Booking Through Thursday: The Best?

Each week, Booking Through Thursday asks a book related question. This week, the question is:

What were your favorite books from 2008?

I don’t usually do lists of favorites, because my taste in books changes so often, and I read so quickly, that sometimes, I don’t even remember to list or review.

But since you asked, here are a few:

  • The Eight, by Katherine Neville: I’ve loved this book for two decades. I remember working at the campus candy store at USF, and reading about it in the pink pages of the San Francisco Chronicle, and then picking it up at Printer’s Ink on the way home from school, and reading it on the train. It remains a favorite, to this day.
  • The Fire, by Katherine Neville: I loved this as much because Neville’s leading men are always so intriguing as because I’d waited twenty years for her to produce a sequel to The Eight.
  • Home from the Vinyl Cafe, by Stuart McLean: A collection short stories about a man who owns a record store, and his wife. Funny, contemporary, and full of Canadian flavor.
  • The Seduction of the Crimson Rose, by Lauren Willig: The most recent (to date) of the series that began with The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, a series that is an homage to The Scarlet Pimpernel but with a feminist sensibility.
  • The Southern Vampire Mysteries, by Charlaine Harris: I began reading this just before Halloween, and read the most recent just before Christmas. The series True Blood was not the first time I’d heard of them – many friends had recommended them – but it certainly helped make the decision.

Book Review: Nights in Rodanthe, by Nicholas Sparks

Nights in RodantheNights in Rodanthe
Nicholas Sparks
Get it from Amazon.

When it comes to Nicholas Sparks novels, I generally prefer the movies. It’s not that he’s a bad writer, particularly – people seem to love his work – but I can’t quite grasp all the fuss. His stories tend to be on the sad side, he explores broken relationships an awful lot…I must be missing something.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading Nights in Rodanthe over a period of a couple of nights, as it was the perfect book to read in the bath. Two divorced adults, both needing a new love interest, a rambling old bed and breakfast, a violent storm – bubblebath fodder on every page.

I even appreciate that the ending wasn’t perfect, that this was a much more plausible story than, say, a Silhouette novel.

But I still can’t see WHY Sparks’ work is so popular, because, to be honest, I’m underwhelmed.

(And no, I have NOT seen the movie.)

Goes well with: Candlelight, a bubblebath, and driving rain.

Teaser Tuesdays: Life After Genius, by M. Ann Jacoby

On Teaser Tuesdays readers are asked to:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between 7 and 12 lines.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given.

My teasers are:

“You wrote some kind of paper, didn’t you? Gave a big presentation in front of a bunch of important people. Your mother can’t stop talking about it. How proud she is of you. How much smarter you are than all the other bridge players’ sons.” The woman laughs as if she has just told a joke, then grasps hold of Mead’s wrist. “Do you mind?” she says. “I’ve never touched a genius before.”
from Life After Genius, p. 122, by M. Ann Jacoby

Book Review: Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas, by John Baxter

Immoveable Feast: A Paris ChristmasImmoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas
John Baxter
Get it at Amazon

John Baxter has long been one of my favorite essayists, and not just because he writes about life as an ex-pat living in Paris.

In his most recent offering, An Immoveable Feast, (and yes, the title is a reference to a certain Hemingway publication) Baxter is his usual charming self, as he writes of his adventures in planning the Christmas Feasts to end all Christmas Feasts, for his wife’s very picky, very French family.

While the entire book is incredibly amusing, my favorite chapters involve the hunt for a whole pig, still in its own skin, to be roasted for dinner. Apparently, it is not the custom to serve pork in its skin, in France, and only something extremely un-French will be able to really impress the family. Baxter relays the expressions of butchers and other vendors so well that you can hear the accents and see their gesticulations.

The flaw in this book? It made me so hungry I had to keep putting it down so I wouldn’t drool on the pages.

Goes well with: Bacon. Lots and lots of bacon. And a slice of mince pie.

Reviewed Elsewhere:The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg

The Flavor BibleThe Flavor Bible
by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg
Get it from Amazon

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From time to time, I review books for other blogs, ezines and podcasts, but I still want to track what I’ve read. I recently reviewed The Flavor Bible for ALL THINGS GIRL. Here’s the first paragraph:

Although it does contain several recipes, The Flavor Bible, by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, is not a cookbook. It isn’t really a bible either, for that matter. If I had to classify this book it would be half dictionary, half encyclopedia, and all wonderful.

The rest of the review can be found here.