Sunday, December 30, 2012

3 Last Reviews of the Year

I have my last 3 reviews of the year (I guess you already saw that in the title of this post!).  The 1st is French Lessons, by Ellen Sussman.  Ellen is a local author, and this is her 2nd book.  The 1st one, On a Night Like This, is one I will be reading in the next few months.

French Lessons takes place in Paris.  The story revolves around 3 tutors at a language school - 2 men and 1 woman.  Each tutor gets his or her own story.  And each tutor has a private session with a member of the opposite gender.  As you might expect, there is a lot of sexual (sex?) tension with each tutor and student.  All 3 stories take place on the same day.  So, not only do you have the individual stories for all 6 players in this drama, but you also have the intermingled relationship among the tutors themselves.  I don't want to give away any of the story lines, but each one is interesting on its own.

I liked this book a lot.  It's very well written and is a solid 3.0.  I really got into each of the 3 stories as well as the relationship among the tutors.  I also agree with Lolly Winston who wrote:  "...Book clubs:  bust out your calendars.  This novel's going on your list."  As you might imagine, there are moral and ethical questions that arise for each of the 3 tutors and their students.  In fact, I would enjoy being a part of a book club discussion about this book.  Can somebody let me know if that happens?

The 2nd book is Prosper In Love, by Deborah Michel, another local author (I love getting to know all of these locals).  The star of this book is Lynn Prosper.  She is a low-level museum curator living with her husband, Jamie, in the Los Angeles area.  Lynn and Jamie have been married for 2.5 years and appear to be the ideal married couple - until an old college classmate of Lynn's, F.X. (Francis Xavier), makes an entrance.  Between F.X.'s meddling and Lynn's constant battle with trying to satisfy Jamie's aristocratic family, things become a little less idyllic.  Throw in divorce lawyers and an affair or 2, and you can see that things get a bit complicated.  Do Lynn and Jamie weather the storm?  The answer it yourself!

I liked Prosper in Love but didn't love it.  Unfortunately for Deborah, I have read 4 of my top 6 for the entire year just since November 26 (and although it didn't make my top 11, Ellen Sussman's French Lessons, which I have also read since November 26, is still in my top 25).  It's just not fair for Prosper In Love to have to match up with the 4 listed below.  Believe me, earlier in the year Deborah's book would have gotten more play.  In the meantime, read it.  You'll like it.

Follett - Winter of the World - #1
Zadoorian - The Leisure Seeker - #6
Waters - The Angels' Share - #3
Moehringer - The Tender Bar - #4

The 3rd, and last, review of the year is book 1 (of 5) of a children's series.  It's called the Secret Series, and it's written by Pseudonymous Bosch (a pseudonym perhaps?).  When we were down in LA a couple of months ago, Jason gave this to me to read.  His daughter, Hannah, who is 9, reads the series.  After I finished it, I realized that this is perfect for that age group.  It's extremely clever with a fun premise and some mystery.  Although it's written for young readers, it does not talk down to them.  The author (who doesn't let anyone know his real name) uses adult words but will often define them.  He does it in an interesting and contextual way and within the flow of the story.  I won't be reading any more of them, but I strongly recommend the series for 8-12 year olds.

That's it.  I'm done with 2012.  On Tuesday morning, I will be posting all 71 books from 2012, along with ratings and a top 11.  Plus, there will be a special literary community service award.  AND, if you post your top book of the year, you will enter a drawing that nets the winner his or her choice of any one book on my list.  How can you ignore that offer?  

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Can You Believe It? - Another Winner! (Plus One That's Not So Good)

I have finished my last book before the end of the year.  I've got 5 reviews that I need to post by Monday.  Here are 2 - one is in my top 11 for the year (either a 3.5 or a 4.0), and the other is one of my least favorites.  Let's do the good one 1st.

J.R. Moehringer - The Tender Bar.  The author is a pulitzer prize-winning feature writer who was working at the Los Angeles Times when he received his award.  This book is a memoir of Moehringer's childhood/adolescence/young adulthood in Manhasset, Long Island.  The book centers on a local bar with a legendary owner in a hard-drinking town.  Moehringer starts going there when he's just a child (in the daytime only) and continues to frequent it frequently through the years.  The people that inhabit the bar are true characters, and the bar is a character on its own.

