Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Books Read, May 2003

Out of the Shadows by Kay Hooper; mystery, Bantam; a law enforcement officer with a supernatural gift teams up with a federal agent and former lover to find a serial killer of teenagers.

Given to me in a Bookcrossing trade. I had not heard of Kay Hooper until now, but have since received a number of recommendations. The paranormal angle in this book provides a nice backdrop for what would otherwise be a standard police procedural. It has an X-Files quality, with good dialogue and characterization.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon; fiction, Picador; a Jewish refugee and his American cousin team up to create a popular comic book series, but personal problems force the duo apart.

Pulitzer winner; overall, I liked it, though I thought it was a bit too long. Samual Klayman and Josef Kavalier try to escape their mundane lives through The Escapist, a comic hero creation who takes on the Nazis and their allies in every issue (until after the war, when the focus is shifted to the Communists), yet find trouble has a way of finding them. For Josef, it is the pain of losing his family in Europe; for Sam, it is dealing with his sexuality and the responsibilities of others that he feels obligated to handle.

Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington; fiction; the Adams family matron is obsessed with keeping up appearances for the sake of her daughter, that she may be able to win the heart of a suitor.

Pulitzer winner; a simple story told in a rather difficult way, I think. The premise is by no means gripping, but likely a suitable plot for the day. Alice's family is not rich, her father has been working for the same rich schmuck for years, and when he makes an attempt to strike on his own said schumuck foils him. Alice is looked down up by her peers, and her mother fears she won't get a man. Alice, however, has ideas of her own, and is truly the most admirable character in the book, though she comes off at times as flighty.

A Buried Lie by Roberta Isleib; mystery, Berkeley; the second installment in the Cassie Burdette mystery series, where a golfer and her friend are murdered at a pro-am tournament in Atlantic City.

Reviewed at Blether at the request of the author. This is a great series for cozy lovers.

Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg; fiction, Random House; vignettes about the people of Elmwood Springs, Missouri, from "Neighbor Dorothy," the radio personality, to sly Hamm Sparks, enterprising salesman-cum-governor.

I adore Fannie Flagg. Fried Green Tomatoes is one of my all-favorite books, and I only watch Match Game when she's a panelist. Though I admit I wasn't too keen on Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!, I did enjoy this book, which centers around the town in which Baby Girl is partly set. There's only a brief reference to Baby Girl in Rainbow; mainly the book is a series of short chapter vignettes of the townsfolks, moving through four decades of gentle, small-town humor. An enjoyable read for fans of southern fiction.

The Bitterest Pill by Howard Robinson; fiction, Booklocker; a young man discovers he is adopted and flies into a rage, which turns deadly. A grieving widower is left to cope with the results, which are made increasingly painful as new secrets are revealed in the aftermath.

Reviewed for Blether at the request of the author.

Violin by Anne Rice; fiction, Ballantine; a widow is tormented by a violin-playing ghost.

I haven't enjoyed Anne Rice since The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned, one of the last books by her that I've read. That said, I did like Violin somewhat. From my Bookcrossing journal: "I found it difficult to like Triana Becker, the recent widow haunted and tormented by Stefan, the violin-playing spirit who takes her back to the time of Beethoven to witness his own pains. I don't know, there was a pompous sense about this duo I just didn't like."

Claws and Effect by Rita Mae Brown; mystery, Bantam; Harry and Mrs. Murphy investigate deaths connected to a local hospital.

This was one of the weaker efforts in the Mrs. Murphy series. Returning characters are as charming as ever, and the reconciliation of Fair and Harry is progressing slowly but nicely. However, it seemed the answers to the crime were given away much too soon; I had an idea of what was going to happen at the end. Also, a recurring character is murdered (not Miranda), and that just brought me down.

Bad Boy by Olivia Goldsmith; fiction, Signet; a computer geek, upset that he's not "getting any," turns to his friend for a personality makeover. When he successfully transforms into a man-slut, she realizes she's loved him all along.

Sometimes you need a nice piece of cheese to in between the glasses of Pinot Noir. This is good for the beach, but the story is just predictable and at times grating. That the heroine's last name is Higgins (as in Henry Higgins from My Fair Lady) was not lost on me, and personally I did not find her very likeable. The notion that women want to be treated poorly, one theme of the book, is appalling, and in the end when Bad Boy and Dirty Girl unite you're almost happy because they deserve each other.

Hollywood Must Be Destroyed! by Daniel Wade Schroder; fiction, 1stBooks; an investment banker is sent to LA to investigate the dealings of a client (a movie studio), only to find himself in a very foreign environment.

A gift from the author, and I reviewed it for Catholic/Christian reviews.

The Cult Around the Corner by Nancy O'Meara and Stan Koehler; non-fiction/sociology, Foundation for Religious Freedom International; a brief guidebook targeted toward people concerned about relatives and loved ones who have become involved in questionable communities.

