01 April 2011

List #3: Books I Like Not by My Favourite Authors

1.  Outlander by Diana Gabaldon:  Claire and her husband Frank are taking a much needed second honeymoon in post WWII Scotland.  They need to reconnect after she served in the war as a nurse.  However, this becomes difficult when she goes exploring one morning, finds some standing stones, and disappears... kind of.  She actually ends up exactly in the same place, but in the 18th century.  She uses her wits, her medical knowledge, and some serendipitous meetings to survive.  This book is only the second time I've fallen in love with a fictitious character - James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser.  Ah, Jamie.  While Diana can get a little long-winded with her botanical descriptions (it IS her academic background, so I suppose this can be forgiven), her blend of romance, suspense, comedy and drama is just right.  This was originally meant to be a one-off.  Then a trilogy.  However, she's now up to seven books in this series, seven books in the "Lord John" spin-off series, and two books in the companion series.  And be warned if you get hooked - it's usually about three to four years between books.  While I have all of the books in the "Outlander" series, the first book in the "Lord John" series, and the first companion series, she just doesn't QUITE make "favourite author status.  Favourite books, yes.  Favourite author?  Sorry.  It's a fine line, though.

2.  Charlotte's Web by E. B. White: Mom picked this book out for me when I was a kid.  I won a free book from the library, and she got impatient waiting for me to pick a book out.  She grabbed this one, "Here.  You'll like it.  A girl makes friends with animals who talks."  This was the first book that made me cry at the end, and (as most of you know), it's why I don't eat pork.  However, a fun fact that you probably don't know - E.B. White's granddaughter read the book and attempted to save White's farm pig by putting up a "SOME PIG" sign on the pen.  White gently explained that he was running a farm and needed to eat.  The pig was slaughtered that winter.

3.  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst: That's right, another kid's book.  When I have a bad day, I sometimes grab it off the shelf and read it.  I love the simplicity of it, and the reminder that we ALL have crappy days.  And remembering what "a crappy day" entailed of when we were kids.  "I think I'll move to Australia."

4.  Foul Matter by Martha Grimes: An very good author decides to see how far a publisher will go to land him.  So he does his research and finds what he considers the worst publishing house and asks them to sign him - with one condition: they must ditch their most lucrative author (who still owes them one book which is due soon - oh, and they've already paid the advance).  This book was one of the funniest books I've ever read.  I'm surprised the neighbours didn't write me nasty notes about the howls of laughter coming from my apartment at inappropriate times.  This would make the best movie ever, by the way.  I highly recommend it for book lovers of ANY genre.  It's got comedy, suspense, intrigue, and a bit of caper-type of stuff.  My sister DID warn me, though, that it's unlike the rest of Grimes' work.  Boy, was she right - I haven't been able to get past the second chapter of any of other Grimes' book.

 5.  The Dive from Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer: Girl meets boy, boy proposes to girl, girl says yes.  Girl starts to have doubts and thinks she wants to break up with boy.  Couple goes to cove to celebrate university graduation with their respective BFFs.  Boys goes for titular dives and breaks his neck.  Boy wakes up three weeks later as a quadriplegic.  Does girl (okay, her name is actually Carrie) stay with boy (whose name is actually Mike) out of loyalty? or follow her heart?  Anyone who knows me knows I love books who struggle with questions of ethics, morality, and head vs heart crap.  This really got into it without being overly sappy and letting the reading really view all of the perspectives equally.  Truly heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time.


  1. The key to reading Martha Grimes, well the Richard Jury books, is that you have to read in order and once you get through the very first one the characters grow on you. Or at least they did on me. So much so that in the later books when some bad things happen to characters I like I had to stop reading.

  2. Have you read the Outlander graphic novel yet? It's called Exile. I'm hoping for more...

  3. Ooh, no! I'll have to see if our library has that! Thanks for the tip! I'm surprised my sister hasn't mentioned that to me (she follows Gabaldon's blog - we split up our favourite authors and share info so we can lighten the load. lol).