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Julie's Books

I like to read good books.
about me | @juliesbits | fun food life!

Tonight I finished reading "The Underground Railroad"

The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead

Tonight I finished reading this amazing book. The story depicted slavery in a much more brutal way than any other story I can recall reading. As I worked my way through the book, the terms, “white privilege” (a term I have struggled to understand) and “black lives matter” have played over and over again in my mind. I also think of “black holocaust”, a term I had only recently heard, yet as I read of Cora’s experiences and observations in North Carolina, shares so many similarities to the Jewish holocaust.


I need to take a day or two to think about this book and let its story gel in my mind before I can write much about it. I am appalled and moved beyond description for the things that occurred in this story. I think this is an important book that will stand the test of time and, as hard as it was to read, I am glad to have read it.

Source: http://funfoodlife.com/the-underground-railroad/#comment-2141

Flesh and Blood

Flesh and Blood - Patricia Cornwell
  • I think I'm done with the Kay Scarpetta series....I am sick of reading books that are filled with all of Scarpetta's personal family drama....The story line has deviated too far into the personal side of Scapetta's life, and Patricia Cornwell needs to return to the original story line to hold my interest. All of the murders in this book were about Kay and her family (and frankly I'm sick of reading all about Lucy's and Marino's personality quirks and antisocial behaviors). Kay is always being left out of family discussions and is always the last to find out about stuff both in her family and at the morgue that she's supposed to be running.


I am done reading Iris Johansen

No One to Trust - Iris Johansen

It's like she's gotten bored with her own stories.  I don't care about her characters and so much of her book is filler and repetitious from other books in this series. I no longer care how the story turns out.


I won't be reading any more of her Eve Duncan series.

Breath by Tim Winton

Breath: A Novel - Tim Winton

Have you ever finished a book that was so beautifully written that all you could do afterwards is just sit and meditate for a while to let the story settle down into your soul?


That's how I feel tonight after finishing "Breath" by Tim Winton. I didn't actually read the book since I listened to the audio version of the book on my mp3 player, but, no matter, the story was profoundly shared, wonderfully told, beautifully written, and now I must sit and meditate on it.  I will write more about this book and this author later, after I've had some time to reflect....and I may have to go read the printed version of the book to get another layer of Mr. Winton's glorious style of spinning a story.

Source: http://funfoodlife.com/breath-by-tim-winton

Swamplandia! was a bust (for me, anyway)

Swamplandia! - Karen Russell

Sometimes it just makes sense to cut bait and move on!


I read about 30% of the book before I was so bored with it I started skipping and skimming around, reading just enough to follow the storyline. Using that method I quickly scanned through to about the halfway point of the book and then decided I was done. I had read all I cared to read about the Bigtree family. Why waste any more time suffering through a book that I was not enjoying?  I didn't care about the characters and, try as I might, I couldn't identify with any aspect of the story.


This book may appeal to a different reader, but it holds no appeal for me. I was invested enough in the story that I searched around the internet enough to find out how the story turns out. What I learned finally happens with the characters in this story was not very believable or satisfying so I'm glad I didn't suffer through to the end of the book. 


Now, on to the next book!

Source: http://funfoodlife.com/swamplandia-was-a-bust-for-me-anyway

Hello BookLikes! So Long GoodReads!

After reading about Amazon’s purchase of GoodReads I decided I needed to move my books out of GoodReads and close down my account there.  I just don’t want Amazon.com to have such easy access to my reading preferences.


I looked around the internet for alternative websites, tried out a few of them, and then I landed on BookLikes.com. BookLikes is a fairly new website and it does not provide the same type of and level of functionality as GoodReads, but BookLikes is a refreshing change from GoodReads! My first impression of BookLikes was that it was a very beautiful and welcoming place to be. So far I have found the BookLikes staff to be very tuned into and responsive to their users’ needs and requests. BookLikes appears to be committed to keeping the site an independent oasis for book lovers and readers. I’m planning to settle in and see how things continue to evolve.


I’ve moved my books and reviews over to BookLikes and you can find me there at jujubean.booklikes.com. I’m still poking around, finding my way around the site, but now I’d like to invite my GoodReads friends and any of my other friends who love to read to join me over at BookLikes.com


If you are already a GoodReads member, it’s pretty easy to migrate your books and any reviews you’ve created over on GoodReads to BookLikes. To easily migrate your  GoodReads data, just follow the steps I’ve documented below.


1. Export your GoodReads books and reviews to a csv file


Log into your GoodReads account, select “My Books”


Scroll down to the bottom of the bookshelves panel (on the left side of the screen) and select the “import/export” option (see red arrow in the screenshot below).



Select the “export to a csv file” option found in the right hand panel of the screen (see the red box in the screenshot below) and select the “save to file” option in the ensuing popup.



Now you are ready to move your data to BookLikes!


2. Sign up for your new BookLikes Account


If you haven’t already done so, go to the BookLikes.com website and click on the green “Request an invite” button.  You’ll be prompted to enter your email address into a dialogue box and send a request to BookLikes.  After a few minutes go check your email for the invitation link.



