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July Booklist

I've realized I generally don't provide any kind of summary for most of the books I read - is that annoying? I assume that if someone is interested, it's easy to find a better summary than what I would write somewhere like GoodReads or Amazon, and besides, you're always welcome to comment and ask for details. :) But I could try to mend my ways if you want me to.

1.  My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business, Dick Van Dyke

A mostly upbeat and positive look back at his life. He seems to have lived a remarkably decent lifestyle for a celebrity, but he's also honest about some times where he wasn't so decent. Hearing behind the scenes stuff about filming Mary Poppins and the Dick Van Dyke Show was especially neat. I was glad to find out that they really were having as much fun as it looked like on the show!

2.  Fever Crumb, Philip Reeve (audio book)

Steampunkish and very clever - nicely unique among the world of YA scifi/fantasy.

3.  The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: the Mysterious Howling, Maryrose Wood

A modern children's book that feels vintage. I realize it's part of a series, but I was sorely disappointed to reach the end and find that numerous key questions remained unanswered. I would have liked more resolution - it left me feeling a bit like I was being coerced to read the next book.

4.  Eat That Frog! Brian Tracy

Beware books with exclamation points in the title. =P This was about how to stop procrastinating, and I'm sure many of the tips would be very helpful - if I could have stopped cringing long enough to take the book seriously.

5.  Virtually you, Elias Aboujaoude

An examination of how social media changes personality and society. It's not suggesting giving up or even drastically limiting social networking - like it or not, it's part of life now. But being aware of the dangers is the first step in preventing them.

6.  Friendship for Grownups, Lisa Whelchel

I think a number of us have grown up and realized that friendships are a lot more complex and harder to make than they were when we were kids. I'm not sure how helpful this book is on a practical level, but it was very reassuring in a lot of other ways.

7.  Carte Blanche, Jeffery Deaver

A really nicely done update to 007. This Bond is in his thirties, a veteran of the Afghan war, and firmly attached to his specialized iPhone-like device (christened by Q branch as the iQphone), but he's clearly still Bond (although I'm confused - this isn't quite Ian Fleming's Bond, but it's not quite the Bond of the new movies either. M is a man again, for one thing.)

8.  American Heiress, Daisy Goodwin

This looked SO promising and Edith Wharton-ish and it really did try, but no. It's got the whole wealthy-American thing and the English-nobleman thing, and all the splendid houses and fancy dresses one could desire, and the secrets and love triangles and everything, but it's like the book can't decide if it's going for Literary Novel or just plain Historical Romance and so it manages neither.

9.  Dancing Shoes, Noel Streatfeild

I think I would have liked these a lot more as a child, but at least now I can say that I've read one!

10. My Year With Eleanor, Noelle Hancock

This is the review I wrote for the library blog:

When entertainment blogger Noelle Hancock was abruptly laid off, she had to face her fears in a very real way. She quickly realized that she’d traded in her confidence for anxiety and her ambition for passiveness. Then a quote chalked on a blackboard in a coffee shop changed everything:

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

With the help of her boyfriend and a few close friends (real friends are the ones who will go skydiving with you!) Noelle embarks on a project: a vow to do at least one thing that scares her every day for a year.

Weaving in plenty of facts about Eleanor’s life and a lot of inspiration, Noelle faces her fears, including those of flying, falling, karaoke, and stand up comedy. Along the way she finds her fearless self again, even finding that she enjoys some of the things she feared most.


It was along the lines of Julie & Julia, and I quite enjoyed it.

11. Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman (audio book)

A real treat to hear Neil read his own work. He has a very pleasing tone (biased? Me?) AND does different voices for all the characters.



( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 4th, 2011 08:32 pm (UTC)
I'd personally love a bit of summary if you're willing. It's just very convenient. :) You do include some info sometimes, which is nice.

5. That sounds intriguing, but not like one I'd actually read. I just want someone to summarize it for me. :P

9. Ditto. I read Ballet Shoes with the same feeling.

Aug. 9th, 2011 01:35 pm (UTC)
I'll try to summarize more often. :)

Unfortunately I don't actually remember enough about #5 to do so! Ha.
Aug. 10th, 2011 09:11 pm (UTC)
:D Thanks!
Aug. 4th, 2011 09:05 pm (UTC)
I could listen to Neil talk forever. Why have I not thought of audiobooks by him? Love.
Aug. 4th, 2011 09:47 pm (UTC)
I had no idea he read any of his own books, or I'd have gotten them much sooner!
Aug. 4th, 2011 09:32 pm (UTC)
Ha! I read Eat That Frog! this month too!
Aug. 9th, 2011 01:34 pm (UTC)
Reading buddies!
Aug. 4th, 2011 09:40 pm (UTC)
I don't care whether you give a synopsis or not. Your thoughts on the books are more interesting to me... but that may be just me.
Aug. 9th, 2011 01:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :)

Reading lots more Bryson this month!
Aug. 9th, 2011 01:59 pm (UTC)
Aug. 5th, 2011 02:47 am (UTC)
Not me. I go elsewhere for my summaries, but love reading booklists to see what people think of books.

I had the same experience with Noel Streatfield. I more or less only read something by him because of You Got Mail :-)
Aug. 5th, 2011 10:50 am (UTC)
Noel Streatfeild is a lady... :)

She was my very very favorite childhood author and so I've collected almost all of her books; I have twenty of them! That part on You've Got Mail always makes me all sniffly. ;)
Aug. 7th, 2011 02:55 am (UTC)
Oops :-D
Aug. 9th, 2011 01:31 pm (UTC)
I probably wouldn't even know about her books except for You've Got Mail. :)
Aug. 9th, 2011 02:02 pm (UTC)
20? I had no idea she wrote that many!
Aug. 10th, 2011 12:44 pm (UTC)
Most of them are out of print and hard to get your hands on, which is too bad, since I like some of them much more than Ballet Shoes, etc. :)
Aug. 5th, 2011 10:29 am (UTC)
I like summaries, but you do a good job describing why a book is good or bad, and I can find a summary somewhere else if I'm interested. So do what you want. :-)

American Heiress was disappointing. I wanted a more straightforward romance - which is how I felt about Downton Abbey, too, and I'm pretty sure they're supposed to appeal to the same people.
Aug. 9th, 2011 01:33 pm (UTC)
Do what I want? Why thank you, I will. :D (I LIKE your advice. ;))

YES, that's how I felt about it. =P It felt like some stuff was thrown in just to make the book more ... shocking? I didn't care for it.
Aug. 9th, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
I also wanted to mention that I haven't read "Dancing Shoes", but "Skating Shoes" was the favourite so far of the 3 I've read. It was truly charming.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )