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Joined 11 months, 1 week ago

From NW Indiana and Arizona. I read whatever strikes my fancy but mostly literary fiction, classics and biographies. I want to spend less time online and more time reading this year.

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Sandra's books

Currently Reading

2023 Reading Goal

7% complete! Sandra has read 3 of 40 books.

Daisy Jones & The Six (2019, Ballantine Books) 4 stars

A gripping novel about the whirlwind rise of an iconic 1970s rock group and their …

Review of 'Daisy Jones & The Six' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

3 stars

I cannot rate Daisy Jones & the Six any higher than 3 stars for a number of reasons. Mostly though, because of my own biases, admittedly. First of all, the fact that this is written in an interview format is the initial problem. I don’t think it was done very well. Granted, it can be almost impossible, written as such, to see characters change and grow and be privy to their inner dialog and complex back stories. So the characters never became fleshed out to me; they never felt real, they were forever cardboard flat and stereotypes. Plus they were all terrible people in their own ways and it’s hard to garner any sympathy towards them and their plights. I kind of hated everybody. The drug usage was very generic seeming… like the author didn’t know what she was talking about. Dude. Been there and done that.

The …

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Hardcover, 2017, Atria Books) 4 stars

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth …

Review of 'The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

This is a (kind of) good book but it's not great. There is no depth of character even though you are given Evelyn Hugo's whole life story within the pages. Evelyn was a cardboard cutout (and unlikable) and all you really know about her can be summed up in a few sentences. Just somewhat above ok-ish truthfully.

I liked the old Hollywood setting though. I liked the period of time it brought back to life-when America worshipped movie stars, bought magazines to catch up on the latest gossip, went to theaters to watch their favorite stars perform. It really was a big deal back in the 40s to about the mid 70s. Movie studios controlled the artists' lives back in the earlier days and would manipulate and curate the artists' persona, love life, artistic choices, fashion. Cover up messes and hide scandals, too. I grew up at the tail end …

Verity (2021, Grand Central Publishing) 4 stars

Review of 'Verity' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

2 1/2 stars

This book is hard to rate for a number of reasons. First off, it's not very good, so there's that. Secondly it does keep you reading to find out what fucked up things will happen next so there is that too. It's like a typical "pot boiler" type, easy enough reading, titillating sexual tidbits, which truth be told, I didn't care for, but I know a lot of women do, hense the popularity of books like 50 Shades of Gray etc... plot twists and a big "reveal" at the end which has you scratching your head going... ???!!! So that's kind of a positive because you end up thinking "wha...? What the hell?"

So, I guess I can understand why some people rate it so highly, because all that I mentioned is what they want from pleasure reading. And that's fine. We all have different tastes. I …

Oh William! (Hardcover, 2021, Random House) 5 stars

Lucy Barton is a writer, but her ex-husband, William, remains a hard man to read. …

Review of 'Oh William!' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I like Elizabeth Strout's books. I've read most of her books by this point. She writes very simply, about every day seeming people and events. But, I don't know how to explain, there is a quiet emotionality (is that a word?) that appeals to me. It is never ostentatious or show-offy but she makes her characters come alive and you can understand what makes them tick. Lucy Barton is a very lowkey character. She confesses to feeling invisible to others. But she has a rich inner dialog and she treats others with respect and dignity. She is a very easy person for other to feel able to be themselves around and they open up to her.

I don't know how to explain... Elizabeth Strout takes a simple book about a quiet person and makes it come alive. It's magical really. I can't give it 5 stars because nothing really happens …

The Secret to Superhuman Strength (Hardcover, 2021, Mariner Books) 4 stars

Comics and cultural superstar Alison Bechdel delivers a deeply layered story of her fascination, from …

Review of 'The Secret to Superhuman Strength' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I always love Alison Bechdel. I love how her simple drawings convey so much information and mood. I don't know how she does it. I am 1 year younger than Alison all all of her cultural references growing up are mine. We could have been next door neighbors. Though I am nothing at all like Alison, she seems like a kindred spirit which is weird.

Love her.

Anthem (2022, Grand Central Publishing) 3 stars

Review of 'Anthem' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

2 1/2 stars

There were parts of the book I liked and other parts seemed very silly and full of plot holes. I kept going back and forth... I like this, I want to find out what happens next---this is ridiculous, what the hell?

