Wednesday, January 28, 2009
First of all. . . Kate Winslet is brilliant and deserves whatever award she wins. She's amazing. From the way she walked, to how she hunched her shoulders, and scrubbed herself in the bath, she fit the character. I was completely moved by her performance.
Second. . . This movie isn't for everyone. Within the first 15 minutes or so there is nudity, a lot of it. It continues throughout the first half of the movie. It's rated "R" and should have been. Don't bring your kids!
Third. . . There may be spoilers ahead so if you don't want to know anything about the story, stop reading and go see the movie or read the book!
The story is about Michael. He is fifteen when the movie opens and he begins an affair with Kate Winslet's character, Hannah, who is in her 30's. While their relationship is sexual, it's more than that. Hannah asks Michael to read to her and as their relationship progresses, he reads her several novels. He is unaware that she can't read.
When Hannah gets promoted to an office job, she leaves because she knows she can't do the job if she can't read. Michael is devastated by her leaving but he moves on.
The next time we see Michael, he is a law student and is sitting in on a trial. Hannah is on trial, accused of Nazi war crimes from her time as a SS guard. Michael goes on quite an emotional journey. He is torn between the woman he loved and the fact that she participated in horrible crimes.
The rest of the story is about Hannah's life in prison and Michael's life as an adult, a lawyer, and a father. I don't want to give anything else away but it is very touching, and very sad.
I think the thing that hit me the most, beyond the Holocaust reminders, was the fact that Hannah was a reader, who couldn't read. I can't even imagine not being able to read. How tragic to have such a love for stories, for great literature, and not being able to read it. Michael may have been the "Reader" but so was Hannah, even if she wasn't doing the actual reading.
To sum it up, I think it's a movie that I would recommend to the right people. After reading other reviews, some were so negative that I had to wonder if we watched the same movie. It just goes to show that opinions differ. Some couldn't get past the nudity, and some couldn't get past the idea that a fifteen year old had an affair with a 35 year old. I can understand those arguments. It would have been easy to make the character 18. It would have been easy to avoid the nudity. The movie probably wouldn't have suffered for it. I just urge you to take it for what it is and get to the heart of the story.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Today's teaser comes from Whisper to the Blood by Dana Stabenow . I am only a couple chapters in, but the book takes place in Alaska. Eventually there will be some action but right now, the stage is being set. I chose this teaser because it clearly sets the tone of the town in which they live. The four town "Aunties" are really the ones in charge.
From page 19
If a husband was beating on his wife, as a last resort before calling in the trooper the wife could complain to the aunties, who would deputize the four Grosdidier brothers to haul him up in front of them. Since the four Grosdidier brothers were also Niniltna village's first responder EMT team, this solved the punishment and the 911 call afterward with neatness and dispatch.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Here is today's prompt. . .
Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about lending books...
I am pretty casual about loaning my books out. Most of the people that actually want to borrow my books are trustworthy. My co-workers are usually the ones I foist books upon the most. I wrote a post a few months back about a co-worker/friend who said she had nothing to read. Panic set in and the next day I brought her a bag full. She didn't read them all but she did return them all and I felt my job was done!
I don't mind if some books get passed around after I share them. I loaned one book to a co-worker, who loaned it to her daughter and then somewhere down the road her sister had it. I didn't have a problem with that because I trust my co-worker and I knew I'd get my book back eventually.
As for the time-line, I don't usually have one. I rarely loan books that I haven't read so I'm usually not worried about how long someone has one. My mother is the only one who I will loan unread books to. It's never an issue because I can just go over to her house and take it back! I think that sharing books is one of the best parts of being a reader.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
I've been going through boxes of books, wondering about the value. I don't mean monetary value, as they are not worth anything of that sort, but the value to me. Are they worth keeping? Some yes. Some no. Having them sit in boxes in my garage isn't doing them or me any good but I have shelves full of books I've never read and it's hard to make those decisions. I thought I would try and come up with a top 10 list of my favorite books.
