LoisB goes for 100 again
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I fully intended to wait until January 1st, but curiosity got me! I peeked at On the Brink: The Inside Story of Fukushima Daiichi and couldn't put it down. mathgirl40 sent me the book and posted it on Book Crossing. I have posted my review there, but have not yet marked it available in case anyone on LT wants it. Let me know if you do.
Here is my review:
I rarely give a book 5 stars, but On The Brink: The Inside Story of Fukushima Daiichi is definitely worthy of that rating. Fukushima Daiichi (FDI) was the nuclear power plant in Japan, damaged by an earthquake in March 2011, and functionally destroyed by the subsequent tsunami. My upfront disclaimer is that I worked in the nuclear power industry for nearly twenty years as an Information Technology specialist at a large design/build engineering firm and became intimately familiar with the processes and data involved in the design and construction of a nuclear plant.
The catastrophic subject matter makes for a compelling read equal to that of many fictional thrillers. The author presents both facts and opinions in a clearly organized way – a major accomplishment when dealing with a technical subject. The translation was also exceptional. I think this book should be required reading for anyone in the nuclear power industry.
As I read the book, I saw obvious problems – the interference from the government, the reluctance of the power company's executives to be fully transparent in their communications, and the principles of engineering economics. In the nuclear industry, safety is key. Systems are designed to be fail-safe and to have backups. When design decisions are made, they are based on conservative estimates of statistical probability of occurrence. Unfortunately, the impact of a tsunami was severely underestimated, leading to the disastrous results at FDI.
I have to admire the operations teams. As you would expect from their culture, they willingly accepted the responsibility that was thrust upon them and responded to the best of their ability, saving Japan from a worst-case scenario. As I read about their efforts, I kept stopping to think about what could have been done with today's technology to help them.
In summary, I felt this book described the emergency response quite well. Regardless of your opinion on nuclear power, I think you will find this book compelling.
2. Call the Midwife ****
This was an interesting, somewhat compelling, occasionally humorous memoir of a professional midwife serving in the dockside slums of London circa 1950. It was well-written in a very personal style. She was in training in a convent of nuns dedicated to midwifery. She started as an agnostic and found God in the end. But, there the story ends! I would have liked an epilogue that summarized the rest of her life.
A wonderful story about an orphaned young Irish girl who, in 1929, was sent west from New York on a train destined to stop at many Midwest towns until selected by a potential foster family. The story is told in 2011 by Molly, another 17 year old foster child. The story was heartwarming, but I didn't want the book to end. I want to hear more about Molly - maybe a sequel . . .
A cute , occasionally funny, cozy mystery - not a great piece of literature, but a quick, fun read.
Well, finally finished Moon Tiger and it was an effort! It was going to get 2 stars, but I upgraded it because it really was a good story - I just didn't like the way it was told. I like stories to start at the beginning, progress through time with plot and character development, then reach a climax, followed by a conclusion. This story jumped back and forth in time with little added value. I also dislike stories that are told by more than one narrator, particularly when no effort is made to indicate the change of narrators. The author frequently described an event from one person's perspective, then in the next paragraph retold the same event from another perspective, with little difference from the first telling! Grrrr!
Moon Tiger won the Booker Prize in 1987. I must judge books on an entirely different level.
Good story! Part 2 seemed to drag a bit, but it's still a good first novel.
Belfast Noir is a collection of short stories, set in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Each story is written by a different author; together they run the gamut of the Noir genre from mild to severe. Given the subject matter, it's hard to say that I had a favorite story, but the one that impacted me the most was "Pure Game" - a very gruesome story with an equally gruesome but satisfactory ending.
I received this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.
The story covers three periods - the time leading up to deployment in the WW II Pacific theater, imprisonment in a Japanese POW camp, and a wrap-up of the major characters lives. The pre-war story was slow-paced and almost caused me to abandon the book. The POW camp experience was detailed, shocking and gruesome. The final portion was sad, intriguing, and thought-provoking. It was a good novel, but not something that I would read again.
I enjoyed this ARC. I liked the psychological thrill that pervades right up to the end of the story and I thought it was well-written. it is the story of Emily, a wife and mother, who runs away from her home and family to escape an unspecified traumatic event and to rebuild her life in London
I do wish that the author did not rely so much on the flashback structure, and I felt that the coincidence of certain events was too contrived. But, that being said, it was a good read.
I'm not going to rate this book, but will say that The Bobbsey Twins books were my childhood favorites. What amazed me as I was reading the story, more than 50 years later, was how much freedom the eight year old and 4 year old twins were allowed. (I think today's children are overprotected and over-parented.) I doubt that today's young readers would find the same enchantment that I did as a child, and that is somewhat sad.
