The Last Book Blast from 2011

The Uncoupling

The Uncoupling

I liked this book enough, but it wasn’t great. I’ve read another Meg Wolitzer book and have another on my TBR shelf. She picks interesting topics. This one is about a high school production of a Greek comedy about a sex strike that women start to try to bring about the end of a war and the “spell” that it casts on the community that it is being performed in.
The Book Thief

The Book Thief

by Markus Zusak (Goodreads Author)
Finally finished this – we discussed it at book club last Tuesday. What an amazing book. I underestimated its heft, both in the number of pages and in the content. I loved the writing style of Zusak and am hearing great things about his next book so it will be added to my TBR list!

Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas, and Found Happiness

Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas, and Found Happiness

by Dominique Browning (Goodreads Author)
I honestly skimmed this book. I read the beginning but didn’t connect at all with the author so then I just skimmed through before returning it to the library. It may be helpful to some, but I didn’t find any great insight in there. 🙂

I Feel Bad About My Neck: and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

I Feel Bad About My Neck: and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook, with Nora Ephron narrating her own writings. Until the end. Yikes. Then I was just depressed, thinking about getting older and the “d” word that eventually happens to family and friends. Not that it’s a surprise, but it just was a depressing chapter to end on.
The Paris Wife
View a preview of this book onlineThe Paris Wife
by Paula McLain (Goodreads Author)
I really liked this book about Ernest Hemingway and his first wife – The Paris Wife.  The author captured Hadley’s voice so brilliantly and you can really feel their love for each other.  I want to know more about this era and the “characters” that inhabited Paris during this time.  I cannot wait to meet the author at the Rochester Public Library next Sunday!
Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

by Leo TolstoyRichard Pevear (Translator)Larissa Volokhonsky(Translator)
I’m thankful for the readalong that was organized by Wallace, as I don’t think I would have tackled or finished this book without the deadlines and the discussion along the way! Everyone added such intelligence and insight to the book and it made it more interesting and enjoyable! 

I knew very little of the book so I encountered many spoilers along the way. It is what it is but I wonder if I would have enjoyed more without the spoilers? 

