33. Behind the Mask: The Mystique of Surgery and the Surgeons Who Perform Them by David Gelber
David Gelber provides a look at surgery before, during, and after and how doctors evaluate and make decisions. He uses specific cases to illustrate his points. It’s not the best medical book for laypeople that I’ve ever read, but for people who enjoy this genre it’s worth a read. I give it a 5 out of 10.
32. The Boo by Pat Conroy
This is Pat Conroy’s first book, which I just recently got as an e-galley from NetGalley. It tells the story of the one of The Citadel’s Commandants affectionately known as The Boo. There is very little narrative in this book. It is mostly telling specific stories about The Boo and specific cadets. It might be of interest to people who attended The Citadel and perhaps some people involved with the military at large, but I found it pretty boring and found myself skipping long passages of it. It’s definitely something written for a very specific audience, which Conroy often points out in the book. So if you have a connection to The Citadel you perhaps might want to read it, otherwise I wouldn’t bother. I give it a 3 out of 10.
31. Which Brings Me to You: A Novel in Confessions by Steve Almond and Julianna Baggot
This story is told in alternating letters written between a man and a woman who meet at a wedding, almost have sex in the coat closet but ultimately don’t. They then agree to write each other letters of confessions mostly about past loves and sexual experiences leading them up to the present and how they each wound up at the wedding. I really, really wanted to like this book more than I did. It came highly recommended to me by someone I usually trust for these types of things, but I just did not like it at all. I liked how the book started at the wedding, but once they started writing the letters I found I just really didn’t care about them or their past relationships. I found the whole thing pretty boring. I give it a 4 out of 10.
30. The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries by Marilyn Johnson
I read another book by this same author called This Book is Overdue, which is all about her love of libraries. She actually decided to write that book based on the great experience she had with libraries while researching this book. I enjoyed This Book is Overdue so I did want to read The Dead Beat as well, but pushed it to the top of my list once I found out she was going to the keynote speaker at the Maryland Library Association Conference banquet. I rarely read obits unless they are for someone I know or for someone famous and not even then, so I’m not that familiar with them. However, this book almost made me want to start reading obits on a regular basis, particularly those from British newspapers. The book is pretty much precisely what you would expect, a long look into the world of writing obituaries and the people who read them. I found it quite an enjoyable book and actually learned a lot of things about obituaries that I didn’t know. Now whenever do come across one I think back to this book. I give it an 8 out of 10.
29. The Little Country by Charles de Lint
I read this book for one of my book clubs. It is definitely not something I would have picked up on my own as it is a fantasy book, which is not a genre I typically read. I was a little frightened when I found out it was over 600 pages as I feared I would wind up having to suffer through something that long, but as it turns out I actually quite enjoyed the book. I did find that it kind of dragged at the end for me a bit, probably due to it’s length. Other than that I found it a pleasurable read. The book is told as two kind of alternating stories taking place in England. One is the story of Janey, a folk musician and a book that she finds in her grandfather’s house which he has kept hidden for many years. It is the only copy of the book and reading it releases some sort of magic. People have been hunting for this book for many years and can feel when the magic is released so they are after her, her family, and her friends to get their hands on it. The other story is of Jody who is living the story that Janey is reading about in the book. Eventually their stories intertwine at the end in a kind of cool way. I’m not doing a very good job of describing this book I realize, but it’s all kind of complicated given the fantasy elements to it, but not so much that it really felt like it couldn’t be set in real life present day, which I liked about it. Music is a very big element of the story, and the author even wrote music for some of the songs he makes up in the book and includes it at the end. One of the members of my book club actually played some of it for us on her flute, which was kind of fun. I give it a 7 out of 10.
Wow, am I super behind on my reviews. Work has been insane this semester so I haven’t had much time to keep up with this. Let’s try and change that shall we.
28. The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me by Bruce Feiler
The story behind this book is kind of a neat idea. The author finds out he has cancer, and while reflecting on the possibility that he could die and leave his young daughters to grow up without a father he comes up with the idea of creating a “Council of Dads”. He thinks about what are the important things about his personality and his values that he wants his daughters to know and finds 6 different men who can share these things with his daughters and asks them to be a part of their lives. The men range from different stages in his life and aren’t necessarily people that his is great friends with currently. He shares the story of how he knows each man and why he wants him to be part of his council. I give it a 7 out of 10.