Beautiful writing - a bit too wordy for my liking, but you have to admire the author's way with words; sad twists at the end.
Oh my gosh, I loved The Bobbsey Twins! Interesting point, and true, about comparative freedom.
My first Cate Kennedy - a very good debut novel that takes place in Tasmania. Fifteen year old Sophie goes on a week long trek in the Tasmanian mountains with her father who has been out of her life since she was 7 months old. The parents' characters were interesting, but not particularly likeable. In fact, I kept wanting to yell at them as I was reading. Sophie was a rebellious teenager, in some ways, wise beyond her years. The plot was somewhat predictable, but overall the book was a compelling read.
This novella was somewhat of a disappointment - a simplistic plot, unlikeable characters, and a flat ending. I was expecting more from Henry James.
An interesting story that takes place in the Hermitage during the siege of Leningrad in 1941 - probably very interesting if you know something about art.
This was an interesting, often funny account of the author's family volunteering adventure around the world. The author, his wife and 2 teenage children embarked on a 6 month trip that included Costa Rica, New Zealand, Thailand, and India. While they paid for their own travel, they earned most of their room and board doing a variety of tasks. And, it changed their lives.
I received this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. When it arrived I intended to add it to my TBR pile. It never made it - the story seemed so compelling after just a brief perusal that I immediately started reading. The author is a typical middle class American dad with a strong sense of family and a reluctant undercurrent of spirituality. He tells a compelling story which makes for a very enjoyable read.
An interesting, intriguing story with several threads and twists! I was pleasantly surprised to see a believable, strong, successful, beautiful heroine portrayed by a male author.
An interesting approach - not a mystery, but a story about a mystery. Coincidentally, it draws heavily on, and references Hercule Poirot's Christmas which I just re-read two weeks ago. I could not stand the main character, but the book was very well-written with wonderful descriptions of Ceylon.
This would have been a much better book if it was 25% shorter!
I ordered this book after seeing the movie - Philomena - because I was intrigued by the story. It is my RL book clubs selection for April, so I finally got around to reading it and I loved it. Unlike the movie, the book focuses on Philomena's son, Michael Hess. I don't know how to do the spoiler alert, so I will just say that the story was interesting, compelling and sad. It was a great read!
A very charming look at a dystopian world where power-crazed leaders prohibit use of certain letters! Very entertaining!
I just finished The House on the Strand. I so wanted to dislike this book because I don't like any science fiction or any of its sub-genre's. But, Daphne Du Maurier is one of my favorite authors, and she didn't disappoint! The book started with 1 star, given the time travel subject, but it got better and better! I thought about giving it 4 stars but settled on 3 1/2.
Du Maurier has a way of threading a suspenseful theme through her stories. I didn't find that theme in the first half but found the last half very compelling. She also has a way of making weak characters tolerable.
This was an interesting debut novel that I received in a Random House Giveaway. The story is told in the voice of a mother writing to he son about a youthful indiscretion that had major consequences. Although I realized early on what the ending would ultimately be, I was totally surprised by the sub-plot!
A true story about murder in the ghettos of south Los Angeles - interesting but not compelling.
A fine example of early 20th century English literature! Due t its lengthof 704 pages, I'm glad that I read it via DailyLit in manageable installments.
I was asked to read this by a fellow book club member to assess whether it would be suitable for our club which consists of mostly conservative senior citizens. I was intrigued by the topic of a transgender woman, but was disappointed in most of the book. I found Part 1 to be whiney, and Part 2 to be boring. Fortunately, in Part 3, the author opened up, showed some passion for herself as a woman, and presented a very interesting story.
Once Were Warriors was a powerful story - sad, depressing - about the modern-day Maoris in a depressed urban environment. Their lives were so miserable that desperation was normal, and sadly, it was followed by complacency. This was a tough subject and a tough read.
I found the story difficult to read and follow. Duff's writing is coarse; the first person narration of streaming thoughts made for slow reading. I wonder if much of my difficulty was due to colloquialisms and dialect. I'd like to hear opinions other readers. Should I abandon Duff since I didn't like his style, or is he worth another try?
I just finished Love Medicine and I'm not sure how I feel about it, so it's getting an OK. I know I would have benefitted immensely by a family tree! I found the relationships difficult to follow.
I do think there was a good story line and I think Erdrich tells a good story, but I'm confused by the ending. I read the last paragraph and re-read it twice more and I still don't know how to interpret it!
