Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Anne Fortier: Juliet

One Word Summary: Siena
More Words: Wonderful. It's a little bit of a circus near the end. A charming circus. Obviously Anne Fortier and her Editor and her Agent and her Mother worked diligently to weave such an intricate plot. They did a fabulous job connecting Shakespear's Romeo and Juliet to 1340 Italy and incorporating both into a modern mystery. I loved the Author's Note. Although, it's still not clear to me what is fiction. I hate to mention the only thing I wish was better, because it'll take away from everything I did like, but here goes anyway. The romance. It seemed abrupt. Both parties accept rather quickly the reality of their former life (as The Romeo and The Juliet). I think even hopeless romantics might question their sanity before embracing a doomed reincarnated love. I wish there had been some otherworld signal to... I don't know to give a sort go ahead before they went ahead. Of course, there might not have been one on purpose, or I might have missed it. And Fortier did provide enough backstory to lend credibility to the romance. To end on a positive note, I really like the contradictory dynamics between the two sisters. This book is marvellous. Everyone should read it.

Rate: 3 maxed out credit cards

Other Books:
Never Let Me Go, by Joan Smith

Elizabeth Gilbert: Eat Love Pray

One Word Summary: eat pray love
More Words: This is like reading a stranger's notes on life. Yes, there are a lot of personal pronouns, there are some wittisisms, there a few life epiphanies, and there are brief references to personal tradgedy. Only the interesting stuff (errr, the stories) are short and vague, ultimately it's still written by a stranger. A stranger I'm not that interested in; unless I can learn the sordid divorce details. It's terrible of me, but it's obvious she wants to dish. However I would settle for more stories featuring Mom on the farm. Anyhow, I'm glad for Elizabeth Gilbert. She is a lucky woman. Unfortunately I'm more of a home body and didn't make it through Italy... I wonder did she ever kiss Giovanni?

Did I read a review of the book, or a follow up book in the New Yorker? Last Year? I seem to remember a reference to grandma cutting up a beautiful cloak to make clothes for her children. I liked that review.

Rate: 2

Meg Waite Clayton: The Wednesday Sisters

One Word Summary: I want to be an astronaut
More Words: I like what I learned about the female experience as a wife and mother in the '60s and'70s. The book is set in a fascinating era, and I feel like I appreciate the social culture of that time better, now that I've read this story. Unfortunately, I didn't really like the book. The story is about very four very different women who start their own writing circle, all told from the perspective of one lady. Every few chapters the perspective would change and the reader would get a paragraphs worth of insight into a different lady. It was informative, confusing, and a little boring. I wished there could have been more everyday details. For example, Kath becomes a single parent. I wanted to read more about her struggle to feed and bathe and care for children and find time/energy to realize her own dreams. I wanted to read a passage where she cries, fuly clothed in an empty bathtub. Although I can understand why the author didn't delve into the everyday heartaches of motherhood; she's in the business of writing books people will read not preaching to the choir. Besides a story like that would have to be on the scale of Middlemarch. As it is the book had a sort of Forrest Gump feel- the women just sort of show up where history is happening and say stuff like: and this is how it was for us. I guess that'll just have to be good enough.


I know writers who have a talisman or a ritual to make writing easier:
bunny slippers they wear or a certain candle they always burn when they're
writing; putting pen to paper at sunrise, or noon, or 11:00 p.m.; sitting in a
certain chair in a favorite cafe or walking their dog on the beach first;
playing one song on their iPod on infinite repeat for one novel, then choosing
another song for the next. But that always strikes me as dicey. What if the cafe
table s taken? What if the dog you walk on the beach eats your bunny slippers?
What if your iPod dies? And the fact is, we were mothers and wives; if we waited
for the stars to align just so, we'd still be waiting.
Rate: 2 sidecars
Other Books:
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

Books To Read

The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald

Love Story by Erich Segal

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kristin Hannah: Distant Shore

OWS: Mom has a Life Crisis

Synopsis: Elizabeth is stuck with an empty nest and a dried up marriage. She's unhappy. This year she's going to get her groove back.

More Words: I barely remember this book. It was okay, I guess. There was something I wanted to comment on. It'll have to wait until I remember. Something about Jack and his annoying introspection. And about how women lose themselves when they love.

