Yes, my dear husband and I both read this. And here is my problem with this book: If we're going to both finally read YA, let's choose something bette...moreYes, my dear husband and I both read this. And here is my problem with this book: If we're going to both finally read YA, let's choose something better. There are so many others that are better and this is just fine. (Years ago, we also read The Hunger Games, for example, and that is way better obviously.)
Good things: If you're a SATC fan, this is fun and cute. For book club purposes, it was an interesting choice because it kicked off a lot of stories from our own high school experiences, especially because Husband and I are of very different generations. (Me to Husband: "When did the drinking age change? Everybody's always at a bar!" Me again: "She has no money, just a phone number, and really, somebody would just take her in??" Him: "Yeah. It was just a different time." Me: Stunned.)
Bad things: The plot is predictable. Some of the characters are 100% pointless. The writing is only so-so. It's really what you would expect if you've read anything by Candace Bushnell, which I have, once before in high school maybe? And I was like, Meh, I don't need to do this again. Well, I did anyway and my high school self was right.
At least Husband and I are getting variety in our book club choices?(less)
So apparently I just do not like John Green. I tried! I read The Fault in Our Stars and like it even less upon reflection (and as more and more and mo...moreSo apparently I just do not like John Green. I tried! I read The Fault in Our Stars and like it even less upon reflection (and as more and more and more people tell me how much they love, love, loved it.) But I wanted to give him another try because everybody loves him, right?
Meeehhhh. Maybe this would have been good if I was an actual teenager? And maybe then I would have thought Margo Roth Spiegelman was really deep and smart, and Paper Towns, yes. And during Quentin's entire quest, I would have felt like...I don't know, I was rooting for him. But I wasn't. I either didn't care or I thought Margo and/or Quentin were/was wrong. Call me old, call me a paper town person, call me too realistic. But I was annoyed with Margo (Ben was right about her) the entire time. I can't wait for that girl to get to NYC (or any city, really, or any place that isn't an abandoned store) and get slapped hard in the face by LIFE.
I will warn you: This is pretty cheesy and I've been told from a couple of veterinarians and animal research-types that this is hooey. But, the author...moreI will warn you: This is pretty cheesy and I've been told from a couple of veterinarians and animal research-types that this is hooey. But, the author is a lawyer married to a vet and he does work to prevent animal cruelty, so I have to think that some parts of this are true?
The book sucked me in, though, and really, truly broke my heart. Cindy. When her researcher is taken away and she's distraught for a bit, but after calming down says something to the effect of, "Want to play now...Cindy sorry...Not bad anymore...Please play." I just. Could. Not.
Cindy is compared to a four-year-old girl as far as her emotional and mental intelligence, and I did feel quite maternal toward her. I do not want to compare my own baby girl to an animal...but I was pretty much picking up what Neil Abramson was putting down.
A fellow bookclubber was saying that she was very impressed with the amount the title/theme played into the novel throughout it. Once we got to chatting about that (people/animals that are not able to say what they need to, unsaid things between people, things we don't say to our own selves), we were all kind of blown away. Bravo, Neil Abramson. (less)
This book is adorable. It's a sweet, fun fairytale (not constant feeding of fairytale scenarios like The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship...moreThis book is adorable. It's a sweet, fun fairytale (not constant feeding of fairytale scenarios like The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, though). It's extra fun because it weaves in some well-known stories, e.g., Cinderella, elves making shoes, etc. I loved the fairy godmother and Ella's book from her. The weakest point of the story is the ending--Cinderella was a bit forced by then (seriously, Char? Duh, it's Ella.). I'll definitely read more from this author!(less)
How messed up am I that I finished this book, yawned, and thought, So what you've done here, Gillian Flynn, is write a story about marriage. (SPOILERS...moreHow messed up am I that I finished this book, yawned, and thought, So what you've done here, Gillian Flynn, is write a story about marriage. (SPOILERS AHEAD:)Between a sociopath and a asshole, so it's elevated in the drama department, but really, it's just marriage. You're all about each other! You marry and realize, ooh, sometimes I really don't like you. You strongly consider for several months/years ending things, but then you end up with a kid so you stick together. This is meant to be satirical, right??
