No usually a fan of a memoir, this book was a definite exception to the rule. Told in a straight forward and funny way, Penny Marshall chronicles her...moreNo usually a fan of a memoir, this book was a definite exception to the rule. Told in a straight forward and funny way, Penny Marshall chronicles her life and the people who inhabited it. John Belushi, Dan Akroyd, Madonna, Rosie O'Donnell, Denzel and Whitney! A veritable who's who of Hollywood but told in the most kind-hearted way.
This was one of the few books that I have read in quite awhile that I was sad to see the ending approach. Christopher Moore's world of artists obsesse...moreThis was one of the few books that I have read in quite awhile that I was sad to see the ending approach. Christopher Moore's world of artists obsessed with a muse and the color blue was absolutely engrossing. A little fantastical and quite a bit of history - but great fun nonetheless. I highly suggest this book for art lovers and non art lovers alike!(less)
I must admit that I had a tough time getting into this book, actually, I had a tough time getting into any book this week. This was the third book tha...moreI must admit that I had a tough time getting into this book, actually, I had a tough time getting into any book this week. This was the third book that I picked up! What I love about this project is excitement of picking up a new book and learning something new or meeting new characters, what makes the project difficult is that sometimes, I just don't care! It felt like this week was going to fall into the "don't care" category. I must say, though - I am glad that this book finally caught my attention.
Following the main character Sarah Walters from the age of 9 through the age of 35 - we learn about the "rules" of cotillion society and what it means to be a Southern lady. The book opens on Sarah and her friends going to "Cotillion Training School" where they learn all of the proper dances young ladies will need to have under their belt for their cotillion ball. I thought that it was funny that the ball that they were training for didn't happen until after they graduated from high school. It seemed a little absurd to me that they spent all of this time between fourth and seventh grades for an event that didn't happen until after twelfth grade.
I found that sometimes the story meandered and I was a little unaware of where we were or who was speaking. Most of the story is told from Sarah's point of view, but a couple of times different characters from the book had a chapter to themselves. Mostly though, the story is told through the progression of men in Sarah's life, from her first kiss through the many, inappropriate others.
I feel that Crouch was trying to comment on the old Southern tradition and debs, touching on the fact that once you were a deb (in this case - a Camellia) always a deb. No matter where Sarah or her friends went away for college (most went to New York or Boston) they were still good Southern girls with strong connections to their family, friends and traditions.
There were some unexpected twists in the story and this book didn't have a perfect, tied up happy ending. It is an interesting story and it is a nice Saturday afternoon read.(less)
I saw the couple who wrote this book on CBS This Morning (yesterday). I was compelled by this couple writing this and other books to keep their house...moreI saw the couple who wrote this book on CBS This Morning (yesterday). I was compelled by this couple writing this and other books to keep their house from falling into foreclosure. I read it thinking it was going to be tripe, but it was surprisingly good. If I was prone to tears there would have been many sorrowful moments. Though there is steamy sex involved as well - it is not the focus. The sex is there...lurking but when it happens it's hot and it makes sense. Surprisingly good.(less)
I have been having a tough time writing this review, though I finished this book early this week. I have been contemplating what it all means and how...moreI have been having a tough time writing this review, though I finished this book early this week. I have been contemplating what it all means and how Suzanne Collins told such a wonderfully compelling story through the eyes of a young protagonist, Katniss Everdeen without introducing vampires or werewolves! Trust me - I am first in line for a vampire story, but we all need a break. I know I have been all over the YA genre throughout this project and I was beginning to wonder if I was digressing into a more juvenile mindset - but as I pondered more, I think not. The YA genre is telling stories now in a much deeper fashion than when I was a kid. They are tackling subjects like the environment and world peace as well as love and whimsy. The fact that they use young people to tell these stories makes it more compelling. Maybe it's because my grown-up self is just too consumed in the day to day, or maybe it's because I have become too jaded to think that I can change anything. The heroes and heroines in these stories have balls and they are steadily kicking ass.
Katniss lives in the ruins that was once North America. She is a resident of District 12, known for mining coal and nothing else. They are a very poor people, as are everyone in the nation and they live under the rule of The Capitol. The Capitol is pretty hardcore and the way they keep citizens in line is by forcing all districts to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games. Unfortunately - this is not much of a game, since the participants are forced to fight to the death while it is all being televised. Talk about reality TV!!
