July 2018 Book Reviews

Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil. A NON-FICTION, by choice!!!!! I can’t even remember who recommended this one, but I like it a lot. O’Neil is a data scientist and writes a blog. This book explains how big data increases inequality and threatens democracy in clear language, with simple progressions from point A to point B, which allowed me to be very engaged. Rate: 4.0

Restoration by Rose Tremain. Still binging on this author, although this book didn’t read as well as the others I have reviewed. The discussion at the end by the author brought to light her goal in writing this tale of the seventeenth century…I suggest you read it first! She wanted to write about a personal response to the political climate of 1988…and turned to history to make her point regarding selfishness and material greed. She found the time of the Restoration of Kind Charles II fit her vision. The story follows one man, Merivel–the son of a glove maker for the king, and an aspiring physician himself–through his personal transitions. While I enjoyed the book, it wasn’t a page turner for me and it took a while to complete it. I just discovered she has written a sequel, but I think I’ll wait before I dive in…I might be kind of saturated with Merivel right now. Rate: 3.5

Smart Women by Judy Blume. I was excited to read this author, one of my childhood favorites. Unfortunately this book didn’t fulfill my expectations….I quit on page 100. (I have developed the habit of allowing a book one hundred pages to woo me). The characters in the story were too inconsistent. I was frustrated by women who were depicted as strong initially, only to be swayed by men or behave in ways I just couldn’t imagine they would. In addition this book doesn’t seem to follow the editing rule of “if it doesn’t move the story forward, take it out.” I didn’t need to know that Margo washed her hands and dried them on a paper towel before she cooked dinner. It was details like this that made the story drag and I didn’t feel like it was going anywhere at all so I closed the book. No stars because I didn’t finish.

The Whole World Over by Julia Glass. I certainly enjoyed this book. It is long and complex, following the lives of several different characters, spanning between New York and New Mexico, with a bit of California in there as well. And while the back cover claims this book is about Greenie, the pastry chef who moves to New Mexico to be chef for the Governor…I wouldn’t be so quick to give her the main character role. In fact, that was one thing that bothered me….I didn’t feel like I knew her as well as some of the supposed secondary characters. My favorite was Walter, a restaurant owner looking for love, but I totally enjoyed Saga, the pet loving, brain injured woman, dealing with recovery. I did read it straight through with enjoyment, but I am calling it a good book. Not a great one. Rate: 3.5

At the Sign of the Naked Waiter by Amy Herrick. Okay…to love this one (like I did) you have to like modern myth….and a wee bit of the ridiculous. This is the story of the life of young Sarah (and older Sarah), of love, of friendship, of sickness, of trials and tribulations….so hard to describe because the writing is funny and non-traditional. Published in 1992….I’m going to look for more by this author. Rate: 4.0

Key for my personal rating system:

5.0 – A book I will never forget, will quote, will tell everyone I know they MUST read it.

4.0 – An excellent book, but doesn’t quite make the best books of all time list.

3.0 – A recommendation, good read, decently written

2.0 – Some redeeming qualities, I finished it, but I’m not likely to seek out more by the author.

1.0 – Don’t wast your time.