Show Us Your Books: March 2022

Here’s the books I read in February.  The list is not quite as long as last month’s but the girth of some of these books was mighty. If I had an unintentional theme for last month’s reads it seems to be of “page to screen” (at least for a few of them).
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was impressed and surprised how much of the original dialogue from the novel made its way to the series’ scripts. I think that everything Tyrion utters in the book made it to the screen.

Cat comes off a little harsher in the novel and I had a hard time dealing the children’s ages as Martin portrays them in the book—Dany being 13, Robb and Jon 14, etc. I would prefer to think of them as late teenagers as the HBO series depicts them.

I’m ready for the second in the series now and will read them all.

The Godfather (The Godfather #1)The Godfather by Mario Puzo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can’t even remember how many times I’ve seen The Godfather. I was surprised how closely the film followed the novel, especially with the dialogue. I’m sure it helped the Puzo wrote the screenplay. I enjoyed the introduction to this edition by Francis Ford Coppola and by Puzo’s son.

Johnny Fontaine plays a much bigger role in the novel as well as Lucy Mancini (Sonny’s lover). I gained more insight into Vito Corleone’s character and Michael’s. And, Kay was not as annoying to me as she was in the film version.  It was interesting to read about her interactions with Mamma Corleone.

I did enjoy this novel but I’m not sure I will pick up The Sicilian. Maybe after a while…

The DescendantsThe Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked the novel up after seeing the film version. I love the voice that Hemmings gives Matt, the soon-to-be-widower trying to navigate a life with two potentially difficult daughters.

The book transcends a “type.” There’s a road trip, crazy family drama, the backdrop of beautiful beaches and the Hawaiian landscape.  Hemmings makes it all work—the outrageous behavior of Scottie, Alex’ aloofness, Sid’s just plain goofiness, Matt’s search to understand his wife’s actions. Maybe The Descendants is just a reminder that shit happens and that sometimes the best thought out decisions need to be rethought. Or, sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

I think they’ll be OK.

The Last Chinese Chef: A NovelThe Last Chinese Chef: A Novel by Nicole Mones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I did enjoy Mones’ style and most of the plot elements. Her reverence for all food, but especially Chinese cuisine, is evident.

The story revolves around a 40-year-old food writer and recent widow who is retreating from life. An unexpected and unnerving legal matter forces her to travel to China to sort things out. Serendipitously, there just happens to be an up and coming Chinese chef that she can interview.

She and the chef become friends and he assists her with more than just the story.  She is able to move out from under the legal issue in China and move forward with her own life as well.

I did appreciate that the two main characters were “of a certain age.” I did appreciate all of the excerpts at the beginning of each chapter. I did appreciate the precise and decadent descriptions of all the food.

The only criticism I have with the book—it might have been better if the two had just remained very good friends (not really a spoiler alert needed b/c it’s evident from the beginning what will happen). There were a few characters that seemed totally unneeded.

It might be a cultural issue but I thought that one of the uncles might have committed an unforgiveable act during the banquet contest.

I might pick up another of Mones’ books.

What Is Otherwise Infinite: PoemsWhat Is Otherwise Infinite: Poems by Bianca Stone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I ordered this book after hearing an interview with Stone on NPR. The poetry within these pages will not only give you pause, but may also alter your current vision of reality (and the past and the future). Stone writes with a pragmatic approach to life in the 2020s as an academic with a sense of humor. There’s a comparison of Pigpen (from Peanuts) as one’s personal golem (“I’ll Tell You” 22). “You Could Spend Every Night with the Television” (71-72) probably sums up how we all feel after living through 2020 (and 2021 and the start of 2022).

Here’s a a few lines that I found quotable:

…I will start tomorrow
the essential dismantling
of how I live. (“Marcus Aurelius” 7)

Maybe humans are the failed AI of Nature. (“Nature” 11)

can be relied upon but the disappointment
of beer. (“The Human Good” 17)

I enjoyed this volume of poetry but did find it hard to digest in one setting (even for a slim volume). I had to revisit it a couple of times before I deemed myself finished. (I will probably revisit it again….)

The Law of Unintended Consequences by G. Davis Jandrey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an advanced reader copy of this novel by the author. I had established a correspondence with her after I fell in love with her Deep Breathing.

The Law of Unintended Consequences is a crime drama with a heart. It’s as if Billie Letts and Fannie Flagg wrote a serial-killer thriller.  I would recommend this book. It’s a short read but thought provoking on many different levels.

For a full review, click here.

The Singing TreesThe Singing Trees by Boo Walker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I mostly liked this book. I did appreciate the time frame for the setting (that of the 60s and 70s). I admired the main character’s undying drive to succeed in the art world.

I just sometimes get annoyed with the whole “I must break up with you because I love you” plots. We all know that it always works out in the end.


The Damage DoneThe Damage Done by Michael Landweber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Can you imagine a world without violence? This novel is described as science fiction because of the enormity of that ask. It’s hard to fathom.

Landweber creates his peaceful world by showing the “change” through characters who lived with violence daily: a bullied child, a teenager from the projects who has just lost his brother to gun violence, a woman who experiences domestic violence daily, a college professor who lost his father to a gun shot and his mother to a prison, a racist teenager bent on destruction, two young sisters from El Salvador trying to make it to the United States, and a peaceful poet protestor from a country run by a mad dictator.  All the plot lines are inter-woven as the reader sees the profound impact the “change” makes on each character’s life.

For a full review of this novel, check out Thursday’s post.

View all my GoodReads reviews


Show Us Your Books occurs the second Tuesday of every month.  All are welcome to join!   To add your post to the link OR read about what everyone else is reading,  jump over to the two host sites, Jana and Steph.  


Now to share some upcoming foodie reads….Cook the Books has announced the next four selections:

  • April/May 2022: Taste by Stanley Tucci (hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen)
  • June/July 2022: A Cook’s Tour by Anthony Bourdain (hosted by Claudia at Honey from Rock)
  • August/September 2022: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (hosted by me)
  • October/November 2022: Cooking with Fernet Branca by James Hamilton-Paterson (hosted by Simona at briciole)

You can read more about these selections here.

4 comments to Show Us Your Books: March 2022

  • Well done, Deb. That’s a long list of the books!

  • I’ve never read _The Godfather_! Really should — I hear it’s terrific. The news from Ukraine has nudged me to finally getting around to reading a few of Alan Furst’s spy thrillers. These are set in Europe — often in Poland, Romania, Bujlgaria, Ukraine, France, Russia — in the period a few years before and during WW II. Seems timely, somehow. 🙁 Somewhat interesting books with a terrific sense of history. Not sure I’d recommend them, though — have a feeling the one I’m currently reading (the 4th in the series) may be my last. We’ll see.

  • WOW – you do read a lot of books! I remember reading The Godfather way before the movies and just loved it. Pretty intense. I tried reading The Game of Thrones, but WAY TOO MUCH testosterone for me. Didn’t make it too far into the book. A few years later I did see the series and loved it. Haven’t read any of the other books, but a couple of them caught my interest. Thanks!

  • alice’s adventures in wonderland as a cookbook choice? how fascinating. eat me; drink me!!