The Sunday Salon

Happy Sunday! I just woke up about 20 minutes ago and I am going to have to get out of bed soon and make some mac and cheese for our niece’s birthday cookout later this afternoon.

My own birthday is tomorrow (27, here I come!), and my husband was thoughtful enough to buy me a hot pink Sony Vaio netbook as a gift.  It was also a gift to himself, as he was sick of me using his work laptop. I was afraid the netbook might be too small but it took no getting used to–it is easy to us e and I haven’t had any issues with its size. I am also using my birthday money to go to a local indie bookstore, The Book Loft, tomorrow and I am meeting my parents and one of my sisters for dinner at Brio, so I am excited!

As for my reading . . . it has not been going well this week.  When I left you last Sunday, I was reading both February, by Lisa Moore and The Zookeeper’s Wife, by Diane Ackerman.  Since that post, both books have moved to the DNF pile.  Two DNF books in one week is unheard of for me! With February, which was longlisted for the Booker this year, I just hated the writing style.  It was too poetic and too flowy and the story ended up getting lost.  With The Zookeeper’s Wife, which I was reading for my bookclub, I was not expecting nonfiction.  I thought it would be historical fiction, and I just could not get into the book after that.  Also, I am kind of sick of reading about the Holocaust at this point.  I need a break!  So I put them both down in favor of The Inheritance of Loss, by Kiran Desai.  Thankfully I am having much more luck with this one and will hopefully finish it soon.

I hope everyone enjoys their Sunday!

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Library Loot: August 19, 2010

Library Loot is a weekly meme hosted by Marge and Claire.

I got some books today that I am super excited.  Not to mention that I got a new laptop and this is my first time posting from it!

I read the first two books in this series and then, for whatever reason, my interest fizzled out.  I am now back on the bandwagon though–this series have been great so far and I highly recommend it!

I saw this book reviewed a few days ago on Claire’s blog The Captive Reader and I was intrigued.  My husband and I have talked about starting a family in the near future, so I thought this book might be enlightening.  Or I suppose it could completely scare me off of the idea!

For the Booker challenge

Another example of a series I forgot about.  The first book was awesome, and I hope I enjoy this one as much.

I admit it . . . I am not a movie fan.  Therefore, I never check DVDs out from the library.  However, I thought this documentary about people that take their own lives by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge sounds fascinating in a morbid way, so I checked it out.

Let me know what you checked out from the library this week!

Book Review: Letter to my Daughter

Letter to my Daughter

George Bishop

Ballantine Books

160 pages

Letter to my Daughter is, just as the name implies, a long letter from Laura to her daughter Liz.  Liz has run away from home after fighting with her parents, and Laura is anxiously waiting for her to come home.  She spends a lot of time composing a long letter to Liz.  As is common with mothers and teenage daughters, there is a great divide between Laura and Liz–one that seems impassable.  Neither of them ever say the right thing and every conversation ends in argument, so Laura instead takes the time to explain all her feelings to Liz in the letter.

You know how, as teenagers, we always swear we’ll never turn out like our own mom?  Such was Laura’s promise as a teenager.  After being caught by her parents with a local boy in high school, she was sent away to a Catholic boarding school.  Despite her deep feelings for her high school boyfriend, her parents refuse to discuss the issue with her, instead alientating themselves even more from their own daughter. 

Laura is able to do on paper what she can’t do in real life–connect with Liz.  We have all been teenagers once, and kids need to know that their parents know what they’re going through and have, at one point, lived through the same type of situations. 

I, for one, always thought my mom was out to get me when I was a teenager.  I could never understand that every punishment or guideline was coming only from her love for me.  Since then, I have realized that I will very likely be a similar parent.  So if you were ever a teenager, especially one that butted heads with your mother, I think you’ll realte very well to this book.  It is an important reminder to be open with your kids before it is too late and your relationship spirals out of control.

Other Reviews:

Rundpinne

Books and Movies

Lit and Life

Bibliophile by the Sea

My Cozy Book Nook

BermudaOnion’s Weblog

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Book Review:Red Hook Road

Red Hook Road

Ayelet Waldman

Doubleday

352 pages

John Tetherly and Becca Copaken are the golden couple.  They’ve been together for years and they live in the coastal town of Red Hook in Maine.  It’s their wedding day and they are enjoying what should be the best day of their lives.  Tragically, everything changes when the driver of their limo collides with an SUV on a windy stretch of road, killing everyone involved.  Suddenly, Becca and John’s family and friends have gone from celebrating to mourning. 

