Friday, February 27, 2009
- MegWaite Clayton
For thirty-five years, Frankie, Linda, Kath, Brett, and Ally have met every Wednesday at the park near their homes in Palo Alto, California. Defined when they first meet by what their husbands do, the young homemakers and mothers are far removed from the Summer of Love that has enveloped most of the Bay Area in 1967. These “Wednesday Sisters” seem to have little in common: Frankie is a timid transplant from Chicago, brutally blunt Linda is a remarkable athlete, Kath is a Kentucky debutante, quiet Ally has a secret, and quirky, ultra-intelligent Brett wears little white gloves with her miniskirts. But they are bonded by a shared love of both literature–Fitzgerald, Eliot, Austen, du Maurier, Plath, and Dickens–and the Miss America Pageant, which they watch together every year.
As the years roll on and their children grow, the quintet forms a writers circle to express their hopes and dreams through poems, stories, and, eventually, books. Along the way, they experience history in the making: Vietnam, the race for the moon, and a women’s movement that challenges everything they have ever thought about themselves, while at the same time supporting one another through changes in their personal lives brought on by infidelity, longing, illness, failure, and success.
Well, where do I start? For me this is pretty simple...I did not like it very much. I honestly did not connect with the characters at all. In fact, I simply wasn't buying into the story about these ladies lives and how they came to be friends and how they would meet every week and write and critique each others stories. Then, how eventually two of them became published authors. I could go on but what is the sense in that? If the above description from Goodreads sounds interesting to you then I think you should at least try reading this book. I wanted to like it, what's better than people bonding over books? But it fell short for me...maybe I will try to read it again when I can be more focused on it and am in a different frame of mind. However, because of course I'm a passage/quote addict, I will leave you with two passages that I DID LIKE!
You could see the Linda who'd settled herself on a tree branch where no one could see her and tried to spin for herself a web of imaginary friendships, a world of Charlottes and Ferns and Wilburs. The child who built I-don't-care-if-I-offend-you walls, who decided she didn't want friends other than the ones she found in books.
"This is preposterous, "Brett said. "We're supposed to boil four hundred manuscript pages down to a single paragraph?"
"Like churning sweet milk," Kath said. "How about this, y'all? How about you start with a question to draw in the reader, then give them a little peek at the story but don't tell the ending? Show them a little ankle, maybe some calf, but don't go sleeping with the boy before the wedding day."
Lesley's Book Nook
And...here we go!
1. I'm __quirky___, I'm _outspoken____, I _love my family and friends____.
2. Why do I have __snow___ and not _75 degree temperatures?____.
3. How does this __google notebook thingie___ work, anyway?
4. Every morning, I put __undies___ on my __tushie (I'm feeling stupid)___.
5. I consider myself lucky because _I work in a library and I love my job!!! surrounded by some of my favorite things----books (not the kids!! LOL)____.
6. One day we’ll see _a Broadway production____.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to __pizza___, tomorrow my plans include __grocery shopping- what fun!___ and Sunday, I want to __say that I'm all caught up with everything...wishful thinking!!!___!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Library Loot hosted by Eva and Alessandra asks us to list what we brought home from the library this week.
Can I just say that I have absolutely no business checking out more books from the library this week?????????? But that didn't stop me! Thank god I'm addicted to reading and acquiring books and not like drugs or alcohol!! I'd definitely need an intervention.
On to the loot------------
Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
I had to add this because Heather at Book Addiction wrote a fantastic review that absolutely compelled me to get this book!!
Laika by Nick Abadzis
Another graphic novel that I had to read because of a wonderful review I came across. This book is all Nymeth's fault and you can read her review here at her fantastic blog, things mean a lot.
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
My friend Dar is responsible for this one coming home with me. After reading her wonderful series of posts regarding this book and her final review, I knew without a doubt that I had to read this novel!! Please visit Dar's blog, Peeking Between the Pages, for her excellent review.
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Well, I'm not sure who to blame for this one but I'm going to pin it on everyone in the book blogging world that has reviewed this and made me feel like my life wouldn't be the same if I didn't read it immediately....Thanks to all of you!!
