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|Sunday, January 6th, 2008|
I'm trying to learn about syndication, but in the meanwhile, vote in my poll
on the other blog!
Anyone know of a dummy-proof way to syndicate to LJ? Current Mood: accomplished
|Sunday, December 23rd, 2007|
|#41, 42, 43, 44 - Almost done!
I have to read a book a day to finish the 50, but I am very close and can almost taste it!
#41 is Good Grief
by Lolly Winston. I liked it even more than her sophomore novel, Happiness Sold Separately. It's really touching if you or someone you care about has suffered a major loss. I like that much of the novel takes place in a bakery. I love books whose settings involve cooking and baking. I am really happy that the author made the journey towards self-actualization about more than getting the guy - she writes in an interview at the back of the book, "I wanted a character other than a new man to come into Sophie's life and be her "happily ever after."
Definitely worth reading.
#42 is Sanditon
by Jane Austen and another lady. Jane Austen died in the middle of writing this book, and this is the first completion of the novel. Unlike a couple of the books I read this year by Joan Aiken and other people, it sounds a lot like Jane. The thing about Jane Austen's novels is that as much as I love them, they can be tremendously repetitive and predictable. In a good way. The other woman who finishes this novel writes an entire justification for her choices. You can like them or hate them, but they do sound like the next best thing to Jane herself. You should read it only if you're a Janeite but not a Jane purist.
#43 is The Number
by Lee Eisenberg. I realized one chapter into this book that it's not really for people under 30. It's really interesting in some parts because it's about lifestyle choices and not just about money. There are some really good resources in here for everyone who has no idea what the future holds. I'm glad I read it.
#44 is Not the End of the World
by Kate Atkinson. I really like these stories although sometimes they're a bit confusing. The stories are different, separated in time and space, yet often linked by common characters. I think I'd need to read it again to fully "get it". Props to anyone who loves "Buffy", though.
Crossposted to 50bookchallenge
|Thursday, December 6th, 2007|
|Sunday, October 28th, 2007|
|#36, 37, 38, 39, 40
I've been feeling lately like I have no time to read. With the end of the year fast approaching, I think my goal is still possible, but not so close.
#36 was Lolly Winston's second book, Happiness Sold Separately
. I liked it a lot - I could not put it down. It was about one couple's struggles with infidelity and infertility. I think a lot of authors feel the ends of their books must either have to be completely depressing or unrealistically happily-ever-after, and life just isn't like that. All the characters were really likable and you got to see where everyone was coming from. I would definitely recommend it, and I hope to read her first novel, "Good Grief
#37 was another Jane Austen fanfic book. Pamela Aidan wrote a trilogy of books that tell Mr. Darcy's side of the story, from "Pride and Prejudice". The first is entitled "An Assembly Such as This
". I was not super-impressed. When you read Pride and Prejudice
, you always wonder, what was Darcy thinking? Why did he do that? What happened when he left Netherfield with Bingley? Aidan provides some answers, but I didn't like all of them. She does things that may seem perfectly normal, but are not Austenian - such as exploring Darcy's relationship with his various servants, and talking about the politics of the time. While this seems laudable, since Darcy is supposed to be sympathetic, it is not anything Austen ever discussed in her novels.
#38 - A Prayer for Owen Meany
by John Irving was a delight. It is about buys coming of age in New England and how their lives are shaped by tragedy and religious faith. I could see certain plot twists coming, but I still kept reading - I just wanted to know how it all happened. This book is really long, and I didn't want it to end. I like all of his books, but I find many far too sexual. This book didn't have too many graphic sex scenes. It was gripping, and I would read it again. Three thumbs up.
#39 - As a teacher, I didn't find "The Overachievers
" surprising at all. Written by journalist Alexandra Robbins, it chronicles the lives of real students at a top high school who are driven to get into the best colleges. It asks tough questions about whether or not the most prestigious colleges are actually as good as they're cracked up to be, the motivations behind the ranking systems, and whether or not the SAT is really a valuable test of anything. It's scary to read about high school students taking performance enhancing drugs so they can take more AP classes and students who take an extra class, sacrificing their lunch period. For anyone in the education world, or in the process of raising children, it's a must-read.
