Thursday, December 20, 2012

Winter Break Reads

I am planning on getting a lot of reading done over Winter Break while in Jamaica.

Book Description
Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.

Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own—between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.

Award-winning author William Landay has written the consummate novel of an embattled family in crisis—a suspenseful, character-driven mystery that is also a spellbinding tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying speed at which our lives can spin out of control.

Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants, the first novel in his extraordinary new historical epic, The Century Trilogy, was an international sensation, acclaimed as “sweeping and fascinating, a book that will consume you for days or weeks” (USA Today) and “grippingly told and readable to the end” (The New York Times Book Review). “If the next two volumes are as lively and entertaining as Fall of Giants,” said The Washington Post, “they should be well worth waiting for.”

Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families—American, German, Russian, English, Welsh—enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs.

Elliot Rosenzweig, a wealthy Chicago philanthropist, is attending opening night at the opera.  Ben Solomon, a retired Polish immigrant, makes his way through the crowd and shoves a gun in Rosenzweig's face, denouncing him as former SS officer, Otto Piatek.   Solomon is blind-sided, knocked to the floor and taken away.  Rosenzweig uses his enormous influence to get Solomon released from jail, but Solomon commences a relentless pursuit to bring Rosenzweig before the courts to answer for war crimes.  Solomon finds a young attorney, Catherine Lockhart, to whom he recounts his family's struggles and heroisms during the war, revealing to her that he and Piatek grew up as brothers in the same household.  
Once We Were Brothers is a contemporary legal thriller and a poignant look back into the lives of small town Poland during World War II.  

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl is the current "it" book right now. Everyone is talking about it and reading it. I had to read it as well. From the first page I was hooked. The book is a thriller dealing with a missing Wife and a Husband who appearts guilty. Everyone knows the Husband always did it, right? This was quite a page turner and I couldn't wait to get through and find out who did it! I highly recommend this read for Adults. As for the students it has mature language and violence.

Book Review
Marriage can be a real killer.
   One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.
   On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
   As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
   With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

I have been a fan of Mitch Albom's since the beginning. When I heard he had a new book out I immediately ordered it for the Library. I brought it home last weekend and finished the book within the hour. I truly enjoyed this book. In typical Albom fashion,  he wrote a short, sweet novel that makes you think about life. The Time Keeper is about the beginning of time, or father time to be exact and how the world has changed so much since the invention of keeping track of time. We move to the present time and meet two characters. One fighting for more time and one who wishes time would speed up. It is up to Dor or Father time to educate both people on the meaning of time. I thought it was a lovely read and recommend it to all.

“The Time Keeper” attempts to discover what people would change if they could control time. Albom focuses on the origin of Father Time and how he must return to Earth to save an old man and a teenage girl.
The character Dor becomes “Father Time” after he creates the first ways to measure time. Dor is banished into a cave to be bombarded with all of Earth’s pleas about time – to get more, to stop, to slow down…
Two particular characters stand out from the din – Sarah Lemon, a seventeen-year-old with way too many problems, and Victor Delamonte, a man dying from cancer who also happens to be the fourteenth-richest man in the world.

Super Freakonomics Steven Levitt & Steven Dubner

I loved Freakonomics and I was very excited to read Super Freakonomics. I have to say I was very disappointed in the follow up to the best seller.  
But perhaps the best example of incentives colliding with unintended consequences is, well... Super Freakonomics. The original Freakonomics  --  a bestselling, entertaining work published in 2005 by the duo of famed economist Steven Levitt and journalist Stephen Dubner --  did a grand job popularizing economic analysis and convincing people that enough economists armed with enough data could not only solve most of the world's problems, but be wry and interesting along the way. Freakonomics was followed by a rush of economists-explain-it-all books, including Tim Harford's Undercover Economist, Tyler Cowen's Discover Your Inner Economist, and Robert Frank's Economic Naturalist.

Seriously, I'm kidding by Ellen Degeneres

I bought this book for the Library a year ago. I have been waiting to read the book, but it was always checked out. I finally got my chance and I was so excited to read this book. What a let down. Degeneres spends the whole time just blabbing about nothing. There were no funny, haha moments. No insight into her life as a talk show host, wife, celebrity. She simply talks about nothing, and not the good kind of nothing like Seinfeld. I honestly didn't even finish the book because it was such a waste of time. My recommendation is to skip this one anc check out Bossypants by Tina Fey or Is Everyone Hanging out Without me by Mindy Kaling.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

We read this book for Book Club and the students really enjoyed the book. I found it frustrating at times because I just wanted to know the answers.

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?