Wednesday, November 19, 2008

we have a CHALLENGE!!

hi there ladies, andrea asked if i would do
this month's challenge.
since i am out of ideas of subjects to read & branch out to, i thought maybe we could do something a little different...don't be scared. we can do it together. how about we all read the same book, and then have a little online discussion (a friendly one, of course) about the book??

it just seems like sometimes (in my last posting) i read a book and really, REALLY want to talk to someone about it but don't know anyone who has read it. so i am stuck talking to either myself, or then re-telling the book to my husband in hopes of getting any further enlightenment...and we all know that how that goes.

so what do ya say? i think if we start now and give ourselves until after the first of the year to finish, then that should be plenty of time, right?

i had a request for this book:

"the story of edgar sawtelle"
by david wroblewski. i have never heard of it so i am not sure of the content, but i read the reviews on amazon & it sounds really interesting.

it's available on amazon & ebay for sale or can be checked out at the library.

you don't have to participate if you don't want to but i thought it might be fun. i can post some discussion questions after we are all done reading it & then we can each write our answers either in comments or as a posting. if you've already read it, then maybe get together some ideas/questions you want to discuss.

leave a comment letting us know who's in on this & we can get started!!

ps-in honor of thanksgiving i would like to say that i am thankful for books. and thankful for this book club!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

the history of love.

"Nicole Krauss's The History of Love is a hauntingly beautiful novel about two characters whose lives are woven together in such complex ways that even after the last page is turned, the reader is left to wonder what really happened. In the hands of a less gifted writer, unraveling this tangled web could easily give way to complete chaos. However, under Krauss's watchful eye, these twists and turns only strengthen the impact of this enchanting book."

i finished this book a week ago but ended up re-reading most of it after i had finished. i think my mistake was that i took too long to read it the first time, so i would forget what was going on and just try to read through it anyway.

this book to me was like intermingled poetry, and was written very deeply and the reader really needs to pay attention. if you're not in the mood for a "deep" book, then i don't recommend it. it is also one that doesn't wrap up in a nice, neat little package...which is something i actually love about it. i'm going to order the author's first book, "man walks into a room" because i heard it's another amazing novel.

i ended up really enjoying this book and it was one i thought about for days afterward. i'm hoping that someone else has read it because i would love to have some sort of discussion & hear another's opinion about it.

***another interesting fact, it's been translated into 25 different languages. now that's something.

just for fun, i'm posting a picture of sarah jessica parker reading it. not sure if that adds credibility to the book, or takes it away. depends on your opinion i guess. :)
Drowning Ruth
by: Christina Schwarz
–The New York Times

“[A] gripping psychological thriller . . . In the winter of 1919, a young mother named Mathilda Neumann drowns beneath the ice of a rural Wisconsin lake. The shock of her death dramatically changes the lives of her daughter, troubled sister, and husband. . . . Told in the voices of several of the main characters and skipping back and forth in time, the narrative gradually and tantalizingly reveals the dark family secrets and the unsettling discoveries that lead to the truth of what actually happened the night of the drowning. . . . Schwarz certainly succeeds at keeping the reader engrossed.”

I really liked it, kept me up reading it. I liked how the author told the story from several different perspectives it made it a fun read and keeps you guessing until the very end. You get little bits and pieces of what happened that night until it is all made clear. I haven't read any books worth blogging about for awhile. Really enjoyed this one though!

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

I liked this book. I hate to use words like "liked" or "enjoyed" when refering to a book. For me, books should be much more than that. I like books that I can't stop thinking about, that days after I've finished I find myself thinking of those characters, people who are very real to me. I love books that make me so nervous and make my heart break, books that challenge my way of thinking and ask tough questions. So...this book was a "nice" read. I "liked" it. I "enjoyed" it. Get my drift.... Review
It's 1906 and 16-year-old Mattie Gokey is at a crossroads in her life. She's escaped the overwhelming responsibilities of helping to run her father's brokedown farm in exchange for a paid summer job as a serving girl at a fancy hotel in the Adirondacks. She's saving as much of her salary as she can, but she's having trouble deciding how she's going to use the money at the end of the summer. Mattie's gift is for writing and she's been accepted to Barnard College in New York City, but she's held back by her sense of responsibility to her family--and by her budding romance with handsome-but-dull Royal Loomis. Royal awakens feelings in Mattie that she doesn't want to ignore, but she can't deny her passion for words and her desire to write.

At the hotel, Mattie gets caught up in the disappearance of a young couple who had gone out together in a rowboat. Mattie spoke with the young woman, Grace Brown, just before the fateful boating trip, when Grace gave her a packet of love letters and asked her to burn them. When Grace is found drowned, Mattie reads the letters and finds that she holds the key to unraveling the girl's death and her beau's mysterious disappearance. Grace Brown's story is a true one (it's the same story told in Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy and in the film adaptation, A Place in the Sun), and author Jennifer Donnelly masterfully interweaves the real-life story with Mattie's, making her seem even more real.

Mattie's frank voice reveals much about poverty, racism, and feminism at the turn of the twentieth century. She witnesses illness and death at a range far closer than most teens do today, and she's there when her best friend Minnie gives birth to twins. Mattie describes Minnie's harrowing labor with gut-wrenching clarity, and a visit with Minnie and the twins a few weeks later dispels any romance from the reality of young motherhood (and marriage). Overall, readers will get a taste of how bitter--and how sweet--ordinary life in the early 1900s could be. Despite the wide variety of troubles Mattie describes, the book never feels melodramatic, just heartbreakingly real.