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all content 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
Suburban Island


'And what is the use of a book,' thought Alice 'without pictures or conversation?'

Just Finished...

Martyrs of the ColiseumThe Martyrs of the Coliseum: or Historical Records of the Great Amphitheater of Ancient Rome by Father A.J.O'Reilly
Suburban Island View - SHARE - Written in 1874, this is a fascinating view of Rome and its intersection with Christianity. It was a perfect Lenten read and it really did make me understand how much we in modern America take our freedom of worship for granted.

Plum GirlPlum Girl by Jill Winters
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - The clever twists and turns of this murder mystery/romance set in a law firm turned out to be a fun, fascinating read.

The Full Cupboard of LifeThe Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith
Suburban Island View - KEEPER -I am in love with this wonderful series.

The Chocolate Puppy PuzzleThe Chocolate Puppy Puzzle by JoAnna Carl
Suburban Island View - SHARE IT - A light frothy bon-bon of a mystery.

For Matrimonial PurposesFor Matrimonial Purposes by Kavita Daswani
Suburban Island View - SHARE - This is the second of Daswani's novels that I've dug into in the last year. This story of an young Indian woman with a mind to marry and with a foot in two worlds - East and West - made for interesting read and provided a little different perspective on love and marriage.

Odd ThomasOdd Thomas by Dean Koontz
Suburban Island View - SHARE - This was a first Dean Koontz novel for me. I was very impressed. Odd Thomas is an odd book that kept me turning the pages and burning the midnight oil until the last page was read. It's spooky, sad, romantic, and surprising.

EleganceElegance by Genevieve Antoine Dariaux
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - I have learned from this book that I will never be elegant but all is not lost. After reading this little volume through, I realized that I don't really have what it takes to swell the ranks of the truly elegant and that's okay - I don't believe I have the energy or fashion fastidiousness to do so. I did find this book a fascinating peak into the trials and tribulations of the elegant woman and picked up a few handy tips along the way. A great chaser to Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro.

Cadillac BeachCadillac Beach by Tim Dorsey
Suburban Island View - SHARE - Hang on for a wild ride. You might like it, you might not but the tangled web Dorsey weaves will make it hard for you to put down this book before it all sorts itself out at the very last page.

The Anxiety of Everyday ObjectsThe Anxiety of Everyday Objects by Aurelie Sheehan
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - This story got more and more intriguing the more I turned the pages. This one crept up on me. Well written with a clever viewpoint this story didn't disappoint.

The Christmas TrainThe Christmas Train by David Baldacci
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - After a disappointing first attempt at Christmas reading with the holiday romance compendium - Jingle All the Way, it was with some trepidation that I gave it another shot with this title. I was pleasantly surprised however by this book. I liked taking a train ride across the U.S. for the holidays and I enjoyed the story being wound around the trip. It has in fact inspired me to consider taking the train the next time I have to do some traveling - except for that thing about the avalanche. An entertaining holiday read.


Bet Me A Royal Duty Lost in a Good Book A Proomising Man Bare Necessity Why Girls Are Wierd The Piano Shop Goof Under the Duvet City Chic Pure Drivel


Paris to the Moon Satellite Sisters

2004 READS

Jingle All The WayJingle All The Way by Fern Michaels, Linda Lael Miller, Theresa Alan, Jane Blackwood
Suburban Island View - PASS ON - So there I was in Walmart and the holiday music was a-blaring and I felt the need to acquire some holiday reading and there was this book with a big picture of a Christmas tree complete with gaily wrapped presents underneath. Ah, I said to myself - some holiday reading fare. If only I had read the small print on the front cover - Unwrap something sexy this holiday... Oh, woe is me - 4 stories of a romantic nature were within and not proper delightful Regency romance romps but the more modern kind or romance. I did read the book because I had not read any of these authors before and it looked like frothy. The stories were okay but not anything that put me in the holiday spirit or made me feel that my reading time was being well spent. One of the stories just seemed to trail off into an non-ending and some of the stories had a chapter of an upcoming book by the author tacked on afterwards, which was actually rather disconcerting. What I learned: read that fine print and if it says - unwrap something sexy this holiday...step away from the shelf.