All in all, though the book is ok and keeps you reading I think it ultimately fails and basically says nothing at all. The silly part was it was based off of real events happening right now in America. The political division, covid, weirdos like "the boogaloo boys" anti-government types and trumpers, mental health struggles of our kids, climate changes, opioid epidemic etc... It tried to shoe-horn in every major topic which is cool, I guess, I mean this is our reality in America right now, but it basically went nowhere. These societal ills are complicated and not easily solvable so of course a mere writer …

Led Zeppelin (2021, Penguin Publishing Group) 4 stars

Review of 'Led Zeppelin' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

When I was 15-16 years old I developed a love, bordering on obsession with Led Zeppelin in general and Jimmy Page in particular. I loved, loved, loved him above all else (except, maybe, getting high. I mean, come on. It was the 70s and I was 16 years old at a catholic high school in Indiana, give me a break). He was the GOAT and could do no wrong in my eyes. Worshipped the devil? I mean you gotta do what you gotta do, right? Dated 14 year olds? Well, good, maybe that means he would date ME! ha. Did drugs and stumbled around in a stupor? I mean who hasn't? Was interested in the occult and the tarot and astrology? I am scorpio, scorpio rising... bring it.

Now? Maybe not so much.

When I was 16 I would have rated this book 5+++++ stars. I would have memorized half …

2,000 Miles Together (Paperback, 2020, FFT Press) 5 stars

Review of '2,000 Miles Together' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I really liked this book. This is a unique account of what it's like to hike the Appalachian trail with a family of 8. This is not a blow by blow account of trail life, or historical lessons in trail factoids, or town facts, or do's or dont's, or shelter ratings, or best water sources, or restaurant reviews, etc... So if you're looking for a trail guidebook, this ain't it. This is a story of what it's like to hike with 8 distinct personalities of varying ages and how they helped one another overcome adversities to keep pushing forward. This is about forging unlikely friendships on the trail. This is about opening oneself up to the adventure, to the pain, to the helping hand. This is about trusting yourself and trusting the stranger. This is about letting go and accepting the lessons when they are provided no matter the source. …

Bewilderment (Hardcover, 2021, W. W. Norton & Company) 4 stars

The astrobiologist Theo Byrne searches for life throughout the cosmos while single-handedly raising his unusual …

Review of 'Bewilderment' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

Nope. Nope. Nope. Just, uh uh, no way. No can do.

The only reason I am giving this 2 stars and not 1 is because the book, in spite of itself, did give the reader some things to ponder. About the natural world and humans place in it. About the way we alter it even as we revere it. About who we are, nature vs nurture, the way we alter our "real" selves through drugs, therapy, etc... Does it make us "better" even though we are not truly "ourselves" any longer? Stuff like that is worth examining.

But the rest was schlock. Pure cornball. And the ending. Just nope, nope, nope.

Read it if you are a corny, sentimental type. I, myself have had a life-long adversion to corny and the obvious. I am a life-long contrarian and refuse to be lead. Oh you might get me to follow along …

Review of 'Mellencamp' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

Eh, this was boring. How many different ways can you say Mellencamp was an asshole? I kind of hate these types of biographies that don't give you any details on a PERSONAL level so you just blah blah blah through albums and songs and tours. You have to be a real diehard fan to actually care about that information. I want to see into an artist's heart, not just find out once again that Mellenhead is an asshole. And, well, I'm not that big of a fan though I DO live in Indiana. So, blah.

Phase Six (Hardcover, 2021, Knopf) 4 stars

Review of 'Phase Six' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

2 1/2 stars

This book started strong and lost it's way about 1/3 of the way in. There were too many characters and none of them were particularly developed or even believable or appealing as real people. They all felt like bit players. I would guess a pandemic/dystopian novel needs to follow a few people (heros) who the reader cares about on an emotional level, identifies with, roots for etc. There needs to be a visceral reaction to the gut-punch of the fright of infection and the unendurable existential angst one feels at the loss of human life. Not just, ho-hum, turn the page. These characters were cardboard cutouts and the choices they made were inexpicable at best. Some characters were left hanging, like the boy Aleq and we never get to know in an emotional, intuitive way, how he felt, what it was like to know the part he …