2019 Books



  • Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery – (B) A plot-point in the Netflix series “Russian Doll” prompted me to read this tale of a spunky, witty orphan. A darker Anne of Green Gables.
  • Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris – (C) A how-to on mediation for busy people. It was fine but I felt like I learned everything in the first chapter. Apparently the audiobook is really good because it’s more off-the-cuff banter.
  • Michael Tolliver Lives by Armistead Maupin – (B+) This is told in first-person from the view of a 50-something Michael reflecting on his halcyon days and his aging family.
  • State of Fear by Michael Crichton – (C) A few good ideas and intense action sequences are drowned out by sermonizing about the (non)existence of climate change. Also the most disturbing character death in any of his books.
  • Verses for the Dead by Preston and Child – (B-) While this is an decent FBI/serial killer mystery it lacked the usual depth and supernatural aspects of the Pendergast series. A good jumping on point for new readers but a bit of a let down for fans.
  • Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk – (A) A truly gripping and suspenseful book about a young girl’s kindness and compassion in dealing with a bully and a tragedy in her post WWII farming community. I loved it.


  • Becoming by Michelle Obama (B+) Interesting story of her life before and during her time as FLOTUS. A compelling and inspirational read.
  • Maryann In Autumn by Armistead Maupin – (B) Back to the intersecting story line device book #8 finds Maryann in her golden years returning to San Francisco and facing her mortality and her past sins.
  • Next by Michael Crichton – (D) His last book prior to his death is a disjointed collection of small gene-therapy stories and “warnings” of which a few coincide at the end. Too many ideas none of which are truly fleshed out.
  • The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede – (A-) A truly inspiring account of how one small town came together to help the thousands of passengers stranded on September 11th.
  • Unto Us a Son is Given by Donna Leon- (B) Brunetti mystery #28 centers around two stories about two sons, one wanted the other maybe not. And then…death.



  • Column of Fire by Ken Follett- (B) The third in the Kingsbridge series this time about the Spanish Inquisition among other ridiculous religious hatred and torment.
  • Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton- (A-) His first book published posthumously tells the story of pirates in 1680s Jamaica planning a daring heist. An entertaining page turner even if he clearly was not finished with it.


  • Here is Real Magic by Nate Staniforth – (B) This autobiography had me from the preface. His stories of how he became a magician are really interesting. I got a little bored with the second half when he travels to India but it was still engaging.
  • Micro by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston – (B) You can tell that Preston had a heavy hand in this found Crichton manuscript because the gore is amped up in this ‘Jurassic Park meets Honey I Shrunk the Kids’ action adventure.
  • The Days of Anna Madrigal by Armistead Maupin- (B) The last in the Tales of the City series focuses on Anna and her past, present, and future legacy.


  • Force of Nature by Jane Harper – (B) A group of women return from a work retreat minus one. Did she wander off or did something more sinister happen? A decent mystery.
  • Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton – (B+) This found completed manuscript from 1974 was his last posthumously published book. A historical non-fiction about two real-life paleontologists in a race to discover new dinosaurs in 1865. The young protagonist weaves together the action, adventure, and suspense. 


  • Howard Stern Comes Again by Howard Stern – (C+) A collection of his interviews over the past 20 years. They may be interesting to hear but they aren’t as interesting to read. 

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