In Still Alice, Lisa Genova explored the impact of Alzheimer's on an elite academic family in Cambridge MA with great success. She's done it again! Inside the O'Briens explores the impact of Hutchinson's disease on a middle class, Irish Catholic family of a Boston cop in neighboring Charlestown.. Her characters are well-portrayed. The story is emotional, powerful and thought-provoking. An excellent read!
Interesting historical fiction - more enjoyable for the "local color" than the story.
I received an ARC of this book from the LT Early Reviewers program. This was a compelling psychological thriller set in the mountains of Georgia. Katherine, a former Atlanta ad exec has fleed the city expecting to die within 6 months. Bur she finds her lonely mountain cabin to be a healing place. But, she has a stalker and so the tale unfolds. I thought the characters were realistic, the plot intriguing, and the writing was great!
An interesting story of a couple's efforts to find their lost dog - a heartwarming quick read.
This was an enjoyable historical fiction/mystery that takes place in Italy. I found the fact that the mystery is not the primary theme to be intriguing. Definitely recommend for those who like both historical fiction and mysteries.
This was a funny, enjoyable memoir of a 57 year old man who attempts to fulfill his goal to attain fluency in French. His writing style is colloquial and easy to read. There is also a lot of interesting information about language and the learning process.
I was not impressed. The stories were, in reality, vignettes - lots of flowery language and no plots.
Kristin Hannah has done it again! This time, her foray from Women's Fiction to Historical Fiction is as compelling and emotional as I have come to expect from her novels. I hesitated to read this book because I've read so many WW II stories recently and I thought it might be repetitive. It wasn't. It's the story of Isabelle , a young French girl with a rebellious spirit who becomes part of the French resistance. The story was everything I would expect from Kristin Hannah and, as usual, I finished the story in tears.
A combination of contemporary Women's fiction and a historical novel. A book you can't put down. A book that makes you want to visit Charleston SC. A great summer read!
What a lovely story! It successfully blends Maori legend with feminism showing that girls can do the same things as boys. The book is classified by my library as Young Adult Fiction (accelerated reader 5th level). I would recommend it to anyone from middle school to adult.
Not as good as some of his later books, but still enjoyable.
A good story, well-told. Another one of those books that you don't want to put down.
This started off as a charming story - a Sheep detective story with its own detective, the inquisitive Miss Maple, "the cleverest sheep in all Glennkill, perhaps the cleverest sheep in the world". The shepherd is killed and it's up to the sheep to find the murderer. Unfortunately, the charm faded and the story dragged through most of the book until the end when the murderer is cleverly exposed. A cute story, but not a series that I want to explore further.
This was a re-read for me. When I first read it, I thought a trip down the Nile would be an interesting vacation, but now I'm not so sure.
Providence Noir is a collection of stories by different authors, taking place in the various neighborhoods of Providence Rhode Island. The stories are as varied as the definition of "noir". While some were better than others, each story in the collection leaves you with a "wow".
A memoir of a young veterinary surgeon's initiation to country medicine - interesting, well-written an easy to read.
Very enjoyable novel about Australia - easy reading, good writing, good ending and lots of local color!
This was a very interesting love story about a teenage girl living with cancer. It was a poignant look at how a child learns to accept the inevitable.
This novel is subtitled "A Geriatric Comedy", but I failed to find much humor in it. I found it sad, somewhat crude, and depressing. Given that the author committed suicide a mere two years later at the age of 40, it was likely a true reflection of his own feelings. I'm so sad for the author and the nursing homes that he described.
Killing Maine is a great mystery - a compelling, quick read and for that it deserves at least 4 stars. However, it is also a platform for the author's anti-wind power crusade. As a mystery reader, I object to being "used" by the author. He presents his opinions as facts, which may be acceptable in a work of fiction, but may not stand up in reality. This book had so much going for it; if the author had toned down the crusading, it would have been a much better story.
I received an advanced readers copy of this book from the publisher.
This was a great novel! It tells the story of Beryl Markham, an adventurous, independent woman in colonial Kenya. She spends her motherless childhood on her family's horse farm and parlays her love of horses into a career as the first female horse trainer licensed in Africa. The story follows her through several unsuccessful love affairs to success as a female aviator.
This was a compelling, rewarding read.
A typical Kellerman psychological thriller - compelling to the end! The story centers on a LA psychologist with as many issues as the patients she treats. She doesn't meet my idea of a heroine, but I was pulling for her as she hunted for a serial killer. This was a very good read.
interesting interview with the author of Inside The Dog
We Never Asked For Wings is Vanessa Diffenbaugh's successor to The Language of Flowers. Like children, each novel is different in some ways, but alike in others. Both novels center on nature, but this time it's birds instead of flowers. Both stories deal with a strong sense of family when together and apart.
