Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West – Gregory Maguire, 1995. I couldn’t finish this, though I tried. I found it draggy and unfocused (hard to put my finger on; it’s not poorly written), and the political and social travails of Oz, though theoretically interesting, were in fact not. But it did get me onto a Wizard of Oz kick.
The Rule of Four – Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason, 2004. Read in large print on the elliptical trainer, and it really did motivate me to keep coming back. Very similar to The DaVinci Code but quite a bit better.
Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief: The Astonishing True Story of a High-Society Cat Burglar – Bill Mason with Lee Gruenfeld, 2003. I thoroughly enjoyed this although it’s a little long and self-congratulatory. Interesting: how easy it was for Mason to get by “unbeatable security systems” by simply thinking outside the rules (buildings with incredible arrays of alarms and locks on the front door, but the door to the roof isn’t even locked) and how baffled the owners and police were (akin to “Aliens must have helped them!” reactions to ancient technologies sophisticated in ways we no longer use). Thought-provoking: the way his first wife chooses not to know what’s going on until he’s arrested (and even after). Mason makes a big deal of how scary it was for her for the police to show up when she had no idea he wasn’t on the up and up. Yet it was clearly unmistakable he was doing something illegal (lots of money, lots of free time, lots of shady friends, “c’mon we have to leave right now,” etc. etc.) Reminds me of complicit Mafia wives and especially the Catherine Zeta-Jones character in Traffic.
Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day – Susan Newman, 1993. A small book of good-to-great ideas for family rituals which cement connection. Example: taking a picture of your child’s room periodically (doesn’t have to be clean!) so they’ll be able to remember what it was like at various ages. Wish I had that! Some are a little generic or platitudinous, but they are all concise so you can quickly move on to the next.