What I'm reading and/or listening to (via audiobook) - updated 10/2017

In progress.
In progress.
A story of intertwining lives spanning post-War Italy to the modern day. Really well written, and the narration for the audiobook was phenomenal. So much fun.
A dog in his last days looks back on his life and his relationship with his owner. A truly beautiful story, beautifully narrated. I listened to this in the car. I cried.
Based on a true story. A women in Tennessee in the 30s runs what is ostensibly an orphanage with well-cared for children, but is actually a horrible baby-stealing and -selling operation. Told from the perspective of one of the girls stolen in the 30s, and also a young woman in the present day who realizes her grandmother was one of the stolen babies. The writing was utilitarian and not particularly inspiring, but it was a good read. 
Harry Bosch novels. I love them. Comfort food for the brain.
What it sounds like. A comprehensive look at the way that freedom of the press has been interpreted throughout American history. I read this at the beach. I'm a total geek.
LOVE HIM. About his background and how he became a senator, his philosophy, stories about what it's like to serve in that capacity. Plus fun dirt on other senators. His account of how everyone hates Ted Cruz is hilarious.
An "autobiographical novel” about Chabon's grandparents, based on conversations he had with his grandfather when he was on his deathbed. Beautifully personal and compelling, and rendered in Chabon's astounding prose. His talent amazes and humbles me.
Fascinating account of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. Lots of good stuff about the politics of the time, the engineering and science involved, public attitudes and mores. 
I saw the movie and really liked it, and I was interested in learning more. A gripping account of the black women who were so instrumental in the early stages of the NASA program to put rockets in space and a man on the moon, told against the backdrop of Jim Crow segregation in the south. Inspiring. Plus the author went to UVa, so I thought that was cool. 
A historical fiction account of the family of the artist Camille Pissarro, who was born to a Jewish family on St. Thomas. The history part is really interesting, plus it's interwoven with Hoffman's trademark magical realism. It went on a bit too long, and I didn't enjoy it as much as I tend to like Hoffman's work, but it's compelling and a decent read.
We elected a fascist. So I decided to read more about fascism in Europe. This is an amazing account of the beginnings of World War I.
First person account of the lawsuit filed by the women researchers at Newsweek in the early 70s to challenge Newsweek's practice of refusing to allow women to be reporters for the magazine. I watched the series on Amazon and was interested in learning about how it all went down. Solidarity, sisters!
A young girl in a suburban northern California town is drawn in to a cult in the late 60s. The story is told by the woman looking back on her life from the present day. Cline is a talented writer but not a great storyteller. Her prose is great but the pacing is slow, and the present-day stuff seems out of place and kind of pointless. But it's an interesting commentary on girls and woman, how they see themselves in the world and how they develop self-image and self-worth.  Worth the read.
A scientific and historical examination of the evolution of our species, our ways of living, our culture, and where our current trajectory will lead us and our planet.  For such a heavy topic, it's written with a light, accessible and often humorous style.  Fascinating.
A middle aged, divorced, broke writer decides to travel the Oregon Trail in a mule-drawn covered wagon. Part history lesson (including more than you ever thought you'd want to know about mules and their role in American history), part travelogue, part personal discovery journey.  Very funny and a great read.
Fun and funny collection of essays by one of the writers on Amy Schumer's show. 
Historical fiction about Margaret Beaufort, heiress to the red rose of Lancaster, and her schemes to take control of the English crown for her son. Fun political intrigue.
I adore Alice Hoffman - the magical realism, plus her depiction of love as so intense and all-consuming.  This one is about a family of women who each born with a specific magical power, such as the ability to "listen in" on other people's dreams and the ability to look at someone and know how they will die, and how those powers affect their lives, loves and philosophies. Beautifully written and heartfelt.
I picked this up after I started watching the miniseries (with Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston - yum). I forgot how much I like spy-thriller shit.
A comprehensive account of how cancer has been considered and treated throughout human history, including its place in the modern world, efforts to understand and cure it. Totally riveting.
I read this book a jillion years ago but didn't remember much about it, so I thought I'd listen to the audiobook while walking to work. Sissy Spacek is the perfect narrator for this - she's got the accent and the acting chops to really give life to the different characters.  
  • The Big Short, Michael Lewis (again)
Reread this after seeing the movie (which was great).  Still an amazing read
My dad and brother both read this, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I was listening to the audiobook and found it to be stultifyingly boring, but the book is very well reviewed, so maybe this is one that I need to read rather than listen to.  But the verdict on the audiobook: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
  • The Royal We, Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (audiobook)
I've been reading lots of nonfiction, so I thought I'd listen to something frothy and fun on my daily walks to work.  Written by the Fug Girls, whose blog I adore, the booimagines the love story of William and Kate as that of an English prince and an American student who meets him when she is studying abroad at Oxford. Funny and entertaining.
In 1951, a poor black woman named Henrietta Lacks dies of cervical cancer, but pieces of the tumor that killed her--taken without her knowledge or consent--live on. The cells from this one tumor would spawn a multi-billion dollar industry and become a foundation of modern science--leading to breakthroughs in gene mapping, cloning and fertility and helping to discover how viruses work and how cancer develops (among a million other things).  The book describes the science (which is fascinating), but also sheds light on who this woman was, her life, her family, and the effect on her family of their mother's legacy.  Incredibly interesting and fun to read.