I look forward to watching some movie versions of this classic!
Well I’ve been a bad blogger in December.  It’s been a good year and a good month of reading, so I’ll simply recap the rest of the books that I haven’t blogged about, using goodreads reviews.
Check out my new page above listing all the books I read in 2011!  It’s fun to see them all in list format.  Fun for me, anyway!   They’re also attached at the end of this post.  Happy 2012!
1 Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy (12/30/11)
2 The Paris Wife Paula McLain (12/27/11)
3 I Feel Bad About my Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman** Nora Ephraon (12/13/11)
4 Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas, and Found Happiness Dominique Browning (12/12/11)
5 The Book Thief* Markus Zusak (12/11/11)
6 The Uncoupling Meg Wolitzer (12/6/11)
7 What a Woman Must Do Faith Sullivan (11/16/11)
8 Bossypants** Tina Fey (11/12/11)
9 Gift from the Sea Anne Morrow Lindbergh (11/10/11)
10 A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life Donald Miller (11/10/11)
11 The Wisdom of My Grandmothers Adriana Trigiani (11/2011)
12 Vaclav and Lena: A Novel ** Haley Tanner (11/2011)
13 A Vintage Affair: A Novel Isabel Wolff (10/22/11)
14 Then Came You Jennifer Weiner (10/17/11)
15 My Life in France** Julia Child (10/13/11)
16 Loving Frank * Nancy Horan (10/11/11)
17 Ella Minnow Pea Mark Dunn (10/4/11)
18 Summer and the City (The Carrie Diaries #2) Candace Bushnell (9/29/11)
19 Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People ** Amy Sedaris (9/28/11)
20 Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes Elizabeth Bard (9/22/11)
21 The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake ** Aimee Bender (9/20/11)
22 Attachments Rainbow Rowell (9/7/11)
23 The Lover’s Dictionary David Levithan (9/7/11)
24 Rich Again Anna Maxted (9/3/11)
25 The Invention of Hugo Cabret ** Brian Selznick (8/29/11)
26 The Piano Teacher Janice Y.K. Lee (8/28/11)
27 Anybody Out There? (Walsh Family #4) ** Marian Keyes (8/24/11)
28 The Happiness Project Gretchen Rubin (8/17/11)
29 Wedding Season Katie Fforde (8/16/11)
30 Wild Designs Katie Fforde (8/14/11)
31 The Housekeeper and the Professor Yoko Ogawa (8/7/11)
32 The Art of French Kissing Kristin Harmel (8/4/11)
33 Love Letters Katie Fforde (7/31/11)
34 The Girl Who Fell From the Sky Heidi W. Durrow (7/30/11)
35 House Rules Jodi Picoult (7/27/11)
36 Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Lisa See (7/23/11)
37 A Visit from the Good Squad ** Jennifer Egan (7/19/11)
38 The Girl in the Garden Kamala Nair (7/16/11)
39 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (#7) ** J.K. Rowling (7/12/11)
40 Olive Kitteridge * Elizbeth Strout (7/9/11)
41 Second Thyme Around Katie Fforde (7/2011)
42 Highland Fling Katie Fforde (6/28/11)
43 Stately Pursuits Katie Fforde (6/23/11)
44 Minding Frankie Maeve Binchy (6/16/11)
45 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (#6) ** J.K. Rowling 6/16/2011
46 The Carrie Diaries(#1) Candace Bushnell (6/11/11)
47 Sweet Revenge (A Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery, #14) ** Diane Mott Davidson (6/9/11)
48 Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Jamie Ford (5/31/11)
49 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoneix (#5) ** J.K. Rowling (5/25/11)
50 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (#4) ** J.K. Rowling (5/4/11)
51 Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand ** Helen Simonson (5/2/11)
52 The Hundred-Foot Journey: A Novel Richard Morais (4/19/11)
53 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (#3) ** J.K. Rowling (4/13/11)
54 Saving CeeCee Honeycutt * Beth Hoffman (4/9/11)
55 Heart and Soul Maeve Binchy (4/2/11)
56 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (#2) ** J.K. Rowling (4/2011)
57 Jane Eyre ** Charlotte Bronte (3/24/11)
58 Mockingbird Kathryn Erskine (3/24/11)
59 Juliet, Naked Nick Hornby (3/20/11)
60 Plain Truth * Jodi Picoult (3/9/11)
61 Traveling With Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story ** Sue Monk Kidd (3/4/11)
62 One Day David Nicholls (2/27/11)
63 Brava, Valentine: A Novel ** Adriana Trigiani (2/22/11)
64 Faking It (Dempsey’s #2) Jennifer Crusie (2/15/11)
65 Every Last One ** Anna Quindlen (2/9/11)
66 The Summer We Read Gatsby: A Novel Danielle Ganek (2/6/11)
67 The Position Meg Wolitzer (2/2/11)
68 The Magicians ** Lev Grossman (1/29/11)
69 The Virgin of Small Plains Nancy Pickard (1/16/11)
70 Her Fearful Symmetry ** Audrey Niffenegger (1/13/11)
71 Sarah’s Key Tatiana de Rosnay (1/8/11)

What I’ve been Up to!

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin (left) and Amy Poehler...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s been nearly a week since I last posted!  Wow.  I’ve looked at the “new post” page over the week and haven’t had too much to say.  I had an enjoyable four days and three nights babysitting in St. Paul and had some good quality reading time while there.  I finished a few books so I’ll catch you up on what I’ve read.

Bossypants by Tina Fey

I listened to this on audio (a MUST if you’re going to read the book) and I even took time to look at the PDF and watch the SNL clip included on the last CD.  Tina Fey is a brilliant comedian that is fun to listen to and reminisce with.  I enjoyed her perspective on women in comedy, specifically women on SNL (and Second City).  She not only talks about the changes that she saw during her reign at both institutions, but also tells really funny stories about her life.  I drove around smiling the entire time I listened and even laughed out loud a few times.

A great listen!

