Judy bought Michael and me this book four years ago on our first anniversary, since the traditional gift is paper. She bought us a copy on audio and iJudy bought Michael and me this book four years ago on our first anniversary, since the traditional gift is paper. She bought us a copy on audio and in print. The audio is read marvelously by Jeremy Irons (yum!). But I have the print copy and decided to read it as well this time. My book club's waiting list has gotten so long that we formed a splinter group, which will now meet on Sundays. This is the first book that group is going to read together, and I'm really looking forward to discussing it, since I had forgotten how great this book is.
The tale is that of a Spanish shepherd named Santiago who is haunted by a dream of finding his treasure under the Egyptian pyramids. He is encouraged to do so by a gypsy and an old king, and so he sells his flock and makes his way across the desert, having many grand adventures as he does so. He learns many important lessons about life, such as not doing something just because that's the way you've always done it, and the importance of following your heart. The book is kind of self-helpy without being self-helpy, and I really like that about it. It's also just a great story. Without getting into overblown detail, you feel as if you know exactly what each place looks like, you can envision each character, you can nearly smell and taste each experience yourself. The writing is exquisite. I'm jealous! ...more
I HATE THE WAY PEOPLE WRITE ABOUT NEW YORK CITY. Not everyone in New York is wealthy or artsy or bohemian. There are plenty of average, every day peopI HATE THE WAY PEOPLE WRITE ABOUT NEW YORK CITY. Not everyone in New York is wealthy or artsy or bohemian. There are plenty of average, every day people just living in the city, working, taking care of families, going to school, and/or getting it done. Why do 99% of the books about NY have some crazy songstress who works as a waitress when not launching her own fashion line with her own signature hair color? Or an uptight stockbroker who goes to the Hamptons on weekends to unwind with his mistress while his wife and three children are at home in Manhattan on their 54th floor penthouse?
Ok, Ok, I'm calming down, neither of those people show up in The Namesake, but they very well could have. And it really pisses me off.
It also really pissed me off that a) Gogol spent his young life running away from marrying a fellow Bengali, then finds one he actually loves, marries her and then it's like a flip is switched the minute the honeymoon ends and they hate each other and get divorced; and b) that he is called "conflicted" when all he's trying to do is figure out who he is when out from under the shadow of his domineering parents. Oh, and there was nothing particularly comic about it, despite what the back cover might have you believe.
Still, I thought it was a great book, and I truly enjoyed it. I never would have read it on my own, as I'm also fussy about "ethnic" books for some strange reason, even though I loved, loved, loved the Kite Runner. I just tend to read white bread America books more than any others. Maybe I need to start broadening my horizons. ...more
One of the girls in my book club said this was her favorite of Jodi Piccoult's books, and one day during my lunch break, I went to B&N and read haOne of the girls in my book club said this was her favorite of Jodi Piccoult's books, and one day during my lunch break, I went to B&N and read half of it. I was interested to see how it turned out, so last Friday, I went to Borders, grabbed a copy, finished it, and made use of their liberal return policy and brought it back. So yeah, it was not one of my favorites of hers (I think that title still belongs to Picture Perfect).
Until the phone calls came at three o'clock on a November morning, the Golds and their neighbors, the Hartes, had been inseparable. It was no surprise to anyone when their teenage children, Chris and Emily, began showing signs that their relationship was moving beyond that of lifelong friends. But now seventeen-year-old Emily is dead—shot with a gun her beloved and devoted Chris pilfered from his father's cabinet as part of an apparent suicide pact—leaving two devastated families stranded in the dark and dense predawn, desperate for answers about an unthinkable act and the children they never really knew.
****If you should buy this book from Amazon.com, please do not purchase it from the "P.S." edition page, which gives away the entire story in one fell swoop.****
The book was pretty good, although frankly I thought that the story was a wee bit far-fetched, but again, most of her endings are. Chris eventually stands accused of Emily's murder, and while Emily's mother withdraws, Emily's father takes Chris's side in the whole thing and begins an affair with Chris's mother. And that's not even the half of it. I have Keeping Faith on the shelf downstairs, but I suspect I might wind up taking a Piccoult break till after meeting her at the National Book Festival (anyone want to go?!). I get so aggravated every time the books end that I feel like a break is a good thing. Still, it was a page turner, I read the whole thing in 2 sittings, and while not my favorite, I do feel like it's a good piece of the body of her work. I don't regret reading it, but just won't read it again! Approach with caution, this turned into my least favorite of hers (a place which was previously held by Vanishing Acts.) ...more
Jodi Piccoult is one of my favorite writers and I was desperate to get my hands on a copy of this book--so desperate in fact that I actually broke myJodi Piccoult is one of my favorite writers and I was desperate to get my hands on a copy of this book--so desperate in fact that I actually broke my recent rule about only reading what I could get from Paperback Swap and had my sister pick me up a copy of it. Nineteen Minutes centers around the events in a small New Hampshire town when young Peter goes literally ballistic and shoots up his high school. Peter has endured years of abuse, beginning in kindergarten, at the hands of his peers and teachers, administrators, and his own parents have been unsympathetic about his torment. He goes to school, detonates a bomb, and in the ensuing panic, starts shooting.
The story follows two different families, that of Peter's and that of Josie's--Peter's sometimes friend and the daughter of a judge he may potentially face as part of his trial. Josie leaves Peter behind in grade school, becoming a queen bee, but she has her own personal demons behind being a popular kid and not feeling much like herself--or even knowing who she is if she's not Matt's girlfriend or the smart or pretty girl.
The story was un-put-down-able until the end, and then I thought the end was basically bullshit. (Pardon my Francais, gentle readers) There was a little twist at the end and I thought, "Huh, why the hell did she do that?!" which was also what I was thinking when I read another Piccoult classic, My Sister's Keeper. So I'm going to accept it as "what she does" and come away saying this was a darned good read. Fortunately not the tear jerker My Sister's Keeper was, but good nonetheless. ...more
**spoiler alert** I literally could not put this book down. I was up till 3AM this morning reading it, passed out, brought it with me wherever I went,**spoiler alert** I literally could not put this book down. I was up till 3AM this morning reading it, passed out, brought it with me wherever I went, trying to read even a sentence or two, and then finally got home and finished it!
The story revolves around Ma, who was kidnapped at age 19 by 'Old Nick" and gave birth 5 years ago to Jack. The two are stuck in a shed on Old Nick's property--it is soundproofed and impregnable. The only world Jack knows is Room, where he has been born. But Ma knows she has to get out, and the consequences for her and for Jack are unforeseen and fascinating....more
The Year of Pleasures is the story of Betta, a writer of children's books, whose husband John suddenly dies of cancer and leaves Betta to live out theThe Year of Pleasures is the story of Betta, a writer of children's books, whose husband John suddenly dies of cancer and leaves Betta to live out their dreams to live in the middle of nowhere and start a new life. Betta is driving through a small town near Chicago when she finds a huge old house that speaks to her. She immediately sells her home in Boston's Beacon Hill and moves to the old house, where she is at loose ends to find some way to fill her life without the man she loves. She reconnects with old friends with whom she lost contact after her marriage, and eventually rebuilds her life without her husband.
Well, I'm real sorry my MIL didn't like this book, but by the end, I was bawling my eyes out. This is common for me and Elizabeth Berg, so I'm not surprised, since I find all her books really moving. I guess as I become "more and more married" I think more and more about my relationship with my husband and how empty my days would be, despite the frustrations we have with each other, if he was to disappear. I'll probably avoid any more widow books for a while, but this was one great book! ...more