Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Books I've read in 2009

It's time for my 2nd annual reading list/book review. The following are titles I read in 2009.

Hemings of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed This is a biography of Sally Hemings and her children by Thomas Jefferson. Some of the Hemings children passed as white, others remained near Monticello and were free blacks. I found it an interesting work.

Diana & Jackie: maidens mothers myths by Jay Mulvaney. The library owns this book and I found it when I was shifting. It's one of those popular biographies and if I remember correctly, I thought at the time that you can find similarities amongst any celebreties if you look hard enough.

Dragonsheart and Dragonsblood by Todd McCaffrey. Todd has taken over the PERN series begun by his mother, Anne McCaffrey. I loved Anne's PERN books, and Todds are good too. He writes about a different Pass--the 4th Pass instead of the 9th Pass, but he's putting his own touch on PERN. Dragonsheart was the newest title, but since I had trouble tracking the characters and the plot, I re-read Dragonsblood. Both are the same basic plot, just from different characters viewpoints. Once I remembered what the plot was, it all gelled. If you don't know about PERN, then this doesn't make any sense what-so-ever, so go read Anne's books, and then Todds. Especially if you like Fantasy and Sci-Fi, because these books started out being more Fantasy and evolved into Sci-Fi--but not heavy science. And, they have strong women characters, which is always good!

The Last Princess by Matthw Dennison. You know...I can't remember off the top of my head what this one was about. I think I'm going to have to check Amazon...O yeah! This book is a biography of Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria's youngest daughter, who was raised and expected to be the child who would never marry and would stay home and care for mother. And she did for 20 some years until she fell in love and married. Her husband had to promise they would live in England so she could still take care of her mother. It was a good book.

American Farmer: the heart of our country by Paul Mobley This one was a fun pictoral book of Farmers all across the country. Beautiful photographs.

Once upon a dream and Once upon a star by Nora Roberts et al. Short storys. Each book has 4 short stories all on the same theme. After all the heavy reading...these were sheer escapism and light reading.

Tales of Beetle the Bard by JK Rowling. I had to read this book, which plays such an important role in the last Harry Potter book!

Dewey: the smalll-town library cat who touched the world by Vicki Myron. This one was another light, but good read. Cat people would love this one.

Promises in death by JD Robb. Roarke and Eve...need I say more...

Doomed Queens: royal women who met bad ends by Kris Waldherr. Another non-fiction book, but WOW! was this one fun to read. Some women were just BAD!

The borning room by Paul Fleischman. This is a childrens book that I found in our collection. I picked it up and read it quickly. It made me cry and it made me laugh. I really enjoyed it, in fact, I didn't weed it from the collection because it touched me.

Little family big values: the Roloff Family by Matt Roloff
The Duggars: 20 and counting by Michelle & Jim Bob Duggar
Against tall odds: being a David in a Goliath World by Matt Roloff. Ok...confession time, I like to watch both of these families on TLC. So, I checked out their respective books. Nothing new, but they did have nice photographs in them.

In Triumph's wake: Royal Mothers, Tragic Daughters, and the price they paid for glory by Julia Gelardi. Boy...was I ever into reading biographies about Queens and Royalty in 2009! This one looked at 3 Mother/Daughters--Katherine of Aragon and her mother, Isabella of Spain, Maria Theresa of Austria and Marie Antoinette, and Queen Victoria and the Empress Frederick (Vicky). No happy endings here folks.

Memories: Autobiography of Ralph Emery by Ralph Emery with Tom Carter. This one was fun, and light. I read it mainly for dirt about the Country Music stars, and I wasn't disappointed.

Midnight Bayou by Nora Roberts. I read this one after seeing the Lifetime movie. Once again...the book is better than the movie.

Graveyard book by Neil Gaiman. This was the Newbery Winner for 2008 (awarded in Jan 2009). What a wonderful imaginative book. Yes, it's a Children's book, but you are never to old to read Children's books. This one is great.

Bells on their toes by Frank Gilbreth. Remember the original Cheaper by the Dozen movie? Well, it was based on a book of the same title. And This is a "sequel." About real people...written in the 40's or 50's. A nice book about a large family.

The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty. This book is set in Kansas. It's a book about a girl growing up in a single parent household. It was...ok. Something different than what I normally read.

The Testament by Eric Van Lustbader. Lustbader is best known for writing the Bourne triligy. This book was similar to the Da Vinci Code. It was an OK adventure book.

Who gets the drumstick? by Helen Beardsley. Ok, another movie tie-in here. Remember Yours, Mine and Ours? The one with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda? This is the book it was based on. In this case...I liked the movie better, but...I did enjoy reading about the real Beardsly family.

Once upon a castle and Once upon a kiss by Nora Roberts et al and Vision in white by Nora Roberts. No apologies here. Nora is one of my favorite escapism authors.

Walls: resisting the third Reich by Zassenhaus, Hiltgunt. This one is another one I found in the library. It's a WW II book about various ways people resisted and fought against the Nazi's. In this case, Hiltgunt took medicines in to a prison for Danish...or Swedish prisones and later helped get many of them released, and kept records of all the prisoners so that their families would know of their fate. Very interesting book.

Handkerchiefs: a collectors guide by Helene Guarnaccia. Volumes 1 and 2. I have several hankerchiefs that had belonged to Grandma. I was curious to see if any were valuable and wanted to learn about the designs.

The lives of Kings & Queens of France by Duc De Castries. I'm pretty knowledgeable about the Kings and Queens of England, but France? not so much. This helped, and it was interesting, but not being as knowledgeable about French History, I didn't always "get" what was going on. Still, I liked this one.

