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!

 

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!

40 Things (4)

Cover of "Persepolis"

Cover of Persepolis

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday… her fourth question is:

4) A favourite translated book

Hmmm..  Not sure how many translated books I have read, but there have been a few.

I own and LOVED reading “My Life as a Dog” by Reidar Jonsson.  A Norwegian book whose movie adaptation won best foreign film in 1987, I believe.  I loved the movie and the book even more.  I have memories of riding on public transportation in Madison and literally laughing out loud and also having my heart break.

I really enjoyed “Persepolis,” by Marjane Satrapi and translated by Mattias Ripa.  A story about growing up in Iran.

I read an abridged version (shameful, I know) of “War and Peace” by Tolstoy and didn’t really enjoy that much.  It was a long hot summer and there are so many names …

I’m sure there are others, but “My Life as a Dog’ wins.  🙂

And on my list… my #4 was “Learn some Ukranian / Russian” and I failed miserably. Again, I listened to Russian podcasts and downloaded vocabulary sheets.  Not much stuck.  We had a foreign exchange student from the Ukraine so that was the motivation to attempt it.

Off to read!