Tag Archives: books

Saturday Review: The Vanishing Game by William Boyd

For the Reading Challenge I’m doing, there’s a category that was extremely easy to fulfill: A book you can finish in a day. For this category, I had actually already downloaded a short ebook on my Kindle that had been “recommended for me” (you know how they’re always predicting things you might like?) called The Vanishing Game by William Boyd.

vanishing game

The book itself was good but a little oddly laid out. There were pictures (on my Kindle, no less) and¬†the 8 chapters seemed more important, like if the book was longer, they would’ve been big sections.

The book was endorsed by Land Rover (the car that the main character drove the entire time), which I thought was interesting. Seems strange for a car company to commission a book, but they wanted the book to join with Land Rover in celebration of adventure. I get it, I guess ūüôā

I also like a nice, clean finish at the end of mysteries, and I didn’t really get one at the end. There was a little resolution, but it still left me with lots of questions. It was a quick, easy and fun read, though, and I’d definitely recommend it if you need one day’s worth of entertainment!

Book Review – Yes Please by Amy Poehler

In honor of World Book Day, here’s a review of a world-class comedy…

Love Amy Poehler? Me too. Cry a little when the Parks finale aired? Me too. Frequently re-watch her SNL episodes and think the Golden Globes she hosted with Tina Fey were the best thing ever? ME TOO! So go read her book!

Yes please, I will have lunch with Amy.
Yes please, I will have lunch with Amy.

I started her book knowing I was going to love it, and she delivered. I laughed, and I might’ve even teared up a few times. She talks about career, her family, her friends (Tina Fey and Seth Meyers, especially) and everything in between. She’s just as humorous on paper as she is on screen, and I was a junkie for the little nuggets she’d reveal about this SNL sketch or that episode of Parks & Recreation.

I was also struck by her humanity – how she talked about waitressing to make it in Chicago, when she finally got “her teeth fixed” and when she visited orphanages Haiti. She is extremely real, and I love that. She didn’t feel the need to be funny on every single page, and I loved that too.

She also talked about “Smart Girls” – an incentive she started with a friend to empower young girls to be powerful, intelligent and successful women. Talk about a feminist in a real way, not just a philosophical one.

Basically, I want to be friends with Amy Poehler. Can anyone hook me up with that opportunity?

Loving Frank – A Book Review

I finally finished Loving Frank¬†by Nancy Horan – so excited! It definitely moved a bit slowly in the middle (well, maybe I just didn’t have time to devour it as quickly) but the end was a giant, quick surprise.

A little recap on the book: Mamah Borthwick (wife, mother, and early feminist) writes first person about her love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright, at the height of his architecture career. Both are married when the affair begins, and we follow them (and their families) through years (and countries) of loving each other during scandal and respite.

Just to prove that I read this book in print, and not on my Kindle!
Just to prove that I read this book in print, and not on my Kindle!

I loved the way Horan took Mamah’s feelings, described them well, justified them a little with the “free love” writings of Ellen Key, and brought her full-circle into a more realistic and whole view of the man she still loved. I was actually surprised to do some Googling, and see how close to actual history Horan stayed when writing about the affair, Wright’s travels and work, and even Mamah’s relationship with Ellen Key. She must’ve done extensive research and followed it with careful planning to construct such a well-written love story and true-to-life account of the facts.

Like I said, the middle was a bit slow, possibly just because that was a less exciting time in the main characters’ lives, or perhaps because I didn’t know Ellen Key or her writings in advance, but I truly loved the book as a whole, and would definitely recommend it!

Now I’m into Yes Please by Amy Poehler, to satisfy the “memoir” category on my reading challenge. I’ve read Tina Fey’s¬†Bossypants¬†and loved it, so I was nervous for Amy to keep me as interested… and she did it! So I’ll let ya know how that one is when I finish it!

Reading Challenge 2015

So I’m an avid reader of Daily Geekette¬†and have finally decided to join them in doing POPSUGAR’s Reading Challenge in 2015. The reason that I love this challenge more than other book lists is the free-will option they’ve added in. Instead of giving me a list of 20 must-reads, they’ve given a list for which thousands of books can apply to each category. I LOVE the freedom in it, and am excited to see if I can finish during this year! Hubby and I have been reading more than watching TV recently (a big accomplishment for two parents who like to zone wayyyyy out after the kids are in bed).

I will give you the disclaimer that I’m not going to read 50 different (well, 52, since one requirement is a trilogy) books… I’m going to let a few fill several categories at once. For instance, a book that made you cry could be almost anything for me – especially right now while I’m pregnant!

Reading Challenge 2015

 

I’ll tell you a few of the books that I’ve already read this year that are going to qualify for different categories:

I just finished the Divergent Trilogy (Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant) about a week ago. It could be my trilogy, a book that became a movie, a book with a one-word title, a book that a friend recommended, a book set in the future, and a book that made me cry. I don’t need it to fill all those categories, because I can easily fill several of those. But I’m going to let the series be my trilogy, and Divergent will be my book that became a movie. If I need to switch it to the book set in the future instead of the movie one, I can. I’m flexible!

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? could be my mystery, although I wouldn’t be sad to read more mysteries. What Alice Forgot made me cry, and was written by a woman.¬†I’m going to read The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton, to fulfill my book I haven’t read by an author that I love. When I pick back up the Outlander series (I got through the third book and took a break from Jamie and Claire), those are over 500 pages and also turned into a TV series!

How many of y’all would like to join me on my book quest?! I know there are several of you who enjoyed my reviews of Where’d You Go, Bernadette? and What Alice Forgot and gave me some suggestions of what to read next! So now, I’ll have a million recommendations from friends! If you give me a suggestion, tell me which category it might fulfill!