#40 - I read "To Hell with all that: Loving and Loathing our Inner Housewife
" for a light read. Ever since I've gotten married, I've liked books like that. I have to say writer Caitlin Flanagan surprised me with how poignant it turned out to be. She wittily dissected the wackiest parts of our culture (white weddings by people who live together, our relationships with our domestic workers, etc.). Without ruining the end, I'd say that any working mom or stay at home mom could get behind the stories she tells in this non-fiction book that's part story, part social commentary.
Cross-posted to 50bookchallenge
. Current Mood: accomplished
|Wednesday, August 29th, 2007|
|#28 - #32 (My summer reading)
#28 - Harry Potter 7. What more to say that has not been said? Well done, Ms. Rowlings.
Also two rereads, rereads #1 and #2 - Harry Potter 6 and Emma by Jane Austen. I'm only counting rereads at the end of the year if I run short.
#29 - Highly excellent and worth a read is "A Much Married Man
" by Nicholas Coleridge. Great characters, well-told story. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up.
#30 - David McCullough's "John Adams" took me weeks, and I usually read quickly. I love when non-fiction surpasses fiction in its intensity and excitement. I liked reading about Adams' relationship with Thomas Jefferson and I especially liked how much time McCullough devoted to Abigail Adams' experience. I really found myself liking the former president. I also find it really interesting that of three sons, one ended up president and two ended up drunk good-for-nothings. It is quite worth the read - always interesting.
#31 - "On Chesil Beach" by Ian McEwan was a pleasant read. I really liked how he built sympathy for the two protagonists - you were rooting for both even when they were opposing each other. Sort of shortish - I was wishing for more at the end.
#32 - Joan Aiken's "Lady Catherine's necklace" was an enjoyable read. It's a sequel to "Pride and Prejudice", and Jane Austen fan fiction is a tough thing to do, as she was a tough act to follow. It is hard to be creative with those universes in a way that feels true to the books. The minor characters of Lady Catherine De Boergh, Anne De Boergh, Maria Lucas, Colonel Fitzwilliam and Charlotte Lucas (Mrs. Collins) are all given major roles in the book. I am very happy with how Anne and Maria, the two parallel heroines, are treated. I suppose that is appropriate given that Austen was about the female characters. I don't know if I feel comfortable with what she did with the Colonel Fitzwilliam character. But I loved how she even brought in a few characters from "Sense and Sensibility" to the story. I'd read more of her stuff, though I wouldn't read this one again.
On deck is a thriller by Kate Atkinson called "One Good Turn".
Cross-posted to 50bookchallenge
. Current Mood: accomplished
|Sunday, March 11th, 2007|
|Of all ironies
Celebrated my engagement by making my 6th book a wedding-themed book: "Always a Bridesmaid" by Whitney Lyles.
It was quite charming, for chicklit. I took it out of the library, as these are the kinds of books you only read once. But anyone who's ever spent $400 on a hideous dress they'll only wear once knows the pain of this book. I laughed. I also knew how it was going to end on page 10. Fair warning. Current Mood: jubilant
|Monday, February 19th, 2007|
|Book 4/50 “Everything is Illuminated” by Jonathan Safran Foer
This book was interesting to read after seeing the movie, since I could hear the protagonist from the movie narrating in my head. It was much more nuanced than the movie, with two parallele story lines running at the same time. While at times, like much modern literature, it was a) random and b) weird, nonetheless the story was quite intriguing. I liked the book’s focus on the pre-war Jewish community in Europe
, though its descriptions seemed farfetched at times.
Am hoping to read shortly his next book “Extremely loud and incredibly close”. Have "Son of a Witch" by Gregory Maguire in progress.
Cross-posted to 50bookchallenge
|Sunday, January 21st, 2007|
|The great book v. movie debate
'm on a big book/movie kick - my final book last year was "The World According to Garp", which I blogged
already after watching the movie. In that case, the book was so larger than life and fanciful that I liked that the movie made it real. Until I saw Glenn Close, John Lithgow and Robin Williams play those characters, I could not understand how they existed.
