Reading List: October – December, 2013

What have we been reading the last few months?  Let’s see…

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (E)- This book is about the German occupation of the English Channel Islands during WWII. The entire book is wrtitten as letters. It took me a while to get into it because of the letter format, but it grew on me. I learned a lot about the occupation of the English Channel Islands.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (E) I LOVED this book. It was about Heminway’s first wife and if you liked A Movable Feast and The Sun Also Rises, read this book.

The Places in Between by Rory Stewart (E) he walked alone through Afganistan months after the Taliban were kicked out. Great adventure and really humble and smart writing style. I really liked it.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt– (E) The characters in this book are so well written and so crazy the fact that this was non fiction makes it all the better. Makes me want to go back to Savanah.

Around the World in Ten Years by Pablo Rey– (E) We met Pablo and Anna at Overland Expo. This book was his journey through the Middle East. I hope they never stop traveling.

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister– (E) I read this book in one day and really enjoyed it. It is a simple book about food and people and life.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving – (S) A book about Vietnam.  I prefer The Forever War by Haldeman.

Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon – (S) A science fiction novel about the V2 rocket program.  Lauded as one of the best American novels since WW2, this was a monster.  About 800 pages in length, featuring over 400 characters, and covering so many themes I find it hard to summarize.  From wikipedia: The recurring themes throughout the plot are the V-2 rocket, interplay between free will and Calvinistic predestination, breaking the cycle of nature, behavioral psychology, sexuality, paranoia and conspiracy theories such as the Phoebus cartel and the Illuminati.  Probably one of the most difficult books I have ever read; it definitely got me thinking.

Storm Assault by B.V. Larson – (S) After Gravity’s Rainbow, I needed something mindless.  This definitely fits the bill.  I think any new neuron connections that came about from reading Gravity’s Rainbow were destroyed by this book.

The Fall of Five by Pittacus Lore – (S, E)  Strap yourselves in for a couple hours 4th grade reading level entertainment. We are suckers for middle school Sci Fi books.

Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge by Edward Wilson – (S) Are there laws that could unify all knowledge?  Edward Wilson makes the argument that there should be, and that we should find them.  An interesting read with a frightening ending.

Lincoln at Gettysburg by Gary Wills – (S) A book about Lincoln’s famous speech at Gettysburg, and how it remade America.  Winner of the pulitzer prize.

River Town by Peter Hessler – (E) A beautifully written book about a American’s two year experience working for the Peace Corps in Northern China. He did an amazing job of giving a real feel for the place and his experience. I loved it.

Dead Ever After by Charlene Harris – (E) The last Sookie Stackhouse book (thank god!) It was a let down to me, but I think the books started sucking after about book 5. Why I kept reading them I do not know….

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro – (S) Yar gave this to me as a going away gift.  It’s science fiction; the good kind.  I don’t want to tell more because I knew nothing about it when I began to read it.  Highly recommend this one!

Breaking the Maya Code by Michael Coe – (S) An interesting story about the history of deciphering Mayan hieroglyphics.  Extra points because we’re about to start seeing more Mayan ruins on the trip.