I don't remember reading this one at all, do either I read a different book with this title, a similar title, or I've lost my mind :)
I've always enjoy...moreI don't remember reading this one at all, do either I read a different book with this title, a similar title, or I've lost my mind :)
I've always enjoyed mistaken or concealed identity stories, and this one was fascinating. Usually in those books, the reader knows who is whom, and I enjoyed being in the dark ... although I'll also admit I thought Eugenides was a girl before we learned his name (and not because Gen sounds like Jen).
That's all I'm going to write as 1. This is due at the library, and 2. I want to start reading The Queen of Attolia.(less)
As I told my friend Rebekkila in the comments to her review of this book, I actually saw a movie made from this several years ago. I'm embarrassed to...moreAs I told my friend Rebekkila in the comments to her review of this book, I actually saw a movie made from this several years ago. I'm embarrassed to admit it was on Lifetime :) What's funny is I really don't watch Lifetime much, if ever, but I distinctly remember this being on late one night while I worked on expense reports in my office. I'm thinking my husband might have been out of town, too (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). I didn't even see the whole thing, which makes me even more annoyed that it's a Lifetime movie, because so far it appears "unreleased" as a movie that can be rented, checked out, or watched On Demand. I kind of want to see it again! Anyway, I remember at the time really liking it, and the women in it. I was also impressed when I read that they all actually gained/lost weight for the movie.
Anyway, it's charming chick lit with a bit of depth. If you've read The Little Lady Agency, it will seem familiar, but not in a bad way. It was fun to read it since I'd seen the movie, and although the movie was fairly true to the story, as expected, there were several things left out that I was glad to come across in the book.
The Nigel storyline left me a bit confused, and the Chester storyline (and perceived fat discrimination which led to the Cinderella pact) was entertaining. There's a bit of Lucy and Ethel or Three's Company in this in terms of wacky things that would never really happen in real life, but it's still fun and charming to read. And also pretty clean, which was nice for chick lit. I'd keep it to read it again but want to send it to a friend I know will love it.(less)
Wow. Just finished this one. I marked a ton of spots, but think I'll digest a little and talk about it at book club tomorrow before I write my review....moreWow. Just finished this one. I marked a ton of spots, but think I'll digest a little and talk about it at book club tomorrow before I write my review.
The one thing I will add is that sometime last night, at about the midpoint, I updated my GR status on this from my phone, but it evidently didn't "take", as I didn't see it on the computer today. What I wrote was something to the effect of:
I'm torn between two thoughts on the book in this story: 1. it BETTER get published, and 2. it better not be THIS book. I seriously hate when I'm reading a book about a book, and Oh! Look! It's the one you're REEEEEAding. Blergh.
Oh - another status update I could have written, from yesterday morning: had to vacuum for friends coming over tonight. All I could think of was Minny's comment about "I hope she's not too country to own a Hoover".(less)
**spoiler alert** I remember after I read this the first time that other friends were really unhappy Katniss ended up with Peeta. So in the re-read, I...more**spoiler alert** I remember after I read this the first time that other friends were really unhappy Katniss ended up with Peeta. So in the re-read, I was trying to remember how exactly it happened. But in fact, Gale left, so why are people upset with Katniss about that? And I'm struck again that really, Peeta is the only one she could end up with. He's the only one who could actually understand her, truly. Gale and she shared an adolescence. She and Peeta share lifetimes of trauma.
The politics in these books are more noticeable the second time around, and they're still just as well-crafted as I thought they were in the first reading. Now I'm totally excited to see the movie :)
August 31, 2010: I'm very (although maybe not totally) satisfied with this ending. Loved Boggs. And I really liked the Real/Not real game.
It was just as good the second time. And yes, I cried again when the bread came. Oh, this one is so good. And I feel more for ... the people this time...moreIt was just as good the second time. And yes, I cried again when the bread came. Oh, this one is so good. And I feel more for ... the people this time around. Also? I love Cinna.
August 29, 2010: Part the TV show Survivor and part the movie The Running Man (only way better than both could ever hope to be), I could not put this down. I don't think there's any reason to write a real review on this because 1. everyone has read the book and 2. any review I write would contain spoilers for the handful of people who haven't.