I'm actually listening to the audiobook on my walks to work, rather than reading it. In any event, this is a detailed account of the Wrights, who had no university education and who were humble bicycle mechanics and salesmen from Ohio, and how they tirelessly studied and figured out the mechanics of flight and built and refined the flying machine that changed the world.  Full of great detail not just about the brothers, their family, and their lives, but also about the society they lived in and the advancements in science that were exploding at the time.  The book is narrated by McCullough himself, who isn't the most compelling narrator, but it's a great story, incredibly interesting and inspirational. 
What can I say, I like Erik Larson's writing.  This book is about Berlin during the early years of Hitler's rise to power, as told through the experiences of the U.S. ambassador to Germany, and his daughter.  As the child of diplomats, I found the accounts of the daughter's exploits, including affairs with the head of the Gestapo and a Soviet spy, to be shocking, as was the willingness of the rest of the world to ignore the accounts of the tyranny taking hold in Germany, in favor of believing a sunny picture of what was going on there.  Hindsight is obviously 20-20, but it's hard not to be horrified when you know what the outcome was.   
An account of the 1900 hurricane that ravaged Galveston, Texas, told from the perspective of a Weather Bureau official in Galveston at the time.  In addition to the dramatic account of the hurricane, it goes into the history of man's understanding hurricane's and weather, the political climate that caused U.S. officials to discount the accurate forecasts from Cuban meteorologists, and the prevailing time of scientific advancement that led people to believe that man had essentially "conquered" nature.  Fascinating stuff.
Memoir of a pickup artist who seeks serial hookups with multiple women and cheats on his girlfriend, and his painfully honest account of his efforts to understand his own barriers to intimacy and fulfilling relationships.  I found the book interesting and entertaining, but the author's realization and understanding of his issues and how to address them struck me as so obvious that I bristled at the way the book is characterized as some sort of ground-breaking revelation into relationships between men and women and what makes them successful or unsuccessful.
Staying on the Jumpa Lahiri train.  I adore her writing.  The problem is, as gorgeous as her prose is, I feel like it's so much better suited to short stories rather than long-form writing.  The characters feel like sketches rather than fully fleshed out people, and by the end, I was bored.  Which makes me sad, because I wanted to love this book.
An astonishingly good collection of short stories, all featuring Indians and their lives in the United States.  The last three in particular are so beautiful and heart-breaking that I couldn't stop thinking about them for days.  I actually read this book about 8 years ago but didn't remember much about it, but it was on the shelves at the beach house so I reread it.  It's crazy good.
An English nurse visiting Scotland time travels from 1945 to 1743, where she meets a hunky Scottish highlander and falls in love with him.  Adventures and hot sex ensue.  I'm currently on the 5th book, which takes place in the American colonies.  Plot-driven, impressively detailed historical fiction with some magical realism thrown in.  Fun fun fun.
A murder mystery in suburban England.  Only so-so.  Mediocre writing, one-dimensional characters, and a "big reveal" that is totally hackneyed and cliche.  A good beach or plane read, but that's about it.
I'm going to see the plays on Broadway in a couple of weeks, so I reread the books to get the material fresh in my mind again (I originally read them 3 years ago).  Sublime, as ever.
Historical novel about Anges Magnussdottir, the last person to be executed in Iceland (back in 1829).  Fascinating both for its exploration of the psychological plight of a woman facing her death, and also for it's examination of Icelandic rural society.  Gripping and heart-breaking.
A frothy, irreverent, hilarious description of the author's travels through Iceland with two of his buddies.  The author doesn't pretend to be writing a lofty travel guide - he admits up front that the book is simply an account of the trip he took with his friends, including random stories and impressions, fart jokes, dick jokes, and tales of the guys' efforts to woo Icelandic hotties. His style isn't for everyone, but I found it funny and it made me excited about my trip to Iceland.
The story of Shin Dong-hyuk, who was born in a labor camp in North Korea, experienced unspeakable horrors including torture, starvation, and witnessing the execution of his mother and brother, and then escaped to the West.  It's difficult to comprehend the life that North Korean political prisoners apparently live, full of paranoia and hunger and physical deprivation and a total lack of humanity or community. It's shocking and horrifying and evidence of a leadership that is clearly truly evil.
A woman hits her head and when she comes to, she has forgotten the last 10 years of her life - during which she has had three children and split up with her husband.  The book recounts the week it takes to get her memory back, and what she learns about who she was, who she has become, and who she wants to be.  It's an entertaining read, great for the beach, but not Moriarty's best.  The characters are caricatures.
Astounding, horrifying, fascinating and gut-wrenching all at the same time. Reads like a spy thriller with a plot so fantastical that if it weren't entirely true, it would seem like a crazy stretch of the imagination. I've long thought the Russian regime was a criminal cesspool, and this book hammered home what an appalling mafia state exists there. Read this book and pass on the message of the human rights abuses being perpetrated there - the more people know, the greater the change of achieving justice for Sergei Magnitsky.
The story of three women living in suburban Sydney, Australia and the secrets they tell and keep to maintain the facades of their lives in the face of bullying and domestic violence.  Plot driven and highly entertaining, with funny, engaging characters.
An entertaining - but also horrifying - series of essays highlighting the morally bankrupt kleptocratic shit-show that is modern Russia.
An account of the life of Louis Zamperini, a running prodigy who participated in the 1936 Olympics (and made an appearance in The Boys in the Boat, see below), but whose running career was cut off by the onset of WWII, when he became a bombardier in the Army Air Forces serving in the Pacific.  After being shot down and drifting at sea for 47 days, he was captured by the Japanese and was imprisoned.  The story of how he survived near-starvation, torture, deprivation, psychological and physical abuse, and then rebuilt his life after the war, is heart-breaking and inspiring.  
An absolutely thrilling account of the University of Washington crew team's gold medal victory at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.  The book takes you through the lives of the men themselves, all children of the Depression, how they came together at UW, learned to row, and eventually because the best team in the world.  A wonderful, inspiring, fascinating read.

