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Display Name: Ted's Review
Reading Interests: I think my reading tastes are very eclectic. I like trashy spy/murder mysteries, autobiographies, fiction, and non-fiction and try to change it up a bit when I get my next book. I really got into reading when I started taking the bus to work.

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Ted's Review's Comments    
Cover ArtCruising Europe [videorecording] : popular with older travelers
There was very little useful information in this DVD and it seemed dated. Still, it’s probably worth a quick look if you want some information about river cruising on the Rhine River.   posted Apr 27, 2014 at 11:08AM

Cover ArtThe Rhine & Danube [videorecording]
by Wolf, Burt
This was a good overview of the cities along the Rhine River. Not a lot of detail and too much time spent on random singers and entertainers.   posted Apr 27, 2014 at 11:04AM

Cover ArtWhen in Germany, do as the Germans do : the clued-in guide to German life, langu
by Flippo, Hyde.
I am making a trip to Germany this summer and hoped this book would give me some new insights into German culture. I didn’t learn much beyond what I suspect most people know. Also, this 2002 edition seemed amazingly dated. I advise to skip it and find something else.   posted Apr 17, 2014 at 5:51PM

Cover ArtAugie’s secrets : the Minneapolis mob and the king of the Hennepin strip
by Karlen, Neal.
I was very disappointed in this book. Neal Karlen is a great writer, but this book is poorly written. Karlen treats the Jewish gangsters as if the killing and maiming were just cute stunts by lovable Jews. As someone who is Jewish, I find this offensive. Your fondness for either your uncle Augie, or the fact that he passed on these "secrets" to you has clouded your judgement, Neal. And the constant use of Yiddish, where it adds no value, is insulting too. Does this make you feel more Jewish? The story you had to tell was an excellent one and could have made for great reading. You blew it, Bubbe. This book is a 2 on a scale from 1 to 10. At best.   posted Apr 13, 2014 at 10:49AM

Cover ArtAlex Cross, run
by James Patterson
There is no doubt that the Alex Cross books are entertaining and page turners. This was a well written book, but perhaps I’ve read too many Alex Cross novels. There is a sameness that bleeds out some of the excitement. The book is good, but just not great. Very formulatic. I’d rate it a 3 on a scale from 1 to 5.   posted Apr 2, 2014 at 3:26PM

Cover ArtJohnny Carson
by Henry Bushkin
If you are interested in learning about Johnny Carson, the person, this is the book for you. It was written by Carson’s lawyer and confidante. Carson is a complex person; we all know that. However, you really get a sense for who he was from this book. Buskin is a surprisingly good writer and the book moves along quickly. It’s true that Bushkin may be a bit too impressed with himself, but he does paint a very credible picture. This is a must-read for Carson fans.   posted Mar 16, 2014 at 12:35PM

Cover ArtBeautiful ruins : a novel
by Jess Walter
I have mixed feelings about this book. Although it kept my attention, it was taxing to keep all of the story lines and characters straight because Walter jumps around in time (quite common) and takes a million detours with his characters. It’s one of those books you think you should take notes along the way. Also, the ending seemed rushed. Walter states that it took 15 years for him to write this book. Perhaps he didn’t want to take another 3 or four years to come up with a better ending. I’ll rate this book a B.   posted Feb 22, 2014 at 1:35PM

Cover ArtA curious man : the strange and brilliant life of Robert "Believe it or not" Rip
by Neal Thompson
This book is an interesting look at life in the 20’s and 30’s and just how different were people’s perceptions "foreign travel" and the fads of the day. Robert Ripley once drew a cartoon of my grandfather, so I had a personal interest in finding out more about this man and the Believe it or Not books. I wouldn’t say this book was fantastic or riveting, but it certainly was interesting in its own way. I’d rate it a B.   posted Jan 4, 2014 at 4:08PM

Cover ArtRoses are red : a novel
by James Patterson
OK, this is a bit difficult of a review for me to write. I am a big Alex Cross and James Patterson fan. The book was entertaining, well-written and a good read BUT it was disapppointing. What is it with Patterson? The last book I read contained two completely different plots between the first half and second half of the book. Roses are Red contains half a book and is just a setup for a future book. Although the killer is finally identified (I don’t want to give anything away), nothing is resolved. So you feel like you invested reading the whole book, but don’t get the satisfaction at the end. So I have to downgrade what would have been a strong 8 down to a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10.   posted Dec 17, 2013 at 10:53AM

Cover ArtRockaway : a novel
by Ison, Tara.
I read this book because I had seen a review and because I am originally from Long Island. My mother grew up in Far Rockaway, so this book had some personal meaning to me. However, other than that, I would rate this book a 3 on a scale from 1 to 5. It’s the story of a self-absorbed woman who just can’t seem to get anything done. She is conflicted and that may be the basis for a start of a book, but I felt that it was pretty thin content. Not bad, but not great. Meh!   posted Oct 31, 2013 at 7:12AM

Cover ArtFinding Nouf
by Zoe Ferraris
This is the first in a trilogy, which unfortunately I’ve read in completely the reverse order! Zoe Ferraris (the author), an American woman, had been married to a Saudi man and lived in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, she has a unique view of the life of woman Saudi. Having traveled there nine times, although it seems exaggerated, it is not; the restrictions and mores, and values are almost alien to American eyes! The book is a murder mystery and slowly reveals itself, as a relationship builds that sustains the trilogy. I recommend this series for anyone who wants to better understand life in Saudi Arabia.   posted Oct 12, 2013 at 3:43PM

Cover ArtLive from New York : an uncensored history of Saturday night live
by Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller
Everyone should be able to relate to this book, because I’m sure in the 30 plus years it’s been on TV, everyone has watched this show. It’s quite surprising that the authors got the cast members (with the one notable exception of Eddie Murphy), writers, producer (Lorne Michaels) and even NBC executives to be so open and truthful about their perceptions of each other and the show. This book consists almost entirely of quotes, with very little commentary from the authors. The excellent organization and editing are the true tasks of the authors in this case. It’s definitely worth reading for a better understanding of the personalities behind the names that we all know.   posted Sep 21, 2013 at 5:27PM

Cover ArtBlack list : a thriller
by Brad Thor
An excellent novel that is hard to put down. Thor does a great job of moving the plot along and having good twists and turns along the way. Another excellent Scot Harvath "save the world" book. You’ll enjoy it! I give it an A for a grade.   posted Aug 20, 2013 at 4:31PM

Cover ArtAstray
by Emma Donoghue
This is a collection of short stories, most of which take place in the 1700’s or 1800’s. Donoghue is a master of telling each story in a different voice and style to suite both the time period and personalities of the characters. Each story is a like a pleasant gift and fun to read. The only issue is that each short story is, well, short. It’s sometimes hard to become engaged in the story and then have it end. But that’s more of a compliment to the author than a criticism. I very much enjoyed this book and give it a rating of A. Highly recommended!   posted Aug 3, 2013 at 11:09AM