I like the idea of blaming others for my reading stack getting ever larger....helps to spread the guilt around!!!
To Read List Total today 2/25/09 : 556
Last week's To Read List Total 2/4/2009: 528
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
"Some of us hide our differences on the inside," Agnes says to me kindly. "Others wear them on the outside, for all the world to see. Don't be scared, pet."
I feel myself flush, my skin growing so warm that I, too, probably look diseased.
p. 195 Bliss by Lauren Myracle
Sunday, February 22, 2009
by John Green
When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.
Just like his other two novels that I've read, Green has this way with his writing that grabbed me by the shirt and pulled me into the book. Not everything is what it seems on the OUTSIDE with these characters and it isn't until you truly find out who Margo really is that the pieces fall into place and you understand that each person, regardless of age, is just trying to find out WHO they really are. Green has written another solid story and one that I would highly recommend. I especially love how he's taken such an obscure, unknown fact as a paper town and wrote a whole book based on that premise...the man is a genius I tell ya!!! Of course, my favorite character is Quentin. He's lovable, he's honest, he's a true FRIEND, and he is hopelessly in love with the IDEA of Margo and who he thought she was. After they go on their night of revenge Margo disappears and it is during that time period of trying to find her that Quentin actually discovers some real truths about himself and in the end Margo. This book has it all and I think anyone would be happy that they took the time to read it. And if you haven't read any of John Green's books...STOP...and put them on your TBR list NOW!!!!! Make it a must-read for 2009!!! And, as always, because I'm a quote and passage freak, I will leave you with a couple of my favorites from this book.
I shrugged my shoulders. I didn't know the answer, but of course I had my hopes: maybe Margo needed to see my confidence. Maybe this time she wanted to be found, and to be found by me. maybe just as she had chosen me on the longest night, she had chosen me again. And maybe untold riches awaited he who found her.
"I think I will do nothing for a long time but listen," Whitman writes. And then for two pages, he's just hearing: hearing a steam whistle, hearing people's voices, hearing an opera. he sits on the grass and lets the sound pour through him. And this is what I was trying to do, too, I guess: to listen to all the little sounds of her, because before any of it could make sense, it had to be heard. For so long, I hadn't really heard Margo-I'd seen her screaming and thought her laughing-that now I figured it was my job. to try, even at this great remove, to hear the opera of her.
My favorite one:
Nymeth- things mean a lot: Paper Towns Review
Stuff as Dreams are Made On
Heather at Book Addiction
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
This week I feel like I hit the jackpot!! Now we'll see how many I actually get through before I have to renew them!!
Who By Fire by Diana Spechler
So many great book reviews on this book that when I saw it on the shelf I had to immediately grab it! This excellent review can be read here at Musings of a Bookish Kitty . Tell me that you could resist this book after reading this review!
The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle
This book has been on my TBR list forever so I decided to grab it again!! I checked it out a while back and never got around to it. I hope to finish it this time!
The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
I started reading this the other day and am totally enjoying his writings about books. Which ones he's bought and which ones he's actually read. This book is a compilation of the column that he use to write for The believer Magazine.
The Gifted Gabaldon Sisters by Lorraine Lopez
Remember that Weekly Geek post about covers? Well, I picked this strictly because I loved the cover. I've seen some reviews on Goodreads and while they're not the greatest, I'm going to try to read this without prejudice. Wish me luck!
Wake by Lisa McMann
The premise of this book sounds great and The Compulsive Reader loved it so that means I should read it!!!
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Because JoAnn and Mellymel said I should!!
Chocolat by Joanne Harris
I must read this because 1) I've been meaning to for years
2) It is about my favorite thing ever-chocolate
3) I would be a loser if I didn't!
Skim words by Mariko Tamaki, Drawings by Jillian Tamaki
I'm on a big graphic novel kick right now and the cover art sold me!! Once again, I'm a sucker for the cover!
I think I made a pretty good haul this time and because I love to make lists and let my OCD side win I must get these books put into my little reading calendar immediately!! My big goal this year is to read EVERYTHING I bring home from the library....unattainable I know but I'm giving it a run for its money!!!!
