Sunday, November 29, 2009

Please Excuse My Daughter by Julie Klam

This is a memoir about the author's privileged life growing up in New York as the daughter of a mom who cared more about shopping and gossip than her daughter's education.

Once she reaches adulthood, she is faced with the real problems that come along with...well, adulthood.

I had little, ah, make that NO sympathy for the author - she complains about her three week honeymoon to Italy, comparing it to a POW's experience in Vietnam. Really?

The ending and what the author learns about herself is mildly redeeming, but just mildly so.

She's a good writer, but the complaining became rather tiresome.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor

This is a re-read. You can read my review from 2007 here.

I just had a feeling that I needed to read this book again.

A quote I jotted down:

"What made any of us think that the place we are trying to reach is far, far ahead of us somewhere and that the only way to get there is to run until we drop?"

--Barbara Brown Taylor

Thank you!

Thank you to Kjersti for giving my blog a "Super Cute" award! I am honored!
And thanks to you all who read my blog. I hope I've recommended some good books and saved you from some bad ones.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

I only blog about books that I've completed. But you should know that for every four or five books that I review here, there is at least one book that I tried to read and decided not to finish. It's a good thing I borrow books from the library instead of buying them.

How do I decide if I'm going to finish a book? As a general rule, I read the first 50 pages before I decide. And at any point, I stop reading if any of the following are true:

-I don't look forward to reading the book.
-I keep checking to see how many pages are left.
-The author doesn't use quotation marks when people are speaking.

This is a book that I didn't finish. I was so looking forward to reading it because I'm a Barbara Kingsolver fan. It was flat and not at all up to what I expect from Kingsolver. It really didn't even seem like it was Kingsolver's writing.

So after reading 250 of the 500 pages (I was really waiting for it to get better!), I put it down and returned it to the library. I pre-ordered it to give to my sister as a birthday present, but the book was so terrible that I unwrapped it, and returned it to Amazon.

All I can say about this book is: What happened, Barbara???

Friday, November 6, 2009

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

I've already read and reviewed four of Sarah Dessen books including The Truth About Forever, Lock and Key, Just Listen, That Summer. And three of these four reviews started out with: "Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite authors." So it is with mixed feelings that I write this review of her latest, Along for the Ride.

Dessen still is one of my favorite authors and I was very eager to read her newest book. However, about fifty pages into it, I felt disappointed because it seems like Dessen has fallen into a rut. The plots are so formulaic and predictable now (although it worked for me in the first several books of hers that I read): teenage girl has troubles with her family, moves to a new location, meets an unlikely friend in oddball boy, boy and girl become romantically involved while at the same time girl understands something more about herself and her situation.

So I enjoyed reading this book (I read it in two days), but I'm hoping that in Dessen's next book, she'll hop out of this mold and give us something new.

From her book:
"It was terrible and awful when someone left you. You could move on, do the best you could, ending was an ending. No matter how many pages of sentences and paragraphs of great stories led up to it, it would always have the last word."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Maples Stories by John Updike

In 1956, John Updike published a short story featuring the Maples, a married couple. In the 20 years following, Updike returned to the couple time and time again, writing short stories that traced the Maples' marriage, parenting, and eventual divorce.

The Maples Stories is the collection of all of these stories. These stories definitely held my attention, but there were some painful moments, especially toward the end.