Playing Many Parts

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the reading list category.

Book Review – The Girl on the Train

the_girl_on_the_train_us_cover_2015I always read the book first.  Since I am a prolific reader I have promised myself that I will always, if at all possible, read the book first.  Before it is made into a movie, and someone else gets to put their interpretation of a book forward as the definitive point of view for millions of people, I want to let my imagination create the world the author has written.

I haven’t seen the movie yet, and might do that to contrast and compare, but I liked the book quite a bit and found it compelling enough to continue reading even though I was quite sure I had figured out the plot a couple of chapters in.  I was right.  It went in the direction I expected, but I think the author intended it that way. . if I ever get the chance to ask her, I will.  There was some important foreshadowing early on that sort of gave things away and that seems like a smart intentional guide. . a kind of Easter Egg for good readers.

I liked this book because I love murder mysteries.  I also love women’s issues and a strong female lead with romance and complications. . .so this book was very interesting to me.  I don’t want to admit it, but I saw parts of myself in the heroine of the story.  I liked very much how Rachel grew and developed and it all seemed somewhat real. . if not romanticized. . but its a novel (it says so on the cover), so I expect that.  Emily Blunt is my Rachel, but that is fine, I look forward to the movie.


Book Review – More Herby Goodness

So I am new to the whole herbal medicine scene.  I have been checking out websites, watching YouTube videos, and ordering all of the things I need.  A friend recommended that I go over to Amazon and see if there were any free books for the KindlePC that might be helpful to me, and boy was he right!

I lucked upon Herbs Gone Wild! and got it the one day it was being offered for free.  And while my favorite herbal website so far has to be, my favorite book so far is this one by Diane Kidman.  I have been copying and pasting her recipes like crazy and have been taking notes on all the new herbs I need to buy and try.  Diane writes in a very approachable style and has a very easy going manner that makes it much less intimidating to give some of her recipes a try.  Watch for posts in the near future using some of her recipes.

I would pay a lot for this book.  It is a fantastic reference book on herbs and how to use them.

Book Review – Innocent In Death by J. D. Robb

innocentindeath1I love Nora Roberts, and I love murder mysteries, so it is no great surprise that I am now completely hooked on reading all of the books she has written as J. D. Robb.  I discovered her back in 200o and at that time I went through and read everything she had ever written, but I did not read any written under the Robb pseudonym.  A friend had this book on her desk the other day and I commented about loving Nora Roberts so she insisted I read this one.  I am glad I did, but my family will be missing me soon, as I have found another series that is nearly impossible to put down.

Innocent In Death is a who-done-it murder mystery with just enough romance thrown in to keep it interesting and personal.  I love Nora Roberts’ characters, especially the women; I always find her heroines strong, passionate and sincere.  I will admit that sometimes the plot is a bit predictable, but the story is usually told well enough that it is still fun to follow along.  I read to be entertained, and I always find entertaining characters in anything Roberts’ writes.  As I finish the last pages of this book, I am already searching Amazon and Paperback Swap for other books with Eve Dallas as the main character.

Book Review – How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff was not what I expected.

Dewey’s Books Reading Challenge – List

I have spent a couple of days now going over the reviews at The Hidden Side of a Leaf and have my list set for the challenge.  I do however, reserve the right to change my mind at any moment for any reason.  Most likely, as I go back through the reviews I may just find other books that interest me more, but here is my first attempt at a list:

2003 – The Buffalo Soldier by Chris Bohjalian

2004 – The Inner Circle by T.C. Boyle but may change to The Lovely bones by Alice Sebold

2005 – Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood or Saturday by Ian McEwan

2006 – Outlander by Diana Gabaldon or March by Geraldine Brooks

2007 – The Pesthouse by Jim Crace

2008 –  How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

A New Book Challenge – Dewey’s Books

It’s strange this new world of blogs and authors.  But I have been visiting a site for a couple of years and just learned today that the author has passed away.  It leaves me feeling, funny, melancholy I would say.  I searched for the correct definition of the word “melancholy” before writing this post and stumbled upon Ode on Melancholy by John Keats once again.  I was struck by a couple of lines from the second stanza:deweyschallenge1

But when the melancholy fit shall fall . . .
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
Or on the wealth of globèd peonies

How fitting then, that some of Dewey’s friends would host a challenge in her honor to read lasting words of beauty. I decided that I too needed to participate in this challenge and honor the memory of a wonderful blogger who indeed touched many with her posts.

I will post my list next week I think, but I will be reading one book from each of the 6 years that Dewey has archives of.  I would encourage any avid reader to join us as well, here is the challenge site.

