G - H - I
listed by Elizabeth Brunner
Other Book List Pages: ABC
|Gaarder, Jostein. Sophie's World: Novel
about the History of Philosophy, 1994. Translated from Norwegian.
Wonderful tale of adolescent girl who gets practical philosophy lessons
from a mysterious mentor. Engaging and educational.
|Gardner, David & Tom. What To
Do With Your Money Now: Ten Steps to Staying Up in a Down Market.
Basic advice on staying calm and considering alternatives such as index
funds and certificates of deposit. Quick read.
|Gearino, G.D. Counting Coup,
1997. Written by a journalist with our local newspaper, the Raleigh News
& Observer. Interesting tale of a journalist, who is haunted by
the tragedy that resulted from his sloppy reporting and gets a second chance
|George, Elizabeth. A Great Deliverance.
Great discovery, thanks to the recommendation of my former boss Linda Kristenson.
This British mystery series (by an American writer) strives to understand
the criminal impulse and also the daily emotional struggles of the detectives.
Each character has fully developed and fully human strengths and weaknesses.
This episode, set in the Keldale Valley of Yorkshire, involves connections
between a father apparently beheaded by his daughter and the abandonment
of a baby in an old Abbey. Deception
on His Mind, 1997, involves a murder in the Pakistani community
of a beachside community under redevelopment and does an excellent job
exploring cultural differences with compassion. For
the Sake of Elena, 1992, probes the murder of a sexually
provocative deaf student at Cambridge University and her troubled relationship
with her parents. Missing Joseph,
1993, concerns difficult ethical choices, the nature of motherhood, and
villagers haunted by their past choices. Playing
for the Ashes, 1994, involves an arson investigation, a
Cricket champion, animal rights activists, and passionate loyalties. In
Pursuit of the Proper Sinner, 1999, two bodies on a remote
moor lead to a complex plot involving prostitution, music composers, and
the role of emotion in policework. After finishing six of Elizabeth George's
novels, I am completely immersed in the world of her recurring detectives,
especially the messy but brilliant Barbara Havers. In
the Presence of the Enemy, 1996, investigates the kidnapping
of children, high-level politics, and a decade-old love affair. Payment
in Blood, 1989, begins with the murder of a playwright with
the theatrical cast and producer under suspicion. Well-Schooled
in Murder, 1990, involves the torture and murder of a scholarship
student at a boarding school. A Suitable Vengeance
was published in 1991 as the fourth book in the series, although the events
described are a prequel, taking place before the other novels and answering
questions about relationships between the main cast of recurring characters.
Because I've read the books in the order that I obtained them from the
library, this novel ironically became my last by the author, until she
does her fans the favor of publishing another. I was able to untangle the
clues before the detectives in this case involving journalism, sibling
loyalty, a sexual fetish, and a pharmaceutical breakthrough. A
Traitor to Memory, 2001, involves the family of a famous
violinist and the nanny who spent 20 years in jail for the murder of an
infant with Down's Syndrome. Although I was annoyed by the interruption
of diary entries that the violinist wrote for psychoanalyst and wish that
Constable Barbara Havers played a larger role, the plot twists justify
the 700-page length. I, Richard,
2002, is a collection of short stories. Although the plots feel like gimmicks
when compared with the complexities of her novels, I enjoyed the author's
introductory text that explained plot inspiration, research methods, and
writing process for each story. A Place of
Hiding, 2003, involves the murdered benefactor of a planned
World War II museum on the island of Guernsey and complex family relationships.
No One as Witness, 2005, has a less compelling plot, involving
the genre's all too common psychopathic serial killer -- but the chapters
describing a main character's grief (I won't give away the plot) are heart-wrenchingly
powerful. I cried for many pages.
|Gladwell, Malcolm. The Tipping Point:
How Little ThingsCan Make a Big Difference. 2000. Interesting
case studies range from pacing decisions in children's television and connections
forged by salesmen to the sudden spread of fashion trends.
|Golding, William. Lord of the Flies,
1954. Schoolboys stranded on an Island turn savage. Wanted to read this
classic. Repulsed throughout.
|Goldstone, Lawrence and Nancy. Used
and Rare: Travels in the Book World, 1997. Fascinating diary-style
account of a couple's explorations of antique book collecting. Tales of
eccentric book dealers, avid collectors, pricing schemes, and auctions.
|Goldman, William. Brothers,
1986. Sequal to Marathon Man, which was made into a film with Dustin
Hoffman. Intrigue, conspiracy, global danger -- farfetched but fast-paced.
