I really didn't like this book. It moved painfully slowly through the beginning. Then it was horrible and sickening in the end. A worse repeat of theI really didn't like this book. It moved painfully slowly through the beginning. Then it was horrible and sickening in the end. A worse repeat of the previous book. With a cliffhanger non-ending. There were a few aspects of this book I could appreciate. I think Collins has created a likable character in Katniss. I think her responses to her situations are believable and human. I empathized with her. Even though I felt tortured by this book, I will finish the damn series to see how it turns out....more
If this book is meant as a commentary on the state of the world today, middle class U.S. residents are the Capitol residents. The Districts are the deIf this book is meant as a commentary on the state of the world today, middle class U.S. residents are the Capitol residents. The Districts are the developing world. This occurred to me when the Gamemakers created fire and aimed it at players to create excitement in the Games. It's drone warfare. Are we acting to end this type of violence? Well, some families that have survived drone attacks have advocated in Washington. They are the winners of the Hunger Games. But readers of the Hunger Games series consume the books for the romance and the excitement, completely overlooking any social commentary. Instead of appreciating the creativity of this author, I only feel sickened by the violence she has created. She is perpetuating what she condemns....more
Sandler aims to refute the negative myths about only children (selfish, maladjusted, lonely). She does this well. She is not trying to tell you how maSandler aims to refute the negative myths about only children (selfish, maladjusted, lonely). She does this well. She is not trying to tell you how many kids to have; she is simply speaking out against those who malign only children.
She then discusses how our culture doesn't support having more children. She even discusses the different cultures within the u.s. and how that affects family size. But I found it hard to finish this book. Only insomnia kept me reading to near the end....more
This was the summer reading book for teachers at the school where I work. Our administrators would like us to help raise up children who continue to sThis was the summer reading book for teachers at the school where I work. Our administrators would like us to help raise up children who continue to strive for equality in the workplace. Even so, it was hard to relate to this book, having never worked in a corporate setting. Sandberg makes some excellent points, especially for women of my generation, who grew up thinking feminism was over. I was fascinated with the research Sandberg cites about how we perceive women and men who display the same qualities. A quick, informative read, that contributes to an important dialogue in our society....more
We also have Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots, by same author/illustrator team. Both are cute and nice picture books. I appreciate both of them becauseWe also have Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots, by same author/illustrator team. Both are cute and nice picture books. I appreciate both of them because you can pretend to be a princess or a super hero without Disney or Marvel Comics deciding what that looks like. These books celebrate imaginative play and playing outside....more
Three stars if you went to UMass in the early 1990s, or have another connection to the Amherst area at that time. Three and a half stars if you attendThree stars if you went to UMass in the early 1990s, or have another connection to the Amherst area at that time. Three and a half stars if you attended a small seminar class with Blais while she was writing this book. If none of those apply to you, you'd probably give it two stars.
Blais's class, we were reading current contemporary non-fiction books, including Friday Night Lights. At the end of the semester she held a panel with several of the authors we read, including Buzz Bissinger. I feel this book was inspired by Bissinger's success with FNL.
I enjoyed the descriptions of Amherst in 1992, because I was there then. Not sure you'd need so much detail about the town if you never lived there, though. The tone of the town doesn't necessarily inform girls' basketball, in the same way the flavor of Odessa, Texas informed football in FNL.
A decent read about girls' sports at a particular moment in history, before professional women's teams. Though Blais tries to help us know most of the girls on the team, it feels a little skewed toward the point of view of Jen Pariseau, one of two co-captains. Perhaps Blais spent more time with Jen than other players.
I immediately Googled Jamila Widener (the other co-captain) after I finished this book, because the epilogue mentions her college basketball team (Stanford) playing in the final four of the NCAA tournament. I was curious whether she had any other tournament appearances after the book was published. I was not surprised to learn she played for several years in the WNBA. I was surprised, however, to learn that she appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated with her famous father, John Edgar Wideman. A main focus of the SI article is Jamila's brother, who murdered his roommate at a camp when he was 16 and is still serving a life sentence. Why was this not mentioned in Blais's book? Blais mentions the personal lives of all the players. Certainly the team members must have been aware of the situation. Perhaps many Amherst residents knew, as well. I questioned the book and its spin, after learning of this omission.
I understand that the focus of the book is girls, sports, basketball, and this particular season for this team. Perhaps the shadow in Jamila's past is not mentioned out of respect for the Wideman family. Also, no one "Googled" anything in 1993. We hardly used the internet at all, and had not been introduced to the "world wide web." How could Blais have known this would be how we proceed after reading nonfiction in this millenium?...more
Had to put this on my "can't finish" shelf. I got really tired of Sharon, the main character. She jumps into things wholeheartedly, but can't stick wiHad to put this on my "can't finish" shelf. I got really tired of Sharon, the main character. She jumps into things wholeheartedly, but can't stick with them for long enough to know how they will turn out. I realize this may change by the end of the book, but I lost interest in Sharon's story. It reminds me too much of growing up with my mother. In fact, Sharon is JUST LIKE my mother. She is literally the same age, in the same time period. My mom was a single mother and not such a spiritual seeker, but otherwise very similar. If I want to read about someone who keeps switching dead end jobs, boyfriends, houses, etc., I will ask my mom to write about her life.