You all know that non-fiction is not my favorite (I only read 3 this year), and I typically like memoirs even less.  But I'm glad I read this one.  After being a regular customer of Recycle Bookstore, in Campbell, for a couple of years now, Stacey, the store manager, handed The Tender Bar to me a little over a month ago.  She's never done that before.  She obviously strongly suspected that I would like it.  Boy, was she right.

There is so much that goes on with Moehringer growing up, that it's really hard to isolate specific incidents.  Let me just mention a few highlights from the book.

1.  The 1st time he goes into the bar is page 63.  Moehringer does a great job of building up to that, since the scenes in the bar are really the focus of the book.
2.  Page 175 is the 1st time he goes into the bar as a legal drinker.  Again, this is a big milestone.
3.  He is a very good writer.  When he is a young boy, and watching an adult league softball game, Moehringer says that one of the players has a "cummerbund of blubber."  That's good stuff.
4.  Besides being very funny, he also has a number of poignant moments.  In fact, I set a personal record.  I actually cried 3 times - on the same page!  Are you kidding me?  That's crazy.

I have one small criticism.  After he graduates from college, which is page 221 of 368, the book slows down a little bit.  It's not dramatic, but it's noticeable.  This is all that prevented me from giving it a 4.0 instead of the 3.5 that I ended up rating it.  Let's face it, a 3.5 is darn good.  If you get a chance, read this book.  It was published in 2005.  He also spent 2 years collaborating with Andre Agassi on the latter's memoir, Open, and I know that he just came out with an historical novel based on the life of the bank robber, Willie Sutton.  It's called, appropriately enough, Sutton.  I know I will read it along with  anything else he writes, fiction or non-fiction.

That's the good news.  The less than good news is a book called The Tree of Forgetfulness, by Pam Durban.  The book is based on a true story about a racist hate crime in South Carolina that took place in 1926.  The book goes back and forth between the year the crime took place and 1943, when the protagonist is in the hospital, in a coma, dying.

How did I get a hold of this book you ask (you didn't ask?)?  Actually, it was sent to me by a publicist associated with Rayme Waters.  She sent me 2 books - Tree, that was published earlier this year, and an ARC that's due out in March.  I don't really have any criticism of this one; I just didn't much care for it.  I think the publicist had the mistaken notion that I like books that are complex and intellectual, when, in fact, I prefer books that are easy to read and comprehend.

CONFESSION:  Since I never look at the flap/summary of a book before reading it, I didn't realize that The Tree of Forgetfulness is a true story until I was finished.  That might have made a little bit of a difference to me if I had known that ahead of time.

NEW PUBLISHER:  My rep from HarperCollins, Danielle Plafsky, who has been sending me ARC's for a year now, has moved on to Random House, the Knopf imprint.  So, it looks like I will now be reading ARC's from both Random House/Knopf and HarperCollins.  This is in addition to the publicist, Lizzie McQuillen, who has been sending me ARC's periodically for authors she represents; and, now, the publicist that came from Rayme.  I love this insider stuff.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A list of 27 books that I feel fortunate to have read in 2012

I can't believe the run of really good, even excellent, books that I have read of late.  When I post all my reads of 2012, with ratings, there will be a huge amount of 3's, 3.5's, and 4's.  This is definitely the best year yet for outstanding books.  Just since October 16 I've had top reads:

Joan Swan - Fever
Ken Follett - Winter of the World (one of my top 10 of all time)
Michael Zadoorian - The Leisure Seeker
Rayme Waters - The Angels' Share
J.R. Moehringer - The Tender Bar (review coming)

And this is not to mention these excellent books from earlier in the year:

Michael David Lukas - Oracle of Stamboul
Jodi Picoult - Lone Wolf
Jeffrey Archer - Sins of the Father
David Baldacci - The Innocent
Adina Senft - The Hidden Life
Chad Harbach - The Art of Fielding
Keith Raffel - A Fine and Dangerous Season

And don't even get me started on the old standbys:

Harlen Coben - Stay Close
Tom Rob Smith - Agent 6
Vince Flynn - Kill Shot
Steve Berry - The Columbus Affair
Alex Berenson - The Shadow Patrol
Sam Eastland - Archive 17
Daniel Silva - The Fallen Angel
W.E.B. Griffin - Covert Warriors
Dean Koontz - 77 Shadow Street

