This was my first Dickens novel. I know it is kind of cheesy to make my foray into Dickens’s work by reading A Christmas Carol during the holidays butThis was my first Dickens novel. I know it is kind of cheesy to make my foray into Dickens’s work by reading A Christmas Carol during the holidays but hey…whatever helps break the ice right?
This book, as most people already know, is about a tight-fisted, bitter old man named Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge is visited one night by the ghost of his partner who has come to warn Scrooge of his fate in the afterworld and that Scrooge will face similar persecution in the afterlife if he does not change his ways. Scrooge is warned that more ghosts will appear to help him redeem himself in life and prevent the perils his partner has faced in death. Scrooge is then visited by the ghost of Christmas past, the ghost of Christmas present, and the ghost of Christmas future. Scrooge is shown the actions of different people during each Christmas and he is given a choice at the end. Can he ever change?
The story was an inspiring Christmas story and helps remind people how their behavior affects others. This novel reminds us that we need to give to others who need more than we ourselves are and that the payoff for this assistance is much more fulfilling than any amount of money in the pocket or the bank could ever be.
I found this book surprisingly fun and easy to read. The novel was shorter than I expected and was not inundated with old world terms that I could not understand. I had been somewhat intimidated by Dickens prior to reading this book. However, now that I know the humorous and witty writing style of Charles Dickens I will definitely be reading more of his work in the future. ...more
I read this book for my local book group. The story is told from the perspective of four individuals; Dana, Allison, Carly, and Will. Interspersed thrI read this book for my local book group. The story is told from the perspective of four individuals; Dana, Allison, Carly, and Will. Interspersed throughout the story are transcripts from a radio talk show interview between Carly and other characters within the book.
The book begins with Carly explaining the impact of her parent’s (Allison and Will) divorce. Will remarried but was often accused of holding a torch for Allison. Allison was a grade school teacher and was taking courses at the local college; Dana was her professor. Dana, an attractive yet effeminate man, quickly caught Allison’s attention and they quickly entered into a relationship.
A few months into their relationship, Dana reveals to Allison that he was born into the wrong body and is contemplating gender reassignment surgery. Though overwhelmed by this shocking news, Allison’s love for Dana has grown beyond her rational control and she vows to remain by his side throughout his journey to become who he truly wants to be. The rest of the book centers around the perceptions of others and the struggles and complications the couple must face due to societal beliefs and prejudices.
This book was well-written, as is the power of this author to transform mere words into a work of art. However, the ending and “revelations” were predictable, which was highly disappointing to me knowing the abilities of the authors writing style. This book explores an extremely controversial topic in a manner that instills a sense of compassion in the reader for the characters within the book.
This story also instigated much conversation between me and my friends. I could not stop thinking about these people and their story. This work of fiction reads as a memoir and poses certain important yet debatable questions. The biggest question of all throughout this account is: can love transcend gender? Before you form your final opinion and answer to this question…read this book. Make sure you have all sides of any story before settling on a position. Enjoy…this is a book that will make you think and question all your previously held beliefs and ideals. ...more
Have you ever felt like someone was watching you? Have you ever looked up or turned around and found no one there? Have you ever felt the eyes of someHave you ever felt like someone was watching you? Have you ever looked up or turned around and found no one there? Have you ever felt the eyes of someone who wasn’t there boring into you? T.L. Hines has brought new meaning to these feelings of paranoia.
Above ceiling tiles, behind closet doors, and atop elevators hides Lucas; watching. Lucas watches others while they work and interact. He creates histories and stories for these individuals. He takes a memento from each of his targets; a picture, a favored scarf, some precious object.
Raised in an orphanage outside the Washington D.C. area, Lucas discovered his love of watching others from the roof outside the windows of the orphanage. He watched as the children interacted and played. He watched as the caregivers searched for him. Always watching, never being. Lucas does not technically exist. However, the life Lucas has always known is about to change drastically and his existence will no longer be hidden. A chance encounter begins to unravel a world of deceit, conspiracy, and treachery that Lucas never believed could exist. Lucas discovers that he is not the only person who watches. He finds a group of people who have crossed the line and who must be stopped.
