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2007 Year in Review

>> Monday, December 31, 2007

This was the year of reading challenges for me. I completed 12 reading challenges. The variety and new horizons this led me to was quite interesting. I started the year out by overwhelming myself with challenges, but quickly learned to pick and choose which challenges I joined to in order to keep the reading enjoyable and not stressful. I have to leave time for what I call my “whimpulse” reads.

Challenges Completed
The Winter Classics Challenge
The Chunkster Challenge
The Southern Reading Challenge
The Summer Mystery Challenge
The Non-Fiction Five Challenge
The Medical Mysteries Challenge
The RIP II Challenge
The 2007 TBR Challenge
The Unread Authors Challenge
The 2nds Challenge
The Hometown Challenge
The From the Stacks Challenge

Overall I read less books, but more pages than last year. Those chunksters had an impact! As for audiobooks, I didn’t complete as many this year as I did last year, but that means less time was spent in the car so that’s not such a bad thing.

2007 statistics:

Books Read 74
Pages Read 28,904
Audiobooks 18

Best of 2007
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (the translation by Richard Pevear)
My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Open and Shut by David Rosenfelt
The Last Catholic in America by John R. Powers
The Girls by Lori Lansens
Miracle in the Andes by Nando Parrado
I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Heartsick by Chelsea Cain


2008 A to Z Reading Challenge

>> Sunday, December 30, 2007

My friend Joy has sucked me into another one! A couple of years ago I did my own personal A to Z reading adventure that ended up with me starting this blog. When I did this I was really structured and read through the author and title lists in strict alphabetical order. It was fun, but not something I’d do in that same way again.

Joy has started an
A to Z Reading Challenge for 2008

Being that many of us have joined several for the 2008 year, I'm thinking we will be able to just plug in authors and titles from existing challenge book lists to easily complete it.

All that's required is that you align the author's last name or the title of a book excluding "the", "a", etc.) with its corresponding letter in the alphabet. Each author and title entry must be a different book. I will be working on both the author and title lists at the same time; however, you may complete the alphabet lists anyway that suits your fancy. The challenge last throughout the 2008 year.

I love that this has a high level of flexibility – I don’t have to post my list of books ahead of time for one thing. I can just post the list of letters and start filling in the titles and authors as I read the books. The only real limitation is that the challenge is for 52 different books – I can’t use a book for both the author and title lists.

The other thing is that Joy has agreed to a deal to get me to join the challenge, so if she keeps up her part of the deal, I’ll have to do my best to finish the challenge ;-)


The Jester by James Patterson and Andrew Gross

>> Saturday, December 29, 2007

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published 2003
Pages: 467

This was a departure for Patterson. Although it had his typical hero vs. really evil bad guys scenarios, it was set in the 11th century. It really did end up being a good mystery, adventure and thriller with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure.

From the back cover:

Hugh De Luc returns from the Crusades to discover that his terrifying nightmare has just begun. Merciless killers have slain his young son, kidnapped his wife, Sophie, and destroyed his town in their search for a priceless relic from the Crucifixion. Hugh's quest to find Sophie is one of the most pulse-pounding adventures, mysteries, and unforgettable love stories in all of thriller fiction.
It was a typical quick paced and quick reading Patterson book, but the setting and story were an interesting departure from his normal formula.


Audiobook: Motor Mouth by Janet Evanovich

>> Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Genre: Light Mystery/ humor
Published 2006
Book on CD read by C. J. Critt

From Publishers Weekly:

At the start of this cool comedy thriller from bestseller Evanovich, her second novel to star Alexandra "Barney" Barnaby (after 2004's Metro Girl), Barney and her unfaithful NASCAR racing honey, Sam Hooker, find themselves in trouble after discovering the shrink-wrapped body of ruthless businessman Oscar Huevo in a rival racer's car hauler. The pair must pull together to protect a high-tech gizmo that can revolutionize racing-and save their lives. Evanovich burns some rubber and only hits the brakes a few times, thanks to her bright dialogue, race-track savvy and expert depiction of romantic mayhem. Though sometimes it seems as if she's still taking a test drive with this new cast of eccentrics, the pages fly by as the racy tension between Hooker and Barney adds heat to the fun. Action on the menu includes destruction of valuable race cars, a dognapping and a kidnapping. While Barney isn't likely to beat Stephanie Plum in a popularity contest, she's still a hoot.
This was a light, enjoyable audiobook for driving around town listening. Barney and Hooker are definitely not clones of Stephanie and Joe or Ranger, but they’re still fun. I’m pretty sure I’m developing a soft spot for Hooker and I think I love Beans (Hooker’s loveable Saint Bernard).