And how about these fine new finds:

Philip Kerr - Prague Fatale
William Landay - Defending Jacob
Steve Hamilton - The Lock Artist
Gillian Flynn - Gone Girl
Elisabeth Barrett - Deep Autumn Heat
Ellen Sussman - French Lessons (review coming)

That's 27 out of 70.  That's a lot of top-notch reading.  I can also assure you that there are many others of the remaining 43 that I would recommend - some fairly highly.  And I couldn't be more pleased that over 25% of these top books are from local authors.  This is the most satisfying part of the whole thing.  Wait until you see the final list.  It will blow you away.  I will post that on January 1.

NEXT TIME:  More reviews, I promise.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Interview #6 - Michael David Lukas

As you know from my 4/29/12 review of Michael David Lukas' Oracle of Stamboul, I loved this book.  Like so many other local authors, I found Michael at Barnes & Noble in The Pruneyard (REMINDER:  closing December 31!).  It was a Tuesday afternoon, which is always my day for going into the store to see what new books have come out (they actually do come out on Tuesdays).  And Michael was sitting at that same table near the front door that Jasmine Haynes, Adina Senft, Hannah Jayne, and A.R. Silverberry (with Mrs. Silverberry) sat at on earlier occasions.  As was my custom, I read and blogged about the book and was very pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it.  Something well-written enough for me to quote passages is usually the kiss of death for my enjoyment quotient.  I'm not looking for poorly written books, but I'm not normally crazy for books that are literary (the word "literature" gives me the shakes).  Well, this was and I was.

Since Michael is just a lad (early '30's maybe?), you wouldn't think that he would have much of a story to tell.  But you would be wrong.  Michael took an advanced writing class in college in which he worked on everything from poetry to fiction.  This is what got him started.  He got a Master of Fine Arts and was awarded a Fulbright scholarship.  He matriculated to Tunisia (the country, not a small school in the midwest) for additional schooling.  While there, he came up with the idea of writing a book.  But what was he going to write about?

Serendipity plays a big part in everybody's life.  So too for Michael.  He found himself stranded in Istanbul without a passport.  While there, he walked into an antique store and found a picture of a little girl leaning against a pedestal.  Seeing that picture gave him the idea for Oracle of Stamboul.  I, for one, am very glad he saw that picture and, ultimately, wrote this book.

You know how it seems that everything happens so quickly?  Well, not in Michael's case.  It took him 7 years to write Oracle!  When it was finally ready to shop, he put out a query letter to 25-30 agents.  As luck (and skill) would have it, he was accepted by the agent that was his first choice.  Things happen for a reason, right?  His agent contacted a number of publishers and got so much interest that there was actually an auction to see which publisher would get the rights to publish the book.  And it took less than a week for that to happen (okay, this part happened quickly).  How cool is that!  His book was bought by HarperCollins in February of 2010 and was published in February of 2011.

What's next?  Michael is working on his 2nd novel now.  If he goes through the same process as the 1st one, then it will be awhile before it hits the stores.  I know I will be one of the 1st to buy it (maybe the author will even sign it for me, if I ask him nicely).  Stay tuned for an update.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Musings of a Book Blogger

As I approach the 2-year anniversary of my first Book Sage post, January 16, 2011 (thank you Steve S.), I find myself thinking back on the last couple of years.  What have I gained from this experience?  What could I do to make the blog better and more useful?  I can (and will) wax philosophical on the first question.  I will  need you to give me honest (even brutal) feedback on the second.  Please do not spare my feelings.  As most of you know, I can take the blows.  Besides the enormous self-satisfaction I get from writing the blog (this is always about me), I do, in fact, want the blog to provide a service.  If I'm missing out in some direction, I want to know that.  If you simply don't like the typical subject matter of the blog or think my writing style belongs in grade school, feel free to shout that out too.  Whatever personal relationship I have with you will (most likely!) not be affected by your frank comments.  Onward to question #1.