Can’t wait to make 2015 a year of reading. Join me!

Ponderings on “What Alice Forgot”

Once I finished Where’d You Go, Bernadette?¬†I read the next suggestion from my friend Ginna…

Here’s a short book review of¬†What Alice Forgot¬†by Liane Moriarty:

what alice forgot

It’s good. Great, actually. It is thought-provoking, to imagine losing the memories from ten years of your life. Alice falls off a spin bike at the gym, and when she wakes up, she thinks she is ten years younger and pregnant with her first child. She doesn’t remember her three children, crumbling marriage, or anything else from the past ten years. The greatest thing about the book is her journey to find herself, combining the woman she is at 40, and the woman she was at 30. There is heartache and pain, but also grace and redemption. I flew through it, just needing to know what the next page said.

Now that you’ve got the synopsis… I’ll tell you this: I’m not quite yet 30, but it made me brutally aware of how much can happen in ten years. Obviously, the last ten years of my life (aka my twenties) were vastly different than my thirties are going to be. My twenties consisted of college, partying, traveling, job searching, falling in love, getting married, and birthing two kids. My thirties will be full of raising toddlers (read: potty training), choosing schools (and running the chauffeur¬†service to get various kids to various places), doing laundry, hosting holiday get-togethers and getting to know my kids in every stage of their lives. I can’t imagine waking up halfway through my thirties, and not remembering anything about it.

But on the other hand, what would I want to be the same? Which things would I want to wake up ten years later and know would be consistent? My marriage. My relationship with my kids (no matter how old they were).¬†My friendships. My place at my church. Those would be my priorities, if I had to choose something to be consistent throughout my life. Just thinking about what I’ll be doing ten years from now makes me want to focus on those things more than ever, so that ten years from now, I’ll know where I stand.

What would you think if you woke up, and didn’t remember the last ten years? Would you have wanted something to change? Would you like where you stand?

Book Review: Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

It is a great love of mine to find time to read for pleasure. So often, I’m reading blogs and essays on parenting and potty training and toddler tantrums and the like that I am ecstatic to lay in the bed, if only for five minutes before I fall asleep with the Kindle in my hand, and read something delicious, for my own pleasure. Hubby and I sometimes slip into phases where we watch TV instead of read, but I love the times that reading takes the place of a TV binge.

Recently, I read a post from my friend Ginna (her blog is here!) about a book she was reading. Okay, confession: it was¬†not¬†recent. It was over the summer. Details, right? I’m a procrastinator. Anyway, I just finished the book she had recommended, Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple.

bernadette

The title character, Bernadette, is a seemingly washed-up but brilliant architect, loved by her quirky daughter and Microsoft-guru husband, revered by architecture nerds all around, and hated by her fellow private school mothers who think she is a social disaster. We read the saga from the daughter Bee’s point of view, and follow the mother-daughter relationship closely. As you may assume from the title, Bernadette disappears, and we go literally to the ends of the earth (Antarctica) trying to find her. The twist at the end is a total kicker, solidifying our warm feelings toward the family of three that we had at the beginning of the book.

It’s written very interestingly (I thought at first oddly, haha), including emails and notes to and from different characters, mixed in with Bee’s narrative. The reason for it is cleared up at the end, with the twist, so hold out through the odd writing… you will be rewarded!

Has anyone else read the book? What did you think? Have you read anything interesting recently that I should read? I’m always looking for suggestions!

Summer Is For Reading!

Sometimes, I miss the feel of a book. ¬†I miss actually turning pages, and smelling the “new book smell” the first time I crack it open. ¬†But I read a lot. ¬†A LOT. ¬†And I¬†truly do think (cue Kindle commercial) that¬†the greatest thing about my Kindle is that I take an entire bookshelf with me without an extra suitcase. ¬†As I prepare for vacations, or spend naptime on the deck in the sunshine with a book, I’m always needing suggestions for my next book to read. ¬†With that in mind, these are a few books I really enjoyed last summer that you should look into if you haven’t read them yet.

fearful-symmetry
Her Fearful Symmetry (Audrey Niffenegger)

I had read The Time Traveler’s Wife years ago, long before the movie came out, and loved it, so when I heard that the author had another book out, I was excited to read it. ¬†The book immediately captured my attention and I¬†couldn’t put it down. ¬†It was thought-provoking, and different than anything I’d ever read. ¬†About two sets of twins and some inexplicable connections between them, it bordered on a fantasy novel but was too realistic (read: “normal”) to really fall into that category. ¬†It’s a riveting read that you’ll plow right through!

lizzy gardner
Lizzy Gardner Series (T. R. Ragan)

Originally, I only downloaded these books onto my Kindle because I had been reading the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich, and they were cheap “suggested reads” from Amazon. ¬†Abducted, Dead Weight and A Dark Mind are the three books in the series. ¬†I enjoyed them just as much as the Plum novels- easy reads, enveloping stories and interesting characters. ¬†Great mysteries, interesting female lead, and there’s always a twist.¬† Great for a vacation read!

bitter is the new black
Bitter Is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomanical, Self-Centered Smart Ass, or, Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office (Jen Lancaster)

The title says it all: a witty, cynical, and hilarious memoir. ¬†Jen goes from a high-paying, successful job to unemployment in the blink of an eye, but her lifestyle has a hard time catching up. ¬†I literally laughed out loud several times while reading this book, and also read passages aloud to Hubby so he could laugh with me. ¬†Everything about her writing style¬†is fabulous, but should be taken with a grain of salt. ¬†She’s overbearing and brutally honest, but enjoyable.

So what are some suggestions for me?  I need some riveting summer reads!