Monday, April 20, 2015

2014 Book List

My 2014 Book List

I started numbering all the books I'd checked out and read from the library way before it occurred to me I needed to include the books of the Bible I'd read as well. So I am going to put them up at the top. I didn't write it down because I thought I'd remember but in January 14 I was finishing up the OT, so I maybe read the last 4 minor prophets and then I started again in the NT in the book of John. I am going to number the books of the Bible starting from the bottom of my total list here, but keep in mind I generally am reading up to 3-4 books in any given week; a library book, a book with Ellen, and a book from the Bible. Then I also read the book club book and Bible books when we were doing that.

76. Zephaniah
77. Haggai
78. Zechariah
79. Malachi
80. John
81. Acts
82. Romans
83. 1 Corinthians
84. 2 Corinthians
85. Galatians
86. Ephesians
87. Phillippians
88. Colossians
89. 1 Thessalonians

In Spring/Summer our book group went through and studied both Samuels

90. I Samuel
91. II Samuel

1 “The Guardian” Nicholas Sparks fiction Every so often I forget myself and pick up a Sparks book. I suppose I have read so many of them that they are quite predictable to me by now. Good Sparks stuff, but as I said; predictable.

2 “Janette Oke; A Heart for the Prairie” Laurel Oke Logan non-fiction This is a biography of the beloved writer as written by her daughter. If you are a fan this might interest you. If you are not a fan, don't bother. It tracks her family from Colonial America up to Canada and some of their meanderings around.

3 “On Writing; A Memoir of the Craft” Stephen King non-fiction If you are an aspiring writer, this is a good book to read. He puts a bit of autobiographical info in here, which is quite interesting. He also includes a great deal of helpful info about writing novels. I enjoyed this book, despite his love of 4-letter zingers; of which he scatters plenty throughout each chapter.

4 “Little House on the Prairie” Laura Ingalls Wilder A classic I am sharing with Ellen.

5 “On the Banks of Plum Creek” Laura Ingalls Wilder Read with Ellen

6 “Mama Does Time-A Mace Bauer Mystery” Debora Sharp fiction This is one of those easy, humorous reads.

7 “Flight Behavior” Barbara Kingsolver fiction Only Barbara Kingsolver can blend fiction with climate change and make it worth reading.

8 “The Worst Hard Time-The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl” Timothy Egan non-fiction A fascinating account of the Dust Bowl years that follows various families who refused to leave their homes. I learned much about the era.

9 “Little Town on the Prairie”- Laura Ingalls Wilder fiction

10 “Panty Hose, Hot Peppers, Tea Bags, (and more) for the Garden” Rodale Organic Gardening

11 “Rococo”- Adriana Trigliani Fiction Different...and very Italian

12 “Mama Gets Married-A Mace Bauer Mystery”- Debora Sharp Fiction the 3rd in the series. Need to find the 2nd

13 “Six Years” Harlan Coben Fiction If I could write like Harlan Coben I would consider myself an author indeed. I usually finish his books w/in 24 hrs of bringing them home from the library, simply because I cannot put them down. Though his M.O. as a writer is becoming more obvious...the more I read of his stuff the more the themes all seem the same; this one was sorta, kinda predictable.

14 “Just One Look” Harlan Coben Fiction Better than the above 'Six Years.' This one had the typical 3-4 threads that seem totally different, but he pulls them together and gives a couple of twists at the end that make it worth reading.

15 “Remarkable Creatures” Tracy Chevalier Another period piece that is based on fact. I enjoyed it.

16 “Below” fiction I forget the author. It's about Humboldt squid on the rampage. LOL

17 “Appaloosa” Robert B Parker fiction Unique western, I really enjoyed it. I believe it is the first of a trilogy. Apparently there was a movie made of this first book some years ago. I haven't seen it and probably never will, simply because I am afraid it will not be as good as the book.

