March 9, 2009- Felt in the mood for Calvino so I picked this one up for my currently reading book.
One of my favorite books. What could be better forMarch 9, 2009- Felt in the mood for Calvino so I picked this one up for my currently reading book.
One of my favorite books. What could be better for a reader than a tale of an adventure to put together a book from pieces found.
I find that I read this book at least once a year. It never gets old. It see my photographic interpretation (part of a recent project of mine) and my latest review check out Amanda's Weekly Zen....more
I just could not get into this book. I tried to read it twice in different years and never got past the first 40 pages. I do remember thinking that thI just could not get into this book. I tried to read it twice in different years and never got past the first 40 pages. I do remember thinking that the opening line was intriguing however....more
I read this book in a one sitting and after I sat there speechless. DeLillo created such emotion with this novel. Not only do you see the woman's grieI read this book in a one sitting and after I sat there speechless. DeLillo created such emotion with this novel. Not only do you see the woman's grief at times I felt it. ...more
Lahiri wrote a collection of short stories in 1999 called “Interpreter of Maladies” that blew me away. It was emotional... with a range of emotion notLahiri wrote a collection of short stories in 1999 called “Interpreter of Maladies” that blew me away. It was emotional... with a range of emotion not just sorrow and heartache, and it was a nice insight into Indian culture. When I saw “Unaccustomed Earth” at the bookstore I picked it up thinking that it too would be a delight to read. In no way is this review going to be a bad review. Lahiri did indeed write a collection that was full of emotion, but this time “Unaccustomed Earth” did not sit within a spectrum of emotion but instead it was full of disappoint, sorrow and heartache. It was hard to read and not become glum. Some of the stories ended with deaths and unrequited love, others ended without hope.
The language, as you would expect from Lahiri was vivid and poignant. Some stories are better written than others. The namesake of the collection is by far my favorite. A father travels to his daughter’s house after many years of not seeing her to tell his daughter of his new relationship. The time they spend together is a relief to the daughter Ruma but the father never tells his daughter what he traveled so far for, instead he spends his time with his grandson. During his visit he writes a postcard to the new love in his life and meant to send it the next day but could not find it again. After he left Ruma finds the postcard written in Bengali. Unsure of whom the woman is and what the card says Ruma contemplates the postcard before putting a stamp on it and placing it in the mailbox. I absolutely loved the ending of this story. When Ruma finds the postcard there is so much confusion and emotion there and the acceptance of her father’s ability to move on after her mother’s death was a beautiful way to end the story.
I gave “Unaccustomed Earth” 3 out of 5 because there were two stories that really moved me in this collection; Unaccustomed Earth and Hema and Kaushik (a collection of three). The others were good but not fantastic. I do recommend it to other readers, but beware it is a collection of gloomy stories. ...more
In the book Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert chronicles her journey to find herself after a long divorce. She decided to take a year and spent it inIn the book Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert chronicles her journey to find herself after a long divorce. She decided to take a year and spent it in three different places for three different purposes. The book is divided into three books. In Book I Gilbert describes her time in Italy for which she hoped to speak Italian and eat Italian food. In book two Gilbert travels to India to pray at an ashram. In book three Gilbert would return to Indonesia where at first she had no plans what she would do during her stay but a palm reader 2 years before told her she would be back and would stay with him, so in the attempt to experience something different she went on a whim hoping he would remember her.
This book can be read in a few different ways; a memoir of a difficult period in Gilbert’s life and how she overcame it, a guide for divorced women and how they can deal with life after divorce or a travel memoir. I am sure other ways to read the book but what drew me to the book was the promise of the travel memoir. So often it is hard to find a great book about travel. Either it will read as too much of a guidebook (i.e. “Go see this, then go do this”) or it will read as a personal memoir with little travel description in it. Eat, Pray, Love falls somewhere in between. It is neither a guidebook nor is it really overly memoir (except for the very beginning and at times in the Indonesia section). There was much I appreciated about this book. I appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed Book I. So many descriptions of Rome, Naples and the food! After reading book one I said to myself, “I want to go to Rome!” This is why I bought the book the travel and there was a great deal of it in Book One, so much so that I could ignore the things I did not buy the book for (the divorce drama and the somewhat pathetic need for men that Gilbert relays to the reader early on). Excited about the prospect of more travel I moved on to Book II, which again I thoroughly loved. The descriptions of the ashram, the mediation sessions and the chanting all made me want to experience something similar. The language become more beautiful in this book the more comfortable Gilbert become with mediating and the less she obsessed about her lost relationships, it was a great book.
