Review: In short this is a jewish man's struggle to decide whether or not to cicumcise his soon to be born son. But the story truly is about his struggle to break away from his suffocating and unhappy childhood, bogged down by unhappiness and overruled by strict ultra Orthodox Judism. Laugh out loud funny at times, truly moving at other times, you can feel his overly analytical brain ticking right off the page. He is contanstly bargaining with God and arguing with himself. You don't have to be jewish to relate to this book (I'm not).
Favorite quote/passage: "My family and I are like oil and water, if oil made water depressed and angry and want to kill itself."
Title/Author: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova Link:http://www.amazon.com/Historian-Elizabeth-Kostova/dp/0316070637/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1287447251&sr=8-3 Genre: "Fiction" (actually this could fit in several- mystery, historical fiction, romance, thriller) Rating: 5 (out of 5 stars) Recommended?: Yes! Review: It seems odd a book about the search for Vlad the Impaler (Dracula) can be so "quiet". Written from a first person perspective of a young girl, the story unfolds slowly as we follow her quest to understand what an odd, arcane manuscript about Dracula has to do with her family. Interspersed throughout are journal entries and letters from the past. As a bonus there are also wonderful descriptions of Eastern Europe villages and countryside. The author put a lot of research into this book and it shows! Favorite quote: "I preferred solitude anyway; it was the medium in which I had been raised, in which I swam comfortably."
With 22 writers, variations in writing quality and depth are inevitable. The 3.5 star rating is an average across the collection. I found "The American Dream" very poignant and worthy of a full 5 stars, while "What This Cost Me" came across as a banal cop-out. Nevertheless, the beauty of this collection is the diversity of perspectives it offers on what is really one of the last taboos of today's tell-all society.
"I told him, in a moment of frustration, that I was prepared to raise our child without his financial participation, that his money meant nothing to me. In the silence that followed, I realized that was the worst thing I ever said to him."
Title/Author: Safe Haven, by Nicholas Sparks Link:http://www.amazon.com/Safe-Haven-Nic...cm_cr-mr-title Genre: Women's Fiction Rating: 3.5 stars Recommend: Yes for fans of Sparks, No for non-fans Review: It's usually hard for me to find anything negative to say about N. Sparks' books, but SAFE HAVEN just didn't do it for me. Sure, there are some twists and turns and surprises along the way, but the story is extremely predictable. It starts off pretty much like any Sparks novel - girl meets boy, they have to overcome some obstacles before they admit their true feelings for one another, they seem to be on the road to a happily after but the obstacle comes back to haunt them before they can move forward. I'm not a big fan of suspense stories and this story has a bit of suspense. Not as much as I thought there might be. The ending, however, took me way by surprise and not in a good way. I HATED the ending of this book.
Not your typical Sparks ending. I turned the page expecting an Epilogue, but there was nothing (not to mention, the ending is a little over the top, even for Nicholas Sparks) One of the things I like so much about his books is the realism I get from the characters and their relationships, but I didn't get that with this one. Mainly because of the ending (the relationship between the two main characters is pretty real and believable but what happens at the end - well, you have to use your imagination a little more than I'd prefer!)
I also thought that the character development was very weak in this book. There was also a lack of supporting characters -- Names were mentioned in passing & referred to every once in a while, but were no real supporting players outside of Alex and Katie.
Overall, the book & story were good, but the ending pretty much ruined it for me & found myself very disappointed. Usually, I want to open it up and read it all over again, but not this time. Once was enough!
Title/Author: Promise Me, by Richard Paul Evans Link:http://www.amazon.com/Safe-Haven-Nic...cm_cr-mr-title Genre: Women's Fiction Rating: 3.5 stars Recommend: If you've read most of his other books, yes, if not, read THE CHIRSTMAS BOX or THE SUNFLOWER or THE CHRSITMAS LIST first and THEN read Promise Me! Review: I love R.P. Evans and his books usually touch me and leave me emotionally charged unlike any other author. I loved this story. It was full of emotion and the characters were well written and developed. Supporting characters were well defined and provided comic relief and changes of pace when necessary. I pretty much guessed what was going on about a third of the way through the book, altho the complete outcome and explanation of events took me a little by surprise.
