Monday, August 10, 2009


I cannot. Stop. Reading. The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. I'm making myself read other books between each one, but I'm not particularly successful all the time. I've read 10 of the 15 Stephanie Plum novels in the last month. They are so hilarious. However, I feel like I should do some reviews of what else I've been reading:

Outliers: The Story of Success
by Malcolm Gladwell

Adult nonfiction

Available now in hardcover

Malcolm Gladwell is the new black. His books, which look at trends and patterns in a unique and compelling way, will probably never stop selling. I hadn't read them before because I'm not that interested in business books, but customers kept coming in and telling me cool little factoids that they'd learned from Outliers and I was intrigued. I listened to the audio book--read by the author--on a road trip and now I'm hooked on Gladwell too.

Outliers takes apart several instances of "success"--Bill Gates's career, professional hockey in Canada, Jewish lawyers in New York--and goes over them with a fine-tooth comb. He shows which aspects of success are rooted in personal drive and capability, and which aspects are the simple fortune of being in the right place at the right time. There was no point where I stopped paying attention or thought, "this is not relevant to someone who does not work in the corporate world." Gladwell is really good at balancing interesting facts and useful information. His sections are never too long or too wordy. I'm really glad I read this!

I've also read The Tipping Point, and it's just as good or better.

Fever 1793
by Laurie Halse Anderson

Young adult historical fiction

Available now in paperback

I loved this book. It's about the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793. It takes place in Philadelphia, which was then the capital of the United States. The store is told by Mattie Cook, a 14-year-old girl whose family runs a coffeehouse 2 blocks from George Washington's house. Mattie has a crush on a painter's apprentice named Nathaniel, but when the fever strikes she is sent out to the country and doesn't know if Nathaniel has survived the epidemic.

Laurie Halse Anderson is known for two things: impeccable historical research (as in Chains) and great emotional depth (as in Speak). This book has them both. Mattie is trying to survive a horrifying historical event, but at the same time she is a 14-year-old girl, and this aspect does not get left by the wayside. The writing is great, the plot is gripping, and the characters are believable. This is a great book.

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