Monday, March 28, 2011

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

This book was recommended to me by several of my book club members.  It's not the usual kind of book I'd pick, but one of the reasons why I joined the book club in the first place was to expand my reading horizons. 

In this book, the author, due to serious illness, becomes bed bound.  A friend brings her some violets from the forest and puts a snail from the forest in the pot.  The author grows fascinated with the snail.  The slow pace makes the snail perfect pet.  In some ways, the book is interesting and beautiful, in others it is depressing and scary.  I'm a busy, active mom, the thought of an illness coming on suddenly that could cause me to be bed bound for the next several years is completely frightening.  There are a lot of snail facts here, but the author's obvious love for her subject makes the facts mostly, readable and interesting.  A sweet, little book.

Secretariat by William Nack

First published in 1975, this is the book that inspired the recent movie, Secretariat.

I love horses, live a short drive from one of the nation's finest tracks--Arlington, loved the movie, and love reading about people (or in this case a horse) who achieve greatness, so what's not to love about the book Secretariat!  It does get a bit tedious with all the in depth horse breeding history and race timing breakdowns, but they are minimal annoyances.  I learned so much about horse racing.  I would have liked to learn a bit more about Penny Tweedy, owner; Lucien Laurin, trainer; Ron Turcotte, jockey; and Ed Sweat, groom.  Secretariat was a truly great horse and this was worth while book.  I'm now all set to head to Arlington as soon as I figure out what's happened in horse racing since the 1970's.  (No, really it's just fun to sit and soak it all in.)  Maybe Mother's Day.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

A 2010 Oprah Book Club Selection

Freedom is a bit of a tough read, but it is so worth it.  It covers the lives of Walter and Patty Berglund, their friend Richard, their children, and family, detailing the ups and downs of their lives.  It is written from everyones perspective, going back and forward in time, causing the reader constant adjustments to voice and time.  The characters are wonderfully read, vibrant, and human.  There are several funny moments.  It treats the bad moments with a matter-of-factness that allows the reader to continue reading knowing that live goes on.  Ultimately the book was wonderful!  A thoughtful, well-written book about life and living and the choices we make.  I'm so glad I stuck with it.  I will have the book in my thoughts for some time.

A final note--the book itself is well made.  It was bound with thick quality paper.  A joy to hold and read.  I love the cover!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What I'm reading now.

I have hit a new all time high or low depending on how you look at it; I am reading four books at once. They are:

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
Secretariat by William Nack
The Case for God by Karen Armstrong
The Narnia Code by Michael Ward

None of them are easy reads, which is why am reading them at once.  I am enjoying all of them immensely.  I will, of course, post what I thought when I finally finish one.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Heart of Christianity by Marcus J. Borg

Rediscovering a Life of Faith.  How We Can Be Passionate Believers Today.

Heart of Christianity

This book is for all those who long to be a Christian, but can't believe Christianity is the one true religion, can't believe the bible is the literal truth.  There is an emerging Christian tradition--a way of seeing the bible and Christian life that means we don't have to suspend our beliefs to fit in.  We can be passionate believers, living the Christian life and Marcus J. Borg shows us the way.  An easily readable book, with well-organized chapters and thoughtful reasoning.  This book put joy in my heart.  I'm not alone; there are others out there who believe as I do.  Consertive Christianity is not the only Christian path.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl by Susan McCorkingdale

I saw this book for sale at Target and thought it sounded interesting.  This book is truly funny!  The author has a high flying magazine editor job in New York, but wanted out.  Her husband found a 500 acre cattle farm his brother bought and needed a manager for 2 years.  So, the family moved from New Jersey to the middle-of-no-where.  The book is in short essay/chapter form.  Yes, there are lots of where-am-I-going-to-buy-my-designer-shoes-now, type of jokes, but my favorites are when she discusses her kids.  As a mother myself, I can totally relate to what she says about the crazy stuff her kids do.  There were numerous times when I was reading that I laughed so hard my eyes started tearing up.  The perfect book to laugh away the grey end of winter days.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hold Tight by Harlan Coben

This is a 2011 Abraham Lincoln Books selection.