Now you can import the GoodReads csv file you just created into your new BookLikes account


3. Import your GoodReads books & reviews into your BookLikes Account


Log into your BookLikes account (if you aren’t already logged into it)


Click on the gears icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen to access your user settings (see red arrow in the screenshot below)



Click the Shelf Tab and then select the “Browse” button under the “Import books from GoodReads” heading. A file explorer box will open up to let you navigate to the place on your computer where the GoodReads.csv file is stored.  After you select that file, select the green “Import” button.



BookLikes will add your request into their import queue, so you may have to wait several hours before your books show up on your BookLikes shelves.  When I imported my GoodReads data into my BookLikes account, it took about 24 hours before I saw any books on my shelves.

Source: http://funfoodlife.com/hello-booklikes-so-long-goodreads

The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass  - Philip Pullman

I decided to read The Golden Compass after seeing a sign at a local car repair shop that warned parents about letting their kids read this book....How ridiculous!


The Golden Compass is a great read, full of imagination, interesting characters and with a compelling plot. I especially appreciate that the heroine of the story is a little girl (versus a little boy - boys always seem to have all the fun in these kinds of stories). I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, the other books in this collection.

Source: http://funfoodlife.com/the-golden-compass

World Without End

World Without End - Ken Follett

“World Without End” by Ken Follett has been on my reading list ever since it was published (October 2007).  I read Ken Follett’s earlier book, “The Pillars of the Earth," more than a decade ago and I enjoyed that book too.


I got the electronic version of the book to read on my Cybook several months ago, and I decided it was time to give it a read.  I started the book last week and am about half way through it.  I expected it to be a good read, but I did not expect it to be such a fabulous read – probably the best book I’ve read in years!  I just wish I knew someone who was reading it too so I could talk about it with someone who is as captivated with the story as I am. 


“World Without End” describes life in medieval Europe.  Reading about how women were treated back then - as chattel property if they were married and as witches if they were independent and free thinking - and about how much power and control the church held over peoples lives makes me appreciate and value my freedoms in today’s society even more.

Source: http://funfoodlife.com/world-without-end

Secrets of Learning a Foreign Language

A Spymaster's Secrets of Learning a Foreign Language (Discovery) - Graham E. Fuller

I read this book when I was gearing up to study the Dutch language in preparation for a trip to The Netherlands. I checked out the audio version of this book from the library and listened to it on my Pocket PC.

The book had quite a few great hints and techniques about how to approach learning a new language. I thought it was pretty good and I'll probably check it out again and listen to it again later.

Source: http://funfoodlife.com/secrets-of-learning-a-foreign-language

The Secret of Lost Things

The Secret of Lost Things - Sheridan Hay

I always enjoy a book whose characters stay with me after I've finished reading the story. The Secret of Lost Things is peopled with lots of unusual characters / misfits, if you will. A coming of age story with many unique twists and turns told in just enough poignant detail, it left me wanting more and I was sad to see the book end.

The book ended when it should have ended, but I can't help but wonder what became of many of the characters in the story. A really great read and one that I recommend whole heartedly

Source: http://funfoodlife.com/the-secret-of-lost-things

The Book of Air and Shadows

The Book of Air and Shadows - Michael Gruber

The book did not start well for me, but I found the storyline to be quite intriguing. Unfortunately, the book didn't get any better and eventually fell apart at about the halfway point. I stuck with it until I was more than 3/4th of the way through it when I decided I just couldn't take it anymore and stopped reading. I found the book to be tedious for several reasons:


  1. I didn't care for the writing style
  2. The story got very boring
  3. There were too many gratuitous sexual encounters that didn't have anything to do with or add anything to the story. They seemed to be interjected throughout the book just because the author could.
  4. I was put off by the overuse of the "F" word and
  5. I didn't care about any of the main characters in the story - the characters were not well developed and were very superficial.

I checked the electronic version of this book out of the Library, so now I can just delete it from my Cybook and move on to, hopefully, a better read. I'm sorry for the time I wasted trying to get through this book, but at least I didn't waste any money on it and since it was electronic, I don't even have to think about how to dispose of it. There's a small comfort!

Source: http://funfoodlife.com/the-book-of-air-and-shadows

Wharton on Making Decisions

Wharton on Making Decisions - Steve Hoch, Howard Kunreuther, Robert Gunther I've had this book for quite a while and thought it was time to read it.

The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger I never read this one in high school, but it seems to pop up a lot so I just got an electronic version of it and will be reading it while on break from school.

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life - Walter Isaacson I bought the electronic version of this book and will be reading it on my Cybook

The Red Tent: A Novel

The Red Tent - Anita Diamant I read this book several years ago and will read it again. After I read the book, I lent it to my MIL, who in turned lent it to someone else, and I never got it back. So I purchased an electronic copy of the book to have in my collection.

War and Peace (Signet Classics)

War and Peace (Signet Classics) - Leo Tolstoy, John Bayley, Ann Dunnigan I made multiple attempts to read this book and failed. My most optimist attempt was with a former book discussion group. I made the best progress then, getting about halfway through the book. I think the problem is that I get bogged down at the large array of characters and their related names and just the wide scope of topic. So now I have the book on my Cybook, which means I'll have the book with me most of the time.Eventually, I'll get through the book...but every time I put it down and then take it back up I feel I must start at the beginning again.