Cover ArtAn object of beauty : a novel
by Steve Martin
I was quite surprised at how good a novel this was, and so unlike the comedian that we all know. Martin has written an extremely well written and entertaining novel. Even if you aren’t into art (which would include me), I think you will enjoy this book. I would recommend this to anyone and would give it a B plus or A minus.   posted Jul 21, 2013 at 6:45PM

Cover ArtAlong came a spider : a novel
by James Patterson
Patterson is a great writer and Alex Cross is a great character. Together, they make a great couple. The twists and turns of this book kept me guessing at every step. Very well written and executed. If you are looking for an entertaining summer novel, this is a great place to start. I give it an A.   posted Jul 21, 2013 at 6:35PM

Cover ArtThe Onion book of known knowledge : a definitive encyclopaedia of existing infor
by Randazzo, Joe.
If you liked reading Mad Magazine as a kid, you’ll probably have the right sense of humor for the Onion Book of Known Knowledge. Although some of the humor falls flat, most of it is whacky and fun. Some of it is brilliant. I’m not sure how many people would read this from beginning to end like I did, but some of the entries are pure gold. I give it a B plus.   posted Jul 13, 2013 at 3:07PM

Cover ArtI feel bad about my neck : and other thoughts on being a woman
by Ephron, Nora.
Somewhat amusing stories about a woman growing older. Quick way to pass some time, but nothing very special. I rate this a C plus.   posted Jun 16, 2013 at 3:52PM

Cover ArtKill Alex Cross
by Patterson, James
I really, really liked this book! I read this book in one weekend because I couldn’t put it down. It had a great plot, satisfying story line, good ending and was well edited. James Patterson really is a pro. This book gets a solid A rating from me. Well done.   posted Jun 9, 2013 at 6:25PM

Cover ArtMrs Queen takes the train : a novel
by Kuhn, William M.
This fictionalized history about Queen Elizabeth deciding to leave the palace and take a trip on her own is a fun book. The author must have done extensive research into what it’s like to be Queen Elizabeth and you do feel like you are taking a behind-the-scenes tour. Although the book was enjoyable, the ending was a bit of a let down, which is sometimes the case with otherwise good books. None the less, I would recommend this as good, light, summer reading. I rate it with a grade of "B."   posted Jun 7, 2013 at 7:13AM

Cover ArtOn Saudi Arabia : its people, past, religion, fault lines-- and future
by House, Karen Elliott
For most Americans, Saudi Arabia is a complete mystery. I was interested in this book because I have made many trips to Saudi. This is a well-researched book about the many cracks in Saudi society. However, it’s one of those books that could have been a long magazine article rather than a 250 plus page book. There are just so many times you can make the same points over and over. Still I found it interesting, probably more so than most people would. I give it a C plus rating.   posted May 19, 2013 at 2:22PM

Cover ArtThe time keeper
by Albom, Mitch
This creative book is something you can read very quickly, but I think it’s something that is quite memorable. I really loved this book and it will quickly draw you into the characters. I highly recommend that you read this and I would give it a grad of a very solid A. Read it!   posted Apr 29, 2013 at 5:23PM

Cover ArtThe finish : the killing of Osama Bin Laden
by Bowden, Mark
This book provides detailed and interesting information about the decision to authorize the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. It aslo discussed what led to the information of where he was hiding. I first read the book "No Easy Day" by one of the SEAL teammembers on that raid, but I recommend you read this book first and then that book for a great overview of the whole thing. There is some conflicting information, since at the time this book was written, no members of the SEAL team had yet given details. However, this book provides great information and insight and it is well written.   posted Apr 21, 2013 at 12:20PM

Cover ArtCutting for stone : a novel
by Verghese, A. 1955-
This is a powerful book and as the other reviewers have said, you feel like the characters are your family. It took a bit of time for me to get into the rhythem of the book, so if you aren’t hooked at first, give it some time. You will be rewarded. I give this excellent book a very solid A.   posted Apr 14, 2013 at 10:51AM

Cover ArtNo easy day : the autobiography of a Navy SEAL
by Owen, Mark
This book was actually a whole lot better than what I expected. It was straight-forward, well written, and provides a glipse into what really happened before and after the mission that killed Osama Bin Ladin. I rate this a solid A.   posted Apr 3, 2013 at 2:42PM

Cover ArtFull black : a thriller
by Thor, Brad.
This book was a joy to read. Very well written and definitely a page turner. The ending was satisfying and all around, this was a great read. If you like this kind of book, I highly recommend reading this one. I give it a solid A.   posted Mar 28, 2013 at 12:24PM

Cover ArtLeonardo and the Last supper
by King, Ross
Although this book is interesting from an academic standpoint, it’s hardly a page turner. It’s interesting to find out what life was like for Leonardo Da Vinci and life in the 1400’s, but it’s a bit like reading a textbook. It was not exactly light reading. Recommended for art buffs perhaps.   posted Mar 3, 2013 at 3:14PM

Cover ArtDouble cross : a novel
by Patterson, James
Patterson is a great writer and this book is exceptionally well-written. It was hard to put this book down. In fact the book would have been perfect, except that the ending was very unsatisfying. It would have been so easy for this to have been rated A plus, but with the surprisingly weak ending, I’d have to rate it a B plus.   posted Feb 23, 2013 at 4:58PM

Cover ArtThe cursing mommy’s book of days
by Frazier, Ian.
Well, this certainly is an odd book, but not really in a good way. It’s about a stay-at-home mom who is the Cursing Mommy. It’s pretty much a one-joke book that wears thin after the first few pages, but really gets old by page 245. Yes, the mommy curses on every page and almost every paragraph and uses the F word more than the worst Army drill sergeant. But that’s not really the problem. The book is at times anxiety producing and at other times just plain boring. This book gets a D rating from me (although an F rating would be true justice!).   posted Jan 31, 2013 at 6:13PM

Cover ArtKill shot : an American assassin thriller
by Flynn, Vince.
Interestingly, this is the 2012 version of the Mitch Rapp/Vince Flynn franchise. Interesting because it takes place in Rapp’s early years and interesting because it was one of Flynn’s better efforts. Some of Flynn’s later books felt like he was working on auto-pilot, yet this one really was well written and back to Flynn’s pager-turner style. Overall, a really fun book to read. I rate it A minus to an A.   posted Jan 21, 2013 at 5:15PM

Cover ArtStick to drawing comics, monkey brain! : cartoonist ignores helpful advice
by Adams, Scott
As a diehard Dilbert fan, I thought I would like this book more. Scott Adams turns out to be less likable than I would have thought, mostly because of his outsize ego and his belief that he is smarter than everyone else. Still, this book did have it’s good parts, and it was worth reading. I’d rate it a B minus.   posted Dec 27, 2012 at 8:34AM

Cover ArtEscape from Camp 14 : one man’s remarkable odyssey from North Korea to freedom i
by Harden, Blaine
This book is worth reading and will likely shock you that modern day concentration camps exist and are quite prevalent in North Korea. I had no idea. The author tells a captivating story that is hard to put down about the only known North Korean born and raised in one of these camps who manages to escape. The story of his life is not sugar-coated, but is even more powerful by the raw honesty of what he needed to do to survive. I highly recommend this book and give it an A.   posted Nov 25, 2012 at 5:15PM

