Monday, December 21, 2009

The Lost Symbol on the Kindle

Last night I stayed up way too late reading The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. I'm sure I'll finish it today and it's like his others, a great read - fast and furious, filled with history, facts and little known symbolism, plus totally likable characters, and hatable ones, too. My husband asked me if I knew who the antagonist really is - I'm afraid he gave something away, because I'm thinking maybe...Zachary? Not sure, but it's a good one, especially to read right now in the hecticness of the holidays.

I must add, it's my first read on a Kindle. I do have to admit I like it, but I miss the page turning and flipping around, the tactileness of a paper book. But with where the publishing world is going, I may have to get used to it! I do like the % it shows you of how much you've read, but miss the actual visual of almost getting to the end. I'm not completely sold yet, but maybe not so aghast at it either.

Next on my list is one for book club - The Traveler's Gift, sort of a motivational, inspirational book we thought would be good to start the new year with. I'll let you know as I'm usually not into this type of book (I prefer my novels) but it's gotten some great reviews,a s well as some bad ones, so we'll see.

Also I want to read Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld and I'm very intrigued with The Skating Rink by Roberto Bolano, so that's on my list, too. Three to start 2010's not too bad. Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Help

Last night I read and read and finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett, a novel that takes place in 1960's Mississippi and the women in the town, the black and the white. While all Skeeter's friends are planning Jr League functions and counting their silver, she is interviewing the women who work as maids for these women. The more Miss Skeeter learns, the less she likes her friends and the more she becomes ostracized. As much as I loved the book, I would have liked to have seen it go a little more in depth. I feel like I would have liked to know more about Miss Celia, the rural poor girl who marries well but still can't fit into Jackson society. I would have liked to know if Elizabeth ever stands up to Hilly. I'd like to know what Aibeleen does, and how Mae Mobley grows up (though I don't think that one can or should be answered in the book).

Though not every aspect was satisfying to me, overall the book left an impact on me - proof is I made my husband put his down and listen to me recount the whole thing for him - he even looked interested.

A great conversation takes place between two of the maids - Aibeleen and Minny. They are talking about the lines drawn between people, and not just between black and white. There are lines between Celia and the Jackson women, there are lines between Minny and her husband. But who draws these lines? Who keeps them in place? Can anyone erase them? It's a touching, eye opening conversation, not only to the women having it, but also to the reader.

As someone who grew up in the South, though not a small town like Jackson, MS and not during the 60's, the book had a personal draw to me. I love what Kathryn Stockett says in the end bit she wrote - in summation - the South is like your mother, only you have the right to talk bad about her but when someone else does - watch out!

I look forward to my book club night about The Help.
Now back to An Echo in the Bone to see what else Jaime and Claire are up to...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It's been WAY too Long!!

I can't believe it's been over a year since I've posted! What kind of blogger is that? So my early New Year's Resolution is to do one blog a week? Can I do it - sure!!
Obviously, in the past year, I have been reading a lot, and though some of the books weren't my favs, I've read a couple that have stuck with me for some time afterwards.

The one that comes to mind the strongest is Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. It's the story of two friends growing up in the 70's and 80's, centered around their relationships with each other, parents and lovers. Not only do the time, fashion and music references hit home, like slouch boots and big hair, but the theme of friendship and motherhood is so strong that you can't read this book without a box of tissues nearby.

While one of the characters reminds me so much of myself, it opens up my eyes to my own strengths and weaknesses. It's one of those books that begs for discussion and as a few neighborhood women were reading it at the same time, we got together for an evening to discuss it over wine and food, and of course, friends. We're waiting to hear of a movie to come out from the book and had fun trying to cast the characters.

Presently, I'm reading the seventh installment of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, An Echo in the Bone, and I am completely in love with Jaime and Claire all over again. They never stop and though they must be in their late 50's (?) by now, their romance and relationship is still flourishing and passionate while at the same time, so mature and emotional intimate. One night as Jaime has trouble falling asleep because Claire is taking care of a woman giving birth, he muses that whenever he can't sleep he turns to Claire, whether to talk, make love or just watch her sleep - ahhhhh.