Rate: 2 french doors

Suzanne Collins: The Hunger Games

One Word Summary: Reality TV used for evil

More Words: The writing is sparse. The story is thrilling. I read about this series in the New Yorker, and then a friend recommended it to me. Thank you M. Stewart. I liked THG, but sometimes I wonder why the reader is expected to accept information, because Katniss does, with no explanation. For example, I'm not entirely sure what makes the capitol a bad place- okay the people are frivilous and shallow, the wealth is unequally distributed, the Hunger Game is insane, the President has mean eyes, the government is totalitarian (AKA: the dystopic boogeyman) and there's some mystery about the Avoxes, but I'm still don't feel chilled. However I do like the spin on reality T.V. and I will read the next two books.

Synopsis: Each year one boy and one girl from each of the 12 districts on Panem (what used to be the USofA) are chosen by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. A televised gladiator contest everyone is forced to watch. This year Katniss will be the female tribute. She has some terrible choices to make about love and survival and she must walk a subtle line between crowd pleasing and treason.

Shannon Hale: The Actor and the Housewife

One Word Summary: When Sally and Harry really were just friends
More Words: Shannon Hale is hilarious. A lot of my friends said this was a light fluffy book; and they all wore the same depreciating pout while they said it too. I think the book was a riot, but not lite or fluffy. Not that I didn't just skip to the end anyway... I was too jealous of Becky to read the whole thing. She's oozes charm, and I hated her for it. Didn't she ever have a bad day? And she made me feel guilty because I don't always like the way my husband smells (although sniffing his neck can smooth the ruffles out of any day). Plus, I once had a dream where Shannon Hale and I were quasi-friends and I was stealing books off her shelf. Anyhow, reading about the housewife made me feel like a stalker. Like I was wandering through her house and stealing things. Yuck.
Synopsis: Can a man and a woman be just friends? Can a married person have a best friend who is not their spouse? Who is a gender they are sexually attracted too?
Rate: 2.5

Tanith Lee: Wolf Star (Claidi Journals Series #2)

One Word Summary: Eerie
More Words: Fabulous. I can still picture the world Tanith Lee created with words. Claidi, her intrepid hero, is an endearing blend of self-doubt and spunk.
Synopsis: Claidi is kidnapped on her wedding day. Her captors abandon her in a crumbling palace with moving rooms and mechanical servants in the middle of a jungle on the other side of an ocean with an unsociable guardian who looks a lot like her fiance. But Claidi doesn't just accept her fate, she masters it.
Rate: 2 dolls

Maggie Stiefvater: Shiver

One Word Summary: Winter
More Words: I like the cover.
Synopsis: Grace has weird obsession with the wolves living in her backyard (and absolutely no parental supervision). One wolf is obsessed with her (He's really a werewolf struggling to maintain his humanity). After the wolves attack and kill a local teenager the town officials are out to destroy the wolves. Plus it turns out the rich-boy-vicitm turned into a werewolf and he's on a rampage. And then there are some other complications with Grace's friends. Anyhow Grace and her Wolf try to make everything right between the humans and the wolves.

Rate: 2 photographs

Lauren Barnholdt: One Night that Changes Everything

One Word Summary: Cheetos
More Words: I read a review that basically said there was no character development or growth and that the plot was banal. It ruined my ability to just enjoy the ride. One Night is a little questionable, but mostly I felt a robbed. There just wasn't enough romance. Anyhow, I liked Two Way Street, so LaLaLa. I refuse to read any reviews in case they ruin that story too.
Synopsis: A girl keeps a journal of all the things she wishes she had the courage to do. The girl's ex-boyfriend his friends steal her journal and threaten to publish it on-line if she doesn't take their dares. The dares, of course, come straight from the journal. It's fun. Just don't wonder why teenage boys would care to help a girl step out of her comfort zone. And don't wonder too much about the ex-boy friend.
Rate: 2 bikinis

One Word Summary: Hotel
More Words: I didn't need a review to help me along with my opinion this time. I didn't like the book, and I have no reason. I like the idea, I like the moral ending, I like the playa getting played, I like the new quirky best friend, I like the supportive sister, I like the ipod playlist, I like the romance... but I didn't like the book.
Dumb Question: What is three coats of mascara? Is it three applications to the upper lashes? or is it applying one coat on the bottom of the upper lashes, one coat on the top of the upper lashes and then one coat on the top of the lower lashes?
Synopsis: An underage math genius is roped into playing poker to earn a lot of money for college.
Rate: 2 Sweatshirts

One Word Summary: Liar
Synopsis: Devon is a liar. She tells a lot of lies. She says she's sorry and people forgive her.