Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Lotsa Books

After my long break from books, I've finished a bunch in the past month:

  1. PhotobucketAtonement by Ian McEwan--This book was a little bit difficult to get into. I didn't get interested until about page 100. The author uses a lot of thoughts and scenery description. I personally need some dialogue to move me through a book. It's a very sad and depressing book about a young girl that witnesses an act-- two acts actually that will change her life, her sister's life and the life of her sister's love forever. I didn't really care for the book and I'm not sure why it was chosen as book of the year by so many publications. I don't recommend it and I don't recommend the movie either.
  2. PhotobucketSwapping Lives by Jane Green--This was a book about a single thirty something woman that thinks the grass is greener for women that are married and have children. After swapping lives with a mom that has those things and more, she learns to appreciate her life. This book was a quick "chick lit" book. It's not as good as her other novels (i.e. Jemima J).
  3. PhotobucketThe Pact by Jodi Picoult--The Pact is about a boy and a girl that grow up together because their moms became best friends when they became neighbors. Eventually, they became boyfriend and girlfriend. The two kids were so close (almost like twins) until their world came apart because of an apparent suicide pact between the two kids. This was a good book, but I actually expected a lot out of it because everyone told me how good it was. I kind of thought it was a little hokey, but it's a great summer read.
  4. PhotobucketI Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson--I actually liked this book despite the mixed reviews on Amazon.com. However, I did not like the ending. I think in truth, working mothers do suffer from having to do almost too much and this book is kind of an anthem for working moms. It's about a working mom struggling to make it in a predominantly male industry and the guilt she suffers because she's a working mom.
  5. PhotobucketBest Friends by Martha Moody--This book was recommended to me by Sacto Girl and was chosen by someone in one of my book clubs. It was a great read. It's long but goes by fast. It's about two women that form an unlikely friendship that spans a couple decades and many tragedies. I'd recommend it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What I've Read This Summer

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketWater for Elephants by Sarah Gruen

This book was very beautifully written. I had images of the circus running through my head as I read this (it also helped that there were also pictures). It also made me think twice about whether I'd want to take my kids to a circus where animals are treated this way. The book is about a man (Jacob) whose parents die suddenly just before he takes his final exams for vet school. Upon realizing that his parents had accumulated so much debt just to put him through vet school, he hops on a train and later realizes its a circus train. During his adventure, he meets his unstable boss, several unlikely friends, a smart elephant, and his boss' wife-- the woman he falls in love with. I highly recommend this book...I thought that it read like a Hemingway novel and I would gladly read it again.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Splendid Suns was a great follow up to the Kite Runner. It is about Afghanistan life (again) but this time it is told through a woman's perspective. The book follows the lives of two women that form an unlikely friendship as wives to the same man. It describes the struggles and hardships that Afghani women must endure. I highly recommend this book. I didn't think it was as good as the Kite Runner but it was an excellent read none the less.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketShopaholic and Baby by Sophie Kinsella

Sophie Kinsela books haven't been that great lately and this one hasn't kicked it up a notch either. It just seems like the same old same old except its not even funny anymore. It's about Rebecca Bloomwood Brandon during her first pregnancy. She tries to buy everything, changes to an OB that also happens to be her husband's ex, and she single handedly saves the department store she's working for from going belly under. I wouldn't bother with this one.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketVanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult astonishes me again. How does she write such intriguing books time and again? I have decided that she is now one of my favorite authors. This book was good (although not as good as My Sister's Keeper). It's about a woman that learns she was abducted 28 years ago by her father...the man she's looked up to and trusted all her life. She is devastated by the fact that her father had lied to her about her mother being dead and that her real name wasn't Delia. The book traverses through the trial and alternates views between Delia, her dad, her fiance, her friend and her alcoholic mother. The reason why he abducted her comes out during the course of the book and it was a page turner. However, I did guess the ending. I highly recommend this book.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketBehaving Badly by Isabel Wolff

I wouldn't bother with this one. It's a chick lit book and not even a funny one. It's about a pet behaviourist that unknowingly did something as a teenager that affected a young man. She tries to find him to apologize and clear her conscience. Instead she falls in love with him.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Accidental Happiness By Jean Reynolds Page

I read this book because it was chosen for my book club. It took a long time for the plot to build (about half way through the book). I didn't really care for it (I wouldn't recommend it) but I didn't hate it either. It's about a woman that finds happiness where she least expected. The woman's husband dies in a freak accident and she moves to her boat to escape the memories of her husband. While on the boat, she accidentally shoots her husband's ex-wife's daughter when they trespassed onto the boat.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

The book is about a 17 year old kid that goes on a shooting rampage for 19 minutes at his high school after 11years of suffering under the rule of bullies. The book looks back at the years of bullying and how the school system does nothing to prevent it.