To Read List Total today 2/16/09 : 601
Last week's To Read List Total 2/4/2009: 528
Reading book blogs has become hazardous to my reading health!!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
It was a long walk--seven miles--to the park. We Wednesday Sisters walked at the fringes of the crowd, feeling more like the shopkeepers who observed from their doorways than like protesters.
p. 191 The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton
It's Tuesday...Where are you?
* The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton
* The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye Vol. 1 by Robert Kirkman
Monday, February 16, 2009
Large print edition
From the back cover:
At twenty-seven, Josey Cirrini bears little resemblance to the wild-haired, temperamental daughter everyone in her North Carolina hometown remembers. Ever since her beloved but elusive father's death Josey has devoted her life to caring for her aging, irritable mother. Her only solace has been nightly escapades to her closet where she hoards sugary treats and paperback romances. Fleeing her abusive boyfriend, local waitress Della Lee Baker has decided that Josey's closet is a safe place to hide. She see right away that Josey's is not the closet of a happy woman. The pair strike a deal: in exchange for her refuge, Della Lee will change Josey's life.
Well, this book was not as enjoyable for me as her first novel, Garden Spells. But it was charming and I did like Josey, except for the fact that I don't believe any self-respecting twenty-seven year old woman would let her mother belittle her on a daily basis and just sit there and take it. That part of the story I had a hard time swallowing, but the rest was a pleasant reading experience. Sarah Addison Allen tricked me though!! I won't tell you how but needless to say I never saw the twist coming and I should've, she put it right under my nose several times to find. I'm going to chalk it up to the fact that I've been under the weather these past three days and sometimes my mind has been too foggy from cold/flu medicine to make sense of things...yeah, that's what I'll blame it on!! If you liked her previous work, then I think you will enjoy this story. There's just enough mystery, romance, and magic to hold your attention!!
And because I love to find passages that touch me, I will leave you with this one:
"Books can be possessive, can't they? You're walking around in a bookstore and a certain one will jump out at you, like it had moved there on its own, just to get your attention. Sometimes what's inside will change your life, but sometimes you don't even have to read it. Sometimes it's a comfort just to have a book around. Many of these books haven't even had their spines cracked. 'Why do you buy books you don't even read?' our daughter asks us. That's like asking someone who lives alone why they bought a cat. For company, of course."
Dar at Peeking Between the Pages
Saturday, February 14, 2009
From the inside cover:
"The first question people always ask me is what are the essential ingredients." Lillian paused and smiled. "I might as well tell you, there isn't a list a list and I've never had one. Nor do I hand out recipes. All I can say is that you learn what you need to."
Once a month on Monday night, eight students gather in Lillian's restaurant for a cooking class. Among them is Claire, a young woman coming to terms with her new identity as a mother; Tom, a lawyer whose life has been overturned by loss; Antonia, an Italian kitchen designer adapting to life in America; and Carl and Helen, a long-married couple whose union contains surprises the rest of the class would never suspect. The students have come to learn the art behind Lillian's soulful dishes, but it soon becomes clear that each seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. One by one they are transformed by the aromas, flavors, and textures of what they create. Over time, the paths of the students mingle and intertwine, and the essence of Lillian's cooking expands beyond the restaurant and into the secret corners of their lives, with results that are often unexpected, and always delicious.
I absolutely adored this book. For me it a was a very comfortable and comforting read. Food has long been a source of comfort for me and I think it probably is for a lot of people. I enjoyed attending this cooking class with all of these great character's that Bauermeister created. When I finished the book I longed to find a cooking class that I could take so that I could experience the magic of food. I am not a good cook.......my family does not like to try new things. I need to rephrase that, my HUSBAND, does not like to try new things. He's strictly a meat and potatos kind of person. So when I'm planning out the week's menu it is always BORING. That is why this book totally roped me in. I would love to try some of these recipes but I feel unsure of myself in the kitchen. A lot of these characters in the book felt the same way but Lillian, the head chef, had such a calming and confident way about her, that gradually her students realized that they could trust their senses and make dishes that were out of this world. Within each new chapter you get the opportunity to meet each of the students and to get a glimpse into their past and present lives. I fell in love with Isabelle and Tom and the couple Helen and Carl. Their stories touched me at times on a very personal level. If you're looking for a book that you can just sink into and finish with a day or two, and you love food, cooking, and reading about it, then I would highly recommend this book to you...I don't think you'll be disappointed!!