So I'll just say that I cried -- really cried, when Katniss got the bread from District 11.
This was a fascinating re-read. Honestly, I was trying to remember what exactly happened in this one, because "Hunger Games" and "Mockingjay" were fai...moreThis was a fascinating re-read. Honestly, I was trying to remember what exactly happened in this one, because "Hunger Games" and "Mockingjay" were fairly clear in my head. The whole "group" aspect of this one fascinated me this time around. And I still liked it an awful lot. Finnick, too.
August 30, 2010: Love, love, loved this. I seriously couldn't put it down. Now if Dave would just answer my email so I can go over and pick up Jen's copy of Mockingjay, all would be right with the world.
Several one-off comments I wanted to record here: I just recently re-read Lit...moreI can't believe I'm already up to 1934 in the Read the Newberys project!
Several one-off comments I wanted to record here: I just recently re-read Little Women (which I highly recommend adults do), and I really enjoyed this one more having done so. I read this in 3rd or 4th or 5th grade, but I'm sure it was only because I'd just read LW. My guess is that this is much more enjoyable if you read it following the novel. Much less plodding, and far more interesting.
The secretary on the cover of my copy (pictured here) is at such an angle that every time I look at it, I think it's a laptop! LOL
I'd totally forgotten about the Weekly Pillow Fights! My sister has 4 boys, so I wrote her this week, "I think you should consider instituting weekly pillow fights." Her response, "So...you want S3 to get more stitches and for his brothers to catch up with his record?" So I replied, "You know that's not how Beth died, right?"
"Determination, however, can take the place of patience, if earnestly applied." Brilliant!
It is interesting to me that this book is in the Newbery lexicon, though. It's not really a "story" and it's not fiction. So other than the first Newbery book, The Story of Mankind, it's the only nonfiction I can think of (or at least so far). I can't help but think that it made it to the list because so many girls of this age love Little Women. Since LW was published long before there was a Newbery award, but it's clearly superior literature (heck, for my money, it's head and shoulders above every Newbery book we've read so far (1922-1934); perhaps this was a way of acknowledging its greatness.
There were several things in this book that most readers should have picked up on in reading Little Women. However, if you didn't get it there by osmosis, Meigs spells it out a little more clearly here. For example, in regards to Louisa teaching Sunday School in Boston, "It was one of the Alcott beliefs that no matter how poor a person is he or she always had something which could be given away."
I loved Louisa's choice about clothing in the discussion of An Old-Fashioned Girl: "'People are remarking on how familiar my best black silk has become' she says in substance. 'I shall either have to get another or go home to Concord. I am going home to Concord.'"
Last, and right on the money, Meigs totally gets it why girls of all ages love Little Women (and because of this, I like this book too): "Part of the magic of Louisa's charm for young people surely lies in the fact that she sees things through their eyes, that she depicts the ups and downs of the early adventures of life, all from the young point of view. The youthful readers all feel, entirely, that Louisa is on their side."(less)
I have said for years and years how much I like this book, but I realized when I started reading it on Sunday that I might not have picked it up since...moreI have said for years and years how much I like this book, but I realized when I started reading it on Sunday that I might not have picked it up since 4th grade when I wanted to be called Meg! Is that possible? I think so.
After finishing it on Monday afternoon, I was talking to some girls that evening where I realized (yes, I was thinking out loud) that this book is loaded with advice -- marital advice, parenting advice, interpersonal relationships advice ... and it's all good. I mean seriously, I think everyone should read this book as a grownup! It's that good.
Having said that, I can't believe how much I cried whle re-reading this. I mean, I cried all the way through it! That was a little odd, and I wasn't prepared for it. Of course I was prepared for that part, but not so much the whole entire book!
Jo has always seemed to be a kindred spirit, for a variety of reasons, good and bad. Here's just one example of something we have in common: I like good strong words, that mean something she says. Me too!
I also like the way the author even teaches the reader how to be a good friend, in the midst of the joy of getting published: Jo's eyes sparkled, for it is always pleasant to be believed in, and a friend's praise is always sweeter than a dozen newspaper puffs. Thinking about something like this reminds me to be happy for my friends when they have good news to share.