Book Review – The Loop by Nicholas Evans

The Loop is certainly not a new book, and after meaning to read this for about 5 years now, I finally finished it this weekend.  It wasn’t that the book was hard to read or anything, I just keep getting side tracked every time I tried to read it.  It was a good book, and I enjoyed it a bit more than I did The Horse Whisperer, which was my first Nicholas Evans book.

The Loop is set in Montana‘s Big Sky Country, which is a fantastic place to spend a few hours in ones imagination.  I found myself wishing I was actually riding horseback through the streams and mountains that were being described.  As the cover indicates, some of the main characters of this book include a pack of wolves who have been reintroduced to the wilds of Montana.  I did a quick survey of this issue back in college, and the quick overview of the wolf situation in the book is actually pretty well done.  Both sides of the reintroduction program a covered quite well and it is difficult to choose a side, however, in the end the authors bias becomes the readers as well.

If you liked the Horse Whisperer, you will like The Loop.

Book Review – Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers

Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers is a book that I have started and stopped several times.  I picked it up this last time because I realized that I am running out of time for this year for the Suspense & Thriller book challenge.  And unlike other times, I did finish it.

I have been wanting to read a Sayers book since I read about her a few years back.  She was a pastor’s kid, grew up in England, and was just a very smart and strong woman.  I encourage you to read more about her and perhaps look into some of her other works.

As for the book, I liked it, but found it hard to read actually.  I liked the characters enough, but found that I confused them a couple of times due to Peter and Parker being so similar.  I also thought that parts of the book were very dull while others zipped along just fine.  Overall, the setting and the plot are solid, easy to follow, and brief which makes this a good mystery to study.  So while this book was ok, I am going to add at least one other DLS novel to my list of books to read next year, and will also be adding The Mind of the Maker.

Another Book Challange

I found a book challange today that is right up my alley; the Suspense & Thriller Reading Challenge.  I am so excited about this one, as it is purely reading for enjoyment.  I LOVE a good mystery, in fact, I can’t get enough of them.  Even the shows I regularly TIVO and the movies I watch lean toward mystery, suspense and the law.  I wonder if I missed a calling here somehow, well, if I get laid off I know what to study.  But I digress.

It is a bit overwhelming to me that there are so many sub-genres of suspense thrillers out there.  Did you know that there are more than 30?  Now, I will admit, some of these I have little interest in, but most of them fascinate me.  I can’t wait to put together my list.  I am making a partial here.


  1. Action Thriller – Thunderhead by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
  2. Amateur Detective Mystery – One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
  3. Literary Thriller – Booked to Die by John Dunning
  4. Cozy Mystery –  Whoes Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers
  5. Supernatural Thriller – Bag of Bones by Stephen King
  6. Eco-thriller – The Loop by Nicholas Evans


  1. True Crime Thriller – In Cold Blood by Tuman Copote
  2. Drama Thriller – Marching Through Georgia by S. M. Stirling
  3. Historical Thriller – Map of Bones by James Rollins
  4. Psychological Thriller – Blue Justice by Illona Haus
  5. Romantic Thriller – Relocating Mia by Rebecca Lerwill
  6. Comic Thriller – The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel by Jasper



Book Review – Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Wow. . .great book for sci-fi fans!  My first taste of the wonders of science-fiction came when I saw Star Wars as a kid.  I went to see it when it first came out camped in the back of my parents van at the drive-in.  Since those days, I have enjoyed the occasional sci-fi book, television show or movie but don’t usually seek them out.  I plan to read this entire series.

I actually had this book setting around on a shelf for just as bit, as it came when I was in the middle of about 3 other books.  Since I was already reading other books, I recommended this to DS who needed something to read in his 4 hour detention, and he read it all in a day.  Not only did he read it in a day, but he immediately asked for the next book in the series.

I would bet that if you enjoyed the Matrix, Star Wars, or either Battlestar Galactica series, you will enjoy this very easy to read book.  Ender is one of the youngest heros I have read, but he is interesting and very engaging.  I found myself sucked in and invested in the characters and the games they played.

Although it can be read on a very surface level, this is also a very smart book.  I found myself really amazed at the depth of deception of the adults in this book and started thinking about all the ways the tactics described in the book may be used on people.  And for a sci-fi book, I was amazed at the depth of feeling I experienced while reading.  My emotions went from deep sadness over Ender having to leave his family to intense outrage over the war situation.

This is one award winning book (1986 Hugo Award and the 1985 Nebula Award) that I highly recommend to readers young and old.