Sacred Cows by Karen E. Olson

>> Sunday, December 23, 2007

Published: 2005
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 290

From Publishers Weekly:
A phone call summons New Haven, Conn., crime reporter Anne Seymour from a beer-fogged sleep to cover a breaking story at the start of Olson's spirited debut, the winner of the first Sara Ann Freed Memorial Award. The dead body of a Yale undergrad lies at the foot of a luxury high-rise condo. Anne faces the usual stonewalling by the detective-on-the-scene-which smarts a little extra as he has recently vacated her bed. Dogged by a pesky fellow reporter, Anne struggles to keep her byline to herself, while she's warned off the case by her boss, her cop boyfriend and the university higher-ups. The plot thickens when she learns that the student was a high-priced escort, as is the next young female Yalie found murdered. A slave to her hormones, the smell of garlic and her driving ambition, the spunky, imperfect Anne is an engaging protagonist. Several other well-realized characters, some bovine humor and an miable sense of the Yale/New Haven community round out this enjoyable first.
I didn’t “love” this book, but I thought it was enjoyable and will read more by this author. Annie Seymour is a fun heroine – tough, yet trusting, cynical, with a sense of humor. It was a promising first novel and I look forward to more of Annie’s adventures.


“What’s in a Name?” Challenge

>> Thursday, December 20, 2007

The What’s in a Name Challenge, hosted by Annie looked like fun, so I’m signing up! The time frame is generous -- 6 books over 12 months (January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2008), so it’s not too overwhelming to work into my challenge plans.

The Challenge:

Choose one book from each of the following categories.

1. A book with a color in its title. Examples might include: The Amber Spyglass, The Red Pony, Blue Blood

2. A book with an animal in its title. Examples might include: The Hound of the Baskervilles, To Kill a Mockingbird, Julie of the Wolves

3. A book with a first name in its title. Examples might include: Jane Eyre, the Harry Potter books, Anne of Green Gables

4. A book with a place in its title. Examples might include: From Russia with Love, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Out of Africa

5. A book with a weather event in its title. Examples might include: The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Red Storm Rising, Tornado Alley

6. A book with a plant in its title. Examples might include: Where the Red Fern Grows, The Name of the Rose, Flowers for Algernon

--You may overlap books with other challenges, but please don't use the same book for more than one category. (For example, you can use The Red Pony for either a "color" book or an "animal" book, but not for both.)

These are the books I’ve chosen:

  1. A book with a color in its title: Leavin' Trunk Blues by Ace Atkins
  2. A book with an animal in its title: The Monkey's Raincoat by Robert Crais
  3. A book with a first name in its title: Peter the Great by Robert Massie
  4. A book with a place in its title: London Bridges by James Patterson
  5. A book with a weather event in its title: Black Wind by Clive Cussler
  6. A book with a plant in its title: Jasmine Moon Murder by Laura Childs


The English Breakfast Murder by Laura Childs

>> Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Published: 2003
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 265

This is the fourth book in Laura Childs Cozy series "The Teashop Mysteries"

Theodosia Browning is the owner of The Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, South Carolina's historic district. She's also an amateur sleuth. This series has all the expected cozy elements - light mystery, a quirky cast of characters, a teensy bit of romance and lots of atmosphere. I love the descriptions of Charleston and the area. I'd love to go back and visit there again someday. The descriptions of the tea blends makes me want to curl up with a hot cup of tea while reading these.