To be reviewed for Catholic/Christian Reviews.

Alma Mater by Rita Mae Brown; fiction, Ballantine; William and Mary coed linked to BMOC discovers an attraction for female neighbor.

I'll be honest, I haven't enjoyed a non-Mrs. Murphy novel since Riding Shotgun. I lie, I liked Outfoxed, when the animals didn't get in the way, and I picked up Alma Mater mainly because: 1) it was at a library sale for a buck; and 2) it's set in nearby Williamsburg and Surry, so there's local interest. If you've never read Rita Mae before, you really only need to know a few things:

  • All of her young heriones are incredibly beautiful, and everybody else in the book makes mention of it at one time or another

  • Mothers and aunts like to carp at each other, and are often portrayed as having certain habits (usually smoking or drinking or high-falutin' Virginia pride, or all three)

  • There is always at least one really bizarre supporting player, and there is always at least one person who is described as being "two days older than God"

  • Catholic and/or the Church are often the victims of cheap shots

That said, Alma Mater was a disappointment. There are moments of levity, which I enjoyed (I won't spoil Aunt Bunny's driving adventures for you), but the book just read kind of blah to me, like Brown had padded a short story.

Hollywood Must Be Destroyed! by Daniel Wade Schroder

1stBooks, 1588204510, $12.95

Once upon a time, Tom Brantley and Michael Lewis were two investment bankers happily muddling through life in a tony New York firm. While they enjoyed their work and a never-ending game of guessing the artists of bad 80s pop tunes, their boss assigns them to investigate the books of an important client, a movie production company based in Hollywood. What sounds like a routine job to both men is quickly likened to a trip through Wonderland, where everybody is a Mad Hatter.

Classic Pictures, producer of soon-to-be epics like Natural Born Idiot and Teen Sexpots in Seattle, has been consistently losing money on its recent releases, and is spending too much for films that otherwise could be made on small budgets. Tom and Mike set out to learn where the firm's money is going, uncovering a scheme more outlandish than any movie plot - Hollywood funding of political agendas and twisting of morals. Hooking up with Classic executive Linda Wilson, Tom discovers Hollywood itself is more outrageous than any movie Classic could fund. Spiritual guides, actors parading around nude in public, and a general anti-Christian sentiment create an atmosphere more tempestuous than anything the Georgia-bred Tom has experienced, so much that he risks his job to see to it that Hollywood is destroyed before it destroys everybody else.

Though a short tale overrun with typographical errors (a problem 1stBooks truly needs to solve), Hollywood Must Be Destroyed! has its moments of wit and absurdity that will leave any reader who has never been to LA nodding in agreement ("I went to Harvard," responds Linda after being asked if she believes in God.). Though this story would not be normally classified as "Christian" literature in the sense that other titles reviewed here are, Hollywood deserves a mention for its finale, a bold statement alluding to the Culture of Death, as coined by Pope John Paul II, one that deserves some attention. Author Schroder shows a talent for satirical prose, which he will hopefully continue to hone.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Books Read, April 2003

White Oleander by Janet Fitch; fiction, Back Bay Books; a young girl whose mother is sent to prison for murder bounces around a variety of foster homes, always haunted by her prideful mother.

Well, this book just seemed to go on and on, didn't it? I can't remember if this is an Oprah-approved book or not, but it was unceremoniously handed to me at a Bookcrossing meeting - its previous owner didn't much care for it - so I read it on the plane to San Juan. I find it difficult to enjoy a book full of characters to whom I'm not endeared, and that was the case here.

Dark Debts by Karen Hall; horror, Ivy Books; a Jesuit priest and a writer from California explore their connections to a "cursed" family, all the while battling their own demons.

I used to read Karen Hall's blog before she retired it, and thus I was prompted to read her novel. As far as horror goes (not my favorite genre), I think it is a good effort, and Hall allows for enough curve balls in the action to keep the plot from being predictable. I read this one on the flight back from San Juan.

The Patriote Proposition by Thomas Thorpe; historical fiction, Port Town Publishing; a young wife in 19th century Canada becomes involved in a political struggle as she searches for her husband.

Reviewed for Blether at the request of the author. If you enjoy political thrillers and/or historical novels, you'll like this one.

The Color of Water by James McBride; non-fiction memoir, Riverhead Books ; a combination memoir/biography about a white, Jewish girl growing up in poverty who marries two black men and has twelve children, all of whom she puts through college by her own sheer will.

I had wanted to read this book for years. I caught an interview with McBride when the hardcover came out; I was working for the UGA library when it arrived, so I set is aside. I never got the opportunity to read it, however, and had to send it along. Years later, I find the paperback. This is a very good, very fascinating story; chapters alterate from McBride's point of view to his mother's, and I found it especially interesting since much of McBride's mother's childhood was spent in Suffolk, which isn't far from here.

