Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Goodbye Cousins- Leffler (Book #63)

The title and the cover art intrigued me when I saw this book at a bookstore, so I requested it from the library. The main character was kidnapped as a child by her mother and taken to Europe. Now, an adult she is back in the US living with her cousin and figuring her life out. This book was fascinating but not for the normal reasons. The writing was good, the characters were interesting but the technical aspects of the novel got very much in the way of the tale. As an aspiring writer whose shown my work to others some critique I've received is being careful of my prologue and being easy on the flashbacks. They said that it can take the reader out of the moment and the biggest thing you want is for a reader to be fall into and fully absorb the story. This novel began in fits and starts. The prologue was cute but had no bearing on the rest of the novel. The flashbacks were very disorienting. Lots of plot stories were left hanging. I guess what I'm trying to say is I saw what could have been a fantastic book but turned into quite mediocre due to the mistakes that I've been taught to avoid. So why was this so fascinating? I saw in print what I was told not to do. And I finally understood why.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Houston We Have a Problema- Zepeda (Book#62)

This is a multicultural chick lit about a girl, Jessica, and her struggles in love, work, and family. It's a cute fun read about angst in figuring out who you're supposed to end up with, and whether you should stay in a job if you're unhappy, and the difficulties adult children have with accepting their parent's marriages are far from perfect. To figure it out, Jessica relies on a local fortune teller who gives her ideas on which way to proceed in the complicated areas of her life. The book was fun and a very easy read. I didn't always care for her writing but the story line was endearing enough to help me overlook it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Secrets of a Former Fat Girl- Delaney (Book #61)

This book is a great practical guide to losing weight that doesn't teach you any new secret fad diets but simply gives you motivation to pursue whatever diet plan you are on. She is someone who struggled with weight for years and finally reached her goal. I've read the book three times now and each time I learn something new.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Up a Road Slowly - Hunt (Book #60)

In the lovely book Shadow of the Wind, the author describes how the first book a reader reads and loves remains forever in their hearts much like first love. I agree and this statement prompted me to turn to Up A Road Slowly for a re-read, perhaps my fifteen re-read since childhood. This is a young adult tale of growing up. The story finds Julie, seven years old, recovering from an illness that took her mother's life and hysterical with grief and fear. She is taken five miles up the road into the country to be raised by her spinster aunt Cordelia because Julie's father is busy teaching and her eldest sister busy with school. Julie hates it there at first but overtime she grows up in the home and this is a gentle, slow story about the pain of growing up and the lessons we learn along the way. This book held magic for me as a child and now as I read it fully grown reading this book felt like visiting my childhood once again.

Friday, August 07, 2009

The Gift- Hafiz (Book #59)

I read this book ten years ago and re-reading it was a treat just as it was then. This is a collection of poetry by the sufi master Hafiz translated into English by Ladinsky. I enjoyed this extensive series of poems very much. I posted my favorite poem here.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Shadow of The Wind- Zafon (Book #58)

Very few books capture one's imagination and transport them completely into another world. This book is just such a book. It's a book I remember from childhood where you fall into the story and forget everything around you. This is a complex gothic novel translated from Spain about a boy Daniel who discovers a book, the only one of its kind and falls in love with the writing. When he seeks out other books by the author he learns that someone is going around methodically burning all the books by this author. So begins Daniel's quest which unravels in exciting and unpredictable ways. The writing is breathtaking and the insights are profound. This is a book I will certainly be purchasing for my bookshelf soon.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Italian For Beginners- Harmel (Book #57)

Italian For Beginners is a travelogue and chick lit tale all in one. The story follows Cat, a 34 year old single girl who has played it safe her entire life, caring for her father and younger sister and nursing emotional bruises from the abandonment of her mother at an early age. At her sister's wedding she meets a man who reminds her of her passion for Italy, a city she visited years earlier and the man she left behind. On a whim after a seemingly disastrous date Cat decides to take a four week vacation to Italy and perhaps rekindle her relationship with her ex. Things don't go as planned in Italy and she finds herself dumped by her ex and lost and alone until she finds a waitress who agrees to let her stay in a room in her home. So begins Cat's exploration of Italy and herself as she finds out who she truly is and what she really wants.