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michaelsean has commented on (5) products.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
The Art of Racing in the Rain

michaelsean, May 7, 2009

I recently picked up the latest book by Garth Stein and was rewarded with a wonderful read. Apparently Mr. Stein is a resident of the Pacific Northwest where I currently reside. His book has had been on the NY Times bestsellers list for ever and somehow I had never managed to grab a copy. What a mistake that was. Initially I was skeptical as the book touches on car racing... but while part of the plot, it is mostly a background subject as the author deftly intertwines the story of Enzo, Denny, Eve, and Zoe and how relationships change and evolve during grief, sadness, and ultimately, the loss of a loved one. For me, the story gave the same general feel as The River Why by David James Duncan and to a lesser extent, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

The story is told from the perspective of Enzo who happens to be one highly enlighted pooch. I was hesitant at first as I was not sold on using the dog to tell the story but Mr. Stein pulls it off wonderfully. If you are looked for a great spring read, love dogs, enjoy racing, or any number of eastern philosophies, I would highly recommend this book.
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(5 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)

Hannah's Dream by Diane Hammond
Hannah's Dream

michaelsean, May 7, 2009

Hannah's Dream by Diane Hammond has Disney movie written all over it. Lovable characters, a heart tugging animal (in this case a television watching elephant), and a goofy antagonist who is more dumb than evil. I picked this book up on a lark and was pleasantly surprised.

Sam Brown has been caring for Hannah the elephant for over 40 years. While low on academic pachyderm knowledge, Same is chalk full of practical elephant knowledge. As he is nearing his retirement his one true dream is to get Hannah involved in a sanctuary he his been seeing in his minds eye for years. Enter Neva. The brash and wily new elephant keeper who helps Sam realize hid dream for Hannah.

The book will alternately keep you laughing and crying over the course of reading it. Having recently read about the plight of Billy the elephant in the LA Zoo, it is also a very timely piece. Diane Hammond has done a wonderful job of reaching out to her readers with a touching and heartfelt story. Kudos to her.
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(16 of 28 readers found this comment helpful)


michaelsean, May 7, 2009

Not often do I read a book that I think isn't worth the paper it is printed on. This however would be one of those books. When I purchased it a few months ago I thought it sounded mildly interesting. I am a sucker for the Dan Brown genre of books and this seemed to be right up my ally. Boy was I wrong.

The book had all the usual tools. Conspiracy, the Vatican, foreign secret service organizations, a secret brotherhood, the sacred feminine. It just all fell apart. The dialogue was awful. The sequencing of the story was just plain confusing. Rarely have I had this difficult of a time in finishing a book. This however was just plain awful.
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(2 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)

The Little Book by Selden Edwards
The Little Book

michaelsean, May 7, 2009

Do you ever see a book and just know that you are going to enjoy it? Well The Little Book by Selden Edwards was like that for me. I picked up the book as the cover looked intriguing to me (Yes! I was judging a book by its cover!). I knew I was probably in good hands when the two author endorsements were from Richard Ford and Pat Conroy. Both gentlemen are among my all time favorite writers. After quickly reading the inside of the dust jacket, I was sold. I was not to be disappointed.

The book is set during the turn of the 19th century in Vienna. Mr. Edwards weaves in some amazing cameos of people who play a role in the story (Sigmund Freud is a pivotal figure). Whilst I don't want to give the plot away, be ready to explore several time periods from 1897 to 1988. There are some shocking moments in the book that make sense, will still surprise you. The tome wraps up with a flourish that will leave you smiling.

If you have an interest in 19th century Europe, prep school, and larger than life heroes, this is the book for you. Although written over a period of 30 years, the prose and dialogue are seamless. Cheers to Selden Smith for a book well-done!
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(4 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)

This One Is Mine by Maria Semple
This One Is Mine

michaelsean, May 7, 2009

I must admit this a departure from my normal literary genre. This One is Mine by Maria Semple is not at all the chick lit book I thought it would be. Ms.Semple has previously written for such prestigious television shows such as Arrested Development, Mad About You, and Ellen. Now, if I am being honest, that probably worked against her for me as I did not have a positive view of any of those shows. Nor has that changed. However, the quality of her written word in this novel is impeccable. I can forgive her sitcom indiscretions.

This One is Mine is written from the perspective of Violet Parry. She is an intelligent former career woman who has married well and slipped into a life of boredom sprinkled with new age cliche-sauce (yoga & RIE parenting to name a few). She is married to the famous David Parry who is a music manager extraordinaire who proudly earned, "8 million dollars last year." Somewhere along the line Violet loses her way and begins to spiral out of her perfect marriage with the reluctant help of one Teddy Reyes, a bass player with no future and a whole lot of luggage.

Ultimately it all comes together nicely at the end of the book. I was expecting some vapid Hollywood BS when I opened this book and was pleased to read such a well written novel. This book has a lot working against it when I opened it. I am pleased to say I am a convert. Bravo to Ms. Semple and her debut novel. I am eagerly anticipating her next one.
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(2 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)

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