Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Books Read in 2014

2014 is winding to a close. I keep track on Bookcrossing of the books I read ( and my user name there is 2of3Rs). Here is what I read in 2014:

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
Dragnet Nation by Julia Angwin
Oxygen by Carol Cassella
Apologize, Apologize by Elizabeth Kelly
Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander, M.D.
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine
The Martian by Andy Weir
The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida
Gemini by Carol Cassella
The Little Friend by Donna Tartt
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
Remember Me Like This by Bret Anthony Johnston
Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink
Casebook by Mona Simpson
A Guide for the Perplexed by Dara Horn
Bark by Lorrie Moore
The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Flash Boys by Michael Lewis
Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch
Ruby by Cynthia Bond
The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham
The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison
We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride
The Farm by Tom Rob Smith
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Cant' We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Lucky Us by Amy Bloom
Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf
To Die For by Joyce Maynard
This Is The Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
Old Man's War by John Scalzi
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour Joshua Ferris
Egg and Spoon Gregory Maguire
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Goodnight, June by Sarah Jio
Delancey by Molly Wizenberg
Lock In by John Scalzi
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Bosch
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Delicious! by Ruth Reichl
Habibi by Craig Thompson
Geek Love by Katherine Dunne
One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis
Revival by Stephen King
The Circle by Dave Eggers
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
Macanudo 01 by Ricardo Liniers Siri
Leaving Time Jodi Picoult
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
The Visible Man by Chuck Klosterman



Such fun! I still have some posts I want to write about some of these...stay tuned!

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Friday, December 19, 2014

A Sudden Light

A Sudden Light by Garth Stein
Seattle. Timber barons. A family legacy. Devastation. Conservation. Love stories. Ghosts. Garth Stein (author of The Art of Racing in the Rain), brings us into the lives of a timber baron family in Seattle through the eyes of Trevor, a fourteen year old boy. While this is a very different book from The Art of Racing in the Rain (which I loved, mostly because of Enzo, the dog narrator), this, too, has an engaging narrator in Trevor. This seems to be one of Stein's gifts as a writer, the ability to create very engaging and believable narrators. I felt drawn into the world of timber and timber barons as well as Trevor's family.


Thanks for stopping by! Clicking on the underlined book cover will take you to Powell's page for this book. Clicking on the book cover will take you to Amazon's page for the book. Don't forget to "like" us on our facebook page, NOT The New York Times Book Review! Happy reading!

One Step Too Far

One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis
I was lucky enough to receive an Early Reviewer copy of One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis on librarything. I was intrigued by the description as well as the tagline on the cover…”No one has ever guessed Emily’s secret. Will you?”

So...Emily has a secret. On page one, Emily is traveling away from her old life and into her new life. We don’t know why (well, she has that secret). I felt as though I was being told a lot that Emily had a secret. I could have used a little less of that. That said, I liked Emily, I liked how she struggled with beginning an entirely new life using a new identity as she struggled with her secret. Seskis kept the tension high without revealing too much. There was a twist at the end that I didn’t see coming, which is always fun. An enjoyable read!


Thanks for stopping by! Clicking on the underlined book title will take you to Powell's page for this book. Clicking on the book cover will take you to Amazon's page. Happy reading, however you obtain your books!

Our Tragic Universe

Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas
Meg is a successful genre ghostwriter. She is also an unsuccessful writer of the novel she dreams of writing. She ruminates about her writing failures, and wonders if she will ever be able to write the book she imagines. She doesn't want to rely on plot to write this book, and to that end has written hundreds of pages and thrown out most of them out because they don't go anywhere. This book did not seem to go much of anywhere either, which made me a frustrated reader. Our Tragic Universe seems to be about a woman who wants to write a book without much of a plot, and her own life doesn't seem to have much going on. Ironic? Intentional?


Thanks for stopping by! Clicking on the book cover will take you to Amazon's page for the book. clicking on the underlined book title will take you to Powell's page for the book. Happy reading!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fall Reading

The weather has definitely turned fall-ish here in the Northwest. We had a lovely summer, and now we are having a rather chilly fall. The leaves are turning amazing shades of red and gold, and the sky is most often overcast and the temperatures are dropping. It is a perfect time for reading! Here is what I've been reading lately...