I really did enjoy the book, though. Well-paced. I liked reading from both people's perspectives, though Nick's parts were stronger. I didn't experience any twists (maybe because I kept hearing, "Ooooh, the twist!" so I figured it out? But mainly I thought Amy was too perfect and nobody's that perfect, biotch.) Two weak points for me--Amy was a really freaking smart sociopath. When things go downhill for her--being robbed and then being captured basically by somebody obsessed with her--I felt like, Really? Amy? You were too smart for that to happen. And the other weak point--I understand that this is fiction but I cannot handle that in some fictional world, this couple is raising a child together. I feel so very protective and scared for that kid. Shudder. (less)
Well, this was adorable. I really tried not to get too sucked in to the adorableness of Seb and Charlie because I am nearly thirty darn it, but they r...moreWell, this was adorable. I really tried not to get too sucked in to the adorableness of Seb and Charlie because I am nearly thirty darn it, but they really were adorable (at one point, Seb might have made mention of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones? And I was, like, gone. Everything Charlie did made me feel like that.). But! Even if you don't want to be a creepy lady like me getting sucked into teenage romances, there's a lot more to enjoy here. Our three main characters are awesome. Their parents (for the most part) really are so wonderful. Our three main characters and their relationships with each other--so much shared history, so many jokes but so many serious moments--just slayed me. I might have cried when Cas got some tough love from Lydia, who imitated Cas's father--"Cassie, I'm so proud that you even think of singing on the stage, and do you know how much I will cheer for you when you do?" Tears, people. As a parent, I cannot handle these moments anymore.
This one doesn't get five stars because I think the ending fell apart a little bit. Our Big Bad Guy kind of dissolved into a pile of stupid. (SPOILER: Why wouldn't he just deny those items were his instead of trying to make up weak excuses? I just don't think he would have panicked like he did since he was a borderline sociopath.)(less)
So I read the description and felt like, Mehhhh (because I wanted Eleanor & Park: The Sequel?) but I quickly got pulled in by Rowell's writing, ch...moreSo I read the description and felt like, Mehhhh (because I wanted Eleanor & Park: The Sequel?) but I quickly got pulled in by Rowell's writing, characters, etc. I think I was also a little confused about the fanfic angle (because I was never into it myself), so I thought it was great that Rowell went with Simon Snow who was so clearly Harry Potter in the Rowell universe. Even I've read Harry Potter fan fic (we all have, right?). Also, Rainbow Rowell, can you please now actually write the 7-part Simon Snow series and a bunch of fanfic as Cath? Thanks.
Besides that, this book also has: twins (I'm ridiculously fascinated by twins), an awesome dad (I am still really pissed off that Forever Young Adult asked how we felt about the father as a "tragic figure". Tragic, my foot.), so many miserable feelings being at college (Giiirl, I know. I wanted to give you so many hugs.), and a fantastic roommate. Levi is too perfect (even when Rowell tries to talk about his receding hairline?), but I just chalked that up as, Oh, YA lit.
I ended the book feeling extremely proud of Cath, and wanting more Rainbow Rowell in my life. (less)
Look, Jason is okay and all, but seriously, this book turned me into Kanye because the whole time I was thinking, Jason, Imma let you finish but you a...moreLook, Jason is okay and all, but seriously, this book turned me into Kanye because the whole time I was thinking, Jason, Imma let you finish but you are no Percy Jackson, my friend.
Anyway, the premise is interesting (we covered the children of the Greek gods in the first Percy Jackson series but did you ever think about the gods' Roman versions??). But I'm reading book 2 for Percy, not for this Roman mythology stuff, not for Riordan. For Percy. (less)
Why don't I read more novellas? So much heart packed into one smaller story.
Great writing from the author. Loved the different perspectives from fami...moreWhy don't I read more novellas? So much heart packed into one smaller story.
