Category Archives: Cindy P.

Welcome to Hard Times by E.L. Doctorow

Welcome to Hard Times by E. L. Doctorow (1960)
If you’ve read Doctorow’s recent novels, you may want to go back and read his first novel Welcome to Hard Times. If you like westerns, you’ll enjoy this book. The story is set in a Dakota mining town and recounts the lives of people going west to find their fortunes. The hard times of western towns is portrayed though the characters’ personalities and  and past experiences. The plot is suspenseful and the ending completes the circle from the beginning of the story. You’ll especially enjoy Doctorow’s wonderful words describing the scenes and people throughout the story.

Visit the author’s website and read a  New York Times review.

Reading with Oprah by Kathleen Rooney

Reading with Oprah: The Book Club that Changed America by Kathleen Rooney (2007)
The author Kathleen Rooney worked at Anderson’s Bookstore in Naperville. The author’s experience of customers flocking into the store for each Oprah Book Club (OBC) selection led to the book’s title. Whether you have read some or none  of the Oprah’s Book Club titles, the author’s discussion of this book selling phenomenon is very interesting. From Rooney’s personal experience and her extensive research of the OBC, she explores Oprah’s Book Club cultural impact of getting people to buy & read books or even for the first time! Regardless of your opinion of the OBC, you’ll like the book for revealing the 21st century impact of the OBC.

Rooney interviewed authors of the OBC selections who gave interesting opinions about the Club. Readers will like Rooney’s perspective on the OBC selected books she liked and didn’t like.

Visit the publisher’s website to learn more about this book and author.

The Women by T.C. Boyle

The Women by T. C. Boyle (2009)
T. C. Boyle is an easy-to-read, interesting author who writes accurate historical fiction. This story about the women in the life of Frank Lloyd Wright is a realistic read. Anyone who knows Wright’s architectural background will truly enjoy this book of his personal life. If you don’t know or care about Wright’s life, this book is still a very interesting read about a man’s life in the years 1880s to 1950s.

Watch the video clip of the author discussing his book and read the  New York Times review.

The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly

The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly (2008)
If you’ve read Michael Connelly’s other mystery books, you’ll understand the characters from previous novels. This is the first Michael Connelly book I’ve read and it didn’t matter that I did not know the characters from his other books.

You’ll immediately think of the O.J. trial in LA. The opening line on page 3 is the book’s theme: “Everybody lies.  Cops lie. Lawyers lie. Witnesses lie. The victims lie. The trial is a contest of lies.” The book offers  interesting insights into a lawyer’s mind. The Brass Verdict has an easy writing style and is fun at the end when all the characters in the plot merge.

Check out the author’s website and read the EW.com review.

L. A. Requiem by Robert Crais

L. A. Requiem by Robert Crais (1999)
If you like a book that has flashback info about things that happened before the time of this story, you’ll like this book for that detail. If you do not like flashbacks interrupting the story you’re reading, you won’t like this book.

I enjoyed this book, which is the first by Robert Crais that I’ve read. Therefore, I wasn’t familiar with Elvis Cole and I think Crais’ readers of previous books will be happy to learn about Joe Pike through the flashbacks to know his history growing up and working at LAPD. I liked all the characters in this story regardless of their habits because the author has given each character a reason to like him/her. It was an enjoyable read and a page turner of suspense. If you’ve been to LA and Palm Springs area, you’ll relate to the places where the action takes place.

Preview the book before you visit the library and visit the author’s website.

The Green by Troon McAllister

The Green by Troon McAllister (1999)
Calling all golfers who will enjoy reading about the Ryder Cup! The author has written a humorous novel. Readers will recognize some of the PGA personalities in the book by traits that real PGA golfers on the tour possess. The novel includes golf tips as well as inside information about professional golf versus amateur golf.

This book could be made into a movie, but the people who should play the characters are deceased. In a movie of The Green, Jackie Gleason should play Eddie and Paul Newman could be Alan! The hustle of golf in this book can be compared to the game of pool!

Learn more about author and his books. Like golf? Check out our list of Fairway Fiction for more books on the topic.

African Diary by Bill Bryson

African Diary by Bill Bryson (2002)
A small book to get a quick insight into Africa. Bryson writes with his usual humor about traveling through Africa and what his preconception of Africa was before his trip.

Bill Bryson’s story about Africa contains wonderful pictures and explanations of the continent. The profits of the book go to CARE to benefit African people.

Check out the official Bill Bryson website and read reviews on Amazon.com.

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (1929)
Originally published in 1929, the title was republished in 1991 with a corrected text. One cannot call this a fast read due to the lengthy prose and “Southern English” writing. If a person wants to know about Mississippi classes of society and the prejudices of people, this is the book for you!

The pre-civil war race relations of slavery, the anti-Yankee attitudes and the Southern lifestyle are detailed in the lives of the Compson family. Each family member serves the purpose of telling the story about a wealthy Mississippi family’s fall into poverty after the Civil War due to poor choices and fate. This book has literary value over enjoyable reading. People who like Faulkner probably read this book over and over, but I think once is enough.

Discover more about this Nobel Prize author’s works, read more about his life, and see what Amazon.com has to say.

Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas Friedman

Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas Friedman (2008)
Friedman discusses the past 40 years of world energy use. This book will help you understand the need for clean energy even if you don’t care about the issue.

The author explains the history of the Middle East oil regulation. Most importantly, you’ll be shocked by the energy use that will be required by the exploding populations of China and India.

Enjoy learning about energy in an informative way. I was surprised that this was not a boring book and was a fast way to understand energy for the future.

Watch Friedman discuss his book.