11/09/2021

Paul's Reading

  • Greaves, Helen: Testimony of Light: An Extraordinary Message of Life After Death

    Greaves, Helen: Testimony of Light: An Extraordinary Message of Life After Death
    This is a touching and well-written work about life after death. It is well-thought-out, and matches many conceptions of the afterlife from the world's religious traditions. Am I 100% convinced? No. Do I 100% wish this is the afterlife? Yes. (*****)

  • Garmus, Bonnie: Lessons in Chemistry: A Novel

    Garmus, Bonnie: Lessons in Chemistry: A Novel
    This novel is one of the best I have ever read. It is vivid, well written, and has one of the finest and most satisfying endings ever. Don't read the end first: it's worth waiting for. This book describes the travails faced by intelligent women in American during the 50s and 60s, in academia and at work. (*****)

  • Allen, Woody: Zero Gravity

    Allen, Woody: Zero Gravity
    It is with great pleasure that I welcome Woody Allen back to the world of the short humorous essay. Several of these are direct S.J. Perelman pastiches, especially enjoyable for those of who recognize his long-gone style. If you like Allen or Perelman, you'll like this book. (*****)

  • St. Aubyn, Edward: Double Blind: A Novel

    St. Aubyn, Edward: Double Blind: A Novel
    I got this book because I loved the author's previous work Lost For Words. Alas, he appears to have fallen in love with his research and placed too much of it, in chunks, in his novel. The scenes where he describes an attempt at seduction are brilliant and moving; the rest of the novel, less so. (**)

  • Dorrough, David: Revolution

    Dorrough, David: Revolution
    I was pleased and flattered that the author asked me to read this book. I loved his self-description: "David is widely believed to be a male human who grew up on earth and currently still resides there." A funny, clever and witty look at life in a middle-class marriage in Los Angeles in the 21st century, with some nicely turned phrases (“car beautification paraphernalia” describing two cars, one a Cadillac and the other a “huge family style vehicle”) that brought a smile to my lips. I also enjoyed it when, wondering if her husband was really her husband’s son, the mom reviews in her mind “who she might have slept with...” (****)

  • Wingate, Lisa: The Book of Lost Friends: A Novel

    Wingate, Lisa: The Book of Lost Friends: A Novel
    Rarely have I been so moved and fascinated by a work of fiction. I was crying, I was apprehensive. Pinpoint plotting, masterful dialog, and a style that is as engaging as anything I have ever seen. This dual story, of a teacher and a freed slave from a century earlier will enthrall you; in fact, it’s like the BBC: it informs, educates and entertains. (*****)

  • Listed in no particular order
  • Le Tellier, Hervé: The Anomaly: A Novel

    Le Tellier, Hervé: The Anomaly: A Novel
    A beguiling novel of science fiction, social commentary, political commentary and French snobbishness about America. With razor-sharp wit, he scores point after point while punching up against our crazy world’s crazy situation. I didn’t care for the ending, so four stars. (****)

  • Cummins, Jeanine: American Dirt (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel

    Cummins, Jeanine: American Dirt (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel
    The story of a woman’s desperate attempt to reach the United States after she gets crosswise with a Mexican cartel. I was literally in tears by the time I read the epilogue. It is compelling, well-written and moving. I had difficulty putting it down. (*****)

  • Fforde, Jasper: The Constant Rabbit: A Novel

    Fforde, Jasper: The Constant Rabbit: A Novel
    Jasper Fforde continues to prove that his brilliant and innovative sci-fi "Tuesday Next" novels were not a shot-in-the pan. His staggering imagination is exceeded only by his sense of humor; a worthy successor to Terry Pratchett, with the added benefit of still being alive. (*****)

  • Stoneley, Zara: The Wedding Date: The laugh out loud romantic comedy of the year! (The Zara Stoneley Romantic Comedy Collection) (Book 2)

    Stoneley, Zara: The Wedding Date: The laugh out loud romantic comedy of the year! (The Zara Stoneley Romantic Comedy Collection) (Book 2)
    Another brilliant award winner from Britain's Comedy Women in Print prize committee. Anyone who has ever scrambled for a wedding date... and even those of us who haven't... will find this laugh-out-loud funny. (*****)

  • Norris, Mary: Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen

    Norris, Mary: Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen
    A brilliant piece of non-fiction by a copyeditor hell-bent on improving the usage of her authors, and, she hopes, yours as well. (*****)

  • Cheryl Strayed: This Telling: Out of Line collection

    Cheryl Strayed: This Telling: Out of Line collection
    The woman behind "Dear Sugar" steps into the spotlight with a short autobiographical story that is well written-and thought provoking. (*****)

  • Taylor, H. Claire: The End is Her: A laugh-out-loud satire (Jessica Christ)

    Taylor, H. Claire: The End is Her: A laugh-out-loud satire (Jessica Christ)
    This is the 7th and last of Taylor's Jessica Christ novels. I am sorry I didn't mention them earlier. They are hilarious, clever, well written social commentary. I am only sad there won't be any more. Read all of them (*****)

  • Brown, Mark: Zen Pig: The Art of Gratitude

    Brown, Mark: Zen Pig: The Art of Gratitude
    I wish someone had given me this book, and the others in the series, when I was a child. Oh the suffering I could have avoided...