Great writing from the author. Loved the different perspectives from family members at different points in time, showing how the mother's leaving them uniquely affected each of them. I'll be looking to read more from Epps.(less)
Giving up on page 48. Nothing is sticking. I thinks I'm supposed to feel like Aaah, history, NYC, Tiffany, art, bohemians, but instead I feel like Bla...moreGiving up on page 48. Nothing is sticking. I thinks I'm supposed to feel like Aaah, history, NYC, Tiffany, art, bohemians, but instead I feel like Blahblah these characters are flat, the dialogue is unnecessarily long (and coming from flat characters), and I'm just getting bogged down with all this information on how to make stained glass.
I hate to give up on a book club choice but this just isn't worth it.(less)
Look, I all the time watched this movie when it came on Lifetime(?) when I was a little kid (I don't k...moreYeah I almost gave this 5 stars--what about it??
Look, I all the time watched this movie when it came on Lifetime(?) when I was a little kid (I don't know why, maybe because it was awesome), so I when I saw the paperback on sale for 50 cents, how could I resist? And it was just as glorious as the movie. Except for our main character going from dark hair in the book to fiery red in the movie, which I preferred anyway, they stayed pretty true to the book. (There's probably more that was left out that I just can't remember--did we have that stuff with her family in the movie? The sad stuff with her first daughter?)
So basically, I have no regrets, and I see this has been voted as #13 in the list of top Danielle Steele novels, so I will now find out what is voted #1 and get that onto my summer reading list, thank you.
Slight disclaimer: I read this at the beach. It might only be okay at the beach.(less)
You guys, Beverly Cleary is 98 and still alive, and I realize it's horribly selfish of me to try to take up her remaining years, but do you think we c...moreYou guys, Beverly Cleary is 98 and still alive, and I realize it's horribly selfish of me to try to take up her remaining years, but do you think we can convince her to write another Ramona book? Because I've checked that illustrator Alan Tiegreen is also still alive, so I really think this should happen.
In this last(?) Quimby adventure, we have: new baby Roberta and Ramona's interactions with her, from cleaning up rejected peas to babysitting for 15 minutes, omg; a new (girl!) best friend for Ramona who seems to have an equally awesome family (I kind of can't get over that picture of Ramona falling through the attic floor); Beezus, growing up, with earrings and phone calls and parties (my fave illustration in the book is Beezus in all of her party-clothes glory); a blossoming relationship between Ramona and Yard Ape in which they exchange inside jokes about peas and I basically scream all over the place at the adorableness; a birthday party at a playground so the girls can work on their calluses from the monkey bars then they eat cake with whipped cream (this seems like the best, most normal little kid party to ever exist).
Never be done Beverly Cleary, Alan Tiegreen, and Ramona :((less)
Everything in this book kind of makes me scream in happiness. We have less focus on school and teacher drama in this book, and instead we focus more o...moreEverything in this book kind of makes me scream in happiness. We have less focus on school and teacher drama in this book, and instead we focus more on big changes in the family. (1) Ramona speaks up about Howie's grandma not liking her and her family actually listens and respects her feelings, so she no longer has to be babysat by Mrs. Kemp; (2) the loss of Picky-picky; (3) a pregnancy!!!!; (4) a wedding (the joining of Ramona's family to the Kemps, which was sweet); (5) the baby arrives!!!!
I am all about the Quimby family expanding, y'all. (less)
I love Ramona Quimby, Age 8, so much, always have, always will. So much so that in my elementary school's Halloween parade, I was Ramona Quimby, Age 8...moreI love Ramona Quimby, Age 8, so much, always have, always will. So much so that in my elementary school's Halloween parade, I was Ramona Quimby, Age 8. From what I recall, I had shorter hair like Ramona's, and my awesome artist mom drew a pink and purple picture of Ramona's face on a white T-shirt, and I literally think nobody knew who I was supposed to be, even with the written "Ramona Quimby, Age 8" on the shirt. I tried to march around and look a bit ornery, and felt half-embarrased, half-really pleased with myself. Then I was like, Everybody else's loss for not knowing Ramona Quimby, and I quit being embarrassed. True story.
