Thursday, November 10, 2011

CBR3 #37 - 45 Mini Reviews

The reviews below represent the books I read in September & October.

CBR3 #37 - The Omnivore's Dilemma - Michael Pollen - October Book Club selection
Interesting look at how omnivore's decide what to eat.  The first part of the book explores the life of corn and how it has become such a big part of our life. The second part of the book explores the life of cattle and other farm animals as well as the organic farming movement.  The last part of the book details a meal that the author grew, hunted or gathered himself.  While this book was very influential when it first came out, I found it hard to get excited about the statistics that were included since they are almost 5 years old.  Interesting related reading: Conversations between Michael Pollen and Whole Foods after the book was released.

CBR3 #38 - The Elegance of the Hedgehog - Muriel Barberry - September Book Club Selection
Follows a building concierge and a 12 year old girl as they struggle to relate to other people.  This book was translated from French and I found myself having to look up a vocabulary word almost every other page.  After reading the description of the book you are prepared for a character to not make it to the end of the book, but the ending was not what I expected. I found it hard to relate to any of the characters.

CBR3 #39 - Season to Taste - Molly Birnbaum
Non fiction memoir about the author's lost sense of taste after being in a car accident.  The author explores various research on the lost of this sense and details how she eventually learns to cook again and gain back her sense of taste.  Heart warming story, but some chapters detailed more than I wanted to know.  There were times when I thought her research outshone the main narrative. 

CBR3 #40 - The Lantern - Deborah Lawrenson
Gothic novel/romance set in France.  At first I had a hard time realizing when the narrator changed between chapters.  I also had a hard time believing that the main characters would stay together in a relationship in the real world.  Good read, but some of the plot twists were predictable.  This book fulfilled my need for a good mystery.

CBR3 #41 - The Other Life - Ellen Meister
"What if you could return to the road not taken" - this premise is what Meister explores within the book.  Good read and captures your attention right away.  The main character is realistic and the story flowed very naturally. This was the first book in a while that I've read which had a single narrator, which was refreshing!

CBR3 #42 - The Language of Flowers -  Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Heartwarming tale of a foster child who learns to connect to the world through arranging flowers. After aging out of the foster care system, Victoria finds a job at a florist and end up reconnecting with someone from her past. Impressive first novel that captures a tender love story and shows us all that adapting to life is not always easy.

CBR3 #43 - The Lock Artist - Steve Hamilton
This book is a love story intertwined with a great mystery! The narrator goes back and forth between two stories - how he became a boxman and his last job.  The ending was a little disappointing but bittersweet as well. Very creativity written and probably the best mystery I've read all year!

CBR3 #44 - Need You Now - James Grippando

Good financial thriller ripped from the headlines!  This book is full of plot twists and odd characters.  Patrick Lloyd is a Wall Street adviser sent to Asia to spy on his new girlfriend Lily who helped the #2 guy in a ponzi scheme move around money. But Patrick has his own secrets including a father who ratted out the mob and is in witness protection now.  Good book to pick up after Too Big To Fail. Very engaging book and easy to read.

CBR3 #45 - The Paris Wife - Paula McLain

This book tells the love story between Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley.   This book was an interestingly written historical fiction novel.  The author captured the life around a "true artist" trying to break out in their own way.  It was hard to relate to the characters because life in the '20s was so different than now.  It was interesting to see how American society overseas traveled around Europe frequently and without much bureaucracy. The politics of the time really wasn't pulled into this book much. 


  1. "The Lock Artist", "Need You Know" and "Paris Wife" all sound interesting. I'm forever looking for a good page turner but am put off by the fact that so much mainstream fiction is so poorly written.