When my dad died, a friend sent a book of quotes called Deeper than Tears. In it, Corrie ten Boom says, "There are moments when the suffering is so deep that one can hardly talk to a person. What a joy it is then to know that the Lord understands." So many times, I felt as if no one understood how I felt, but I could turn to God. Likewise, Alcott says: She could not speak, but she did "hold on," and the warm grasp of the friendly human hand comforted her sore heat, and seemed to lead her nearer to the Divine arm which alone could uphold her in her trouble.
I loved this commentary on wealth:
Wealth is certainly a most desirable thing, but poverty has its sunny side, and one of the sweet uses of adversity is the genuine satisfaction which comes from hearty work of head or hand; and to the inspiration of necessity, we owe half the wise, beautiful, and useful blessings of the world.
This might be my favorite part: Now, if she had been the heroine of a moral story-book, she ought at this period of her life to have become quite saintly, renounced the world, and gone about doing good in a mortified bonnet, with tracts in her pocket. But, you see, Jo wasn't a heroine; she was only a struggling human girl, like hundreds of others, and she just acted out her nature, being sad, cross, listless, or energetic, as the mood suggested.
I love this book. Love it. Everyone should read it.(less)
**spoiler alert** As soon as I started reading, I thought I had read it before in paperback, but couldn't be positive. It wasn't until near the end, w...more**spoiler alert** As soon as I started reading, I thought I had read it before in paperback, but couldn't be positive. It wasn't until near the end, when Abel's daughter gets a job in a department store with a fictitous name that I was sure I had. Either way, it was fascinating.
Contains some spoilers:
This is a really well-written story of two men, born in 1906; one in Poland to a dead woman and raised in a trapper's family, and one in Boston to an "old money" banking family. The author goes back and forth, following each boy, through many "life milestones". The beginning is pretty violent, as is a lot of Abel's (the Polish guy) story. He witnesses the rape of his sister, the murder of his brother, the death of his father and escapes a prison camp in Siberia. How could it not be violently told?
As I was reading this, I thought many times of the expression: "Man's inhumanity to man". I don't know the original author to credit that to, but it is certainly woven throughout this book.
There were parts of the immigrant's story that really touched me, as my father came to the US at age 21. Although his experience was not similar, the author certainly gives insights into what that kind of life was like. I also found that I had more sympathy than I would have thought for the wealthy family. They have problems just like the rest of us! Perhaps even more so.
This book could be interpreted as a sad commentary on life, but I'm choosing to look at it as an education, and a challenge to not live the way either of these men chose. Instead, I love the beauty of the son of the banker and the daughter of the immigrant falling in love. Their love for each other, mutual respect, and ultimately their children, are symbolic of what this country stands for (cue the national anthem). If there is hope in this book, it lies in them. I'm thrilled that the two men met on the street and nodded to each other at the very end. Obviously not a full reconciliation, but the intent is there.(less)
If you like reading fiction and non-fiction at the same time, try reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's No Ordinary Time at the same time as this book. The b...moreIf you like reading fiction and non-fiction at the same time, try reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's No Ordinary Time at the same time as this book. The books cover the same period in time, and each provides interesting insights on the other.(less)
Interestingly, this is now my least favorite of the series. It's not that I don't like it, but I like the others better. Perhaps I like it least becau...moreInterestingly, this is now my least favorite of the series. It's not that I don't like it, but I like the others better. Perhaps I like it least because it's last, and that means the series is over. I know a large part of what I don't like is that it starts with Shift the ape. I don't like him AT ALL. And I was always very disappointed in the dwarfs in this one.
I do like Esmeth the Calormene, though. And I love reunions. I also love that Jill is a good archer. I hope there's a movie of this one ...(less)
I'm really not sure which number of re-reads I am on these -- I think around 15 -- but I have found that this time around, I like them all. The Silver...moreI'm really not sure which number of re-reads I am on these -- I think around 15 -- but I have found that this time around, I like them all. The Silver Chair and this one were always my least favorite, but I like them equally this time. In fact, I'd forgotten about Digory's mom, and how much I liked Polly, and several other things. Yay for this re-read! Maybe the secret is not every year, which I did for quite a while, but every five.