18 “Hundred-Dollar Baby” Robert B Parker fiction One of his Spenser series. This is the only the second book of his I have read, he certainly has a different writing style. Sparse, not prose-y, easy to read. He also appears to be quite good at unique endings. I will have to try more of his stuff.

19 “Concealed in Death” Fiction J.D. Robb I enjoy this series for the combination of detective and futuristic writing. This book is less full of raunchiness and violence than some of her others in the series, but still has lots of 'language' and sex.

20 “Little House on Rocky Ridge” Roger Lea MacBride Fiction (I guess that's how you'd classify it) The first book in the series to tell Rose's story; the daughter of Laura and Almanzo Wilder. They leave DeSmet and go to Mansfield, Missouri.

21 “Money Secrets of the Amish” non-fiction Lorilee Craker Fairly practical info here. I guess if you have never been on a budget but suddenly find yourself short of money, this is the book for you.

22 “Sixkill” Robert B Parker fiction A Spenser novel. Good.

23 “Night and Day” Robert B Parker Good

24 “Wellspring” Fiction/Non-fiction Janice Holt Giles A collection of her writings; both fiction and non-fiction. Very engaging and hilarious. Her portrayal of Appalachian life and attitudes is very realistic and entertaining.

25 “Lost and Found” Fiction Jacqueline Sheehan

26 “The Enduring Hills” fiction Janice Holt Giles

27 “For Time and Eternity” fiction Allison Pittman I enjoyed this book; it is set in the 1800s and treats of a Christian girl who joins the Mormons. This is one of a series of 2.

28 “ ? “ fiction Allison Pittman sequel to above

29 “Fall on Your Knees” fiction Ann-Marie MacDonald This book is on Oprah's Book Club list (not that I follow that in particular-it just said so on the cover of the book) and is touted as both a “saga,” and as “epic.” Personally, from now on when I see those two words used to describe a book I am just going to assume it's horribly dark and depressing and leave it on the shelf. I read this to the bitter end just to say I finished it, but: Blah. This is a first novel and in it you will find; a child-bride, a racially mixed marriage, two world wars, bootlegging, accidental infanticide, incest, child abuse, miscarriage, Catholic/Protestant friction, homosexuality, a polio victim, a shooting, a wild child, a molestation or two-one being child-upon-child, a potential singing star, a killing or two, a child seductress, the requisite “Negro” maid, unrequited love, a suspected name just a few. I think the author took a large scoop from the depressing-situations bin and chucked it all into one book.
(A week or so ago I got a great deal on some classic kids' books from the Library Book Store. I always pick them up to save for Ellen to read later on, even if they may be a bit beyond her understanding yet.)

30 “My Side of the Mountain” fiction Jean George I have always loved this book. (Newbery Honor Book) Very few kids have never wanted to just up and get away from it all and be self-sufficient.

31 “Bridge to Terabithia” fiction Katherine Paterson A heartbreaking coming-of-age story. (A Newbery Award Winner) They have the movie version of this, but I have yet to want to subject myself to it.

32 “These Happy Golden Years” Laura Ingalls Wilder

33 “The Long Winter” Laura Ingalls Wilder

34 “Number the Stars” fiction Lois Lowry A short but gripping story of 2 young girls during the Nazi occupation of Denmark. Wonderful ending. I learned some interesting true facts of the resistance in this book. (A Newbery Award Winner)

35 “A Wrinkle in Time” fiction Madeleine L'Engle (A Newbery Award Winner) I loved this book as a kid. As an adult it's still good, but a bit “out there.”

36: “A Wind in the Door” fiction Madeleine L'Engle This is a “sequel,” if you will, to the above book. Frankly, it's wa-a-a-a-y “out there.” Again; I loved it as a kid, but the science it's based on is kind of out-dated and makes it rather laughable.

37 “Vanishing Acts” fiction Jodi Picoult This was one of her better books, even though she just loves to throw prison/jail scenes into her narratives for some reason. I usually skip over those chapters as I see no rhyme or reason to how they add to the story line.

