Saturday, May 31, 2008
Ok, before you start thinking "Wow, Bonnie would knit on a Friday night"- which may or may not be an accurate statement- know that the girls in this book are not grandmas, nor lame. I like the idea of having a consistent group of people to meet up with and this book does a great job of weaving(no pun intended) a good story amongst references to knitting. The characters are raw and realistic, but the plot is fairly predictable. This does not, however, make the book any less entertaining and it is a great read, especially for mothers and daughters. This a short review for a breezy book that is great for summer or, dare I say it, a beach-read. Next up, The Other Boelyn Girl. What do you think of any of these books? I'd love recommendations...
Sunday, April 27, 2008
This memoir is so different than I expected and is unlike anything I have ever encountered in my own life. I went into reading this thinking it would be a tough story about someone's drug problem and that there is no way I could relate to the writers (mother and daughter together). Wrong. Somehow I ended up having complete, genuine sympathy for both people, being that the daughter had been brought up in a horrible situation with her father and her mother had to make choices no one ever wants to have to make. At the beginning I was determined to blame them both for how the daughter ended up, but soon came to see nothing is as it seems and this could very well happen to anyone dealt a rough hand in life. The way the book is written really gives a valid glance at life for both people going through the same situation with polar opposite views on life and the meaning of it. You can see that the one thing that is constant throughout their lives are the mother's love for her daughter and vice versa. Even if Mia's actions did not always show her gratefulness and love for her mother while acting out, she never stopped caring for or loving her. It is so interesting to me that even intense love can lead a person to drastic, self-mutilating measures to protect the other from harm. I think we all have parts of Mia's personality in different ways that may manifest themselves in a lesser way but are still there nonetheless. I really gained a lot from reading this book but just want to offer a warning that parts are very graphic and shocking but also contribute to a true, raw memoir that could not have been written any other way. No one could read this story without looking internally at the choices we all must make, our reasons behind them, and our relationships with those around us.
This is a prime example of one of the chick lit books I love to pick out when I need a break from intense novels. Deep Dish really offers a spattering of southern charm which makes it incredibly easy to relate to for a girl from Georgia. Much of the storyline is set in Atlanta as well as on an island on the Georgia Coast which makes anyone who recognizes those places feel like you hold a piece of the story a little closer. Obviously you wouldn't necessarily read this novel for its literary status but if you love to be able to place yourself in the plot of a book and can appreciate humor as well as a little bit of sensationalism, Deep Dish offers all of the above. I got through it in about 2 days and really got into the love story strewn throughout Gina's Bridget Jones-like awkwardness that is fairly prevalent in my own life, too. For mindless humor and a little bit of cheesy fun, this book has it all.
Friday, March 28, 2008
I just finished figuring out why some people had such a hard time enjoying Atonement, the movie, because nothing is as it seems and may not end the way love stories and movies should. Alternately, I think novels have more freedom for enjoyment once the reader decides that they are reading it because of the emotional attachment to the words and characters and not purely from an entertainment perspective. Granted I do frequently choose books that are, for lack of a better term, chick books. The difference is that when I start out reading one of those I expect lighthearted, happy endings. When I began reading Atonement, I did not read it for its entertainment value and expectations, but instead took in the epic love story and detailed descriptions of characters and beautiful scenery. In a sense Atonement is a book within a book and for that, the beginning can seem confusing and muddled, but once I worked through that I discovered once of my most favorite stories. I would recommend reading this book before seeing the movie, to dispel your assumptions and hopes and leave you watching the movie for the same reasons you would read the book: pure artistic appreciation. Not all stories need a happy ending or need to follow the map laid out for two star-crossed lovers, so remember this as you delve into a book rich with faith and love woven throughout a time of war that just might offer you another look at story writing.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Whew, what a thought-provoking and intense book. I think now since I have read it, I will never again read it for fear that I will feel the emotions even more strongly than I did the first time. I know this book is fiction and not a memoir, but I could not help feeling like I was reading the life story of many Afghan people which stirs a reaction in me like nothing else. The writing of this book draws the reader in and certainly catches your attention, whether it be for good or bad. There are multiple disturbing and horrific events written with all the gory details, so if you can get through those I think you can find the deeper meaning in the novel, but that is not easy to do. I had to put the book down a few times and walk away to catch some mindless tv just to get away but I think that is exactly what Hosseini wants to do with his story. He wants the reader to wrestle with the realistic danger and fear of the main character, Amir, and his life inside and outside of Afghanistan. Kite Runner is unlike any other book I usually choose to read since I tend to pick books that are uplifting. This one is truly intense and dark, but I would venture to say it is a necessary one to read in order to better understand the pain felt by so many throughout the world that we in America do not think about or simply choose to ignore. I am an avid believer that we need to embrace cultures around the world and do our part to better the lives of others who cannot help themselves. If this story is disturbing and gruesome, let it at least pull you to understand or stir a new emotion to feel even a little bit of what some Afghan people have dealt with for centuries. Obviously I can't pretend to feel or understand the life of someone so distanced from Athens, Ga., but I can at least acknowledge the need for all of us to think and question the treatment of others in countries where voices are not heard and lives are not given value.
Also, if you have seen the movie, feel free to comment on differences or similarities between book and movie, because I would love to hear them!
Monday, March 3, 2008
I just finished reading Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and had some very mixed opinions about it. I can see why it has been so motivational for women in the midst of an identity crisis or some other crisis that hits them after it seems like their stories are already written, but I think we need to take her freedom with a grain of salt. Obviously, being a college student, my life is still unclear and far out ahead of me so some parts were hard to relate to in her story. I did love the independence woven throughout the book and really enjoyed Gilbert's wit and humor even in her darkest times. That is something so incredibly important to learn about dealing with any struggle and for that, the book teaches a great lesson. I found myself continually catching myself having an adverse reaction to some of the religious convictions of Gilbert and how she portrayed them. Granted, she did offer a disclaimer at the beginning of the book to prevent readers from judging her based on her religious beliefs, so no one can really blame her. Eat Pray Love is an honest look at a woman who finds herself in a hole she can't see out of and, in some way, every person has felt pieces of that fear. I do not think this book deserves the cult-like fame it has acquired but do see the value of a book which gives readers an opportunity to look closer at themselves without claiming to be (or acting like) a self-help book. I appreciated the terms Gilbert laid out and felt like her personality carried the book through. Whether I agree or disagree with her choice to flee from her life and responsibilities (for the record, I don't), I see the value of her courage and finding strength to overcome her struggle against herself. If nothing else, it has made me evaluate my reasoning behind the things I do and say which is the purpose of learning and living anyway.
Well, I don't claim to be an expert on books or on knowing what everyone else should read, but I would love to share my thoughts with anyone who cares to listen. I also love hearing recommendations from others and really do take it to heart. One stipulation here: I sometimes pick the wrong books, or girly books, or cheesy books and that's ok with me. Just wanted to be clear on that before we all go and think I am picking the most literary, thought-provoking and influential books. Definitely not the case here. I just love the journey and figuring out more and more about what stimulates me and makes me want to pick the next one! Please use this site to throw around ideas, correct me when I'm wrong, and help me figure out what's next. Keep coming back for more!