|Goodrum, Charles. The Best Cellar:
Mystery at the Werner Bok Library, 1987. Arbitrarily chosen
from the library book shelves, but a cool discovery. Written by the
retired Coordinator of Research at the Library of Congress's Congressional
Research Service, this mystery involves three present day scholars who
stumble onto a crime involving lost books from the Library of Congress
and old scandals connected with Thomas Jefferson. The historical details
are true. Liked the book enough to immediately read Dewey
Decimated, which suffered from a dry spot halfway through,
and A Slip of the Tong, which
sustained the plot throughout -- by the same author and with the same library
|Gould, Stephen Jay. Leonardo’s Mountain
of Clams and the Diet of Worms, 1998. Collection of provocative
essays by the Harvard professor of zoology and geology.
|Grafton, Sue. P is for Peril,
2001. I always read the latest offering in this alphabetical mystery series
despite the mediocrity. In this book, even the author appears to lose interest,
resulting in such ambiguity on the last page that I wondered about a misprint.
Fraudulent billing at a nursing home and this disappearance of a doctor
are the key plot elements. Q is for Quarry,
2002, involves an eighteen year old case that female detective Kinsey Millhone
tackles primarily to help two retired, aging detective keep their spirits
up while battling declining health.
|Grau, Shirley Ann. The House on
Coliseum Street, 1961. Beautiful writing from the Pulitzer
Prize winner. In a family of New Orleans women, the eldest daughter suffers
a nervous breakdown after the tragic ending to a relationship and then
takes her revenge.
|Grealy, Lucy. Autobiography of a
Face, 1994. Memoir about the medical treatment and peer
reaction to a child's severe facial disfigurement after jaw cancer.
|Grayson, Emily. The Gazebo,
1999. Gentle romance about life-long relationship between mismatched lovers
who end up marrying other people. Satisfying enough for a quick read.
|Green, Douglas. Landscape Magic:
Tricks and Techniques for Rejuvenating Old Yards. 1995.
Solid practical advice with many innovative tips.
|Green, Tim. The Fourth Perimeter,
2002. Mediocre plot, melodramatic emotions, bland characters, and awkward
language. I skimmed to see the plot outcome as a former Secret Service
agent investigates his son's murder, which involves accidental witnessing
of an incident with the President of the United States.
|Greene, Melissa Fay. Praying for
Sheetrock, 1991. Excellent example of literary nonfiction,
with biting character studies and lyrical passages. About the 1970s civil
rights struggle and class action lawsuits in a Georgia town dominated by
a bigoted sheriff.
|Grenier, Roger. The Difficulty of
Being a Dog. Translated from French by Alice Kaplan. 1998.
Beautiful reflection on the relationships and commentary of famous artists
and writers with their dogs. But only about half of the European names
were recognizable to this American.
|Grimes, Martha. The End of the Pier,
1992. The mystery takes a back seat to character development as a waitress
faces an empty nest with her son in college and a small town sheriff copes
with both his loveless marriage and a string of murders.
|Grisham, John. The Testament,
1999. With the plot twists and legal maneuvers expected from Grisham, this
novel involves a missionary in Brazil, greedy heirs battled for a share
of a nine billion dollar estate, and a concluding tribute to simple compassion.
Less of a frantic adventure than the other Grisham thrillers, but with
a deeper moral lesson. The Summons,
2002, tempts a professor of law to hide a mountain of cash from his alcoholic
brother, after his stern father dies. Not as gripping as some of the first
books by this author. Set in small town Mississippi during 1970, The
Last Juror, 2004, involves a young weekly newspaper owner
and the court case that changes his life. Well-developed characters.
|Grogan, John. Marley & Me: Life
and Love with the World's Worst Dog, 2005. True story about
very naughty yellow lab and the family that adores him. Looks exactly like
my very-best-dog Captain Jacob, although opposite temperament. Cried and
cried during final chapters. Great book for dog lovers.
|Haddon, Mark. The Curious Incident
of the Dog in the Night-time. 2003. An autistic narrator
plays detective in the neighborhood, leading to discoveries about his own
family and a brave adventure. Poignant, original, fascinating.
|Harris, Thomas. Hannibal,
1999. I liked Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs, so tried the
sequel. Too gory for my tastes and less psychologically interesting.
|Harvey, Miles. The Island of Lost
Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime, 2000. Brilliant
non-fiction about a journalist's tracking on a famous map stealer who preyed
upon the rare book collections at prestigious libraries. Weaves in the
history of maps from classic times through the age of exploration to current
digital satellite images. Maps become a metaphor for the book's narrative
structure and the author's quest.
|Haslett, Adam. You Are Not a Stranger
Here. 2002. Short story collection. Kept losing concentration
and skimmed parts.
|Hazzard, Shirley. The Transit of
Venus, 1980. Follows lives of two sisters in England. Described
by critics as luminous and sublime. Certainly passages had beautiful, fresh
language -- but plot just dragged for me.