Lock in by John Scalzi
I was eager to read Scalzi's latest, as I'd read two of his previous books and really enjoyed them (Old Man's War and Redshirts). I found Lock In to be more technical than the other two. I loved the characters in Old Man's War and loved loved the whole premise of Redshirts (such a fun read, especially if you have ANY knowledge of Star Trek at all). This one was a little more clinical...and perhaps that had to do with the premise of Lock In. There was a lot to explain here (Haden's, which is what they called people who contracted a particular form of meningitis and ended up "locked in" their bodies, Integrators, who were able to allow others to use their bodies, threeps - nice Star Wars reference there -, and the Agora...) I did like Chris Shane, the main character and narrator, who was a Haden FBI agent. Interesting for sure, and not my favorite of his.

Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage
Molly Wizenberg writes of her husband's quest to open a pizza restaurant. Not just any pizza restaurant, but one that serves absolutely amazing pizza. She is hot and cold about his project, wanting to support him, and, at times being completely overwhelmed with the huge endeavor. I enjoyed reading about their quest to make the perfect dough, find the perfect location, and to finally be able to finally open their doors to the public! She is a good writer, sharing the food and herself and their endeavor engagingly with the reader.

Goodnight June by Sarah Jio
Jio imagines a possible back story for the writing of Goodnight Moon, the beloved children's book. Through her main character's inheritance of her great aunt's bookstore in Seattle, we follow as June comes to terms with her past, comes to some difficult decisions about her future, and as she discovers much more than she anticipated in the bookstore.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Don Tillman is a geneticist. He is deliberate and careful in how he lives his life, planning everything to the minute. He thinks that he should find a wife, and, with the help of a few friends, develops The Wife Project. It's not hard to see where this is going (ahem, read the title), I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Don, while dealing with some social challenges, is vivid and likable. A fun read!

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh
It took me way too long to read this. I'm not a big laugher (or cryer) when I read, so when a book makes me laugh (or cry), that is saying something. There were parts where I was laughing so hard I was crying. Her drawings, while seemingly simple, capture emotions and moods brilliantly. I LOVED her chapters about the dogs.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
This is the story of a family told through the lens of the death of the eldest and favorite daughter, Lydia. Lydia is dead, and no one knows why. Was she murdered? If so, what was the motive and who would kill her? Was it suicide? If so, why would Lydia kill herself? As we read, we learn more about each member of the family and their relationships with each other. The novel embraces us in the family's quiet devastation. It was quite lovely.

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl
I love Reichl's food writing, my favorite of her books being Garlic and Sapphires. Delicious! is her first foray into fiction, and I must admit that my expectations were low. I have found that some of my favorite non-fiction writers who attempt fiction have been disappointing. They do the non-fiction so well, and I've wondered why they even attempt fiction. And yet they do. Delicious! has been a pleasant surprise. Food certainly features prominently, and Reichl's gifts for describing food, even if it is fictitious food, is evident here. The story has not been predictable...I had ideas about where the story was going, and I have been pleased that she has taken the story beyond my expectations. I'm not quite done with this book yet, but have very much been enjoying the read...and gotten hungry while reading!


My partner and I are getting away for a few days next week for some badly needed R & R. We will of course be taking books! I'll be bringing Craig Thompson's Habibi, Bridge of Birds: A Novel of the Ancient China that Never Was by Barry Hughart, Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, and Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thompson. Looking forward to some down time for more reading!


What have you been reading and loving this fall?

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Monday, October 13, 2014

New Store, New Bookcase

Remember this post? When I first started at Whole Foods, I was at a different store...and I found a bookcase...

I've since transferred to another store, and there is a another bookcase here too. See?


What a mess! There might be some interesting books there, but it sure would be hard to find them.

At Whole Foods, one of our Core Values in Team Member excellence and happiness. I love this. To that end, every store has a TMAG - Team Member Awareness Group. Our job (I am part of this group) is to recognize, appreciate, and provide fun things for the team members at our store. What a great thing this is!

As part of this, I've taken it upon myself to make this bookcase more inviting. Cull the books no one is reading and no one is likely to read (which frankly, may be most of them), clean it up, and somehow get some good books on there so people might acutally want to browse. Want to read.

