17 by Edan Lepucki

I was lucky enough to win this book through librarything.com's Early Reviewer program. Thank you, librarything!

I'd read and enjoyed Lepucki's first book, California, a post-apocalyptic novel about Frida and Cal, a young married couple.

I was intrigued by the title of her new novel, Woman No. 17, and wasn't sure what to expect.

Lady is recently separated from her husband, and is searching for someone to take her of her young son, Devon. She finds "S", a young woman who bonds quickly with Devon, Lady's older son, Seth, and Lady herself. Lady is trying to figure out if she wants to get back with Karl, and is beginning to write a book about her journey with Seth, who does not speak. "S" dropped out of a college art program, and is experimenting with who she is - the "S" is a shortened version of Esther, her given name.

Told from both women's point of view, Woman No. 17 explores friendship, relationships with children and partners, and art. Both Lady and "S" have a lot to figure out, and they sometimes encourage and help each other and sometimes hinder and hurt each other.

I enjoyed not knowing what "Woman No. 17" was until well into the book, as well as these two characters. A good read!



THE STOLEN CHILD by Lisa Carey

In 1959, sisters Emer and Rose live with their families and communities on St. Brigid's Island, an isolated island in Ireland. It is a rough life, everyone's well-being depends on the land and the sea, both of which can be harsh and undependable. Rose is sunny and fertile, producing sets of twins every few years. Emer is dark and brooding, cherishing and protecting her only child, a son.

Brigid, an American, comes to the island. Her uncle, who lived on the island all his life, has died, and left his house to her. However, Brigid comes for more than just a new home. She is hoping for a miracle. St. Brigid's Island is steeped in mystery about St. Brigid, who is said to have lived on the island centuries before. Brigid, the American, is hoping that St. Brigid can give her what she wants most of all.

Brigid has a hard time breaking into the community on the island. The islanders, including Emer, with whom she develops an intense relationship, are reluctant to share the island's secrets with her.

Irish myth and lore is intricately woven into the lives of these women and their families, bringing depth and beauty to the story. Well done!

Thanks for stopping by! Clicking on the book covers will take you to Powell's, where you can find out more about these books. Happy reading!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Books Read in 2016


On my page on bookcrossing.com (you can look me up by my bookcrossing member name, 2of3Rs), I keep track of the books I read! Here is my list...note that it's in reverse chronological order. So the first book I read in 2016 was 7 Kinds of Smart, and the last book I read in 2016 was When to Rob a Bank.

Read in 2016
7 Kinds of Smart by Thomas Armstrong
Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving
The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra
Why We Buy by Paco Underhill
Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut
God Help the Child by Tony Morrison
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante
The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante
Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris
Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
Miller's Valley by Anna Quindlen
Concussion by Jeanne Marie Laskas
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
The Affinities by Robert Charles Wilson
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein
Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes
The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, and Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History by Thor Hanson
But Enough About You: Essays by Christopher Buckley (audio)
I See You Made an Effort by Annabelle Gurwitch (audio)
But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
Atlantic by Simon Winchester (audio, read by Simon Winchester)
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
Born Standing Up by Steve Martin (audio, read by Steve Martin!)
The Invoice by Jonas Karlsson
Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters (audio)
Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman (audio, read by Neil Gaiman!)
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
The Devil's Teeth by Susan Casey
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman
Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
Working Stiff by Judy Melineck
The Stolen Child by Lisa Carey
Woman No. 17 by Eden Lepucki
When to Rob a Bank by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

A few of my favorites were Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, listening to Simon Winchester read Atlantic, The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman, Lab Girl by Hope Jahren, Devil's Teeth by Susan Casey...some good ones!

What did you read and love in 2016?

Thanks for stopping by! You can leave a comment here on the blog, or send email to: 2of3Rs(AT)gmail(DOT)com. Happy reading!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch


I requested Dark Matter by Blake Crouch more than once from librarything's Early Reviewer's program. The plot synopsis had me intrigued. I knew I'd buy it even if I wasn't one of the lucky recipients on librarything. But yay me, I was a lucky recipient!

Here is the plot synopsis that got me interested...

Description: “Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

He awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

A man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.


It sounds like a lot to deliver, but the Dark Matter does not disappoint. Using quantum superposition (which I'd never heard of before this book), Crouch has crafted a mind-bending plot that questions reality as we know it. In addition, I cared for Jason and kept turning pages to find out what was going to happen to him.

Well done!

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