Lucas is quickly submerged into a world of lies, creepers, and murder. His existence is made extremely public. He has become the target. The deception peels away like layers of an onion and finally reveals a terrifying link to Lucas’s past.
When I started this book I couldn’t help but look up at my heating vents. I am thankful that I do not have tiles in my ceiling. The book began to drag in the middle but picked up shortly after I got bored. Once the tangle of lies began to be unknotted I could not put the book down. I also can’t stop thinking about it! I think everyone must read this book. Maybe these people are really out there.
To read this book is to look over your shoulder. Each turn of the page makes the reader feel less and less alone. Each new description of the “observation decks” created by these people instigates another bout of paranoia and raises questions. Am I being watched? Is someone there? Someone who wishes to remain…unseen? ...more
I have heard amazing things about David Sedaris for a number of years now and I have always been curious about this book. I decided to go ahead and reI have heard amazing things about David Sedaris for a number of years now and I have always been curious about this book. I decided to go ahead and read it this past holiday season. From what I heard about Sedaris I expected a gut busting, laugh out loud collection of short stories.
The book is a collection of holiday stories. Each story is either set during a holiday or includes holiday ideas. Unfortunately, the stories were not the hilarious type of stories I had anticipated from Sedaris. The humor in the book was more sarcastic than funny. I actually found the book rather boring, offensive, and I only laughed out loud once...in the first story. I have a pretty sarcastic sense of humor and some dry wit but in order to appreciate this book and its stories the reader must be beyond simple sarcasm. Sedaris leaves nothing as sacred. The first story about working as a mall elf in SantaLand was somewhat humorous because I have worked in retail before. However, I was rather distraught and angered by what happened in the second story with the family and the new child. I think this story tainted the rest of my enjoyment of the book.
Sadly, I was disappointed in this book and am somewhat apprehensive to read any other work of he has done. ...more
This book was very informative. Included in the text were real-life examples of clinical psychologists in the field. I enjoyed this book, though it onThis book was very informative. Included in the text were real-life examples of clinical psychologists in the field. I enjoyed this book, though it only gets four stars because it was a school textbook. Because of this book I have a better understanding of the field of clinical psychology and what the field entails. Maybe I will be a clinical psychologist for my second career. ...more
First off I have to say…I love this man! Bourdain’s book is arrogant, crude, bullying, and egotistical and I loved every word, every line, every put-dFirst off I have to say…I love this man! Bourdain’s book is arrogant, crude, bullying, and egotistical and I loved every word, every line, every put-down, and every cuss word! Though this book was filled with technical terms and names of chefs that I have never heard of, Bourdain mentions in the preface that the book was originally intended for other chefs…not for the general layperson. I read it anyway.
I was introduced to Anthony Bourdain by a friend via his television show “No Reservations.” I immediately fell in love with his holier-than-thou, better-than-most attitude. Maybe it is the thrill and fascination of the “bad boy” but I could not stop watching the show. Discovering that he had written a book was the icing on the cake.
The book is not a summary or recollection of his travels through different countries, cultures, and foods with his show. I believe that is contained in another book. Instead this book was more of a memoir; Bourdain’s journey through the culinary trenches and godforsaken kitchens. Bourdain reminisces over his childhood and the cold soup that awakened his taste buds, the oyster that aroused his ensuing passion for food.
Bourdain may be a condescending a**hole but he seems humbled by some of his experiences and the people he has admired over the years. I enjoyed the fact that he wrote an afterword that made certain apologies to some individuals he had criticized throughout his book and his time as a chef. However, a friend of mine hated the fact that he made apologies. She feels that if he is going to be a supercilious bastard he should make no apologies for such behavior.
This book detailed many disgusting habits of the kitchens he worked in. Bourdain provides the reader with thorough descriptions of foods he has cooked and foods he enjoyed eating…and if you know Anthony Bourdain you know he enjoys some un-American fare. Eating the gelatinous goo from behind the eyeball of the fishhead he was enjoying has remained in my head.
