March 16th, 2015


Books read, 3rd and 4th quarters 2014

Half of these titles were gifts/giveaways from dirtylibrarian, because in Fiji, I will pretty much read anything "new" since the fiction at my library is either Booker/Pulitzer winners or donated mass market paperbacks and nothing else. Other titles were either already owned and I finally got around to reading them, or ebooks (book club selections, especially).


1) Who could that be at this hour? (All The Wrong Questions, #1) – Lemony Snicket - disappointing. will probably not read sequels.

2) The cloud atlas - David Mitchell - read for book club. Hard to get into but ultimately a good read.

3) Captain Freedom - G. Xavier Robillard - comic novel about a superhero having a work crisis. I loved it. If you like Christopher Moore you'll dig it.

4) Harry Lipkin, private eye - Barry Fantoni -elderly Jewish PI novel. cute but didn't move me.

5) A Highly unlikely scenario, or a Neetsa Pizza employee's guide to saving the world - Rachel Cantor - Agressively quirky; finished it but didn't really like it.

6) The Frangipani hotel -Violet Kuperknick - Excellent short stories, most about Vietnam and ghosts/old beliefs in the modern world. Not flaky/horror, just the right touch of fantasy.

7) The Enchanted - Rene Denfeld - brilliant but really heavy literary novel about prison. Mostly interior monologue. well written but difficult subject matter.

8) Where'd you go Bernadette - Maria Semple - read for book club. Funny and entertaining novel about Microsoft millionaries having the same problems with neighbors and parents at their daughter's school that other people have. Plus, Antarctica!

9) The dead in their vaulted arches (Flavia de Luce, #6) - Alan Bradley - had not read any other in this series and this was a bad one to start with since it explicates plot points in the saga without anything much happening. didn't do anything for me but probably fine if you already know these characters from other books.


1) Starvation heights : A true story of murder and malice in the woods of the Pacific Northwest -Gregg Olsen - Health faddism kills people at an isolated sanitarium in Ollala, WA, including Ivar Haglund's mother! Interesting true crime story.

2) Let's pretend this never happened : a mostly true memoir – Jenny Lawson - blog humor pieces republished in book form. really funny.

3) Travel as a political act – Rick Steves - not much I didn't already know but nice to see someone in the travel industry who has the ear of middle America making these arguments.

4) Songs only you know: a memoir - Sean Madigan Hoen - Punk rock 'get in the van' memoir from someone who's been in a bunch of bands I've never heard of. a little self-indulgent but captures the pre-internet punk touring band scene really well.

5) Life and death in Eden: Pitcairn Island and the Bounty mutineers- Trevor Lummis - My Pacific History title for the 3rd quarter. Stranger than fiction tale of how there are still 50 people on a remote Pacific Island who are all descended from English mutineers.

6) Fiji and me- Carol Phillips - Peace Corps memoir; research. Self published long after her service as a nurse. Not much I didn't already know but pleasant enough.

7) Bula Pops!: a memoir of a son's Peace Corps service in the Fiji Islands - Michael J. Blahut - Peace Corps memoir; research. Self published by the volunteer's dad from his letters home. Lightweight and riddled with typos like "minor bird" for "Mynah bird" (which are so common in Fiji this mistake is egregious; it'd be like living in Italy for 2+ years and spelling the word for noodles as "posta")

8) Letters from Fiji - Keith Kelly. Peace Corps memoir; research. Probably the best of the three but also self-published and badly edited.

9) A renegade history of the United States – Thaddeus Russell - Celebrates the contributions to American History of drunks, prostitutes, jazz fans and other people not content to be good citizens. lightweight but amusing.