February was a great month for reading. Not only did I get the pleasure of reading Committed, which I loved, I also read The Help by Kathryn Stockett.February was a great month for reading. Not only did I get the pleasure of reading Committed, which I loved, I also read The Help by Kathryn Stockett. On my trip home my Mom gave me the book vowing that I would love it, and when my Mom loves a book I know that it must be good. She is a perpetual book skimmer, and my entire life she would skip to end of books to read the ending to determine whether she would keep reading. This used to drive me and my siblings nuts, but in truth I think she was just never willing to waste her time on something that was to be an inevitable let down. She swore while reading The Help that she read the entire thing and loved it, so I was anxious to understand what all the fuss was about.
The Help is a story about three women living in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960's. The first character introduced is Aibileen, a black maid working for a young southern family. Then there is her friend Minnie, who just got fired from another job for doing something she is unwilling to disclose. And finally, Skeeter, an awkward white girl fresh out of college with a modern view of the world and a passion to become a writer. Skeeter approaches Aibileen to help her with a secret project, to write a book about what it feels like to be a maid in southern Mississippi. A dangerous endeavor especially during the height of the civil rights movement.
Things that I love about the book: The characters! Normally when a book skips from one point of view to another there is at least one character I favor above the others. Not in this book, I loved all three of the storylines and was always anxious to get to the next one to see how everything would fit together. I also love the not-so-important characters. I love to hate Hilly, and was pleasantly surprised at what the the author did with Skeeter's mother. This book also had everything that comes in a good story. It has a fresh perspective with a purpose, it really makes you think, and it is a page turner.
That being said, the only thing I didn't like about this book was a personal pet peeve of mine. You see, I like my books to be all wrapped up at in the end in nice little bows. I want finality, and I want to be able to foresee what is going to happen to my beloved characters in the future. I was a little let down by the ending. Not enough to not recommend the book, but enough to make me a little disappointed and wish Stockett had gone a different way. What's going to happen to Aibileen and Minnie? When I got to hte last page I was really concerned, and I am still concerned because I don't know! That being said, I think they ending was very realistic...so maybe my desire to have this grandiose ending is out of line. ...more
This book was so close to a four star for me, and I feel a bit guilty giving it only 3 because it seemed better then a 3, but not quite good enough foThis book was so close to a four star for me, and I feel a bit guilty giving it only 3 because it seemed better then a 3, but not quite good enough for a 4. The reason being is it actually took me a long time to get through it. In part, because it is a pretty long book, but also in part that it is comprised of a bunch of short stories. I like short story books, but they are just difficult to binge read because you feel like ever 40 pages you are starting a new book.
That being said, the stories were so beautifully written. This was the first book that I read by Khaled Hosseini, and I am anxious to read his other books. I initially thought it would be hard for me to "get into" a book that was based in such a vastly different culture, but Hosseini's writing is vivid, it was easy to follow along.
Like most short story books, I liked some stories better then others. I was obsessed to find out what happened to Prim, and I also loved the story of the little boy whose father was the commander in the army. I liked how the book spanned so much time, and interwove the characters together in a way that was entertaining and realistic. ...more
...unless you don't want to have it BLOW YOUR MIND.
Perhaps I am being a tad over dramatic, but seriously, this book was fascinaDon't read this book...
...unless you don't want to have it BLOW YOUR MIND.
Perhaps I am being a tad over dramatic, but seriously, this book was fascinating. Dan got this book for Christmas, but doesn't have a ton of time to read right now so it has been sitting on his nightstand for weeks. Me on the other hand? I have plenty of time to read. I have been reading a lot of fluffy chick lit recently and decided that I needed to switch to something a little more substantive and academic. Get the mind whirling again, ya know? This was a great choice. Essentially, this book looks at convenient truths held in today's society and dissects them from an economist viewpoint. Some of things the authors discuss include:
-Why people cheat, including teachers in inner city Chicago and sumo wrestlers in Japan. -The demise of the Klu Klux Klan and why real estate agents will cause you to lose $10,000 in the sale of your house. -Why drugs cost so much, but drug dealers still live with their Mom. -How the drop in crime in the 1990's was really due to the decision in Roe v. Wade. -The type of person your child is going to be is determined before they are being even, and it doesn't matter what you name them.
