This book affirms my desire to be Helene Hanff when I grow up. This is a brilliantly written travel memoir of her trip to England. Unlike most travel...moreThis book affirms my desire to be Helene Hanff when I grow up. This is a brilliantly written travel memoir of her trip to England. Unlike most travel memoirs where the author tells you why his or her point of view of the destination is far superior to most tourists, she unabashedly tells her story of her time in England and the people she came to love without a care in the world to what anyone else might think. Many people take their trip to England, but this trip was hers and written in the humorous style she was known for. The minute I finished it, I wanted to start it all over again for the first time. I looked her up and was so sad to discover she died in 1997. It felt like losing a friend.(less)
This book discusses the true story of Cynthia Ann Parker, who at 9 years old was kidnapped and raised by the Comanches from her white parents. As an a...moreThis book discusses the true story of Cynthia Ann Parker, who at 9 years old was kidnapped and raised by the Comanches from her white parents. As an adult, Cynthia Ann is returned to her blood family after the Comanches are raided by the Texas Rangers. This much is known. What happens in the intervening years and what happened afterward until Cythia Ann's death are up in the air. Not many historical records of her exist.
Carolyn Meyer has imagined a story of Cynthia Ann's return to her family, told in journal entries by a fictional cousin as well as in a narrative told from Cynthia Ann's point of view. The book deals with a struggle for identity--who we are, who we are raised to be, and other people's perceptions about us. Cynthia Ann came to see herselve as a Comanche. To her family, she was still a kidnapping victim of the savages. Their struggle to understand each other makes for compelling reading indeed.(less)
So, I've just finished reading Julie Powell's book Julie & Julia, which is the story of how she decided to make all the recipes in Julia Child's M...moreSo, I've just finished reading Julie Powell's book Julie & Julia, which is the story of how she decided to make all the recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The book was recommended to me by several people after I posted my Coq Au Vin triumph earlier this month. It's a book I've always been somewhat interested in reading, but I must be honest and say that several reviews of it I'd read in the past, most notably Lesley's, turned me off it a bit. So I had more or less decided to keep it in mind, but not really actively seek it out. The new cooking project renewed my interest, as did a cheap price tag when I found the hardcover in the bargain racks at our local Borders. So I decided to take a chance.
I enjoyed reading the book. However, if I'm being honest, it was not what I was really looking for. I fully expected the book to be about cooking. And in reality, it is only approximately 40% about cooking. The remaining 60% is about her friends, her family, her husband, her life in New York, her crappy job, her pets, her desire to make babies. In short, it's a blog.
Now, I'm not complaining (too much) about that. But I was looking for a book that went into detail about the trials and tribulations of, well, mastering the art of French cooking--finding weird ingredients, eating strange foods for the first time, kitchen accidents, things she didn't like eating, etc. To be sure, there were a few times when Powell delves into these areas. And there were a few occasions that were laugh out loud funny. But they were so randomly interspersed with all the other stuff that I kind of was unhappy with the final result. Perhaps Powell wrote the book as a "behind the scenes" type of thing for her regular blog readers. Unfortunately for her (or me), I was not a regular blog reader. And the book doesn't exactly inspire me to seek out the blog and read it. I didn't care about her friends' love life or how many vodka gimlets she and her husband downed. I wanted to know about the cooking.
Ultimately, this was the big letdown for me. There wasn't enough in the book about the cooking. I also thought the fictional scenes between Julia Child and her husband and his brother were a bit silly. They reminded me of the nutty dream scenes in the adoption book Forever Lily, which I read a couple years ago. I ultimately skipped some of those dream scenes--they were too ridiculous, and I was sorely tempted to skip these little vignettes as well. There were plenty of the Childs' writings to be found if she wanted to use them to connect sections of the book or draw certain parallels. To actually make things up was a little silly.
