The Half Year Book Report (#4)

January through June 2018

Toward the end of this six-month period, I decided to start including sentences I love from these books. When I can remember to write them down, that is. I used to do the Sunday Sentence on this blog, but now think it makes more sense to include those lines directly here. So look for more of those starting with the next installment of the Book Report this December. 


Title: The Boys in the Boat

Author: Daniel James Brown

Date Finished: 1/18

Finished: No

Format: Hard cover

Ranking Out of 10: 6

Notes: This book was full of impressive research and gave a fascinating look into the world I know nothing about. but it kept going and going. After I read about two or three races, that was enough. I didn’t need to read about eight more. I did a lot of skimming over those parts but enjoyed the human parts still. The lives of the men of the team were interesting. I also enjoyed that, although Nazi Germany was part of the setting, the book wasn’t too political. The Nazis weren’t the main point.  Continue reading →

The End of Year Book Report (#1)

There’s quite a gap between the last date in the January – June report, but I was reading! I just had about 8 books going at once. And some short stories. And The Paris Review. Anyways, here’s the last six months worth of notes.


Title: Drop City

Author: T. C. Boyle

Date Finished: 7/16

Finished: Yes

Format: Paperback

Ranking Out of 10: 6

Notes: I read this because I was reading a few books that took place in Alaska in anticipation of my trip to Alaska. And I had never heard of T. C. Boyle until I read something of his in a workshop at Lighthouse Writers Workshop just last month, so this seemed like a good choice. It was enjoyable – clearly I enjoyed it because I finished it – but I’m kind of wondering what the big deal is. Why did it win some award? This book was different in that it had a plot, but it didn’t. It’s really somewhere in between genre and literary fiction. I was wondering almost to the end where the story was going and what the point was, but it did come to a satisfactory conclusion. I was more interested in the story of the couple in Alaska than in the story of the hippies at the commune, and I was a bit disappointed that the story of the couple kind of petered out throughout the book. About the writing – if you read my blog, you know that I participate in David Abram’s Sunday Sentence. But I didn’t select anything from this book for that. Not that I didn’t enjoy the writing – to the contrary, there were a lot of amazing phrases. But that’s the problem, they were phrases in longer sentences. Lots of really cool phrases but he writes long, long sentences that bury the cool stuff in average phrases. And if you know anything about me, you know I’m a stickler for rules and order, so I just can’t post a phrase as my Sunday sentence. I just can’t do it.


Title: Lit

Author: Mary Karr

Date Finished: 7/26

Finished: Yes

Format: Paperback

Ranking Out of 10: 6

Notes: I can’t believe one person can have three memoirs. Clearly there must be something worth reading there, but maybe I picked the wrong one to start with. Well, that’s not entirely fair. I was very much into this book for the first half. And then I just completely lost interest. It’s hard to pinpoint why. Maybe it was just too much religious stuff, but I think my interest started to wan before she really got into her struggles with coming to terms with accepting God. I don’t know. I enjoyed it for awhile, but I don’t feel any need to pick up one of her other memoirs. Continue reading →