From the back cover:

It is a truly exhilarating experience for Theo - helping Charleston's Sea Turtle Protection League shepherd hundreds of tiny green loggerheads safely into the sea. But just as she's about to celebrate all her hard work with some hearty Lung Ching tea and spicy gumbo, she spots a dead body bobbing in the waves. It turns out to be local art dealer Harper Fisk - a man with an eye for fine antiques. Could his death have anything to do with the sunken treasure and gold bullion rumored to be somewhere near Halliehurst Beach? Deep in her heart, Theo knows that murder is indeed brewing in Charleston - and it's up to her to get to the bottom of it before teh culprit's greed stirs him to kill again . . .
It’s not even as serious a mystery as that intro makes it seem. Expect light, expect enjoyable, expect to want some tea and a ticket to Charleston.


2008 TBR Challenge

>> Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Yay! It’s Back! MizBooks has opened the door for signing up for the 2008 TBR Challenge. I’ve been working on my list for weeks.

For this challenge you should....

** Pick 12 books - one for each month of 2008 - that you've been wanting to read (that have been on your "To Be Read" list) for 6 months or longer, but haven't gotten around to.

** OPTIONAL: Create a list of "Alternates" (books you could substitute for your challenge books, given that a particular one doesn't grab you at the time)

** Then, starting January 1, 2008, read one of these books from your list each month, ending December 31, 2008. :o)

This time around I’m posting a list of alternates. One of my difficulties last time was that I only had my original list of 12 and wasn’t too impressed with a couple of them. I’m also not going to be hung up on the one a month plan. I’m going to read at least 12 before the year is out, but I’ll read them when the time is right for me.

The Primary 12:



Booked to Die by John Dunning

>> Monday, December 17, 2007

Published: 1992
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 321

I have a new series to read and it’s all Booklogged’s fault!!

In the past few months, she has read several of this series and with each review it became more and more of a priority for me to read this first one and get started.

From the inside flap:

Denver cop Cliff Janeway probably knows as much about books as he does about homicide. His living room resembles an adjunct to the public library. He's aware that a first edition of a Stephen King can bring as much as a first edition of Mark Twain and that a copy of Raymond Chandler's Lady in the Lake is worth close to $1,000. And he realizes that, contrary to popular belief, "older" doesn't necessarily mean "more valuable."

He also knows that valuable volumes can be hidden in plain view among otherwise ordinary book collections. It's not easy to find such books, but some people seem to have an extraordinary almost superhuman, talent for honing in on the treasures.

Such a man was bookscout Bobby Westfall. Bobby never made a bundle, but he'd once earned $900 in a single weekend and had generally spotted enough valuable books to keep himself and his beloved cats fed and housed. Now Bobby is dead, murdered at the witching hour on Friday the thirteenth, his body dumped under a
ladder in a dark alley. It's not a good end for a superstitious man.

Janeway is sure he knows who did it: flashy businessman Jackie Newton, who is known to have a pathological hatred for drifters. He's suspected of a string of killings in New Jersey and California, but nobody's been able to win a conviction. Janeway came close, but then the star witness got scared. Now Janeway hopes he'll have another chance at a man whose destruction has become his personal goal.

But Janeway's in for some surprises before he finds the proof he needs -- surprises that will affect his professional and personal life in profound and shocking ways.
I liked the Janeway character a lot and the other characters and mystery were interesting and well written. The inside information and stories of bookscouts and book dealers was thoroughly enjoyable. I look forward to continuing with this series.

Thanks Booklogged!! You definitely steered me in the right direction with this one.


From the Stacks Winter Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

>> Friday, December 14, 2007

The From the Stacks Challenge was hosted by Michelle at Overdue Books. This was my first repeat challenge. I participated last year as my very first challenge, so was excited to participate again this year.

The rules were the same as last year. Between November 1st and January 30th read 5 books that you have already purchased have been meaning to get to, have been sitting on the nightstand and haven't read before.

The books I chose for this challenge were:

The best book: Wow! It’s hard to choose between I Am the Messenger and Heartsick because they are so completely different styles. I’d have to say it was a tie between these two

What book could I have done without? All were enjoyable for what they were – some for a thrill ride, some for pure escapism. Wives and Sisters was probably the one I’d that was just OK.