There is nothing in this story that is not perfection--Ramona's ongoing troubles with Willa Jean and Mrs. Kemp; Danny/Yard Ape; that ridiculous egg incident (and I love that her mom's attitude was just like, "Look, I grabbed the wrong egg, sorry, the end."); when the sisters cook together (again, the Quimby parents are great); how sweet the family is when Ramona's sick; how original Ramona is with her book report; the way Ramona always thinks her teachers don't like her/she's doesn't like them but then they all do; how the Quimby parents keep Beezus from attending yet another sleepover so she doesn't ruin the weekend for the rest of them and instead they have a lovely family outing. It just makes my heart swell up ten thousand percent reading this book. (less)
I love Ramona, and she's awesome because her family is awesome, especially her mom. The moments in this book (in all the books really) that stand out...moreI love Ramona, and she's awesome because her family is awesome, especially her mom. The moments in this book (in all the books really) that stand out for me are those moments when Ramona is just needing some attention from her parents so much and she's doing ridiculously cute, silly things and her mom finally just calmly asks what's going on. Then Ramona explains and her mom just acts like, "Oh, Ramona, I love you, my little girl," and they give hugs and it's fine. I tend to think most things with people can be solved with (1) hugs and (2) no additional talking. We love each other, it's fine, let's keep it moving.
Another part I loved: "Grown-ups aren't supposed to fight," she informed them. "Oh, for heaven's sake," said Mrs. Quimby. "Why not?" Ramona was stern. "Grown-ups are supposed to be perfect." Both her parents laughed. "Well they are," Ramona insisted, annoyed by their laughter. "Name one perfect grown-up," challenged Mr. Quimby. "You can't do it." "Haven't you noticed grown-ups aren't perfect?" asked Mrs. Quimby. "Especially when they're tired." "Then how come you expect us kids to be so perfect all the time?" demanded Ramona.
I've always tried to read parenting books for my baby/now toddler. Especially now I'm reading a bunch because she's getting to a tricky stage. Then di...moreI've always tried to read parenting books for my baby/now toddler. Especially now I'm reading a bunch because she's getting to a tricky stage. Then dingding, I felt like, Why the heck have I never read a stepparenting book? You guys, being a stepparent is tough, and I've honestly never considered finding a book about it, or getting any sort of support except to sometimes vent to my spouse, family, or friends.
I think that was because I stupidly thought, There isn't any situation like ours. I even said those exact words to my husband when I got this book from the library. How dumb am I? We're not that special. People do have situation like ours (and worse)!
The great thing about this book is that you get great advice, but you also get a peek into a bunch of different families. The author interviewed the husbands/dads, wives/stepmothers, ex-wives/mothers, husbands/stepfathers, the kids, etc., and she really got a big mix of situations--some where the exes got along great but mostly where they didn't, some where money was the issue, some where there was only one child and some where there were five, etc.
I felt like I learned a lot, but also felt reassured that I am usually doing the right thing (yay). There are some things that I knew I needed to work on, and this book gave great advice on just how to do those things I've been concerned about. Also, I appreciated so much often getting the kids' perspectives on these matters (b/c mine is either staying silent or defending her mom, etc.)--it made me think differently. I truly feel like I'm going to be a better parent because of this book.(less)
I've heard a lot about the Montessori Method, and was thinking about future pre/schools for my not-even-two-year-old, so I thought I'd give this book...moreI've heard a lot about the Montessori Method, and was thinking about future pre/schools for my not-even-two-year-old, so I thought I'd give this book a whirl.
