Thursday, August 5, 2010

I Finally Finished a Book!

Okay! Forget fancy challenges with specific orders. It has taken me seven months but I have finished a book (I have about twelve that are in some stage or another of reading. A terrible habit, I know!). It would seem that at this stage of my life, simply completing a book is challenge enough. So after a lovely and relaxing week at the beach, I actually read the final page of not one but two books!!! Yay! Yay! Yay!

So here we go. The first book I finished for the year of 2010 was Running Into Trouble by Elizabeth A. M. Keel. Haven't heard of it? Well, neither had I but a good friend recommended it to me and I am so glad that she did.

Here is what the back cover says:
A Tale of Captains, Conquerors, and Warlords

Trouble accorded him a small bow, somehow hinting he didn't deserve a
larger one. "Greetings, Captain Buddy. I am new to these waters, but I gave you
the blast of greeting!"

She nodded to me, and I obliged, hurling one of our cannons in front of his
feet, where it exploded.

Buddy stared at her for a moment, then glanced at me like he wasn't quite
sure what he was seeing. For a second, I saw ourselves through his twelve year
old eyes: a proud, demented girl in a filthy jumper, and a thin boy he knew from
school, hovering behind her, clearly not in charge. I swallowed.

"Duly noted," he replied, his older voice scarcely cracking.

"Trouble!" she supplied. "And you already know Warrick, the Warlord!"

The novel follows a set of friends through their youth and beyond. It examines the people that we invite into our lives, those that enter without invitation, and how they shape who we become. It is at times funny, heart-breaking, and reassuring. It is written in a classic Southern style wherein time is a loose devise with only sparely given clues indicating the friends aging through the years. I was engrossed in the story and engaged by the characters. I will definitely be recommending this little book to my friends. And therefore, my friends, I recommend it to you.

On to the second book, The Guy Not Taken, by Jennifer Weiner. Its cover reads:

Jennifer Weiner's talent shines like never before in this collection of
short stories, following the tender, often hilarious, progress of love and
relationships over the course of a lifetime.

We meet Larlie Davidow, home alone with her new baby late one night, when
she wanders onto her ex's online wedding registry and wonders what if she had
wound up with the guy not taken. We find Jessica Norton listing her beloved
river-view apartment in the hope of of winning her broker's heart. And we follow
an unlikely friendship between two very different new mothers, and the choices
that bring them together -- and pull them apart.

The Guy Not Taken demonstrates Weiner's amazing ability to create
characters who "feel like they could be your best friend" (Janet Maslin) and to
find hope and humor, longing and love in the hidden corners of our common

I have been a fan of Jennifer Weiner having read Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, and Goodnight, Nobody (my personal favorite). She has a distinctive voice and a definite outlook on life and love. That voice is present if uneven in this collection. Some of the stories I loved and some not so much. Weiner has a sense for those whose lives do not pan out as planned. Their is a lot of resignation and compromise in these stories. Sometimes she finds hope in accepting one's decisions but often (to me, all too often) there is an incredible longing in these left behind people. In some ways, Weiner has written the same characters over and over in her novels. But in the course of a full-length book, there has been a sense of optimism. To this reader, that optimism is lacking in these shorter snapshots of life. And personally I missed it.

I would give this book a marginal recommendation. Weiner is a solid writer and I did enjoy much of what I read. I just didn't LOVE it and I so wanted to. I really did.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Where Does the Time Go?

Well, the start to 2010 was much rougher than I expected (a death in the family, multiple illnesses) and I have not gotten off to a great start on my reading. But I am recommitting and hoping that the nearing summer will offer me loads of time to read. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Challenge Number One

I'm taking the A to Z challenge from hosted by Becky. I learned of it from a great blog --

I have chosen the Read 26 books in order alphabetically by author. (I reserve the right to swap out as appropriate). These are the 26 that I have chosen:

A -- Allende, Isabel, Portrait in Sepia
B -- Brown, Dan, The Lost Symbol
C -- Crichton, Michael, The Andromeda Strain
D -- Dubus III, Andre, House of Sand and Fog
E -- Elliot, Anna, Twilight of Avalon
F -- Flaubert, Gustave, Madame Bovary
G -- Gregory, Phillipa, The Constant Princess
H -- Hardy, Thomas, Tess of the d'Ubervilles
I -- Iles, Greg, The Devil's Punchbowl
J -- Jordan, Chris, Taken
K -- Kostova, Elizabeth, The Historian
L -- LeCarre, John, The Little Drummer Girl
M -- Meyer, Stephanie, The Host
N -- Niffenegger, Audrey, The Time Traveler's Wife
O -- Orczy, Baroness, The Scarlet Pimpernel
P -- Powell, Julie, Julie and Julia
Q -- Quindlen, Anna, One True Thing
R -- Robotham, Michael, Shatter
S -- Seybold, Alice, The Lovely Bones
T -- Tolstoy, Leo, Anna Karenina
U -- Unger, Lisa, Beautiful Lies
V -- Voltaire, Candide
W -- Wells, Rebecca, Ya-yas in Bloom
X -- Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Y -- Yates, Richard, Revolutionary Road
Z -- Zafon, Carlos Ruis, The Shadow of the Wind

I tried to balance new and old, books from the can't wait to read list and the I should read list. So let's see where the reading takes me. I am hoping to join other challenges but one step at a time, right?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year... I am officially insane!

Okay, if my husband did not need any further proof that I was INSANE, I started another blog. But I have been inspired by some of the wonderful blogs about books and encouraging writing and well, I couldn't resist joining up. So here I am. I will be participating in reading challenges and hopefully some writing challenges, as well.

So here's to a happy 2010 and a more literate one!

Sunday, December 6, 2009


I am a book lover and former avid reader that wants to resume my crack-style habit of reading. Two small children and well, life have gotten between me and books but my new year resolution is to strike a better balance (so no, I can't resume a crack-style habit!). As a part of my personal blog, I have come across a few great reading projects that I would like to participate in, but that blog didn't seem the right venue so, I started this. We'll see how I do. I'm not starting until the New Year so I'll see you in 2010!

Here's to great reading!