To get some good books on there, I'm going to send an email out to all team members in my store. I'm going to ask them to contribute a book or two. And not just a book they were going to get rid of anyway, but a book they loved. I'm also going to ask them to write in it and say why they liked it, and sign their names. That way, team members can get to know one another through books.

Here's the email I will be sending to team members at my store...

Hello Team Members!

If you've been in the break room recently, you might recall seeing the bookcase in there. It’s a rather sad bookcase right now. It's not really all that inviting.
TMAG would like to change that! The break room bookcase will be getting some love. There will be sorting. There will be organizing. There will be new and different books.

And this is where you come in. There are two ways you can participate.
One - you can let me know what kind of books you like to read. What would you like to see in this bookcase? Do you like fiction? Mysteries? Sci-fi? Romance? I also want to have some cooking/food/nutrition books on there, and input on what might be welcome additions to that section would be helpful as well.
Second - I'd like to ask you to contribute a book (or two? ( if you’d like – this is purely voluntary). I’m asking that it not be a book that you didn't like very much and you were going to get rid of anyway, but a book you've really liked, loved, or was impactful for you in some way. On the inside front cover, write what this book meant to you, or why you liked it. Sign your name. And we'll have it on the bookcase for others to read. Likely, if you really liked a book, someone else will too.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you! Let me know if you have any comments, questions or ideas…about books or the bookcase!

What would YOU want to see on a bookcase at your work?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Egg & Spoon

I was lucky enough to get an Early Reivewer Copy of Gregory Maguire's new book, Egg & Spoon through
Thank you, librarything!

Maguire is great at reimagining familiar stories, fairy tales and folklore. Wicked, his reimagining of The Wizard of Oz, is one of my favorite books.

In this one he goes to Russia, bringing his spin on Russian folklore. Egg & Spoon is a romp that comes with social and political commentary, folklore, and vivid characters.


The story starts with Elena, a Russian peasant girl. We feel her hunger, loneliness and desperation. She meets Ekaterina, a privileged and pampered girl, traveling through Russia by train, during an unplanned stop in Elena's town. And then there's Baba Yaga, a witch who is dangerous, capricious, clever, funny, and maybe even a little bit vulnerable.

As one might expect reading Maguire, there are many adventures. Here they involve mistaken identities, a magical Firebird, the tsar, melting winter, Baba Yaga and her chicken legged house, an ice dragon, and a prince. Matroyshka dolls also figure prominently.

While I haven't loved all of Maguire's other books as much as I loved Wicked, I think Maguire is in top form here.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Books at Whole Foods?

I miss working with books every day.

Since I left employment at the bookstore 15 months ago, I've missed seeing books every day at work.

I work at Whole Foods now. I have a job I really enjoy (vitamin/supplement buyer) and I love working for this company. It's fun...and, at the same time, not being around books all day is something I've been missing.

A few weeks ago I was digging through boxes of incoming shipments looking for vitamins from a particular vendor and found...books! Not just cookbooks, which we've always carried, but BOOKS! Current fiction! Current non-fiction! What?!?!? Are we going to start carrying books????

Indeed we are. We are one of two tests stores in our region (our region being Oregon, Washington and Canada) that will be carrying books to see how well they move. YAY!

The display is now up, and they seem to be selling. It's not the hugest selection, but there are some interesting titles. It is really fun to have some good books back in my work life again.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Notes on Some Books

Here are some notes on what I've been reading lately...

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
A friend of mine was surprised that I gave four out of five stars to Landline on GoodReads. She, while a huge fan or Rainbow Rowell, found it hard to get invested in the characters in Landline. I thought Landline was fun...Georgie, a television writer, mom, and wife of Neal, is struggling to stay connected to her family. Christmas is coming and she, instead of going to Nebraska with Neal and the kids, feels she has to stay in L.A. with her writing partner and work on an important, time sensistive project. Neal is not pleased. Georgie struggles with her choices, and worries she will lose her family. While they are apart, Georgie finds a phone at her parents' house that enables her to talk to the past. Unlike my friend, I did feel invested in the characters and their dilemmas...I would have liked a little more depth and a little more with the phone, but overall I enjoyed Landline.

Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir by Roz Chast
Roz Chast chronicles her life with her parents as their health declines and she, as the only child, has to help them make difficult decisions regarding their living situations and their care. I, too, have cared for my aging parents as their health declined. Not easy. Sometimes really, really hard. And sad. Gut wrenching. And exhausting. I was a little hesitant about reading this book, knowing that it would probably bring up feelings I'd had when I was going through it all with my own parents. But I'm so glad I read it. I loved that this was a graphic memoir. Somehow her cartoon depictions of what she was going through helped lighten it a little - not just by occasionally bringing a little humor into difficult situations, but even when she was discussing the really hard parts, the visuals brought recognition to me, in a way that was different than words on a page. Really well done.

You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Grace is a therapist who often works with couples. In her years of being a therapist, she discovers what she thinks is pretty basic about relationships and she writes a book called You Should Have Known. Her premise is that when you meet someone and are in the early stages of a relationship, you find out things about your potential partner. That he gambles. That she cheats. That he doesn't treat people well. And, she says, people often go ahead ANYWAY, diving into a relationship because we think we can change the person, or that they'll change when they settle down. In her practice, she's seen couple after couple come into her office in crisis, after living for years with this person they knew about from the beginning. He still gambles. She still cheats. And now they want her help after living for years with this person who was less than suitable from the beginning. Grace has developed a good theory, she's got a thriving practice and a book coming out as well as a loving husband and a beautiful son. What could go wrong? When one of the mothers from her son's school is found dead, murdered, Grace's world starts unraveling. While I had some expectations of what I thought would happen (and I was right about some of them), there were twists that I didn't expect. I quite enjoyed this.

Lucky Us by Amy Bloom
Getting rave reviews, Lucky Us mainly tells the story of Eva and Iris, half sisters meeting each other as teens when they both have to live with their father for the first time. It started well. I read the first few pages in the bookstore and wanted to see where it was going. As seems to be popular in books these days, the novel is told from several points of view. First from Eva's, the younger sister, who goes with her mother to her father's house and is left there when her mother leaves and never comes back. Iris, an aspiring actress, tells some of her story through letters she writes Eva. Gus, a man that gets involved with the sisters also writes letters to Eva. A child is abducted from an orphanage. The father's health declines. I found myself caring less about the characters as the book went on. Probably not a good sign. There were some moments of lovely writing, but for me it wasn't enough to redeem the book for me.

Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf
Ellen is a social worker working for CPS in Iowa. She has three children and a loving husband. Their lives are hectic, but Ellen feels fulfilled helping children in her work and raising her own lovely family. Jenny is a young girl who lives with her well meaning but alcoholic father in Nebraska. Jenny ends up in Ellen's town, staying with Ellen's mom, Maudene at the same time Ellen faces a crisis in her own life. How can Ellen, an upstanding CPS worker, deal with her own actions towards one of her own children? How will Jenny cope with being in another state without her father? Going back and forth between Ellen's perspective and Jenny's, this was an engaging, engrossing, complex, well done novel.

To Die for by Joyce Maynard
Suzanne is ambitious. She has known from childhood that she wants to be on television, like Barbara Walters. Her focus is admirable. She marries Larry, who brings some fun into her life, and still supports her as she pursues her goals of breaking into the business. She gets a low level job with a small, local television station, and tries to make the most of the position. Suzanne decides to make a documentary about young people, so starts working with some high school students. Someone dies. Told from many points of view (Suzanne, each of her parents, Larry's parents, each of the high school kids, etc.), the story comes out, and secrets are revealed. Short chapters make this an easy and fun read.

Old Man's War by John Scalzi
I read Scalzi's Redshirts a few years ago and loved it. A friend of mine at work read Redshirts recently and loved it, and she recommended Old Man's War to me. I am reading it now. Scalzi writes fun and sometimes funny science fiction. This one, told from the point of view of John Perry, a 75 year old man in the future who joins the military to help humans fight a war in the the universe. Why do they want a 75 year old to fight a war? How do they get a 75 year old ready for battle? I've just started this novel, and am quite enjoying it. John Perry is funny and sarcastic, and ready to help humanity.

What have you been reading lately?



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