Saturday, February 28, 2009


Okay, I got bored with our old look so I took the liberty of changing it. I hope nobody minds! Let me know what you think.


I got half-way through The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark before I finally realized it was a lost cause. My main problem with the book is that it was boring! There was hardly any plot development and it left me restless and itching for something to happen. I kept reading because I thought "Surely, in the next chapter we'll get something to further the story along.", but no! It just kept meandering. So, I gave up.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Disquiet by Julia Leigh

I'd heard many great things about this novella, so I was happy to be the first person to get it at the library. I have to say that I was disappointed.The writing, though, definitely lived up to its billing. It is simple, pure and unadorned. I always admire writers who can convey so much by saying so little. I suppose this is just not the right type of novel for me at this time in my life. I am mostly looking for escape and authors who are high-impact storytellers. I want to fall into a novel and feel that I am living right alongside the characters, seeing what they see, feeling what they feel. Disquiet doesn't provide that level of engagement. We never know what the characters are feeling and because of the clues we get into their lives, we probably don't want to. The plot is straightforward (or so it seems): Olivia and her two young children move in with her mother after she flees her abusive husband. Olivia's brother Marcus and his wife, Sophie, also return to live in the family mansion. The strangeness then begins. I won't say more as it would give the entire novel away. Great writing, wonderful imagery, but not an escape.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday Tasting

Turn to page 56 of the current book you are reading and read the fifth sentence on the page:

"Aside from the torments of longing I endured , away from her, swinging bouts of mild elation and terror lest she should change her mind, the one cloud on our horizon was the question of where we were to live".
- from The Seance by John Harwood

Friday, February 13, 2009

Masterpiece Classic Update

I finally finished watching Wuthering Heights on Masterpiece Classic. At first, I didn't really enjoy it and that is why it has taken me several weeks to watch it. In the end, though, I thought it was very good. Not excellent, but very good. I really liked the actor who played Heathcliff, Tom Hardy. I thought he was especially exciting to watch.
Next up is Oliver Twist. I am not a huge fan of Dickens, but I will watch this. You can see a preview of it here. It is nice to see that Tom Hardy will also be in this film, playing Bill Sikes.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food by Judith Jones

I love reading about food and this memoir sounded like the perfect weekend reading. Judith Jones is an editor at Knopf who was responsible for publishing books by Julia Child, Marcella Hazan, Claudia Roden and others who pioneered the way that Americans think about food and who influenced our tastes and cooking habits over the past 50 years. She was also a serious foodie herself who, with her husband Evan, experimented with recipes and became an accomplished home cook. Her memoir is a very enjoyable and entertaining read. I even enjoyed reading about her love for beef brains, which almost makes me want to be a vegetarian. I recommend this if you're in the mood for an intelligent and satisfying read.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Books I Gave Up On (BIGUO)

I picked up a promising book at work yesterday, but after I got home and started reading it I realized it wasn't my thing.

On Kingdom Mountain by Howard Frank Mosher - He's an excellent writer, but I wasn't in the mood for quirky characters.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Most Recent Book I Gave Up On

I have several of these, too. My most recent, however, was Charlotte Gray. I had been reading a book set in the same time period and it was too depressing, so when I tried to read Charlotte Gray I was up to my eyeballs in dark and fear and privation and I just could not do it. I also gave up on the other book, which I can't remember anymore, but I know Anbo read it. Anyway, I'm sure I'll have many posts on this subject in the future.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Books I Gave Up On

I'm going to start a new series logging the books I've given up on. It seems this happens a lot to me. I'm not the type of reader who will read something just because it's there. If I don't like a book within the first 20 pages, I'm gone. Here are a couple of books I've recently given up on:

Daemon by Daniel Suarez - The main reason I quit this book was because of the excessive foul language and the horrid depiction of a gang rape. It made me nauseous.

Bone by Bone by Carol O'Connell - This novel was trying so hard to be gothic, creepy and mysterious, but it just seemed silly to me.

Have you given up on any books lately?

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Niesa has already heard me rave about this book, but I can rave for days about it to anyone who will listen. I loved this novel!
Set just after World War II in London, this story is told in a series of letters between the various characters. The main character is Juliet Ashton, a thirty-something writer of humorous war articles that have been compiled into a best-selling book. She's single and an orphan, having lost her parents when she was a teenager. While she's touring for her current book and struggling to find a topic for a new book, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams who lives on the island of Guernsey. She begins a correspondence with him and with other members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and finds herself becoming increasingly infatuated with Guernsey and its inhabitants. She learns about what life was like for them during the war when they were occupied by the Germans and decides she wants to meet these incredible people in person. Leaving behind a new beau Juliet moves to Guernsey and starts a life there that is full of love, learning how to nurture and celebrating the history of Guernsey and its inhabitants.
The tone of this novel is upbeat and hopeful, even when it is addressing serious issues of deprivation and cruelty inflicted during the war. The characters are loveable and quirky, but also brave and steadfast. There is lots of humor to balance the horror and hardship.
This is one that I consider to be an instant classic! Make time to read it; you won't be disappointed.