A lot of the book focuses on newborn, infancy, up to the fifteen and eighteen month timeframe (mine is twenty-one months), even though the title says "birth to age three". I still read all of it, but I think a lot of people picking this up would be frustrated if they already have a nearly-two-year-old like I do. I read it because I was truly interested in what the book had to say about how a baby develops, how they learn, how Montessori tries to meet those developments. Sometimes the book is too detailed (I really had to roll my eyes when they went through the step-by-step process of teaching your child to blow his nose), and I don't personally agree with all of the methods (my baby's always had way more than three books at a time, etc.). But I do think the overarching message is a good one--from the start, treating your baby as a person, giving that person respect, and trying to teach them so that person reaches his/her full potential. A lot of a parent's job is to teach.
I immediately started thinking about the ways that I was babying my no-longer-a-baby. And the thing is, I'm a person that doesn't overly baby! I do take a harder stance on teaching, discipline, etc., because I've never thought babies should be coddled, spoiled, etc. Heck, I went all in knowing my 18-month-old could potty-train, and we did it. But then I...stopped pushing her to grow more. Why? I want her to be more independent not just for my sake, but for her own self-esteem, motivation, self-reliance, etc. Reading this book and seeing some very practical things I could be doing was very helpful. For example, why am I still carrying her around? She has two legs that work perfectly well. She had a tantrum about it, and she's fussed some throughout, but just in a few days, she's walking more and more, asking less and less to be picked up (thank goodness, because she's really heavy now). Also, I loved that my toddler was taking an interest in cleaning, and thought it was cute. Why just cute? It can be more. It can actually turn into something. So I took the book's lessons to heart and started actually demonstrating, talking through things, holding her hands to get the movements right, etc. Now she's learning how to peel carrots. I'm trying to teach her how to fold clothes. She's getting better at dressing and undressing herself. Just in a matter of days.
I'm not going full-on Montessori with my girl, but I am really appreciating the reminder on how I want my girl to grow, and the practical lessons given on how I can do these things with her. (less)
Awww, I liked this better than the first Emily book. Emily's older, even more confident, and I like how she stands up for herself time and again. Emil...moreAwww, I liked this better than the first Emily book. Emily's older, even more confident, and I like how she stands up for herself time and again. Emily moves to Shrewsbury to attend school, has to deal with one Mean Girl and an overbearing aunt, and just growing up in general. Perry was made into more of a buffoon, which I didn't much appreciate since I like him more than Teddy, but I accepted Teddy because he really was sweet. Can we get more of Ilse, though? She's supposed to be Emily's best friend but I can't get much of a sense of her.
I did enjoy the little author asides, though. Please speak to us more, L.M. Montgomery, I love you.
The meeting with Miss Royal was kind of hysterical, but ooph, I did not like her. **SPOILER** I'm glad Emily didn't run off with her for many reasons, including the fact that I didn't like her. She was clearly just trying to turn Emily into her little fun pet or project or something, and when Emily decided to stay, I felt like, Whew!, and, Girl, do you!(less)
Ramona Quimby is the best and Beverly Cleary is the best and I love them both with my whole heart. What I love best about Ramona (and this is true thr...moreRamona Quimby is the best and Beverly Cleary is the best and I love them both with my whole heart. What I love best about Ramona (and this is true throughout the Ramona books): She has so many feelings but because she's young, she doesn't know how to express them all the time in the best manner. And her family is so wonderful about it. Not babying her, but trying to understand her. So real! So endearing! From the chapter 'Ramona Says a Bad Word':
After a moment Mrs. Quimby said quietly, "Go ahead, Ramona, and say the bad word if it will make you feel any better."
Ramona clenched her fists and took a deep breath. "Guts!" she yelled. "Guts! Guts! Guts!" There. That should show them.
Unfortunately, Ramona's family was not shocked and horrified as Ramona had expected. They laughed. All three of them laughed. They tried to hide it, but they laughed.
"It isn't funny!" shouted Ramona. "Don't you dare laugh at me!" Bursting into tears, she threw herself face down on the couch. She kicked and pounded the cushions with her fists. Everyone was against her. Nobody liked her. Even the cat did not like her. They room was silent, and Ramona had the satisfaction of knowing she had stopped their laughing. She heard responsible old Beezus go to her room to do her responsible old homework. Her parents continued to sit in silence, but Ramona was past caring what anyone did. She cried harder than she ever had cried in her life. She cried until she was limp and exhausted.