I am just starting book #4/50 ("Everything is Illuminated"), having seen the movie over winter break (I'm a teacher). In this case, I find that while I'm reading, I am hearing the heavy accent of the movie's narrator - for me, there will only ever be one narrator.
But I just finished "The Cider House Rules" late last night, (#3/50) and I watched the DVD today, and I have to say that in this case, the movie did some things I didn't like to the book. The book is the simple story of an 1940s obstetrician who does abortions and runs an orphanage of babies whose unwed mothers give them up. The book's main character, a young orphan who heads out in the world to try to escape his fate of needing to take over the orphanage and run it, falls in love with a rich girl whose fiance is off at war, and the rest is history. What I didn't like about the movie was that it compressed the story into a few years - two, three at most - and it seemed so insignificant compared to the long period of time over which the book takes place. Maybe it's my youth, but I think an epic takes a while to happen. One should not just rush through something for the sake of Hollywood.
Anyhow, "The Cider House Rules" by John Irving is highly recommended.
Cross-posted to 50bookchallenge
. Current Mood: tired
|Sunday, January 14th, 2007|
|French women don't get fat
"French Women Don't Get Fat
" by Mireille Guiliano is a breath of fresh air where diet books are concerned. Not being among the 98% of the female population who wants to lose weight, I enjoyed reading her book as a common-sense primer. (Note: all statistics in this blog post are 100% made up.)
The dieting world today is full of impatient Americans looking for instantaneous quick fixes, which are usually drastic, unsustainable or unsafe. Almost no one can resolve to never eat bread again, and no one should have to. Guilano is a CEO who clearly works as long hours as most American women and her advice - everything in moderation, cut out empty calories where you can, drink lots of water, eat smaller portions, keep your food interesting - resonates, but would undoubtably be challenging for people who need and/or want clear-cut instructions. There is also a lot of info in this book in terms of recipes and information about foods you never thought to eat but might enjoy.
Worth the time it takes to read, but not necessarily the money it costs to buy.
Cross-posted to 50bookchallenge
|Saturday, January 13th, 2007|
|The World According To...
I started my feeble attempt at litblogging about fifteen minutes after finishing "The World According to Garp
" by John Irving. I was initially to blog it first, but I decided I needed a few days to let the book sink in. Then I a) netflixed the movie version and b) joined50bookchallenge
and c) went back to work, so my blogging has been limited.
I read the book in a 29 hour time period, after it sat on my bookshelf from the library for 9 weeks, until the day before I ABSOLUTELY had to return it. Then I read it. Thank god for vacation, for Starbucks, and for the Central Square Library, which is open late on Thursdays. It was, of course, no hardship, given that Irving is a gripping writer who draws in his reader with page-turning prose. And though few of us can really identify with the absurd characters who reside in the book, nor imagine realistically the absurd events that transpire between its pages, "The World According to Garp
" nonetheless rocked. (I of course describe books with only the most exacting literary terms.)
I watched the movie today, and though I always love Robin Williams, John Lithgow and Glenn Close, it didn't have the page-turniness (again a literary term) of the book. The only real benefit of the movie was that it left out the gratuitous bed-hopping charachteristic of the book. I always tend to think that books have too much sex, but "The World According to Garp
" has too much everything - too much sex, too much death, too much disaster, too much packed into too little times. It's like John Irving is telling ordinary people that that's what you get for being extraordinary: Lightning strikes: again, and again, and again.
Anyhow, book and movie: both worth the time. Current Mood: must grade papers!
|Monday, January 1st, 2007|
|One from the archives
Most people who know me know that I'm alternately obsessed with many diversions - this week 24, Law and Order and scrapbooking - but two of the most steadfast ones in my life have been Buffy the Vampire Slayer and cooking.
I saw the subtitle of the book below, which included the word recipes, and thought, this sounds good.
