Nineteen Minutes

In this book, Jodi Picoult tells the powerful story of 17 year old Peter Houghton, who has been bullied since his very first day of school. One day Peter goes to school armed with four guns and shoots ten students and a teacher that get in his way. The shooting is a big shock to the small town of Sterling where nothing of this magnitude has ever happened and Peter is perceived as a monster and the relatives of the people involved are seeking justice. Throughout the book Picoult tells the story from the perspective of Peter's mother Lacey, his childhood friend Josie, her mother Alex and that of Peter himself and from their views you can learn what brought Peter to perform such an act. The incessant teasing and humiliation, the loss of his only friend to the cool crowd and the lack of adult interference to help him all aid in what becomes a tragedy. Reading this book makes you realize the hardships of being a teenager and trying to fit in, how cruel others can be to someone that is not necessarily as cool and the affects this can have on an individual. By showing all aspects of the situation, Picoult portrays the "monster" as a person which might be a victim of society himself without taking away the seriousness of his actions and the suffering of the people involved. When reading this book I was not able to put it down, it is so fluent and the way that the characters come together is amazing. This was my first time reading a book by Jodi Picoult, and if it is anything to go by I can't wait to read some of her other books.

The Magician

Set in Bohemian Paris, Arthur and his fiancee Margaret are planning their marriage and forthcoming life together. That is until Oliver Haddo walks into the picture and turns their uneventful lives upside down. Based on the black magician Aleister Crowley, Haddo is sinister, repulsive and spiteful, which makes him by far the most interesting character in the book. After being physically assaulted by Arthur for upsetting Margaret, Haddo takes revenge by making Margaret fall in love with him. She leaves Arthur and elopes with the magician, unknowing of what her future life with Haddo will be like. When Arthur sees Margaret again, she is not the same sweet girl that he knew but she looks troubled and sick. Arthur is determined to save the girl from Haddo's evil powers, which in the end unravels the dreadful work of the magician and what he dedicated his life to. When I started reading this book it was slow and dull, I was having a hard time staying interested until the turn of events where it picked up and became quite gripping. As the story unfolds it becomes dark and full of suspense, however the ending left me with too many questions which makes it hard for me to decide whether I liked this book or not.

Pride And Prejudice

When I started reading this book I was a little skeptic whether I would like it or not. My view of classic books has been somewhat tainted ever since I was young, where in school we were made to read these books which we then discussed in class. I always loved reading, so you would think I wouldn't have had a problem with this, but I did. The fact that I didn't have a choice in reading them and had a limited amount of time to do so interfered with me enjoying the book I was reading. I have lately been hearing a lot about Pride And Prejudice and other books by Jane Austen, and since I never picked up this one before I thought I would give it a try, but of course not without any skepticism. I was very surprised when just a few pages in the book I was enjoying it and as I continued to read I was even more caught up in the story. Set in the 19th century, it was common then that a woman like Mrs. Bennett would be distressed that none of her five daughters were married yet, and it seems that the whole purpose of her life is to see each of them settled with a nice man that has an agreeable income. When Mr. Bingley comes into the picture and shows his interest in Jane, the eldest of the sisters, she is quite convinced that they will get married soon and this will open up new opportunities for her other daughters. However this was not to be and all of a sudden Mr. Bingley and his party move away without any word. During this time, Elizabeth, the second eldest of the sisters has her views on the situation which are quite surprising for a woman at that time. Elizabeth is a feminist and is determined not to compromise her happiness by marrying the first man that requests her hand and is not afraid to reject a proposal if she doesn't see it fit for her. The book is aptly named as pride and prejudice causes ill judgment of each other, where Mr. Darcy is perceived by everyone to be a proud man that only speaks to people of his own kind, and the prejudice between the characters hinders their true feelings and actions from being understood. Austen has intelligently constructed each character and situation that it makes you feel like you're part of it all. After reading this book I can understand better why it is called a classic, and it has definitely set the path for me to read other books by Jane Austen as well as other classic books with an open mind.

Flowers For Algernon

At the beginning of the book, Charlie Gordon is in his thirties and has an IQ of 68. In an effort to become smarter he starts attending the Beekman College Center for Retarded Adults, where his will to learn is noticed and he becomes a candidate for an experimental surgery to increase his intelligence. This procedure has only been performed on mice before, and has been highly successful on a specific mouse called Algernon. The story is made up of Charlie's progress reports which his doctors ask him to start keeping before the surgery and throughout his experience. From his reports you can see how Charlie progresses and his intellect grows, while he starts remembering about his childhood and how he came to where he is today. This transition is hard for Charlie as he begins to understand how the people he thought were his friends were only making fun of him and taking advantage of the fact that he was mentally challenged. When Algernon's abilities start to decline, Charlie is distressed and he realizes that he only has a limited amount of time to find out why this is happening. Charlie's journey of self-discovery is both sad and moving and it made me feel for Charlie as near the end the inevitable occurred. This is definitely one of the best books I have read in a while and it's no wonder that Daniel Keyes was the recipient of the Nebula Award given by the Science Fiction Writers of America for the best novel of the year.