So I can hear you asking at this point, “Why did you only give it 3 out of 5 stars it sounds like you really liked this book?” Well mainly Book III. It started off promising and I loved it when she actually learned from Ketut Liyer, but then we lost the travel spirit and she began to just live there. The excitement in the writing that existed in the first two books had gone. Don’t get me wrong there were moments when I said to myself “I want to go to Bali” but this part of the book did not read the same as the others. And the real thing that brought this book all the way down to a 3 out of making it just okay was the ending. In order not to spoil anything for my fellow readers who have yet to pick this book up I just want to say this… it was not expected and somewhat uneventful considering the build up from the universe that we were feed throughout the book. It was a hurried afterthought of an ending. All in all though I am glad I read this book and if you have not read it I recommend it to readers who want a travel memoir or a book about relationships, both readers will be satisfied in the end.
Novel Moments: “To find the balance you want, […] this is what you must become. You must keep your feet grounded so firmly on the earth that it’s like you have four legs, instead of two. That way, you can stay in the world. But you must stop looking at the world through your head. You must look through your heart, instead. That way, you will know God.” (Kindle Location 647)
“Parla come magni.” He knows this is one of my favorite expressions in Roman dialect. It means, “Speak the way you eat,” or, in my personal translation: “Say it like you eat it.” It’s a reminder- when you’re searching for the right words- to keep your language as simple and direct as Roman food. (Kindle Location 1764)...more
Stiefvater writes an elegant story of young love that borders on desperate obsession. The characters are constructed with care and gradually as you geStiefvater writes an elegant story of young love that borders on desperate obsession. The characters are constructed with care and gradually as you get to know each one better you begin to see depth in most of them.
Grace, a seventeen year old high school student, has always admired the wolves that lived in the woods outside her house. One wolf, the wolf with the yellow eyes, captured not only her attention when he saved her from a certain death as a child, but also her heart. Throughout the years they watched each other, both yearning to know more about the other. Then when the wolves of Mercy Falls were threatened by hunters Grace raced to wolf only to find a human boy wounded on her porch who strangely reminded her of her wolf. Once they found it each it was hard for either of them to let the other one go, both knew that they had to find a cure for the strange condition that turns the yellow eyed boy into a wolf when the temperature drops. And as if that were not a tall enough order they also must stop the newest wolf Jack from revealing their secret. Friends and family will be lost in the process but both Grace and Sam will do everything they can to keep each other.
In the chapters, divided by degrees the reader will discover the truth behind the wolves and the lives of the people that are connected to the wolves. It is a tale that will leave the reader in awe of the fresh take on the werewolf. No longer is the werewolf just a dog that exists to quarrel with vampires… not the case in Shiver in which the werewolf is a sensitive, poetry reading youth who longs for humanity because it is the only way to hold on to the girl he loves.
Readers who enjoy romance that is not sickly sappy will enjoy this book. Readers who enjoyed the Twilight series and find themselves an avid fan of Team Jacob will love this book because finally the warm hearted werewolf finds his love.
A Novel Moment: “I held on to those eyes for as long as I could. Yellow. And, up close, flecked brilliantly with every shade of gold and hazel. I didn’t want him to look away, and he didn’t.” (from Grace 15 degrees)
“I was next to her, and she was looking up at the endless sky with distant eyes. Maybe dead. I pushed my nose into her hand; the scent of her palm, all sugar and butter and salt, reminded me of another life. Then I saw her eyes. Awake. Alive.” (from Sam 15 degrees)...more
I had always thought that I could read anything… but then I read Chris Tusa’s book “Dirty Little Angels”. I knew what the book was about from the summI had always thought that I could read anything… but then I read Chris Tusa’s book “Dirty Little Angels”. I knew what the book was about from the summary and the sample chapter that Chris sent me but I honestly did not expect it to be quite so raw. It was an emotional and uncomfortable read perhaps bordering on too realistic at times. It took me a long time to read this short novel only because the emotional state of Hailey and the trails she had to endure were hard to stomach. It has been a long time since I was so disturbed by a novel. The fact that the events of Hailey’s grim life disturbed me to the point where I had to set the book aside speaks volumes for the writing ability of Chris Tusa. It is vivid, dark and utterly real.
