Friday, December 27, 2013

Friends Like Us

By Lauren Fox

A story about best friends and how their friendship ends... over a guy.  In the background there was this horrible relationship with the brother, which I can't say I cared for. Couldn't really get into it the story or identify with the main characters, even though the narrator is a doodler. But parts of the book were amusing. [288 pp.]

Book link

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sunset Park

By Paul Auster

I like to read Paul Auster. He's writing is very appealing to me. His stories are usually very interesting. But with this book I have a couple of problems. The first, and minor one, is the diversion into baseball trivia. Some of it was interesting, that's true, but a bunch of it I just read without paying too much attention. Which is not something I usually do. The second and major problem is the ending. I was very disappointed by the ending. It seemed unwarranted. That said, I quite enjoyed reading it. I mean, sure, the ending wasn't as good as I hoped, but it is just a small part of 320 pages. The story is still interesting. Still, it's a shame the ending was such a disappointment. [320 pp.]

Book link

Friday, November 29, 2013

Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body

By Jennifer Ackerman

This nonfiction book contains a lot of interesting facts about the human body and its function. Some of it overlapped with the information in Gulp, but there is also a lot of other information, especially about circadian rhythms and sleep. It is another excellent source for human biology teacher, but also for everyone who is interested in getting to know their body better. This is knowledge you can use to make your life easier and/or more productive and/or safer. Some think there isn't enough criticism in the way the information is displayed - the research behind it is mentioned, but no critical description of the methods used and whether or not other research supported the findings. This might be the case sometimes, but over all I think this book does a good job introducing the various aspects of human body functions. [272 pp.]

Book link


By Mischa Berlinski

I admit that I was a bit disappointed when I found out that the field work in this book is in the field of anthropology and not biology, but I can't say I was disappointed by the book or the story. It was fascinating and engrossing. Even though it says on the cover that it is a novel, I felt like this is a biographical book (of course, it's the author's fault of using his own name for the main character). I can't imagine how much research such book would require if it's not based on personal experience. The author definitely did a great job in my opinion. [356 pp.]

Book link

Friday, October 25, 2013

The End of Diabetes

By Joel Fuhrman

I got this book to learn more about diabetes, and what diabetics should eat, because my nutrition class textbook did not really answer all of my questions about the disease. It helped in answering my questions, but it was obvious this book is made to sell something (the book, the website membership, related products), and in some cases it made me feel like some of the information is biased to make that sell. I do agree with the general approach, though, and I hope many people with diabetes (and physicians) would use the advice in the book to heal themselves (or their patients). [336 pp.]

Book link

Jamrach's Menagerie

By Carol Birch

This book was totally unexpected for me, even though the cover illustration of the hardcover version pretty much tells it all. It was very interesting, though sometimes I felt it went into too much detail. Overall, I thought it was pretty good. [304 pp.]

Book link

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

By Mary Roach

This book was recommended by a fellow nutrition teacher. It contains a lot of digestive system anecdotes, and is fairly amusing. At first, though appreciating the information provided, I wasn't that into Roach's writing style (it seemed like, sometimes, she was trying too hard to be funny). But after a while - either her style changed or I got used to it - it didn't bother me as much. I especially liked the anecdote about OD, a prisoner who hooped (smuggled in his rectum) a collection of staplers, binder rings, and pencil sharpeners. He got his nickname OD, for Office Depot. Quite hilarious. An excellent source of stories for a nutrition/A&P class [352 pp.]

Book link

Monday, September 16, 2013

Gods Behaving Badly

By Marie Phillips

Okay, I hadn't realized that this book is already becoming a movie. That's too bad. I liked the book a lot. I am sure the movie adaptation is not going to be as good, and I am not interested in seeing how the movie directors/producers see Artemis, Apollo, Neil, or Alice. The book is about the interaction between gods and humans and what happens when these interactions go wrong. I thought it was amusing and original, and I liked the style the book was written in. [320 pp.]

Book link

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Long Earth

By Terry Pratchet & Stephen Baxter

This is a sci fi book, but it was fairly easy to read for a non sci fi reader line me. Probably because there weren't many mentions of quantum physics. And there was a bunch of evolution talk. I do get that kind of science. It was pretty neat, to think about the possibilities that open up when new earths are discovered just a step away. [432 pp.]

Book link

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Widow for One Year

By John Irving

It's difficult to summarise this book - a lot of significant characters. Eddie - a 16 year old boy who falls in love with Marion, an older woman who lost her two boys and leaves her husband and daughter. Ruth, Marion's daughter who finds it difficult to settle down and find peace, and Ted, Ruth's dad who writes children's book but has passting attractions to little kid's mothers. Lastly, Harry, a dutch cop who is more interested in finding the witness to a murder than to find the murderer. Interesting.[592 pp.]

Book link

Friday, August 9, 2013

Snowstrom [Hebrew]

By Michal Shalev

An interesting story about seeminly unrelated guests in a cabin guesthouse who find themselves isolated from the rest of the world due to a snowstorm in the Golan Heights. Having not much else to do, they tell their stories to each other - some about life during WWII, others about their past in religious communities. All the while, the search for the leader of a terrorist group that targets mosques is going on. Here, too, as in the previous book, there were some rough descriptions of horrible things happening to people. Again, not a book I would like to see a movie version of... I felt cheated by the photos at the end. At first they made me think that these are the actual people whose stories are told in the book (even though there was no indication beforehand that the stories are based or real occurences). Then you find out that they are for illustration purposes only. What's the point? I already had an image in my head for each character, why ruin it? [439 pp.]