One of the things I truly love about Evans' stories are the realism and how they could be about almost anyone of us. Not so much with this one. This one leaves a little to the reader's imagination and asks us to suspend reality for just a little while. It works, altho it's not what I've come to know and love from Evans. I enjoyed the story and recommend it, but if you've never read Richard Paul Evans, I strongly urge you to pick up one of the other titles I mentioned above (or any of his others!) and read that in addition to PROMISE ME, so that you can get a better idea of the type of writer that he is and why I've come to love his stories and books so much and why I can never wait for his newest to arrive
(Next Up, Miles to Go, the second part of a five part series!)
This is a wonderful book that helped me finally turn my apartment of several years into a warm, inviting home that puts me in a great mood as soon as I open the door! (^(oo)^) My friends, who had been hearing "sorry for the mess, I'm redecorating" for at least 3 years running, have been unanimously shocked at the transformation! The Outbox technique was just the thing I needed to finally sort through the unnecessary clutter that was gathering dust. Although I would have appreciated a bit more practical advice on furniture arrangement, a little trial & error, along with a few packs of furniture sliders, sufficed without too much difficulty.
In lieu of further rambling, I submit photo examples - as is my wont - of my very own pigpen (^(oo)^)v
front half of living room, before & after:
the bedroom "before" is really too horribly embarassing to post - yes, it was really that bad (*(oo)*) but here's the "after" (^(oo)^)
"being prepared can sometimes be a euphemism for being scared to let go. How much we carry - whether it is on our bicycle, in our bag, or in our home - is often directly related to how little we trust in life to guide us well, and in others to help us out in a pinch. To this day, I have found that traveling light yields a far richer experience"
Title/Author: Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue
Rating: (between 1-5 stars): 5
Review: I read this book two weeks ago, and I'm still thinking about it. It's a book that stays with you long after you finish it--either making you smile or giving you nightmares. I don't want to give too much away, but the story is about Jack, a 5 yr old boy and his Ma. They live in Room, and Jack has never been outside. As the story is told through Jack's Point of View, we learn more about Ma, Room and the creepy middle of the night visitor Old Nick.
It's a book you'll read, and then insist your friends read so that you can talk about it (this is how I got the book, a friend shoved it in my hands and said, "You HAVE to read this. Now!").
“Lots of TV is made-up pictures – like Dora’s, just a drawing – but the people, the ones with faces that look like you and me, they’re real.”
She nods. “And the places are real too, like farms and forests and airplanes and cities…”
“Nah.” Why is she tricking me? “Where would they fit?”
“Out there,” says Ma. “Outside. ” She jerks her head back.
“Outside Bed Wall?” I stare at it.
Last edited Oct 19, 2010 at 11:33am.
Reason: added title
Title/Author:The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson Link:http://www.amazon.com/Devil-White-Ci...7610896&sr=1-1 Genre: Historical, nonfiction Rating: (between 1-5 stars): 5 Recommend: (yes or no) Yes Review: (paragraph on your thoughts) I could not put this book down. This is the story of the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. It recounts the planning and development of the fair, and the lives of the people involved. It also tells the dramatic story of a terrible secret. A reviewer on Amazon called his review: Unspeakable Wonders and Startling Evil. I do not want to give away any spoilers. It was very interesting, and read like a novel. Even if you did not grow up in Chicago, this will be an great read. Favorite quote/passage: "It was so easy to disappear, so easy to deny knowledge, so easy in the smoke and din to mask that something dark had taken root. This was Chicago, on the eve of the greatest fair in history." and "The White City had drawn men and protected them; the Black City now welcomed them back, on the eve of winter, with filth, starvation, and violence."
Title/Author: So Much for That by Lionel Shriver Link:http://www.amazon.com/So-Much-That-L...7619782&sr=8-1 Genre: Fiction Rating: (between 1-5 stars) 3.5 Recommend: Yes Review: "What is the price of love?" Most of us would say there is no price, no limit on love. But if your loved one was to get in an accident, develop cancer, or have some other degenerative disease, how much would you sacrifice for their care? Why do the restrictions and exhorbitant prices of healthcare policies and copays force us to consider just what is the price of love? This book is the story of a man, Shep, and his wife, Glynis. When Glynis develops mesothelioma, Shep (who has been carefully planning his retirement, or his "afterlife" as he calls it) sees his entire nest egg vanish. When Shep's father also suffers a bad fall and needs home aide, is this the last straw for Shep?