I gave this book a four out of five because the writing was raw and believable but I have to say that I will not be able to read this novel again, it was too disturbing. ...more
The Space Between Us is a fictional look at the relationship between two very different women. Set in modern day India the novel explores how class afThe Space Between Us is a fictional look at the relationship between two very different women. Set in modern day India the novel explores how class affects the lives of women. There are two main characters which the novel moves between. One woman is an upper class Parsi housewife, Sera Dubash and the other is her servant of twenty years, Bhima. The novel reveals the similarities that each woman has by focusing on domestic abuse, loss, and disappointments. The novel begins with the disappointment in Bhima’s life that affects not only herself but Sera and her family. Maya, Bhima’s seventeen year old granddaughter, is pregnant and unmarried.
While Maya was away at college, which Sera paid for, she involved herself with a mystery man and became pregnant. At first she refused to hear Bhima and Sera requests that she abort the baby. Bhima hounds the girl each day about the pregnancy, desperate for the knowledge of who had done this to her granddaughter. Exhausted Maya tells Bhima the name of a young man at her college. Bhima travels to the college on loaned money from Sera to confront the man. What she finds is not only does the young man completely deny his involvement in Maya’s pregnancy but he also does not really know who Maya is. Disappointed and completely hopeless for Maya’s future she tells the girl she must get rid of the baby. Ultimately the more time she spent locked up in Bhima dirt shack in the slums the more she realized that she could not have the baby and went to the doctor friend of Bhima’s son in law. After the abortion Maya was sullen and refused to speak to Bhima or Sera.
After we learn about the initial conflict in the story we are then taken through the lives of the main characters. We find out how Sera and her dead husband really got along. How Sera believes that Bhima has been her best friend throughout the years but refuses to acknowledge the woman’s importance to her completely because she does not want to give her servant that power over her.
I gave this book a 3 out of 5 because the book moves slowly and too much time is spent bouncing between the two main characters lives that often times it becomes unclear who is the subject of the chapter. It takes a long time to reach the main story’s plot (although you suspect who the true father of Maya’s baby is shortly after meeting his character and hearing about his marital problems he and his wife “had.”
Also many times the accents seem forced making certain characters less of a sympatric being and more of a joke.
This novel is not a complete waste of time however. Some of the metaphors used in the novel are actually quite poetic and fit the idea that the author was trying to portray. ...more
The Sari Shop Widow is a book about Anjali Kapadia a woman in her late thirties who has overcome tremendous heartache of the loss of her husband by thThe Sari Shop Widow is a book about Anjali Kapadia a woman in her late thirties who has overcome tremendous heartache of the loss of her husband by throwing herself into the business she runs with her traditional Indian parents in New Jersey, Silk and Sapphires. Silk and Sapphires is a Sari shop that brings tradition of Indian dress to New Jersey with elegance and grace that Anjali created. For years her life felt normal and when her father let her know that their business was struggling financially she was shocked then outraged when she discovered that in order to save their business her father contacted her uncle Jeevan for assistance. When her uncle arrives he shocks them all with two things, one not being the man they remembered when they last saw him five years prior and by bringing his business partner Rishi Shah. Immediately Anjali is captivated and irritated with Rishi, but over the months they spend together remodeling and recreating Silk and Sapphires they both learn to not only appreciate each other but they eventually realize that they love each other.
This book was not what I expected. I expected a book rich with Indian culture. I realize that Bantwal was writing this book to show the merger of the two cultures, American and Indian, but honestly a romance setting may not have been the best way to approach a look at two cultures. That being said this book was okay. One of the better free books offered for the Kindle (it was offered only for a limited time and may no longer be free to download). My favorite parts of the book were the descriptions of food and culture but unfortunately there were very few of those and much more romantic relationship details that were not that interesting. I have to say though after reading this book I would love to visit a store like Silk and Sapphires... it sounded wonderful.
I would recommend this book for people who enjoy romance novels.
“The distress was still spiraling inside her like a mad January blizzard.” (Kindle location 123)
“Besides the usual Indian fare, apparently Anwar made unusual snacks like paneer and lamb turnovers, sweet potato knishes with ginger sauce, sandwiches with tandoori meats and veggies, Indian Neela Chai, or Blue Tea.” (Kindle Location 3230)
Book Citation: Bantwal, Shobhan. The Sari Shop Widow. Kensington Books. Kindle Edition....more
Stiefvater’s second book in the Mercy Falls series does not disappoint. The reader is gently guided through the events that happened in book one and bStiefvater’s second book in the Mercy Falls series does not disappoint. The reader is gently guided through the events that happened in book one and brought up to speed as to what Grace and Sam are doing now that they have found not only each other but what they also believe is the cure that will keep them together forever. It is also the opportunity for readers to finally meet the new wolves that we only got a glimpse of in the first book, Cole and Victor.