A few of my favorite passages:
It made a certain sense for a holiday celebrating survival over starvation, and everyone seemed to revel in the excess of it all, but she couldn't help feeling embarrassed for the food, all smashed together like immigrants in steerage class.
"I used to know a sculptor," Isabelle said, nodding. "He always said that if you looked hard enough, you could see where each person carried his soul in his body. It sounds crazy, but when you saw his sculptures, it made sense. I think the same is true with those we love," she explained. "Our bodies carry our memories of them, in our muscles, in our skin, in our bones. My children are right here." She pointed to the inside curve of her elbow. "Where I held them when they were babies. Even if there comes a time when I don't know who they are anymore, I believe I will feel them here.
"Well...how do you feel about her?"
"She's beautiful and smart and..."
"I mean, " Lillian's voice was patient, "what do you want?"
"I want...." Ian paused, and then his voice cleared. "I would want her for the rest of my life."
"Then that is how you cook."
Please read an excellent review of this book posted by Dar from Peeking Between the Pages. After reading her review, I immediately went to my library's website and requested this book!! Thanks Dar... I loved it!!!
Anna at Diary of an Eccentric has a great post of her interview with the author Erica...check it out here: Interview with Erica Bauermeister
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Suggested by Barbara H.:
A comment on someone else’s BTT question this week inspired this question:Do you read any author’s blogs? If so, are you looking for information on their next project? On the author personally? Something else?
Yes, I do sometimes. I usually stumble across an author's blog AFTER I've read their book and notice that they have one. I don't intentionally go out looking for them. I've visited Shannon Hale's website just to see what was going on and I noticed that she had a blog. I read a few posts and enjoyed them. I even found a great link that I used in my Graphic Novel Post. I went seeking out Nic Sheff's blog after I finished his book, Tweak. Mainly, because I was curious to see what he looked like now after so many years of hard drug use and to see if he was winning his battle against addiction. I don't visit these blogs on a daily basis but every once in a while I will peek in to see what they're up to. The one blog that I do visit weekly is Laurie Halse Anderson's. Her site is on my blogroll. I just like getting a glimpse into her life, her writing struggles and victories, and to see what book I can eagerly look forward to in the future.
So, I guess you could catergorize my author blog viewing as mainly voyeuristic in nature and simple curiosity.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
The title was Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History by Art Speigelman. This book absolutely blew me away. Not only was the drawing spectacular, but the story was so compelling, horrific, and one that I needed to finish. In the end, this book moved me more than The Diary of Anne Frank. The pictures brought this story to life within my mind and it really drove home all the terror, horrors endured, and in the end the ability to continue on with life. After I finished that one I immediately requested Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began. This one was just as superbly written and illustrated like the first. As soon as I started to read, Art's father's voice blossomed in my brain and I could hear his accent. This is a book that I feel high school teachers could do so much with, especially for those students who are reluctant readers and look at The Diary of Anne Frank and see nothing but intimidation by the sheer size of the book. The visual part of the graphic novel is what has sold me. I have ordered a ton of "safe" graphic novels for my middle school library and let me tell you I can't keep them on the shelves!! I love it, because that is exactly what I wanted to happen. Those students who think they don't like to read or have trouble reading, latch on to one of these books and then they take off like rockets!!! I've learned my lesson....graphic novels are a much needed and most welcome addition to my personal reading and to all libraries!!