Journey by Danielle Steel; fiction, Dell; a woman with a history of being in abusive relationship soon discovers her picture-perfect marriage isn't all that.

Oh, but this book was terrible! I picked it up at the monthly Portsmouth Friends of the Library sale - it was on the free table. I figured, what the hell. This being a more recent book, I can tell Steel is starting to slip. My review on Amazon reads in part: Steel glosses over some scenes which would have been more interesting had she written them as they happened - like Maddy's encounters with the abuse counselor. The constant POV switching and repetitive exposition was also a headache - Steel tends to explain things she had told us in earlier chapters as if she had never written about them before. This is a shame, since abuse against woman is sort of a cause of mine. It could have been handled much better.

Gabriel's Magic Ornament by Randall Bush; children's fiction, Pristine Publishing; two children anticipating a Christmas adventure get their wishes when a magic ornament takes them to the land of the Orna folk.

Reviewed at the request of the author; it will be up on CatholicExchange.com later. This is a cute chapter book for middle readers, combining Biblical allegory and secular history of the holiday to form a nice adventure.

Shopgirl by Steve Martin; fiction, Hyperion; a bored retail clerk and a rich, older man have a brief fling.

I really wanted to like this book. I love Steve Martin. He could film a 90-minute movie where he just reads the back of a cereal box, and I'll still pay seven bucks to see it. This book...eh. There are moments of enjoyable, dry Martin wit, but overall I just didn't find anything endearing about the book. I wasn't too crazy about the main characters, who came off as superficial an unsympathetic. Of course, that might have been the point Martin was trying to make. Maybe the movie will be better.

Books Read, March 2003

Battle Cry by Glenda Finkelstein; science fiction, IUniverse; a futuristic tale involving a civilization unable to die seeking the release of death, torturing another race of people until they are satisfied.

I reviewed this title for the Florida Writers Association newsletter. The premise of the book is intriguing, yet I had difficulty getting through the book. It read to me as if it needed another round of editing. Anyway, full review is available at the FWA site.

The Shattering Sword by Forrest Taylor; fantasy, Xlibris; a crumbling civilization, awaiting a prophecy to be fulfilled, prepares to revolt against a corrupt ruler.

This is another FWA review, available on their site. This one I found more interesting and better paces than Battle Cry; it is darker and the author does a good job of setting the mood through the action and characters.

Wicked Stop, Georgia by Zane Smith; thriller, publisher unknown; an unsuspecting family on vacation is directed to an out of the way hotel in Georgia and abducted, to be sold through an international slavery ring.

This book, I believe, is not yet published. An advance review was done by request. The premise was interesting, though some parts of the book tended to linger too much on expository information that didn't necessarily move the action. A few characters came off as irritating, but I can't imagine anybody who runs a sex slave ring wouldn't be at one time or another.

Books Read, February 2003

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow; science fiction, free eBook download; in the future, death is obsolete and people are classified according to the amount of "whuffie" they can obtain; one man's dream life living at Disney World is threatened when various factions conspired to take over his beloved Haunted Mansion.

Who can resist the temptation of a free book, electronic or otherwise? I offer one myself for your reading pleasure. Being that I am ready to dabble in composing science fiction, it makes sense to read more, so when I heard Doctorow had released a free version of his book to coincide with the print release I took him up on the offer. My full review is available via Blether.

Leah's Way by Richard Botelho; inspirational fiction; the story of a young woman from Tennessee who marries a promising athlete, only to see her life spiral downward into poverty and self-hatred.

I read this book at the request of the author, for the purpose of supplying a back cover quote. I don't know if the book has been published yet; last I heard it was under contract.

Niamh and the Hermit by Emily Snyder; fantasy, Arx Publishing; a princess so beautiful men cannot look upon her and live is betrothed to marry a mysterious hermit whose looks are the complete opposite; the union is threatened, however, when one of the king's most trusted men plots against the kingdom.

I supplied a back cover quote for this one, too. A full review is available from Catholic/Christian Book Reviews.

Books Read, January 2003

Coming Home to Mercy Street by Nancy Arant Williams; inspirational fiction, Wings ePress; a young woman takes a break from her job and apartment to help a relative establish a halfway home for teen girls, and along the way finds the experience helps her more than it does the charges.

This book was read for an advanced author review.

The Island by Andrea Crisp; thriller, Wings ePress; a futuristic story in which people with terminal illnesses are sent to a remote island for care; one patient discovers upon arrival that the situation on the island is very dire, and a power struggle among the inhabitants ensues.

