Books Read in December

Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand
Two sisters and one friend arrive on Nantucket ready to spend the summer sorting through a laundry list of emotional issues. Melanie’s pregnant – but just discovered her husband has been cheating on her. Brenda was fired from her dream job as a college professor after her affair with a student was discovered. Vickie, mother to two small boys, has been diagnosed with cancer. Then there’s Josh, who the women hire to help with babysitting, but he ends up being handy at a whole lot more.
Perhaps since it was the dead of winter and I was mooning for the sea and sunshine and summer, this shallow chick-lit novel – which is what it was -- well, it wasn’t so bad.

Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously
by Julie Powell
Julie Powell did a very cool thing. She resolved to -- in the span of a single year -- cook every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking. That’s a whole lot of weird French food! She started a blog about the experience and her witty style attracted a lot of readers and an unexpected reward: global news coverage and a book deal -- to say nothing of a new-found respect for decent kitchen gadget’s and aspic.
Former temp girl makes good. What a great story. And yes, it’s a great book.

Midnight at the Dragon Café by Judy Fong Bates
The quintessential Chinese restaurant – it’s a fixture in every small to medium town in America. Ever wonder what goes on upstairs in the living quarters where the quintessential Chinese family lives? Well, here’s one version and it’s a doozey. Set in the 1960s, this is the story of Su-Jen and the hard life behind the scenes at the Dragon Café. Judy Fong Bates writes beautifully, and paints a vivid portrait of a childhood torn between two cultures and unspoken secrets.

The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
This is Lamb’s first book since the Jurassic age and I was really looking forward to it.
I was immediately pulled in to Caelem and Maureen’s life. They were both teachers at Columbine High School, and Maureen was in the library on that fateful day. Unable to get past the trauma, they move back to the family farm in Connecticut. Soon after, Caelum discovers a file cabinet full of old diaries, letters, and newspaper clippings in an upstairs bedroom. Five generations of his family ancestors, from the Civil War era to Caelum’s own strange childhood spring to life. Sounds great huh? It’s more than enough, right? Unfortunately Wally Lamb didn’t think so and added so many more twists and turns and characters that it made this book read like a mini-series gone bad.

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