Monday, December 19, 2016

2016 Favorite Books

Book Ratings of 2016 (Annette’s Reading List)

Below are the book reviews I have posted in 2016. Most books are fiction, unless otherwise noted.  As always it’s extremely difficult to narrow down a favorite book. I really enjoyed most of them, but there a couple that truly stood out for me.

Click on the titles to read the reviews.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman Touching. Right up there with The Rosie Project as a favorite. 

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle Memoir  One of my favorite memoirs.

Address Unknown by Kressmann Taylor  Non-Fiction  Short but mighty.

Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne Classic One of my favorite classics—pure fun!

The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz Pulitzer Prize Winner Fast-paced, interesting and entertaining.

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin  Difficulties of love.

French Dirt by Richard Goodman  Memoir/Travelogue Really liked it.

Intensity by Dean Koontz Action/Suspense Slasher suspense.

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens Action/Suspense  Good suspense.

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri Honor and obligation.

The Reluctant Tuscan by Phil Doran Memoir/Travelogue  Fun read!

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion This quirky book about a man in pursuit of love tops the list this year and gets my “favorite book of the year award.” 

Three Weeks With My Brother by Nicholas Sparks and MicahSparks Memoir/Travelogue Interesting, funny, heartbreaking.

What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan Action/Suspense  Great suspense.  Hard to put down.

Happy Reading,


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Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Rah, Rah for Rosie! (Good Reads  / Good Eats)

Professor Don Tillman has a special skill set.  He has the persnickety precision of Phileas Fogg from Around the World in Eighty Days—minus the charm.  He has the analytical, mathematical, calculating mind of Mark Watney from The Martian—minus natural ease and ability to adapt.  He also has a brilliant intellect combined with the social deficiencies of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.

In other words, he’s tightly wound, abundantly smart, and in socially inept, and he decides it’s time to find a wife.  So this highly scholarly and structured associate professor begins a quest:  The Wife Project.  He believes the best way to find a life partner is by creating a scientific survey to weed out all but the perfect candidates. He wants to collect “data to support life’s most critical decision.  Compromise would be totally in appropriate.” [1]

Suddenly a wrench is thrown into the mission when he meets Rosie.  She’s obviously an unsuitable contender for the Wife Project, but he nevertheless agrees to help her with her own search in the Father Project.  Despite logical reason, he develops a friendship with her.  Could it lead to more?

This book is one of those rare finds where I fell in love with it from page one. Not only is Professor Tillman’s stiff awkwardness amusing, but the situations he finds himself had me laughing out loud.  The back cover says it’s optioned to be a movie, and you can be sure when it comes out, I’ll be first in line!

This was a book club selection and my fellow readers thought the same.... they really liked it.  Thumbs-up. We were already discussing what actors we thought would play the characters in the movie.  

Since good reads and good eats are some of my favorite pastimes, I’ve decided to highlight yet another wonderful restaurant I found in Spokane.  My husband, son, and I went to Boots Bakery and Lounge in October and fell in love with the place.  It’s a funky, eclectic eatery/bar with good coffee and great vegan dishes (alcohol is also served, but we didn’t have any at the time).  I'm not a vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free person, but I do like good food, and that's what this is. We had some very tasty salads and finished with carrot cake cupcakes and pumpkin bar desserts.  Here are a few quick highlights.

Bull Mural behind food case.  Three truly yummy salads:  lentil, tofu scramble, and German potato.


Some of the benches made from painted, old wooden doors. The bar area with suspended fireplace and blender pendant lights.  

Check it out if you’re in the area: 24 W. Main Ave, Spokane, WA.  Also, check out the amazing Geisha mural if you go there. I wanted to take a picture, but there were people eating at the table in front of it. Maybe if you go, you’ll be lucky enough to grab a seat there.

Other Coffee Shop / Food Recommendations:
Browne's Tavern - Spokane - Spokane
Daft Badger Brewing - Coeur d'Alene
Gaiwan Tea House - Coeur d'Alene
Well-Read Moose - Coeur d'Alene
Strada Caffe - Coeur d'Alene
Bakery by the Lake -Coeur d'Alene

Happy reading, happy eating,


Questions or comments?  Email

[1] Graeme Simsion, The Rosie Project (New York, Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, 2013) 37.