A Room With a View by EM Forster. This book is listed among Modern Library's 100 Greatest Novels of the 20th Century. I had seen the movie many years ago and enjoyed it, and the memories of the film helped my enjoyment of the book, made it that more vivid. Not that Forster does not evoke those kinds of feelings anyway. It had been a while since I had read Howard's End, and I admit I enjoyed this book more; the action moved at a more suitable pace for me.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Books Read, 1999

  • Imzadi II: Triangle - Peter David

  • Stealing Jesus - Bruce Bawer

  • Edith Stein: A Biography - Waltraud Herbstrith

  • You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again - Julia Phillips

  • Lewis and Me and Skipper Makes Three - Ludlow Porch

  • Death of an Angel - Sister Carol Anne O'Marie

  • N is for Noose - Sue Grafton

  • How to Tame a Wild Bore - Kathy Grizzard Schmook

  • MASH Goes to Hollywood - Richard Hooker

  • House of Gold - Bud MacFarlane, Jr.

  • A Sudden Death at the Norfolk Cafe - Winona Sullivan

  • Cat on the Scent - Rita Mae Brown

  • Dead South - Winona Sullivan

  • Where We Got the Bible - Henry Graham

  • A Catholic Guide to the Bible - Oscar Lukefahr

  • Questionable Remains - Beverly Connor

  • La Popessa - Paul I. Murphy

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - JK Rowling

  • Loose Lips - Rita Mae Brown

  • The Catechism Handbook - Oscar Lukefahr

  • A Vow of Sanctity - Veronica Black

  • Copy Kat - Karen Kijewski

  • Death's a Beath - Winona Sullivan

  • Wild Kat - Karen Kijewski

  • Malice in Maggody - Joan Hess

  • Still Hungry After All These Years - Richard Simmons

  • Play it Again, Spam - Tamar Myers

  • Beowulf

  • Skeleton Crew - Beverly Connor

Books Read, 2000

  • Big Trouble - Dave Barry

  • Hollywood Anecdotes - Paul F. Boller

  • I Just Kept Hoping - Gloria Stuart

  • *The Devil's Rood - The US Five

  • Outfoxed - Rita Mae Brown

  • Going Nowhere Fast - Gar Haywood

  • Dead on My Feet - Lynn Wingert

  • At Home in Mitford - Jan Karon

  • A Light in the Window - Jan Karon

  • These High Green Hills - Jan Karon

  • Permed to Death - Nancy J. Cohen

  • Out Caanan - Jan Karon

  • A New Song - Jan Karon

  • A Pedigree to Die For - Laurien Berenson

  • Footprints in the Butter - Denise Dietz

  • Hot Toddy - Andy Edmonds

  • murder@maggody.com - Joan Hess

  • Cover-Up Story - Marian Babson

  • Sick Puppy - Carl Hiaasen

  • Pawing Through the Past - Rita Mae Brown

  • Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

  • Bad News Travels Fast - Gar Haywood

  • *The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love - Oscar Hijuelos (Pulitzer)

  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - JK Rowling

  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - JK Rowling

  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - JK Rowling

  • Dog Eat Dog - Laurien Berenson

  • Hair of the Dog - Laurien Berenson

  • Auntie Mame - Patrick Dennis

  • *BJ - Kimile Aczon

  • Saving Death - Winona Sullivan

  • Soul of the Vampire - Minda Samiels

  • *Flowers in the Attic - VC Andrews

  • One for the Money - Janet Evanovich

  • Petals on the Wind - VC Andrews

  • Death on a Silver Tray - Rosemary Stevens

  • If There Be Thorns - VC Andrews

  • Chutes and Adders - Barbara Block

  • Surprised by Truth 2 - Patrick Madrid

  • Watchdog - Laurien Berenson

  • Blessed Miguel Pro - Ann Ball

  • Unleashed - Laurien Berenson

  • Catholic Martyrs of the 20th Century - Robert Royal

  • A Philadelphia Catholic in King James's Court - Martin Kennedy

  • Two for the Dough - Janet Evanovich

  • Three to Get Deady - Janet Evanovich

  • Seeds of Yesterday - VC Andrews

  • Seven Sisters - Earlene Fowler

  • Murder at the Vicarage - Agatha Christie

  • Four to Score - Janet Evanovich

  • The Shipping News - E. Annie Proulx (Pulitzer)

  • Hot Six - Janet Evanovich

  • Going Out in Style - Chloe Green

  • The Usual Suspects - Karl Keating

  • Airtight Case - Beverly Connor

Books Read, 2001

  • High Five - Janet Evanovich

  • The Stone Diaries - Carol Shields (Pulitzer)

  • Hannibal - Thomas Harris

  • Hair Raiser - Nancy J. Cohen

  • Behold, a Mystery! - Joan Smith

  • There We Stood, Here We Stand - Tim Drake

  • Family Skeletons - Rett MacPherson

  • The Last Suppers - Diane Mott Davidson

  • The Outlier - RJ Stanton

  • Being There - Jerzy Kosinski

  • A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole (Pulitzer)

  • Sophie's Choice - William Styron (100 Books)

