January 9, 2012

latest books ...

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Miss Billy by Eleanor H. Porter - (the same author as Pollyanna & Just David). just a light, fun read. (btw, I used a free upload for Kindle)

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese - Liked the story, despite needing to do some heavy-handed suspension of disbelief (which I'm always willing to do for good fiction - grin) and some minor skimming thru medical details. I would have liked to have seen some of the characters better "fleshed-out" & developed. (free Kindle upload/lending via my library)

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen - ok, I'll admit this was a fun, quick read. But it was also shallow, completely implausible, and lacking mature writing. I was glad not to have spent money on it - got it free (for my Kindle) from Amazon's lending library.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - my book club's selection for December. intricate plot structure & multi-layered intriguing first person narrative. filled with unlikable character after unlikable character. this book left me scratching my head and wondering, "WHY is this considered a classic?" For that matter, I'm still scratching and wondering ... not my favorite. (another freebie upload for Kindle)

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen - ('nuther Kindle freebie & this month's book club selection). probably Jane Austen's most light-hearted story, a gentle spoof of gothic novels of the day. doesn't displace P&P in my affections, nor will I probably ever reread this story; but, per Jane Austen norms, there were moments when I was laughing out loud ...

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick - clever, original narrative construction. two separate, but overlapping, stories. one advanced thru traditional medium of words, one advanced solely thru use of pencil drawings. I liked it. And immediately passed it off to my 12yo son. :-) Will likely soon read The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - despite the glorious title, this is a devastating, heart-wrenching story filled with quiet desperation. set against a backdrop of 40ish years of recent Afghani history. I will definitely be reading The Kite Runner, also.

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20 comments:

Michelle said...

I feel the same way about Water for Elephants. I also have Kite Runner in my book pile. Has been there way longer than I care to admit. ;)

Jen said...

Susan,

I felt the same way for Cutting for Stone. I wasn't impressed with Water for Elephants. I haven't read a 100 Splendid Suns, but I highly recommend The Kite Runner - I gave it to my husband to read after I did and he says it's the best written book he's ever read. That says a lot.

Jen said...

BTW, I just thought to ask, what is your favorite resource for learning Lightroom? I just bought it and I need to learn it. For Photoshop, I made out well with Scott Kelby and various online resources. I know how much you like Lightroom and I'm wandering what your recs would be?

Skeller said...

Jen - I learned LR using the following 3 products:
Kelby's LR book,

Kevin Kubota's training dvd which is terrific!! (http://kubotaimagetools.com/store/catalog/product_16390_Kubota_RAW_Workflow_for_Lightroom_cat_294.html > )

and a one month use of unlimited videos at lynda.com (btw, they have free previews of their different courses: http://www.lynda.com/home/freetraining.aspx )

If Photography Concentrate had been around when I was learning, I would have seriously considered their training course:
http://www.photographyconcentrate.com/super-photo-editing-skills/

Stacey said...

I haven't read Water for Elephants yet, even though everyone has read it. Now I'm not sure I want to.

You haven't read The Kite Runner yet? Very good. And also devastation and heart-wrenching just like A Thousand Splendid Suns (which I liked better, but still would highly recommend The Kite Runner).

Cutting for Stone is (still) waiting for me at the library. Now that the holidays are over I *must* get reading again. Love hearing your recommendations.

Stacey said...

devasting, rather. :-)

Stacey said...

oh my word...devastAting. I think I need more coffee.

Tracey said...

What? You didn't like Wuthering Heights???? Such a tragic love story. So dark and gloomy!

Skeller said...

Tracey, just out of curiosity, did you happen to read WH way back in the day when you read A Severe Mercy??? ;-) Maybe I just don't have a gothic appreciating bone in my body. Or perhaps I'm just not (gasp!) a hopeless romantic?!?

Stacey - more coffee. NOW. :-)

Life with Kaishon said...

I just loved Water for Elephants. You know what that means? Obviously I have the tastes of an uneducated tenth grader. ; ) love me any way, ok?

Anita Johnson said...

I'm always looking for book suggestions. Read WH in High School, maybe I should reread it. We just saw the movie version of Water for Elephants...I enjoyed it on a cold winter night.

Heather said...

I thought Water for Elephants was just plain odd.

Jen said...

Thanks Susan. Very helpful - I'll look into each of your suggestions.

Heidi said...

I hated WH back in the day. I have no desire to re-read it!

I really enjoyed Hugo Cabret, and the movie was glorious. The boys read Wonderstruck, but I haven't had a chance.

I always enjoy your book lists. I'll just live vicariously through you, since my reading is pathetic lately.

Andrea said...

I never finished Water For Elephants. I don't think I got much past the first few chapters.
Loved Wuthering Heights! It's been forever since I've read it though.
And I have A Thousand Splendid Suns on my list. :)
I love seeing what others are reading.

A Circle of Quiet said...

Love your book reviews, Susan. I am looking forward to adding Wonderstruck to my pile.

Kindles...any recommendations for what is important and what is not when buying one? We are in the early/early phase of looking.

Di

Skeller said...

Di - I bought the $79 Kindle when it first came out. I returned it because I didn't like the keyboard function (you have to "toggle" thru it to type). Instead I got the $99 Kindle Touch. Keyboard is super easy to use - and we surprisingly found ourselves addicted to a game called Every Word (so the "touch" comes in handy). In terms of just straight-up reading, I probably prefer the $79 Kindle; if you accidentally touch the Touch when you don't want to (happens a lot), pages turn. But the greatest thing about the Kindle (all of them) is the free & instant availability of so many classics. I feel like I've paid for the Kindle a couple times over already, just thru free books :-).

A Circle of Quiet said...

That's great info, Susan. And we keep hearing about all the free stuff, which is the ONLY reason DH is even thinking about it. I like how light it is and how you can make the font bigger (both humbling signs of aging!)

Thanks,
DI

Skeller said...

ahhh, yes! the font! I do tend to use a larger font at bedtime than I use during the day - it's super wonderful to have that option!!

Tonya said...

Never would I have thought there were books I read that you haven't :)

Well, as far as Wuthering Heights, you still got me there. I tried 2-3x and let it go forever.

I loved the Kite Runner & ...Splendid Suns. I love stories that make me feel that deeply.