I feel like Amy Poehler really wanted a Bossypants of her own, but unfortunately isn't the writer or the thinker Tina Fey is.  The book was mediocre at best.  Lots of annoying name-dropping and not much else.
Part travelogue, part explanation of the collapse of the global markets in 2008, particularly as it affected Ireland, Iceland, Germany and Greece.  Interesting if a bit superficial.  But Michael Lewis is always entertaining, even when he's basically phoning it in.
All you need to know is that it's by Michael Chabon, whose writing makes my heart sing, and that he originally wanted to title it "Jews with Swords."  Beautiful, hilarious, fast-paced - a fantastic read.
I reread it because I hadn't read it in forever and didn't remember much of the detail - I only remembered that I loved it.  I loved it even more the second time.  A masterpiece.  
A comprehensive history and analysis of the June 1967 war, which resulted in Israel's capture and occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
An account of the American civil rights movement and the individuals who took part in the sit-ins and freedom rides.  Fascinating and moving, and one of the most inspiring books I've ever read.  
Memoir of a twenty-two-year old woman who, in the wake of her mother's death and destroyed marriage, decides to do a solo hike of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through Oregon and California.  Strayed is amazingly honest and is a terrific writer - I thoroughly enjoyed the book.   
The author spent three years among the residents of the Annawadi slum, a slum next to the Mumbai international airport, and recounts the stories of individuals and families trying to survive and get along in a modern India in which global development highlights and exacerbates the economic inequalities and inequities of Indian society.  Moving and disturbing - I love India and have fond memories, but this book highlights what a cruel place it can be.  
Doris, I love you.  You're a wonderful writer.  The topic is fascinating, and held me through about 350 pages.  But this book is too. damned. long.  I keep putting it down and reading other stuff.
An incredible account of the legal and PR battles involved in the California case to overturn Prop 8, and the Windsor case to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.  I came for the legal intricacies and mumbo-jumbo that I geek out over, I stayed for the heart-wrenching stories about same-sex couples, the discrimination they face and how it affects their lives, and their joy in seeing this incredible battle won. 
Only Michael Lewis could make the arcane world of high frequency stock trading fascinating and somewhat comprehensible.  Be prepared to want to stuff your money in a mattress when you're done.
A woman starts a blog and has to grapple with her online persona vs. her real life.  Funny and fun to read.
A memoir of teenage mortification.  An author/blogger who kept all of the horrifically embarrassing love notes she sent to her teenage crushes publishes them, with notations and explanations.  Hilarious.
Hard to believe this was his first novel.  Seriously amazing read, about a young man trying to figure himself out, and his place in the world.
Can't say much without giving away spoilers, but excellent novel about how the past can haunt us, situational morality, how we judge ourselves and others.
Fun bit of fluff.  Luv huh.
Fun psychological thriller about a husband and wife who seriously fuck with each other.
An account of the five days at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.  Incredibly interesting, disturbing and thought-provoking.  Great read.
Yummy recipes mixed in with insufferable navel gazing.