The Village Bride of Beverly HillsThe Village Bride of Beverly Hills by Kavita Daswani
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - A great story, characters you can cling to, an interesting cultural perspective, and the author's believable writing style made this book a pure pleasure to read. I have another of this author's books on my stack of must-reads and I can't wait to dig in. I consider this author a delightful find.

Faking ItFaking It by Jennifer Crusie
Suburban Island View - SHARE - I think if I'd been at the beach with a big iced tea and a beach chair, I'd have settled into this book more quickly. What I liked about it was the central storyline - stealing back a series of paintings with checkerboard skies. Those checkerboard skies just sound cool. The characters are a typical Crusie lot - idiocyncratic, not always what they seem, and in the end people for whom things will get sorted out for the best. A problem I had with the novel was the amount of people - some superfluous - who populate this novel. The last straw was the dog - named Steve. Still, a Crusie novel promises a light frolic and the storyline seems always to be clever. I walked away wanting a painting with a checkerboard sky, although I'm not sure that's a reaction the author would have anticipated.

The Diary of Ellen RimbauerThe Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red edited by Joyce Reardon, Ph.D.
Suburban Island View - PASS IT ON - This fiction piece presents itself an authentic edited series of diary entries by Ellen Rimbauer, a woman who married rich, from 1907 - 1928. At least one online user review expressed confusion about this although a quick flip to the back cover will put all minds to rest, since in big letters by the ISBN number, the book is clearly classified as FICTION. I was in a mood for a good scare coming out of Halloween and this book had the potential to provide it. Although successful at points, if there was every any doubt that this book was a piece of fiction, the voice of the diarist clearly confirms it. The entries are much too modern in tone, content, and phrasing. The focus on the oft perverted sexual appetites of everyone within a stone throw of Ellen is tedious, unnecessary, and distracting. The potential for scary thrills is quickly derailed by the author's dual focus. Which is it? - one begins to think - scary house or scary sex? I think if the author had stuck with the scary house, this book would have been a much more compelling read.

The President's AngelThe President's Angel by Sophie Burnham
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - My dad gave me this book a number of years ago and being a presidential election year, it seemed the perfect time to read it. It is signed by the author which makes this copy extra cool. The author has written some fascinating books about angels. This slender little volume is a fiction offering and it was an interesting read that kept me off balance the whole way through. I just had a difficult time anticipating the author's exact direction and that mixed with a real spiritual focus made the book quite distinct.

Jonathan Strange and Mr. NorrellJonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - An initially ponderous read - it has footnotes - it felt good and heavy in my hands at 800 pages and it was a pleasure to dive into this big rich tome. It was an intriguing book that was long enough to become one of those compelling reads. Some people have called this book a Harry Potter for adults but it has a very different feel to me - more otherworldly than magical - which is kind of funny considering it's a book about magicians.

Farewell to ArmsFarewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - Why did I wait so long to read this classic? It's powerful and compelling and has helped me to get over my high school Hemingway aversion caused by our having to read - The Old Man and the Sea.

House on Mango StreetHouse on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - Perfect, poetic, and heartfelt. This is a breathtaking read.

EleganceElegance by Kathleen Tessaro
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - A wonderful read - cleverly written and with a believable set of characters and story that never takes itself so seriously that it stops being a good read and starts being ponderous. Elegance was indeed an elegant read. I was torn between compulsive page-turning and wanting to linger over this book for awhile.

Lisa Maria's Guide for the perplexedLisa Maria's Guide for the Perplexed by Susan Hubbard
Suburban Island View - PASS ON - The cover art drew my to this book like a magnet and I really liked the story concept. Unfortunately, I wasn't that wild about Lisa Maria, the kind of "household assistant" (as she coined herself) that I'd probably get stuck with if I was lucky enough to ever have such a helping hand around the house. She is also an advice columnist on the side - go figure. Although I didn't always agree with her advice or her cleaning techniques, she did have some redeeming moments. For instance, I do like her trick of spraying household cleaners about instead of actually using them - instant squeaky clean house smell and none of the work. I think that idea was worth the price of the book. Maybe Lisa Maria should write a household tips column the next time around.