Cover ArtCity of veils : a novel
by Ferraris, Zoe
This is the second book I’ve read by Ferraris. It’s another glipse into a world that is both mysterious and alien to most Americans. As a murder mystery, the book is engaging, but it’s more about the cultural mysteries of life in Saudi Arabia. I recommend this book and give it a B plus.   posted Nov 18, 2012 at 3:51PM

Cover ArtThree cups of deceit : how Greg Mortenson, humanitarian hero, lost his way
by Krakauer, Jon
Oh my! I, like lots of others, have read both "Three Cups of Tea" and "Stones into Schools" by Greg Mortenson. Jon Krakauer is a methodical, detailed-oriented writer, who does incredible and careful research. He was also a believer until he started finding out that Mortensen’s books, as well as what he says he accomplished are more fiction than nonfiction. How disappointing to find out that Motenson has stolen millions of dollars from the charity and that his accomlishments are more embellishment than fact. Did you know that although the charity pays for all of the costs for promoting Mortenson’s books, HE actually keeps all of the money generated by the books? We’re talking about millions of dollars. How disappointing! It would be tempting to dismiss Karakauer, but if you have read any of his other books, you will know that his credibility level is extremely high. Believe him, even though it’s painful to believe how Morenson has deceived the public.   posted Oct 26, 2012 at 7:36AM

Cover ArtThe last patriot : a thriller
by Thor, Brad.
I’m surprised the other reviewers rated this Thor novel so highly. Even though I’ve read many of his other books and rated them highly, I thought this one was disappointing. Mostly, my disappointment came from a very unsatisfying ending to the book. I would skip this one and read one of Thor’s other Scot Havath novels. I do have admit that his thanks to Glen Beck at the end of the book didn’t help any, but even before that, I thought the ending was lame.   posted Oct 22, 2012 at 4:48PM

Cover ArtThe girl who kicked the hornet’s nest
by Larsson, Stieg
This is the best of the three books in the series. My advice would be to skip the first book (The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo) and start with the second book (The Girl Who Played with Fire). This book was very satisfying and provided much better character development that either of the first two books. This book gets an A minus from me. The only complaint is that it really didn’t need to be 700 plus pages and would have moved along a bit more quickly at about 500 pages. Still, I would highly recommend it.   posted Sep 23, 2012 at 5:08PM

Cover ArtThe girl who played with fire
by Larsson, Stieg
I actually enjoyed this book better than the first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo. This story moves along very well and is hard to put down. I liked Lisbeth much better in this book and you are rooting for her all the way. Now it’s time for me to start the third book of the trilogy. I recommend reading "Fire" even if you weren’t thrilled with the first book. Rating = 4.5 out of 5.   posted Aug 24, 2012 at 4:47PM

Cover ArtKingdom of strangers : a novel
by Ferraris, Zoe
I have made eight trips to Saudi Arabia and can verify that although perhaps a bit exagerated, the culture that Ferraris describes is what I observed. It’s a window into a culture that is quite alien to the average American. As a murder mystery, this book is well written and I enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s a bit different than the Vince Flynn type novels, so it’s a good turn on the genre. I highly recommend reading this engaging, well written book.   posted Aug 16, 2012 at 9:27PM

Cover ArtThe Lions of Lucerne
by Thor, Brad.
This book by Brad Thor kept my interest and was a great page turner. He is a talented writer and if you like his books, or books by Vince Flynn, you’ll like this one too. It was a very satisfying read. I give it more stars than the others -- 8 out of 10 for me   posted Jul 15, 2012 at 1:55PM

Cover ArtBlowback : a thriller
by Thor, Brad.
Brad Thor writes really intelligent page turners and this is no exception. If you like Vince Flynn, I think you’ll like Thor even better. I recommend this as a interesting, exciting, well written page turner. Rating is A minus.   posted Jun 9, 2012 at 3:54PM

Cover ArtThe ice balloon : S.A. Andree and the heroic age of arctic exploration
by Wilkinson, Alec
Interesting book. I’ve read quite a number of books by mountain climbers and artic explorers must be the same breed of person. Although I find the stories quite interesting, I just can’t understand why someone would want to torture themselves like this. It’s a wonderful look into the past and a pretty quick read. I give this book a B plus.   posted May 5, 2012 at 5:09PM

Cover ArtThe girl with the dragon tattoo
by Larsson, Stieg
I enjoyed this book quite a bit, but found it a bit odd that there were two plot lines. When the first was concluded, it focused on the second. It was an odd construction and seemed like two booked combined into one. I wonder which characters move onto to the second and third books in the trilogy.   posted Apr 18, 2012 at 5:11PM

Cover ArtNetherland
by O'Neill, Joseph
Although recommended to me, I found this book disappointing. It was poorly written, with sentences that were sometimes half a page long. I kept hoping this book would get better. It didn’t. I rate it a C minus.   posted Mar 26, 2012 at 5:00PM

Cover ArtThe hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy
by Adams, Douglas
This is one of my all-time favorite books EVER. You should read this book and then read all four books in the trilogy (yes, four books in the trilogy). This book is funny, clever, entertaining, well-written and just plain fun. Don’t panic. Just read it!   posted Mar 4, 2012 at 5:03PM

Cover ArtTakedown : a thriller
by Thor, Brad.
This is the first Brad Thor book I’ve read, but I agree with Jinx that Thor writes a lot like Vince Flynn. So if you like those books (which I do) you most certainly will like Brad Thor. I’ve added a few more of Thor’s books to my reserved books list. I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.   posted Mar 4, 2012 at 4:56PM

Cover ArtThe glass castle : a memoir
by Walls, Jeannette.
I read "Half Broke Horses" by the same author and liked it quite a bit. That book was billed as historical fiction. This book is supposed to be an audiobiograhy. Although it is well-written and engaging, it does seem as if Wells has stretched the truth. It’s like each chapter is trying to top the previous chapter’s claims of poverty and abuse. Did this stuff REALLY happen the way she claims? Could her parents really behaved the way she writes? For me, there seems to be a credibility issue which detracted from the overall book. I would rate this as an A minus if it was billed as a historical novel and a C plus if billed as an autobiography.   posted Feb 17, 2012 at 6:43PM

Cover ArtHotel on the corner of bitter and sweet : a novel
by Ford, Jamie.
This book was fantastic! It’s a pure pleasure and if you are in the mood for a good love story, I highly recommend reading this book. Great characters and lots of warmth. I don’t think it would be possible to read this book and not care about the characters. You’ll also learn a lot about the internment of Japanese/American citizens during World War II. A very solid A for this one. Read it!   posted Jan 28, 2012 at 12:43PM

Cover ArtThe Lazarus project
by Hemon, Aleksandar
This book is hard to classify. It’s a mash-up of the author’s (fictionalized?) life and process doing the research about the murder of a 1900’s Jewish immigrant. This isn’t the easiest book to describe. Many Americans would be surprised at the life of these early immigrants and the discrimation and poverty that was part of their daily lives. I recommend this rather off-beat book for people who live historical novels.   posted Jan 9, 2012 at 8:55PM

