Saturday, July 19, 2008


I've read a few books just in the past few days, and thought I'd give a quick synopsis. If you click on the titles, you'll get my full review on

My Sister, My Love, by Joyce Carol Oates

I've enjoyed several of Oates' books in the past so quickly picked this one up. It's a long book, and there's something pretty awesome about having that many pages to read. It's loosely, and fictionally, based on the JonBenet Ramsey story -- a young ice-skating prodigy that gets all the attention and the "extra" son, who tells the story. If you thought your family was dysfunctional, well... A good read, and recommended.

The Last Town on Earth, by Thomas Mullen

This one is about the horrible Spanish flu epidemic during WWI. I've read two non-fiction accounts of this flu, and am astonished that it killed as many as 100 million people in one year -- and ultimately would kill five times as many Americans than WWI -- yet the flu hardly gets a mention in textbooks.

The book is historical fiction, about a small logging town that quarantines itself during the epidemic to keep the flu out. It's the author's first novel, and I was impressed.

1434 -- The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance by Gavin Menzies

I goofed on this one, thinking it was historical fiction along the lines of Shogun, which I loved. Instead, it's non-fiction, and shows how a great deal of the European Renaissance was influenced, and in many aspects, copied, from the Chinese. There are a lot of heated debates online about whether Menzies' proof holds up, but I found a lot of it compelling.

So there are the three books I finished this week! If you have any recommendations, please post a comment!

And if you want to see what I do when I'm not reading, check out for beautiful (if I may say so) hand-crafted jewelry.


  1. Anonymous7:13 PM


    You did not goof-up, Menzies 1434 is historical fiction. There is not one piuece of evidence in the entire book.

    See also how his 1421 is fiction at:


    geoff wade

  2. Interesting! Since I just skimmed the book, reading only parts of it closely, I had the impression that his work was verified, but in researching, have discovered that there is a definite black-or-white opinion on it.

    Thanks for the link -- I found the bit about the 1763/1418 map.

  3. My favorite book is still Shantaram, a definite must-read!


    PS I am impressed by how many books you read.


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