You know what I like about America? You can't be charged with the same crime twice. It's strange that I just finished listening to the audiobook last...moreYou know what I like about America? You can't be charged with the same crime twice. It's strange that I just finished listening to the audiobook last night, which is read by Amanda herself, and then today it's announced that she and her former boyfriend have been found guilty AGAIN by the Italian court. WHAT??? First they were found guilty of the murder of Amanda's roommate, then they appealed and were set free, after serving four years in jail. And now somehow the case was appealed AGAIN and they were found guilty. What a clusterf**k. It seems unlikely that she'll have to go back to jail, since U.S. laws should protect her from getting sent back to serve time for a crime she was already tried for, but what about Raffaele? He lives in Italy, so could he seriously going back to jail for 20+ years?!
This was such a bizarre case, and I've gone back and forth on whether I believe Knox is guilty or innocent. From everything I've read to this point, I see no reason that she and her then-boyfriend would have committed this murder. She did behave strangely, immaturely, and stupidly at times. But that doesn't make her a murderer. I was once a naive, clueless 20-year-old studying abroad, too. Thank goodness no one accused me of crime at the time, because I was mostly guilty of drinking too much beer. Amanda smoked too much weed, but that's about the worst thing she's done from what I can tell. And from what she said in this book, her time in jail really did help her mature and grow as a person.
It's such a tragedy that Meredith was killed, but the nature of the crime, a violent rape that ended with her throat being slashed... there's no reason to believe that a young woman who was her roommate and friend would have anything to do with a crime like that, or that her meek boyfriend had anything to do with it either. The idea that they were having some Halloween ritual sex game or that Amanda was mad about rent money or whatever they tried to say is just too ridiculous for words. There's another dude serving time who was clearly there that day and has quite a shady past. I do think there was one more person there, but I don't think it was Amanda or Raffaele.
In any case, what a nightmare. We may never know what really happened. The Italian justice system just seems like a complete joke. The cops messed so many things up that I can't even list them here. What a mess.(less)
Oh my goodness. I'm not much of a murder mystery person, but I read Gone Girl out of curiosity. It's so popular that I had to check it out. But I like...moreOh my goodness. I'm not much of a murder mystery person, but I read Gone Girl out of curiosity. It's so popular that I had to check it out. But I liked this one better because it seemed less gimmicky to me. Just as Gone Girl could scare any single person away from marriage forever, this one turns the idea of the mother/daughter relationship on its head. There are some truly terrifying female characters in this book. I don't know where Flynn gets her ideas, but she has a gift for creating nightmare characters that could exist in any small town.
Oh, and I should add that I thought I knew who the killer was about halfway through. I was on the right track but there is a great twist at the end. I felt dumb for not figuring it out sooner. But I was also satisfied that it wasn't as predictable as I originally thought!(less)
I just finished and...huh? I think she's great at creating characters and potraying relationships as they are in real life. As a new mom, I can say th...moreI just finished and...huh? I think she's great at creating characters and potraying relationships as they are in real life. As a new mom, I can say that this book accurately tells the story of the day-to-day lives of a married couple with babies. But the whole psychic sister thing seemed cheesy to me when I read reviews and even when I started reading the book. And now that I've finished it...without inserting any specific spoilers...I wonder what the point was of making them psychic or even mentioning an earthquake???? Having said that, her books are always well written. I think I prefered American Wife over this one though.(less)
I thought this bio was great fun. First of all, there aren't many books that are worth owning in print anymore. But I could see why a fan of Grace's w...moreI thought this bio was great fun. First of all, there aren't many books that are worth owning in print anymore. But I could see why a fan of Grace's would want this one sitting on a shelf. It has great illustrations and photos of Grace's best photo shoots throughout. It could almost be considered a coffeetable art book as well as a biography.
As for her story, I was left wondering if she knows how extraordinary her life has been. She sort of acknowledges at the beginning that it was unlikely for a small town girl from Wales to end up a high fashion model in Swinging Sixties London and later a big-time editor at Vogue. She's worked with the world's greatest photographers and models. She wore YSL, among other amazing designers, all the time in the 70s. She made out with Mick Jagger once. She married the guy who opened Mr. Chow's. She hung out with into every 1960s and 1970s celebrity you could ever think of. And she just keeps listing these events as if they were no big deal. I guess maybe that's the British way, but it's almost annoying. She's lived a dream life, with a few tragedies mixed in for good measure.
