Saturday, March 17, 2012


It's now time for the second half of the list of books that started small and got really big.

6.  The Memory Keeper's Daughter - Kim Edwards.  This book has a very interesting premise.  Because of bad weather, a doctor has to deliver his wife's baby.  His nurse helps him.  It turns out that the doctor/husband delivers twins.  One of them is a Down's Syndrome baby.  He has the nurse take that baby to an institution and promise not to tell his wife that there ever was a second baby.  The big twist is that the nurse raises the baby as her own.  I liked this one.  This is another book that Lifetime made into a movie, starring Dermot Mulrooney and Emily Watson.  It was pretty good.
Letter Grade - B+

7.  The Lovely Bones - Alice Seybold.  Everybody knows about this one.  A 14-year old girl is raped and murdered.  She is watching the family from heaven and is also the book's narrator.  She sees the man who killed her and how he interacts with her family.  This was made into a big-screen movie, which I didn't see.  But the book was good.  Seybold has written 2 other books, both of which I have read.  Her first book was non-fiction, dealing with her being raped in college.  It's good.  The other was fiction written after The Lovely Bones.  It's called Almost Moon.  It was NOT good.  Between her follow-up and Sara Gruen's follow-up, it almost feels like they mailed it in - because they could.
Letter Grade - B

8.  Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay.  This book focuses on the round-up of Jews in Paris during WWII.  A 10-year old girl is taken, along with her parents, by the French authorities and turned over to the Germans.  She hides her younger brother in a cabinet and tells him that she will be back to get him.  She ends up in a camp and doesn't get back to her home until many months later.  60 years later, an American journalist is in Paris, investigating the round-up.  She ends up making a connection with the the girl and her family.  I read this because so many people told me it was an excellent book.  And they were right.  I haven't read any other de Rosnay books, but I hope to someday.
Letter Grade - A-

9.  The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein.  This is the most unlikely of all the books for me to read. The reason is that there is a dog on the cover.  I automatically avoid any books that have animals in them.  As many of you who know me can attest, I'm not a big animal lover.  So, a book with a picture of a dog is absolutely to be avoided.  Not only that, the dog is the narrator!  Are you kidding me?  Okay, Joni and I were out with friends.  He and I agree on almost all books.  They both insisted I read it.  I finally broke down.  Guess what?  It was really good.  I liked it a lot.  It was a good solid family story with some poignant moments.  I stand corrected - but I'm still avoiding books with animals as the main characters.
Letter Grade - B+

10.  The Help - Kathryn Stockett.  Yes, I know that it's on my list of Fiction for the Non-Fiction Reader. But how you can create a list of books that started small and got great big and not include The Help?  We all know everything there is to know about this book, including how it was rejected by over 60 publishers.  The book was huge and so was the movie.  I have to say that I didn't read The Help until it had already become gigantic.  And yet it lived up to the hype.  This was just a darn good book.  There's not much more to say.  Let's see what she does with her next one.  Will she be Hosseini and Patchett?  Or will she be Gruen and Seybold?  To be continued.
Letter Grade - A

Last Notice:  This is your final reminder that Harlan Coben is coming to Kepler's next Sunday at 2:00.

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