Cover ArtCross country : a novel
by Patterson, James
James Patterson is entertaining and this book is a typical one of his page-turners. I thought the ending was kind of a dud, but Patterson redeemed himself in the epilogue. Hey, it ain’t great literature, but it’s fun to read. I did lose count of how many times the main character, Alex Cross, gets kidnapped. Probably every 20 pages or so! I give it a B plus.   posted Dec 18, 2011 at 5:09PM

Cover ArtInto thin air : a personal account of the Mount Everest disaster
by Krakauer, Jon
I would recommend ANY book that Jon Krakauer writes. His attention to detail, research, and his ability to write are superior. In this case, his talents as both a mountain climber, as well as a incredibly talented journalist combine to create a recounting of his Mt. Everest climb (and subsequent disaster) that is an incredibly compelling story. This book is definitely an A plus effort. You will NOT be disappointed (unless you get frustrated with books that you can’t put down because they are so interesting to read!).   posted Dec 13, 2011 at 5:11PM

Cover ArtFreedom
by Franzen, Jonathan.
This book is long (562 pages), so it’s a good one to get now since there isn’t a waiting list and you can extend your time to read this book. I enjoyed this book because the characterizations were amazing. You really get to know the people in the book, as Fanzen moves from one character to another. You’ll enjoy the Minnesota connections as an added bonus. EmilyEm recaps the highlights of the book, so I won’t repeat her comments. This book is well-written, entertaining, and gets you thinking along the way. This was a book that I was sorry to see end, even after over 500 pages. It rates a solid A.   posted Nov 15, 2011 at 5:19PM

Cover ArtThe forger’s spell : a true story of Vermeer, nazis, and the greatest art hoax o
by Dolnick, Edward
If you are looking for something different, something interesting, and something that will be a knowledge boost (while being fun to read), this is your book! This book was very well written and I promise you’ll never look at a painting the same way. Hey, I didn’t know a Vermeer from a Van Gogh and I really really enjoyed this book. It gets a solid A. I hightly recommend this one.   posted Oct 12, 2011 at 7:03PM

Cover ArtThe dangerous Otto Katz : the many lives of a Soviet spy
by Miles, Jonathan
This book covers a facinating time in history (the rise of of the Soviet Union in response to the rise of the Nazis) and I learned a lot. It helps to think of this book more as a history text book because it covers a LOT of details (the constant footnotes are a tip-off). I have to admit that it was overly detailed at times and I got bored, but overall the concepts made it a good read. If you like history, you’ll like this book. If not, you might want to skip this one.   posted Sep 19, 2011 at 7:02PM

Cover ArtJeannie out of the bottle
by Eden, Barbara
Barbara Eden puts down her second (of three) husband by saying he was nothing but a name-dropper. That’s really ironic because that is my exact criticism of Barbara Eden. Not a page (or hardly a paragraph) goes by without her dropping a famous name. Also, she is quick to criticize Larry Hagman by saying he is really difficult to work with -- but she keeps working with him. This is a really light-weight book. Go ahead and read it if you watched "I Dream of Jeanie." It’s not an awful book, but nobody will confuse it with great literature! I rate this a C plus. On the positive side, it will not take you long to read this book   posted Sep 1, 2011 at 8:46PM

Cover ArtAmerican assassin : a thriller
by Flynn, Vince.
I know that many people (including me) have said that Vince hasn’t done his best work as of the last few years, but this Mitch Rapp book is one of his best. Perhaps the decision to set this novel as the beginning of Rapp’s career as a spy gave new energy to the author. Whatever the cause, this book is one of his best. Also, thankfully, Vince has omitted most of his conservative social and religious agenda, so that makes it even better! Great effort. A solid A for this one.   posted Aug 14, 2011 at 9:54AM

Cover ArtBossypants
by Fey, Tina
Tina Fey is a funny person and this is an enjoyable book and a quick read. I wish it had been a bit more autobiographical. She seems reluctant to even mention her husband’s first name. You learn a little bit about her, but not much. Still, it’s a fun way to pass time. I rate this book a solid B.   posted Jul 19, 2011 at 6:12PM

Cover ArtHalf broke horses : a true-life novel
by Walls, Jeannette.
This is an excellent book and a very fast read. It is historical fiction - the story of the author’s grandmother, but told in the first person. It’s a fantastic look at life in the west during the early 1900’s. The personality of the protagonist makes the story (as well as the skill of the author). I would very much recommend this book and give it a thumbs up rating.   posted Jul 17, 2011 at 11:34AM

Cover ArtFrance & Benelux 2000-2007 [DVD]
by Steves, Rick
Good overview, but Rick Steves’ books are a lot more detailed and informative than his TV shows.   posted Jun 6, 2011 at 7:57AM

Cover ArtAmsterdam city guide [DVD]
by Atherton, Jonathan
A good quick look at the more avant-garde side of Amsterdam from the Globe Trekers TV show.   posted May 25, 2011 at 7:18AM

Cover ArtGetting to happy
by McMillan, Terry.
I didn’t read the first book (Waiting to Exhale) in this two-book series and maybe that would have helped. Although this book helped passed the time, it was a bit hard for me to get into. Although this is a term I really dislike the term Chick Book, I can’t think of how else to describe this book. Although not terrible, I would rate this book as a B minus, at best.   posted May 14, 2011 at 9:14PM

Cover ArtUnbroken : a World War II story of survival, resilience, and redemption
by Hillenbrand, Laura.
Laura Hillenbrand is a phenomenal writer who tells an amazing story of survival. I really had a problem putting this book down. Zamperini’s spirit and endurance is truly inspirational, yet his story is something that we call all relate to, even though it seems like a hardship for most of us to stand on a long line at Byerly’s! I unquestionably recommend this book to anyone.   posted Apr 3, 2011 at 11:31AM

Cover ArtIt’s a jungle in there : inspiring lessons, hard-won insights, and other acts of
by Schussler, Steven
I suppose if you want to be an entrepreneur, this book is worth a read. If not, it’s a bit of snore. This book rates a C-   posted Mar 12, 2011 at 10:57AM

Cover ArtThe nasty bits : collected varietal cuts, usable trim, scraps, and bones
by Bourdain, Anthony.
If you watch the TV show, you will see that this very much is Anthony Bourdain’s personality. That’s both a good thing and a bad thing! He arrogant, opinionated, short-sighted, and snobbish. He’s also funny, intelligent, and entertaining. This is a series of already-printed essays, so it runs the gammit. The non-fiction story at the end demonstrates why his is better at non-fiction than fiction. All in all, I’d give this book a B-.   posted Feb 18, 2011 at 10:48AM