Book link

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Mercenary And Winter Buds [Hebrew: Mazal Orev]

By Amir Gutfreund

Another very interesting book that was hard to get away from... even though it included some really rough descriptions of violence - if it were a movie, I wouldn't be able to watch it. A story about a computer genius whose girlfriend left him, and at about the same time got fired by his own company. His life are on hold until he finds some other genius idea, and in the meantime he gets involved in the search for a missing teenage girl. This search, turns out, is actually what he needs to find himself. [239 pp.]

Book link

Monday, July 8, 2013

Children of Liberty [Hebrew translation]

By Paullina Simons

(This is the only non-Hebrew original that I got while in Israel - it was interesting reading it, after reading original Hebrew books - one can sometimes tell what the original phrase was). It tells the story of a young Italian immigrant who, on her first day in the States, meets the man she falls desperately in love with. Of course, it is a forbidden love - on both sides, and the consequences are formidable. In between, there are a lot of historical references, such as to Mother Jones, Emma Goldman, Robert Gould Shaw, and the Panama canal. [355 pp.]

Book link Hebrew/English

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Winter Life [Hebrew]

By Orly Castel-Bloom

A collection of short stories (I didn't realize that until I started the second one...). Mostly interesting, not always clear what the point is. [174 pp.]

Book link

My Parents [Hebrew]

By Aharon Applefeld

It took some time for me to get used to the writing in this book, but all-in-all it's a pretty interesting look at a small family on their vacation among others in a 1930s style resort for jews. On one hand they are all trying to distance themselves from their ancestors' traditions, but on the other hand they cannot forget they're jews (if only because non-jews in that day's Ukraine constantly remind them of that fact). The story is told from the point of view of a 10-year old (and 7 months). [269 pp.]

Book link

Neuland [Hebrew]

By Eshkol Nevo

A marvelous book about two young-ish people on a search. The first is looking for his dad who has gone missing while traveling in South America, the other is looking for some insight about her life, and on the way decides to help the first one. Actually, both of them are more in search for themselves. On the way, they are also looking into what has become of Israel and Israelis. The book is very well written and is fascinating. I really liked it. [550 pp.]

Book link

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Brief History of Humankind [Hebrew]

By Yuval Noah Harari

A very interesting look at the history of humankind - from the earliest homo spp. to the future possibilities. [416 pp.]

Book link

Friday, June 21, 2013

Micky, I'm Talking To You [Hebrew]

By Shai Stern

A very enjoyable book about a guy who almost goes crazy as he tries to find himself while helping his two best friends, while they're going through some serious stuff. Wasn't easy to put that book away... [335 pp.]

 Book link

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Other People's Money

By Justin Cartwright

A very interesting story about an old and respectable family-owned bank in England. When the owner falls sick in old age, his son is tempted to play with hedgefunds, and the consequences are not good. This leads to the reluctant  involvement of a very young journalist and her eager leftist editor. The story is very complex and involves many characters, whom we get to know and care about through the beautiful writing of the author. It's hard to tell what we would like the result to be, as someone will inevitably get hurt. [272 pp.]

Book link


By Mark Poirier

First I saw the movie, which I ordered from Netflix because of the title and the fact that it was set partly in Tucson. Then I found the book in the library, and had to see how it matches with the movie (or vice versa). I concluded that in general the movie does a good job capturing the spirit of the book, with some scenes more loyal to the book than others, and many missing from the movie altogether. Which, for some scenes, I am thankful for not seeing them in the movie. The book is a fairly fun read, and especially good for descriptions of some parts of Tucson from over a decade ago. Not sure which one I would recommend more - the book or the movie.
(Finished reading over 5 weeks ago) [355 pp.]

Book link

Sunday, April 14, 2013


By Jim Crace

You can tell it's going to be a great book when after a few pages you're already mad at Jesus... This is a book with an original plot that is written beautifully in an amusing style that does not reduce its seriuosness one bit. It is highly recommended. Although containing some disturbing descriptions, it is nothing compared to ones found in this author's other book "Being Dead". [242 pp.]

Book link

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


By A.S. Byatt

After enjoying A.S. Byatt's Children's Book so much, I was excited to find a much smaller book by her in the library. Obviously, I took it. It was quite different. It told the story of the end of the gods according to nord myths. As experienced by a "thin girl" during the war (WWII). It took me a while to get into it, but I eventually did. [192 pp.]

Book link

The Children's Book

By A.S. Byatt

A very interesting story about a couple of generations in the turn of the century (19th to 20th) in England. From the time they were very young, or just born, till realizing their dreams, or not surviving WWI. The story is intertwined with historical reports, some are more interesting than others, and a detailed account of the pottery making methods and procedures. This book took me a while to finish (which I finally did 3.5 weeks ago), but by the end I wished I had not finished reading it -- I enjoyed reading it, even though there were some pretty harsh descriptions of scenes and events. Highly recommended, and if you're interested in pottery consider it a must read. [896 pp.]

Book link

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Portrait of a Lady

By Henry James

Story of a young "independent" woman who travels to Europe to "find herself", and in the midst of her search loses herself to a conniving woman. But not all hope is lost.
Quite interesting. [640 pp. including an introduction (which should really be read afterwards) and an afterword.]

Book link