January Book Review
January Book Review

January Book Review

I got my five books in this month – and halfway through a sixth!

  1. Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space by Carl Sagan
    This was really interesting, but a little sad, since Carl Sagan died shortly after it was finished. I wish that there was a Sagan-written sequel about how he felt about the Mars Explorer missions – because of course, it hadn’t happened yet when this was written. I really liked his vision of how space travel & exploration would advance over the next hundred years, and loved the scientific/sci-fi look at everything. There were some really awesome quotes that I neglected to write down before returning it to the library – which is just stupid!
  2. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
    This was a beautiful collection of short stories. Her use of language was impressive, and I loved the way she could look so penetratingly into so many different people and what makes them unhappy.  I really like short stories, but don’t read them often enough. I was so glad to read this – this was a recommendation from Leslie!
  3. The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett
    This was a holiday gift from my younger sister. I thought I’d read it before, but I hadn’t – so it was a pleasant surprise. I really love Terry Pratchett & the Discworld series – I don’t think there’s been a single one I haven’t enjoyed. If you haven’t read anything by Terry Pratchett, I absolutely recommend him.
  4. Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist’s Quest To Discover if Her Life Makes Her Ass LookBig, Or Why Pie is Not The Answer by Jen Lancaster
    Jen Lancaster  I are myspace friends, so we’re totally tight. We would hang out on the weekends more if she wasn’t in Chicago.  I really enjoyed her first book “Bitter is the New Black” and this was just as fun. She has an easy style of writing, and I totally dig the footnotes. Also it’s nice to see that she agrees with me on many less savory aspects of the diet industry (the parts where some foods are “bad” and that they’d rather just make you eat their pre-packaged nasty food than learn to eat smaller portions of real food). Nice bathtub reading!
  5. Dead Watch (Night Watch) by John Sandford
    My mother-in-law left this at our place after her visit last October. It was a light, easy read – but didn’t have a lot to recommend it in terms of literary merit. There were points where the writing was so silly/over-the-top that I just laughed. If you’re looking for a decent story-line and can deal with the silly writing, it’s not bad for a weekend read.

Next up in the queue: The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins (reading this now); The Meaning of Liff by Douglas Adams, East of Eden by John Steinbeck (I’m on the waiting list), Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (I’ve been on the waiting list since September for this one), Special Topics in Calamity Phsyics by Marisha Pessl & Hope of My Fathers by Barack Obama. I also have Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson that I haven’t yet finished….and I’m going to give it another go.

I’m also currently reading Pride & Prejudice for book club – I’ve read this before, so it won’t count towards my 5 books/month goal, but it’s been a while.

Any other suggestions of things to add to my library queue?  What good books have you read lately?


  1. You’ll love the david foster wallace book. I’ve been wanting to get my hands on that one too, i’ve heard so many good things about him. Do you ever read david sedaris? i bet you’d like him.

    i’m a loser, i only read non-fiction books. recent entries include “going long: training for ironman triathlons” and “tri-power: strength training for triathlon balance” which i should finish soon and is wonderful.

    1. I’ve read “Me Talk Pretty Someday” and quite enjoyed it, but haven’t picked anything else by him up – I’ll have to do that.

      I go through phases of fiction & non-fiction. I read a LOT of non-fiction in the last few months, and just needed a few days of light fiction to let my brain recover!

  2. Justin

    Your list already looks like it is filled with ones I would recommend! I have read and, at the minimum, liked all of them expect for the David Foster Wallace and Barak Obama books. I can’t wait to read what you have to say about them all. I have East of Eden checked out until June if you want to borrow it from me after I finish it. I think it is actually a first edition though and already starting to come apart at the seams.

    Oh, and despite for my adoration of Cryptonomicon, I won’t judge you too harshly if it gets a second strike. Honestly, I have no idea how one could read that book in a month (without an 11 day vacation to do it in), let alone 5 or 6 other books.

    1. I am next in the queue for East of Eden, so I should get to pick it up this weekend – thanks, though!

      I own the Barack Obama book, so that keeps getting pushed back by library books that have due dates.

  3. I would reccomend either (or both) ‘In defense of Food’ or ‘An homnivores Dillema’ by Michael Pollan. Probably because that kind of stuff is totally interesting to me, I agree with his ideas for the most part, and they are the most recent books I have read that I will admit to in literary circles! 🙂

  4. If you liked Lahiri – have you read The Namesake? So good! Short stories – I would say Tom Robbins, but I know you’ve already read those. Other than that I can’t say enough about my boy Murakami. He’s my soul right now.

  5. I’m honored you took my suggestion. So glad you liked Interpreter of Maladies by Lahiri. I just finished her new book, Unaccustomed Earth. Her writing is so beautiful.
    You’re reading a lot! Impressive!

    1. I’ve only tried Cryptonomicon, but I am going to give it another go. I started it on a plane trip, and then had trouble picking it up again after I got home. I think it deserves another try!

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