The reader who picks up this book is in for an intense ride. A love of food, cooking, or Bourdain himself is recommended before delving into this six-course book. I definitely have no complaints about this book. But hey…who am I? Just a lowly reviewer with an unsettling attraction to Anthony Bourdain that’s who. ...more
Liz Gilbert had what many would consider to be the perfect life. She had a loving husband with whom she was trying to have a baby, she had an amazingLiz Gilbert had what many would consider to be the perfect life. She had a loving husband with whom she was trying to have a baby, she had an amazing job, and a brand new home with which her and her family could share. Unfortunately, Liz realized she was unhappy with her life when she found herself crying on the bathroom floor at three in the morning. She did not want to be married, she did not want to have a baby, she did not want her brand new house, she did not want her life. So, she got a divorce (no, it was not just that easy) and she embarked on a journey across the three I’s; Italy, India, and Indonesia.
Liz’s writing style is witty and conversational. She’s funny and forthcoming with her thoughts, fears, and feelings. She often makes her reader laugh out loud by some of her quips and metaphors.
The section on Italy was full of interesting characters, historical tidbits, and delicious food. And don’t forget the gorgeous Italian men and the beauty of the language. I thoroughly enjoyed every part of her four month stay in Italy. I would have been more than thrilled if the entire book was about Italy. Unfortunately, Liz needed to move on to India. India started interestingly enough but soon lost my interest. Unfortunately, I feel there is a limit to how much I can read about one person’s meditation and praying practices. However, in India we meet Richard from Texas. Richard from Texas has an attitude and personality as big as the state he is from! He was funny and insightful…Liz was lucky to have found him seeing as how he helped her realize her true potential and that she could forgive and love herself. Liz finally leaves the Ashram after four months and moves on to Indonesia. In Indonesia she meets healers and expatriates. Here, Liz learns to open her heart to not only herself but to others as well.
All in all I was happy to be able to take this journey with this intelligent and funny woman. Liz’s account did not seem over the top as some memoirs can be but was written in a true and natural voice. I am thrilled to have been able to eat with her in Italy, pray with her in India, and finally love with her in Indonesia. ...more
I decided to read this book because I was pulled in by Running with Scissors by this author. I cannot say that I loved the other book but I could notI decided to read this book because I was pulled in by Running with Scissors by this author. I cannot say that I loved the other book but I could not put it down. I considered it to be like a train wreck. You know you should stop looking but you just can’t help yourself. So, here I am again…becoming completely engaged with Augusten and his life.
Whereas Running with Scissors was like a train wreck, this book pulls at your heartstrings. This book is written with the innocence of childhood. Full of complete love and adoration for a man who refuses even the slightest glance for his poor son who only wanted to be held. Augusten would fight “the arms” and try to get past them to get to his father. He would ask questions and do everything he could for his father. His father however, refused to reciprocate this love. The most Augusten ever received from his father was an automatic “very much I love you too” at bedtime.
Though childhood innocence can protect a boy from many hurts in life, this innocence does not last forever. Unfortunately, Augusten learned too soon that something was wrong or “missing” from his father. Innocence was replaced by fear, fear replaced by terror, and terror replaced by desperation. All he ever wanted was love, compassion, approval.
Though Augusten’s father had his own share of childhood pain and torture, the cycle must be broken at some point. This man was not strong enough to do so. The “games” repeat themselves and become more sadistic.
Finishing this book I could not help but stare at the picture of Augusten Burroughs on the back cover. His eyes seemed to pierce through me and I marveled at how this man, who survived so much, could have made something so wonderful of himself. There is something in this man that helped him survive. Could it have truly been a half loaf of bread, five slices of bologna, and a can of fruit punch that pushed him to make something of himself? Was it the love he lifted from a complete stranger that was the catalyst? Either way, Augusten Burroughs has a way with words. He pulls you in and forces you to run, terrified, through the woods with him. His sadness for the “outside” dog transcends the pages and becomes your sadness. His fears of becoming his father become your fears. This is a man who grabs hold of your spirit, emotions, your soul and he refuses to let you go. You are with him and he is with you…always. ...more
A few weeks ago I posted a blog on my livejournal and myspace pages about how I was in the mood to write…which a rare occurrence for me. A friend suggA few weeks ago I posted a blog on my livejournal and myspace pages about how I was in the mood to write…which a rare occurrence for me. A friend suggested I read a book called “Wild Mind” by Natalie Goldberg. Naturally, me being the book addict I am, automatically flipped to bn.com to research this title. I found out that the book was about ‘living the writer’s life” and included tips and practice techniques for writing. I purchased the book within a week.
