Saturday, February 6, 2010

February 2010 Book List

6. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

It's definitely not theologically sound, but it is a really good story. From the first page to the last, it was hard to put down.

The story begins on the last day of Eddie's life. His journey in heaven, where he meets five people who have had some unknown influence on his life, is interrupted with glimpses of past birthdays and flashbacks from his life that shed a little more light on who he has become.

I may have found a new favorite author. I've put Tuesdays with Morrie on my immediate reading list.

7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling

This third book in the series doesn't suffer from anything. In fact, the plot gets even better. I thought I had things figured out, but was totally thrown for a loop with the plot twist. Great writing! The fourth book is on my shelf - over 700 pages long. I can't wait to get started on it!

The book begins with Harry spending his second summer break from Hogwarts with the Dursleys. After an angry incident where Harry causes Mr. Durlsey's aunt to swell up like a huge balloon, he flees the Dursleys' home and catches a wizard bus to Diagon Alley, part of the wizard world in London. On the way there, he finds out about an escapee from the wizard prison of Azkaban, someone who appears to be looking to kill Harry. He's kept safe by wizard friends until time for school to begin again. As he, Ron, Hermione, and their fellow students travel by Hogwarts Express to school, the train is stopped by haunting dementors - the soulless guards of Azkaban. They're searching for Sirius Black, the escapee. The dementors affect Harry in a way he's never experienced before - and hopes to never experience again. Unfortunately they've been sent to guard the Hogwarts campus against Black. A new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher befriends Harry and helps him learn to fight the dementors and other evil beings that have begun to threaten him. But Professor Lupin is not as he seems, and his past and present bring surprises to Harry and his friends.

8. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling

Once again, we find Harry spending his summer with the Dursleys, but this time things are a little better. The Dursleys fear retribution from Harry's godfather, an unjustly imprisoned (but escaped) wizard they believe to be a murderer. Harry joins Hermione and their friend Ron, along with his family, at the annual World Quidditch Cup. The game ends quickly, but chaos ensues after some dark wizards terrorize a non-wizarding family and someone sends the Dark Mark of the evil Lord Voldemort into the night sky. Fear settles in Harry's heart as he starts his fourth year at Hogwarts and inadvertently gets chosen by the Goblet of Fire to participate in a potentially deadly tournament with 3 other students from Hogwarts and two other international wizarding schools, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang. Harry fears someone is trying to kill him through the tournament, and as he faces each of the three challenges, he must call upon friends and a fierce determination to live.

I wasn't sure I would like this book as well, but the story gets better and better with each successive volume. I'm ready to read the 5th book, but it's not in my library! I put it on hold and checked out the 6th book so I'll be ready to continue as soon as I can.

9. Not Becoming My Mother by Ruth Reichl

After sharing stories of being embarrassed by her mother in her memoirs Tender at the Bone, Comfort Me with Apples, and Garlic and Sapphires (all great books!), Reichl finally delves into her mother's past and realizes how much her mother actually taught her. She comes to understand some of what made her mother do the things she did, what made her sad and bitter about certain things, and what efforts she made to make sure Ruth didn't turn out like her.

This was a touching book, but I think it was more so because I had read Reichl's other books first, had gotten to "know" her mother through her embarrassed and unaccepting eyes. I would recommend reading the other books first to get the full effect of how her realization of her mother's past changes her views of her and brings her to a new level of love and appreciation, albeit too late.


There were a few books I tried reading this month, but I just couldn't get into them. One of them was Twinkie, Deconstructed. It's about all the food additives in processed foods. It looked promising, but it was too technical for my tastes. (No pun intended.)

The other book, Napoleon's Hemorrhoids, was full of bits and pieces of history and how circumstances caused certain outcomes. Not being a history buff, I found much of it dry and boring. There were some pop culture topics later in the book, but I had lost interest by the time I found them. (I'll admit it. The title caught my eye and I just had to check it out.)

My new reading philosophy is this: There are too many good books in this world to spend time trying to get through the not-so-good ones. If you don't like it, put it down.

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