Tuesday, January 24, 2012

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books I've Read But Never Wrote a Review For

It's a freebie week, so I looked at some past topics and decided to list ten books I've read but never wrote a review for. I'm sure this was meant to be about books that were read BB (before blogging) but I've got a bunch from last year that I never wrote a review for, mostly because I decided I wasn't going to feel like I had to write reviews for every book I read, just ones I felt like. No guilt.

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, 150 pages

Man Booker Challenge; winner 2011

I got in line quickly at the library, and I know I read it quickly, but all I can remember is that a guy is remembering some event, there's another couple, something to do with the woman, and he never understood really what was going on.
Yeah, that's pretty vague, so I guess it didn't stick with me.
The Man Who Went Up in Smoke by Maj Sjowall, Per Wahloo, 183 pages

Mystery and Suspense Challenge; (book 2 of 10 in Martin Beck series)

I enjoy this series, especially as it reminds me so much of Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series that I read back in the 1980s. Set in Sweden, with a devoted cop, this series is considered the beginning of crime writing. Very gritty, but I don't remember details of the crime from books I read. I tend to remember what is going on in the cops' lives. In this one, the cop's family goes on vacation without him, and his wife is not impressed that he went back to the city, and then Turkey,  for a job. Their marriage is teetering.

The Necklace: Thirteen Women and the Experiment That Transformed Their Lives by Cheryl Jarvis, 210 pages

One of the few non-fiction books I read last year. A number of women decide to buy, and share, a diamond necklace. Apparently the necklace was gorgeous, as everyone swooned when they saw it and was transformed when they wore it. Each woman brought a different life experience and expectation, and there were conflicts, but they mostly got along. My biggest problem was that I didn't identify as much with the women, mostly because they were all in their fifties, and just at a different life stage. I was surprised at that, but I guess my fifties will be different from my forties. It was an enjoyable read, but I didn't get the uplifting feeling that the author was trying for, even as she explained it as more than a piece of jewellry.

The Potter's Field by Andrea Camilleri, 270 pages

This is the thirteenth book I've read in the series. Clearly I like them, and how many times can I mention how enjoyable this series is? The food, the comical cop, the excellent endnotes by the translator, Montalbano and his existential angst at aging, what ever the mystery it - it's all good, and I want to go to Sicily.
Einstein for Beginners by Joseph Schwartz, Michael McGuinness, 169 pages

Science Book Challenge; Graphic Novels

This was good, I put it in my classroom, tells the story of Einstein in a comic/graphic novel format. I remembering liking it, but that there were weird shifts in perspective in the writing that accompanied pictures.
Mothers and Sons by Colm Toibin, 309 pages

Ireland Reading Challenge

After reading Brooklyn two years ago, I liked Toibin's writing style enough to keep him on my 'read another one' list of authors. The Ireland Reading Challenge was just the push I needed to start that Toibin book, Mothers and Sons,  I had picked up.  That's what I like about reading challenges - they remind me of books or authors I've wanted to read.

Very Irish, if your Irish stories are a little bleak, but literary. Toibin writes in a very easy manner, so that I easily got into the stories. In each story is a mother and son, none in a great relationship.

also reviewed: lizzysiddal at lizzy's literary life;

What I Was by Meg Rosoff, 209 pages

A bit of a Seperate Peace story, British boarding school gone bad. There was a really creepy vibe throughout, and I do remember the big reveal at the end, which I was pretty sure about, but it was still good. One of those books where the children are living pretty much adult free somehow and setting up there own life. Great setting along the Eastern sea in the 1960s.
A Window in Copacabana by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza, 242 pages

an Inspector Espinosa Mystery (book 4 of 7); Global Reading Challenge

I enjoy spending time in the Copacabana neighbourhood of Rio with Inspector Espinosa. He's a reader of mysteries, and a thinker, one of those cops much like Inspector Montalbano with no family but loyal cops. As usual, I can't remember the mystery, but I liked the book.
Children of the Street by Kwei Quartey, 335 pages

2nds Challenge; Global Reading Challenge: Ghana

Ghana is the setting for the second Darko Dawson mystery. Still good, still modern with old customs. A colleague of mine did a student teaching session in Ghana, so we've been sharing this series. When she returned the book, she included some Ghanian proverbs, from the proverb book mentioned in the mystery.

1. Madness is supernatural but stupidity depends on you.
2. If you don't have a leg to stand on, you can't put your foot down.
3. Better alone than in ill company.
Those are pretty awesome, and so is the series. Can't wait for the next book!
also reviewed by Joy of thoughts of joy

A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore, 312 pages

Orange July (winner 1996); Gothic Reading Challenge

Another one I liked but have vague memories of. Britain, orphaned children or at the very least ignored, strange relationship between siblings, creepy castle. I wish I remembered more.

also reviewed: carrie at nomadreader; jessica at park benches and bookends; laura at musings by laura;