Becca had grown up in a wealthy family that consisted of her dad, her mom Iris and her younger sister Ruthie, along with her grandfather, Emil Kimmelbrod, a famous violin player, whereas John was raised in Red Hook by a single mother, Ruth, along with his younger brother Matt.  Ruth is a housekeeper and is scornful of the seasonal visitors in Red Hook who are wealthier.  The class divide is an issue for Jane and Iris, despite the fact that their children have just married.  Then their children both die . . . where does that leave them?

Red Hook Road is a look into how different people deal with grief.  Iris tries to reach out to Jane as much as she knows how, not seeming to care that Jane is her ousekeeper, but instead seeing her as John’s mom.  Jane, however, is too proud to befriend Iris, and instead wants to grieve for John on her own.  The relationship between Jane and Iris comes to a head as Emil begins teaching Jane’s niece, whom she take care of, to play the violin.  The niece, Samantha, is a prodigy, and Iris begins to see her hopes and dreams for Becca and Ruthie pinned on the young girl. 

Then you also have a blossoming love affair between Ruthie and Matt, both of whom were hit hard by their sibling’s deaths. They feel like they must hide their relationship from others because the deaths of Becca and John still cast a pall over the town.

Red Hook Road is not a book packed with action.  With the exception of the accident in the first few pages, it is a book of emotions rather than anything else.  If you’re looking for a book that develops effortlessly but is still full of meaning, this book does just that.

Other Reviews:

Booking Mama

Devourer of Books

nomadreader

Book, Line and Sinker

I borrowed this book from my local library.

The Sunday Salon

Happy Sunday all!  I admit, I have done absolutely nothing this weekend.  Yesterday I was out of my bed for maybe two hours.  That gave me a lot of reading time though, which is what I had wanted.  I just love having a day with absolutely no obligations.  However, I think I OD’d on sleep, so I am trying to make up for my laziness today!

So, with all my laying about yesterday, I finished Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters.  This poses a big issue only because I am having a hard time finding a book to follow it up with, it was THAT good.  It is only the second book of Waters’ that I have ever read, and that is tragic.  I need to seek out all of her books ASAP!

So, I am supposed to be starting off on my Booker challenge, which I mentioned in my post last Sunday–I want to spend the next two weeks reading from this years longlist or winners from previous years.  Unfortunately, I forgot I need to read my book club book for our meeting on the 27th–The Zookeeper’s Wife, by Diane Ackerman.  So I started it yesterday, but . . . it just wasn’t striking me.  I was not in the mood for non fiction, I guess.  So I started February, by Lisa Moore, which was longlisted for this year’s Booker.  The writing style is a little too disjointed for me, so I wasn’t completely onboard with this one either.  So we’ll see where my reading goes today.

So that’s where my reading is at this point–to make up for my lazy day yesterday, I probably won’t get as much reading done today, as I have some household chores to catch up on.  I hope everyone else will get some reading done though!

Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Dial Press Trade Paperback

290 pages

Juliet Ashton is a single thirty something who has worked as a journalist throughout WWII.  The war is now over and life is slowly returning to normal, with Juliet unsure of what to write about next.  By chance, she receives a letter from a man named Dawsey Adams who is from the English island of Guernsey.  Dawsey has found a used book with Juliet’s name inscribed in it, and has taken the liberty of writing her.  In turn, the two begin an epistolary friendship. 

Juliet quickly becomes emotionally drawn to the story of Dawsey and his friends, who spent years on Guernsey during the German occupation.  Their life and liberty were seriously hindered by the occupation, and is just the emotionally charged story that Juliet is looking for.  Dawsey has the members of his literary society write to Juliet to tell of their own experiences during the occupation.  Juliet quickly becomes friends with the other members of society, and decides to go and visit them in Guernsey.  She quickly becomes acclimated in their lives and before long, it’s as if Guernsey is her home. 

Many of you know that I wasn’t a huge fan of this book from reading my Sunday Salon a few weeks ago.  My issue was my high expectations of this book–I knew pretty much nothing about the book but for the fact that everyone who has read it seemed to love it.  The one thing I enjoyed about the book was the epistolary format, which is always a nice change.  Otherwise, while it was a charming book, it did not leave a lasting impression on me.  I have a feeling that a few months from now, most of the book will be a faint memory, if I can recall it at all.

Had I gone into this book with different expectations, it is definitely possible that I would have enjoyed the book more.  As it stands though, I can’t really understand what all the fuss is about. 

Other Reviews:

Booking Mama

Rhapsody in Books

Caribous Mom

Bermuda Onion’s Weblog

She is too Fond of Books

A Novel Menagerie

Books and Movies

The Book Lady’s Blog

Devourer of Books

The Literate Housewife Review

I borrowed this book from my mom (who loved it!)

Guest Post Over at Eclectic-Eccentric Today!

I forgot to mention that I wrote a guest post today for Trisha’s blog Eclectic Eccentric.

My post is all about the joys and perils of being an eclectic reader.  Check it out!