What have I gained from this experience? Here's a top 10 list:

1.  Even though I didn't think it was possible, I have even a greater love of books than I did back in December of 2010.
2.  I have met nearly 2 dozen local authors.  I value these relationships whether I'm in touch with them on a regular basis or hardly at all.  In fact, I have had the good fortune to interview 10 of them, from which I have posted 5 of those interviews, with the other 5 coming in the next couple of months.
3.  Due to one of those interviews (Meg Waite Clayton), I have joined 2 book clubs.  I never thought I would ever do that.  And from those, I have read either good (The Wedding Plot, Rules of Civility, The Night Circus) or outstanding (The Pleasure Seeker) books.
4.  I have read books in genres that I have never read before.  Some of these are:  erotic romance (notice this was first), young fantasy, paranormal, and urban fantasy.
5.  I have, and have had, an opportunity to read ARC's (advanced reading copies) of authors that I have never read before (and even a couple from authors that I read regularly - James Grippando and Harlen Coben) from publishers (PenguinGroup Books and HarperCollins) and publicists (Lizzie McQuillen and, just recently, Mary Bizbee-Beek).
6.  Many of my friends and family have written guest blogs, thus giving you readers a break from my writing as well as providing fresh perspectives on different aspects of book world (what created your love of books? what do you like about the ereader? who are your favorite literary characters? among many others).
7.  I have attended launch parties, book signings, holiday get-togethers.  I can't get enough of these events.  
8.  I have established relationships with local bookstores (Books, Inc. in Palo Alto and Recycle Books in Campbell).
9.  I have had the pure joy of recommending a book that someone reads and really likes or, even, loves.  That is such a cool feeling.
10.But the #1 benefit of writing this blog if, in fact, it's happening, is contributing to more people reading more often.  That was my stated goal in my first post and will always be what makes me the happiest.

As for the 2nd question, feel free to weigh in.  I meant it that I want to hear how this blog can be better.  The list of 10 above is all about me.  Please let me have feedback that is about you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Back-to-Back Gems

I usually don't rate books until early January when I recap the year just finished.  However, if I were to rate The Leisure Seeker now, I would give it a 3.5 (out of 4).  Guess what?  Rayme Waters' The Angels' Share is a 4!  It is really outstanding.  Although it is way different than 11/22/63 (King) or Winter of the World (Follett), it gets the same 4 that they are getting.  I don't care if this is Rayme's first book or if she is not well-known nationally, it is excellent.  Let me give you a rundown.

The book begins with Cinnamon Monday, who is in her early 20's, beaten senseless by her drug-addled boyfriend.  She somehow stumbles/walks/crawls to a neighboring vineyard farmhouse.  At the end of the first chapter, as she is passing out, she hears a man's voice and feels his hands on her wrist and neck.  I'm telling you, this book grabs you from the first paragraph and never lets up.

The 2nd paragraph talks about Cinnamon as a young girl, growing up in Northern California (in fact, the whole book takes place in Northern California).  Each chapter rotates between childhood and young adulthood.  I love that in a book, especially when it's done well.  And it's done remarkably well here.

As you might imagine, Cinnamon does not have an easy life.  Her childhood reminds me a lot of Jeanette Walls' The Glass Castle.  Of course, that was non-fiction (and made it into Volume I of Fiction for the Non-Fiction Reader), but there are some similarities between Jeanette and Cinnamon.  The other book it reminds me of, although this one hasn't made any of the 4 volumes of FFTNFR, is Ann Patchett's The Patron Saint of Liars.  I think we can all agree that Ann Patchett is well-known for her writing.  Bel Canto is generally considered her best work, but her other 5 have also been highly touted.  Well, I've got news for you - Rayme's book, in my humble (but accurate) opinion, is comparable to Patchett's books.  Both Rayme and Patchett write really well and have truly fascinating heroines.  As an example of Rayme's writing, here is one small passage:  "He kissed me again, the two of us in sync like divers sharing a respirator far below the surface."  It doesn't get much more visual than that.

I'm sure you're all wondering if I got emotionally involved in The Angels' Share.  Heck yes.  I was caught up in Cinammon's life from the beginning.  But about 2/3 of the way through, she makes a connection that had me tearing up every couple of pages.  Are you shocked?  Of course not.  But I still cried more often than usual - even for me.

Do I think this book is for everybody?  The answer to that question is that it is already on my list of books for Volume V of FFTNFR.  I'm not sure when I will post that new list, but you can count on The Angels' Share being on it.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian - I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!! (yes, Josh, I know I'm not supposed to use all caps in the title)

The Leisure Seeker, by Michael Zadoorian, is an excellent book.  It was written in 2009, and I only read it because it is the December selection for the Los Gatos Library Book Club (which I'm only attending because Books, Inc. doesn't have a 4th Tuesday Book Club meeting this month).  I had certainly never heard of the book or the author prior to this.  Kudos to Melissa Maglio for picking it.