I doubt this list is accurate really, but these book stand out. I am also treating a series as one book because otherwise seven spaces would be taken up with Harry Potter! These aren't in any particular order, because that's just asking too much!
1. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
2. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
3. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
4. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
5. The Circle Trilogy by Nora Roberts
6. A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux
7. Who Wants Arthur by a Amanda Graham (Picture Book)
8. The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer
9. The Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella
10. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Today's prompt. . .
Since “Inspiration” is (or should) the theme this week … what is your reading inspired by?
I don't know that I am inspired by any one thing. I certainly gravitate toward books with nice intelligent romances because I suppose I'm a romantic at heart and have been waiting to be swept away for a while now. It's always nice to get swept away by a book if you can't have the real thing!
I'm also inspired by the time of year and the things that are going on in my life, but it's so hard to pinpoint something specific.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Today's teaser is from The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory. I've just started it so expect another teaser next week. The book is about Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII. At the beginning of the book (or maybe the whole book, I don't know) she is known as Catalina.
From page 93
Catalina looked around from her prayers and smiled in pure triumph. Then, absolutely silently, she crept into bed beside him, and carefully arranging herself so that not even the hem of her nightgown could touch him, composed herself for sleep.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Today's Musing Monday:
How does your being sick (or injured) affect your reading? Do you read more? Less? Do you pick out a different book than you had already planned? Do you have a "comfort book" that makes you feel better?
I admit, I don't read a lot when I'm sick. It's usually a day to sit in front of the TV and catch up on all those shows I've Tivo'd. I have a hard time focusing when I'm not feeling well and reading takes focus (most of the time).
It's a different story when I'm injured though. During the summer between 5th and 6th grade I had a severely sprained ankle and I was immobile for a good chunk of time. I can clearly remember my mother bringing me stacks of library books. I think I was pretty high on the chart for the library's Summer Reading Program.
This past May when I broke my arm, I read a lot but I was more selective because I had a hard time holding the book! I couldn't read hardcovers for two months! Because I couldn't drive for the first couple of weeks, I had a lot of time waiting in cars for other people. Prime reading time!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Baby Proof is one of those books that make you think. There are a few moments that hit entirely too close to home and can hit on sensitive nerves. It was hard for me to get going with this book. I started it, read a few pages, and put it down thinking that I was not going to be a fan of the main character. It turns out I was wrong and while I didn't love the book, I liked it enough to finish reading it and I'll probably share it with a few people.
Baby Proof is about Claudia, a woman in her mid-thirties, who has a very loving marriage. Thing start to go bad when her husband decides he wants children and she absolutely does not. They can not come to a compromise and end up getting a divorce. Claudia struggles through losing the only man she's ever really loved while dealing with work, a new romance, and the drama surrounding her sisters and her best friend.
One thing I really enjoyed was that all of the minor characters had a sub-plot. Claudia's sister Maura was struggling with her husband's infidelity and decisions regarding her marriage and three young children. Her other sister Daphne is struggling with infertility and her best friend, Jess, is dating a married man. All the loose ends tie up neatly towards the end of the book but one question is left hanging. I'm not going to tell you what it was. You'll have to read and find out.
There is also a nice little cameo by Ethan from Something Blue. It's nice to know that he and Darcy are still together!
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Ok, I know I said I wouldn't be doing any more challenges. Hmmm. Maybe that wasn't true. I seem to have found another one. Oops.
The What's In a Name Challenge, has six categories that relate to the title - not the genre- of the book. The goal is to read at least one book that fits in each category. Here are the official rules:
*Dates: January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009 *The Challenge: Choose one book from each of the following categories. 1. A book with a "profession" in its title. Examples might include: The Book Thief, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Historian 2. A book with a "time of day" in its title. Examples might include: Twilight, Four Past Midnight, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time 3. A book with a "relative" in its title. Examples might include: Eight Cousins, My Father's Dragon, The Daughter of Time 4. A book with a "body part" in its title. Examples might include: The Bluest Eye, Bag of Bones, The Heart of Darkness 5. A book with a "building" in its title. Examples might include: Uncle Tom's Cabin, Little House on the Prairie, The Looming Tower 6. A book with a "medical condition" in its title. Examples might include: Insomnia, Coma, The Plague *You may overlap books with other challenges, but please don't use the same book for more than one category.