This book raises the question when/if parents are justified using some of the technology available today to spy of their children.  It is a thought provoking question.  The plot centers around a high school boy who has been acting strangely.  In a last ditch effort to find out what is going on with their son (who has a computer in his bedroom--a big no no in the first place) they put a spy program on his computer.  Later in the book they use the GPS on his phone to track him. I'm sure the High School set (the age group the Abraham Lincoln Books are aimed for) would side with the boy in the book and be outraged that the parents were spying.  The way the book turned out, the author seemed to be saying that spying was bad.  I'm going to say that children of any age (High Schoolers included) must prove that they are trustworthy by being open and honest about their activities.  If they break that trust they have to deal with the consequences.  Yes, spying is extreme, but if I thought I was about to loose my child to drugs, suicide, etc.  I would do it. 

On another note, there was a side story that seemed weird to me.  It didn't seems to add much to the main plot line and it didn't seem very believable.  There was also what I thought was unnecessary violence.  Not that by High School kids haven't been exposed to this and worse.  It just didn't seem necessary to the story.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

More books to come

Believe it or not, I have even more books to blog about to when I have more time.  I have been reading a lot in an effort to hibernate until spring comes.  Plus, my husband has been home a lot of evenings watching Bizarre Foods and Man vs. Food and I have had about enough of it.  This leaves my evenings free to read all I want.  I do insist upon watching Supernatural on Friday nights and Parenthood on Tuesday evenings; my two favorite shows.

Vampire Romance Part 2

I'm the Vampire, That's Why and Don't Talk Back to Your Vampire by Michele Bardsley

book cover of 
I'm the Vampire, That's Why 
 (Broken Heart, Oklahoma, book 1)
Michele Bardsley

I had to put these next two books in their own entry, because I loved them so much.  There is no fun escape read I like better than vampire romance, and it gets taken to a whole new level when the book also makes me laugh!  These did that so well.  There was an interesting supernatural world and problem to overcome, plenty of believeable romance, plenty of humor, and even better the heroines are were all mothers before being turned into vampires!  (Four Fangs)

Vampire Romance

If anyone has been following by blog, you will have figured out that I am a huge vampire book fan.  (No it didn't start with Twilight, It started with Interview with a Vampire.)  Here are a few I have read lately:

 From Christine Feehan's Dark Series--Dark Prince and Dark Melody.  The vampires in this series are at risk of loosing their soul's to the Darkness unless they find their life partner.  I love the utter devotion the vampires have for their soul mates, but the books tend to bog down when the hero and heroine sit around for page after page talking about how much the other one means to them.  Will this stop me from reading all bazillion of the books in the series, no way! (Three Fangs)

Kate MacAlister, A Girl's Guide to Vampires.  This one is a bit misleading, because it is not mainly about vampires.  Vampires are a part of the book, however and story is interesting.  There are also more books in this series and they are being rereleased soon.  Here the male vampires are born with darkness as a result of their father's sins and only their soul mate can bring them out of the darkness.  Pretty good.  (Two Fangs)

Kerrelyn Sparks, How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire.  The first book in another long series of books.  This book was a bit lighter than the previous two, but still interesting.  The author has thought up an interesting vampire/supernatural world here with good story lines and romance.  (Two Fangs) 

Note:  My vampire book scale is from one to four fangs.  One being not so hot and Four being on fire. 

Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver

The back of this book states that this is "America's original courtroom thriller."  It is copyrighted 1958.  It was an engaging read.  Interesting enough that I clipped through the book fairly quickly, but not so nail biting that I wanted to put my life on hold to finish (which I hate, because I do have a life that I have to live).  I like to read books written in other times because it gives me glimpses of how life was then.  This was no different and I must say--I'm glad we are no longer living in the 1950's.  The antiquated, chauvinistic attitudes toward women in this book were shocking.  Most of the humor was mean spirited and aimed at women. 

As I said in a previous entry, I picked this book up because it was recommended in a Moon Handbook on Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  There were a few descriptions of the local life and scenery that were nice.  Over all, I liked it.  If you are a fan of the T.V. series Law and Order, you will like this.