Cole and Victor were best friends who had everything and were on top of the world until their hectic drug induced lives were no longer enough to keep them satisfied. When Cole met Beck and heard of the alternate life he could live and forget the life he was currently leaving it was not hard for him to say yes to the strange and physically painful lifestyle choice. Convinced that it would solve both their problems, Cole talked Victor into becoming a wolf. Now that they were both wolves and it was beginning to warm, they both questioned their decision. It was not until Cole met Isabel that he began to feel human again, which was exactly what he did not want. Slowly with the help of Isabel, Sam and Grace he tried to become a better man and in the end was the key to saving Grace.
Just like the first novel the second novel is a sad romance where love ones will be lost in the struggle to understand and protect the wolves of Mercy Falls. But it is not just a tale of loss, it is also one of new friends and unexpected friends.
Grace and Sam fought for each other in the first book only to have parents and shifting come between them in the end and the cure they once thought would end it all is just a temporary fix that proves they are no closer to knowing the truth about their conditions.
Like the first book the youthful love Grace and Sam have for one another borders on obsession, but both when put in the position where they only have themselves to depend on, find that while empty, they can survive (at least temporarily without the other). It is with the help of new friends like Isabel and Cole Sam and Grace continue to hold onto each other.
Warning this book has an unexpected and somewhat sad ending for fans of the love affair between Grace and Sam. But not all hope should be lost as the dawn of new knowledge into the werewolf condition leads Sam, Grace and Cole closer to a real cure.
Readers who enjoy romances that are not sickly sappy and the Twilight series (Team Jacob) will enjoy this book.
"A scientist has a frog and he says, 'Jump frog.' The frog jumps ten feet. Then the scientist writes down frog jumps ten feet. Then the scientist chops off one of the frog's legs and says 'Jump frog' and the frog jumps five feet. Then he chops off another leg, and says 'Jump' and the frog jumps two feet. The scientist writes down cut off two legs and the frog jumps two feet. Then he cuts off all the frog's legs and says 'Jump' and the frog just lies there. The scientist writes down the conclusions of the test: cutting off all the frog's legs makes the subject go deaf." - Cole to Isabel Linger ...more
When I first saw this book at my favorite used bookstore in Boulder Colorado (the Bookworm) I was intrigued. The inside jacket begins the summary of tWhen I first saw this book at my favorite used bookstore in Boulder Colorado (the Bookworm) I was intrigued. The inside jacket begins the summary of the book by asking the question… “Do women take a unique approach to spirituality?” I read the question closed the book and thought…”Well sure… don’t they?” Wanting to explore the topic of female spirituality more I picked it up and finally after months of having the book in my possession I read it last weekend.
Boucher’s book is set up as a general guidebook and a personal journal. Inserted into the chapters are Boucher’s own experiences that lead her to the theories and ideas she often writes about in her books. Many of the stories are of her first experience with Buddhism and her female spiritual teacher. Mixed throughout is feminist theory and insight. From history to a guide on Buddhist practices Boucher’s book generally covers a large scope.
I gave this book a 3 out of 5 because there are a lot of history and description of Buddhist practices and temples that I found intriguing, but to the unwilling reader it will be boring. The personal narratives are not compelling enough to appeal to any reader and the feminist theory is dated and somewhat biased (the book was first published in 1997).
Now if you have an interest in Buddhist history or practice you may consider this book. It is written as a general outline and for those who are unfamiliar, yet interested it is written clearly and concisely. I personally enjoyed the chapter on Buddhist meditation halls. As a Zen Buddhist I was unfamiliar with the Theravada and Varayana practices. Boucher offers a nice overview of the meditation hall differences.
Because of the nice overview of the different types of Buddhism I give this book 3 out of 5 stars. As I mentioned the personal narrative is not compelling and the question that intrigued me in the first place, was never really answered....more
This book is beautifully written. It is formatted in a question answer way (Wilama asks the questions then offers a personal story as an illustrationThis book is beautifully written. It is formatted in a question answer way (Wilama asks the questions then offers a personal story as an illustration of the answer). It is sincere as well as informative. The only reason that I did not give it 5 out of 5 is because not all the subjects in the book were as compelling as some (the section on cohabitating with the environment was less sincere and more of a lecture). I talk more about it on my blog Amanda’s Weekly Zen....more