Book Tart by Deb Eileen

Pick one book for 2006?

Just one? I love them all. I am a self confessed book tart. I read constantly. When I’m in the shower, I read the shampoo bottle directions. When I head off to work in the morning, I stick a book in my bag. I most likely could have sponsored a dozen starving children in some far flung country except for my book buying habit.

I’m going to steal my fellow Deb’s idea of six books for 06 (summaries stolen from Amazon)

Fiction:

Daughter’s Keeper by Ayelet Waldman: Olivia Goodman, a rebellious 22-year-old, dropped out of college as a sophomore and headed for Mexico. After she moved back to her hometown of Oakland, Calif., she was followed by Jorge Luis Rodriguez Hernandez, with whom she had a brief affair in Mexico. Jorge crossed the border illegally and is unable to find work, and Olivia feels obligated to support him. Desperate for money, Jorge is persuaded to participate in a drug deal, and Olivia’s vague complicity sweeps her into an intense legal battle when she is arrested with Jorge. As Olivia fights for her freedom, her mother, Elaine Goodman, is doubly tormented. Elaine raised Olivia on her own, but never felt she could love her enough. Now, when she has finally found happiness with a man, she is forced to choose between helping her daughter and holding on to her fiance.

Lamb by Christopher Moore: While the Bible may be the word of God, transcribed by divinely inspired men, it does not provide a full (or even partial) account of the life of Jesus Christ. Lucky for us that Christopher Moore presents a funny, lighthearted satire of the life of Christ–from his childhood days up to his crucifixion–in Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. This clever novel is surely blasphemy to some, but to others it’s a coming-of-age story of the highest order.

Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier: This one wins for best cover in my opinion. A deadly virus has spread rapidly across Earth, effectively cutting off wildlife specialist Laura Byrd at her crippled Antarctica research station from the rest of the world. Meanwhile, the planet’s dead populate “the city,” located on a surreal Earth-like alternate plane, but their afterlives depend on the memories of the living, such as Laura, back on home turf. Forced to cross the frozen tundra, Laura free-associates to keep herself alert; her random memories work to sustain a plethora of people in the city, including her best friend from childhood, a blind man she’d met in the street, her former journalism professor and her parents.

The Girls by Lori Lansen:Conjoined twins Rose and Ruby Darlen are linked at the side of the head, with separate brains and bodies. Born in a small town outside Toronto in the midst of a tornado and abandoned by their unwed teenage mother two weeks later, the girls are cared for by Aunt Lovey, a nurse who refuses to see them as deformed or even disabled. She raises them in Leaford, Ontario, where, at age 29, Rose, the more verbal and bookish twin, begins writing their story—i.e., this novel, which begins, “I have never looked into my sister’s eyes.” Showing both linguistic skill and a gift for observation, Lansens’s Rose evokes country life, including descriptions of corn and crows, and their neighbors Mrs. Merkel, who lost her only son in the tornado, and Frankie Foyle, who takes the twins’ virginity. Rose shares her darkest memory (public humiliation during a visit to their Slovakian-born Uncle Stash’s hometown) and her deepest regret, while Ruby, the prettier, more practical twin, who writes at her sister’s insistence, offers critical details, such as what prompted Rose to write their life story. Through their alternating narratives, Lansens captures a contradictory longing for independence and togetherness that transcends the book’s enormous conceit.

Non Fiction

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson: Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book’s categorization to be sure that The Devil in the White City is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair’s construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor. Burnham’s challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous “White City” around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair’s incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, and Thomas Edison. The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World’s Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims. Combining the stories of an architect and a killer in one book, mostly in alternating chapters, seems like an odd choice but it works.

Sex with the Queen by Eleanor Herman: In this follow-up to her bestselling Sex with Kings, Eleanor Herman reveals the truth about what goes on behind the closed door of a queen’s boudoir. Impeccably researched, filled with page-turning romance, passion, and scandal, Sex with the Queen explores the scintillating sexual lives of some of our most beloved and infamous female rulers.

Anyone else enjoy non fiction too?

9 thoughts on “Book Tart by Deb Eileen

  1. I haven’t read alot of non-fiction before, but these reviews are making me wish I did. Must off and get Sex with the Queen…….that looks really good!

  2. You and the other Debs are making my “to read” list longer and longer. When am I ever going to have time to write????

    My favorite non-fiction involves the Regency Period or the Civil War or Ireland. If you like Regency, I suggest An Elegant Madness by Venetia Murray.

  3. I keep meaning to pick up a A Brief History of the Dead, thanks for the reminder. It will have to be read after The Book of Names and Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali. Thanks for the tips!

  4. “Sex with the Queen,” huh? Sounds fascinating and can only imagine the detailed and impeccable research required. With so much of my daily life focused on reality and research, I usually escape/relax with fiction.

  5. I love you people (readers)! What wonderful, thoughtful suggestions all week. I have such an impressive list now and can’t wait to pick some of these up.

  6. Ooh, I have been dying (ha ha) to read a Brief History of the Dead, but it completely slipped my mind. Am definitely going to add it to the list!

  7. Sex with the Queen Sounds fantastic. God, I have to get to the bookstore today. After that, I’m going to start molding my stacks of read and unread books into sculptures.

  8. Ooo I think that non-fiction is often more exciting/interesting than fiction. Being a Chicago girl, I just need to read The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. And Sex with the Queen sounds so juicy – yet informative – that I’ll be buying that one soon too! Thanks for the great reviews!

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