  • Toujours Dead - Susan Kiernan-Lewis

  • Pope Fiction - Patrick Madrid

  • Altar Music - Christin Loreweber

  • Prodigal Daughters - Donna Steichen

  • Fear of Frying - Jill Churchill

  • The Deadly Habit - Mike Manno

  • Shattered - Dick Francis

  • A Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter Miller

  • P is for Peril - Sue Grafton

  • Love Sick - Sue William Silverman

  • Secret Ties - SJ Graves

  • Spittin' Image - Margaret and Lee

  • Leap of Faith - Danielle Steel

  • Designed to Die - Chloe Green

  • The Redemption of Sarah Cain - Beverly Lewis

  • Fabric of Faith - Nancy Brandt

  • After She's Gone - Bill Hartzell

  • Blood on the Moon - James Ellroy

  • A Common Life - Jan Karon

  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles - Agatha Christie

  • White Death - Tony B Burch

  • In St. Patrick's Custody - Janet Elaine Smith

  • Recipe for Murder - Janet Elaine Smith

  • Secret Adversary - Agatha Christie

  • Another Chance in Time - Tiedra Lee

  • Once Bitten - Laurien Berenson

  • The Bonesetter's Daughter - Amy Tan

  • Aunt Dimity's Death - Nancy Atherton

  • A Season for Love - Lauralee Bliss

  • Sea of Hope - Penelope Marzec

  • Seven Up - Janet Evanovich

  • The Powder Monkey - George Galloway

  • Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion - Dr. Theresa Burke

  • Twice Dead - Elizabeth Dearl

  • Privacy - Gini Wilson

  • Storms of the Heart - Cheryl Norman

  • Graverobbers Wanted: No Experience Necessary - Jeff Strand

  • Sister Carrie - Theodore Dreiser (100 Books)

Books Read, 2002

  • Washed Up - Lynn Wingert

  • To Live Again - Lauralee Bliss

  • Fellowship of the Ring - JRR Tolkien

  • Dream of Fire - Nicholas Prata

  • Suspicious Minds - Kim Cox

  • Change of Heart - Jack Allen

  • Exile - Kevin Paglia

  • The Chocolate Cat Caper - JoAnna Carl

  • Six Strokes Under - Roberta Isleib

  • The View from the Grass Roots - Greg Rummo

  • More Than a Garden - Dorothy Compton

  • Journey Into Terror - Anne K. Edwards

  • Death Comes Knocking - Anne K. Edwards

  • The Mask of Ollock - Robert Kaufman

  • Eternity - Staci Stallings

  • The Two Towers - JRR Tolkien

  • Love Thy Sister - Maria Swan

  • Father's Touch - Donald D'Haene

  • Radiant Sword - Lee Boschen

  • Rogue's Hostage - Linda McLaughlin

  • The Quest for Gillian's Heart - Catherine Snodgrass

  • Blood in My Hairspray - Steven Schriebman

  • An Undeniable Rogue - Annette Blair

  • The Passionate Steward - Michael O'Hurley Pitts

  • Dangerous Attraction - Susan Vaughn

  • Trapdoor - Ariana Overton

  • A Trade Wind Season - Kathleen Mix

  • The Marshall's Destiny - CH Admirand (signed copy)

  • The Anonymous Amanuensis - Judith Glad

  • Exiled Treasure - Belinda Palmer

  • Beguiling Dreams - Fred Stemme

  • Whiteout - JL Abbot

  • Selena's Seduction - Jewelann Butler

  • Tangled Passion - Jewelann Butler

  • Shadows of the Eclipse - Bonnie Napoli

  • The $1100 Treasure - Hank Valon

  • Godcountry - Colleen Drippe

  • Net Crimes and Misdemeanors - JA Hitchcock

  • Seed of the Dogwood Tree - Greg Cicio

  • The Fractal Murders - Mark Cohen

  • Dice Angel - Brian Rouff

  • Sonnets From Matthew - David Craig

  • Collateral Damage - Austin S. Camacho

  • The Bride's Rescuer - Charlotte Douglas

  • Memories of Megan - Rita Herron

  • My Name is Mary - Denise Sawyer

Books Read, 1998

  • *The Last Party - Anthony Haden-Guest

  • First Love and Look For My Obituary - Elena Garro

  • Nun-Plussed - Monica Quill

  • *Eat Me - Linda Jaivin

  • The Gift of Stern Angels - Michael Moriarty

  • The Uniformity of God's Will - St. Alphonsus de Ligouri

  • No Greater Love - Danielle Steel

  • How Could You Do That? - Dr. Laura Schlessinger

  • Malice - Danielle Steel

  • Charleston Ghosts - Margaret Rhett Martin

  • Kaleidoscope - Danielle Steel

  • Nerve - Dick Francis

  • Flying Finish - Dick Francis

  • Murder on the Prowl - Rita Mae Brown

  • Moses Unchained - Marilyn Moriarty

  • Rat Race - Dick Francis

  • Living at Night - Mariana Romo-Carmona

  • The Book of Mormon (year-round reading project)

  • The Runaway Jury - John Grisham

  • Catholic Answers to Fundamentalist Questions - Phillip St. Romain

  • Memnoch the Devil - Anne Rice

  • The Mummy - Anne Rice

  • For Kicks - Dick Francis

  • *Southern Discomfort - Rita Mae Brown

  • Pierced By a Sword - Bud MacFarlane, Jr.

