Tuesday, September 1, 2009

my book report

Dedicated to Mrs. E. Miller of Thermopolis, Wyoming, who first taught me how to write a book report.

During my summer vacation I read 7 books. The first book was Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse. I snickered out loud several times because it was v. funny and I think Bertie Wooster uses the best slang of anyone ever.

My second book was French Dirt by Richard Goodman. I picked it because I like gardening and France. I wish the book would have been more intimately written and given more details about the author's year in St. Sebastien. It was okay, not great.

My third book was Run by Ann Patchett. Without giving away much, I have to report that she wove in a "running" metaphor in creative ways and the characters she wrote about were involving and memorable. If I was Ann's teacher, I'd give her an A+.

My fourth book was 8 Sandpiper Way by Debbie Macomber. It was shoddy, lame and predictable. I much prefer Jan Karon as a writer of this genre and I figure that American readers have horrible taste because Debbie's books are bestsellers. She told instead of showed all the characters. Her character development, plot development and back story were written so badly that I think my little sister could do a better job of it. I'd give this book a generous D-.

My fifth book was Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer. I knew I'd like it because 7 years ago I taught his book Into the Wild and our class had great discussions about it. This book was about the Mormon faith and history and examined the fundamentalist offshoots of the faith that have led to some violent crimes. I learned a lot about how Mormons influenced history, for example, I did not know Abraham Lincoln signed a law making polygamy illegal in all America's states and territories, specifically Utah. I give this book a B+ because it was good, but there were a lot of names to keep track of which made it confusing.

My sixth book was Good Grief by Lolly Winston. It was about a woman grieving her husband after he died of cancer and it showed all the different stages of grief as she experienced them. There were a few funny parts and my favorite character was a teenaged girl who the main character mentored. The story also was about a bakery and I love bakeries. I think everyone should read this book.

My seventh book was Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. It was awesome and I think everyone should read this book too because it teaches you a lot about history and makes you appreciate all we have in America and Greg Mortenson is an inpsiring man who made life a lot better for many many people. A+.

My seventh book was You Can't Get There from Here by Leonard Nash. I actually started this book a while ago, but I finished it on vacation. It was a collection of short stories and I can tell that Leonard went to graduate school because he writes really artsy descriptions and not a lot happens in his stories because they're mostly character sketches and experiments with tone and mood. I wouldn't recommend it to most readers. I guess his professors would give him an A, but I give him a C.

This concludes my book report from summer vacation. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope I get to read many more books in the future.

What do you think? Would Mrs. E. Miller be impressed with how I mastered paragraphs and punctuation? Would she swoon over my mix of information sprinkled with opinion? Would she grant me the coveted A+ on this assignment? Would she cringe at my excessive use of passive voice and subject/verb sentence structure?

More importantly, what great book would you recommend to ME, reader?


  1. WOW GG - You read books with substance. I only read brain candy ;)

    How's the time in the pool without the kiddos?

  2. ...I'll trade you 'Under the Banner of Heaven' for 'Favorite Wife', if you thought a little Mormon history was interesting...! favorite Wife it is an autobiography, written by a woman who was raised in one of those Mormon "offshoot colonies" in the 60's, and became (at 14!) one of many wives of a charismatic Mormon church leader. Her story is so interesting and really 'rounds out' a realistic picture of the experience of plural marriage (and plural child-rearing - *whew!* ). You might like it...
    * : )

  3. Oh, I love horror with a little laughter or at least romance - not easy combos.

    Kinda like spinach and cap'n crunch-which by the way, I ate a lot of-mixed together when I was pregnant. Probably the sugar and iron combo I needed there.

    I liked Undead and Unwed-a short, campy book I just finished ;)

  4. I just read The Time Traveler's Wife. and loved loved loved it. Have you read it?

  5. Congrats on making it through 'Three Cups of Tea' - I struggled through the beginning - the middle was really good - and then the end started getting to be a little too much information overload again, so I haven't finished it yet. I think Greg should've picked a better guy to write his story, because he truly did some awesome things, but I felt like I was constantly stumbling over way too wordy descriptions of scenery. If it's a big mountain, just tell me it's a big mountain. hehe :)

    Also 7 books in 1 week??? You rock!

    I ditto the sentiment from Madge on 'Time Traveler's Wife' - I read it before it became a movie, and really loved it.

  6. What a good list of books.

    Have you read "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society?" I highly recommend it.

  7. Yes, I believe Mrs. Miller would be extremely impressed by your reports as well as your list. Your math teacher, not so much. :)

  8. Great list! The only one on there that I read was Good Grief.

    I just read Falling Through the Earth by Danielle Trussoni. I like memoirs and enjoyed it.

    I also liked The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf.

  9. Yay! Thank you for some good suggestions. I have been meaning to read "Three Cups Of Tea", so now I will get it for sure.

  10. I have "The Blind Watchmaker" by Richard Dawkins on my bedside table, as several people recommended it to me. Haven't read a word yet, but will let you know when I've finished moving house, settling kids at school, and job hunting... Need a vacation to read some more books!