Inside story of the 2012 presidential election.  If you like Obama, it's a fun read.  If you don't, well, tough shit.
Meh.  A fluffy beach read.  The movie had Gerard Butler going for it.  The book lacks his charisma.
Terrific biography of a wonderful man who led an amazing life. McCullough not only captures the man -- a complex, informed, hard-working, fundamentally decent -- but also the turbulent times in which he worked and governed.  Truman was the last president to serve as a living link between the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, and his life's story spans the world of the Missouri frontier, World War I, political machine-type politics, the Great Depression, World War II, technological advances from air travel to the telephone to the atomic bomb, and the world politics that resulted in the Cold War and the Korean War.  I loved it.
I hadn't read this one in a while.  Still on my list of top 3 favorites.  Every time I read it, I laugh as hard and cry as hard (at the end) as the time before.  A masterpiece.
I read this book when I was 12, but then I saw a lady on the bus reading it and I thought I'd see how my impressions changed.  First, it's an incredible book -- it pulls you right into a fully-formed world that you live in for a thousand pages, so I felt a little lost when I finished it.  Second, it's remarkable that Mitchell was able to write such a gripping story when there really isn't a single redeeming major character.  Scarlett is a selfish asshole.  Rhett has elements of decency under his scoundrel's veneer, but he's self-defeating.  Ashley is a pussy who plays at being all noble but actually leads Scarlett on for years even though he can never be with her, so he's kind of awful.  There is astounding racism in the book, but given the time period it's set in, it's realistic.  But still, shocking to the modern reader.

The thing that struck me most of all is what a fucking *downer* it is.  The plot is just one bad thing happening after another, and it never gets better.  In the end, everyone ends up alone and miserable.

Still, it's a great read.
 Hoffman is one of the great masters of magical realism, because she weaves the magic in ways that emphasize the humanity of her characters -- I always feel a sense of longing when I read her books, and Seventh Heaven most of all.  It's about a single mother in the 50s who moves to suburban Long Island to make a life for herself and her two young children, and her effect on the lives of her neighbors.  Beautiful and heartfelt.
Jacobs's account of his two-year quest to be the healthiest person in the world, by researching and adopting habits that ranged from what he ate to how he exercised to how he slept.  Light reading but also highly informative, and very funny.

