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A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present
Howard Zinn
White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India
William Dalrymple
Every Eye
Isobel English
Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity
Andrew Solomon
How to Create the Perfect Wife: Britain's Most Ineligible Bachelor and His Enlightened Quest to Train the Ideal Mate
Wendy Moore
Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls
David Sedaris

Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us - Michael Moss A tough but important read about the processed food industry and how it has made Americans dependent upon salt, sugar and fat. It was really discouraging to read about all of the techniques food companies employ to encourage people to continue buying their products through their use of ingredients and advertising...and how successful it is, especially with children.This book was eye-opening; I always knew that processed food wasn't nutritious, but now I have more specific facts that will make me more aware about my food choices when I'm at the grocery store. One of the most surprising tidbits was about cheese--Americans consume about 33 pounds of cheese per person each year. Much of this is because food companies have changed cheese into an ingredient--something you add to a dish, instead of something that you'd eat on its own. There was a lot of overwhelming information in this book, but the author tied it up nicely at the end with a few ideas about how we can fix this problem.

Still Life With Oysters and Lemon: On Objects and Intimacy

Still Life with Oysters and Lemon: On Objects and Intimacy - Mark Doty Read this for my continuing ed class...beautiful writing! It gave me a new perspective on still lifes, something I had never thought much about. It's a pretty short book, so I will probably read through it again before the class meets.

Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley - Mostly a fun, quick read, but I lost interest near the end.

The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World

The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World - Michelle Goldberg This book covers reproductive rights throughout the world and covers very, very complicated issues related to it: the problems of population growth/decline, how women and their sexuality are viewed in different societies, education, and women as financial burdens (in India, girls are not as desirable because their parents must pay increasingly expensive dowries to the groom's family when their daughters marry). It was interesting to see how all of these different issues affected ideas about reproduction. I thought the first half of the book moved along pretty well, but the rest of it seemed disorganized and was harder for me to get through.

The Forgotten Garden

The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton What an enjoyable read! The chapters shift between several different time periods, which was a bit hard to follow at first. But once I had the characters figured out, it wasn't difficult to switch between eras. At the center of the story is Nell, who as a child was abandoned on a ship to Australia. She spends most of her adult life trying to figure out who she is, and her granddaughter Cassandra picks up the mystery once her grandmother dies. I loved how the reader received little bits of information here and there (not in chronological order)--it was fun to try and fill in the blanks before it was revealed in the text.


The Turn of the Screw - Henry James I had a hard time with the language on this one...tough to follow. And I was continually frustrated with the governness in regards to Miles--if she wanted to know why he was kicked out of school, she should have asked him from the beginning, or written a letter to the headmaster!! It just seemed really odd that she decided not to mention it to him at all when he first came home. There was a lot of communication that was not happening. I did like the psychological element to it, and the possibly unreliable narrator. I was hoping it would be creepier than it turned out to be! I just didn't feel as much of an emotional connection to the characters.

The American Heiress

The American Heiress - Daisy Goodwin Overall, a fairly forgettable book. The characters were unsympathetic and not very likable - I thought Ivo as the male lead was a pretty weak character, and I just didn't care about any of the obstacles that Cora was facing (trying to fit it with English life--seating charts, redecorating, entertaining, blah blah blah). The writing was unimpressive...it felt pretty "dumbed down" to me (The American heiress's last name was Cash...really??). Several parts of the novel were borderline trashy and the ending was anti-climactic. The author preferred using commas when she should have used semicolons...I don't think I saw any semicolons in the book. I'm giving this three stars because the story was interesting enough that it kept me reading.

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, A Novel - David Mitchell I had a hard time with this book...I spend the first part of the book trying to figure out what was going on. Then there were sections that were very compelling that made me keep reading, but then it would go back to sections that either I didn't understand or didn't care about. I think I would have liked this book better if it focused more on the stories of De Zoet and Orito and less on the other characters.


Penhallow - Georgette Heyer I'm so annoyed with this book I can barely write a review!!!This book is by Georgette Heyer, the "Queen of Mystery and Suspense", according to the book cover. This book is not a mystery!!!!!!It took until 3/4ths into the book for the evil patriarch to get murdered. I don't care if I ruin this for everyone, because it was a horrible book and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone! Before the father gets murdered, the author describes his 2nd wife putting poison in his whiskey, which he drinks every night. That is basically what happens in this book. That's it. I was so annoyed when I finished this book that I threw it across the room. My husband got up and retrieved it so I could throw it one more time! This was slightly satisfying.

I Was Told There'd Be Cake

I Was Told There'd Be Cake - Sloane Crosley Funny overall...the story about The Oregon Trail deserves 5 stars!

Roanoke: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Colony

Roanoke: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Colony - Lee Miller Overall, I thought the author presented a very well-researched and plausible explanation for what happened to the Roanoke Colony. It seemed like there wasn't much information available about the Colony, so I was surprised she was able to write an entire book about it. A few major complaints that almost prevented me from finishing the book: - The first 2/3 of the book was pretty dry, and it finally picked up at the end. - The author used italics to when quoting various sources, mostly in the middle of sentences. That prevented her from being able to use italics for emphasis, and I found it to be very distracting.- The author had the worst editor of all time, who allowed her to get away with fragmented sentences...throughout the entire book. Here is an example: "Walsingham is the Queen's Principal Secretary. Secretary of State. Master politician. Machiavellian." It drove me crazy!-The author presented the story of Roanoke like it was a game of Clue, which trivialized the events and made it seem childish (the cover looks like it was going for a middle-school demographic).So if you can get past those things, I would recommend this book!

The Home-Maker

The Home-Maker - Dorothy Canfield I really liked this book! It's about a woman who stays at home taking care of her children (it takes place in the early 20th century), and then her husband has an accident and they are forced to switch places--he stays home, and she goes out to work. Very cute story--it started out depressingly, but it didn't stay that way for long.

The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters I can't remember who recommended this one to me, but it was verrrry creepy! It reminded me of Shirley Jackson's "Haunting of Hill House" - a psychological thriller about a house with a mind of its own. The story was well-constructed, and the characters were very compelling. Don't read this one at night!!

Four Seasons, The: A Novel of Vivaldi's Venice

Four Seasons, The: A Novel of Vivaldi's Venice - Corona;Laurel This was an enjoyable read! Two of the main characters are orphaned sisters who grow up in the Pieta, which is a church orphanage in Venice. They both show musical talent--one of them becomes a singer at the church, and the other plays violin in the church orchestra. Vivaldi is one of the teachers there, and he also writes new works for the ensembles. This book was very well-researched (given the limited info available about the daily lives of the young girls at the Pieta). It was interesting to read more about Venetian society of the time, which seemed very shallow--it was quite common for the noblemen to have mistresses, and their wives to have admirers (an interesting double-standard, since the wives' admirers were not allowed to be their lovers). The stories of the two orphans and Vivaldi are woven together nicely.

The Introvert Advantage: Making the Most of Your Inner Strengths

The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World - Marti Olsen Laney A must-read for all introverts! It gives a lot of positive information about being an introvert--and, as the title states, how to thrive in an extrovert world.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln - Doris Kearns Goodwin Couldn't finish this one. I'll try picking it up later!