But my complaints are minor. Overall, I loved living inside Grace's world for the few days it took me to breeze through her book. It's a total fashion fantasy universe. (less)
This book totally cheered me up. A couple days ago I was feeling down in the dumps and in need of inspiration. And I was hoping the right book would f...moreThis book totally cheered me up. A couple days ago I was feeling down in the dumps and in need of inspiration. And I was hoping the right book would find me in the library. And here it was! I had been meaning to read this one since it was published. And I wish I had seen Nora speak downtown at Harold Washington when she appeared there for "I Feel Bad About My Neck." Now I just feel sad that she's gone, because I feel like we need more intelligent, hilarious women to write film scripts like hers.
This books is a quick read. I breezed through it in two days. Her essays made me remember why I love writing, watching movies, and reading well-written articles. Her experiences as a young journalist in NYC are the stuff of every writing major's fantasies. She walked into a temp agency right after graduation and got a job at Newsweek. Granted, the job was in the mail room because it was 1962 and they didn't give women writing gigs, but she eventually did move up to a writing position there, as well as the NY Post and Esquire. This stuff doesn't happen anymore. That era has ended. Thanks, Internet! And her take on divorce came from many years of perspective. "Stuff Happens." Her motto was "Get over it." Yes. What you thought was the biggest disaster of your life when you were younger doesn't seem like such a big deal after a few decades. That is comforting.
Anyway, when I was younger Nora's movies were kind of a secret guilty pleasure for me. I didn't want to admit that I loved her semi-cheesy romantic comedies. But as I get older I see how brilliant her writing was. Sleepless in Seattle is great! So heartwarming. I'm glad that we have her books and movies as a way to remember this great lady.(less)
Oh, this is the sort of novel I wish I could write. A group of high school kids meet at a summer camp for artsy types. The book follows them as they g...moreOh, this is the sort of novel I wish I could write. A group of high school kids meet at a summer camp for artsy types. The book follows them as they grow up and realize they aren't as interesting as they onece thought. Adult life beats them all down in one way or another. The characters feel like real, complete, flawed people who have intelligent conversations. I don't know if it's realistic that these people would have stayed friends for their entire adult lives, but she sets up a great contrast between the characters who are successful in their creative careers and those who settle for more conventional lives.
If I have any criticisms, the length and the historical references both got tiresome. I tend to think that novels almost never need to go on for more than 300 pages. Where are the editors these days? And yes, we get it, people had opinions about Reagan in 1981, and AIDS was a huge deal, and so was 9/11. I found these heavy-handed references distracting from the story.
But overall, I could relate to the self-involved teenagers who thought that being artsy and "interesting" meant more than anything in the world, only to discover as adults that a "normal" life can be way more satisfying. Also, the idea that most adults carry around one main wound from their past and can't let it go rings true:
"The past is so tenacious...Everyone basically has one aria to sing over their entire life..."(less)
I got some good parenting advice out of this. Live in the present moment and accept it for what it is. Accept your kids for who they are, not who you...moreI got some good parenting advice out of this. Live in the present moment and accept it for what it is. Accept your kids for who they are, not who you want them to be. You can choose to focus on positive thoughts just as much as negative ones, so you may as well be positive. Don't project your own issues from childhood onto your kids. That's a big one.
So there is a lot of worthwhile stuff in this book. However, I am too practical and logic-minded for some of the hippie-dippyness that abounds in its pages. It can be cheesy at times, and I feel like no parent can possibly live up to the ideals the authors present. They advocate for focusing on your child's needs above your own 100% of the time. It's a nice concept, but um...kids do eventually need to learn that they're not the center of the universe, and um...sometimes I need to go to the bathroom or take a shower or get some sleep. Is that allowed, Kabat-Zinns? At times this book made it seem like I should feel guilty for wanting to meet my own basic needs as a human being. Sorry, no. All parents have to find balance between what their children need and what they need at any given moment. It's a huge challenge, but I can't function on no sleep. You can't play the martyr in my humble opinion.
And I am just not an attachment parenting person. Of course I want my son to be happy and loved at every moment. But some concepts are just too extreme for me. When they talked about the joys of breastfeeding a toddler and how cute it was that the child had nicknames for her mom's breasts I got really creeped out. A child who is old enough to talk should not still be breastfeeding, I'm sorry!
So yes, I find myself interested in the concept of mindful parenting, but not necessarily the touchy-feely hippie parenting stuff. So I guess I need to reconcile that for myself. Also, this book is awfully long for the simple concepts it presents. But it's worth skimming for anyone who enjoys meditation and finds themselves pondering the mysteries of parenthood!(less)
I loved Bringing Up Bebe and this is a little guidebook of the most important tips from that book. It works as a refresher for those who want to follo...moreI loved Bringing Up Bebe and this is a little guidebook of the most important tips from that book. It works as a refresher for those who want to follow the author's model of French parenting, or a guide for other caregivers.