  • Sweet Secrets: Stories of Menstruation - Kath O'Grady and Paula Wansbrough

  • The Story of a Soul - St. Therese of Lisieux

  • Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot - Al Franken

  • Listening With My Heart - Heather Whitestone

  • Conceived Without Sin - Bud MacFarlane, Jr.

  • The Hot Zone - Richard Preston

  • Dr. Atkins's Diet Revolution - Dr. Robert Atkins

  • Strong Women Stay Slim - Miriam Nelson

  • Secret Formula - Rick Allen (signed copy)

  • What Falls Away - Mia Farrow

  • Not a Blessed Thing - Monica Quill

  • Into the Forest - Jean Hegland

  • Now and Forever - Danielle Steel

  • The Ghost - Danielle Steel

  • Lucky You - Carl Hiaasen

  • What Catholics Really Believe - Karl Keating

  • The Black Dahlia - James Ellroy (signed copy)

  • My Dark Places - James Ellroy (signed copy)

  • Edith the Good - Spencer Marsh

  • Rebuking the New World Order - Roger Thibault (signed copy)

  • Rome Sweet Rome - Scott and Kimberly Hahn

  • Practicing Catholic - Penelope Ryan

  • Man of the Century: Life and Times of Pope John Paul II - Jonathan Kwitny

  • Dorothy Dandridge - Donald Bogle

Books Read, 1997

  • The Hundred Secret Senses - Amy Tan

  • Shattered: in the Eye of the Storm - Faye Resnick

  • Evita: First Lady - John Barnes

  • Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

  • Catholicism and Fundamentalism - Karl Keating

  • Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

  • Saved By the Light - Dannion Brinkley

  • Still Can't Keep a Straight Face - Ellen Orleans

  • Mansfield Park - Jane Austen

  • Nearly Roadkill - Caitlin Sullivan and Kate Bornstein

  • The Awakening Heart - Betty J. Eadie

  • Deadline for Murder - Val McDermid

  • Worlds of Women anthology

  • Hunger's Table - Margaret Randall

  • Secret Ceremonies - Deborah Laake

  • Writers.net - Gary Gach

  • Voyeur - Michael Moriarty (signed copy)

  • Judy - Frank Gerold

  • Visions of Reality: What Fundamentalist Schools Teach - Albert Menendez

  • Threads of Experience - Deidre Scherer and Sandra Martz

  • Interior Castle - St. Teresa of Avila

  • Crossing the Threshhold of Hope - Pope John Paul II

  • Sandy Dennis: a Personal Memoir - Sandy Dennis

  • Angry Catholic Women - Andrew Greeley and Mary Durkin

  • Who in Hell? A Guide to the Whole Damned Bunch - Sean Kelly and Rosemary Rogers

  • *Forbidden Lovers - Axel Madsen

  • The Bible (year-round reading project)

  • Enter Whining - Fran Drescher

  • If You Had a Family - Barbara Wilson

  • The Stars, The Earth, The River - Le Minh Khue

  • Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism - John Shelby Spong

  • Full Christianity - Richard Chilson

  • The Activist's Daughter - Ellen Bache

  • The Life of Teresa of Jesus - St. Teresa of Avila

  • Wired Women - Lynn Chern and Elizabeth R. Weise

  • The Way of Perfection - St. Teresa of Avila

  • The Incorruptibles - Joan Carroll Cruz

  • Ascent of Mt. Carmel - St. John of the Cross

  • Making Saints - Kennth L. Woodward

  • There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays - Sandra Haldeman Martz

  • Shattered Faith - Sheila Rauch Kennedy

  • My Story - Sarah, Duchess of York

  • Beat Up a Cookie - Denise Dietz

  • A Rumor of Bones - Beverly Connor

  • An Ugly Little Secret - Anti-Catholicism in North America - Andrew Greeley

  • Seven Years in Tibet - Heinrich Harrer

  • Ivory Tower - Elliott Pearson

  • The Eros of Everyday Life - Susan Griffin

  • Giving Away Simone - Jan L. Waldron

  • Bogart - Ann Sperber and Eric Lax

  • Ungodly Rage - Donna Steichen

  • Contact - Carl Sagan

  • Rita Will - Rita Mae Brown

  • 10lb Penalty - Dick Francis

Books Read, 1996

  • Eating Our Hearts Out - Leslea Newman

  • The Princes in the Tower - Alison Weir

  • Riding Shotgun - Rita Mae Brown (signed copy)