We Never Asked for Wings tells the more familiar story of Mexican-American families, the problems of a young single mother, and children who grow up without the company of their father. While it lacked the strong emotional tug that I found in The Language of Flowers, it was a great quick read.
I received this book from the author. it's not a book I would have chosen myself as I am not a fan of time travel. But, I was pleasantly surprised, The book is tragic, gripping and emotional. It centers on every mother's fear of losing a child, and my own personal fear of causing a traffic fatality. While one may want to re-live happy moments through time travel, having to re-live tragic moments could be tormenting. I felt the book dragged a bit towards the end, but it was a very good read.
I recently read Circling the Sun, Paula McLain's work of historical fiction, about Beryl Markham a ground-breaking, independent woman who grew up and broke barriers in British East Africa. I was so intrigued by the story that I ordered a copy of West with the Night, Markham's own memoir. It didn't disappoint!
While Circling the Sun creates a fascinating personal life for Markham, West with the Night is more factual and concentrates on her career achievements. It may not be quite at compelling, but it is interesting. Both stories are set in Africa during the early part of the 20th century, and give a glimpse at life during that time. Her most famous achievement was her solo flight, west into the night, from England to Nova Scotia, making her the first woman to fly in that direction across the Atlantic.
a good MKA novel about Florida - a nice quck read with a happy ending.
I probably enjoyed about 50% of the stories in this collection, tolerated 25% and skimmed or skipped the remaining 25%.
A very interesting story written in the voice of a 15 year old autistic boy. The book gives you some insight into the mind of an autistic child and explains why they react to certain stimuli. A fascinating read.
A compelling story of a woman who spends 3 weeks caring for a friend with stage 4 cancer, as she seeks alternative medical treatment. Sad and thought-provoking -a worthwhile read.
Interesting, but not my kind of story - nobody to admire until the very end.
Not particularly interesting, not compelling. I was expecting more.
Enjoyable mystery- it got an extra 1/2 star because I admire an author who can tell a good story in less than 200 pages.
This was a nice New England "cozy" - not a mystery, but a nice story complete with an ex-con, a service dog, a dysfunctional family, and more. A good quick read!
An interesting memoir - my emotions ranged from sadness, to anger to disgust at the dysfunction that existed in her family. Walls' childhood was horrific but she courageously tells its story. It's amazing the people who were so clueless about parenting, managed to produce such a successful family.
A cute, modern murder mystery involving young geeks in an online fantasy game.
A good crime story with an FBI agent and a former criminal working to scam the scammers. Set in Hawaii, and the casinos of Las Vegas and Macau, there is compelling action and a peek at the glamor of the gambling lifestyle. This is part of the Fox & O'Hara series and ends with a cliffhanger. It was a very enjoyable read.
Megan Chance is an intriguing storyteller. As she did with Bone River, she has incorporated a compelling ghost story in a lovely historical romantic mystery. The Visitant: A Venetian Ghost Story is the story of Elena, a young American, sent to Venice in 1884 to nurse a wealthy patient of her father. The setting is a decrepit Venetian mansion, complete with unwelcoming residents, attractive men, and an overall air of mystery. This was a great read - one of those books that you don't want to put down!
A collection of sad, disturbing stories (one novella and three short stories) written in true Colum McCann style. The novella is the story of an elderly man who, in the last moments of his life, is sorely disappointed by his son. The stories deal with an author writing the story of a female American marine, stationed in Afghanistan on New Year's Eve; the mother of a deaf, mentally disabled young man who is lost; and, a nun who encounters her rapist after 40 years. The themes are all difficult and the endings are not always satisfying, but the writing is strong and the reading is worthwhile.
A good story with a "too good to be true" ending that takes place on Nantucket - a nice respite from my previous book.
Short, witty, sad - everything needed for a good read.
This was the story of a young boy trying to balance his artistic talents with his conservative Jewish faith. The first 300 pages of the book were detailed and somewhat dull. If it weren't this month's selection for my real-life book club, I probably would have abandoned it. But, I stuck with it, and was glad I did. The last chapter is powerful!
I so wanted to hate this book! It's definitely not my genre. But, I actually found it to be clever. However, I still found it not at all compelling, thus the 2 1/2 star rating.
This novel was a major disappointment - boring, slow-paced, and a chore to finish.
Interesting and enjoyable ghost stories in Marblehead MA - an area I know well.