Then Ramona felt her mother's hand on her back. "Ramona," she said gently, "what are we going to do with you?"
With red eyes, a swollen face, and a streaming nose, Ramona sat up and glared at her mother. "Love me!" Her voice was fierce with hurt. Shocked at her own words, she buried her face in the pillow. She had no tears left.
"Dear heart," said Mrs. Quimby. "We do love you."
Tears, people. Haven't we all felt like Ramona at some point? And mothers. Mrs. Quimby is such a wonderful mother, and I love my mother, and I love being a mother, and just tears.(less)
At what point do you think Riordan decided that Percy should have a pen/sword that he never has to retrieve, it just magically ends up back in his poc...moreAt what point do you think Riordan decided that Percy should have a pen/sword that he never has to retrieve, it just magically ends up back in his pocket, ready for battle? Did he work up a big spreadsheet, J.K. Rowling-style, plotting out everything, and think to himself, Damn, if I'm going to make this work, I need a pen/sword that Percy doesn't need to retrieve.
I am going on and on about this pen/sword not because it's absolutely necessary to the story or anything, but just to point out again that I feel like Riordan really carried through these books very well and explained everything satisfactorily to me. Was it in this book or the previous where he explained how it's okay that all of these demigods are dating each other (as one would think they're related but they're not, it's cool)?
I was kind of amazed that this book kept my attention and kept its pace so well. We're really pretty quickly thrown into the final showdown in NYC (well, final showdowns, they have a few battles), and I thought, Really? No adventure beforehand? But it was fine!
I, again, had a few HP flashbacks. Kronos has a couple of Voldemort moments, and the statues are totally the Hogwarts suits of armor, right?
Sigh. I did not dig the spy stuff, so there's a negative comment. I kind of felt like, One, Spy Who I Shall Not Name, are you really that dumb? And I guess kind of a clue, does the pretty girl have to be the dumb one? I thought it just made more sense that Luke, Kronos, and the gang were getting information from dreams the same freakin' way Percy was. Okay, Riordan, you didn't quite explain that to me. Demigods all get these prophetic dreams, right? Did we never worry about the bad guys having these dreams too?
I liked all the stuff with Nico, Hades, Poseidon, etc. I did not dig so much that Percy did end up with **SPOILER, but not really, because c'mon** Annabeth. They really had more of a Harry/Hermione relationship to me but whatever.
To end this on a positive note: Love Percy! Love Tyson! I'm reading every Riordan book ever!(less)
Oh, Riordan. Though I've never been a teenage boy, I feel like you really nail that voice. Probably because you were once a teenage boy. Good for you....moreOh, Riordan. Though I've never been a teenage boy, I feel like you really nail that voice. Probably because you were once a teenage boy. Good for you. Percy, you're so real to me.
I read these five books in a complete whirlwind of a week, so I can't even pick out the details of what I loved about the book, except my Kindle is covered in "teehee" and "yayayayayayayay" and "ha. aww." I do remember Poseidon saying Percy was his favorite son, and my heart grew three sizes, and I put in an asterisk: "and tyson obvi". Also, this one ended even better than the second one. Which meant I had to jump right into the fifth! Wheee!(less)
Still loving the Percy Jackson books, but I did feel a little tired of: Annabeth, especially regarding her feelings about Luke. Thalia, I don't like y...moreStill loving the Percy Jackson books, but I did feel a little tired of: Annabeth, especially regarding her feelings about Luke. Thalia, I don't like you, straight up. Tyson, I miss you. I also miss the smaller group, i.e., the relationship between Percy and Grover. I liked Artemis and her ladies, but Bianca kind of sucked, right?
I say all of this but still love: Percy. And Riordan, who manages to answers all of my questions, which I greatly appreciate in our current world of YA where people seem fine with books and movies with gigantic holes all over them.