  • Torment - JA Hitchcock and Clyde Rathbone

  • Pay Dirt - Rita Mae Brown

  • Time Will Tell - Jamina Marcus

  • Agamenon - Aeschylus

  • Prometheus Bound - Aeschylus

  • Oedipus the King - Sophocles

  • Antigone - Sophocles

  • Neanderthal - John Darnton

  • Ordeal - Linda Lovelace

  • Out of Bondage - Linda Lovelace

  • Confessions of the Guerrilla Girls

  • Windswept - Magdalena Zschokke

  • Stormy Weather - Carl Hiaasen

  • The Butches of Madison County - Ellen Orleans

  • The Ghosts of Okinawa - JA Hitchcock (signed copy)

  • Over My Dead Body! - Freda Carley

  • Herotica 4 Anthology

  • Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You - Sue William Silverman

  • Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives - Dr. Laura Schlessinger

  • The Stepford Wives - Ira Levin

  • Murder, She Meowed - Rita Mae Brown

  • Angel Country - Ria Biley

  • Fatima: the Great Sign - Francis Johnston

  • The Well-Heeled Murders - Cherry Hartman

  • To the Hilt - Dick Francis

  • M is for Malice - Sue Grafton

Books Read, 1995

  • In Her Day - Rita Mae Brown

  • The Liar - Stephen Fry

  • Accident - Danielle Steel

  • Food - Susan Powter

  • Vanished - Danielle Steel

  • Forrest Gump - Winston Groom

  • Embraced by the Light - Betty J. Eadie

  • Rest in Pieces - Rita Mae Brown

  • Beyond the Darkness - Angie Fenimore

  • Lessons from the Light - Sandi Rogers

  • Tales of the City - Armistead Maupin

  • Star - Danielle Steel

  • More Tales of the City - Armistead Maupin

  • Banker - Dick Francis

  • Further Tales of the City - Armistead Maupin

  • Babycakes - Armistead Maupin

  • Significant Others - Armistead Maupin

  • Sure of You - Armistead Maupin

  • High Stakes - Dick Francis

  • Every Woman's Dream - Leslea Newman

  • Beyond All Reason - My Life with Susan Smith - David Smith

  • Stone Butch Blues - Leslie Feinberg

  • Politically Correct Bedtime Stories - James Finn Garner

  • Wish You Were Here - Rita Mae Brown

  • Knockdown - Dick Francis

  • L is for Lawless - Sue Grafton (signed copy)

  • Beginnings - Kenneth Branagh

  • My Life in High Heels - Loni Anderson

  • Murder at Monticello - Rita Mae Brown (signed copy)

  • Daddy - Danielle Steel

  • Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

  • Nicole Brown Simpson - Faye Resnick

  • The Country Waif - George Sand

  • Let Me Call You Sweetheart - Mary Higgins Clark

  • The Gift - Danielle Steel

  • Come to Grief - Dick Francis

Books Read, 1994

  • I Took a Lickin' and Kept on Tickin' - Lewis Grizzard

  • Decider - Dick Francis

  • Driving Force - Dick Francis

  • The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

  • Proof - Dick Francis

  • The Feast of All Saints - Anne Rice

  • *The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty - Anne Rice

  • Whip Hand - Dick Francis

  • *Beauty's Punishment - Anne Rice

  • Tourist Season - Carl Hiaasen

  • Double Whammy - Carl Hiaasen

  • Delusions of Grandma - Carrie Fisher

  • Stop the Insanity! - Susan Powter

  • The Tao of Pooh - Benjamin Hoff

  • K is for Killer - Sue Grafton

  • Strip Tease- Carl Hiaasen

  • Star Wars: The Courtship of Princess Leia - Dave Wolverton

  • Native Tongue - Carl Hiaasen

  • Q-Squared - Peter David

  • The First Wives Club - Olivia Goldsmith

  • Cruel Sacrifice - Aphrodite Jones

  • The Color Purple - Alice Walker (Pulitzer)

  • Zoya - Danielle Steel

  • Mixed Blessings - Danielle Steel

  • Claire of the Moon - Nicole Conn

  • After All These Years - Susan Isaacs

  • Flavor of the Month - Olivia Goldsmith

  • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt (signed copy)

  • Trial Run - Dick Francis

  • All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Watching Star Trek - David Marinaccio

  • The Last Bus to Albuquerque - Lewis Grizzard

  • Wild Horses - Dick Francis

  • Venus Envy - Rita Mae Brown

  • Mythology - Edith Hamilton

  • Six of One - Rita Mae Brown

  • Bingo - Rita Mae Brown

  • Sudden Death - Rita Mae Brown

  • Rubyfruit Jungle - Rita Mae Brown

Books Read, 1993

  • Tales From Margaritaville - Jimmy Buffett

  • The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • The Power of Judyism - Judy Tenuta (signed copy)