|Heller, Jane. Name Dropping,
2000. Silly tale of a pre-school teacher involved in an identity mix-up
when a glamorous journalist of the same name moves into her building. The
plain teacher impersonates her neighbor on a blind date, leading to a jewelry
heist investigation and a murder.
|Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to
Arms, 1929. Classic romance between ambulance driver and
nurse set against grisly horror on World War I.
|Henderson, Lauren. Black Rubber
Dress: A Sam Jones Novel, 1997. Free-spirited London artists
plays detective when murder and blackmail impact that bank that bought
her largest sculpture. Recreational drug use throughout really distracted
from otherwise interesting and intelligent characters.
|Highsmith, Patricia. The Talented
Mr. Ripley, 1955. Great fun and stylized. Amoral young man
is sent to Italy to convince a peer to return home, but ends up stealing
his identity. Strangers on a Train,
1950, duplicates the style in a plot involving sociopathic scheme of two
men to murder each other's nemesis -- a wife and a father. None of the
characters had redeeming characteristics to keep me engaged.
|Hillenbrand, Laura. Seabiscuit:
An American Legend, 2001. Wonderful dense nonfiction about
the unexpected racehorse champion. Fascinating background information and
|Hoffman, Alice. Here on Earth,
1997. Drawing upon themes from the classic Wuthering Heights, the
novel probes the destructive nature of excessive, possessive love as a
woman is drawn close to her childhood love despite signs of danger. Beautifully
written. Blue Diary, 2001, is
darker than the typical Hoffman work When a local hero is arrested for
a brutal crime committed many years before, his loving wife and the neighbors
are forced to reassess what they know to be true.
|Hoffman, Jill. Jilted,
1993. Obout woman's obsession with a married man. Unpleasant characters
and an author with overly-poetic purple prose.
|Hope, Laura Lee. Bobbsey Twins Series.
Children's mystery series from the 1960s (or before?). Wholesome family
fun with mild mysteries for two sets of twins and their loving parents.
Very comforting and familiar. Volume One: The Bobbsey Twins of Lakeport.
Volume Two: Adventure in the Country.
|Hubbell, Sue. Waiting for Aphrodite,
1999. Natural history of small life forms, from sea urchins and millipedes
to horseshoe crabs. Interwoven with personal reflection.
|Hulme, Keri. The Bone People,
1983. Winner of the Pegasus Prize for international literature and the
New Zealand Book Award. Experimental language and narrative style document
the Maori adults who struggle to care for a mute foundling child while
confronting their own emotional pain.
|Hummel, Maria. Wilderness Run,
2002. The author's reputation as a poet is obvious in the language. Set
in 1859 Vermont, the wealthy children of lumber barons come of age during
the Civil War. Includes memorable and disturbing battle scenes.
|Hyde, Catherine Ryan. Pay It Forward,
1999. A shame to be so disappointed by this local author's work, especially
since I've met Ms. Hyde and the upcoming movie version has generated so
much excitement. The theme of passing forward generous acts seems less
than original these days, the characters are poorly developed, and the
narrative structure is distracting.
|Iles, Greg. Dead Sleep,
2001, begins when a photojournalism sees a painting of her abducted sister
in a Hong Kong museum. The anonymous artist responsible for the Sleeping
Women series appears to be a serial murderer and the FBI investigates
concentrates on New Orleans where a dozen women have disappeared.
|Irving, Clifford. Final Argument,
1993. Courtroom mystery involving a deathrow inmate, a lawyer's infidelity,
and the correction of a previous injustice.
|Irving, John. A Prayer for Owen
Meany. 1989. Tale of a tiny boy convinced that he is destined
an heroic end and knows the date of his own death. The book encompasses
Vietnam, religion, learning disabilities, and family relationships. Some
chapters were adapted into the film "Simon Birch," which I found disorienting.
Fourth Hand, 2001, involves a newscaster who loses his hand
in a lion attack and then finds love with the widow who donates her late
husband's hand for transplantation. Offbeat personalities and bizarre situations
but emotional realism. A Widow for One Year,
1998, traces the impact of a tragic car accident on the remaining family,
including the distraught mother who has an affair with an adolescent and,
many years later, the grown daughter who witnesses violence while researching
the plot for a novel. The Hotel New Hampshire,
1981. Eccentric family manages a series of hotels while coming to terms
with tragedy and their complex relationships. After the depth of novel,
the re-watched film with Jodie Foster and Rob Lowe seemed shallow.
|Isaacson, Walter. Benjamin Franklin: An
American Life, 2003. Wonderful rich biography that portrays
both strengths and weaknesses of full human being. Definitely encourages
experimental and innovative approach to life, but warnings about not appreciating