So here are the 3 books that I enjoyed over the weekend:
by Shannon and Dean Hale
Illustrated by: Nathan Hale
Once upon a time, in a land you only think you know, lived a little girl and her mother . . . or the woman she thought was her mother.Every day, when the little girl played in her pretty garden, she grew more curious about what lay on the other side of the garden wall . . . a rather enormous garden wall.And every year, as she grew older, things seemed weirder and weirder, until the day she finally climbed to the top of the wall and looked over into the mines and desert beyond. Newbery Honor-winning author Shannon Hale teams up with husband Dean Hale and brilliant artist Nathan Hale (no relation) to bring readers a swashbuckling and hilarious twist on the classic story as you’ve never seen it before. Watch as Rapunzel and her amazing hair team up with Jack (of beanstalk fame) to gallop around the wild and western landscape, changing lives, righting wrongs, and bringing joy to every soul they encounter.This book was totally cool!! I loved the whole concept from the very beginning and the colorful pictures totally drew me into Rapunzel's world. She has been kidnapped and taken away from her real mother and a wicked witch Gothel is raising her. When Rapunzel realizes what Gothel has done she is sent away to live inside of a tree. With a lot of ingenuity she manages to escape her prison and meets up with a boy named Jack (yes, from the beanstalk) and together they have adventures and daring encounters as they work their way back to Gothel's land so that she can free her mother. I think a lot of kids would love to have this one read out-loud to them, while the older kids 11-13 would rather read it themselves. I found this great link from Shannon Hale's website about a father and his experience reading this book to his kids. You MUST read it!! click here- Bookie Woogie. If you see this book pick it up and read it...I think you'll like this strong, witty, and wonderful character that Hale has created in Rapunzel!!
Kin (the Good Neighbors, Book One)
by Holly Black
Illustrated by: Ted Naifeh
Rue Silver's mother has disappeared . . . and her father has been arrested, suspected of killing her. But it's not as straightforward as that. Because Rue is a faerie, like her mother was. And her father didn't kill her mother -- instead, he broke a promise to Rue's faerie king grandfather, which caused Rue's mother to be flung back to the faerie world. Now Rue must go to save her -- and must also defeat a dark faerie that threatens our very mortal world.
I have read almost all of Holly Black's books and for the most part I've enjoyed them. I've seen mixed thoughts about this graphic novel but when I came across it the other day at the library I figured what did I have to lose?
I wasn't in love with but I didn't hate it either. The illustrations are awesome. Ted is extremely talented and while it was kind of a shock to the system after reading Rapunzel (being so colorfully illustrated) to Kin which is very, very dark, I loved looking at the pictures. At times some of the faces were hard to make out, but I know that it goes to the plot and how she wants you to feel about the characters and the mystery of everything. I wish that she would have developed the characters just a little bit more and not rushed in some parts. For example, at one point Rue finally realizes that she's a fairy or something like it, and without anyone really showing her how or practicing, she can all of a sudden make herself invisible from humans!! I had to stop and re-read because I thought I missed a page! I will read her next ones because I need to find out what will happen to the world as we know it and how these new events will change Rue, for the better or for the worse?
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
written and illustrated by: Alison Bechdel
This breakout book by Alison Bechdel takes its place alongside the unnerving, memorable, darkly funny family memoirs of Augusten Burroughs and Mary Karr. It's a father-daughter tale pitch-perfectly illustrated with Bechdel's sweetly gothic drawings and like Marjane Satrapi's Persepolisa story exhilaratingly suited to the graphic memoir form. Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian house, a third-generation funeral home director, a high school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with male students and a family babysitter. Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, we are drawn into a daughter's complex yearning for her father. And yet, apart from assigned stints dusting caskets at the family-owned "fun home," as Alison and her brothers call it, the relationship achieves its most intimate expression through the shared code of books. When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescence, the denouement is swift . . . graphic . . . and redemptive.
All I'm going to say is that this books hit me in the gut, not once, but several times. It touched me on a lot of levels so I will not write any more of my thoughts about it, but instead, share some of my favorite passages.
( Setting the background for you)
Alison finally gets the courage to tell her parents she's a lesbian. She writes them a letter and then anxiously waits for them to contact her, when they do she can't believe what her mother tells her.
Then a phone call in which she dealt a staggering blow.
"Your father has had affairs. With other men."
I'd been upstaged, demoted from protagonist in my own drama to comic relief in my parent's tragedy.
My thoughts: She waited for so long to tell her parents that she was gay and when she does her dad's homosexuality takes center stage and she's left holding the bag.
