Alright! Done and done on December 30th with a day to spare! Please excuse the short reviews…
#43 – The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. This was an excellent book about a headstrong Southern Baptist preacher who drags his very unprepared family in the wilds of the African Congo during the very turbulent and politically dangerous late 1950’s. I became emotionally involved in this book, not understanding the meekness of the wife/mother, and frustrated by the husband.
The story follows the family for years and it is very interesting to see how the kids lives end up. This is a brilliant book and I recommend it and also another book by Kingsolver I read years ago, ‘The Bean Trees’.
#44 – The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly. This crime/law/drama is the story of a lawyer who left the profession due to an accident and drug addiction and is thrown back into the limelight when he is given a huge case when a lawyer friend mysteriously dies. It’s a good story and I recognized some of the characters having read this author before, but I found the lawyer character to be so obnoxious and egotistical it was at times difficult to read. I give this book 6 out of 10 stars, a hearty ‘meh’.
#45 – White Hot by Sandra Brown. I have read several of Sandra Browns novels over the years, my mother being a fan ergo; free reads for me – and never have I been as disappointed as I was with this effort. The characters are completely one-dimensional, but repeatedly described as passionate, focused and driven. I’m not usually super critical of novels, as I know even the worst book is better than I could write, but this one was decidedly not good. Too bad, it could have been great if the author just toned down the characters and made them more realistic… thinking back there were maybe 3 characters that seemed real, and they were all blue-collar workers or alcoholics… hm…
#46 – Watership Down by Richard Adams. I loved loved loved this book! Apparently it was one of my grandmother’s favorites (my wacky grandmother btw), and I can see why. The author did a beautiful job describing the English countryside without burying the reader in it. The story is about a group of rabbits (so cute that the author states that rabbits can’t count past 4, so above 4 the rabbit language word is ‘thousand’ – When asked how many rabbits are travelling together and there is 6, the response is ‘thousands’ – too funny) who move about looking for a safe, happy place to live. It’s amazing that I became more enthralled with these animals that I have with many human characters, it is just written so well. I realize a book about rabbits may sound weird, but it is awesome, and one my top 10 list of all time favorites.
#47 – Run For Your Life by James Patterson. Wisely I am no longer assuming that I have read everything that James Patterson has written, as books keep popping up that I’ve never heard of… This is the story of police detective Michael Bennett who leads a very colourful home life, but is also busy chasing a mass murderer who calls himself, ‘The Teacher’. This novel is typical of Patterson’s other books, it’s lightening quick, engaging and compelling. I like this new Bennett character and the background of New York City. Of course I’ll look for other Patterson novels now that I’ve accepted the fact I’m not always right. Ha!
#48 – Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King. There was a time when I was really into Stephen Kings novels and I can actually remember quite a bit about the last one I read, The Duma Key, although it was probably 4 years ago. I forgot what an incredible author he is. His writing flows so nicely and his style, at times, is my ideal. This book is 4 short stories and truly, I was more enthralled by the characters in these short stories than I have been with others in full length books. Stephen King is just that good. This is an excellent book and all four stories will have the reader on the edge of the seat. I give it 9/10 stars.
#49 – Alex Cross’s trial by James Patterson. Surprise surprise – another James Patterson book that I never read! This was an awesome book and a very unique concept, as the book is ‘written’ by Patterson’s famous character, Dr. Alex Cross. It’s the story of one of Cross’ ancestors whose meeting with a ‘civil rights lawyer’ (although no such thing really at that time) had an impact on race relations in hostile Mississippi in the early 20th century. Just as Patterson’s other books, this one is quick and very entertaining… the story is so different from his usual books I constantly had to remind myself that I was reading Patterson and not John Grisham (I have all of his except Ford County and Skipping Christmas, honestly, I checked). It’s a great book and I hope that ‘Alex Cross’ writes more novels about his ancestor or the lawyer character.
#50 – Back Story by Robert B. Parker. This is a Spenser novel. These novels are light reads, but I find the constant banter between Spenser and his cronies nearly unbearable. It doesn’t feel real. People I know who behave that way are socially awkward, often very intelligent, but appear to be forcing closeness with others. I don’t find that back and forth style entertaining, just annoying. However, the story was typical of Parker – good, quick and entertaining.
Ahh… done, now another 50 in 2011.