Blog for Stephanie Bryant, a writer with too many hobbies and not enough time.

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April 2007: Book Reviews

This is an archive of my shorter book reviews and notes, which historically have been posted over at the 50 Book Challenge on LiveJournal, but which I’m starting to move over here. I’m posting them with altered date-stamps, but they might show up in my LiveJournal cross-post anyway. Bear with me, please.

Note: Many of these books also have full reviews available in the book review podcast (RSS).


#25:

A Roman-era medical mystery novel. Very good. Unabridged audiobook.

#26:

Read at the insistence of a friend of mine. I didn’t like it all that much, but I see what she was hoping I’d get out of it.

#27:

Why is it that the “Best American Travel Writing” for 2000 consists almost entirely of non-American destinations? A good read, but I was hoping for some “see America” inspiration to go along with all the “vicarious adventure” narratives.

#28:

A medical mystery novel set in eleventh century England, with a female doctor from Salerno investigating a series of child murders.

#29:

A medical mystery novel set in Victorian England, with a female sleuth trying to solve her husband’s unlikely murder.

I enjoyed both of these, and the previous English medical mystery (Medicus) very much. They’re well-written, and only Silent in the Grave ran afoul of what I would describe as “hokum pokum.” But they were really good, and if you have an interest in historical medicine, they’re good entertaining reading.

#30:

Calamity Claresta, by Irene Estep

A Regency romance ebook which I enjoyed quite a bit. I read this for an ebook review site; the book comes out in June. [Warning: the site has popup ads– normally I don’t see popups, but this one gets around Firefox’s blockers, and is for an adult-oriented personals site.]

#31:

A murder mystery set in Southern California. A good read. I listened to the audiobook and found the narrator’s voice a little hard to get used to, but at least it was different.

#32:

This novel is not told in a straight linear narrative, but rather in a “detritus” fashion, with quotes and interviews from after the narrative spliced into the main storyline. It’s a technique that was more popular in the 80’s and 90’s which can be confusing or irritating. I found it to be effective, although the impact that “the Movement” might have was exaggerated, in my opinion. Nonetheless, I think it was a really good literary precursor The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell. If you saw the movie, you’ll find the book drastically different from the movie– characters are different, relationships are different– basically, everything is completely different in the book compared to the movie. This is fine– it is still a great book, after all, but it does mean you have to let go of your visions of Helen Hunt and Kevin Spacey while you’re reading.

What I find interesting about Pay it Forward is that, even though it’s completely fictional, it’s had an impact on the world. If you search for instances of people paying it forward, you’ll find that people do little kindnesses all over the place, in the name of paying it forward. I suspect these are more like practicing random acts of kindness, being mislabeled, but it’s a good thought nonetheless.

Anyway, I enjoyed this book and will be putting it into my bookmooch inventory on Monday (my inventory is closed today from mooching while I hold a yard sale), so that I can pay “it forward” by sending it onto another worthy reader.

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