In the middle of reading this book, I found myself wishing that I could be best friends with Rainbow Rowell and exchange witty emails with her all dayIn the middle of reading this book, I found myself wishing that I could be best friends with Rainbow Rowell and exchange witty emails with her all day long, like Beth and Jennifer do in Attachments.
By the end of the book, I just wanted to be Rainbow Rowell. Because she did everything perfectly in this book. It played out the only way it could've, and along the way Ms. Rowell offers such profound truths. Like, yes, anyone who's ever seen The Goodbye Girl will always find Richard Dreyfuss wildly attractive. I actually took a picture of that passage and texted it to my sister, who saw that movie with me about 25 times.
Yes this is pretty much a romantic comedy in book form...but I've always preferred books to movies, which is why I have a Goodreads and not a...whatever the movie equivalent of Goodreads is.
This is a generous, funny book with characters that I feel like I have known forever. Perfect read for my first official week of summer vacation.
Do you believe in love at first sight? Do you believe in love before that? I do, and this book reminded me why....more
Really 2.5 stars. Some of the stories were good, some were disappointing, and at least one was really bad and made me wonder what the editors were thiReally 2.5 stars. Some of the stories were good, some were disappointing, and at least one was really bad and made me wonder what the editors were thinking. Some of the stories were only a few lines long, but I didn't even mind that so much. I appreciate that a famous actor-comedian actually puts effort into writing a book instead of just rehashing his comedy routine, and clearly he can write. Also, I needed to read something that would make me laugh, and this was a perfect example of right book, right time. 4/52, way behind, but I will get caught up over the summer....more
3/52 in my 52-book challenge. Not a quick read, but a rich, satisfying one.
This book is the perfect example of why I still take classes even though I3/52 in my 52-book challenge. Not a quick read, but a rich, satisfying one.
This book is the perfect example of why I still take classes even though I don't "need" to. When I have to read something for a class, I keep pushing through it. No SparkNotes for me. I never would've picked up The Ordinary Seaman if I didn't have to, but once I started reading it (for a graduate class on American Multiethnic Literature) I was drawn in.
I say this wasn't a quick read because a.) again, reading in an academic context is more demanding than simply reading for pleasure; and b.) the storytelling was so vivid and layered and interesting that I didn't want to miss a single word.
I want to read everything by Francisco Goldman now. This book is so good that Goldman's gone from "vaguely heard of him, that book about his wife" to My New Favorite Author....more
Post-9/11, highly metaphorical, tightly constructed. The entire book is a one-sided conversation between the narrator, a young Princeton-educated PakiPost-9/11, highly metaphorical, tightly constructed. The entire book is a one-sided conversation between the narrator, a young Princeton-educated Pakistani man, and a shadowy American figure who joins him for tea. The narrator, Changez, tells the story of his American experience before 9/11 and in the months following. This is such a short book that you can read it in real time, the time it'd take you to have a leisurely afternoon tea, followed by a meal, some wine, dessert...yet there is nothing leisurely about the book. One reviewer here described it as "claustrophobic" and I think that's accurate. I won't get into spoilers because I think you need to discover the book for yourself and figure out what message it gives to you. ...more
If you need to like at least one character in every book you read, don't bother with Herbert Koch's The Dinner. I will tell you right now, no spoilersIf you need to like at least one character in every book you read, don't bother with Herbert Koch's The Dinner. I will tell you right now, no spoilers, that they're all terrible people.
I gave this book 4 stars because it held my interest. I first heard about it on NPR: two brothers and their wives meet at a very upscale restaurant to discuss some trouble that their children have gotten into. The entire book takes place during the dinner. I liked the idea of that; I looked forward to seeing how the narrative unfolded, how frequently the author used flashbacks and exposition. I will say that Koch does this very, very well.
While reading this book, I was at the same time teaching Catcher in the Rye to my accelerated sophomores, and I found myself thinking "what a bunch of phonies these people are!" several times, in Holden's voice. But I didn't think they were downright evil until about 2/3 of the way through the book, and by then I was anxious to see what would happen.
I view this novel as satirical; it's darkly humorous in parts. It's meant to be a comment on society more than a family drama.