Any new authors? Yes, Natalie Collins and Chelsea Cain were new-to-me authors. I haven’t decided whether or not to read more of Collins’ books, but I’ll be eagerly awaiting Chelsea Cain’s next book.

Books I did not finish: finished all I started

What did I learn? That if I can use books I’ve already got on my TBR list, I can usually find a way to participate in a challenge. I wasn’t going to do any more this year, but when it’s books I already have or want to read anyway and I can overlap with other challenges, I’m probably going to sign up.

This was a fun challenge and I hope to participate again if it’s available next year.


2nds Challenge Wrap-Up

>> Thursday, December 13, 2007

The 2nds Challenge was hosted by my friend Joy who challenged us to:

Between October 1st and December 31st read 3 books by authors that you have only read one other.

I selected three books for this challenge:

The best book: I Am the Messenger was by far my favorite, although I did enjoy Birds of a Feather.

What book could I have done without? Human Croquet was a huge disappointment. I’ve read two of Kate Atkinson’s books now and have felt let down by both

Any new authors? No, all were second reads by definition of the challenge

Books I did not finish: finished all I started

What did I learn? In Birds of a Feather I learned quite a bit about life in England after World War 1. I haven’t read much about that location and time frame so the economic hardships and the troubles the veterans went through was fairly new to me.

Thanks Joy! This was a fun challenge


I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

>> Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Published: 2002
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 357
From the Stacks #5 , 2nds Challenge #3

I read, loved and recommended The Book Thief like crazy. I wasn’t sure that anything else by the same author could hold up, but this one was wonderful too. It’s very different from The Book Thief, but once again Zusak has written a book with its own unique atmosphere and cadence. There are so many wonderful phrases and moments in this that I could have easily flagged even more quotes than I did.

19 year old Ed Kennedy is an underage taxi driver who is a bit of a loser. He lives in a shack with a smelly old dog that was his dad’s. His mother continually berates him and tells him how he’s not as good as his brother. He spends many evenings playing cards (poorly, of course) with his friends. He’s hopelessly in love with his friend and co-worker, Audrey.

The book opens with Ed and his friends on the floor in the middle of a bank robbery. Ed becomes an unwitting hero and soon he starts receiving odd messages on playing cards. It’s difficult to explain what happens without giving away too much of the story. It’ll be much better for you to experience it right along with Ed.

I love the way Zusak writes. Nearly every page holds a gem.
Why can’t the world hear? I ask myself. Within a few moments I ask it many times. Because it doesn’t care, I finally answer, and I know I’m right. It’s like I’ve been chosen. But chosen for what? I ask.

When her hands reached out and poured the tea, it was as if she also poured something into me while I sat there sweating in my cab. It was like she held a string and pulled on it just slightly to open me up. She got in, put a piece of herself inside me, and left again.
She looks at the swings, and I can see she’s imagining what they’d look like if the kids weren’t there. The guilt of this holds her down momentarily. It appears to be there constantly. Never far away, despite her love for them.

I realize that nothing belongs to her anymore and she belongs to everything.

Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say
Just in what they are.


Unread Authors Challenge Wrap-Up

>> Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Unread Authors Challenge was sponsored at Sycorax Pine. Between September 1, 2007 through February 28, 2008. Participants needed to read six books by authors they had never read before.

This was my original list:
· Tess Gerritsen - The Surgeon
· Erica Spindler – Forbidden Fruit
· Linda Barnes – A Trouble of Fools
· Chris Bohjalain – Buffalo Soldier
· Cory McFayden – Shadow Man
· Robert Crais – The Monkey’s Raincoat

But I ended up substituting the two Hometown Challenge books for the last two on the list so I could wrap up this challenge this month – so these two were included instead.
· April Henry - Circles of Confusion
· Chelsea Cain – Heartsick

The best book: Hard to choose because the genre differences make them hard to compare

What book could I have done without? Forbidden Fruit was my least favorite.

Any new authors? All were new authors by definition of the challenge

Books I did not finish: Finished them all. Even though I changed my original list, I still plan to read both of those books soon.