Cover ArtPursuit of honor : a novel
by Flynn, Vince.
I actually think this Flynn book is better than the most recent two or three. There is no doubt that Flynn has the ability to keep your attention and write a page-turner, even though the formula is exactly the same from book to book. I admit that I’m pretty liberal politically and I can suspend my natural inclinations and ignore most of his bashing of everyone that leans left of Michelle Bachmann. However, this time he calls anyone a hypocrite who does not support torture, but does support abortion. He does this several times and it makes no sense to the context of the novel. Even from Vince Flynn, that’s crazy talk! Leave your political agendas at home and just write the story.   posted Jan 7, 2011 at 6:59AM

Cover ArtLittle Bee
by Cleave, Chris.
It not unusual for it to take a little bit of time before a book grabs my full attention. However, this book quickly pulls you into the story of a brave refugee from Nigeria who makes a daring escape to England. This was a book that was hard to put down. Unfortunately, the ending was a let-down. With 15 or 20 pages left, I wondered how the author could wrap up all of the loose end and by the time I finished the book, I found he sadly did not. It’s as if the last 50 pages were missing. All in all, I liked the book, but if this was a movie, I’m sure the audience would feel let down when they left the theatre. Was he trying to leave room for a sequel? He gets you to care very, very much for his characters, but then he just abandons them at the side of the road. It’s a shame because it was such a good book until the last part. Was he on deadline?   posted Dec 15, 2010 at 6:28PM

Cover ArtEiger dreams : ventures among men and mountains
by Krakauer, Jon.
I wish I could write like Jon Krakauer. Some authors are so good that anything they write is enjoyable to read. He is that kind of author. In this case, the subject matter is also equally interesting. This book is a collection of essays he has written about climbing. Frankly, I find it hard to understand why someone would want to climb a mountain, but Krakauer takes you into the heads of the leading climbers of the past 20 or so years. This book is an interesting and fast read. I highly recommend it (and any of his other books as well).   posted Dec 8, 2010 at 6:38PM

Cover ArtThe phantom tollbooth
by Juster, Norton
When I was a kid, this was my all time, #1 favorite book. When I had kids, I HAD to get this book and read it to them. You know what? I STILL love this book -- and so did they. So if you are somewhere between 5 and 105, I would recommend this book. It’s fantastic!   posted Nov 10, 2010 at 9:24PM

Cover ArtWhere men win glory : the odyssey of Pat Tillman
by Krakauer, Jon.
This is the third book I’ve read by this incredibly talented author. It tells the story of how a truly good person did what he thought was right; Pat Tillman is inspirational. However, the larger story is how Americans are manipulated and lied to so that there is support for political decisions that have nothing to do with what people are told. What we are told by our leaders has nothing to do with reality. Although we may think we understand the movitation for military actions in Iraq and Afganistan, we are fed a constant stream of lies and propoganda. If you don’t believe me, you owe it to yourself to read this excellent book.   posted Nov 8, 2010 at 7:45AM

Cover ArtThe lacuna : a novel
by Kingsolver, Barbara.
Kingsolver is a master author. Although it took me a bit to get into the rhythm of the book, once I did, I realized how well written this book is. Kingsolver’s ability to bring a character to life is uncanny. Also, her research is meticulous so you wind up learning a lot in addition to enjoying the story. On another level, the parallels to what happened in the 50’s with McCarthyism to today’s paranoia about terrorism makes you think that history can repeat itself. This book is an excellent read from an excellent author. Highly recommended!   posted Oct 25, 2010 at 7:02PM

Cover ArtI, Alex Cross : a novel
by Patterson, James
This is my first James Patterson book and I have to say that I’m impressed. It was an easy, enjoyable, and entertaining read and was well written. This book was typical of your basic murder-mystery genre, but very well done. I’m looking forward to reading other books by this author.   posted Sep 14, 2010 at 6:15PM

Cover ArtThe help
by Stockett, Kathryn.
Excellent, excellent book! I saved this for vacation, but the 450 or so pages didn’t last as long as I would have liked. This is an exceptionally well written book and sheds light on a topic in a time that wasn’t all that long ago. Although we have a ways to go in race relations, this book shows how far we’ve come. This is also true for gender equality. Not only is this a very powerful book -- it’s a fun read. I highly and enthusiastically recommend it!   posted Aug 26, 2010 at 7:17AM

Cover ArtBad blood
by Fairstein, Linda A.
The seemed like it was written by formula (typical murder mystery), but still was an interesting read. At least you learn a lot about the people who dig tunnels under New York City.   posted Aug 14, 2010 at 9:44PM

Cover ArtOpen : an autobiography
by Agassi, Andre
This book was interesting, yes, but I’m not as enthusiastic as the other reviewers. Andre Agassi is so self-absorbed, I found this book tiresome. On the upside, you learn a lot about what it’s like to play tennis at that level, but the downside, you feel you Agassi feels a need to describe every one of the million tennis balls a year he claims to have hit. Poor me, poor me is the theme of most of this book. The whining just doesn’t stop.   posted Jul 18, 2010 at 12:45PM

Cover ArtThe things they carried : a work of fiction
by O'Brien, Tim
This is the second time I’ve read this book. O’Brien is certainly a talented writer. Frankly, I didn’t know it was fiction until I just read other people’s reviews. Still, he certainly captures the very essence of being in Vietnam. Overall, you really feel the complete waste that comes with war.   posted Jul 5, 2010 at 3:07PM

Cover ArtThe time traveler’s wife
by Niffenegger, Audrey.
I agree that this book has it all: a unique story line (time travel), great characterization all in a well-edited, well written story. This was really fun to read and I didn’t want it to end. I highly recommend this book; it’s definitely a winner.   posted Jun 20, 2010 at 7:53PM

Cover ArtStones into schools : promoting peace with books, not bombs, in Afghanistan and
by Greg Mortenson
Mortenson’s story is insprirational. If you’ve read his book   posted May 27, 2010 at 1:54PM

Cover ArtThe hunters
by W. E. B. Griffin
The first thing you’ll notice about this book is that it’s 815 pages. However, it will be quite some time before you realize it could have been about 200 pages. Maximum. I have never read a book that called out for an editor more than this one. Characterization is one thing. Endless irrelevant details for the sake of adding pages is another. By the time I got to the end of this whodunit, I just didn’t care anymore. I’d recommend this book only if you have a lot of extra time on your hands.   posted May 1, 2010 at 9:22AM

Cover ArtDiners, drive-ins, dives : an all-American road trip-- with recipes!
by Fieri, Guy.
This book is moderately interesting, but I think I’m going to throw up if I hear Fieri say one more time   posted Mar 13, 2010 at 11:38AM

Cover ArtExecutive power
by Vince Flynn
If you like Vince Flynn, you’ll like this book about the continuing adventures of Mitch Rapp, CIA agent. I agree with Razor that this is one of the better books this Minneapolis author has written. It is more balanced that his usual right-wing take on the political scene. But hey, let’s face it -- it’s pure escapism enjoyment.   posted Feb 24, 2010 at 10:06AM

Cover ArtThe poisonwood Bible : a novel
by Barbara Kingsolver
This writer demonstrates the art of really good writing. Please note that it takes a little while to get into this book and understand what she is doing. However, soon you will be drawn into the lives of the characters and really feel like you are living in the heart of the Congo (now Zaire). Although the author is a bit preachy at times, none the less, this is a truly excellent and enjoyable book.   posted Jan 26, 2010 at 6:06PM

