A Bibliophile’s Pile (6): Killer Sharks and Doris Day

A Bibliophile’s Pile (as in TBR pile) is a new feature for 2017. It’s going to be very similar to my Mini Review posts, but instead of theming each post, I’m just going to list what I’ve read in the past week. Easy peasy.


JawsJaws by Peter Benchley (audiobook / Audible)
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read this for the Popsugar challenge category “Bestseller from a genre you don’t normally read”. On Goodreads, this is classified as “Horror” and “Thriller”, two genres I rarely read, so . . . The problem is that this book isn’t thrilling at all, and the only horrifying thing is Ellen Brody’s description of her rape fantasies (Do other women actually fantasize about rape?! Or is this just what a male author wishes we fantasized about?). Honestly, I was bored. The film is infinitely better! I actually looked it up to see if the book was a bestseller *before* the film came out, or if it only achieved bestseller status afterward. Apparently, it was a surprise bestseller first – but I couldn’t explain why.

Emily of New MoonEmily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery (audiobook / library / re-read / with kids)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For the most part, Emily is just as charming, whimsical, and fun (with dashes of deep sadness) as Anne of Green Gables. This book is classic L. M. Montgomery, ad I love that! However, Dean Priest almost ruins the story for me. I can tolerate a romance between an older man and a younger woman in books like Jane Austen’s Emma, where the man doesn’t realize he loves the woman until after she’s grown. Dean Priest seems to befriend 12 year old Emily for the express purpose of grooming her into a wife. It is creepy beyond belief, and I pointed that out to my kids.

Pillow StalkPillow Stalk by Diane Vallere (audiobook / library)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While I enjoyed Madison Night, all the Doris Day references, and the descriptions of Mod clothes and furniture, the mystery was all over the place! I guess that’s not really odd for a Cozy . . . but how many times can our heroine be grabbed from behind and escape?!

The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron CurtainThe Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Peter Sís (physical book / library / with kids)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An accessible way to explain the Soviet Union to American children, and a good refresher on events I haven’t studied since college.

Year of the JungleYear of the Jungle by Suzanne Collins (physical book / library / with kids)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Suzanne Collins is an amazing author. Her YA and MG series are among the best I’ve ever read, so I was intrigued to find that she’d written a picture book. Year of the Jungle chronicles her memories of the year (1968) that her father spent in Vietnam. Since she was only 6, the story is perfectly pitched to introduce the idea of war to elementary school children, without being too scary. James Proimos’ illustrations are perfect, particularly those that show little Sue’s imaginings of the jungle.

Buttercream Bump Off (Cupcake Bakery Mystery, #2)Buttercream Bump Off by Jenn McKinlay (audiobook / library)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Mel and Angie are fun, the classic film references make me happy, and all the cupcakes sound delicious (although I remain unconvinced that sweet, iced tea goes well with a lemon cupcake).

Muggie MaggieMuggie Maggie by Beverly Cleary (audiobook / library / with kids)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cute Beverly Cleary story! I appreciate the argument for learning cursive. I find it disheartening that Common Core has done away with cursive. Of course children should learning keyboarding, but not at the expense of cursive. They need both.

Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the MoonTeam Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by Catherine Thimmesh (physical book / library / with kids)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While the subject matter is fascinating (I’m still in awe of the fact that we put men on the moon with humans manually calculating and graphing their progress!), this book is rather dry and dull for children. My 11 year old enjoyed it more than my 8 year old.

That Touch of InkThat Touch of Ink by Diane Vallere (audiobook / library)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Madison is fun, if headstrong, and I love all the Doris Day references (I *really* want to watch The Glass Bottom Boat now), but there are WAY too many love interests.



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Career-based cozy mystery (housekeeping, wedding planner, etc.) – Pillow Stalk by Diane Vallere


A bestseller from a genre you don’t normally read – Jaws by Peter Benchley

A book with a cat on the cover – Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery

A book set around a holiday other than Christmas – Buttercream Bump Off by Jenn McKinlay