There seemed to be a lot in the "ho hum" category this year so I'll have to review them in at least two entries.
I suppose this means I will need to be much more diligent this year in what I chose to read/listen to!
Night Fall by Nelson DeMille (CD). This was the first one out of the chute (I was actually listening to it towards the end of '08 and finished it in early January of '09). It was ok; a fictionalized accounting of the events around the all too real crash of TWA Flight 800 off of Long Island in July of 1996. A bunch of people stick their noses into the investigation in an attempt to refute the Government's official story as to what happened and chaos and danger ensues. The story wraps up shortly after 9/11. Not exactly a cheerful tale. I did like the (repeat) main character John Corey but didn't find this book as engaging as DeMille's "The General's Daughter". But, it was certainly fine to listen to whilst driving around Durham.
The Other Queen by Phillipa Gregory. Even though Gregory's historical fictional accountings of the lives of major figures in the Tudor realm are not even remotely accurate, I usually find them engaging. Not so this one about Mary Queen of Scots. It focuses primarily on Mary's imprisonment within the household of a loyal servant to Elizabeth I and the fracas that ensues when he (supposedly) falls in love with her. In a word, BLECH. Forget this book; read Margaret George's excellent historical fictional tale "Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles" or the definitive "Mary Queen of Scots" by Antonia Fraser, instead!
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. (Book Club Selection). I had a love hate relationship with this book which, in the end, washed out as a general interest in the subject but a overall dislike for the author's "preachiness" in its telling. Briefly; Kingsolver (who usually writes fiction) decides, along with her husband and two daughters, to move from AZ to VA and "live off the land" for one year. I was amused by some of the anecdotes of the youngest daughter(who will forever be known as "The Chicken Girl") and was somewhat guilted into trying to eat locally grown foods (e.g., from the farmer's market) to reduce carbon footprints, but, that's about it. A few in our club didn't even get through the entire book.
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. I REALLY wanted to like this book a lot more than I did as it was about a special breed of dog, training, animal/human relationships, etc. But, it was too long and too depressing. This reinforced in me that I just don't do well with books where animals are injured/killed/die. That's all I'll say. Perhaps someone with a stronger disposition in this regard would rate it higher as the writing style was fine (although I sure as heck did not care for too many of the main characters (excepting the animals, of course)).