This book is not perfect but very realistic, blunt, and sad. Minus one star because of the character, Jackson, whom the author uses to air her sanctimonious rants. But if you can get over how "smart" the author thinks she sounds, then this is otherwise a good read. Favorite quote/passage:
Shep: "According to my calculations, Glynis's medical bills for all those treatments already come to over 2 million dollars. So what exactly did we buy? How much time?"
Doctor: "Oh, I bet we probably extended her life a good 3 months."
Shep: "They were not a good 3 months."
Review: A going through of the life of Charlotte Bronte, but it makes note of her romantic life. It fictionalizes well the life of the author, where she was in life as her books were written, and her family life.
Favorite quote/passage: " I don't need mirrors, Nell. I see myself reflected in the eyes of others."
Review: This was an enjoyable and fast read, I believe I got through it in about 3 hours. It recounts the childhood of Alyse growing up poor with a cold and distant mother after the death of her father. There is nothing new that hasn’t been written before and there was nothing overly extraordinary about her unhappy childhood. Though I wasn’t bored with this book, the characters were not developed well and therefore my connection with Alyse and her mother just wasn’t there. The book was forgotten pretty much when I finished it.
Review: Sandra Gregory recounts her experience trying to smuggle heroin out of Thailand. The first 75 pages or so I didn't really find too interesting as it's mostly about her travels and life before her crime. Then the story moves to her time in a Thai women's prison and it becomes really interesting - the filth, abuse and degrading life - her declining mental health, the deaths she witnessed - all fascinating. Later she is transferred to a British prison and again it's a very interested and stark look at a country's penal system. I recommend anyone interested in this subject matter to check out the book. Once you get past the first section it gets really gritty and hard to put down.
Title/Author: Left bank by Kate Muir Link:http://www.amazon.com/Left-Bank-Kate...8899573&sr=8-6 Genre: Fiction Rating: (between 1-5 stars): 4 Recommend: Yes (especially if you're a Francophile, like I am) Review: Told from multiple perspectives, Left Bank starts off with the disappearance of a child in Paris' version of Disneyland (thought it isn't called Disneyland Paris in the book). The book then jumps back, detailing all of the character and situational mishaps that lead to the disappearance at PlayWorld Paris. There are three main characters--Madison Malin, an American actress who's made her life in Paris; her husband, Olivier Malin, a philosophy professor; and their nanny, Anna Ayer from England. Muir pokes fun at all three characters, so it's safe to say that the story is a bit of a satire. I thought the writing was witty, as well. Favorite quote/passage: "Anna was beginning to feel genuinely fond of Sabine, and wondered what on earth the child made of the lovers who appeared to parade in and out of her parent's lives."
Title/Author: She Got up off the Couch by Haven Kimmel Link: http://www.amazon.com/She-Got-Off-Co...9153235&sr=8-1 Genre: Non-fiction, memoir Rating: (between 1-5 stars): 5 Recommend: (yes or no) Yes Review: (paragraph on your thoughts) I've started this section over and over, but cannot seem to review it as eloquently at the first editorial review on Amazon. Please read that. I actually listened to the book on CD, read by the author. It was funny, and satisfying. Some books just work better for me as a story read aloud. This and Haven Kimmel's other related story Zippy, are told from the child's point of view. Favorite quote/passage: The most memorable part for me is when the two sisters were bored and played a game called "how rare would you eat that meat?" It was very funny.
Title/Author: Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi Link:http://www.amazon.com/Unbearable-Lig.../dp/1439177783 Genre: Memoir Rating: (between 1-5 stars): 4 Recommend: (yes or no) Yes Review: I decided to buy this book after seeing Portia on the Ellen show - she's always seemed to be a very grounded, interesting woman and after hearing a brief account of her struggles I thought I'd give this a shot.
She describes her struggle with weight and eating disorders in the context of her life during her teenage years, but more specifically during the time that she first landed her role on Ally McBeal. Her personal struggles, pressure from the industry, and desire for perfection led her to become anorexic/bulimic, and only when her life was at risk did she realize the need for being healthy rather than being part of the the "thin" Hollywood culture.
I thought this was a very compelling read; I'd highly recommend to everyone.