This book pretty much made me officially love the Percy Jackson series (it took me a while to warm up in the first book). All of my Kindle notes look...moreThis book pretty much made me officially love the Percy Jackson series (it took me a while to warm up in the first book). All of my Kindle notes look like this:
Ha! I love jokes about canadians. (I do.) love this Whee! fish ponies! Tyson!! hermes and the author thought of everything (this is very true of Rick Riordan throughout these books, I discovered)
and finally: i feel like this is a mythological harry potter for americans.
It isn't Harry Potter to a tee, but it did fill the void a bit. Of course HP is the bomb and J.K. Rowling's story, writing, etc., is the best, but Riordan's sense of humor was more to my American sensibilities.
Also, I wasn't going to rush into the third book because I read #1 and #2 back-to-back but then Riordan ended this one GREAT and I felt like, Oh sheeet, Rick Riordan, I am there.(less)
4.5 stars. This was one of the most original books I've read in a looong time. And it was a complete surprise. I read the description and felt like, M...more4.5 stars. This was one of the most original books I've read in a looong time. And it was a complete surprise. I read the description and felt like, Meh, this will not be handled well. And yes, there were a few rough transitions where I felt a bit lost (Are we back to reality? Is this Mary's story or St. John's?), but I got in the groove eventually. (I also kept wondering if somehow the transitions weren't so rough in a not-Kindle version? Were they more obvious?) So, yes, magical and original (I say that, but it reminded me of Jasper Fforde's bookjumping, but still different enough). I thought the book improved when we got to hear from Daphne, especially when Daphne and Mary finally met and we pretty much cut out St. John almost entirely.
I am going to read everything from Helen Oyeyemi. A new favorite author for me!(less)
You guys, I loved this. At first I was digging it, then I thought I wasn't sure and was going to write a review with improvements for it, then I full-...moreYou guys, I loved this. At first I was digging it, then I thought I wasn't sure and was going to write a review with improvements for it, then I full-on loved it.
(1) I'm an idiot because I'm just reading the Ruth parts like, Okay, I'm reading yet another book with a writer in it (this is one of my themes for the year). If I had any complaints about the book, it was some (not all) of the Ruth parts. Then I get to the freakin' end of the book where our author is thanking people and she mentions (of course) Oliver, and I think, OMG, Oliver is real, I loved Oliver. Then I realized the author's name and thought, I AM AN IDIOT. RUTH. So I take back any problems I had with the Ruth parts because to so brilliantly weave herself into the story, to make me wonder what's true and what's not...just genius. (Also, this is the problem with my Kindle is that I pay no attention to: book titles, author names, length of book, book descriptions. People tell me to read a book for book club and I just automatically do it.)
(2) Jan Bardsley! You are in the flipping bibliography. Cynthia, I'm recommending this book to you as I'm pretty certain you took a class with Professor Bardsley too?
(3) I'm half-Japanese. I don't read enough from Japanese authors, or books set in Japan, or books with Japanese characters, or anything. It is sad and I always feel like I should learn more about my people, and now I have some, so thank you, Ruth Ozeki for understanding me and what I need in my life. I barely understand what I need in my life, so this is great.
(4) WWII. I cannot escape you (at least this year I can't, another one of my book themes). But I like that the book (spanning several people, several generations, several countries, Jesus, everything) also covered more present-day tragedies (September 11th, the tsunami in Japan). Ozeki wrote about these things beautifully and powerfully, and I'm still thinking about them. Terribly sad (of course).
**And it's in the description, which I did not read, so I felt it was a nice surprise, so I'm listing this as a SPOILER in case you don't read descriptions either** (5) Quantum mechanics. Holy crap, sign me up. Anything with quantum mechanics, I am all about. Fascinating. There is some alternate universe me that studies this.
(6) Nao's great-grandmother Jiko is. The. Shit. No doubt. (Excuse my language, but it's the truth.)
(7) Nao's dad. I will try not to give anything away. But I'm so glad we turned that around, Ruth Ozeki. Whew.