The story line is easy to articulate.  It's about a couple, married nearly 60 years and in their early 80's, who decide to take a road trip.  Actually, the wife, Ella, decides.  Her husband, John, has a fairly advanced form of dementia and spends only a small part of the time lucid.  Ella, herself, has cancer and has refused chemo and radiation treatments, despite the entreaties of their 57-year old daughter, their 49-year old son, and her doctor.

This is no ordinary road trip.  They are driving from their home outside Detroit all the way to Disneyland, CA (not Disney World, FLA) on the old Route 66.  As hard as it is for Ella to travel with John, his driving is fine.  Ella has decided that nobody is going to tell her whether she can do this or not.  In fact, they basically leave clandestinely so that she doesn't have to deal with her kids.

You can see that it's an interesting story.  But there's so much more to it than that.  Ella is so cool.  The voice that Kadoorian gives her is the voice that I want to have when I reach that age.  She's not anybody's doddering old woman.  She swears, she packs heat, and, yet, waxes philosophical.  She is an amazing character.  Here are a few examples of what she says:

"This is why RV's are the cat's ass."  (they've had the same RV for 30 years)

"Anyone who never met a man he didn't like just isn't trying hard enough."  (on why she doesn't like Will Rogers)

"Does a feeling of movement soothe a new baby in the same way it soothes an old woman?  It doesn't seem like it should, but somehow this makes sense to me.  New to the earth and not long for it somehow don't seem so different these days."  (explaining to a young mother why it helps to put the baby in the car if he can't sleep)

"You worry about parents, siblings, spouses dying, yet no one prepares you for your friends dying.  Every time you flip through your address book, you are reminded of it - she's gone, he's gone, they're both gone.  Names and numbers and addresses are scratched out.  Page after page of gone, gone, gone. The sense of loss that you feel isn't just for the person.  It is the death of your youth, the death of fun, of warm conversations and too many drinks, of long weekends, of shared pains and victories and jealousies, of secrets that you couldn't tell anyone else, of memories that only you two shared.  It's the death of your monthly pinochle game.
"Know this:  even if you're like us and still doddering around above ground, someone out there from your past is probably pretty sure that you're dead by now."  (thinking about her friends while lying in bed)

I know that's a long passage, but I haven't seen writing this good (including 11/22/63 and Winter of the World) since Michael David Lukas's Oracle of Stamboul.  It's just outstanding.  I have spent much of the book crying and laughing - often simultaneously.

I think anybody would like this book but maybe less so if you're a yung'un.  Those of us who are of a certain age, I think, will appreciate it a bit more.  If you are the right demographic (i.e. old), then get a hold of this book.  You will NOT be disappointed.

P.S.  The ending is special.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Michael Palmer Gives Us #18!

18 novels is a lot of novels.  #18, Political Suicide, will hit the bookstores December 11.  I just finished the ARC (advanced reading copy).  And, like all of his others, I liked it.  And I would recommend it.  This one is the 2nd straight book with the same protagonist - Dr. Lou Welcome.  Lou, a few years back, temporarily lost his medical license due to substance abuse.  With the help of a mentor, Lou has recovered and is, himself, working part-time at the Physician Wellness Office (PWO) in Washington D.C., helping other doctors in the same situation that he was in.  His full-time job is as an emergency room doctor in a local hospital.

The plot for this novel revolves around a doctor, Gary McHugh, who is under the care of the PWO.  He is having an affair with the wife of a prominent senator.  When the senator is murdered in his own home, at the same time that McHugh goes on a bender, blacks out, and crashes his car near the senator's house, it's pretty obvious to the police that McHugh is the guilty party.  In fact, they don't even make any effort to investigate whether it might have been someone else.