Cover ArtThe waitress was new
by Dominique Fabre
This book was barely over 100 pages long, but it STILL was too long! Although there were some interesting things about this book, it seemed more like a very long short story than a book. All in all, it was pretty ho-hum. I’d rate it at no more than a C plus.   posted Dec 22, 2009 at 7:03AM

Cover ArtThree cups of tea : one man’s mission to fight terrorism and build nations-- one
by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
Mortenson’s idea is very straightforward: spend money educating children in Islamic countries (girls as well as boys) and people will be less likely to be indoctrinated by extremists. I agree that there would be a much better return on investment for the U.S. investing in schools, rather than bombs. It’s a matter of national security.   posted Dec 1, 2009 at 7:07AM

Cover ArtConsent to kill : a thriller
by Flynn, Vince.
This is another in a long line of Mitch Rapp, off-the-books CIA agent stories by Vince Flynn. Flynn, by the way, is a Minnesota author. This was obvious when his character says   posted Nov 4, 2009 at 8:00AM

Cover ArtStalin’s children : three generations of love, war, and survival
by Owen Matthews
This well written book is about the author’s parents and grandparents and their Russian roots. It’s a great window into life in the Soviet Union during the various Communist regimes. The stories come alive because the book is about real people and what life was like for them. It also connects on a very personal level. A thoroughly enjoyable book and a very painless history lesson!   posted Jul 28, 2009 at 8:39AM

Cover ArtThe teeth of the tiger
by Tom Clancy
I thought this book was garbage. I’m into this genre, but the plot line was TOTALLY unbelievable. The plot was so unbelievable that the word fiction isn’t descriptive enough. This was a very lazily and poorly written book. Also the dialogue was juvenile and frankly terrible. If I had a dollar for every time the Clancy writes "Roger that, bro" I wouldn’t have to worry about my 401k recovering. Total thumbs down!!   posted Jul 14, 2009 at 5:37PM

Cover ArtHere’s the story : surviving Marcia Brady and finding my true voice
by Maureen McCormick
It’s a bit embarrassing to admit that I read this book. I think every boy that was born in the ‘50’s liked Marcia Brady, so I have to admit that was the initial motivation. However, it was better written (or edited) than I expected. I didn’t know that Maureen McCormick, the real Marcia Brady, was one very, very messed up person. Even now, she is battling with a delusional father and brother. It has not been a very Brady life. I found the book a good summer-reading type book.   posted Jul 12, 2009 at 7:40PM

Cover ArtNeither here nor there : travels in Europe
by Bryson, Bill
This is an amusing book. However, I was bit surprised that someone who is so well traveled is also so culturally intolerant. I imagine much of it is for comic affect, but still it’s pretty negative. Is there anything that makes Bryson happy?   posted Jun 25, 2009 at 7:40AM

Cover ArtProtect and defend : a thriller
by Vince Flynn
Reading Vince Flynn books is a guilty pleasure. I hate that the books are so right-wing and enthnocentric, but there is no denying that they are fun to read and that this guy really knows how to write. OK, it’s all according to the same formula, but it’s impossible not to get caught up in the action. It’s another entertaining page-turner.   posted Jun 7, 2009 at 4:15PM

Cover ArtJohn Lennon : the life
by Philip Norman.
The first thing that you’ll notice when you pick up this book is that it’s over 800 pages long. Yes, that’s a huge book. Fortunately it’s well written and it’s a relatively fast read considering its length. Even if you are confirmed Beatles fan, you are sure to learn things about John Lennon’s life that will be totally new -- at least that’s the way it was for me. I enjoyed this well researched, well written book.   posted Apr 7, 2009 at 2:53PM

Cover ArtRoads less traveled : dispatches from the ends of the earth
by Watson, Catherine
Catherine Watson is a joy to read. This book consists of writings from different places Watson has visited. I’m currently traveling in Saudi Arabia and that makes it even more fun to read about her travels and experiences. I read her second book first, but I am enjoying this one just as much. You should read it!   posted Feb 17, 2009 at 12:11PM

Cover ArtPresentation zen : simple ideas on presentation design and delivery
by Reynolds, Garr
This book certainly includes good ideas about presentations in general, and PowerPoint presentations specifically. It’s a bit ironic that Reynolds plays up the importance of visuals by using lots of words. I particularly liked one of his bullet points, which was to not use bullet points! On the other hand, there are visuals in the book and it’s worth a quick read.   posted Jan 18, 2009 at 5:54PM

Cover ArtHome on the road : further dispatches from the ends of the earth.
by Watson, Catherine
I’ve been a fan of Catherine Watson’s writing from the days that she wrote travel articles for the Star Tribune. This book is really a collection of essays from different trips that she has taken. She has a great perspective and this is a quick read. I think now I’ll read her first book   posted Dec 22, 2008 at 5:07PM

Cover ArtPillars of the earth
by Ken Follett
This book has 971 pages. Fortunately, I got this as a present because there is no way to read this in 2 to 3 weeks, unless you don’t work, eat, or sleep. That’s the bad news. The GOOD news is that this is a fantastic book. Often, when I read a book, I can think of lots to edit. It’s as if authors are padding what they write to make a 300 page (or so) minimum. That’s not the case with this book. You REALLY get to know the characters. But what keeps it interesting are all of the turns and twists. The book takes place in the 1100’s, but don’t let that scare you. It’s written like a modern story and you won’t be put off by Follett’s writing style. This is a great read! Come to think of it, it would be a great book to take on a beach vacation. Even though it was almost 1000 pages long, I wouldn’t mind reading a sequel. It was that good!   posted Oct 31, 2008 at 3:06PM

Cover ArtGirls like us : Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon -- and the journey o
by Sheila Weller
This book is over 500 pages long and I only have had two weeks to read it (with no renewals). It’s really three biographies and although there are some overlaps among these three people, it would have been better to choose one person and focus on her. I don’t find this book very well written and it definitely is not a page turner. It seems to be filled with meaningless details and often gets derailed talking about people who have only marginal connections to these three women. I really like Carole King (actually she is one of my all-time favorite artists), Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon. However, the book is mostly a snooze-fest.   posted Aug 25, 2008 at 10:57AM

Cover ArtA thousand splendid suns
by Khaled Hosseini
Hosseini is an amazing writer. He is able to transport you to a world away -- Afghanistan. Amazingly, this isn’t the world of 1890, but only a few years ago. It’s unbelievable (but true) that there are cultures that exist today that have such little regard for women. This book is captivating and very well written, but very depressing too. It can be exhasting at times, but I would still highly recommend this. If you liked The Kite Runner, you will like this too.   posted Aug 11, 2008 at 6:38PM

Cover ArtComedy at the edge : how stand-up in the 1970s changed America
by Zoglin, Richard
This book was fun to read because it gives many samples from great comedy routines. As someone who lived through the ’70s, this book was a great recap of the comedians I remember and they in turn were a true reflection of the times. I forgot how many truly great comedians the ’70s produced. Great book; lots of fun.   posted Jul 21, 2008 at 8:23AM