I first read Faith Sullivan’s “Cape Ann” book ages ago and when I came across this one in the library I quickly picked it up.  It was a sweet and easy read about three women – Bess (18), her aunt Harriet (40 something) and great-aunt Kate (59).  They live together in a small Minnesotan community and the story takes place in 1952.  The story is told from all three women’s perspectives and conveys a lot of emotion in few pages.

A sweet story.

I’m still plugging through with the Anna Karenina readalong and last week even finished my pages on time and was the first one to post on the blog!  I’m not sure that will happen by morning, but you never know!  The segments we read each week average around 80 pages and are very do-able.  I found last week’s segment very thought-provoking and it has led to several conversations throughout the week.

I stopped at the library yesterday to pick up the book I had on hold

Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas, and Found Happiness

and then grabbed an audiobook The UncouplingThe Uncoupling.

I refused to be lured into the stacks to find more books to add to my ever-growing TBR pile by my bed.  I have several books that I want to read, either my own or on loan from friends, and I have to make some headway in Anna Karenina, read my November O Magazine, and read “The Book Thief” for book club in a few weeks.  I was successful in leaving the library without books, but I did grab three DVDs!  Ah, the library lure.  Good stuff.

Well, off to read!

 

Books: a two-fer

Vaclav and Lena: A Novel

Vaclav and Lena: A Novel

I listened to this story on audio and I really think that it added to the experience. There were two narrators (although mostly one) and there were accents (done well) and there was a lot of emotions put into the reading.

Two children, best friends at 9 years old, living in Brooklyn with Russian parents, and then the separation. And the mystery. Years and years. And then they meet again.

Good story. 🙂

The Wisdom of My Grandmothers by Adriana Trigiani
The Wisdom of My Grandmothers
by Adriana Trigiani

4 of 5 stars
Read from October 29 to November 01, 2011
I’ve loved Adriana’s books for years. I won a copy of this book and then listened to Book Club Girl’s blog radio interview with Adriana tonight.

Adriana was blessed with strong grandmothers who lived into her 30s. They were born in 1895 and 1907 and both were hard-working career women who found the love of their lives. It is easy to see the influence these women had on the fictional characters you find in Trigiani’s novels.

I especially loved the passage where she says, “Looking back, now, I realize that you only ever need one person who lights up that way when you enter a room. One person is all it takes to give a kid confidence.” Yes.

Good stuff.

A Sense of Connection: LaoTong

Cover of "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan:...

Cover of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel

Almost two weeks ago I went with my friend Cindy to see the movie “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.”  We are both Lisa See fans and read this book in preparation of seeing the movie this summer… and then thought we’d be renting it (ala “Jane Eyre”) but it came to Rochester with an Independent Movie Series!  Yay!

We both agreed that it was a beautiful movie, even with the modern storyline which wasn’t part of the book.  The book tells the story of two girls who are matched to be LaoTongs, or Old Sames, at a young age.  Wikipedia and Lisa See (the author) describe LaoTongs in this way:

Lao Tong or Old Sames was a more rare and formal relationship between women and was exclusive and life-long. Women of suitable birthdays, ages, backgrounds and birth-signs would be paired this way in a bond of exclusive sisterhood that would last a lifetime and would survive marriage, child-birth and widow-hood. A Lao Tong relationship would be rarely renounced or broken. (Wikipedia)

“A laotong match is as significant as a good marriage,” Lily’s aunt explained. “A laotong relationship is made by choice for the purpose of emotional companionship and eternal fidelity. A marriage is not made by choice and has only one purpose – to have sons.” “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” is the story of such a friendship. (Lisa See)

I haven’t been paired with an Old Same since birth, but I do have friendships with amazing women that have survived (ha!) marriages and children and distance.  I also see great value in creating meaningful relationships and maintaining connections with them.  After I read “The Girls from Ames” I set out to create a group of women that meets monthly to create a real-life network of amazing women, to learn from each other and support each other.  We are in our second year and our time together is something I look forward to each month!