I like that I can overlap with the other challenges, that's the only reason I signed up for "just one more." I think I'm done now. . .
I have four of these on my A to Z challenge list so that works out well. The other's will have to come after I finish my "Z" book. Oh and is "Knight" a profession? I'm thinking so. I'm also going with the idea that "Dead" is a medical condition.
A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux
Time of Day:
Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
The Yellow Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee
Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Animal Dreams has been sitting on my shelf for a while. At least a year I figure, probably longer. I first read Barbara Kingsolver when I had to read a book for a class I was taking. If I can remember correctly, I had to choose a book that involved diversity, either cultural or racial. I chose Pigs In Heaven because it dealt with adoption and cultural (Native American) issues. I had no idea at the time that it was actually a sequel to The Bean Trees (which is also sitting on my shelf). I then read The Poisonwood Bible which is one of my favorite books of all time.
Animal Dreams qualifies as my "A" book for the A to Z challenge, so I was pretty happy to get a chance to read it as I have a feeling it would have continued to sit on my shelf.
The book is about a woman in her 30's (I can relate) who has spent most of her adult like forgetting her past. The actual memories she does have, she doesn't quite believe in. She and her sister grew up in a strict home with their widowed father. He was the town doctor in a small town in Arizona and she never thought she fit in with the town. She later finds out that she is as much a part of the town as anyone else.
When her sister Hallie, who we only know through letters and memories, leaves for Nicaragua during the time of the Contras crisis, Codi decides to go back to her home town. Her main reason for going home is to see her father who is suffering from Alzheimer's. She accepts a job as the biology teacher at the high school and falls into a romance with Loyd, a man who she has a past with.
The story follows a year in Codi's life. She faithfully writes to her sister and occasionally visits her father. She becomes involved with a campaign to help save the town from an environmental pollutant. The biggest challenge she faces is finding her past. She begins to remember her life in the town of Grace and faces her future.
The book takes place in the mid 80's but is timely in its environmental tone. It all still fits! I was a little lost about the political issues in Nicaragua and Honduras because I was in middle and high school at the time. I was fairly unaware of big news at the time. I do recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Barbara Kingsolver. She's consistently good.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
My current read is Baby Proof by Emily Giffen. I'm just barely into in although I put it next to my bed last week. I just stayed up too late with other things that I never got into it before bed. Today at lunch will be my first big chunk of time to read it.
From Page 248
And then if the tragedy is great enough, there is dancing at the cheesiest bridge-and-tunnel club Jess can dig up for us. It actually can be very therapeutic so I'm tempted to cave, but I consider the hangover that I will have tomorrow and make the thirty-five-year-old determination that it's not worth it.
Monday, January 12, 2009
How did you react to assigned reading when you were in school/university/college/etc? How do you think on these books now? What book were you 'forced' to read when you where in school that you've since reread and loved?
Ugh. Assigned reading. Blech. I hated it. It was always horrible to be forced to read something. Now I assign reading to myself and usually plow through it, no matter how tedious or difficult. It's personal now.
I think the main issue I had with assigned reading is the time limit. I'm not a fast reader, I'm a careful reader and because of that, time-lines were hard for me.