How Starbucks Saved My Life

Michael Gates Gill had a privileged upbringing that landed him an executive job at a major advertising company as soon as he graduated from Yale. He dedicated his life to his job while sacrificing personal development and time with his family. During the twenty-five years he spent as a top executive he became a selfish man that only cared about himself and was inconsiderate of anyone he thought was not of the same level as himself. One day, when Gill was in his fifties he got fired from his job and he found himself struggling with life. After having an affair that left him with a new son, a divorce and a failed attempt at having his own advertising business, Gill was on the brink of becoming broke when he was offered a job at Starbucks. As unaccustomed as he was to this situation he needed to make a living so he accepted the job offer and started working for Crystal, a twenty-eight year old African American. Gill was very anxious about his job and throughout his experience he wanted to impress Crystal and prove that he was just as capable of doing the job as the other, much younger, employees. From working at Starbucks, Gill learned that his belief that he had it all in his previous way of life in fact didn't mean anything and he found happiness in being a normal guy working in an amiable environment where everyone respects each other. The concept of this book was inspiring and I think there is a lesson to be learned for everyone from it, however at times I felt like there is too much Starbucks propaganda in it. The author keeps mentioning what a good atmosphere Starbucks employees work in that it makes you think "OK we got the point now move on", and is it possible that there is not one negative aspect of working at Starbucks? This is not surprising since Gill himself comes from an advertising background but if you are able to ignore this it has the potential of being a good book.


Maggie is known to be the sensible one from the Walsh sisters and she always does the right thing, so when she walks out on her marriage everyone is surprised. Finding herself hurt and feeling lost she goes on a trip to Los Angeles to stay with her friend Emma, where she lets her guard down and starts to act like she has never done before. She thinks that this is what she needs to find herself and be able to move on. After a few wild episodes, including a fling with Troy which leads to heartbreak yet again, exploring other grounds with Lara and a lot of recollections of the past, she realizes that being the boring one and living a safe life is ok because this is the way she is, and no amount of adventure will make make her happy like Garv, her husband does. While reading this book I kept waiting to be hooked but as I got nearer to the end I realized this wasn't going to happen. Having read three other books by Marian Keyes (Sushi For Beginners, The Other Side of the Story and Anybody Out There?) which I have enjoyed, I found myself a bit disappointed with this one. I felt that the story wasn't gripping enough and I couldn't really get into it, it seemed like Maggie's character wasn't interesting enough and something was missing. As always though, the witty parts are great, I like Keye's sense of humor and I was glad that it wasn't missing in this book. For me it wasn't hard getting through the book, maybe because I kept expecting it to get more interesting as I read on, but in the end I was let down.


A crazy Nevada policeman, Collie Entragian, is going about pulling vehicles over on a desert highway. The people that he doesn't immediately kill he takes to the small town of Desperation and locks them up in jail. The first to be captured are the Carver family whose RV is sabotaged while driving on the highway, and after killing their daughter Entragian locks the rest of the family in jail. The next to join them is Mary which is followed by a once famous writer Johnny Marinville. Already in jail is Tom Billingsley, the only one still alive from the community of Desperation. At first it is thought that the group is fighting against the policeman, however as the story progresses, a much bigger force is unveiled. This is essentially a fight between the good, which is God communicating with them through the young David Carver, and evil, in the form of Tak, which has surfaced from the mine pit, inhibits the bodies of humans and uses its host to perform its activities. I really liked the plot in this book and the fact that there is so much detail and in depth descriptions of the characters, I was immediately drawn in. David Carver's character is excellent and by the end of the book, which also has an unexpected twist, I found myself loving him more and more. I still have much to read from Stephen King but this is one of the best I have read so far and probably the most chilling and gory.

The Yellow Wallpaper

Another short story that I read recently was "The Yellow Wallpaper". This book is written in the form of a diary being kept by a woman suffering from postpartum depression. Instead of getting the necessary medical attention, the woman is taken by her husband to a Summer house where she is required to rest in order to get better. Her husband has forbidden her from writing as he believes that this is what made her sick, however she secretly starts keeping a diary where she writes about her situation, and most of all about the intriguing yellow wallpaper in the room where she spends her time. After a lot of thinking and analyzing the pattern of the wallpaper she starts to believe that a woman resides underneath the wallpaper that wants to get out and she must help her to do so. Before reading this book I read very good reviews of it, and although the story itself is quite captivating, I didn't enjoy reading it as much as I thought I would. I think this book is more about the concept of the story that describes how women, or even anyone suffering from depression, were treated in those days that makes this book so compelling to most people. I generally do not enjoy short stories because I feel that they do not give you enough time to get to know the characters and they always seem to end abruptly whereas I like to get into the book and become a part of the character's lives. After reading such good reviews about this book I am surprised that I didn't feel the same way about it and I am still wondering if there was something that I missed.