  • Wright, Robert: Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment

    Wright, Robert: Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment
    It is an amazing and impressive work, using evolutionary biology to demonstrate the wisdom of the Buddha’s teachings about not-self and meditation. (*****)

  • Doty MD, James R.: Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart

    Doty MD, James R.: Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart
    I agree with the Dalai Lama, this is a remarkable and compelling book, similar to The Way Of The Peaceful Warrior, as it tells the story of a young man meeting an unlikely teacher and learning life-changing lessons--in this case about meditation and visualization. It should be given to every 12-year-old in the world. My grandson will get it.

  • Sittenfeld, Curtis: Rodham: A Novel

    Sittenfeld, Curtis: Rodham: A Novel
    “Hillary Clinton Fan Fiction,” about her life if she hadn’t married Bill. It mixes fact with fiction and the romantic scenes are chilling in their accurate portrayal of what love is like. The fictional timeline of the American presidency is worth the price of admission by itself. (*****)

  • Kadish, Rachel: The Weight of Ink

    Kadish, Rachel: The Weight of Ink
    Very long but very gripping examination of the difficulties of being a woman during the plague in England in the 17th century, and in American Academia in the 21st century. (*****)

  • Strayed, Cheryl: Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

    Strayed, Cheryl: Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar
    This book is sweet and wonderful. Cheryl Stayed was the writer of an advice column called “Dear Sugar,” and the book is a reprint of her advice. In general, I am a sucker for column collections, but this one more so than usual. Her advice is consistent, loving and interesting and her cast of characters is amazing and amusing.

  • Yoerg, Sonja: Stories We Never Told

    Yoerg, Sonja: Stories We Never Told
    In a nutshell, this novel is a taut, brilliant, twisty story about the inside of human minds. Turns out people are complex, something the author would appreciate, being a psychologist. It has been years since a novel had me literally on the edge of my seat the way this one did. I read the last 1/3 of the book in a straight shot, because Vicki refused to tell me who did what to whom. (*****)

  • Siegel, Bernie S.: Love, Medicine and Miracles: Lessons Learned about Self-Healing from a Surgeon's Experience with Exceptional Patients

    Siegel, Bernie S.: Love, Medicine and Miracles: Lessons Learned about Self-Healing from a Surgeon's Experience with Exceptional Patients
    Although it was first published in 1984, I just came to this book. It should be handed out by any oncologist to any patient whose diagnosis is cancer. It is an amazing summary of the effect of the mind on physical health. “True healing teaches patients how to live.” Increase your odds of survival? “Independence, optimism, faith and trust in your doctor.” (*****)

  • Kirk, Lucy: The Poison Factory: Operation Kamera

    Kirk, Lucy: The Poison Factory: Operation Kamera
    After a half century of avidly reading spy novels, I find, for the first time since my teenage self haunted the newsstand, waiting for the latest episode of James Bond in Playboy, that I am excited about the publication of a new entry into the genre: Lucy Kirk’s novel Poison Factory: Operation Kamera. And I mean REALLY new, because the protagonist is not James or George but Decktora “Decky” Raines. Just as I am tired of pale, male and stale in my choice of politicians, I have grown tired of pale, male and stale spy novel protagonists and authors. (*****)

  • Jacobs, Gregg D.: Say Good Night to Insomnia: The Six-Week, Drug-Free Program Developed At Harvard Medical School

    Jacobs, Gregg D.: Say Good Night to Insomnia: The Six-Week, Drug-Free Program Developed At Harvard Medical School
    This book could have made a serious difference in my life, had I the discipline to follow its Sleep Hygiene program. It turns out I didn’t, but if you can I am here to tell you it will change your life and improve your sleep beyond comprehension. You’ll never need a sleeping pill or a Tylenol PM or even melatonin again. This is the only scientifically proven sleep program that involves no drugs. When I found I couldn’t do it by myself, I took the six-week course based on the book offered by Kaiser (and, I am sure, by other health organizations). That’s how I know it works. If you read it carefully, and do what it says (easier said than done, I know), I guarantee you it will be life-changing. If you are a person than can stay on Weight Watchers without meetings, just buy the book. Otherwise, buy the book, read it, and then take the class.You won't lose weight, but you will sleep better. (*****)