I love books…I love going to bookstores and walking through the aisles. I love the smells, textures, colors, and feelings that accompany a trip to a bookstore. This book, however, I ordered online. There is a feeling of anticipation and excitement that transpires as soon as I click the submit button and I receive the confirmation e-mail. I tend to check the mail everyday hoping the package of goodies will arrive. When this book finally came, because waiting three days for a book is an eternity for me, I opened it and started reading immediately.
As I began reading this book, I quickly found sentences and passages that inspired me. Natalie details bits and pieces of her life, her past, her discovery of writing, and her journey through her first novel.
This book came to me empty of human touch. Yes, it contained human words and emotions, but it had not been handled. The book was a front and back cover, pages, numbers, letters, words, black and white type. My copy has now felt the stroke of human fingers along its pages. My copy is now full of color. Yellow highlights caress the sentences and neon pink post-its hug the pages. My copy has learned what it means to feel.
I’m not sure this book inspired me to write. In a way it did and in a way it didn’t. I think about the act of writing. The idea is in the back of my mind…I just haven’t picked up my notebook and started moving my hand across the page yet.
This book was not a waste though. It may not have inspired me to write, but it did reiterate my love for literature and the written word. At one point Natalie compares literature to a symphony. Each letter is a musical note, each word a chord, every sentence is a musical piece, every paragraph a different instrument. The syntax, alliteration, every piece of a passage crashes and booms, every line sings. This was my favorite concept in the entire book. The written word is just as beautiful as an orchestra, the reader just needs to listen to the melody and appreciate the passion of the piece.
Not only did I rediscover my love of reading, I found a building, burning desire to run. I used to run in high school. Not track or anything. But my favorite time in gym was when we would go running through different neighborhoods, or even the school track. When Otty was deployed for four months, I began running again. I find a special freedom and peace when I run. Natalie found this as well. She tells the reader about the desire to run, the feelings of inability, and finally the freedom that is gained from running like an animal.
I find this a little funny as well. Reading this book seemed to reinforce some of the ideas I have been having for a while. For months I have been considering taking up meditating. I would like to find an inner peace. Natalie relates her experiences with Zen practice and meditation. She describes the connectedness that accompanies a Zen state of mind. I definitely want to read into this practice.
The last thing I gained from this book (for now) is a longing for creativity. I may not be a writer or an artist, but within the last year I have taken up drawing again after a ten year hiatus. I am motivated to continue these creative endeavors and to expand on my abilities. Maybe one day I will consider myself an artist, but for now I just aspire to be decent.
I do not find myself thinking or yearning to be a writer. I do not wish to write a book or poetry…although that would be kind of cool. I am not unhappy in my life without writing. Maybe if I use the writing practices Natalie suggests I will one day discover an idea buried deep within my imagination that will transform into a world and a tale that I can lead other’s through. Until then…I will travel through the realms that are created by another author’s mind and live within the music performed by these literary composers…
Oh. My. God. This was easily one of THE best books I have ever read! Who knew that hidden among the writings on food books was a gem of this caliber aOh. My. God. This was easily one of THE best books I have ever read! Who knew that hidden among the writings on food books was a gem of this caliber and magnificence.
Julie Powell was like many failed actresses who had moved to New York before her…stuck in a dead end job. She was unhappy in her secretarial work for some government agency as are many people who labor at such menial occupations.
On the cusp of her 30th birthday, Julie recognized the trivial existence she had been inhabiting and determined that she needed some purpose in life. She was beckoned to what would be become her Bible for the next year…Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Julie resolved to cook her way through this intimidating collection of recipes within one year. Not only did she take on this daunting task, she decided to blog about her experience, which resulted in a group of followers, several interviews, and an eventual book deal.
What follows the introduction into the premise is 300 astonishing pages of anger, pain, laughter, frustration, adoration, and…butter. Julie deliciously (and sometimes disgustingly) describes, in detail, her journey into the foray of French cooking. We are thrilled with her when she accomplishes tasks such as bone marrow scraping and crepe flipping. We are aggravated alongside her through the poaching of eggs and the ever elusive task of mayonnaise making. We are enraptured with tart-a-palooza and squirm our way through aspics. We are even with her when she attempts culinary seduction by way of pecan spice cake with pecan icing.
Not only is there are relationship built with Julie but through her, and the apartments in her brain pan, we come to know Julia Child as a culinary genius and one Hell of a woman. I was even saddened when in the final pages of the book I learned that Julia Child died on the eve of her 92nd birthday.
This book is not strictly about food, though that is the central theme, but is also about people. We get to know Sally and are somewhat creeped out by the David’s, we worry over Isabel’s life altering choices, and enjoy Gwen’s sexy IM romance. We are thankful for husband’s as supportive and composed as Eric and wish Julie’s mother would just calm down. What is there to say about Heathcliff other than…that’s Heathcliff.
What can I say to express the sheer pleasure and delight that filled me with each turn of the page? I laughed, I cried, and I toiled. This book is inspirational to say the least. I was ravenous through the majority of its duration and my cravings would change as we grew deeper into the cookbook, beginning with potato soup and ending with a stuffed, pastry-wrapped duck. I found myself overflowing with the hunger to cook. I kept walking to my kitchen bookshelf to find and flip through my copy of Julia Child’s The Way to Cook. Not only have I found myself wanting to create culinary masterpieces, I also was inspired to write. Julie Powell’s voice is blunt, brutal, and honest. She has no qualms about using the word fuck whenever she sees fit, and sometimes even if it doesn’t fit. She does not sugar coat her life to make it seem more desirable. She offers the reader nothing other than her self and her life. Take her as she as or do not take her at all…and balls to you if you don’t like her!
All in all, this was quite a delectable read. I recommend it to anyone who wants a good laugh and or if you simply want an uplifting, yet down and dirty read. I cannot wait to see what Julie comes out with next. Bon Appetite!!!
I became interested in this book because I recently became addicted to the Britney Spears “Womanizer” song. I know! You do not have to say it…I know.I became interested in this book because I recently became addicted to the Britney Spears “Womanizer” song. I know! You do not have to say it…I know. Anyway…
When I read the introduction to the book I was hopeful that it would be a heartfelt memoir from a mother who loves all her children unconditionally. Lynne Spears begins the book by asserting that this book is dedicated to her children and she wants them to know how much she loves them, no matter what horrible things have happened in their lives. She goes on to state that this book will not be gossip about her children but is instead her own memoir and thoughts on the fame and tabloid stories her daughters have experienced.
The beginning of the book is about Lynne’s parents, her childhood, adolescence, marriage, and relationships with her sister and friends. The deeper into the book I delved the more annoyed I became. Lynne constantly mentioned Britney’s and Jamie Lynn’s situations throughout her own history. Though she mentioned her first born, Bryan, in the beginning and throughout the book his part seemed to be an afterthought that was added in later when she realized he should be a part of the story.
I felt as if Lynne Spears was “name dropping” throughout the book and making herself seem more important than she actually is. She mentioned her own heartache by watching Britney’s career and its downward spiral. Including how devastated she was as she watched her middle child shave her head on television.
I also noticed that throughout the story she made excuses as to why she could not be with Britney in certain instances. She did not travel with Britney when she recorded her first album. She was not with Britney when her children were taken away. She was not with Britney when she spiraled out of control and infamously shaved her head. The book was riddled with instances of how she was needed elsewhere.
All in all, I believe this book was Lynne’s attempt to clear her name in the public eye and make her children out to be victims of fame and fortune. The book was erratic at best and followed no true timeline or direction. I am glad I did not purchase this book as I would have been disappointed by the loss of money. But then, who am I? Each reader forms his or her opinions independent of my thoughts or perceptions. But if you choose to partake in this “narrative” be wary of the strategies that went into this book. ...more