38 “Callaghen” fiction Louis L'Amour I love all of his books, even the ones that aren't that good. He writes with an authenticity you rarely find in Western fiction. He can do so because he lived it.

39 “All the Pretty Horses” fiction Cormac McCarthy Set in the 40s, this is a different kind of western, about a 16 yr old boy out of time and place. His heart is in the old west, his reality is somewhat more bleak. The first in a trilogy. We shall see if I can get hold of the rest of them.

40 “The Road” fiction (thank God) Cormac McCarthy Very different writing style, which I forgot to mention above-no quotation marks used. A very different book; both profoundly touching and depressing, with lots of rave reviews on the jacket. Not for the faint of heart or queasy of stomach. About life after nuclear war.

41 “The Skies of Pern” Fiction Ann Mccaffery This is one of a long series about Pern. Science fiction I ought to classify it. I started reading this series and author as a kid; the research she's put into both the sci-fi and creating a new civilization, bringing it to believable life is incredible.

42 “The Far Side of the Mountain” fiction Jean Craighead George Sequel to number 30 above. Very good. Ellen has enjoyed these books.

43 “Brighty of the Grand Canyon” Juvenile fiction Marguerite Henry I have always loved books from this author. I believe this story is based on a real donkey that lived in Grand Canyon. Funny and sweet.

44 “Light on Snow” fiction Author ?? A coming-of-age story of a girl dealing with deep personal tragedy.

45 “Breakfast at Tiffany's” fiction Truman Capote I guess this is or has been a popular book/author. There were about 3-4 short stories in this book. I wasn't impressed... with any of them.

46 “True Grit” fiction Charles Portis The reviews for this book are many and all rave on postively about it. There have been 2 movies made on this book. I have seen neither of them and probably won't. I found it depressing.

47 “Me and Gallagher” fiction Jack Farris OK This book is much the same theme as above “True Grit” but is narrated by a 15 yr old boy instead. I enjoyed it more, even though the end is just as depressing as above. All along I pretty much could guess what was coming.

48 “Blessed Child” fiction Ted Dekker & Bill Bright This is actually an older Dekker novel published in 2001. I enjoyed it, much better than I have enjoyed some of Dekker's other novels. To 'walk in the kingdom' is something we all should aspire to do.

49 “Hacker-The Outlaw Chronicles” fiction Ted Dekker At first I found this book entertaining; it seems a very new theme for Dekker. It deals with current technology and a modern teen. But it has a certain fillip about it that annoys me, as did the Dekker novel above. As I said “Blessed Child” is older, published in 2001. This one was published in 2014, but the adversary in both books is a political entity. Political fiction irritates me. I don't read it. “Blessed Child” was saved by being unique and inspiring Spiritually. Nothing saved this one. Also, from a Christian writer I expected there to be a call to Christ in this book. No. Instead it was some sort of bizarre paranormal after death/near death experience that I have trouble agreeing with. Hmmm....

50 “Monkeewrench” fiction p.j. tracy A fast-paced thriller with fun twists at the end. I enjoyed this one better than I have enjoyed any thriller for quite a while. Minimal foul language and only minimal sexual tension. What enchanted me most is that “P.J. Tracy” is the pseudonym of a mother-daughter writing team. They did a great job with this book.

51 “Live Bait” p.j. tracy fiction I love the mix of humor and mystery in this, but the plot is similar to another book I read last year, so it wasn't that shocking to me. Still a good read, though lots more foul language in this.

52 “Dead Run” p.j. tracy fiction This one was original. Sometimes I am dense enough to not understand the fine details of the plot until the end, this made the plot more engaging. And again, the mix of horror and humor is fun. This author-duo has more books out, so I cannot say for sure, but so far they have been able to prove that graphic sex, or sex scenes of any kind are unnecessary for fun mystery/thrillers.