I'm reluctant to talk about parenting with anyone nowadays. It seems similar to politics or religion. No matter what your opinion is, someone will disagree with you and get pissed off. So I hesitate to say too much about my opinions. Seriously, people get crazy about parenting philosophies. They're right, and the rest of the world is wrong! :) But I agree with the author that Americans tend to center their world around their children, sometimes to everyone's detriment. The kids sometimes end up thinking they're the center of the universe, or they just don't know how to be independent because they're used to their parents doing EVERYTHING for them.
But whether you agree with all of her opinions or not, I think we can all get behind the idea that kids should be polite, they should be considerate of others, and they need structure. Parents need sleep, alone time, and couple time. You can't let your relationship fall by the wayside. And kids need to develop at their own pace, with some downtime everyday. Being overscheduled will drive the entire family nuts.
So I think she offers a lot of practical tips. Of course, my kid is only 3 months old, so it will be awhile before I can test a lot of these theories. But I dig where she's coming from. I want to raise a confident, independent, polite child. (less)
Kyle is my fav Bev Hills Housewife. My coworker saw me reading this yesterday and raised his eyebrow at me. But I HATE it when people get all snooty-p...moreKyle is my fav Bev Hills Housewife. My coworker saw me reading this yesterday and raised his eyebrow at me. But I HATE it when people get all snooty-pants about light reading. In this day and age, as a librarian, it makes me happy when people enjoy books. ANY books. My reading habits are all over the place. Next on my list is The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir. So I guess I'm interested in women's life experiences of all sorts??? I just pick up whatever appeals to me at any given moment. It's one of the great joys of working in a library. You never know what you'll come across.
Anyway, the reason Kyle is likable on the Real Housewives is that she seems sane and grounded compared to the rest of the cray cray women on the cast. She's got a great marriage, four beautiful daughters, and family means everything to her. And I like that she's against a lot of the Bev Hills trappings. She's against plastic surgery, she doesn't have a nanny, and she doesn't judge people by how much money they make. She does her own hair and makeup, and she actually gives some helpful tips on grooming and style. She brushes her hair before a shower so that all the loose hair doesn't clog her drain. I read that and thought, "Uh, duh, why have I never thought of that?" Kyle's gorgeous hair is one of her trademarks, and I'm not sure if I believe she only uses Pantene shampoo. But maybe she's just blessed by nature.
So it may not be feminist literature, but Kyle wrote a fun book with some helpful tips for women. And if you want to look down upon me for reading something like this, I say you need to lighten up! (less)
Ooh, this was a fun read! Will all the hype about this book, I was worried that I'd be disappointed. But it mostly lives up to the praise. I started r...moreOoh, this was a fun read! Will all the hype about this book, I was worried that I'd be disappointed. But it mostly lives up to the praise. I started reading and immediately felt disturbed that the couple's names were Nick and Amy. My husband's name is Nick, and if he was anything like this character we would have serious marital problems! Yikes. The main characters are just awful people. I'm not sure young single folks should read this novel because it might scare them off the idea of marriage forever. This is really the nightmare scenerio. You marry someone you think is the bee's knees, and a few years down the road....psycho behavior!
I knew it couldn't be as simple as "guy murders wife." And of course there are MANY twists and turns. Everyone I knew who read the book before I got to it hated the ending. So I expected to hate it too. Turns out, I didn't mind it, although it's pretty far-fetched. But it's in keeping with the Amy character's behavior. So okay.
I think Flynn really nailed our culture's obsession with true crime cases, and how they're sensationalized on TV by people like Nancy Grace. The plot brought to mind local scumbag Drew Peterson. I'd love to believe that his wife somehow escaped by carefully planning her own death. Unfortunately, in real life, most of the time it IS as simple as "guy murders wife."(less)
This is a quick read, only 137 pages of actual content. And no, that isn't a joke about the simplicity of the male brain! A coworker recommended it t...more
This is a quick read, only 137 pages of actual content. And no, that isn't a joke about the simplicity of the male brain! A coworker recommended it to me because I am about to give birth to a boy and I am such a girly girl that I am afraid that I won't be able to relate to the kid at all. The book has short chapters on all phases of a man's life, from infancy to old age. For me, the parts about the little kids and the "daddy brain" were most interesting. Of course social conditioning and individual personalities make a difference. But I do think if both men and women understand the difference between a man's brain chemistry and a woman's they could save themselves a lot of frustration. You can't make a man act like a woman. He's never going to communicate the same way a woman does. And that's cool. It's not better or worse, just different. All the same, the chapter about teen boys scared the everliving crap out of me. Hopefully in 12 or 13 years I will be ready for that!(less)