Fast WomenFast Women by Jennifer Crusie
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - Perfect beach read.

Crazy for YouCrazy for You by Jennifer Crusie
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - I found a new favorite author in Jennifer Crusie. One of her books, a diet coke, and a beach chair were all that was needed to make my vacation totally relaxing.

Sloppy FirstsSloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
Suburban Island View - SHARE - I think this novel would have a lot of appeal to an under 30 readership. The whole time that I was reading it, I was thinking about how there are excellent high school diarists out there and how I often I find those diaries insightful and valuable as a parent. This novel has that feel at times and at other times I just found myself cringing a bit - it's a parent thing.

The Door in the WallThe Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - This Newbery Medal winning story has been sitting on my bookshelf for years. I recently came across it gathering dust there and decided I was in the mood for a medieval tale and this book looked promising. It's good juvenile fiction and I have often found that this kind of book has a place on the adult bookshelf. I like the message about finding the door in our walls.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - Amazing book with a great plot concept and quite a few suprises along the way. The viewpoint of the autistic 15-year old Christopher provides the reader with a fascinating perspective on life and makes the story shine. I couldn't put this book down.

Goddess for HireGoddess for Hire by Sonia Singh
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - Girl power with an Indian accent. I speed through this book because it was so hard to put down. I enjoyed the writing style and the funny twists and turns. Being a goddess sounds like fun and hard work too.

The Eyre AffairThe Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Suburban Island View - KEEPER- This book appealed to my librarian's soul. Filled with literary references, a clever story, a tough heroine (Thursday Next), time travel, and an endangered Jane Eyre, all make for a delightful and out-of-the-ordinary literary romp. I went out and bought the next book chronicling Thursday Next's adventures immediately upon completed this book.

Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imaginationby Helen Fielding
Suburban Island View - PASS ON - I wish I hadn't bought this in hardback at the airport but I had to because the image of a diver swimming about in the blue ocean of a martini glass intrigued me, and because I am a big time Bridget Jone's Diary fan. I pushed myself through this book because of the 25 bucks spent not because I loved the story. With every page I turned I felt more and more that the author was working too hard to depart from Bridget. Maybe she's tired of Bridget but frankly, I'd have rather had another volume of Bridget's exploits than this book. There's something about Bridget that is just right and speaks to the heart. When Helen writes about Bridget she writes brilliantly. I still like the martini glass thing though.

Ender's GameEnder's Game by Orson Scott Card
Suburban Island View - GLAD I READ IT- My son had to read this for high school english so I read it too. This is a book I would never have purposely chosen for myself but I found it a great sci-fi read. We're never to old for one more high school english reading assignment.

I Don't Know How She Does ItI Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson
Suburban Island View - SHARE IT - This is like candy for working moms. It's great brit chick lit - a genre of its own which I thoroughly enjoy for that different voice experiencing the same thing an ocean away. This story reminds me of the movie - Baby Boom. The issues of working mother, business woman, and those blended roles of worker, mother, wife in the modern world give writers lots of working material. I don't know how she does it all but she does. We all do.

Funny in FarsiFunny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas
Suburban Island View - SHARE IT - Did you like My Big Fat Greek Wedding? The author gives us a glimpse of America through a different cultural window. I enjoyed it and learned a few things too.

The Kalahari Typing School for MenThe Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - This is the fourth book in the No. 1 Ladies Dective Agency series and I thoroughly enjoyed it. A lovely read - the only problem I find with it is that I have to wait for the next in the series to be show up in the bookstores which should happen in Summer 2004.

Morality for Beautiful GirlsMorality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - This is the third book in the No. 1 Ladies Dective Agency series I can't stop reading these charming books.

Last CallLast Call by Laura Pedersen
Suburban Island View - PASS ON - A story of life and death, nuns and Scotsmen. The author tackles a serious subject with humor, wit, and an unusual cast of characters.