What did I learn? That I’m enjoying the fact that these challenges are making me actually pick up and read some of those books that have been languishing on my TBR list for far too long. A Trouble of Fools, The Buffalo Soldier and The Surgeon have all been on my list for a long time and I was glad to finally read all three of them.

Thanks to Por of Tor for the kick in the TBR


Hometown Challenge Wrap-Up

>> Monday, December 10, 2007

The Hometown Challenge was hosted by Callista over at S.M.S. Book Reviews.

Your challenge if you choose to accept it is to read at least ONE book from November 1, 2007 to March 1, 2008 that either takes place in your hometown or is written by an author who lives in your hometown. It can be the place you were born or where you live now, whichever.
I selected two books for this challenge:

The best book: Heartsick was a page turner and a thrill ride. Circles of Confusion was enjoyable too, but more of a cozy mystery. I thought Circles of Confusion was a bit too local-focused in that some of the references would be confusing for readers not from this area. Chelsea Cain did a better job of capturing the local flavor, but retaining the broad appeal of her book.

What book could I have done without? They were both enjoyable.

Any new authors? Both were new authors for me (although I had read Chelsea Cain’s newspaper columns).

Books I did not finish: finished and enjoyed them both

What did I learn? That there was a fun series by a local author that I’d missed (The Claire Montrose series by April Henry) and that Chelsea Cain can write a heck of a thriller. I can’t wait till she writes another one.

Thanks to Callista for hosting this one and inspiring me to check out a couple of local authors I’d missed!


Heartsick by Chelsea Cain

>> Sunday, December 9, 2007

Published: 2007
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Pages: 324
Unread Authors #6, Hometown #2 , From the Stacks #4

I already knew of Chelsea Cain from reading her weekly column in the local paper. I had missed the fact that she’d written this book till
Joy clued me in about it. This was certainly not the same as her newspaper columns!

This thriller grabbed me in the first few pages and I hated to get off the train and go to work because I wanted to keep reading. Fair warning – it’s a bit gruesome in places.

Two years ago Detective Archie Sheridan was kidnapped and tortured for 10 days by the very serial killer he’d been hunting for years. That killer, Gretchen Lowell, is safely tucked away in prison, but Archie is called back from his medical leave to head up the team investigating a new serial killer in town. This time, hoping to fend off media criticism, a newspaper reporter is assigned to profile Archie and the investigation. Susan Ward is a pink haired smart mouthed young reporter who doesn’t necessarily do what she is told.

The story of Archie’s previous ordeal with Gretchen is interwoven with the present time investigation. There are plenty of familiar local references for Portlanders without being too insider-ish for folks not from this area.


2007 TBR Challenge Wrap-Up

>> Thursday, December 6, 2007

The 2007 TBR Challenge was hosted by MizBooks, who challenged us to:
** Pick 12 books - one for each month of 2007 - that you've been wanting to read (have been on your "To Be Read" list) for 6 months or longer, but haven't gotten around to.** Then, starting January 1, 2007, read one of these books from your list each month, ending December 31, 2007. :o)

These are the 12 books I chose for this challenge (with links to my blog posts):
January -
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
February -
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
March -
Aunt Dimity and the Duke by Nancy Atherton
April -
Total Control by David Baldacci
May -
Isle of Palms by Dorothea Benton Frank
June -
Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles
July -
Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott
August -
The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch by Marsha Moyer
September -
A Piece of Heaven by Barbara Samuel
October -
Forbidden Fruit by Erica Spindler
November -
Human Croquet by Kate Atkinson
December -
The Buffalo Soldier by Chris Bohjalian

The best book: A tie between Les Miserables and The Three Musketeers – both originally written in French, so the choice of which translation was a concern. I loved the translations I read of both of these, and would recommend them.

  • Les Miserables: the Signet Classics edition translated by Lee Fahnestock and Norman MacAfee
  • The Three Musketeers: the 2006 translation by Richard Pevear (which is now out in trade paperback with a truly unfortunate cover – the hardcover dust jacket pictured in the link was so much better it’s ridiculous)
What book could I have done without? None of them were complete duds, but I’d say that Human Croquet was the one I liked the least. A few others were just so-so (Aunt Dimity and the Duke, Enemy Women, The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch).