(setting the background for you)
Allison and her father go into a diner one day for lunch. A woman walks in dressed much like a man and her first thoughts were:
I didn't know there were women who wore men's clothes and had men's haircuts. But like a traveler in a foreign country who runs into someone from home--someone they've never spoken to, but know by sight--I recognized her with a surge of joy.
Dad recognized her too.
"Is that what you want to look like?"
What else could I say?
But the vision of the truck-driving bulldyke sustained me through the years...as perhaps it haunted my father.
(setting the background for you)
Allison was taking English classes at college and shared the list with her father for over a year and a half but after awhile she felt that his excitement was suffocating her. She realized that she had neglected to do a short project and so she signed up for James Joyce's Ulysses and decided to share this with her dad.
Home for Christmas, I found dad's delight about Ulysses a bit galling.
"Here, take this. It's the copy I used in college."
But it was nice to have his attention.
Can I write in it?
"Here's Dubliners, too. The first three stories are life drafts from portrait."
I realized I had missed it, however vicarious it may have been.
"And the dead. you have to read the dead. Or at least the very least, the last paragraph."
In a burst of tenderness, I encouraged him further.
So...what should I read this weekend?
Her father's face is elated...
"Hmm..let me think."
This interaction between the father and daughter made me full of emotions and brought glaringly into the light my loss of relationship with my own dad. After locking her father out of her English reading life, she realizes how much happiness her father receives by sharing this passionate interest with her. The drawings are spectacular, as you're reading the text and looking at the drawings it makes everything that much more intense.
I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys graphic novels and I want to also acknowledge that I got this title from Wendy at Musings of a Bookish Kitty.(Wendy, if you read this please shoot me the link to your post!! I looked all over and can't find it to save my life!! EDITED 2/16/09 I found the link!! Click on Musings above and you will see her review!!) She posted some of her hubby's favorite graphic novels and I read about this one and thought it would be interesting. And of course it was much more than that!!
For all of you that made it to the end of this long post...I thank you and send you much love!!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
The first time he kissed her---it had taken six weeks--was over hamburgers, two inches thick, juices running. He had leaned over and licked the grease off her arm without thinking.
p. 112 The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
Sunday, February 8, 2009
I've been tagged by JonJon over at ...a Dedication of Love.....
1. Link to the person who has tagged you.
2. Write down six things that make you happy.
3. Post the rules, tag one other and let them know you did it.
4. Then tell the person when your entry is complete.
- My husband and my two sons (most of the time!)
- A good friend who lets me rant and rave and then will tell me the truth be it good or bad.
- A sunny day, a good book, and no where to be.
- Having the phone ring at 5:45 am and hearing that school is closed due to snow!!
- My job working as the Library Lady at my son's middle school.
- Date night with my hubby!
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Judge a Book By Its Cover!
This week it's all about judging books by their covers! Pick a book--any book, really--and search out multiple book cover images for that book. They could span a decade or two (or more)...Or they could span several countries. Which cover is your favorite? Which one is your least favorite? Which one best 'captures' what the book is about?
Well, I wanted to post the cover to the two books that truly influenced me to be the reader that I am today: Charlotte's Web and The Little House on the Prairie. The only problem is that the cover does not have very many different editions. So I decided to post Little Women instead. I love this book and can never pass up the opportunity to watch the movie version that Katherine Hepburn starred in...She is Jo!!
The first one I'm not that crazy about, it shows Beth in her sick bed and I just think it's kind of bland. I do like the second cover. I would pick this book up and see what the story was about.
Sometimes I like movie covers on books but this is not the case for this edition. I do however love the second book cover!!
Well a lot can be said for book covers that is for sure. Some covers I spot from across the room and instantly attract my attention, while others I wonder why in the world they chose that particular art/photo to express what this book is about. I know that I shouldn't judge a book by its cover but I have to be honest and say that I do, and I do it a lot!! So far I don't feel that it has been a hindrance in regards to choosing a good read or not. I will always go with my initial gut reaction and then see where it leads me!!