A history of the development of Marconi's wireless telegraph set against an account of the Crippen murder scandal in early 20th century England, and how the two events intersected to result in one of the great criminal chases in history.  A bit on the long side, but very interesting and enjoyable.
 Suspenseful, fascinating and incredibly informative about not only the search and killing of Bin Laden, but also the war on terror generally.
 The HBO movie made it all about Sarah Palin, but the book covers the entire 2008 presidential race on both sides, including the primaries.  Palin is actually a small part of this story -- the biggest focus of the book is on the primary race between Obama and Clinton, their relationship, and how they went from being bitter rivals to HRC agreeing to serve as Obama's secretary of state.  Incredibly interesting and well-written.
 I saw the movie and then had to read the book.  Fascinating account of the rescue of 6 American hostages in Iran in 1979, and also of Mendez's career as a CIA spy.  Disguises, fake documents, the whole bit.  Serious spy shit.  Loved it.
Turns out, Anne Boleyn is kind of a shrill harpy, plus she can't seem to produce a male heir, so Henry sets his sights on Jane Seymour (with Thomas Cromwell's help, of course).  Loved it.
OMFG.  I adored this book.  A historical fiction(ish) account of the court of Henry VIII, particularly the time period when he was trying to divorce his first wife to marry Anne Boleyn, and the ensuing political machinations.  Focuses on the role of Thomas Cromwell, who is portrayed as a brilliant, resourceful, humanistic mastermind, as well as something of a modern thinking woman's heartthrob. 
Came highly recommended by my mom.  I had a hard time getting into it, so I put it down.
I'm on a bit of an "old British classics" kick.
Read this after seeing the movie (which was great).  LOOOOOVED it.  Never would have thought that a book about baseball statistics could be so much fun, but it absolutely was (and if anyone can make this kind of thing interesting, it's Michael Lewis).  Highly recommended.
Hadn't ever read this one.  It's OK.  Great ending, of course, she gets the guy, etc., but I found Fanny to be kind of a dud.

The semi-autobiographical novel about an Australian bank robber who escapes from prison and makes it to Bombay, sets up residence in the slums and ends up founding a clinic that becomes a god-send for the local residents.  I needed an India fix and this comes highly recommended by a number of friends.  A bit purple in its prose at times, but an amazing read.
  • Some random personal development shit that I read for my Beachbody business but that I won't bore you with.  I also reread The Help after seeing the movie (which I didn't love as much as everyone else, but in rereading the book I developed a greater appreciation for it).

  • My Booky Wook (both 1 and 2), Russell Brand.
For some reason, I find him fascinating.  Many people think he's a complete douchebag, but I like the fact that he's insanely smart and clever and he totally owns his douchey behavior.  Plus it's fun to read about his rise to stardom.
 Interesting, but it didn't grab me the way I thought it would.
Amazingly broad in its scope - it's more like a not-so-short history of everything.  But it was fun and breezy and I love Bill Bryson.
Couldn't finish it.  Waaaay too academic and dry. 
I have no idea why I started reading this, other than I'm broke as fuck right now and it was a free download on Amazon.  But it's a nice story.  Makes me want to garden.
I thought I had read this book, but I had only started it before Jason took it and I never finished it.  An American writer traces the route and tries to uncover the mystery of the legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett who, in 1925, disappeared with his son in the Amazon while looking for an ancient lost city.  Fascinating and fun read.
I have a girl-crush on Tina Fey.
The lives of twin brothers, born to a young nun doing missionary work in Ethiopia, set against the backdrop of Haile Selassie's regime.  I don't even know how to describe this book, except to say that it is fucking amazing and if you don't go out and buy it right now, you're missing out.
My uber-geek quest continues.  And I loved this book.  Very well written and researched, flowed nicely.  Plus, I learned so much about a Founding Father that I didn't know much about.  And what a great guy he was!  Intelligent, thoughtful, bold, patriotic, principled, and a truly decent human being.  Bring on John Quincy Adams!
The premise is interesting -- a successful attorney with a wife and kid suffers from a disorder that compels him to walk for days, weeks or months at a time (stopping only to sleep).  The novel explores its effect on his marriage, his relationship, his career, and ultimately his life.  But the story is repetitive and the narrative drops you in the middle of these peoples' lives without any sense of who they are or why the reader should care about them.  I ended up skimming the last 100 pages just to see what happened, but it was hard to care.
I went on a little bit of a turn-of-the-century true crime binge.  Both fascinating accounts of the crimes and subsequent investigations and trials, one of a serial killer in France, the other an upper crust psychopath who poisoned his rivals in New York.  Both are set against the huge social, scientific and cultural changes afoot at the time, including the rise of yellow journalism and advances in forensic science. 
Zeke's been acting up, so I turn to the experts.