Tears of the GiraffeTears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - This second book in the No. 1 Ladies Dective Agency series has all the charm of the first. I have already gone to the bookstore and grabbed the third in the series and I can't wait to read it.

Revenge of the Middle-Aged WomanRevenge of the Middle-Aged Woman by Elizabeth Buchan
Suburban Island View - PASS IT ON - Well written tale for those of us who are not single 20-somethings. Middle-aged man leaves middle-aged wife for hot young chick. Middle-age man and hot young chick face eventual relationship disappointment. Middle-aged left-behind wife picks up the pieces and leaves them both in the dust to enjoy the fruits of their disruptive personal choices together. I think middle-aged woman is too damn understanding.

The Number 1 Ladies Detective AgencyThe Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Suburban Island View - GET THE REST OF THE SERIES - This calm little book is really about Botswana and the pace and beat of another culture through the eyes of a delightful woman who just happens to be the #1 female detective in the country due to her standing as the only woman detective in the country. Right now there are 5 books in this series and I can't wait to go out and get them so I can settle into the next story.

coverThe Women's Room by Marilyn French
Suburban Island View - LOSE IT - What a disappointment. I don't have an issue with the author's ability to write. However, her political and social agenda poison her pen and damage her creative effort. She is more concerned with her point of view than great fiction. For me at least, this made her book painful to read at many points. Her characters had to fit her message and to me proper fiction doesn't take that direction without betraying its fictional characters in the process and the reader as well.

Bread AloneBread Alone by Judith R. Hendricks
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - I liked this first novel on surviving and creating a new life after divorce. There's a big bakery theme in this book and it is interesting to see recipes woven into the story.

2003 READS

NightNight by Elie Wiesel
Suburban Island View - BACK TO SCHOOL - This was an assigned reading for my son and I read it too. There are no words to describe this powerful and horrifying personal account of the holocaust.

Holmes for the HolidaysHolmes for the Holidays
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - If you like Sherlock Holmes (I read every one of these stories when I was in high school) then you'll enjoy this book of holiday mysteries solved by Holmes and chronicled by his faithful pal, Dr. Watson.

Charles Dicken's A Christmas CarolA Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Suburban Island View - SUPER-KEEPER - Charles Dickens knocked it out of the park with this small but powerful holiday story.

coverSave Karyn by Karen Bosnak.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - This book reads like fiction but its Karyn's cautionary tale of overspending and grappling with debt. She gives some good advice and is, I think, indeed a very nice person. You can visit her at

coverLucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - It's easy to immerse myself in the enjoyable tangle of relationships that Marian Keyes novels always deliver.

coverSlave to Fashion by Rebecca Campbell.
Suburban Island View - SHARE IT - This is one of those novels that takes a character who is a bit unpleasant and reforms her through various adventures until you can't help but root for her in the end.

coverLucy's Launderette by Betsy Burke.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - With lots of fun twists and interesting developments, I found this a pleasant read that kept me flipping the pages.

coverThe Sweep of the Second Hand by Dean Monti.
Suburban Island View - SHARE IT - Rather fascinating - I felt compelled to keep on reading. Well written. A bit dark. The main character was one of those personalities that you love to read about but avoid in real life. I just wonder what happened to those bees. I'm a bit worried about the landlady too.

coverHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5) by J.K. Rowling.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - It took me a while to get on the Harry Potter bandwagon but this is a great series. Harry isn't quite as endearing in this volume however - he's grown a bit more angry about his lot in life in this volume.


coverThe Broke Diaries: The Completely True and Hilarious Misadventures of a Good Girl Gone Broke by Angela Nissel.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - could have been whiny and negative but was funny and honest. Well done and of course, loved the diary format.

coverFeeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - what I liked about this book was its youthful perspective and the fact that the entire story was told through correspondence and post-its.

coverFishbowl by Sarah Mlynowski.
Suburban Island View - PASS IT ON - A fun light read made interesting because it is written from each of the three main characters' points of view.

coverFlip-Flopped: A Novel by Jill Smolinski.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - I bought it because of my great love for flip-flops but found it to be a delightful book. Great read set in beautiful Hawaii.