I had high hopes for this book, because I absolutely loved Goodman's The Cookbook Collector.
I thought the description of Sharon's "born again" experience was pretty accurate (being Christian myself), and even her experience afterwards was potentially believable, but I couldn't figure out what she wanted from religion/spirituality that she wasn't getting. She had been going to church for months before her conversion experience, so it wasn't like she was jumping without knowing what Christians and Christianity are about. I can't speak to the accuracy of her experience with other religions, but I wanted her to continue to meet God, like she did during her "vision" on a boat. Seekers in all religions have to accept that God isn't always visible or audible. Faith is belief in that which is not seen.
Takes place in Honolulu, where my sister is about to begin school at the University of Hawaii, so I did enjoy reading about my sister's new locale....more
I am downgrading my review of this book. I had originally given it three stars, but I realize that was only because I didn't want to admit that Anne LI am downgrading my review of this book. I had originally given it three stars, but I realize that was only because I didn't want to admit that Anne Lamott wrote something horrible. I do love her essays, and they are so personal that I feel she's practically let me into her family. To top it off, you can see some parallels to her real life in this novel. So I hated to say, "Wow, Annie, I had to force myself to finish this."
Here's what I wrote the first time, with a few, more honest, changes: This was the first Anne Lamott fiction I read, after reading several of her essay/memoir books. I am sad to say that Blue Shoe dragged, because I do love Lamott. I found the characters realistic. I appreciated this realism; nothing was airbrushed or Hollywood-esque. However, the passage of time was strange, quick, with too-frequent descriptions of the seasons/weather changing. While time flew by, the book dragged along, with long chapters that made the short book seem interminable. Like my own life, nothing really happens on a day-to-day basis. Mattie, the main character, is, like me, a mother of young children. Her life is mundane and depressing through much of the book; after she leaves her cheating husband, her mother's health and mind begin to decline, then Mattie and her brother discover ugly secrets about their deceased father. Lamott depicts the mundane and sad tone of Mattie's life very well, but without enough (in my opinion) of the small joys that make life tolerable through difficulty. Small children bring laughter to even the hardest days, and I longed for some little rays of sunlight for Mattie. I felt depressed reading this book. I am sure that was the point, but it was tiring.
A major theme of the novel is care and protection of our loved ones, particularly parent-child. I believe Mattie is caring well for her own children (mainly because of how Lamott writes about parenting her son), but I would have appreciated reading more about this, as explicitly as we read about Mattie's struggles to care for her mother. I realize that my own stage in life affects my reading of this book, but I imagine women are a large portion of Lamott's audience.
I don't even know how to describe my reaction to the revelations about Mattie's father. Turns out he was not just a creep, but really over-the-top unethical in his personal life. I'm certain there are fathers like him. Maybe there are children of such fathers who never suspected anything, like Mattie. But this just didn't work for me as a major plot-line in this novel. Perhaps the fact that he's already dead makes it less compelling to read about.
I'm not even sure that I am happy for Mattie in her "happy" ending... I am just relieved I never have to read this book again.
[As a side note, this book was published in 2002 and seems to take place in the 1990s. Reading in 2011, not 10 years after its publication, I was astonished at how dated it seemed. No characters had cell phones or used computers. The reliance on landlines made the book feel like another era, already.]...more
I set out to read the full Anne of Green Gables series (I bought the set at a yard sale). But this one was the last I could take for a while. The authI set out to read the full Anne of Green Gables series (I bought the set at a yard sale). But this one was the last I could take for a while. The author has difficulty making it clear who her audience is. Is it children who want stories about other children, or is it people who have grown up with Anne and want to know more about her ongoing life? As the book begins, it seems to be the latter audience, but it soon becomes clear it's the former. She starts this book in Avonlea, and we see Anne's childhood friend Diana. But we hear nothing of how Marilla, Davy, Dora, and other loved ones fare, in a book that covers six or seven years. This is disappointing. The anecdotes about Anne's children are moderately entertaining, but perhaps not as much so as stories in the other novels. The previous book, Anne's House of Dreams, has an actual plot line to follow, but this book rambles on forever about nothing....more
My ("baby") sister recommended this and even sent it to me from Colorado, so I really read it to connect with her. An entertaining read. Gilbert's faiMy ("baby") sister recommended this and even sent it to me from Colorado, so I really read it to connect with her. An entertaining read. Gilbert's faith is religion-less, and I didn't find anything that seemed oppositional to my own Christian faith until the very last (or second-to-last) of the 108 chapters. Other than that strange deviation, I thought she had some insightful things to say about God's presence in our lives, through reflection on tumultuous years in her own. I also enjoyed reading about Italy and Bali very much. ...more
This could have been a celebration of women in their thirties. I was thinking all different flavors, but with a feeling of Anne Lamott. But I didn't fThis could have been a celebration of women in their thirties. I was thinking all different flavors, but with a feeling of Anne Lamott. But I didn't find much to connect to in this book, either when I bought it several years ago or recently when I gave it another try. Some of the essays are not well-written, and it did not seem to celebrate life or femininity or anything much....more