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Lord Peter Views the Body
Dorothy L. Sayers
One Summer: America, 1927
Bill Bryson


Reprobate: A Katla Novel (Amsterdam Assassin Series, #1) - Martyn V. Halm

I was given this book by the author in return for a fair and honest review.

I liked the book - there was an interesting concept, executed in an interesting plot, and with characters who were not stereotyped and were intriguing.  I thought the concept of a female assassin as the main character was somewhat novel, and I was really surprised at how much I actually found her intriguing, rather than awful - especially since there was no claim on her part to being moral or having some sort of reason other than pure business for what she was doing. I also think the book was well written.

So, why only 3 stars?  There was just too much in this book.  I appreciate the fact that the author appears to have taken his subject seriously and to have done lots of research to make sure his details at least seem to be accurate (I don't know enough about most of these topics to know if it's all accurate!).  But I really didn't want/need to read about all of this - way too much detail about everything.

It wouldn't be a problem if there were a warning - "next 6 paragraphs only matter if you're really interested in the subject."  Of course, that would be silly - but as it is, I had no way of knowing whether something in the exposition would be significant to the plot, or was just there.  I really didn't want to know all of this, and for me, it disrupted the flow of the plot.

Nevertheless, this is certainly a book worth reading - interesting plot, interesting characters.  And I think it would be particularly appealing to folks who like lots of details and info about everything that came up in the book.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt

It seems that a lot of people are frustrated by the fact that this book is really about Savannah - not really a true crime book at all.  But I don't really think this was ever intended to be a "true crime" book (even if GR crowd sourcing says so.) Yes, there's a crime, but it seemed to me that the point of this book was Savannah, not the murder. The murder seemed to me to be merely the vehicle for discussion of Savannah and the characters there and the way society saw Jim Williams.

I don't usually read true crime books, but if it were the author's intent to write one, I think there would have been much more focus on details, motivations, etc. 

So, if you go into this expecting a true crime story, you'll probably be frustrated since that's not really what the book is all about.  If you look at this as a book about Savannah and its multiple social structures and quirky residents, you'll probably enjoy it a lot more!

Why We Make Mistakes: How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All Pretty Sure We Are Way Above Average - Joseph T. Hallinan Very readable and interesting. Unfortunately, this was basically a summary of other work, so if you've read much of anything on the subject - I'm thinking of [b:Thinking, Fast and Slow|11468377|Thinking, Fast and Slow|Daniel Kahneman|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1317793965s/11468377.jpg|16402639] or books by [a:Dan Ariely|788461|Dan Ariely|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1270639083p2/788461.jpg] - it's repetitive. Nothing wrong with the book itself, just redundant if you've read other books on the subject.
Pretty Little Liars - Sara Shepard Ridiculous "plot," detestable characters.
The Handcrafted Wedding: 340 Fun and Imaginative Handcrafted Ways to Personalize Your Wedding - Emma Arendoski I got some good ideas from this book - it's more an idea book than a project book, although there are some directions. With 2 daughters getting married in the next year, it's fun to find some interesting ideas - and the ideas in the book then sparked more.
The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls I was completely wrapped up in this while I was reading it. I have enough experience with dysfunctional families that a lot of it rang really true - especially the narrator's hero worship of her dad and inability to really blame him for anything.

I think it's great that she was able to see her upbringing without the apparent bitterness and anger that would have been so easy to express in this book. At the same time, by the end, I was getting tired of the apparent attitude that her parents were not to blame for anything because they were just doing what they did (again, especially wonderful dad, who always loved her, and on and on) - while, at the same time, castigating herself for letting down her youngest sister and not spending enough time taking care of her.

I understand that it's easier to forgive others than oneself, but by the end of the book, I was starting to get annoyed at the author, instead of admiring her for getting beyond her horrendous upbringing.
Home Landscaping: Mid-Atlantic Region - Very informative and provided a lot of information/pictures/plans to help with trying to do this ourselves! I got it from the library, but I think this is one to go buy a copy of.
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores - Jen Campbell I laughed out loud on pretty much every page. But, if you think too much about some of the things people said and did, it's almost scary....................
Out of Circulation - Miranda James Nothing deep, nothing consequential - but nice, enjoyable read. I like this series, I think, because I like the continuing characters.
Life After Life - Kate Atkinson I really enjoyed this book. It took a little while to get the hang of what was going on - even after reading the description, I had to get into the book a bit to get a good understanding of how the plot worked, but it all made sense pretty quickly. I was fascinated, really didn't want to stop reading (too bad about stuff like going to work!)

I also really like books about WWII London and this was heavily focused on that.
Palisades Park - Alan Brennert

I don't know quite what it is about Brennert's books, but I find them compelling reading. I was engrossed in both Moloka'i and Honolulu when I read them, and this was no different. The story just carries me along, and I always find his characters interesting.

In a Sunburned Country - Bill Bryson So many parts of this book had me laughing loudly - can't beat that!
The Wall Street Journal Guide to the New Rules of Personal Finance: Essential Strategies for Saving, Investing, and Building a Portfolio in a World Turned Upside Down - Dave Kansas A little too much of the author's political/social philosophy, and not enough practical advice on investment strategies.
Alzheimer's Early Stages: First Steps for Family, Friends and Caregivers - Daniel Kuhn, David A. Bennett Very informative book - I learned a lot from it and I think it will help us cope with some of the issues we're starting to face with an aging parent.
Through a Window: My Thirty Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe - Jane Goodall I found this fascinating Lots of info about the specific chimpanzees she observed, their personalities, social structure, etc., and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I read this in preparation for going to hear Dr. Goodall speak, and was glad I did, since it added another dimension to her program.
Gilead - Marilynne Robinson This book could be prescribed instead of sleeping pills.