53 “Snow Blind” fiction p.j. tracy Here is yet another original plot setting. Really there is a finite amount of murder motivators out there, but this is couched in a different theme; and the blend of original characters with their humor...etc, is worth reading.

54 “Off the Grid” fiction p.j. tracy Annd we have another winner. The actual very, very basic plot is much the same as “Live Bait,” it's just more modern and has a different twist. There's a bit more political presence here. It wasn't until very close to the end of the book that the full meaning of the title kicked in for me, but when it did, I got it.

55 “The Story Girl” fiction L.M. Montgomery There are no books from Lucy Maude that I have not enjoyed. This one is so much fun; to me it is funnier than her “Anne of Green Gables” series. It is a young adult book, but I read it to Ellen at night before her bedtime. She enjoyed it, too.

56 “The Golden Road” fiction L.M. Montgomery The sequel to the above. Once again, very funny. The author manages to make each different child's character quite believable and fun. I wish she'd been able to write more books featuring these particular characters. There are certain sections of both books that no matter how often I read them I laugh; so trying to read it out loud was difficult. I had to put the book down for a good ha-ha and Ellen would get frustrated with me. “Just READ!” she'd tell me, all exasperated.

57 “Shoot to Thrill” fiction p.j. Tracy This one is good as well. The characters are all individually believable and real. The story line comes before the above number 54. I like the significance of the titles in this series; nice word play.

58 “A Heart Like His; Intimate Reflections on the Life of David” non-fiction Beth Moore This one we used for our Bible/Book study. There were only 4 of us who attended with some regularity, but I believe we all grew Spiritually out of it. Frankly, I have heard the story of David so many times I sighed to myself when I heard this was the book chosen to study. But I am glad I read it through.

59 “When the Heart Cries” fiction Cindy Woodsmall The first of a trilogy about an Old Order Amish girl and her coming-of-age trials and tribulations. In these three books the overlapping beliefs of Old Order Amish, Plain Mennonite and contemporary Christian are briefly presented within the story line. One thing that gets me about these Amish/Mennonite romance books is that the Dead, or father, is almost always the 'bad' guy. In any case Hannah leaves her OO Amish family and heads off to the “English” life.

60 “When the Morning Comes” fiction Cindy Woodsmall Hannah changes her name so her family can't find her, discovers her calling in life, enrolls in college and struggles with “English” ways as opposed to the “Plain” ways in which she was raised. She finds a new love and thus a triangle is formed.

61 “When the Soul Mends” fiction Cindy Woodsmall Hannah gets called back to her Plain life, mends fences with her family and former fiance, finds a way to continue her calling within the Amish/Plain community and all's well that ends well.

62 “Without Mercy” fiction Lisa Jackson Dark, with a surprising, creepy twist at the ending.

63 “You Don't Want to Know” fiction Lisa Jackson This is only the 2nd Lisa Jackson book I have read, but if the tone of both this one and the above are indicative of her work in general, I am not sure I care for it. It is dark, no humorous relief at all. This plot was so twisted back on itself as to be ludicrous. I would give my impression of where I believe the flaw is in her plot, but that would be a spoiler. Also, with both books, this one and above, I had trouble identifying with the main character.

64 “1,339 Jaw Dropping Facts” or some such title, I forget it exactly. Non fiction. I wouldn't call all or any of the facts “jaw dropping” but they were fun and entertaining to read.

65 “Anne of Ingleside” fiction L.M. Montgomery Number 6 in the series. It's good enough, and the antics the kids get into are fun, but it's still not as good as the first in the series. Ellen begs to differ with my opinion; SHE says it IS TOO as good at the first in the series.

66 “The Calling of Dan Matthews” fiction Harold Bell Wright This is a true Ozarks classic, and one any pastor ought to put on his list of books to read. I believe this a sequel to Wright's “Shepherd of the Hills” which has been depicted in an outside theater play at Silver Dollar City for time out of mind. If a true Christian reads the “Calling of Dan Matthews” it will call him/her to do some soul searching.