The Chinese women sworn to be Old Sames used a secret women’s language – nushu – to communicate with each other.  We use Facebook, email, or phone calls to maintain connection with those who live a distance away, or we use walks, dinners, or girls’ night out to maintain and grow connections with those we can have more frequent contact with. No need to send servants between villages and households with secret language written on fans, but we can write letters to be delivered by the US Postal Service.

With the release of the DVD on 11/1, many book clubs are having LaoTong Nights – groups of women getting together to watch the movie and discuss their female friendships and the things they do (or can do) to maintain connections.  Below is the information they are encouraging people to think about and discuss as they think about their friendships and watch “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.”

What would you add to the list below?  Have you ever planned a way to reconnect with someone you lost touch with?

Lily and Snow Flower had an intense friendship that lasted a lifetime.  Nushu helped them communicate and remain close, even in distance.  Everyone has that old friend they have known for a long time, yet find it hard to keep in touch.  Both get busy with their separate lives and don’t take the time to catch up with one another.  In honor of Snow Flower and the Secret Fancoming to Blu-ray and DVD November 1st, here’s a guide for keeping in touch with your besties, through whatever life may put between you.

Write Letters

There’s nothing like a handwritten letter to let someone know that you care and are thinking about them. Make a point of writing to your long-distance friend at least once a month, and giving them updates on what’s going on in your life, and asking what’s new in their life. If you’re so inclined, you can include photos or other small tokens of your friendship with your letters. This simple, heartfelt update will go a long way in making your friendship last.

Take a Trip Together

If it’s within both of your budgets, you and your bestie should take a trip together! Meet up in different places each year – places that are either meaningful to you both, or places that you two have always wanted to visit together. Have a weekend in Las Vegas, a week at the theme parks in Orlando, a glamorous trip to Hollywood, or a long, restful weekend in New England. Making new memories (or reliving old ones) will help keep your friendship vibrant.

Skype

One of the greatest inventions for modern day friendships is Skype. Making a weekly or biweekly “Skype date” can give you a chance to both talk to and see your long-distance friend on a regular basis. Best of all, Skype is free to use, even if you’re video-chatting someone internationally! Skype is great because, in addition to getting to hear your friend’s voice, you can also actually show them what’s new with you, or do something new together!

Start an Online Photo Album

There are so many different ways to share photos online these days, and you and your friend should take advantage of that! You can make a private album that only the two of you can access (you can do this on Facebook, PhotoBucket, etc.), and then you can both upload and comment on each other’s photos and keep up with what’s going on in each other’s lives.

Send Each Other Gifts

If you’re ever out shopping and see a little something that reminds you of your friend, or something you think your friend would love, why not send it to them? With USPS’ Flat Rate Boxes, you can send as much as you want to your long-distance friend for a small fee. Why not make a care package, filled with things you know they like (like homemade treats, or products specific to your area that they can’t get where they live)? If you exchange small gifts every few months, it will remind your friend that you’re thinking about them, and help you two stay friends forever.

Books: A Vintage Affair

A Vintage Affair: A Novel 

A Vintage Affair: A Novel

by Isabel Wolff (Goodreads Author)

GOODREADS SYNOPSIS:  Every dress has a history. And so does every woman.

In Isabel Wolff’s captivating A Vintage Affair, a treasured child’s coat becomes a thread of hope connecting two very different women.
 
Her friends are stunned when Phoebe Swift abruptly leaves a plum job at the prestigious Sotheby’s auction house to open her own vintage clothing shop in London—but to Phoebe, it’s the fulfillment of a dream. In the sunlight-flooded interior of Village Vintage, surrounded by Yves Saint Laurent silk scarves, Vivienne Westwood bustle skirts, cupcake dresses, and satin gowns, Phoebe hopes to make her store the hot new place to shop, even as she deals with two ardent suitors, her increasingly difficult mother, and a secret from her past that casts a shadow over her new venture.

For Phoebe, each vintage garment carries its own precious history. Digging for finds in attics and wardrobes, Phoebe is rewarded whenever she finds something truly unique, for she knows that when you buy a piece of vintage clothing, you’re not just buying fabric and thread—you’re buying a piece of someone’s past. But one particular article of clothing will soon unexpectedly change her life.