Anyway, I highly recommend that everyone re-read these books. Or read them, if you hadn't already.(less)
I've never written a real review for this one, and I don't feel like doing it now -- I've probably read these books about 15 times by now, and am beyo...moreI've never written a real review for this one, and I don't feel like doing it now -- I've probably read these books about 15 times by now, and am beyond initial impressions. But I do want to say that I like Puddleglum more this time than ever before, and I'm also rather a fan of Jill's. Having seen the actor they chose for Eustace in the "Dawn Treader" movie, I like him more, too. Oddly this has always been one of my least favorites of the Chronicles, but I feel sort of warm toward it at the mo. (less)
I'd forgotten how much I like this one! There's so much *meat* in it.
I'll just quote one of the many things I loved about this one - they seem to show...moreI'd forgotten how much I like this one! There's so much *meat* in it.
I'll just quote one of the many things I loved about this one - they seem to show up more in this one than the others, as I recall:
Aravis immediately began, sitting quite still and using a rather different tone and style from her usual one. For in Calormen, story-telling (whether the stories are true or made up) is a thing you're taught, just as English boys and girls are taught essay-writing. The difference is that people want to hear the stories, whereas I never heard of anyone who wanted to read the essays.(less)
I used to re-read the entire Chronicles of Narnia once a year. That was before I joined BookCrossing, and I never ever wrote a book review on them. I...moreI used to re-read the entire Chronicles of Narnia once a year. That was before I joined BookCrossing, and I never ever wrote a book review on them. I love them, though.(less)
Notes from a re-read: This was just right for a re-read this weekend! As much as I love this book and keep recommending it to others, I'd still forgot...moreNotes from a re-read: This was just right for a re-read this weekend! As much as I love this book and keep recommending it to others, I'd still forgotten how beautifully written it actually is. Some days I think it's a romance novel, but most days I think it's so much more. It's such a wonderful picture of how God loves us, that it's hard to categorize.
I'll quote something from the Ryrie Study Bible. It's the opening "description" of The Book of Hosea:
Hosea's Marriage: The theme of the book is God's steadfast love for Israel in spite of her continued unfaithfulness, vividly depicted by Hosea's marital experience.
Comments from another re-reading: A beautiful retelling of the scriptural account of the prophet Hosea and his wife, this is set in San Francisco during the Gold Rush years. Michael Hosea is a godly man and a rancher, who falls in love with Angel, a local prostitute. He can't figure out why God keeps drawing him back to her, but he continues to pursue her, illustrating (as did the Biblical Hosea's relationship with Gomer) how God pursues us, his unconditional and unrelenting love for us, and how nothing in our past can dissuade Him from loving us.(less)
This book review was written 4 months or so after I read the book. Thus the lameness.
I do remember that I really liked it. So much that I've been look...moreThis book review was written 4 months or so after I read the book. Thus the lameness.
I do remember that I really liked it. So much that I've been looking for other Pete Hamill books since then. In addition, I know I really liked it at the time, as I listed this book in the Book Talk Forum (on BookCrossing) as one of the "best books I'd read this year" (in July).
Something else I remember is that the man sitting next to me on the plane was asking me about the book, and why I'd chosen to read that book in particular. I found myself explaining BookCrossing to him so that I could explain release challenges so I could explain why I'd come across the book and chosen to read it in the first place. I'm sure he thought I was odd, but he did tell me that Mr. Hamill had written many other books and even told me a bit about his biography or auto-biography -- I can't remember which, but that it was very interesting.
Anyway, I remember that I loved the relationship between the young boy, the "shabbes goy" who turned on the light switch for the rabbi on a snowy day when his real shabbes goy didn't show up. The continuing relationship between these two was just beautiful. A catholic boy learning Hebrew (or was it Yiddish?), and the old rabbi learning English and enjoying baseball by the radio was just charming. I remember that the rabbi called the boy "Boychik", which always warmed my heart.
Two remaining things: I didn't really get the whole magical part at the end. It didn't quite make sense, but it did make the story more fairy-tale-ish. And last, the anti-semitism and the way it was fought in this book made me cry. I loved the way the men pitched in, stoic and solemn, as if that was what they should do. Which, after all, is true.(less)
Re-read April 11, 2011: What I always tell people is that it's good this was the first Kinsella I read, because if I'd read those dumb Shopaholic books...moreRe-read April 11, 2011: What I always tell people is that it's good this was the first Kinsella I read, because if I'd read those dumb Shopaholic books first, I'd never have bothered with this. That said, this made me laugh out loud the first time I read it, and everyone I've ever talked to about it said the same thing. Ironically, many of us also read it on an airplane, which is funnier if you've read the book.
