Saturday, April 28, 2012
For me, this was a mildly interesting book. I learned more about Egypt and Islam. But there was something about the writing and the language that made it not such a pleasant and easy read.
The author was actually in the area speaking at a local library this morning. I was thinking about going. If I had loved the book, I would had definitely gone, but since the book was just so-so for me, I didn't end up going.
Posted by Elaine at 4:31 PM
To all my readers: Please keep sending me your book recommendations. I do check out what you suggest!
The Snow Child is sent in 1920s Alaska. Jack and Mabel, a childless couple (not by choice) from the East Coast, move to Alaska to farm. It's an isolating and challenging place to live, and they are both weighed down with it all.
During the first snowfall, they build a little snow child, complete with red mittens and a red scarf. The next morning, the snow child is gone, along with the scarf and mittens. And then, Jack and Mabel begin to see glimpses of a young, blonde-haired girl running through the woods with a red fox by her side. Who is this girl? Is it just their imaginations?
Delightful, well-written, and enchanting. One of my favorites so far this year. I'm thinking of buying it for a friend's graduation gift now that she'll have time to read for fun.
Posted by Elaine at 4:20 PM
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
The author of this book is an American journalist living in Paris and raising her family there. While out in a restaurant with her husband and her 18-month-old daughter, she realizes that her lunch experience with a toddler in tow is a mess and a struggle, and not at all relaxing. Meantime, the French families around her, also with young children, are calmly enjoying their meals together. This experience prompts her to wonder, and then to research, what makes French parenting different from American parenting?
She finds that, in general, French kids start sleeping through the night around two months old, have a higher tolerance for waiting and frustration, and they eat well-rounded meals. French kids also seem to be in better control of themselves and more well-behaved.
Druckerman finds that the French view of what a child actually is and what he/she is capable of is quite different from the American view.
This book was super interesting! It made me think that there’s another way to raise kids than how I see it done in the United States. For example, while American kids seem to be snacking all day long and mothers keep an endless supply of cheerios in their purses, French kids eat breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner. When a child buys a treat from a bakery, she knows that it’s not to be eaten right away. The treat will be saved until the afternoon snack time.
I like that French kids are raised to eat well-rounded meals. They don’t just eat “kid food.” This is how Druckerman describes lunch at her daughter’s daycare: “Lunch is served in four courses: a cold vegetable starter, a main dish with a side of grains or cooked vegetables, a different cheese each day, and a dessert of fresh fruit or fruit puree” (p. 112). Cool, huh? I’d eat that. Especially the cheese!
I’d definitely recommend this book for some good food for thought. It's thoughtful and funny, and the author is quite likeable. It’s one of the most interesting books I’ve read so far in 2012.
Posted by Elaine at 3:57 PM
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
I found the letters to be thoughtful and readable. However, it was kind of weird to only read one side of the story. The voice of the graduate student is missing (her letters in response are not included although the author alludes to them and the questions that the student asks in her letters), so the conversation is one-sided and therefore, not totally satisfying. It would have been interesting to read what kinds of questions, doubts, and feelings the student was experiencing throughout her pregnancy.
I give this a so-so rating. I am planning on giving it to one of my pregnant friends this week, and I'm interested in what she thinks.
Posted by Elaine at 2:35 PM
The story starts off in August 1974 when a tightrope walker runs, jumps, and hops across a wire between the Twin Towers. Who is this guy?? Commuters stare up and are mesmerized.
We're then introduced to a variety of characters that don't seem to be related, but end up being a part of each others' stories in some way.
If you like books in which there are different story lines, but some kind of connection between them all, you'll like this one.
For me, this one was just okay. I read it all, but got stuck at times.
**Warning: contains adult themes and characters.
Posted by Elaine at 6:00 AM
Saturday, April 21, 2012
The son that Lamott writes about in Operating Instructions is all grown up now, and got his girlfriend pregnant when he was 19. So this is a book that chronicles the first year of Anne Lamott's grandson.
I'm a fan of Lamott's non-fiction (Traveling Mercies is one of my favorites), but some of her jokes and descriptions have been used so many times (like references to Nixon) and are found in this book as well, so that felt old. She also describes a trip to India that she took during that first year, and that seemed like a totally different book within a book.
Overall, I read this one in two days and liked it. Way better than her fiction - I advise you to stay away from her fiction and stick to her non-fiction.
Posted by Elaine at 5:48 PM
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Really? This is standard now?
Shit, man...I give up.
This is a funny, funny collection of haiku poems written about the single girl life. There are cute, whimsical illustrations that accompany each haiku.
Warning: contains some mature content though.
Pick this up at your library if you happen to see it. It's funny. My husband was even reading over my shoulder.
Posted by Elaine at 4:45 PM
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
However, on the eve of her wedding, another man proposes to Soo-Ja, and this time it's a man that she does love. Soo-Ja follows through with her wedding, but the other man that proposed will drift in and out of her life, reminding Soo-Ja of her choice and what could have been, had she chosen him.
Sounds like an interesting plot, eh? However, the character of Soo-Ja and the defining choice she made about which man to marry never seemed solid to me. This, along with some other events in the book that didn't quite make sense, made it seem like the story was built on a faulty and fragile foundation.
Instead of just an okay book, I think this could have been a great book. I want to sit down with the author and say, "Hey, let's think through some of these things a little bit more." And then send him back to the writing board because this really could have been a great book.
Posted by Elaine at 3:33 PM
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
This is a story about mess and perfection, and what things look like on the outside vs. the inside, and how we never know the full story (or even close) about anyone.
This is the fourth Laurie Halse Anderson book I've reviewed in the last month or so, and it does not rank at the top of my list although it was a good read. If you were to read one of her books, I'd recommend Wintergirls.
Monday, April 2, 2012
Funny, poignant, and overall, just very delightful, this is a very fun, easy read.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Maybe you've noticed that I've been reading books by Laurie Halse Anderson. I like her writing, but it takes me back to the horrors/social aspects of high school which is not so fun, but real.
A fabulous, well-written, deep read that I think would appeal to just about anyone.
Posted by Elaine at 12:19 PM