A fair and balanced (and I mean that honestly - fuck you, Fox News) look at a complicated, brilliant, but deeply flawed man.  Smooths some of the edges of the disdain for Jefferson that I developed reading Ron Chernow's Hamilton bio.
Eeeeh.  A well-written book, certainly interesting.  My problem with it is not a substantive criticism of Chua's parenting style, which, while a tad severe, is not abusive (as some in the media or blogosphere have charged).  My problem is that Chua herself, while coming off as funny and personable in interviews, most definitely does not come off that way in the book.  She has a sense of humor that she often directs at herself, which is refreshing.  But mostly she comes across as obnoxious, unpleasant and selfish.
I find myself completely fascinated with this story.  I'm intrigued by uber-geniuses and I'm a fan of Ben Mezrich's writing.  Fun read, though if you've seen The Social Network, you know everything that's in the book.
Emma is kind of obnoxious, but she redeems herself in the end and gets the great guy. 
I've read S & S before, but I don't know it the way I do Pride & Prejudice, which I reread almost every year.  It was a free Kindle download (which I now have on my phone -- whee!) and I quickly became engrossed.  Jane Austen is like literary comfort food to me.  Witty, intelligent and full of heart, and with the most satisfying endings ever. 

An incredible account of U.S. troops on the most exposed part of our front lines in Afghanistan -- what it's like to be in combat, what it's like to sit around waiting to be in combat, the fear, the boredom, the exhilaration.  Why some guys thrive in combat (and on the flip side, suffer with civilian live, which seems mundane by comparison), and why some don't.  Truly an amazing book. 
Exciting account of the science and effects of giant waves, as well as the practice of big wave surfing, particularly as seen through Laird Hamilton and some seasoned surf photographers.  Provides compelling descriptions of the size, power, smell and feel of giant waves (to the extent descriptions can ever do justice).  Great read.
Really fun and interesting account of the history of the development of the periodic table of elements.  Written in a breezy, conversational style.  I would have gotten much more out of it if I knew more about chemistry, but I enjoyed it tremendously in any event.
Beautiful.  Devastating.  A work of art.  One of the best books I've ever read, but Jesus, it left me emotionally wrecked.  Worth it, though. 

Holy shit.  What a terrific book.  Heartbreaking, wonderful.  5 thumbs up.

Finally, finally finished this sucker after 2 1/2 months.  Jeez.  But it was terrific.  Amazing man, amazing book.  Probably the greatest, and most essential, founding father of all.

Kinda funny, kinda obnoxious.  Downloaded it in the middle of the night during a wicked bout of insomnia when my eyes and brain couldn't focus enough to read the Hamilton bio.  
The writing is a bit disjointed, but he's got a strong voice and has great stories to tell.

Fucking awesome.  Totally satisfying conclusion to the trilogy.

Great read, but I'm not sure why it's a separate book from Hornet's Nest.

A decent read, characters are stereotypes, and the use of "black" dialect is a bit annoying.  But I enjoyed it.

  • Incredibly interesting.  Now I need to go see the Hoover Dam.
    Fascinating and informative look at the roots of the 2008 Wall Street collapse. 

      Trashy, but fun.  Darcy and Elizabeth have lots of sex.  

    Handling Sin, Michael Malone
    Another on my list of top 5 favorites.  Simply wonderful.

    Going in Circles, Pamela Ribon
    A woman going through a painful divorce takes up roller derby.  

    The Lincoln Lawyer, Michael Connelly
    The first Mickey Haller book.  Love Michael Connelly.

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson
    Page turner.  Some fairly gruesome descriptions of torture and sexual perversion, though. 

    Icy Sparks, Gwyn Hyman Rubio
    I'm so tired of stories about weird girls growing up in Appalachia.  


    Open: An Autobiography, Andre Agassi
    I don't generally go for celeb memoirs, but this was a really interesting look behind the scenes at professional tennis.

    Off Minor, John Harvey
    British murder mystery.  Good read.

    Blue Boy, Rakesh Satyal
    Whimsical novel about Indian-American boy struggling to fit in.  

    Waiting, Ha Jin
    Fascinating look at life in Communist China, and the story of a doctor married to one woman but in love with another.

    That Old Cape Magic, Richard Russo
    More good stuff from Richard Russo.

    The Last Secret, Mary McGarry Morris
    Hated it.  Don't waste your time.

    More good stuff from Michael Connelly.