Colorful Tablecloths 1930's - 1960's by Yvonne Barineau. I have some of Grandma's tableclothes too...

Hansi: the girl who loved the swastika Maria Anne Hirschmann. I blogged about this one earlier this year.

Lion's Bride and The Treasure by Iris Johansen. Two more escapism books. Strong female characters. I liked them. They are about the same family of women which is always good.

Hansi's new life and Don't shoot, I'm already wounded by Maria Anne Hirschmann. I beat a dead horse...these books were by the same author as Hansi, but about her years after she emigrated to America. Didn't enjoy these as much, I said, I had to finish reading her story.

Finger lickin fifteen byJanet Evanovich. If you haven't read Janet's "By the numbers" books, then you don't know what you are missing. I laughed out loud reading this one. But, start with book one (One for the Money). Then come back here and thank me.

Midnight warrior by Iris Johansen Hey...I liked two of her other books, I liked this one too. Nothing high brow, just simple enjoyment.

Black Hills by Nora Roberts. I sometimes think Nora could write a book about falling in love with the "last man on earth" and make it enjoyable.

One saint and seven sinners by Ennan R. Hall. This book was written in the 40's or therebouts. It's about a preacher who moved his family to the panhandle of Oklahoma at the turn of the century. Let's just say that his family weren't as "saintly" as preacher papa. It's really Ennan's tribute to her father, written after his death. I really liked it.

Anchored in Love by John Carter Cash; Among my Klediments by June Carter Cash and I walked the line by Vivian Cash. See a pattern? Remember that horse? I read John Carter Cash's book about his mother, and then had to read June's "autobiography", which then led me to Vivian's book. The weakest title is June's. But, I learned a lot about the Cash family and decided that Vivian really got the worst end of the deal--publicity wise. Very enlightening books.

Rangers Apprentice 6: Seige of Mackindaw by John Flanagan. Another "kiddie lit" book. But, hey, like I said...I like books written for kids. I've read all the Ranger's Apprentice books. This one feels like the last one. Boys love this series, and I was introduced to it by two boys. Anyone who likes archery or adventure tales will like this book--but again, start with the first book.

Backwoods teacher byJoseph Nelson. Joseph Nelson was a teacher back in the Ozarks during the depression. As an outsider, this is a humorous book about all that the Ozark folk taught him during his first year of teaching.

Sword of the Lady by S.M. Stirling. This is the third book in a series about "the Change." It's an apocolyptic book. The world as we know it ended 20 years ago in this book. It has traces of King Arthur and Wicca and Good vs. Evil. I've read the entire series, and while I enjoy this series, I do get tired of all the battles and testrone.

The old buzzard had it coming and Hornswoggled by Donis Casey. Now, I'm not a big fan of murder mysteries, or mysteries in general...but...I really liked these two titles. Set in Northeast Oklahoma in the 1910's, Alafair Tucker, solves mysteries. She's a farmwife and mother of several children. Somehow, her children get involved in trouble and fall in love with the wrong men. Delightful, light mysteries. Also included are recipies of old farm cooked meals. And, let's face it, you've just got to love books with titles with the word Hornswoggled in them.

The lost symbol by Dan Brown isn't as good as Da Vinci Code or Angels and Demons. It was...ok. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I had some clue to the geography of Washington DC. But since I've never been there, and haven't seen most of the buildings mentioned...well, it just didn't do anything for me.

Echo in the bone by Diana Gabaldon. If you don't know by now how much I love Diana's books, then you really need to read my blog! My only complaint about Echo is that I'll have to wait at least 2 more years for the next installment. I think you'll see this title on my list again in 2010.

Y: The last man--ring of truth; cycles; and unmanned by Brian K Vaughan. These are all graphic novels--all titles in a series. I could only get three of them through Interlibrary Loan. These were mentioned in a journal as "best" graphic novels. So, I read them to see if they'd be something I'd add to our collection. Interesting premise--some virus kills all creatures with the Y chromosome. And, of course, the world doesn't work so well without men. (Hey, it was written by a MAN!) They were ok, but I can't see much local demand for these, so I passed on buying them.

Mistress of the Monarchy by Alison Weir. Weir writes biographies of English Queens, or highly influentual women. This one is about Katherine Swynford, mistress and later wife of John of Gaunt. Monarchs since the Tudors can count Katherine as one of their ancestors. Chaucer was her brother in law. I like reading Weirs biographies. They are scholarly, but not dry.

Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent. This one is about the Salem Witch Trials, based on real people and a real family. It's not a happy book, in fact, it's rather dark, and was interesting and intriguing. I came a way with a new appreciation of just how small minded the Puritans really were.

Kindred in death by J D Robb

Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts

Dragons of the hourglass mage by Margaret Weis and Tracey Hickman. This is the lastest "installment" in the Dragonlance series of books. Shear fantasy. Dragonlance and PERN are two of my favorite worlds.

The worst hard time Timothy Egan. I blogged about this one too. I think it's one of the best books I've read this year...non fiction books that is...

America's women: 400 years of dolls, drudges, helpmates by Gail Collins. I just finished this book. I think all women should read something about women's history. This is a nice concise and thorough book on America History. I've learned a great deal about we women, and I'm proud to be an "American Woman." This isn't dry, isn't boring. It's a fast read and it's simply interesting. Something to ponder that the author one really knows what women used for menustration throughout history until the 20th century. In fact, for early American colonists, cloth was rare and a valuable commodity, much to valuabe to what did they use? Something to think about.

With that, we'll end my facinating list of books read in 2009. I think there are 59 or 60 titles. Not bad...Thanks for sticking with me and reading the entire list :)

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