As for books that I hated then and love now? A Tale of Two Cities comes to mind. I love that book. It's amazing. I have re-read The Great Gatsby and probably appreciate it more now. On the other side of things, there are a few books I was forced to read in high school that I'd like to read again but just haven't gotten around to. Watership Down for one.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
1. Size 14 is not Fat Either by Meg Cabot
2. When the Wind Blows by James Patterson
3. Every Boy's Got One by Meg Cabot
4. Fly Me to the Moon by Alyson Noel
5. Santa Cruise by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark
6. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
7. The Lake House by James Patterson
8. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling (re-read)
9. Shopaholic and Baby by Sophie Kinsella
10. Boy Meets Girl by Meg Cabot
11. At First Sight by Nicholas Sparks
12. Forever in Blue; the 4th Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares
13. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
14. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (re-read)
15. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (re-read)
16. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (re-read)
17. Angel's Fall by Nora Roberts
18. The Next Big Thing by Johanna Edwards
19. Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir
20. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
21. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
22. Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson
23. Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot
24. Cocktails for Three by Madeline Wickham
25. Hot Stuff by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes
26. Fool Me Once by Fern Michaels
27. Maximum Ride; School's Out Forever by James Patterson
28. Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin
29. Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich
30. Finding Amy by Carol Steward
31. The Lord of the Rings; The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
32. When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin
33. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
34. Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich
35. Skinny Dip by Carl Hiassen
36. Big Boned by Meg Cabot
37. Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts
Saturday, January 10, 2009
1. Flabbergasted by Ray Blackstone
2. Third Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares
3. She Went all the Way by Meg Cabot
4. Naked by David Sedaris
5. Thirty Nothing by Lisa Jewell
6. Pull Yourself Up By Your Brastraps by Jeanne Bice
7. Three Junes by Julia Glass
8. Sisterchicks Ooh-La-La by Robin Jones Gunn
9. Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
10. Carolina Isle by Jude Deveraux
11. The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks
12. True Believer by Nicholas Sparks
13. Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot
14. The Tearoom on Mulberry Street by Sharon Owens
15. Blue Smoke by Nora Roberts
16. The Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot
17. Paradise Fields by Katie Fforde
18. Sisterchicks in Gondolas by Robin Jones Gunn
19. Marley and Me by John Grogan
20. Maximum Ride by James Patterson
21. The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander
22. The Wish by Gail Carson Levine
23. Morrigan's Cross by Nora Roberts
24. Dance of the Gods by Nora Roberts
25. Valley of Silence by Nora Roberts
26. Crispin and the Cross of Lead by Avi
27. The Lord of the Rings; Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Yeah! It's time for Booking Through Thursday!
It’s a week or two later than you’d expect, and it may be almost a trite question, but … what were your favorite books from 2008?
(It’s an oldie but a goodie question for a reason, after all … because, who can’t use good book suggestions from time to time?)It's quite handy that just yesterday I listed all the books I read in 2008. This way my old brain doesn't have to work so hard.
I read the Twilight Series in 2008. I'd read Twilight in 2007 but re-read it. They were favorites of mine just because they were so unique and I enjoy getting caught up in all the hype.
Three Cups of Tea changed my views on a lot of things and I got so caught up in the man's journey, so that one is a favorite.
The Time Traveler's Wife is another favorite. I really enjoyed that book. I liked how hard it made me think. I had to keep going back to check on dates to try to keep some semblance of a timeline. It challenged my way of thinking which is what books should do. I highly recommend it!
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
1. Four to Score by Janet Evanovich
2. Wife for Hire by Janet Evanovich
3. A Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
5. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
6. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
7. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (re-read)
8. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
9. Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella
10. Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports by James Patterson
11. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
12. 3rd Degree by James Patterson
13. Naughty Neighbor by Janet Evanovich
14. Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis
15. The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory
16. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffen
17. The Hollow by Nora Roberts
18. 1st to Die by James Patterson
19. High Noon by Nora Roberts
20. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
21. Queen of Babble in the Big City by Meg Cabot
22. Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson
23. Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster
24. Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster
25. Candy Girl by Diablo Cody
26. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
27. On Writing by Stephen King
28. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audry Niffinegger
29. Sisterchicks Go Brit by Robin Jones Gunn
30. The Last Summer (of You and Me) by Ann Brashares
31. The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
32. High Five by Janet Evanovich
33. Something Blue by Emily Giffen
34. When Lightening Strikes by Meg Cabot
35. 2nd Chance by James Patterson
36. Bright Lights Big Ass by Jen Lancaster
37. The Shack by William P. Young
38. Maximum Ride The Final Warning by James Patterson
39. Back to the Bedroom by Janet Evanovich
40. The Lord of the Rings the Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
41. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
42. Thanksgiving by Janet Evanovich
43. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortinson and David Oliver Relin
44. Manhunt by Janet Evanovich
45. Love overboard by Janet Evanovich
46. The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts
47. Smitten by Janet Evanovich
48. The Cinderella Pact by Sarah Strohmeyer
49. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
50. The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore
Now I'm jealous.