Thérèse Bell, an elderly Frenchwoman, has an impressive clothing collection. But among the array of smart suits and couture gowns, Phoebe finds a child’s sky-blue coat—an item with which Bell is stubbornly reluctant to part. As the two women become friends, Phoebe will learn the tale of that little blue coat. And she will discover an astonishing connection between herself and Thérèse Bell—one that will help her heal the pain of her own past and allow her to love again.

Danette‘s review

4 of 5 stars

A sweet little story about how one decision can change your life and about living with regrets. Leaving behind her successful career at Sotheby’s, Phoebe opens a vintage clothing store. Ms. Wolff writes beautifully about the appeal of vintage clothing and the story is simply sweet and touching.

Anna Karenina Readalong

Main characters and relations in Anna Karenina...

Image via Wikipedia

“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.” —C.S. LEWIS

Wallace at Unputdownables is hosting a readalong of “Anna Karenina.”  I was one of the first to tell her I was in and she had a copy of the book that she sent to me, so I have a BIG, beautiful copy of the book!  I was a little behind, as I didn’t start reading it until Wednesday night, but it was easy to catch up and I finished our assigned reading for the week last night.  Handling it in chunks is going to be nice.  Discussing it with others is going to be even nicer!

Because I just finished my book club book (“Loving Frank“) and just had book club discussion about it last night, it was still fresh in my mind when I was reading Anna Karenina.  So my first thoughts of the book are in relation to that book and the book discussion.

How are they related, you ask?  Mamah, the ‘mistress’ in Loving Frank was a language scholar and worked as a translator.  So when I began reading AK, I thought a lot about the translators and the roles that they play in the storytelling.  I thought the description that Mamah gave to Frank about how a good translator takes not only the words but the thoughts and feelings behind the words to find the best translation was very interesting, and something that I hadn’t really thought of before this time.  Frank and Mamah worked on poetry and prose together and attempted to put out beautiful translations.

Another topic that came up in discussion last night was whether or not affairs were more or less commonplace in the past than they are today.  There were mixed feelings about it, because the stigma of divorce and societal exclusion in the past may have made illicit affairs more common.  People had to go very underground if they were pulled by a new attraction.  People married for different reasons in the past (at least in these books!), not necessarily for love, so if they felt attraction and understanding outside of their marriage it may have been not as difficult to ignore.

I’m not sure of those ramblings made much sense, but it framed the thoughts that I had while reading this first section of AK.  I thought it was interesting that it was out there for all (in the family) to know when Stiva had an affair.  No secrets kept between husband and wife alone.  Makes you wonder about their relationship in particular and marriages in general in this time, in this country, in this nobility.

Well, those are some general (not specific to Wallace’s questions today!) thoughts about week one of AK!  Yay!

Off to read!

Books: a Goodreads wrap-up! Four for the price of one (post!)

Simple Times by Amy Sedaris
Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People
by Amy Sedaris

3 of 5 stars

bookshelves: audiobooks

Read from September 27 to 28, 2011
You have to know what you’re getting into when you read an Amy Sedaris book. She’s really quite something. 🙂 It was a silly fun little listen.
*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
Summer and the City by Candace Bushnell
Summer and the City (The Carrie Diaries #2)
by Candace Bushnell

5 of 5 stars
Read from September 26 to 29, 2011
What fun to spend Carrie’s first summer in NYC with her. I wonder if you have to be a total Sex and the City freak to love these books?? Hoping for another!
*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
Ella Minnow Pea
by Mark Dunn

4 of 5 stars
Read in October, 2011
A quaint, easy read with deep meaning. As the residents of Nollop, an island founded by the creator of the “perfect” sentence – The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog – lose the ability to use letter after letter as they fall off his statue, persecution and loss of freedoms become the norm. So the search for an even more perfect sentence is their only hope. Good stuff.
*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
Loving Frank
by Nancy Horan

5 of 5 stars
Read in October, 2011
Wow. I have wanted to read this book for some time now, but I didn’t realize how much it would grab me! The story of the enigmatic Frank Lloyd Wright and his mistress, Mamah. The sacrifices they made to be with the “real and true” love of their lives. Set between the years 1907-1914 and told mostly in Mamah’s voice, the struggles of women’s equality and what it means from person to person were highlighted. I want to know more about Mr. Frank Lloyd Wright and was happy to see “afterwards” and “acknowledgements” when I finished the book.
***This was read for book club and I can’t wait to discuss tomorrow night!