And on a side note: the book that I own of Little Women is extremely old and tattered, there is no cover art on the front, but it has the most beautiful color pictures within the covers!! I found it in a library sale!!
Large Print Version
From the back cover:
This stunning debut collection has won almost every award bestowed on a first book of fiction, including the Pulitzer Prize. Nine stories unerringly chart the emotional journeys of characters seeking love beyond the barriers of nations and generations. With accomplished precision and gentle eloquence, Lahiri traces the crosscurrents set in motion when immigrants, expatriates, and their children arrive, quite literally, at a cultural divide. Imbued with the sensual details of Indian culture, these stories speak with passion and wisdom to everyone who has ever felt like a foreigner. Like the interpreter of the title story, Lahiri translates between the strict traditions of her ancestors and a baffling new world.
I have not read a book of short stories ever. But one day as I was reading Mel's blog Lit*Chick, I came across her review about Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri and was quite taken by her thoughts on this particular collection of short stories. I am always open to new ideas so this year I decided that I was going to read many, many collections of short stories. I actually started with an Audio version of Unaccustomed Earth, but the CD was so damaged in spots I just turned it in to the library and picked up Interpreter of Maladies instead. I am so glad that I ventured out in the short-story world. Each one of these stories were gems. I can say that I liked all of them but there were a few that I liked more. The first story, A Temporary Matter, was very well written. The two characters in the story are married, but they couldn't be more further apart than if they lived in two different hemispheres. What you don't know is that they suffered a horrible loss that effectively destroyed any connection they may have had. Lahiri writes their story centered around a scheduled power outage that takes place at the same time every night for one week. During this time, the two use the darkness to be speak truths to each other that ultimately led to an end of their marriage. Each of her stories encompasses the Indian culture, norms, food, and homeland. I have always been intrigued by India, one of my very favorite books, A Fine Balance, was located in India. I'm drawn to the beauty, the culture, the exotic foods and smells, but am also acutely aware of the poverty, the caste system and the low regard for women. I found myself laughing and wanting to be friends with Twinkle from This Blessed House. The newlyweds buy a house and find all kinds of Christian paraphernalia hidden in strange locations all over the house. Twinkle's desire to showcase these found objects and her husband's adamant exclamations of "we're not Christian!" battle against each other to a very satisfying conclusion. My favorite story of them all was the final one, The Third and Final Continent. This centered around a young man who has arrived in America to study at MIT and he's renting a room from a woman who is 103 years old. Before he came to America he went to home to Calcutta to marry a young lady he had never met. When she arrives in America they are strangers to each other but it is the visits to his old landlady that begin to bring them together as husband and wife. I found this story very satisfying because you learn that they ended up being happily married. I found this passage to be very endearing:
I wanted somehow to explain this to Mrs. Croft, who was still scrutinizing Mala from top to toe with what seemed to be placid disdain. I wondered if Mrs. Croft had ever seen a woman in a sari, with a dot painted on her forehead and bracelets stacked on her wrists. I wondered what she would object to. I wondered if she could see the red dye still vivid on Mala's feet, all but obscured by the bottom edge of her sari. At last Mrs. Croft declared, with the equal measures of disbelief and delight I knew well:
"She is a perfect lady!"
Now it was I who laughed. I did so quietly, and Mrs. Croft did not hear me. But Mala had heard, and, for the first time, we looked at each other and smiled.
This is easily a 4 stars out of 5 book!!
Friday, February 6, 2009
Questions courtesy of YellowRose this week; thanks, friend! And...here we go!
1. Please don't tell __me that the temperature is going to be in single digits again today!___.
2. Can you __please not bother me___ in the morning?
3. The color __blue___ makes me want to _be on a beach in Jamaica, drinking something alcoholic, and reading a good book____!
4. I have a craving for _salty stuff right now____.
5. If my life had a pause button, I'd pause it __all those moments when my boys were small so that I could savor that time. I need it to get through their teen years now___.
6. Eyes are the __windows to the soul, I truly do believe that___.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _finishing Interpreter of Maladies____, tomorrow my plans include _the oh so obvious-grocery shopping but with a stop at Barnes and Noble to browse____ and Sunday, I want to __take a catnap in the afternoon and NOT feel guilty about it___!