Katniss' twelve-year-old sister, Prim, was pulled to represent District 12, but Katniss steps in to take her place. Thus begins this amazing adventure. This book captured me from page one...my heart raced and I was yelling along with the crowd. Katniss is a wily young woman and uses her wit and skill to survive and to try to outwit the Capitol. Against all odds, she becomes a contender and this puts her in an even more vulnerable position. She has to make decisions that will affect her and the citizens of the nation.
Lots of adventure and a little bit of romance this is an engrossing tale. I was both saddened and encouraged. I couldn't help but wonder if this was a future that could happen to us all...maybe not in such a grotesque manner, but in smaller more subtle ways. I can't get this book out of my head and in the next two weeks, I will be reading the remainder of the trilogy.(less)
As a mother, I often wonder how my child is going to "stack up" in school, in society, etc. I give her all of the tools I can and I try to make sure s...moreAs a mother, I often wonder how my child is going to "stack up" in school, in society, etc. I give her all of the tools I can and I try to make sure she has a well-balanced life - but at some point I have to say, "I've done all I can". This book focuses on 15-year-old Craig Gilner. He is a young man who is put under so much pressure to succeed (much of it self-induced) he feels the only way to escape is suicide. The title is "It's Kind of a Funny Story" and at times it is, laugh out loud funny, but then there are the quieter times that are filled with despair that make your heart just break for Craig. Ned Vizzini does a brilliant job of bringing all of the emotions of this story together in a nice cohesive blend.
Craig, realizing his issues speaks with his family and they get him the help he needs. He sees a therapist, Dr. Minerva, and is placed on medication. These steps seem to work until Craig starts feeling so good he decides to stop taking the meds. He spirals down and eventually he is on the phone with a suicide prevention hotline (a sadly funny incident). They suggest he checks himself into the hospital and that is what he does. In my opinion, this is where the story packs its punch. Craig stays in the facility for five days (on the adult floor since the juvenile floor is undergoing renovations) and he interacts with folks that have more severe issues than he does. He meets people that have been in and out of the system for years, people that have no support system. His eyes are opened and it is the learning experience of his young life.
This book tackles topics that plague many of today's teens. They are working so hard to achieve a goal (get into the right school, meet the right partner, be in the right organizations, etc.) that they often forget how to be kids. Being in the hospital not only saved Craig's life, it taught him how to live life.
The author brings some nice insight to the story as well. Though this is not a memoir - he spent sometime in mental facility and was placed on the adult ward when he was a teen. He began writing this novel after being discharged. Clearly, this was a cathartic experience for him and we are lucky to be able to live through this tense time with Craig. A great read, I would highly recommend it to parents and students alike.(less)
A story about a 68-year-old retired British Major and a 58-year-old Pakistani shopkeeper does not, on the surface, seem like it would be an enjoyable...moreA story about a 68-year-old retired British Major and a 58-year-old Pakistani shopkeeper does not, on the surface, seem like it would be an enjoyable read. You would be wrong. This delightful book was a great read for this holiday week. Reading this story was like taking a leisurely stroll in your favorite park or savoring that last bit of your favorite meal. It definitely was not to be rushed. For a super-fast reader like myself with very little patience to spare - this was initially a tough book for me to settle down and enjoy. Once I did, though - it was fantastically worth it.
Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali are drawn together by loneliness and literature (Rudyard Kipling) in particular. Each have their own family obligations that keep them at arm's length - but each have an inner strength that compels them forward. Both characters have lost their spouses and hold very particular positions a sleepy English village. As they develop feelings for one another, the small town of gossips begin to impart their subtle prejudices toward the two. This book does a great job of covering multicultural issues, village politics, good manners and family dynamics. The village is such a throwback to the past that I often had to remind myself that it was set in modern day Britain. The Major often fussed about mobile phones, the internet and the general lack of decorum of the young generation (including his son Roger).
The writing-style that Ms. Simonson employs in this debut novel is witty and reminiscent of Austen. If you are interested in a story filled with colorful characters that drink lots of tea, this is the book for you. A fantastic read.(less)