The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

Cover of "The Girl Who Fell from the Sky&...

Cover of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

I’m trying to figure out how to get goodreads to update my blog, but it’s not gonna happen. And I hate the thought of not posting about a book that I read!

This book came from Sarah and it was a sweet little read! My Goodreads review: I really enjoyed this book. it was a quick read but I really liked the development of the characters and the plot. She did a great job packing a punch into a nice sweet book.

Goodreads summary: The Girl Who Fell From the Sky: This debut novel tells the story of Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I. who becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy. With her strict African American grandmother as her new guardian, Rachel moves to a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring mixed attention her way. Growing up in the 1980s, she learns to swallow her overwhelming grief and confronts her identity as a biracial young woman in a world that wants to see her as either black or white. In the tradition of Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, here is a portrait of a young girl – and society’s ideas of race, class, and beauty.

A sweet book I can heartily recommend!

P.S. – THIS IS MY 100th BLOG POST on this site! Sarah posted once, so I guess it’s my 99th! 🙂  Good times.  Still not enough comments, though!!! C’mon friends!

Off to read! (Today’s theme: Happiness!)

Catching up on Book Talk

Cover of "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan:...

Cover of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel

It seems that I haven’t written about the books I’ve read lately!  I do post quick little reviews on goodreads (it’s just so easy to keep that site updated and write some thoughts) so I’ll recap here…

Reverse, chronological order 🙂

House Rules – I’m currently reading this book, after attempting to listen to the audiobook.  I was given the book and its heft made it pretty easy to grab the audiobook that was sitting on the shelf at the library, in order to replace my Harry Potter listening time!  But, oh!  How awful it was to listen to this book, narrated by four individuals, and told at a painfully slow pace.  Sometimes I thought the disc must be done but it was simply a pause – between sentences or paragraphs or chapters.  No matter.  Ugh.  So I picked up the book and have been ripping through it!  It is a fast read and I’m sure I’ll finish it tonight or in the morning. It’s hard to put down.  Isn’t it great when a book grabs you like that?

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan – I have loved books about the Far Eastern culture for a long time.  Probably at least since I returned from my visit to South Korea, if not before. Lisa See has written some great books about the Chinese culture – in America and coming to America in recent history and in a more historical China. “Snow Flower” ia the first of Lisa’s books to make it to the big screen (I believe I’m right) and I am excited to see it. (I may have to make a trip to the Cities if I want to see it in the theatre!  Durn limited releases!) This book is about Snow Flower and Lily, who are matched as laotong or “old sames” as young girls. They communicate to each other mostly through the “women’s language,” nu shu, written on a fan.  The match is made so that one girl may rise up and the other may learn the ways of those lower than her.   A good read about these two women through their lifespans – one reaches 80 years.  I look forward to reading Lisa’s newest book – Dreams of Joy – a sequel to Shanghai Girls.  Yay!

The Girl in the Garden – Kamala Nair, an author who grew up in Rochester, wrote a charming and sweet story about a girl whose troubled mother brings her to her home village in India for a summer. Now an adult, Rakhee writes the story of the Girl in the Garden to her fiance as she returns to India to obtain resolution for the secrets that she learned as a 10 year old during that fateful summer.  I am also fascinated by the mid-Eastern culture and have read a lot of books set in India.  This was easy to read and a sweet story.

Olive Kitteridge – A book club pick that was lukewarmly received.  It was good.  Not great. Not gonna be something I will remember a year from now (well, maybe the fun time we had at book club not discussing it will be remembered!). But it was well-written and kept me reading, looking for Olive in the short stories.