cover Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - I originally avoided this book because of the title but it turned out to be a great book that underlines women learning to like themselves for who they are.

cover Milkrun by Sarah Mlynowski.
Suburban Island View - PASS IT ON - I bought it for the darling cover with the little cows and the giant martini glass filled with milk. I had just finished her other novel - Fishbowl which I think, cover art notwithstanding, is the better choice. Actually, now that I think about it, I bought Fishbowl for the cover art too.

coverShopaholic Ties the Knotby Sophie Kinsella.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - I liked her first two a bit better but this was still a fun read. Once a shopaholic fan, always a shopaholic fan.

coverTepper Isn't Going Out by Calvin Trillin.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - a little gem of a book.

coverHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2) by J. K. Rowling.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - This is one of those books I had to read just to see what all the excitment was about. I did like it but no surprises here after seeing the movie but still a good read.

coverHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) by J. K. Rowling.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - I dragged the hardback to the beach because I couldn't put it down.

coverHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4) by J. K. Rowling.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - Alright, it's darker than the first 3 books in the series but certainly good reading. How much longer can these books get?


coverA Little Help from Above by Saralee Rosenberg.
Suburban Island View - PASS IT ON - The characters in this book are just not particularly likable. If it were a great work of fiction that would be perfectly fine but for a fun light read it was a disappointment especially because I love the underlying concept of the story.

coverMadame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.
Suburban Island View - CLASSIC - A cautionary tale...

coverWhere Miracles Happen by Joan Wester Anderson.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - Who can resist a good miracle?

coverSkipping Christmas by John Grisham.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - A fun romp that highlights the pitfalls of skipping out on the holiday hoopla.

coverThe Boy Next Door by Meggin Cabot.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - Like an old 40's film. All the romance but leaves the details to your imagination. This is the author of the Princess Diaries and this is a nice switch to grown up fiction.

coverThe Frog King: A Love Story by Adam Davies.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - Fascinating.

coverShopgirl by Steve Martin.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - Short and sweet. I love Steve Martin's wit.

coverIdiot Girl's Action-Adventure Club by Laurie Notaro.
Suburban Island View - PASS IT ON - Interesting viewpoint. I guess I'm too old to totally get this approach to life but it was worth reading.

coverWatermelon by Marian Keyes.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - Big quirky family will keep you reading with a big smile.

coverJust Friends by Robyn Sisman.
Suburban Island View - KEEP IT/PASS IT ON - The adventures of opposite sex friends inherently make for interesting reading. I enjoyed this book but might be willing to hand it over to a friend.

coverMe Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - Hysterical.

coverHow to Be Good by Nick Hornby.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - Be careful what you wish for.

coverShopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - Just plain fun and who doesn't like to shop.

coverRunning in Heels by Anna Maxted.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - If you like Bridget Jones...

coverA Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - You will sob your eyes out.

coverNaked by David Sedaris.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - A bit darker than Me Talk Pretty Someday but family dynamics keep you turning the pages

coverThe Catsitters by James Wolcott.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - Clever story about friendship and how things aren't always what they seem.

coverOn the Verge by Ariella Papa.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - Just fun and young.

coverHotel Honolulu by Paul Theroux.
Suburban Island View - PASS IT ON - Fabulous writer but destroyed my illusions of beautiful Hawaii. Still, it's great reading.

coverBarrell Fever by Davis Sadaris.
Suburban Island View - PASS IT ON - This one is a bit too dark for my taste. Me Talk Pretty Someday works better for me. However, it's a fascinating piece of work.

coverWhy Did I Ever by Mary Robison.
Suburban Island View - PASS IT ON - Interesting writing style but the purposely fragmented style left me feeling as stressed as the main character. Others might find this an intriguing read.

Looking for Mary by Beverly Donofrio
Suburban Island View - KEEPER- You can't go wrong with the Virgin Mary.

coverUp in the Air by Walter Kirn.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - What a great story - sharp and surprising and well written.

coverThe Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri.
Suburban Island View - KEEPER - A stunningly well written book.



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