    The Four Corners of the Sky, Michael Malone
    Poor man's version of Handling Sin, Malone's masterpiece.  Skip it.

    Waking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson, David Reynolds

    The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga
    I dig Indian literature.  

    Pictures at an Exhibition, Sara Houghteling
    Great story about a Jewish son of an art dealer in Paris, against the backdrop of the Nazi occupation of France.

    The Ghost, Robert Harris
    Cool crime thriller.

    The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
    Story of a family of missionaries in Africa.  Enjoyable read, but Kingsolver needed an editor to help her trim the book by at least 200 pages.

    Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates
    Super depressing, but incredibly well-written.

    Child 44, Tom Rob Smith
    Crime thriller set in Soviet Russia.  The ending was a bit too easy, but the setting and good writing made it enjoyable.

    Ironically, it felt a little long and tedious.  And I adore Bill Bryson, so it was a little disappointing.


    Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Gregory Maguire
    I adored this book.  So much more than I expected - philosophical, funny, wonderful characters.

    Lush Life, Richard Price
    Terrific crime thriller/murder mystery.

    The Age of Shiva, Manil Suri
    Compelling portrait of class divisions in modern India.

    Mudbound, Hillary Jordan
    Eh. OK, but not great.

    Unaccustomed Earth, Jumpa Lahiri
    More short stories I loved.  

    A Voyage Long and Strange, Tony Horwitz
    Fun travel book tracing the steps of Captain Cook.  Horwitz is hilarious.

    John Adams, David McCullough
    Adams was a badass.

    Charlie Wilson's War, George Crile
    Astounding story, all the more so because it's true.  

    News of the Spirit, Lee Smith
    I don't love short stories, but I love Lee Smith.

    Bringing Down the House, Ben Mezrich
    Crazy story about MIT-ers who beat the house in Vegas for a while, and then didn't.  A million times better than the movie.

    Mistress of the Art of Death, Ariana Franklin
    Really cool murder mystery set in the Middle Ages.  Dug it.

    The Pursuit of Happyness, Chris Gardner
    Read this after seeing the movie.  Gardner is impressive.

    No Country For Old Men, Cormac McCarthy
    Ehhhhh.  I loved The Road, this one, not so much.

    The Hero's Walk, Anita Rau Badami
    Terrific story about a man struggling with his life.  Highlights class struggle in modern Indian society.  
    Bridge of Sighs, Richard Russo
    I adore Richard Russo.  Great book.

    Restless, William Boyd

    Freedom Song, Amit Choudhuri
    Short stories about life in modern Calcutta.  Liked it but didn't love it.

    The Overlook, Michael Connelly
    The one MC novel I didn't like.  Felt like he phoned it in.

    The Great Indian Novel, Shashi Tharoor
    One of my favorite books of all time.  Stupendous.

    Nineteen Minutes, Jodi Picoult

    The Virgin's Lover, Philippa Gregory
    Historical fiction about Elizabeth I.  Great read.

    My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult
    Fast paced, plot driven, incredibly annoying ending.

    The Concrete Blonde, Michael Connelly
    One of my favorite Michael Connelly books

    The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, Michael Lewis
    Interesting look at the game of football, specifically the evolution of the position of left tackle, and the story of Michael Oher.  

    The Water's Lovely, Ruth Rendell
    Good character story, shocking ending.

    Absurdistan, Gary Shteyngart
    Very funny at points, but unlikeable characters.

    Bombay Time, Thrity Umrigar
    Novel about different families living in an apartment building in modern Bombay.

    Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Doris Kearns Goodwin
    Loved loved loved this book.  It was like sitting down and hanging out with Abraham Lincoln.  

    A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini
    Heartbreaking.  Beautiful.  *sigh*

    Snow, Orhan Pamuk
    Slow and boring.  I know people loved this book, but I found it really hard to get into.

    The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Michael Chabon
    I *heart* Michael Chabon.  'Nuff said.

    Dreamland, Kevin Baker
    Outstanding.  Great period piece, epic story.  Loved it.

    The Narrows, Michael Connelly
    My first foray into Michael Connelly novels.  Totally addictive.

    Mapping the Edge, Sarah Dunant
    I remember liking this book but I don't remember what it was about.

    A Dog Year, Jon Katz
    I dig Jon Katz's books.  Makes me want to go live on a farm in upstate New York.

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