Cover ArtMemorial Day
by Vince Flynn
OK, I admit it, I’m a Vince Flynn junkie. But his books are so well written that if you are into the   posted Jun 30, 2008 at 5:14PM

Cover ArtWoody Allen on Woody Allen : in conversation with Stig Bjorkman.
by Allen, Woody
If you are looking for a funny book, or a biography of Woody Allen, you will be disappointed. If you are looking for a book that analyzes Allen’s movies and his thinking behind each movie, this is an excellent book. It’s almost like a textbook about the craft of movie making. The book is literally a 400 page interview with Allen, talking about each of the many movies he has made. It’s interesting, but in an academic way.   posted Jun 13, 2008 at 7:36PM

Cover ArtFodor’s 07 Belize
by Sper, Sarah
Good hotel suggestions. If you are planning a trip this book (as well as Frommer) is a helpful planning guide.   posted May 9, 2008 at 7:26AM

Cover ArtCandy girl : a year in the life of an unlikely stripper
by Diablo Cody
As any true Minnesotan would say, "Now, THAT’s interesting!" This probably won’t make your book club list, but it is undeniably witty and well-written. Diablo Cody is a gifted writer and the book gives you great insights into some of the more down-and-dirty places of Minneapolis. You know you shouldn’t look, but it’s irresistible. No wonder the woman won an Academy Award. If you aren’t easily shocked or offended, this book is a great read.   posted May 9, 2008 at 7:17AM

Cover ArtEinstein : a biography
by Jurgen Neffe
Let me start by saying that I’m a fan of biographies. I love getting to know the person behind the public persona. But the problem with this book is that it’s a snooze-fest. I suppose if you are a real fan of physics, you might enjoy this, but to me it was more of a textbook about the Theory of Relativity than a biography of Einstein. I started out reading it faithfully, then took to skimming, and then wound up skipping whole chapters. In the end, I just didn’t care. This was not my favorite read!   posted Apr 28, 2008 at 8:03AM

Cover ArtCrosby, Stills & Nash [compact disc].
by Crosby, Stills & Nash
This CD is one of the all time greats. If you don’t own this CD, you should borrow this one. The songs are great and the CD it a true classic. I can’t get enough of CSNY. Judy Blue Eyes, Marrakesh Express, Wooden Ships -- these are all five-star songs.   posted Apr 3, 2008 at 6:03PM

Cover ArtTerm limits
by Vince Flynn
This is another great Vince Flynn book. OK, all of his books have a common theme (terrorist plots; CIA/FBI/Special forces save the day), but darn it, you can’t put it down. This guy is a really skilled writer and every book is a page turner. It’s not Pulizer prize material, but it is a lot of entertainment.   posted Apr 3, 2008 at 5:51PM

Cover ArtKiss, bow, or shake hands : the bestselling guide to doing business in more than
by Morrison, Terri
If you like to know differences in cultures, this book is fun to read. You won’t read it cover to cover, but just about every country you can think of has 3 to 5 pages of information. Find out what is "normal" in one culture vs. offensive in another culture. For example, in many countries, bringing a bottle of wine as a gift is a great idea, but in other countries it means that you don’t trust your host’s judgment in wine. The audience for this book are business people, but I think anyone would find it interesting.   posted Apr 3, 2008 at 5:46PM

Cover ArtCelebrity detox : (the fame game)
by Rosie O'Donnell
Rosie O’Donnell is really a whiner. She wants it all and is disappointed by it all. She blames the world for all her problems. She even blames her own mother for dying. On the other hand she thinks Barbra Streisand is the greatest person who ever lived. Streisand gets mentioned on page 1 and repeatedly through this book. It’s not that Rosie’s book is bad, it’s just really boring. She needs to grow up and take responsibility for her life. She also needs to learn that the world was not created for her own private use and personal happiness. She keeps saying how lucky she is. It sure would be nice if she showed some real appreciation for all that she has. Bottom line: I found this book a waste of time. This is the first autobiography I’ve read where I thought LESS of the person after reading their book.   posted Mar 10, 2008 at 5:05PM

Cover ArtGods behaving badly : a novel
by Marie Phillips
It’s really not often that you read a book that is completely different than anything you’ve read before. The idea of Greeks gods, living in a tenement, run-down house in modern-day London is a lot of fun. I love that they have adapted to modern life, yet have kept all of the attributes that make each god unique. But believe me, this ain’t like it was when you read mythology in 8th grade -- it’s a whole lot more fun. I really enjoyed reading this and recommend it highly. What a great concept for a book!   posted Feb 28, 2008 at 7:16AM

Cover ArtHow Starbucks saved my life : a son of privilege learns to live like everyone el
by Michael Gates Gill
This book far exceeded my expectations. It was also very inspirational -- and I mean that in a good way! I have to give Gill a lot of credit for overcoming what are very real obstacles that many of us can identify with. This book will really make you think. Also, it’s highly readable and enjoyable -- and not overly sappy. I’m really glad I read this book. For sure, you’ll never look at Starbucks in the same way.   posted Feb 15, 2008 at 7:21AM

Cover ArtTreasure of Khan
by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler
This is going to be a mixed review. I did enjoy this book overall, but had two complaints. The book has several subplots which take place centuries apart. It is kind of jarring because the chapters seem disconnected and you get the impression you are reading several books that were knit together. Of course, he finally pulls it together at the end, but I hated switching gears like that (maybe that’s why there are two authors; each did different parts). Also, the major ending (there are things that happen after the ending, but they don’t add much value) is totally non-believable. I don’t want to give anything away, but even fiction should be half-way believable. I didn’t think the book was bad, but there are better books in this genre.   posted Jan 26, 2008 at 3:02PM

Cover ArtClapton : the autobiography
by Eric Clapton
I have to give credit to Clapton for his honesty. However, his level of social immaturity is appalling, and it’s almost unbelievable how much of his life he spent drunk or stoned or both. It’s eye-opening what happens when someone like Clapton gets everything he wants, whenever he wants it and how childish he is. Despite all of this, the book is worth reading. A review of this book could be summed up: drugs, sex, and rock and roll.   posted Jan 13, 2008 at 4:45PM

Cover ArtHere’s Johnny!
by McMahon, Ed
If you enjoyed the Tonight show, you’ll enjoy Ed’s memories of the show and working with Johnny Carson. If you are looking for insights about Johnny Carson, forget it. This is truly a puff-piece biography and you won’t learn anything that you didn’t already know about either Johnny Carson or Ed McMahon.   posted Nov 30, 2007 at 7:06AM

Cover ArtThe third option
by Vince Flynn
This is the third Vince Flynn book I’ve read. Although I really like Flynn’s books, and he is unquestionably a good writer, I was a bit disappointed at the loose end at the end of the book. This was obviously done to continue the series, but wasn’t really necessary. You hate to get to the end of an adventure and have loose ends. Other than that, the book is a very quick and enjoyable read.   posted Nov 25, 2007 at 2:02PM