There were certainly some aspects of this book that I disagreed with, but at the same time I enjoyed the knowledge. I enjoyed the argument. It was really interesting and I highly suggest it to anybody. Yet be forewarned, this book will cause you to be annoying. For the last two weeks that I have been reading it I walk around talking about it constantly, and I have even cited it in some blog comments on your blogs (you know who you are...and I am sorry about that). It was just. so. interesting. ...more
Lancaster's cheeky memoir chronicles her life as a corporate power player living in what she refers to as "the dot.com palace" to getting laid off andLancaster's cheeky memoir chronicles her life as a corporate power player living in what she refers to as "the dot.com palace" to getting laid off and struggling to find work for two years. Her writing style is funny, heartbreaking, witty, and very egocentric. I love it. My only wish was that I had read it last year, as I think I would have found a lot of comfort in her experience. If you have ever been unemployed or are unemployed, you will love this book. If you haven't - then you probably wont get it but it is still enjoyable. ...more
This was the first John Green novel I actually read on paper as opposed to audiobook. I was worried that I wouldn't like it as much because audiobooksThis was the first John Green novel I actually read on paper as opposed to audiobook. I was worried that I wouldn't like it as much because audiobooks so often come to life with a good reader, but neverfear, I loved it! Its not as good as Looking for Alaska or the Fault in Our Stars, but I really enjoyed the characters and the concept. It only gets three stars for me because the ending was a little cheesy and not very origional- but it was a quick, enjoyable read. I loved the characters and, while I found the footnotes annoying, they were pretty funny. ...more
Carmen Bin Ladin is the ex wife of Yeslam Bin Ladin, one of the many siblings of Osama Bin Laden (and yes, the spellings are different). While her intCarmen Bin Ladin is the ex wife of Yeslam Bin Ladin, one of the many siblings of Osama Bin Laden (and yes, the spellings are different). While her interactions with Osama were few during the time she spent in Saudi Arabia, the few she did have were chilling and depicts a man so devout in his religious beliefs that he is blinded to the world he is living in.
While the intrigue of the book definitely comes because of her former relation to Osama, the book isn't really about him at all. Instead, it tells the story of her life growing up in Switzerland, marrying Yeslam, and moving to the United States for school. It wasn't until many years later that Yeslam decided it was time to move the family back to Saudi Arabia where he would take his place managing the Bin Laden construction company, a very powerful and influential corporation in Saudi Arabia.
The story Carmen tells about her Saudi life is fascinating and sometimes disturbing. She was never allowed to leave her home without her traditional veil, she could not speak to any men except her husband in public, and she was not allowed to leave the country without her husband's permission. The book is unique since Carmen was not born into the prohibitive society, thus her transition into this hidden world is both tortured and difficult. In many ways Carmen was lucky because her husband was much more Western then most of the men in Saudi Arabia. Yet over time her husband becomes more detached. It wasn't until her three daughters started to grow up that she realized she could not subject her girls to the life they would have in Saudi Arabia. At the end of the book she discusses the difficulty of divorcing Yeslam and how she got her family out of the country.
The book is a fast read with short chapters. It was interesting, and I definitely enjoyed reading it. Its not an epic page turner but its not a bore either. ...more
There are lots of things you could name this book, “Mary and O’Neil” is not really one of them. Mary is hardly a main character of this book at all, aThere are lots of things you could name this book, “Mary and O’Neil” is not really one of them. Mary is hardly a main character of this book at all, and when her character’s story is told it is so unimportant it is hard to care. I struggled throughout the book to understand where it was going, what was important, and why I cared about any of these characters at all. Ironically, O’Neil’s sister Kay’s storyline was the most interesting part of the entire book and she was treated as an afterthought. The writing was beautiful, but the story was disjointed and I finished the book feeling both unfulfilled and bored. ...more
I really did not enjoy this book. First, it was braggy. And not in an "I am accomplished so you should respect my thoughts on this subject" way, but sI really did not enjoy this book. First, it was braggy. And not in an "I am accomplished so you should respect my thoughts on this subject" way, but straight up just braggy. Second, I thought the author talked down to woman and made comparisons between men and woman that were completely outdated and inapporopriate. Third, I don't think the author did a very good good job using Sun Tzu's Art of War and translating it to a context that would work for woman. This book just did not work. There are so many better books out there on this subject, this book is not worth reading even if you get it for free. ...more