The following is the list of books I tend to read annually...just because I love them so much, or because they hold my interest for whatever reason. All fiction

67 “Little Women” Louisa May Alcott
68 “The Fellowship of the Ring” JRR Tolkein
69 “The Two Towers” JRR Tolkein
70 “The Return of the King”
71 “Jurassic Park” Michael Crichton
72 “The Lost World” Michael Crichton
73 “The Secret Country” Book one of a young adult trilogy about 5 kids who find a way into their imaginary world Pamela Dean
74 “The Hidden Land” Book 2 Pamela Dean
75 “The Whim of the Dragon” Book 3 Pamela Dean

Books from 2013

A partial list of books I remember I read in 2013

The “Miss Julia...” series, the first of which is “Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind” by Ann B Ross There are over 11 titles in the series, all of which are hilarious. The first book begins when Miss Julia, newly widowed, finds out that not only was her obnoxious husband of 30 some years secretly very wealthy, but also unfaithful, when his mistress shows up on her doorstep with his 9 yr old illegitimate child.

“Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust” Daniel Jonah Goldhagen Very chilling. I learned much about the German side of WWII from this book. There's so much they don't tell you in school history books.

“I Will Plant you a Lilac Tree; The Memoir of a Schindler's List Survivor” Laura Hillman non-fiction

“Of Pure Blood” by Marc Hillman and Clarissa Henry non-fiction, more info that you never learn in school. All about Hitler's Aryan breeding program, kidnapping suitable-looking women to breed, breeding and birthing houses...etc.

“Tell No One” Harlan Coben; Fiction Coben always writes riveting books, this is one of his I liked best.

“Four Perfect Pebbles” Lila Perl and Marion Blumenthal Lazan non-fiction Another holocaust survivor story
“Schindler's Legacy” non-fiction, by Elinor Brecher In-depth research into the lives of the children of the survivors from Schindler's List.

“Meg” Steve Alten fiction This is about a prehistoric shark. If you are a Jurassic Park fan you might find this worth your while, though it isn't as good as Crichton's work by any means.

“Meg-Primal Waters” Steve Alten fiction This is actually the 3rd book in the series, I believe. It was OK, but it didn't inspire me to try to find the second book in the series.

Two or three complete fictional series by Lorraine Snelling; probably over 20 books, give or take. This is a Christian writer, the series I read deals with the founding of the town of Blessing in the 1800s mid-west by immigrants from Norway. This is kind of a combination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Jeanette Oke type of writing. I really enjoyed it.

“The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” fiction CS Lewis A classic I read to Ellen

“The Horse and His Boy” CS Lewis fiction Read to Ellen

“The Magician's Nephew” CS Lewis fiction Read to Ellen

“Call it Courage” I read it to Ellen. This was one of my favorites when I was in school.

“Island of the Blue Dolphins” Scott O'Dell A classic I believe I was required to read in school. I read it with Ellen.

Jodi Picoult Something about a descendant of a Nazi holocaust survivor. Very different
“Tell No One” Harlan Fiction Coben Fiction
“Promise Me” Harlan Fiction Coben Fiction

“Big Stone Gap” Fiction Adriana Triglione This is an original for sure. I enjoyed it.

There are a few books I keep that I read once a year...usually when I haven't found anything in the library that catches my interest:

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. JRR Tolkien

The following trilogy by Pamela Dean. They are aimed more at older teens, but I love them.
“The Secret Country”
“The Hidden Land”
“The Whim of the Dragon”

“Jurassic Park” Michael Crichton fiction So much better than the movie.
“The Lost World” Crichton fiction Much, much, much better than the movie.

“Little Women”

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Calfkeeper's Book Blog Begins

The point here is to blog about books I have read...whether I enjoyed them or not. However, I believe I am going to make this a private blog. Maybe. I dunno.

In any case I am not yet ready to blog about any books yet. I am still cogitating on it.

Check back in later.

Thanks for stopping by.