There are books on my list farther down the alphabet that I'm itching to read but yet I'm also aware that I'd put off reading some of these books until the end and that's not cool either. So, I'm sticking with alphabetical order.
I did make one change to my own mental rules. . . I went ahead and started my "B" book even though I'm not done with "A". I like to have two books going, one by my bed and one to drag around with me everywhere else. I figure that I'll finish Animal Dreams in the next few days and that way I'll already have a jump on Baby Proof. I'll just switch it out. Once I start dragging Baby Proof around with me, The Constant Princess will go by my bed. Sounds like a good plan to me.
I feel much better already!
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
I'm finally reading my "A" book which is Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver. I'm not terribly far into it (what happened to all my reading time???) but am liking it so far. It's about a woman who goes back to her hometown because her father isn't well. She's dealing with old hurts and old ghosts all while missing her sister who is in Nicaragua.
From page 210:
The canyon walls rose straight up on either side of us, ranging from sunset orange to deep rust, mottled with purple. The sandstone had been carved by ice ages and polished by desert eons of sandpaper winds.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Another Christmas book finished. . . and just a week after Christmas. It's all right though since I bought the book on Christmas Eve.
Any Dave Barry fans? If you are, you'll enjoy this one. It's not one of his normal humor books. It is a sweet story that will make you laugh and maybe cry just a little. This little book, coming in at just over one hundred pages, is filled with pictures of Christmases past and old memories. It takes place in the 60's in a small town where things seem idyllic to most of us.
Doug is the narrator and I'm guessing he's around thirteen or fourteen. He's got the role of Shepherd in the church Christmas pageant. The story revolves around his family and one Christmas that stood out among others. It's such a short book that if I tell you anything much I'll be giving it away. Just take my advice, put it on your "to be read" list and look for it. It would be cute to read to your kids too - just leave out the part about the bras!
Friday, January 2, 2009
Well, The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore is quite a ride. I remember way back when I read Fluke I made the comment "that was the oddest book I've ever read." Well, it might now be tied with The Stupidest Angel. It was a good book and a lot of fun. It's Christmasy in a kind of messed up kind of way.
The story begins with introductions to all the various characters. We meet Lena, a divorced realtor with a very stressed relationship with her ex, and we meet the ex, Dale, a not-very-well-liked drunk. We are introduced to Tucker and his pet fruit bat Roberto, Theo the constable with a marijuana habit, and Molly a former "B" movie star who slips into her character "Kendra the Warrior Woman" when she's off her meds.
I don't want to give the plot away but let me just mention that it involves an accidentally dead "Santa", a boy who has a Christmas wish, an angel who wants to grant that wish (and eat marshmallows), a crazy woman, and a bunch of brain eating zombies who crash a Christmas party. Yet it's still heartwarming. Go figure!
The only complaint I have is the "bonus chapter". The version of the book I picked up was the 2.0 version and there was an extra chapter in the back involving a serial killer. It wasn't necessary at all.
I enjoyed the book, it just made me shake my head a bit. It also made me laugh, which is what counts. I knew it would be funny and it was. I'm guessing that if I were to pick up another Christopher Moore book I would again make the comment "that was the oddest book I've ever read."
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Today's Booking through Thursday is quite on topic!
I suppose my reading resolutions would involve the three challenges that I've signed up for. I get to start the A to Z Challenge today which will come first in order of challenge importance. I'll work on the New Author Challenge as it comes up as well as the Casual Classics, focusing on them as the year goes on.
As for the one book I'm most looking forward to reading. . . Probably The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I've heard so much about it -good and bad - that I'm excited to see what my own opinions are. It will also be interesting to read something of hers that isn't part of the Twilight series. I have to get through A - G first.