This was the second book I read recently about two brothers - one much more successful than the other - dealing with the aftermath of teenagers' actions. The other was The Burgess Boys. Very different book, but both loaded with unlikable characters. ...more
I already knew about the "spoiler" and that simply made me more interested in the book. I'd really thought of Karen Joy Fowler as a chick lit author,I already knew about the "spoiler" and that simply made me more interested in the book. I'd really thought of Karen Joy Fowler as a chick lit author, and while there are some of those quirky stock characters here, the weird friend and the flirty-banter guy, this is really a story about loss, language, science, cognitive theory, much more. ...more
I do know real-life kids who are this smart and witty. Maybe I'm just lucky.
I have lost loved ones to cancer; I have seen loved oA couple of things:
I do know real-life kids who are this smart and witty. Maybe I'm just lucky.
I have lost loved ones to cancer; I have seen loved ones beat cancer. Cancer doesn't make sense. This book tries to make sense of something that cannot ever make sense. In that respect, it can't be successful, but like anyone who has to deal with cancer, the characters do the best they can.
This is John Green's best book since Looking for Alaska. It is a very fast read. I would recommend it, but don't look for any revelations to help you get through grief...I think LfA does a better job of that, actually. Cancer is just so tough to write about....more
As an English teacher, I tell my students that myths, poetry and stories are writers' attempts to make sense of things that seem beyond explanation. AAs an English teacher, I tell my students that myths, poetry and stories are writers' attempts to make sense of things that seem beyond explanation. As the mother of a now-grown, very successful son who was in special ed through his public school years, I have seen all kinds of parents struggle with all kinds of special needs kids. A lot of times, the smartest, most privileged parents had the hardest time accepting a kid who just wasn't quite...typical. The author, who is a Wordsworth scholar, makes sense of her son's hyperlexia by weaving the story of his infancy and childhood together with the poetry she loves best. And it works. It works perfectly. Because, although he's on the autism spectrum, Benj, a thoroughly engaging kid, is extremely verbal---in fact, poems and songs are the means he uses to navigate the world. He connects with words the way most children connect with people. His parents don't even really notice that anything is wrong at first--- Benj seems so advanced, and he's their first child, so they have nothing to compare.
The book shows clearly and touchingly how Benj's parents figure out how to help him.
The learning process for parents can be tough when they learn that their child has a "label"---it's a journey, and there is no road map because every kid is different. Priscilla Gilman does an outstanding job of showing how, together with professionals and a loving extended family, she is able to raise her child in a way that works with his strengths but also helps him find a place in the world.
I would recommend this book to parents, obviously, but I've also recommended it to my students who are planning to teach young children. I loved it. ...more
Oh how I wanted to love this book! It has so many things that I adore: libraries, quirkiness, a book reference on almost every page, a journey, a possOh how I wanted to love this book! It has so many things that I adore: libraries, quirkiness, a book reference on almost every page, a journey, a possibly-gay 10 year-old boy, various unrequited loves...
The book turned out to be grounded more in farce than in reality, which would have been ok except that the protagonist was so dull you couldn't really root for her, and in a farce, you need to have some attachment to the main character in order to swallow all the unrealistic situations and coincidences.
Also (this is not a spoiler but the main idea of the book) she kidnaps a child!! She kidnaps a child!!! She. Kidnaps. A. Child. I don't care how bad she thinks his home life is, she should not have kidnapped the child.
This book does a disservice to real librarians who work hard to get their MLS degrees, since Lucy Hull just plods her way into a job that actually requires some expertise.
I don't even want to get into the gay-kid aspect of the novel. It hits too close to home for me. Ian may or may not be gay (the only reason he may be is because some adults think he is; that wasn't reason enough for me to buy into it. What, he's a voracious reader, has a soft voice and likes to sing? Most of the boys I know who fit that description are straight.) The fundamentalist Christian aspect was, I think, handled more realistically.
And as long as I'm ripping this book a new one, can I just say---and I don't think this is petty---the Hush Puppy dog is a Bassett hound, not a beagle. She keeps calling it a beagle!! I kept waiting for someone to correct her---Glenn or Ian---but no one did, and I can only assume that this point slipped past a bunch of people as the book was being readied for publication. What the hell.
I hated the ending, which really made me lose respect for the book. I might have been able to deal with all of the other stuff because I did love the literary references, the parodies, and the basic idea of the story. But the string of coincidences at the end were just silly. I wanted some triumph for Ian; I put so much time into making sure he was ok.
Two and a half stars. I just can't round it up to three because I felt the pacing was off: started out ok and then just dragged. They spent so much time at their final destination, time that didn't need to be spent, that I almost started to hate what is actually one of my very favorite states....more