I just found a great blog, The Lit Connection, where she writes a lot about Outlander, including how her boyfriend has accepted it as part of her life. I understand, as my husband knows when I read Diana Gabaldon, I begin to speak with a Scottish accent and talk about Jaime and Claire as if they're my friends. I know, weird, nerdy all of that, but there is something to be said when a book affects you that much. Isn't that what we read for?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Finished and It's Thumbs Up

Well I knew there was a surprise, but didn't know the half of it. Love it how Keyes makes it all come together. Got a little teary eyed in the end, but it's one of those...well better stop so I don't give anything away. Maybe because it takes place in Hollywood and is full of script talk and movie lingo, but I can totally see this as a movie. One you'd go to with your girlfriends or on a date if you have a good guy! It's an easy read, and I love one of those every now and then! Another thing, as you read more of Keyes' books, you get to know the family better. I looked at Anna differently since I've read Anybody Out There already (which takes place later). And how can you not love Mammy Walsh, she's the mom that drives her kids crazy but all the friends want to hang out with, despite her orange face. Like I said before, Keyes' characters win you over. Now I sort of want to learn more about Helen....

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Another Good Surprise from Keyes and What's Next for Me

I am winding down Angels and just like in Anybody Out There, Keyes gives us something unexpected. This one is not near as shocking as in Anna's story, but it makes you understand Maggie better (maybe Garv's not soo horrible, we'll see). So after some bondage and lesbian experiences, she is coming back round to herself. Her family just popped in for a visit, and you just have to love them, too. Anyway, I am rooting for Maggie in that she finds herself and her happiness amidst the pink champagne and I Will Survive. She's got a great best friend, and it makes me appreciate mine!

On another note, my 9 year old is presently devouring the new The 39 Clues. I am anxious to see how this series plays out. What a great concept to grab them in, books tied into a website where the reader can become one of them - she loves it, though it is a little on the scary side.

I'm trying to figure out what's going to be next for me and I'm thinking of a book I saw on Amazon, Goldengrove, by Francine Prose. I have read her essays but not her fiction. Maybe that or Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. If anyone has a great suggestion, I am open!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Go Maggie Go and the Importance of Strong Characters

I'm about half way through Marian Keyes, Angels, and it's a fun read. I am waiting for a surprise like I was knocked over the head with in her book, Is Anybody Out There, but so far, none yet. Just Maggie freeing herself slowly from her marriagea nd cheating husband, what better place to do it than with good friends in the city of angels. So far she has gotten a new hair cut (not sure about it yet) and met her first lesbian. Not so very wild, but more than she can say of her life with Garv. I want things to work out for her, I wnat her to quit thinking about her heel of a husband and hook up with long faced Troy; I want her to be happy. To me, characters are the most important element in a novel. It can have a great plot, full of action and relay a touching theme, but if I can't bond with the characters, it doesn't work. When I think about my favorite books, Wuthering Heights, The Sun Also Rises, The Harry Potter Series, The Outlander Series, some Stephen King and To Kill a Mockingbird, I think of the characters. I may forget what actually happened in the book, but I won't forget Scout or Hermione, I'll remember Queen Sasha and Jamie Fraser long after the book is shelved. I want to know what those characters are doing after the story, I think about them when the book is closed. So, yes, Keyes, characters charm me. They are likable and I care what happens to them, even the ones I don't like, they still entice me. So I'm wishing Maggie and rooting for her all the way.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New Reads, Old Reads

Coming off of The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett, I needed something a little lighter, so I just started another Marian Keyes novel, Angels. Pillars is one of those epic sagas, epic in lenght, epic in timeline. His language is beautiful, if not a bit lenghty and the reader just wants peace for Jack and Aliena who have such trouble gaining it. Follett touches on some of the unjust horrors of the times, as well as the boundaries set but creates characters strong enough to challenge them. At almost 1000 pages, it's not a quick read, but the political, sociological and emotional plotlines are all worth investing the time. I recommeded it to my architect friend because of the prominence of the building of the cathedral. But as I said, I needed something a little lighter this time, so just began Angels by Mrian Keyes. This is the third of her novels featuring the Walsh sisters, and this one centers on Maggie, the clean one, the predictable one, "the plain yogurt at room temperture" one. I love Keyes' easy conversational first person tone and too bad I'm not on vacation because it would be a good beach read. Maggie just arrived in LA, after leaving her husband, a big change from Ireland. Can't wait to see what happens. Will she hook up with a tan, hardbodied surfer? Will she find a place in the entertainment industry? I'll let ya know!