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Book Reviews, Highest Ratings at Top

If you want to find a particular book or author, use your browser's FIND command (Control-F on the PC, Command-F on the Mac). We started this listing on Sunday, January 4, 2009.

Author Title Category Rating Review Reviewer
Lao Tsu Tao Te Ching Non-Fiction 10 Philosophical poems describing reality and our knowledge of it, written about the same time as the Babylonian captivity of the Jews. The inspiration for my PhotoPrayer project, this book wonderfully mixes the high-contrast black and white photography of Jane English with Chinese calligraphy and the English translation (set in Centaur type) by Gia-Fu Feng. Danny Schweers
Appelt, Kathi Underneath, The Fiction 8 A mythical tale of Grandmother Moccasin, a bloodhound and two kittens set in Caddo Lake, Texas. A chapter book for older children, maybe 5-6 grade, although some subject matter may not be suitable. Mixes an Indian legend with a story of animal abuse set in the swamps of Caddo Lake. The story is told from the animals' viewpoints. Barbara Henry
Burgess, Glenda Geography of Love Biography 8 Actually a memoir, 30 year old Glenda falls in love with twice widowed Ken despite the fact he is a suspect in his second wife s murder and his troubled daughter. Explores the many facets of love, from early familial relationships. Focus is on the tests of the strength of love when serious illness strikes first her mother and then her husband. Barbara Henry
Gibbons, Stella Cold Comfort Farm Fiction 8 A very funny parody of the country muck genre of DH Lawrence and Thomas Hardy novels of the late 19th, early 20th century. Worth reading for the names of the characters alone. Maybe you can discover what the something wicked in the wood shed (or was it the bicycle shed, or the tool shed?) that Aunt Ada saw. Barbara Henry
Schaffer, Mary Ann Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Fiction 8 series of letters between a London writer and the inhabitants of Guernsey island during the German occupation in WWII. Reminds me of 84 Charing Cross, but the London writer actually goes to Guernsey after the war and meets the correspondents. Barbara Henry
French, Tana In the woods Fiction 7 Suspense/mystery set in Ireland. Two rookies on the Murder Squad manage to become partners and head up the investigation of the murder of a young girl on an archeological site. Is this murder related to the disappearance 20 years prior of two young children? One of the investigators was friends with the two children who disappeared, and was with them on the day they went missing. Will he remember what happened that day? Barbara Henry
Richards, Susan Chosen by a Horse Biography 6 Memoir. Richards takes a former racehorse and its foal to foster in an abuse case for the SPCA. She ends up adopting the mare -- the foal is returned to the owner who passes it on to a vet as payment for bills. Despite all the neglect and abuse she has suffered, Lay Me Down is gentle and kind -- ready to love her new owner. Richards, who had endured neglect and abuse in her childhood and marriage, explores whether she can learn to open her heart as Lay Me Down has. Barbara Henry
Gruen, Sara Flying changes Fiction 5 Sequel to Riding Lesson by the author of Water for Elephants. More problems for Annemarie Zimmer as she deals with her teenage daughter s angst and her own fear of jumping -- sine a horrific accident 20 years previously. The author certain knows her way around horses and the world of competitive horse trials. Barbara Henry
Bronte, Charlotte Jane Eyre Fiction 4 The book club thought it would be a good idea to read a classic one month, and this was selected. I had stayed away from the Brontes my entire life, and after reading Jane Eyre did not regret that decision -- way too Gothic and way too preachy for my taste. Give me Jane Austen any day. Barbara Henry
Singer, Judy Reene Horseplay Fiction 3 A Long Island wife leaves her philandering husband and moves to North Carolina as a working student as a famous dressage trainer s barn. Some parts are nonsensical, the parts about horses and training are right on. An okay book for a beach read, but only if you have an interest in dressage. Barbara Henry
Hughes, Richard A High Wind in Jamaica Fiction 2 Unwisely, the pirates bring the children aboard their schooner. The children may be innocent but their world is a nightmare, their lives pathetic play acting ruled by stillborn fantasies, their thoughts primitive and grotesque. The author would have us believe children are like this, unknowable and frightening. That is his fantasy. [Book club pick by Roger Garrison.] Danny Schweers

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