Anyway, with all my recent heavy reading and because I BookCrossed my first copy of this, when I saw it at Goodwill the other day, I grabbed it. When I read heavy books, I need junk food for a break, and this was just the ticket. Plus, I read part of it on the back deck yesterday and that was lovely too.
I'm lending this to a friend, but keeping it in the permanent collection because it really is a good "break" book.
May 1, 2005 review:
I really enjoyed this book! MUCH more than the stupid Shopaholic books :)
Emma was so loveable and sincere! Jack was fun, and of course, very appealing :) I liked the whole "nobody will tell the boss the truth" thing and Jack and Emma's way around that. I was also very entertained by his American-ness paired with her Britishness.
I wish more of the Kinsella books were like this, and if there's a sequel, I'm all over it :)(less)
In the summer, I like to sit on the deck in the sun and read "lite" books, as discussed in this BookCrossing forum thread.
Anyway, this was one of the...moreIn the summer, I like to sit on the deck in the sun and read "lite" books, as discussed in this BookCrossing forum thread.
Anyway, this was one of the original chick lit books I ever read, along with Good in Bed, and they were both so good, I became an instant fan of the genre. I have since realized they are not all created equal, but these two books do still hold a soft spot in my heart.
So it was interesting to re-read this one, as a lot of time has passed since my first reading. I have to admit, I wasn't quite as captivated by it the second time around. I still really like it, but some of the wild things that were just shocking the first time became truly unbelievable this time. The Boss is more of a charicature than I thought, etc., etc.
I'm a fan of this book, though, and recommend it to anyone who has ever worked for a big corporation, a Boss Who Assumes Too Much, an ultra-type A personality boss, etc., etc. The only people I know who didn't "get it" were those people who'd never really worked in the business world.
Here's the link to the movie version. It's good, but tries to make the Anna Wintour character likable, which the book is wise enough not to attempt at all.(less)
I read this once on a plane, and once for book club. Here are the blog entries on this book from "Barely a Book Club".
And then my review from BookCros...moreI read this once on a plane, and once for book club. Here are the blog entries on this book from "Barely a Book Club".
And then my review from BookCrossing: I hate when this happens. I have TOO MUCH to say about a book, plus it's already all been said at book club! But I have a ton of pages folded down, so I'll try to post some of the stuff here.
And I'll also say that I highly recommend reading this book more than once. Having read it a second time with book club (first time on an airplane to Zurich) opened my eyes a bit more. Also made me think more.
One of the comments that came up in book club was the recurring theme of infertility. We talked about all the obvious instances of infertility, as well as the more subtle ones. For example, when Amir comes back to his homeland as a grownup, the land has been ravaged, it's dry and barren. Interesting.
So much of this book is about Baba's views on what boys/men should and shouldn't do. Some of what he says is profound and honorable, and some of it deplorable. Here's one I'm still pondering: "A boy who won't stand up for himself becomes a man who can't stand up to anything."
There is also Baba's opinion of all things "religious for the sake of being religous" (I agree with him on those!) In describing one of the ceremonies, it says
Baba mocks the story behind this Eid, like he mocks everything religious. But he respects the tradition of Eid-e-Qorban. The custom is to divide the meat in thirds, one for the family, one for friends, and one for the poor. Every year, Baba gives it all to the poor. The rich are fat enough already, he says.
There are parts of this author's writing that are so beautiful and so exactly accurate that I couldn't believe it. This is such a poetic way to describe exactly what happens in the world when someone you love isn't in it any more: "...knotted his tie for him, noting the two inches of empty space between the collar button and Baba's neck. I thought of all the empty spaces Baba would leave hehind when he was gone. . ."