Happy Friday Everyone!!!
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Suggested by Simon Thomas:
Have you ever been put off an author’s books after reading a biography of them? Or the reverse - a biography has made you love an author more?
Honestly, I haven't read very many biographies on authors at all so I guess my answer to this question will be short and sweet. The only person that I can recall that I read their book BECAUSE of reading something about them was Daniel Tammet. I watched some show that he was on and thought from the interview that he sounded interesting. I grabbed the book, Born On A Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant, from my library and read it in two days. I thought his biography fantastic and so very interesting. His mind and how he perceives things still boggles me to this day. So I guess reading his biography made me love him just a little bit more and I would certainly read another book that he wrote.
Neve Halloran and her daughter have shared a fierce love for the austere beauty of Rhode Island’s South County ever since Neve guided Mickey’s first baby steps along the sandy shore. Now, with Mickey a teenager and Neve’s last hope for happiness with her daughter’s loving but unstable father gone, both will struggle to make a new life together amid the windswept landscape that sustains them.
I have only listened to books on tape a few times. I enjoyed it but have not made it a regular feature within my reading habits. This year I've decided that I would try to get outside my little box and try new things. One of those is to add more audio books to the line-up. Well, this one just did not cut it for me. I almost gave up on it.....several times....but I don't want to be known as a quitter, so I let those cd's run their course in my car stereo. I've never read any books by Luanne Rice so I didn't know what to expect in regards to the story. Honestly, I picked this book because I liked the cover...LOL!!! The story itself was alright. In fact, if I had been reading it myself I'm sure that I wouldn't have found it quite as cheesy as I did but adding the narrator's annoying voice to the mix just about put me over the edge. I found myself constantly rolling my eyes at certain lines, and almost all of the time when the narrator changed her voice from old man, to middle-aged man, to teen boy. And if that was not enough, every time the narrator said, "he said." "she said."(keep repeating these lines to yourself several times....) my son and I looked at each other and we both were like...what the heck? How many times can the author keep using, "he said." "she said."?????? I guess when I'm reading the words it doesn't seem so repetitive, but when you're listening to it.....I wanted to SCREAM, stop the car, eject the cd and throw it out the window!! But I didn't let this first lackluster experience keep me from the audio section at my library. Last Saturday I walked out with The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig and so far I'm enjoying it. Could it be because the narrator is a man who does NOT change his voice constantly? I'll let you know!
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Library Loot hosted by Eva and Alessandra asks us to list what we brought home from the library this week.
I love my local library, without it I would be a lost soul. When we first moved up here from Indiana I was ordering a ton of my books from Amazon. That is until my husband told me that if he saw the UPS guy again with another Amazon box he was going to destroy the computer...so I got out the phone book and figured out where my library was...we've had a very torrid love affair these past 9 years.....
Here is what was waiting for me last Saturday:
Summerhill Secrets by Beverly Lewis
I found this in the YA section and because I've enjoyed all of Beverly's Amish based stories in the past I thought I would give this one a try. I will probably end up ordering this for the shelves at my middle school.
The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
I HAD to get this book because so many of my book blogger friends have given it such glowing reviews. The cover alone makes me want to read it!
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marachetta
This book just received the Printz award so for that alone I feel the need to read it!! But I saw that Reviewer X's Blog was really happy that it won and I love her YA reviews so much that her approval really sealed the deal for me!
The Good Neighbors by Holly Black & Ted Naifeh
I've been wanting to add more graphic novels to my mix and this one seemed to fill that slot!
The Best American Short Stories 2008 edited by Salman Rushdie
I wasn't looking for this book, it reached off the shelves and tapped me on the shoulder. When I saw it was a collection of short stories I immediately knew that I needed to read it. I've just started reading short stories, I'm currently reading Interpreter of Maladies, and I've found that I really enjoy them.
This is my first time participating in Library Loot and I can already tell that it will be a dangerous thing for me to follow....my TBR list is currently sitting at 528...how many more will I add by visiting other blogger's Library Loot posts?
This could be fun!!