(8) I could go on and on. And maybe if you check this review later, there will mysteriously be more....(less)
There's tons of charm in this book, and definitely hints of Anne, Marilla, Matthew, even Diana Berry's Aunt Josephine, so clearly I'm going to dig it...moreThere's tons of charm in this book, and definitely hints of Anne, Marilla, Matthew, even Diana Berry's Aunt Josephine, so clearly I'm going to dig it some. But it isn't Anne, so it just gets some points off for that (not Emily's fault, but I am biased). I loved Perry, and was like, Pshaw whatever Teddy. Not cool though and bringing down the entire book is creepy ass Dean, way older than Emily and promising to teach her how to write love talk for her future novels ("...and don't go looking for another teacher..." EWWWWW). (less)
It loses stars from me for being dull (just say it once and move on, please), but gains stars for (1) Explaining the roots a...moreThis explains everything.
It loses stars from me for being dull (just say it once and move on, please), but gains stars for (1) Explaining the roots and current state of the political, cultural, and religious divides in our country (and our closest neighbors) (2) in a way that makes total sense (though dully) (3) and should be examined by everybody.
Great book. After Turn of Mind, I hesitated to read another book told from the point of a person with Alzheimer's would (it didn't help that the same...moreGreat book. After Turn of Mind, I hesitated to read another book told from the point of a person with Alzheimer's would (it didn't help that the same book club chose both these books). But this was really good! One, this is more about somebody discovering they have Alzheimer's and how her life changes, her family changes, etc., than that mystery/drama/or whatever that Turn of Mind was.
I won't get into every single powerful moment, but will just say there were a lot of them that I've thought about on repeat for the last couple of weeks. Like the first time she blanks on where she lives while being in her own neighborhood. Like when she is sitting in her own lecture hall (our main character Alice is a professor) waiting for the class to begin, thinking she's one of the students. Like when she thinks the front area rug is a bottom black pit. The first time she forgets who her daughter is. Okay, so, see, I just named a few moments. Moments like that are heartbreaking, and based on the author's research and feedback, very real for people with Alzheimer's.
Another thing that's interesting for the story is that Alice has early onset Alzheimer's, so she is a person with a career still, kids in their twenties, she was physically healthy, etc., so we go through a lot of changes with Alice.
From the book (Alice is reading a note she wrote while more lucid): "You lived an extraordinary and worthwhile life. You and your husband, John, have three healthy and amazing children, who are all loved and doing well in the world, and you had a remarkable career at Harvard filled with challenge, creativity, passion, and accomplishment. This last part of your life, the part with Alzheimer's, and this end that you've carefully chosen, is tragic, but you did not live a tragic life. I love you, and I'm proud of you, of how you've lived and all you've done while you could."
Catherynne M. Valente! You get a 2 rating for this book (you don't care; you sound like a freakin genius in you author bio), but oooh, girl, you sucke...moreCatherynne M. Valente! You get a 2 rating for this book (you don't care; you sound like a freakin genius in you author bio), but oooh, girl, you sucked me in at the ending. I will clearly read Fairyland #2.
Warning to everybody: This book feels like this: Little girl in fairyland, blahblahblah, fairyland things like witches and spoons, dragon-like creatures that aren't quite, quests, etc., etc. There's a great imagination at work here but it just plods along. Like, stop showing off your imagination and have these character actually do something. Give me a story, not pretty pictures.
Then bam, we get the full story of the good queen/bad marquess. We see a future child! I am a goner. I'm not rushing to find the next book, but will definitely read it.
Oooh, you got me again, Agatha Christie! I totally didn't see that ending coming, even with the 10,000 characters' real identities being revealed. Dam...moreOooh, you got me again, Agatha Christie! I totally didn't see that ending coming, even with the 10,000 characters' real identities being revealed. Damn.
Also, the way Hercule went about solving the mystery/the way Christie set up this novel was different from Thirteen at Dinner. If she keeps playing it this way, I will never figure out a formula for solving these. (less)