Friday, February 19, 2010

Bookmarks Wishlist and an interesting pick for Best Books of 2009

There's nothing I like better than getting a new edition of Bookmarks Magazine in the mail. I think this is the ONLY magazine that I read from cover-to-cover! There are several features that I love to read: letters from readers, Have You Read, Book Group Profile and then of course, all of the reviews of the new releases. As I was cruising through the pages I made note of several books that I want to read. Some of them I've already heard about from my lovely blogging friends, while others are new to me. Here are the ones that caught my attention:

A Friend of the Family - Lauren Grodstein
** From reading the synopsis this one sounds like it could be sinister....I like that!

Nothing To Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea - Barbara Demick
**As a person who really doesn't know much about North Korea this book has many interesting aspects that have drawn me to it. Her information comes from defectors of this country.

Blacklands- Belinda Bauer
** Diane's review from Bibliophile By the Sea sold me on this one! Plus it has that creepy vibe to it!!

House Rules - Jodie Picoult
** I already have this book on request with my library. All I have to say is that this one better knock my socks off or else I'm going to have to rethink my decision to read any future books by Picoult.

Too Much Happiness - Alice Munro
** This is a collection of 10 short stories and they deal with individuals in the aftermath of violence, tragedy, and heartbreak. I've never read Munro so this seems like a good place to start.

Becoming Jane Eyre - Sheila Kohler
** I'm slightly obsessed with Charlotte Bronte right now, due to The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte. I'm hoping that this one is original and will keep me interested!

Remarkable Creatures- Tracey Chevalier
I've loved most of her books with the exception of Burning Bright. That one I truly hated!! But I've read great blogging reviews of this one so I'm looking forward to reading it one day.

Where the God of Love Hangs Out - Amy Bloom
** Another collection of short stories, these are divided into 2 sets of four linked stories and four standalone. The last sentence in the review of this book caught me, "Each story is a small tribute to human nature at its best and worst."

Now to the interesting pick for Best Books of 2009. Bookmarks states this: In which we hope to mitigate the arbitrary nature of year-end "best books" lists by bringing the results together into one big arbitrary list. As I was browsing through the list my eyes stopped when I read "The Believers by Zoe Heller. I just read/reviewed this book a few weeks ago and really didn't enjoy it. I found almost all of the characters despicable and disgusting. Every single BOOK BLOGGER felt pretty much the same way. But according to SF Chronicles, The New Yorker, and NPR, we bloggers are stupid because this book was so good that it must be on a list of Best Books of 2009. Thanks anyway, SF, New Yorker, and NPR....I'll go with my gut feeling and the "arbitrary" thoughts of my fellow readers....this book was atrocious and there was really no redeeming value to be found.


  1. I really want to get my hands on Remarkable Creatures. Victorian fossil collectors - what's not to love? :D

  2. I often find myself disappointed in "the big" awards books so I tend to avoid them. I'll watch for your reviews of the short stories collections. I'd love to find one that I liked (has only happened a couple of times).

  3. that is kinda funny the way they think its one of the best....and almost everyone u have touched base with thinks the opposite......funny how corporations still think they rule the minds of us "normal" lol lol!!! those books U picked out sound great! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

  4. I'll go with bloggers opinions every time too. That looks like a dangerous magazine. All the books you highlighted look good to me, especially Nothing to Envy!

  5. Hey I agree, I could not get into the book. And come one critics, sighs, we read to have fun :)

  6. One of these days I have to get a copy of Bookmarks. I have mostly avoided it since it sounds good and I already have enough I feel I "must" read!

  7. I love that magazine! I think my wish list is now about 30 pages!! ugh.

    I also have an award for you!

  8. I love the magazine too. It's always fun when a new edition comes out. The short story collection caught my eye too.

    I'm suspicious about The Believers. How come professional reviewers like it but average readers don't. I suppose a good measure would be to check sales but then I think people (including libraries) buy these books based on professional reviewers opinions. It's an odd thing.

  9. I've already written Jodi Picoult off. But you are the one person who could change my mind. Awating to hear if you socks get knocked off :)

  10. I got my copy of the magazine yesterday in the mail and I put off dishes till I could finish reading through it. :) I always love the lists that readers send in. I'm working on one to send in!

    I love seeing the differences between "professional" opinions and what i read on blogs. WE are the real readers and consumers, so our opinion means more (in my eyes anyway).

  11. I love Bookmarks and reading it from cover to cover when it comes in. Then browsing it again and again, finding something new to strikes my fancy each time. I hardly ever agree with the New Yorker and NPR. Probably the reason why I don't subscribe or listen to it. Just like certain movies reviewers - If they loved it, I hated it. If I loved it, they hated it.

  12. I've never browsed a copy of this magazine. I get Book List (2x) a month, which most libraries subscribe to, but I need to check this publication out. Especially since I've either read or WANT to read all he books you just profiled.
    (We are bad for each other -- you knows that!)

  13. I'm afraid to get a subscription to this magazine. I already have a book problem and I know receiving this regularly would make it worse. I see myself breaking down at some point though.

  14. I love this magazine too. My list to read is growing so big! A friend of the Family sounds good, actually all of these sound good!

  15. I don't understand why we have to stick by NPR, SF Chronicle (the paper sucks) and any media for opinions on books. I rely on book bloggers because they are honest.

  16. I actually like Jodi Picoult's books. I'm looking forward to her new one.

    I just found your blog and I'm adding you to my blogroll!

  17. I enjoy reading this magazine as well and can usually pick up a copy at one of the libraries I go to. I haven't read it for awhile now and I'm going to have to look for a copy next time I am at the library! I just read about the new Jodi Picoult book, House Rules in Bookpages. I haven't read her last few books but this topic is one that I'm very interested in and I am SO glad that she is addressing this in a fictional novel. I have done a lot of research and have strong feelings about the safety of vaccines. I believe that the big pharma companies have not tested them adequately and they are full of toxins that are affecting many people, especially children. I just put the book on hold at my library and there are over 365 holds on the book already!

    That's interesting that professional reviewers love a book and the majority of book bloggers feel differently. I find that I agree more with book bloggers!

  18. The Alice Munro sounds really interesting. Will definitely give that a try.

    I read the book about North Korea and it was riveting and very well written. I highly recommend it. I knew nothing about the country and now I can't believe that it really exists as it does. Awful.

    I love Bookmarks too! Although I always felt they were a little behind with the books they reviewed. Seemed like the books had already been out for a couple of months prior to review in the magazine. I guess that is the difficulty about being a monthly magazine. Did you ever read the now defunct magazine Pages? I really loved that one.

    I find that Letters to the Editor is always one of my favorite parts of a magazine.

  19. Oh yes, yes, yes!!! I Love Bookmarks Magazine! :)

  20. I LOVE this magazine - and my family knows that the day it arrives in the mail, Mom is not to be disturbed the rest of the evening :)


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