  • Dave Barry Slept Here - Dave Barry

  • Music for Chamaleons - Truman Capote

  • The Enchanted April - Elizabeth von Arnim

  • Loves Music, Loves to Dance - Mary Higgins Clark

  • The Danger - Dick Francis

  • The Client - John Grisham

  • Howard's End - EM Forster (100 Books)

  • Q-in-Law - Peter David

  • A Time to Kill - John Grisham

  • Othello - William Shakespeare

  • Lucy & Desi - Warren G. Harris

  • Quantum Leap: Too Close for Comfort - Ashley McConnell

  • J is for Judgment - Sue Grafton

  • Star Wars: Heir to the Empire - Timothy Zahn

  • Star Wars: Dark Force Rising - Timothy Zahn

  • Star Wars: The Last Command - Timothy Zahn

  • The Edge - Dick Francis

  • Imzadi - Peter David

  • Bolt - Dick Francis

  • Hot Money - Dick Francis

  • Break In - Dick Francis

  • The Bridges of Madison County - Robert James Waller

  • Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell is This? - Marion Meade

  • Starfleet Academy #1: Worf's First Adventure - Peter David

  • Straight - Dick Francis

  • Belinda - Anne Rice

  • Cry to Heaven - Anne Rice

  • The Witching Hour - Anne Rice

  • Like Water for Chocolate - Laura Esquivel

  • ...And Ladies of the Club - Helen Hooven Santmyer

  • Seinlanguage - Jerry Seinfeld

  • Live from Golgotha - Gore Vidal

  • All Around the Town - Mary Higgins Clark

  • Longshot - Dick Francis

  • How Right You Are, Jeeves - PG Wodehouse

  • Twice Shy - Dick Francis

  • Comeback - Dick Francis

  • Wanderlust - Danielle Steel

  • Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves - PG Wodehouse

  • Jeeves and the Tie That Binds - PG Wodehouse

  • The Mating Season - PG Wodehouse

  • The Sport of Queens - Dick Francis

Books Read, 1992

  • Needful Things - Stephen King

  • Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe - Fannie Flagg

  • Once is Not Enough - Jacqueline Susann

  • The Joy Luck Club - Amy Tan

  • Lovely Me - Barbara Seaman

  • The Love Machine - Jacqueline Susann

  • Red Dragon - Thomas Harris

  • The Silence of the Lambs - Thomas Harris

  • Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man - Fannie Flagg

  • The Optimist's Daughter - Eudora Welty (Pulitzer)

  • When My Love Returns from the Ladies' Room, Will I be Too Old to Care? - Lewis Grizzard

  • Dance with the Devil - Kirk Douglas

  • Audrey Rose - Frank DeFillita

  • Growing Up Brady - Barry Williams

  • The Pelican Brief - John Grisham

  • Yargo - Jacqueline Susann

  • The Kitchen God's Wife - Amy Tan

  • The Firm - John Grisham

  • Where is Joe Merchant? - Jimmy Buffett

  • Jazz - Toni Morrison

  • The Tale of the Body Thief - Anne Rice

  • I Haven't Understood Anything Since 1962 - Lewis Grizzard (signed copy)

  • Quantum Leap: the Novel - Ashley McConnell

  • The Visit - Friedrich Durrenmatt

  • The Clan of the Cave Bear - Jean Auel

  • The Valley of Horses - Jean Auel

  • The Mammoth Hunters - Jean Auel

  • A is for Alibi - Sue Grafton

  • B is for Burglar - Sue Grafton

  • C is for Corpse - Sue Grafton

  • D is for Deadbeat - Sue Grafton

  • E is for Evidence - Sue Grafton

  • F is for Fugitive - Sue Grafton

  • G is for Gumshoe - Sue Grafton

  • H is for Homicide - Sue Grafton

  • I is for Innocent - Sue Grafton

Books Read, 1991

  • Firestarter - Stephen King

  • Carrie - Stephen King

  • The Witches of Eastwick - John Updike

  • Chaos Clear as Glass - Ann Hyman (signed copy)

  • Texasville - Larry McMurtry

  • What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw! - Agatha Christie

  • Fiction Writer's Handbook - H&W Burnett

  • Valley of the Dolls - Jacqueline Susann

  • Surrender the Pink - Carrie Fisher

  • The Alfred Hitchcock Album - M. Haley

  • By the Pricking of My Thumbs - Agatha Christie

  • If I Ever Get Back to Georgia, I'm Going to Nail My Feet to the Ground - Lewis Grizzard

  • Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell (Pulitzer)

  • You Can't Put No Boogie Woogie on the King of Rock and Roll - Lewis Grizzard (signed copy)

  • Dolores - Jacqueline Susann

  • Scarlett - Alexandra Ripley