  11. Oh wait! Here's a really good one: "The Master Butcher's Singing Club" by I can't remember who. Excellent story. http://www.readinggroupguides.com/guides3/master_butchers_singing_club1.asp

  12. Have you read
    Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
    The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall?

    They are both *excellent* reads -- two of my favorites.

    As for my summer reading list, it consists entirely of pulp. It was a Nora Roberts summer -- a little sexy, a little tense, slightly predictable, but cheap & cheesy enough that I didn't mind if the book fell in the pool.

    For your book report (aside from the fact that you have 2 seventh books), I give you an A. :)

    - Julia

  13. This is so hilarious. You perfectly hit that 4th-grader-writing-a-report note. Thermopolis, eh? My husband had a moth removed from his ear there a few summers ago (ah, I did enjoy writing that blog post!).

    I'm about to start Jennifer Wiener's new BEST FRIENDS FOREVER. She's solid chick lit, always, but the NPR reviewer (Maureen Corrigan) RAVES about this book, noting, "The only lame thing about it is its title."

    I also really liked BROOKLYN by Colm Toibin. Then there's one of my favorite books ever (much to my surprise, a graphic novel!!??): FUN HOME by Alison Bechdel.

    More Mormon stuff: THE 19TH WIFE.

  14. I've read, and liked, many on your list.
    I also recommend ...the Potato Peel Pie Society.
    Also just finished The Space Between Us - also really good!

  15. I also recommend the Potato Peel Pie book.

    I've met Debbie Macomber and she is such a sweet lady but I stopped reading her about 4 years ago.

    I enjoyed Good Grief but tried to read another of her books and got very bored.

    Currently I'm enjoying The Lady In Blue by Javier Sierra. The story ties Catholic Europe with ancient myths of the Southwest of the US with the story of a Spanish nun who was able to be 2 places in history simultaneously.

  16. Love your reports. I second the Potato Peel Society book. From the name I thought it was a light, chick lit book, but it is much more.

    And since you asked about books (my passion) here are some recent favorites.

    Fingersmith by Sarah Waters - A Dickensonian type novel, with twists that I loved.

    The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson – A sequel to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Both are page turners. They are murder mysteries, originally written in Swedish, with a very original main character. A bonus is my enjoyment of the Swedish names and places.

    The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann. It is non-fiction about crazy explorers in the Amazon.

    Here If You Need Me, by Kate Braestrup. It is an interesting memoir of a Unitarian-Universalist minister, who works as chaplain to game wardens in Maine.

    The Center Cannot Hold, The: My Journey Through Madness by Elyn R. Saks. A most excellent book that I could not put down. Especially of interest if you are close to anybody with mental illness.

    Q & A: A Novel by Vikas Swarup The movie Slumdog Millionaire was based on the book, but they are different enough that you can enjoy both.

    The Namesake: A Novel by Jhumpa Lahiri, It is a slice of life type of book, and one where I really think I got an idea of what it was like to be a 1st or 2nd generation immigrant from India. Very interesting. Now I have to see the movie, which got very good reviews.

  17. I think your book reports are just awesome. I especially like the part about Bertie Wooster because I think slang is awesome and the name Wooster is really funny.

    Just one reason I don't write book reviews...I've tried and they actually sound like a fourth grader wrote them.

  18. "Respectable Sins" by Jerry Bridges and Alison Weir's novel on Lady Jane Grey have most recently moved to the top of my pile on the bedside table.

  19. I forgot to add that I have read many of the books you reviewed and agreed with your assessments. I LOVE Jeeves and Wooster. If you ever have a chance to listen to a recorded version, I recommend it.

    And a book I forgot to add is Emma Who Saved My Life by Wilton Barnhardt. I don't laugh easily, and this had me laughing numerous times.

  20. You read better stuff than I do. I've had a very extreme summer as far as reading goes. On one hand I've read far too many vampire novels and on the other, far too many Catholic mystics.

  21. I have to agree about the Debbie Macomber book--the first couple books in that series were pretty good, but now there are ten and it gets to the point where she just feels like she has to tell everybody what they've all been up to. So basically, the characters she told you about have been developed (sorta) in previous books. The newest one just came out and it took me about two hours to read it. I actually enjoyed it more than watching a stupid movie, so I guess it all depends on what you are expecting to get out of it.

    I read Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, the sequel to Confessions of a Jane Austin Addict. Read one on an airplane, the other in a lawn chair.

  22. I think she'd give you an A just for being an overachiever who read that many :)

    I liked Under the Banner of Heaven. I really like Kraukeur, though I have to say I liked Into the Wild and Into Thing Air better.

  23. I loved Under the Banner of Heaven--as I have everything by Krakauer. My recommendation is up today!

  24. Love that you included Jeeves & Wooster. P.G. Wodehouse is brilliant, funny and timeless. I have a wonderful old copy of Nothing But Wodehouse - edited with a foreword by Ogden Nash. It's one of my cherished books. BTW - if you can ever get the A&E programs w/ Hugh Laurie - they are hilarious entertainment.


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