It was really kind of sad. A teenager already has to deal with all the horrible aspects of being a teenager-- acne, awkwardness, voice changes, body changes, mood swings...let alone having to fend off a bully. It also makes you wonder how many things could have been done differently so that it didn't have to escalate into the ramage.

It was a good book. I read it for my book club-- but it's definitely one you can wait till paperback release for.

Next Up: Accidental Happiness by Jean Page (another book club read from my other book club)

Sorry, I haven't been posting so much on this blog. I just haven't had as much time to read!!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Children's Books

I'm a mom and I love to read...so of course I read to my kids to foster their love of reading. These are my favorite children's books are:
  1. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
  2. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin
  3. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  5. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle
  6. The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein
  7. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  8. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
  9. Mr. Brown Can Moo Can You? by Dr. Seuss
  10. Whose Slippers Are Those? by Marilyn Kahalewai
  11. No David! by David Shannon
What are your favorites?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

My Sister's Keeper

So, at 1:00am this morning, I woke up to The Breadwinner puking praying to the shit bowl porcelain god. Then Jr. Peanut woke up, so I went to go nurse him...only to have him hurl chunks on my boob. After such trauma, I couldn't go back to sleep, so I decided to finish the best book I've read in a long time...My Sister's Keeper.

It's about a young girl, Anna, that was genetically engineered and conceived in order to save her older sister,Kate from the throes of APL Leukemia. For 13 years, Anna donated various parts of her body to her sister in order to keep her alive. Finally, when Kate's kidneys start to fail, Anna decides that enough is enough -- she doesn't want to donate any part of her body anymore. With the help of a lawyer, Anna sues her parents for medical emancipation from her parents.

The book is uniquely written and told through the eyes of each person in the family and those involved in the trial. The family struggled for 13 years to cope with the possibility Kate's death. It's a circumstance that severly affects the lives of each family member. Jesse, the brother, feels invisible and turns to truancy to cope and seek attention. Anna, is trapped by her sister's health--never allowed to leave or live her own life because she's had to give numerous blood, marrow, and other donations. Sara, the mother, is torn between saving one child and sacrificing another. Brian, the father, feels that what they are doing to Anna is wrong, but still wants Kate to live.

Throughout the story, I kept thinking that Sara should give up and let her daughter die because of the profound affect of Kate's looming death has had on her family. But then I thought-- wouldn't I do the same thing? Isn't it easy to get caught up in trying to take care of one person and somehow put other people second? I cried so hard and it made me think of what has happened in my own life...

After The Princess was born but before JR Peanut, I had 3 miscarriages. The first was the hardest for me. I had gone in for an ultrasound at 10 weeks and saw the heartbeat. The doctor told me that the baby looked a little small and scheduled me to come in two weeks later. When I went to the second appointment, the doctor found no heartbeat. He told me I could let the baby pass on its own or I could get a D and C. Then he patted my shoulder and said sorry. He left me alone in the room and it all sank in. I cried... a lot. I chose to let the baby pass on its own. Bad idea. My body didn't release it until three weeks later while my daughter and I were suffering from the flu. It was like a horrible period with HUGE clots. Anyway, I kind of lived through a fog for the next few months. The Princess could tell I was sad (kids pick up on these things quickly) and she would pat me when I was sad. I had two more miscarriages that didn't affect me as much but still saddened me. I was so caught up in it, I think that I didn't get to enjoy The Princess. I didn't pay as much attention and I was focused on having a second/coping with the realization that I may not be able to have more kids... kind of like how Sara (in the book) built her life around trying to keep Kate alive.

So, long story short...read this book (keep a box of tissues handy)! I'm grateful that I don't have to face the kind of challenges posed in the book.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

To Kill a Mockingbird

I read To Kill a Mockingbird in High School. I was a little hesitant to read it because I didn't remember all the details of the book--but it was to be the topic of discussion for my Mommy Book Club. I'm glad I re-read it. I think reading the book more than a decade later and with a decade's worth of maturity made me appreciate the book.

It was an intriguing read about a young white girl (Scout) growing up in the south during a time when prejudice ran rampant. Scout's father does the best he can to raise his two children without a mother and the only female role models for scout are her African American housekeeper and an Aunt that lives some distance from her. While she's struggling to come to terms with becoming a woman, she discover the different "lines" that divide our society...race, poverty, disfigurement, etc...

When Scout's father,an attorney, defends an disabled African American accused of raping a white woman. All hell breaks loose.