Cover ArtTransfer of power
by Vince Flynn
Flynn is a fantastic writer. The action never stops and the story never drags. You won’t get bored reading this book!   posted Nov 11, 2007 at 5:31PM

Cover ArtThe world without us
by Weisman, Alan
There was a lot in this book that was thought provoking and I really enjoyed Weisman’s ability to project thousands of years into the future of what would happen if people disappeared. However, a large part of this book was preachy about current environmental issues, and I found myself skipping over entire chapters. I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if it had been edited to about a third of its current length.   posted Oct 15, 2007 at 12:52PM

Cover ArtBorn on a blue day
by Daniel Tammet
Daniel has what’s called "high functioning" autism. He is able to communicate extremely well and this book gives you a great idea of what it’s like to be autistic. He is more of a reporter, without the "normal" emotions of others -- and this is made clear when you read what he writes. His fascination with math was a bit tedious to me (he memorized Pi to 21,000 decimal places!), but he is extremely likable and this book is a quick and fascinating read. You will find yourself experiencing a lot of empathy for someone who finds this to be such a difficult emotion.   posted Sep 25, 2007 at 7:49AM

Cover ArtRed Carpets and Other Banana Skins
by Everett, Rupert
I’m not sure why I read this book because I really didn’t know who Rupert Everett is. It’s obvious that he is really impressed with himself and never misses an opportunity to drop a name. The book had some redeeming qualities, but I can’t really recommend it. It makes you glad you are not part of the Hollywood scene.   posted Sep 10, 2007 at 7:29AM

Cover ArtThe Boleyn inheritance
by Philippa Gregory
The three characters portrayed in this book really came alive. I was afraid that the book might be stuffy, but it was far from it. This book was a lot of fun to read; highly entertaining!   posted Sep 10, 2007 at 7:25AM

Cover ArtThe Mr. & Mrs. Happy Handbook: Everything I Know About Love and Marriage
by Doocy, Steve
This book was a cute, light read. Much of it was cliched, but it still was a enjoyable read covering the gammut of marriage and parenthood.   posted Aug 13, 2007 at 7:24AM

Cover ArtBento Box in the heartland
by Linda Furiya
This book gives a great perspective of what it’s like to be "different." The author was born and grew up in rural Indiana, but her parents were raised in Japan. Although she was an American as her classmates, she was the only Japanese-American. Her writing style is easy to read and it’s a great perspective. Also, her favorite Japanese recipes from her childhood appear at the end of every chapter. I really enjoyed this book!   posted May 3, 2007 at 9:35AM

Cover ArtAct of treason
by Vince Flynn
This was really enjoyable. It really was hard to put down, as cliched as that sounds. It was well written. This is my first book by Flynn, but I will definitely check out his others. And he is a Twins City author too!   posted Apr 5, 2007 at 5:38PM

Cover ArtThe Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero
by Kalush, William
Overall, I enjoyed this book, but there were sections that just dragged on and on. This book certainly could have been about 200 pages shorter. It was fun to learn more about Houdini and his story was covered well. The long chapters about seances (apparently they were obsessed with contacting the dead in the 1910's and 1920's) and Houdini's efforts to debunk these got very tiresome. Also, there are long quotes from newspapers that are tedious to read because the language of the early last century sounds so stilted now. The book is redeemed because Houdini was such a fastinating person. His success was due to hard work and creative showmanship. I'm guessing he would have been a success no matter what he chose to do. One more thing... there were some insights as to how he did his tricks, but it would have been fun to have more information about that. Overall, I give this book a grade of B.   posted Mar 21, 2007 at 7:24AM

Cover ArtThe Number: A Completely Different Way to Think about the Rest of Your Life
by Eisenberg, Lee
I don't agree that the book is a complete waste of time. This book tries to make people realize that a key to how much you need to save for retirement has a lot to do with what you want to DO in retirement. Therefore, some thought should be put into finding an answer to that question. What the book doesn't do, despite what you may think when you start reading the book, is to help calculate the amount of money you'd need to save before you can retire. (Actually, there is a two-page worksheet toward the end, but that's it.) I think the book is a bit intimidating because the retirement number he quotes people as saying is really, really high (five million dollars, ten million dollars, etc.). I do think the author runs with a pretty well-healed crowd and that makes it hard to identify with some of what he is saying. Also, it's kind of academic, when you are talking about five vs. ten million dollars. It's not so academic for people with retirement accounts at $25,000 at age 50. This is a topic that most people need to think more about. At least this book gets you started thinking about some issues. However, be forewarned: it's not a book about economics and it won't help you figure out your   posted Feb 15, 2007 at 2:42PM

Cover ArtPass: Science Mus LIB/LIM : museum adventure pass.
I recommend that you go into the Illusion Theatre. The show is a lot of fun and very interesting. And it IS included in the pass. By the way, you can upgrade to an Omni Theatre adult ticket for only $4.50. The regular price for the museum and Omni Theatre is $14, so I saved $19 by using the pass for just my wife and me. I would have saved even more if we had brought the kids.   posted Feb 7, 2007 at 7:17AM

Cover ArtGone
by Lisa Gardner
This book took a little time to get off the ground, but it finally became a good page-turner. The author really goes out of her way to beat up her protagonist (Rainy) and it seemed a bit over-kill. Although I never did guess who the kidnapper was, I'm not sure she gave enough clues for any reader to have guessed. Overall, it was a good read.   posted Jan 15, 2007 at 3:52PM

Cover ArtFreakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
by Levitt, Steven D.
Who would have believed a book about economics or statistics could be a great read? Levitt takes a fresh look at many societal issues and uses statistics to come up with very interesting insights. This book is well worth reading!   posted Dec 14, 2006 at 7:13AM

Cover ArtThe Hostage
by W. E. B. Griffin
This book was bit of a paradox. It kept me interested despite that it seemed to go into worthless details that should have been edited down. The whole concept of the book was not very believable, but it kept my interest anyway. It’s a great book to read on the plane or a bus -- you don’t get bored despite the desperate need for a good editor. All in all, it keeps your interest and is a good page-turner. One more thing, the author feels he actually has to explain who Hitler was and thinks he needs to explain the term "brain storm." That’s kind of sad.   posted Nov 16, 2006 at 8:37AM

Cover ArtHeat : an amateur’s adventures as kitchen slave, line cook, pasta maker, and app
by Buford, Bill
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It’s a great insight into what happens in a restaurant kitchen. I was surprised to find out that the TV show, Hells Kitchen, was not totally fiction. The book can be a bit graphic, but I found it to be well-written and a good read.   posted Oct 26, 2006 at 6:54AM

Cover ArtBlink : the power of thinking without thinking
by Gladwell, Malcolm
Cathy’s comments are right on target. Overall, I found the book interesting, but he really did sound like he was trying to fill up pages to make it into a book. He would just go on and on and on about the same thing. He REALLY needs a good editor. That not withstanding, it’s still a good book.   posted Oct 6, 2006 at 7:59AM

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