There's more, but I've already read this twice and discussed it multiple times at book club. I'll end by saying that I was afraid the ending would be very very cliched, and although it is a bit, it isn't in the way I thought it would be. I really like this book, and I don't say that often about books that upset me.(less)
Review from July 2011: Read this for book club, and I loved it just as much the second time as I did the first. More so, in fact. This could be an annu...moreReview from July 2011: Read this for book club, and I loved it just as much the second time as I did the first. More so, in fact. This could be an annual re-read for me ... if I had time. I seem to have dropped a lot of my re-read books lately only because there are SO many other books I want to read!
Anyway, at book club on Saturday, we talked about *who* is the mockingbird in this story. I'm sure, like English lit classes the world over, it was a similar discussion. But as I read the Tom Robinson section this morning (Atticus comes home and interrupts the ladies' luncheon), I'm pretty sure Tom is the mockingbird, although Boo/Arthur is also a legitimate assumption, I think.
Like last time, I marked some of my favorite parts. Things like "... but Jem told me I was being a girl, that girls always imagined things, that's why other people hated them so..." LOL -- "other people"? Guess that would be "guys". Ha!
At book club, April brought up just how funny this book is. She's right -- Harper Lee inserted some very entertaining parts -- mostly by using Scout's voice (the Absolute Morphodite slays me!). There is just some very clever clevering in this. Like, "I mumbled that I was sorry and retired meditating upon my crime. I never deliberately learned to read, but somehow I had been wallowing illicitly in the daily papers." Ha!
I realized even more with this reading that one of the reasons I like Scout so much is that other than the overalls, I was very similar to her as a child. The discussion on "the n word" and her trying to get out of going to school is a classic conversation that could have easily happened at my house:
"Do you defend niggers, Atticus?" I asked him that evening.
"Of course I do. Don't say nigger, Scout. That's common."
"'s what everybody at school says."
"From now on it'll be everybody less one-" [love the way he said that]
"Well if you don't want me to grow up talkin' that way, why do you send me to school?"
Yup. That's exactly the kind of thing I used to say to my parents :)
I loved when Scout was going to carry the heavy coffee pot into the living room and Calpurnia told her not to look at it and she wouldn't spill it. That is GREAT advice!
Miss Maudie might be my new favorite superhero. In reading the scene after Atticus and Calpurnia leave to go talk to Mrs. Robinson, I love how Miss Maudie sort of rouses the troops and gets Aunt Alexandra and Scout back on task. I'd re-type the whole thing, but it covers a few pages. Seriously, it's why "Steel Magnolias" is called that, it's the whole strong women thing. And it's such a surprise. Because the women really can't do much, it seems (I mean they can't even be on juries!), and yet - they must be so strong. And so they do what they do:
And so they went, down the row of laughing women, around the diningroom, refilling coffee cups, dishing out goodies as though their only regret was the temporary domestic disaster of losing Calpurnia.
And of course, "After all, if Aunty could be a lady at a time like this, so could I." (that line, by the way, is what earned the "made me cry" tag in this review.)
This really is such a layered book that I am sure future re-reads will reveal different things to me. Possibly the things that might have been revealed if I'd read it over an entire semester in an English class :) It was also fascinating, as April noted, to read it after having recently read "The Help" (also for book club). I'm also just now noticing that this only had 4 stars on my shelf. I'm changing it to 5 for this reading.
Review from April 2007: ok I seriously loved this book! Now that I've read In Cold Blood and this, I can watch the Capote movie, the one where Sandra Bullock plays Harper Lee, the movie version of this book, and read this book too!
This was one of those books that my English classes never read, so I hadn't. I can't believe I waited this long to read it! I loved it. I loved that Scout was the narrator, loved how sorry she felt for her kindergarten teacher, I loved how Aunt Alexandra called her "darling" in the end, I loved her overalls, loved Jem's sense of ethics, and I loved Atticus defending Tom Robinson.
When word starts getting around town about the Robinson trial, I love the way Lee gives her opinion. I tried to explain to Atticus that it wasn't so much what Francis said that infuriated me as the way he had said it. "It was like he'd said snot-nose or something." ... "You aren't really a nigger-lover then, are you?" "I certainly am.
This is one of those books that I will re-read the next time I get my hands on a copy. This particular one is going to a friend -- we talked about it over coffee the other day, and she totally made me interested in the movie (Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch? Are you KIDDING? I'm all over that!).