Lou sees Gary and believes him when he says that he didn't do it.  But how is he going to prove it?  He attempts to do this with the help of Cap Duncan, his mentor and an ex-prize fighter, Sarah Cooper, an attorney from the firm representing McHugh, and Papa Steve, a soldier who was best friends with the slain senator.  If you factor in Emily, Lou's 13-year old daughter, Edith Harmon, a blind woman who runs a small-town newspaper, and Officer Judy, a local policewoman who seems more interested in romance than police work, there are a lot of interesting characters.  Palmer always does a good job of surrounding the main protagonist with compelling supporting actors.

The other thing that Palmer does is include some kind of medical mystery in his books.  Until the last few, they always centered on doctors and hospitals in Boston.  The last three, while maintaining the interesting medical plot, have come from Washington D.C.  I don't know why he changed the venue, but I'm fine with it.

In this case, there is a special forces military group called Mantis.  These guys are tougher than the Navy Seals (you won't believe their initiation rites!).  There are about 700 members of Mantis, and they're led (and controlled) by a Colonel Wyatt Brody.  It doesn't seem that this group would have anything to do with medicine.  But wait.  When Brody did his doctoral thesis, many years earlier, the subject was about the elimination of fear through drinking a certain concoction.  Do you see where this is going?

I've said this before.  I like Michael Palmer.  I've read all 18 of his novels and have enjoyed each one.  They are guaranteed to entertain.  I think that's all anybody can ask of an author.  As the old Alka Seltzer commercial says:  "Try it, you'll like it."

Monday, December 3, 2012

Review (Finally!) of Follett's Latest

Well, I've been posting progress reports on Follett's newest book, Winter of the World, for the last couple of weeks.  And, earlier this week, I actually posted that I had finished the book, and that it was one of my top 10 all-time.  That's really a big deal.  I believe that I've read a lot of books in my day, and the top 10 is the elite of the elite.  In fact, I know that I've given you my top 3 all-time - Pillars of the Earth (Follett), The Source (James Michener), and Shogun (James Clavell) - but I think I will give you the other 7 sometime in the near future (hint: it will probably include 11/22/63 along with, of course, Winter of the World).

So let me give you the basics of this book.  The multiple stories pick up in 1933 (book 1 - Fall of Giants - went from 1911-1924).  There are 5 families that the trilogy focuses on - American, German, English, Russian, and Welsh.  They are all featured, of course, in each book.  And they are also interrelated.

Although I loved the book (as you all know by now), there are 2 elements of it that really stand out for me.  The 1st is the whole advent of the Nazi regime.  Since the book starts out in 1933, we get the full impact and process by which the Nazis came to power.  It feels so realistic that, at times, it's very tough to read.  Being Jewish, I'm used to equating the Nazis with the German Jews.  But this book (along with In the Garden of Beasts, by Eric Larson) gives you the whole picture.  There are many atrocities committed by the Nazis on its regular citizenry.  Winter of the World makes you feel how the German people felt - both positive and negative.  It's pretty chilling and runs throughout most of the book (until the end of WWII).

The other particularly affecting part is a description of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  I felt that I was there.  Of course the definition of historical fiction is placing fictitious characters in real historical settings.  But, obviously, some authors do it better than others:  John Jakes, Jeff and Michael Shaara, James Clavell, James Michener.  Ken Follett does it as well as anybody.

I'm always blown away how some (quite a few, in fact) authors can make me care so much about the characters.  In a book like this, where there are 5 families and a lot of people attached to each family, there are just that many more people to care about.  In case you haven't figured it out yet, I STRONGLY recommend this book.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Recap - Part III (and last)

Here are the non-review blogs from the last 2 years:

Fiction for the Non-Fiction Reader:
Volume I - 02/19/11
Volume II - 02/18/12
Volume III - 04/07/12
Volume IV - 07/16/12

02/05/11 - Macho Man and Chick Lit

02/13/11 - B-Listers

03/06/11 - Open-Ended Series

03/11/11 - Closed-Ended Series

04/05/11 - More Series

04/24/11 - One (Two or Three) and Done

05/28/11 - Non-Fiction Reads

06/11/11 - 1st-Time (for me) Authors

06/18/11 - Author Emails

10/16/11 - 1st-Time Authors

12/03/11 - Random House Holiday Gift Books

01/01/12 - Books of 2011 with Ratings - Top 6

03/10/12 - Books That Started Small and Got Big - 1st 5

03/17/12 - Books That Started Small and Got Big - 2nd 5

05/26/12 - Author Event at Haley's School

10/21/12 - Book Clubs