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Emperor of the Air by Ethan Canin

Switchblade: An Original Short Story by Michael Connelly

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka

Beautiful Lies: A Novel by Lisa Unger

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Blowing My Cover : My Life as a CIA Spy by Lindsay Moran

Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz

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Member: justmelissa

CollectionsYour library (1,158), 2003 (38), 2004 (60), 2005 (63), 2006 (71), 2007 (72), 2008 (92), 2009 (83), 2010 (122), 2011 (134), 2013 (96), Leadership (12), All collections (1,158)

Reviews110 reviews

Tagscontemporary fiction (237), detective fiction (141), tbr (118), nonfiction (112), mystery (88), thriller (62), pi fiction (62), historical fiction (61), edelweiss (60), legal fiction (58) — see all tags

Cloudstag cloud, author cloud, tag mirror

About meI'm a librarian who was a bookseller in my previous career. I love to read and devour a lot of books. Since I've stared keeping track, I have read between 60 and 130 books in a year.

The books I read generally fall into two categories: contemporary fiction or mystery/detective/legal fiction. Some of my favorites in the first category are Straight Man, The Magician's Assistant, Empire Falls, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The Time Traveler's Wife, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Middlesex, Bel Canto, Poisonwood Bible, and I Know This Much is True. (I can't stand Jane Smiley, but somehow, every time she has a new book out, I think it sounds good. It never is. Someday I'll learn.)

In between, I enjoy lots of the one-book-a-year fiction/mystery writers with sassy or amusing protagonists or whose books are set in cities I've lived in: Crais, Lescroart, Kellerman (him and her, occasionally their son), Connelly, Evanovich, Scottoline, Cockey, Parker (though not those damn border war books), Jance, etc.

About my libraryIan McEwan summed up my reading preferences beautifully in his novel Sweet Tooth (edited to the present tense): "My needs are simple. I don't bother much with theme or felicitous phrases and skip fine descriptions of weather, landscapes and interiors. I want characters I can believe in, and I want to be made curious about what is to happen to them." Or in my own words, I like books where interesting stuff happens to interesting people.

Rating scale rubric:

5 - excellent read. Would purchase for my permanent or lending library; might even read again. This is a book I want to give you to read, just so we can talk about it. Approx letter equivalent: A/A+

4 - more entertaining than my usual read. Would recommend to friends who read, but probably not purchase for my personal library. Approx letter equivalent: B+/A-

3 - adequately amusing, decently written, would read other books by the same author. Would put on hold at library. Most serialized mysteries and authors I read who write a book a year will go here. Approx letter equivalent: B-/B

2 - usually reserved for hand-me-down mysteries or other beach reads. not sorry I read it, but wouldn't recommend or pass on. Won't seek out the author in the future, but won't purposefully avoid. Approx letter equivalent: C.

1 - waste of time/energy/money. Approx letter equivalent: F

GroupsEarly Reviewers, Librarians who LibraryThing

Favorite authorsEthan Canin, Nick Hornby, John Irving, Barbara Kingsolver, Wally Lamb, Dennis Lehane, Audrey Niffenegger, Ruth Ozeki, Carolyn Parkhurst, Ann Patchett, Richard Russo (Shared favorites)


Favorite bookstoresVroman's Bookstore

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Membership LibraryThing Early Reviewers/Member Giveaway

Real nameMelissa

LocationSomerset, NJ

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/justmelissa (profile)
/catalog/justmelissa (library)

Member sinceJun 20, 2006

Leave a comment


I see. I'll be sure to skip it.
A half star rating on Florida Roadkill? That cries out for a full-blown review!
Did you see [William Kamkwamba] on the Daily Show? Very earnest and he cracked me up!
An online friend lives in CA and is a friend of Denise. She told me about the Eve Diamond series and I was a fan from the start.
I thought Bridge of Sighs was more than one book - should have been edited more. I hope Russo has more in him.
Hi, after reading your partial review of Rocket Man I had to stop by your page. I see we're both fans of Denise Hamilton and Richard Russo. Straight Man is my favorite Russo (but I love them all!) and Hamilton is the only reporter/detective books author I read. Did that make any sense at all??? I wonder if a new Eve Diamond book is coming anytime soon. And how long will we have to wait on the next Russo?
We'll see about Infinite Jest. I quit Gravity's Rainbow and anything by Joyce, but I wanted a challenging read. I was not aware of DFW until his death, then I read a piece on him in Rolling Stone and decided to commit. I've read a couple of essays so far, and they were great.
Your review of Pantonne Press' letter of introduction for Rocket Man just killed me. I cannot wait to read your thoughts on the book itself.
I see you've read Dennis LeHanes "Shutter Island". Did you hear that Martin Scorsese bought the rights & is making it a movie next year? I'm fairly sure Leo DiCaprio & Sir Ben Kingsley will be staring in it. I"m excited about it! (Can ya tell)

- Shane
Melissa, I was looking through your library & saw we liked many of the same books. (Quite a few that I've read & liked are not listed in my library, since I read them a long time ago.) You asked for recommendations - I suggest either of Mary Lawson's books - Crow Lake or The Other Side of the Bridge. They are gentle stories, but are very rich and leave you with things to think about... Judy
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