I'm waffling on whether or not to keep the book on my shelf. I liked it, when all is said and done, but I'm not sure if it's a keeper.(less)
**spoiler alert** I pulled this book off my bookshelf as it looked like a quick read. I had forgotten what it was about, but a quick scan of the back...more**spoiler alert** I pulled this book off my bookshelf as it looked like a quick read. I had forgotten what it was about, but a quick scan of the back told me I'd probably get a lot out of it. My husband and I are potential adoptive parents (spread the word!), and I thought it would be interesting to hear from an adult adoptee whose mother comes looking for her.
Honestly, it was a tough read. The jacket notes describe it as "ruthlessly honest" and this is most definitely true. Homes seems to be writing at times to punish everyone associated with her adoption--her adoptive parents, her biological mother, and I think she most definitely was out to get her biological father.
In a way, the book is an adoptive parent's worst nightmare--the child you love and raise grows up to be contacted by the parents who couldn't or wouldn't take care of her, and it brings to the surface a pile of feelings of "differentness" and a yearning to know how you are more like those biological creators than of the ones who put their heart and soul into raising you.
Ultimately, as the book winds down, it appears that Homes returns to the adoptive family with a renewed appreciation for the love they gave her. The book was fascinating, hard, un-put-down-able. I did have a bit of trouble getting through all her genealogy research. While her biological family's past is fascinating stuff, what drove the story for me was her battle for her sense of self and her desire to know who she was, where she came from, and where she was going.(less)
I really learned a lot about OCD from reading this book and about some of my own OCD behaviors. Reading this made me a feel a whole lot better about m...moreI really learned a lot about OCD from reading this book and about some of my own OCD behaviors. Reading this made me a feel a whole lot better about my life with OCD. (less)
I'm not sure what I was expecting from On The Road, but it wasn't what On The Road turned out to be. The book inspired me to do some research on what...moreI'm not sure what I was expecting from On The Road, but it wasn't what On The Road turned out to be. The book inspired me to do some research on what exactly the Beat Generation was, but I can't say that I actually understand it or the book any better than I did.
Still, the book was interesting. Based on Kerouac's actual experiences in traveling the country with a rag tag group of buddies, the book was a fascinating look at a generation post WWII wandering the country in search of something more, different, real.
I read the audiobook which was read by actor Matt Dillon. He did a beautiful job of reading the book and even at times when I got slightly bored with it, his reading kept me engaged.(less)
This is one of the best memoirs and best travel memoirs I've read, hands down. By turns laugh out loud funny and shockingly groan inducing, I hated to...moreThis is one of the best memoirs and best travel memoirs I've read, hands down. By turns laugh out loud funny and shockingly groan inducing, I hated to see this book end.
J. Maarten Troost and his girlfriend/wife Sylvia move to Tarawa, an island in Kiribati. Struggling to come to grips with life at "the end of the world" fresh off a plane from DC, this book is a fascinating, horrifying, and hilarious look at life far away from what we consider "civilized society".
Read it. You won't be sorry. One of my top 10 favorite books this year.(less)
I thought from the cover that the book would just be about the investigation into Amy Latus's murder. I was so...moreMy first stay up all night read of 2008!
I thought from the cover that the book would just be about the investigation into Amy Latus's murder. I was so wrong. And at first, it really annoyed me that Janine Latus had decided to tell her own story of domestic violence and abuse at the hands of her husband.
But as it progressed, I got totally wrapped up in the story. It was so interesting to read Latus's justifications for putting up with abuse while advising her sister not to.
This was a great read, compelling, fascinating, terrifying, honest, and raw.
This is the most hilarious book I've read in ages. Seriously, I was reading it and laughing so hard, my sister was coming to see if I was having an at...moreThis is the most hilarious book I've read in ages. Seriously, I was reading it and laughing so hard, my sister was coming to see if I was having an attack.
Mortified is a book containing diary entries, letters, and homework assignments from real people describing their love lives, camp, fights, bff's, etc. as teenagers.
Oddly, I saw myself in a few of these entries, and there was something strangely comforting that I wasn't so out to lunch as a kid.
It's an amazing, quick read, fun, funny, moving, and sweet. Even the introduction is laugh-out-loud funny. Enjoy!(less)