Monday, July 27, 2009

Harry Potter Book 7- Rowling (Book #56)

Unless you've lived under a rock you've likely heard of Harry Potter. This was my second read of Book 7 but I kind of needed to lose myself in a good book and though its a bit lengthy particularly considering I'm on a 100 book challenge and falling behind, it was worth the detour. Not much to say by way of summary except she touches on many issues that go beyond the wizarding world and her last book is by far my favorite.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Benny and Shrimp- Mazetti (Book #55)

This is a very sweet and unexpected love story between Benny and Desiree (Shrimp). The writing reminded me of a charming book series I love 44 Scotland Street. They meet at the graveyard. She goes to remember her late husband, he goes to remember his mother. At first they are annoyed by one another but as the story progresses they grow interested and a surprising love story develops. Shrimp is a cultured librarian living in the city who enjoys the opera and values her education. Benny is a farmer working his family's dairy farm. They are very different people yet they cannot fight their attraction to one another. The story is told in alternating chapters with Benny's point of view and then Shrimp's point of view. Mazetti's work could be another silly romance but her writing is what truly sets this book apart as well as her insight into heavy topics such as loneliness and the lengths we go to escape it. I'm glad she is coming out with a sequel because the ending for me needed more. I wanted to keep reading on about what happened with both of them. Hopefully like 44 Scotland Street she will continue to let us learn more about the characters she created.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Into the Beautiful North- Urrerra (Book #54)

Wow, two books in a row that were riveting from start to finish. This is a story of a small town Tres Camarones, a sleepy coastal town where all the men have left to go North to find work leaving women and children behind. A group of drug cartel people discover this hidden nook and decide to take over. With no men to defend Nayeli, a teenage girl in the village decides, they must go to the U.S and bring back men to repopulate the village and kick out the bad guys. She assembles a small posse with the blessing of Auntie Irma, the town Mayor.

The story follows their struggle to the US and is more about the journey than the ultimate resolution of the story. Urrerra writes very well and I enjoyed this novel very much. The characters are so real and believable that I had to stay up until 2am to see them through. I would love to read more about them to learn how their lives ended up. I particularly love that the woman was portrayed as strong and brave and the leader of the pack.

My only complaint with this novel was the premise of why they had to leave was not adequately laid out. We knew some bad people came but we did not see much example of what happened to perciptiate such a dramatic reaction. It would have been nice to have some chapters devotecd to what was happening back home to help create more tension and a sense of understanding as to why they chose the steps they did.

Still, the novel is really good and I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm So Happy For You- Rosenfield (Book #53)

It's been a good long while since I've read such a delightful fun and honest novel about life. I simply could not put this book down, it was unpredictable until the end. I'm So Happy For You is about the nature of friendship between women, particularly two women, Wendy and Daphne. Both have been friends for fifteen years and the novel shows how their friendship formed, and how Wendy perceives her friend. Wendy felt in a comfort zone when beautiful Daphne couldn't get her act together but then Daphne does. She meets a rich handsome guy, gets engaged and pregnant while Wendy struggles with an unemployed husband, months of futile babymaking, and a job she is less than thrilled with. The novel follows how their relationship unfolds as their lives change.

It's funny because I was just talking to a friend about how I feel Im not good at this friendship business. I've experienced so much of both what Daphne has experienced as well as Wendy. Daphne represents so many friends I've had and so does Wendy. This novel helped me reach a better understanding of the nature of friendship making me feel less alone. Rosenfield did a fantastic job capturing a powerful human relationship: female friendship.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hollywood is like highschool with money- Dean (Book #52)

This is a very quick lighthearted read about a girl, Taylor, who moves to LA to work for a studio Metronome as an assistant with big dreams in movies. When she arrives she learns that Hollywood is complicated and you have to know how to play the game if you want to get ahead. With the help of her superior's daughter, Taylor learns how to make it in the industry. Only later does Taylor wonder if its worth it to succeed if the lengths she has to go through are so extreme. The movie reminded me of books I read when I was younger like Sweet Valley High. Entertaining, easy to read. A take-it-to-the-beach sort of book.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Frommer's Spain 2009 (Book #51)

I love Frommer's and I enjoyed it for Spain though I do like the Frommer's Guide to Costa Rica and a few other countries slightly better. We enjoyed all the hotels they recommended and I appreciate they include wii fii listings for reach hotel.

Spain- Fodors 2009 (Book #50)

Fodors was good though I am more used to the format of Frommer's. I enjoyed that the hotel recommendations included pros and cons for each hotel. I did find one inaccuracy in the book that cost us a few hours of time but otherwise it was decent.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Garden of Truth- Nasr (Book #49)

This book just may change my life. Dr. Nasr is a Sufi himself and this book is a beginner's guide to understanding Sufism and provides a brief history on Sufism. I was surprised at how little I knew of Sufism and how truly thoughtful and deep it is. My favorite part that I have written and practically memorized is this hadith:

Who seeketh me findeth me. Who findeth me knoweth me. Who knoweth me loves me. Who loves me him I love. Whom I love him I slay. Whom I slay him must I requite. Whom I requite, Myself am his requital.