In the Wilderness
By Kim Barnes
My sweet friend Heidi mailed this to me with a note on the inside that said, "For the next Pulitzer Prize finalist from Idaho-- only you'll win!" Ah, Heidi, I love you.
Anyway, Kim Barnes grew up in logging country in Northern Idaho. When she was a young child, her parents became very devout in their Pentecostalism. The memoir describes how her family's relationship to the woods and to the church impacted her, formed the way she interacted with the world, molded her perception of herself. This provided an interesting and insightful look into religious fundamentalism and its psychological pitfalls.
Barnes is a poet, and writes like one. Every sentence was beautifully formed.
By James Patterson/Michael Ledwidge
My favorite thing about this book was the jacket description, which described the clearly ghost-written book as "The novel James Patterson was born to write." It was an okay read otherwise-- the science behind the plot was a little stretched, but the overall message-- basically that people are often too short-sighted to be able to make the sacrifices they need to make in order to preserve their future well-being -- certainly rang true.
The Fear Index
I liked this book a lot. It was extremely well-crafted (craftmanship in novels being something that I've been paying a lot of attention to lately!) and the characters were engaging and memorable. It was about investments, hedge funds, and artificial intelligence and things, which was all well and interesting, but I mostly just derived a lot of pleasure from reading such an admirably created book. It was one I couldn't wait to get back to at the end of the day.