Second Thyme Around; Stately Pursuits; Highland Fling – These three books by Katie Fforde were light and fluffy and predictable.  Good summer fare, but again not great.  I think in another post I listed other similar authors that I would recommend before Fforde (Jane Green; Marian Keyes, Maeve Binchy) . Of these three books I would recommend Second Thyme Around as the most interesting.

I think I’m about caught up.  I will remember this spring/summer as being very full of Harry Potter, and now I’m done talking about that.

After I finish House Rules I will pick another book from my ever-growing pile and will let you know what’s next!  I encourage you to be my friend on goodreads and let me know what you’re reading!

Off to read!

Books and Movies – Love ’em!

Before the midnight showing of Harry Potter pt 2

I ended up going to a midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2, with no regrets.  Marissa and I watched Pt. 1 on PPV at home (without popcorn) and then went to the theatre!  We arrived around 10:45 and the there were a lot of people there in costumes and I don’t know how many theatres were actually sold out.  The one we were in was already 2/3 full by the time we got there.  It was exciting to be there with all of the other “giddy” people, to hear the applause throughout the movie – even before the movie started – and to watch the final book come to life.  There were differences, of course, but there was also word-for-word sameness in a lot of dialogue.  Good stuff.

The books are more amazing, of course, but the movies add to the experience.  One of my favorite podcasts, Filmspotting, reviewed the movie after reading ZERO of the books (or even seeing all of the movies), so they had tons of questions, although they gave the movie pretty good reviews.  Marissa hadn’t read any books beyond the first and enjoyed the movies on their own.

So now what?  Other book-related movies are coming out soon.

  • “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” is in theatres now (7/15) but I don’t see it showing up in Rochester for a while… I will keep my eyes peeled for that one.  I had that one on audio but lost it somewhere (probably on my dead iPod) so I downloaded a digital version from the library (MobiPocket Reader anyone??? Yikes… another program downloaded to read books) but also requested a paperback – and today I got an email that it was ready and waiting!  Yay!  I’ll dig in tonight!
  • “The Help” comes out on August 10 – and it looks so good!  What a fun book to read and discuss.  It will be a book club event to see that together!
  • “One Day” comes out August 19.  (July 15 was the ONE DAY featured in the book!  Should have acknowledged it!)  I look forward to seeing that book on the screen.  I enjoyed reading it – mostly – although the ending didn’t sit right with me.  😦
  • “Jane Eyre” hasn’t made it to Rochester yet – meaning it won’t?  It was released in April, so that’s probably a good bet.  I have it in my Netflix queue but there’s no release date there yet.  Sigh.  I read that book in anticipation of the movie.  I’m glad I caught up with a classic and I know there are multiple versions of the movie that I can pick fromI
  • “Sarah’s Key” was made into a movie!  The book about the Vel’d’Hiv Roundup in 1942 in France was another sad Holocaust story, telling about another unknown-to-me piece of history.  Kristin Scott Thomas stars and it might be French, as the title is listed as “Sarah’s Key (Elle s’appelait Sarah)”.  Releases 7/22!
  • I heard that “Austenland” is being made into a movie starring Keri Russel.  I liked that book, so that’s pretty fun.  Gotta love all things Austen!
There’s the “movie news” portion of the blog – ha!  Just so much good stuff coming up, I guess.  Lots of good material to choose from!
Speaking of book club events, we had book club this afternoon.  I got there late – around 2pm – and we discussed our book (“Olive Kitteredge”) very little!  No one loved the book, although a few of us thought it was good enough.  It’s really short stories about small town life with the character of Olive showing up, being featured, or simply being mentioned somehow in each one.  So the plot and story-line was not easy to follow and the characters were many and difficult to remember.
But oh, did we laugh about other stuff!  Suddenly it was 5:10 and we wondered if we were staying for supper!  Good stories and catch-up time.  Who knows what we’ll do next, but it may be just a movie date along with dinnertime discussion of “Heaven is For Real,” since many had read it already and really wanted to discuss it when done.
Well, I can’t wait to dig in to “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.”  What are you excited to read?  What movies are you excited to see?
Off to read!