The book, "Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen" was first the blog of a very funny woman who loves BtVS, hates Republicans and lives in New York. (Ah, well, one out of three ain't bad.) Her blog eventually garnered enough attention to generate a book deal, and if I successfully figured out the LJ-cut, then you can read an excerpt below. If I am still an LJ muggle, then at least you can check out the blog itself.
I suppose that much of what I find fun about the book is that it's chicklit, but much brainier. She is funny and sarcastic, but she's talking about something. It's not like Shopaholic or Bridget Jones, in which I find myself wanting to smack all the characters for exhibiting lunatic behaviour and poor decision-making skills. Julie Powell seems like a real person. And airbrushed as the picture may be, in theory she is. Current Mood: tired
It sounds ridiculous at first - who, when eating a nice dinner of potato leek soup, would decide to cook through an entire 524 recipe cookbook in a year? Without real breaks or exceptions? Who wants to cook mussels and sweetbreads? But the book is nonetheless the clever end result of someone getting a idea that's so crazy, it's brilliant, and then following it through. It almost makes me hate her - her project is the kind of thing I think I might be tempted to try if I had any free time at all.
Anyhow, if you like chicklit, or if you've ever tried to flip an omelette properly, the book is certainly worth a first read. The proverbial test, of course, is whether I would read it again. I'm not sure yet.
But now, I must confess, when I make a hideous mess of my kitchen and find myself shouting really loudly about the improper birth of various kitchen implements (I don't use the F-word as freely as she does) I feel that I am certainly not alone. Somewhere else, someone else is trying to turn ingredients into a lovely, pleasant-smelling and yummy work of art and is likely having as much difficulty as I.
|Thursday, December 28th, 2006|
|Something I've been meaning to do....
I have decided to post with renewed zeal, at least until I am done with vacation. And my new idea du jour, destined to be brilliant for at least as long as it takes for me to be bored of it, is lit-blogging. (If that wasn't already a word, I coin it now.) Current Mood: creative
First entry: The Lady in the Tower, by Jean Plaidy (pen name of an Englishwoman who wrote lots of historical fiction and died in 1993.) The book is about the life of Anne Boleyn, and is quite a good read. The characterization is quite good and charts a plausible course from Henry VIII's dogged pursuit of Anne until her execution. It's not real, but that's not the point. I've heard that Plaidy's work is looked down upon by historians for taking liberties with historical reality, but what Plaidy writes primarily - that Anne was innocent of the charges of witchcraft and adultery - is the cornerstone of the story and I think upheld by most historians. From there on, the details are interesting only in as much as they bring that time to life.
Nonetheless, the book made me thirst for more - I confess to spending over an hour on Wikipedia reading about the succession of the throne after Henry's death, which is always what I consider a good book - one that makes you regret that it's ended.
I finished the book on Tuesday night, December 26, 2006.
|Wednesday, December 20th, 2006|
|Sara made me do this - me want cookie!
Current Mood: lazy
|You Are Cookie Monster|
Misunderstood as a primal monster, you're a true hedonist with a huge sweet tooth.
You are usually feeling: Hungry. Cookies are preferred, but you'll eat anything if cookies aren't around.
You are famous for: Your slightly crazy eyes and usual way of speaking
How you life your life: In the moment. "Me want COOKIE!"|
|Monday, July 31st, 2006|
So I wrote a whole post and then LJ ate it.
No more post.
|Wednesday, February 1st, 2006|
|Wednesday, November 30th, 2005|
|Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005|
|Another two bite the dust
Two more ML girls take on the 20K-down-the-aisle sprint - Mazal tov Rachel (married) and Ellen (engaged).
No further comment. Current Mood: sleepy
|Wednesday, October 26th, 2005|
|I love Ikea less today
They want $120 to deliver a dresser that cost $150.
As the three little pigs might say, not by the hair of my chinny chin chin.
|Saturday, October 8th, 2005|
|Quoth Dave Barry
"If you're a new parent, there will come a time when either you or your spouse will say these words: ''Let's take the baby to a restaurant!'' Now, to a normal, sane person, this statement is absurd. It's like saying: ''Let's take a moose to the opera!''" Current Mood: silly