Any new authors? Yes, Hugo, Dumas, Jiles, Lamott, Moyer, Spindler, and Bohjalian were all new authors for me.

Books I did not finish: I finished read all that I planned

What did I learn? I learned that planning my reading 12 months in advance can be frustrating. I found myself not wanting to wait till the next month to read one of the books on my list quite often. I also learned that for a year-long challenge like this I really need to have some alternates available. A few of the books I really wasn’t in the mood for at the time, but went ahead and finished them because of the challenge. I’m definitely planning on participating in the 2008 TBR Challenge, but I’m going to make some changes based on my experience this year. First of all – I’m not planning to stick with the one book per month plan. I’ll select 12 and read them when I darn well please. I don’t care about challenge prizes, I care about reading books. I’ll also list a bunch of alternates – that way if I start one of the challenge books and find that I’m just not in the mood for it, I’ll have a list of alternates to choose from.


The Buffalo Soldier by Chris Bohjalian

>> Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Published: 2002
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 420
TBR Challenge #12, Unread Authors #5

Two years ago Laura and Terry Sheldon’s twin 9 year old daughters died in a flash flood. Now they are foster parents to a 10 year old African-American boy named Alfred. Terry and Laura are still dealing with their grief and guilt over the loss of their daughters. Alfred is a child of the system who has lived in too many households in his young life. He is a quiet loner who has never really felt like he belongs anywhere. Paul Hebert, the retired professor who lives next door to the Sheldon’s takes an interest in Alfred and they find a common interest in the story of The Buffalo Soldiers Cavalry unit.

This book is told in several different voices – Laura, Terry, Alfred, the neighbors and also the woman whose involvement with Terry threatens what remains of the Sheldon’s marriage. It’s not just about the foster care system, nor is it about a couple dealing with their grief, guilt and marital tensions. It is about each of the characters and their fears, doubts and needs in terms of what family means to them.

There is sadness in the loss of the Sheldon girls and the impact that has on their parents as well as people who knew them and even Alfred, who never met them. There is joy in the relationship between Alfred and Paul Hebert. There is heartache in many of the characters as their relationships are tested.

. . . and every minute he felt like he was walking on glass. You moved slow in this house, as if everything – and that included the people – was just about to break.
I thought this was a very good book. I found it to be touching in many places and thought provoking for many reasons.


Audiobook - Miss Julia Stands Her Ground by Ann B. Ross

>> Monday, December 3, 2007

Genre: Light humorous fiction
Published 2006
Book on CD read by Cynthia Darlow

This was number 7 in this series starring Julia Springer. She’s a ‘woman of a certain age’ from Abbotsville, North Carolina. I enjoy this series for driving around town audiobook listening. It’s a comedy of manners type of book. The returning cast is an enjoyable set of foils for Miss Julia.

In this one, Hazel Marie’s evangelist uncle Vernon Puckett returns. He’s threatening to publicly question whether Little Lloyd is really the son of Julia’s late husband. Although no one can quite figure out what Vernon’s up to, they’re all sure it’s no good. Miss Julia just wants to keep it all out of the public view and protect her ‘family’, but as usual, misunderstandings and confusion reign.

Perfect for light car listening.


Decades 08 Challenge

>> Sunday, December 2, 2007

3M is hosting another Decades Challenge – appropriately named Decades 08. I didn’t participate in the 2007 version of this, but the rules for the 2008 version make it just too hard to pass up:

The rules are simple:
1. Read a minimum of 8 books in 8 consecutive decades in ‘08.
2. Books published in the 2000’s do not count.
3. Titles may be cross-posted with any other challenge.
4. You may change your list at any time.
With that list of rules, how could I not join in?

Here’s my initial list, but I may well end up taking advantage of that #4 rule before this one’s over.
· 1880’s Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
· 1890’s War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
· 1900’s A Room With a View by E.M. Forster
· 1910’s The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington
· 1920’s The Inimitable Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
· 1930’s The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
· 1940’s City Boy by Herman Wouk
· 1950’s Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
· 1960’s The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone
· 1970’s Trinity by Leon Uris
· 1980’s Peter the Great by Robert K. Massie


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