Tuesday, September 14, 2010

materials for young adults...

that's the class for the semester... and i guess that's what i'll talking about for the next three months. and again, i'm amazed for the amount of good stuff that's out there for readers in this age group!

so far i've read the hunger games by suzanne collins... a book i totally resisted reading because who wants to read a book about kids killing each other?! and it was post-apocalyptic, another strike! but since i was forced, i picked it up... then i couldn't put it back down. katniss is one of those characters that you might not want to like, but can't help it. she's wise and strong and brave--oh my gosh, so brave as to tell the government of this dystopian country to piss off at the end of the book and break all of the rules of the hunger games. i recommend this one... and you might like shirley jackson's the lottery.

i love nick hornby... especially after i read his young adult novel slam. i got this book from the man himself back in 2007 (yes, i love my job!) but didn't read it immediately. i don't know why, but what a treat it was for me when i remembered it while searching my shelves for something to read. slam is about sam...
sam is a skater... not on ice, but on a board
sam lives with his mom--his parents are divorced
sam was in love with alicia... but now not so much anymore
oh, and sam talks to his poster of tony hawk for advice... especially now since alicia {his ex-girlfriend} is pregnant

the back cover of this book says, "nick hornby usually writes about men who behave like boys, and now he's writing about a boy who behaves like a man." after reading juliet, naked, i couldn't agree more. sam is more of a man than tucker, or duncan, or rob in high fidelity, or will in about a boy... while those others are self-indulgent and so egocentric, and somehow sam isn't. he has the right to be, but i suppose that's what makes us readers so drawn into his story... every single little moment.

more good (and not so good) young adult titles to come!

happy reading, my friends

Thursday, August 26, 2010

couldn't finish it...

i'm beginning to wonder if it's my status as an only child that makes me crave books about friends and big families... mayhaps. but i picked up the girls from ames by jeffrey zaslow and just couldn't read it. it depressed me, do people, especially women stay friends? for forty years? when each takes a different path? some school and careers... some marriage and families right out of college... and some doing it all at once? where does the petty competition come to play?

i'm so jaded. part of the problem for me probably came from the fact that i picked it up during the weekends between my class reunions. reunions? yep, i went to two highschools--public school for 3 semesters, and private school for 3 semesters and that's where i graduated from. when you change schools in the middle of your junior year, it makes for a weird limbo.

when i looked {on facebook, of course} of pictures from the highschool days, i wasn't in any... not one. it's then i started to fall into this chasm of feeling like i was non-existent for 3 years of my life. looking back 20 years later, it's one of those things that would/could tend to push one into making sure one's children don't look back with regret...

what?! what am i rambling on about? certainly, i'm not talking about books and that's what this little thing is all about. so let's move onward and upward and talk about an audio book that came highly recommended by the author author! because she and i are friends... at least on facebook... heh heh!

one day, rebecca wells posted that she was really proud of the fact that she recorded an audio version of the divine secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood. you know, i just ranted about how often author's ruin their books by trying to read them... and i hate abridgements... quelle surprise!! {read that in a creole french accent, dah-lin'} it was great! rebecca wells did a perfect job reading the book and abridging the book to keep the mother-daughter relationship neatly intertwined with the ya-yas. but did i expect any less? mais non!

if you are looking for a good listen, you should go over to audible.com and give it a try...
happy reading/listening!

btw: i don't work for audible or anything, but i do have a membership with them, and i'm not sure if this download is available other places

Sunday, August 22, 2010

as seen on facebook: cap'n bloodsnatch

go ahead... be grossed out...

but why?

this is my new-found freedom I've found from reading flow: the cultural history of menstruation by elissa stein. occasionally, I read non-fiction, and this book was recommended by one of my more “interesting” patrons. this patron handed me this book, and in a voice heavy in conspiracy said, “you’ve been lied to.” a little weird yeah.

but this book was so interesting in the fact that MEN have made us embarrassed by this thing our body does for no specific reason that anyone knows a thing that has been understudied, misunderstood and corrupted by the femcare industry and pharmaceutical companies.

stop! I love men. I’m not a man hater but this book is one of those books that makes you rethink everything you’ve ever thought about your period because it’s men who have convinced us that we’re crazy, depressed, practically abnormal and should be shunned.

shunned? sequestered? hmm a little red tent time? I could handle that far better than charlotte perkins gilman’s story the yellow wallpaper. the story stemmed from her seeking help for mild depression from a doctor renown for sending men with depression west to journal their experiences. however, for women, the good doctor recommended rest read the story. Go back to are you there God, it's me margaret... and dig out that memory of nervous excitement of being caught in between being first and being last to get it..

flow is an easy read maybe not so much for the people in your life who are a bit squeamish, because it’s one of those books where you are compelled to read parts out loud in disgust, anger or in laughter.

happy reading!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

oh, hello... have we met?

again, i apologize for my lapse in posting... because i know you all wait with held breath for my book thoughts, right?! maybe i should change my blog's title to
don't hold your breath!

i've been reading a bunch, even if i haven't been posting. first of all, i want to continue the last post because at first i was disappointed with how the help ended. i expected great earth-shattering changes for aibileen and minny and the rest of the help. and when the book ended, i didn't feel that. in my mind, i was thought, "really? that's it?"

but two months later, and after reading sit-in: how four friends stood up by sitting down with my guys... i had one of those slap yourself up-side the head moment!! the whole movement was based on the tiny and patient steps by people who saw that any gain is a gain--no matter the size. and what skeeter, aibileen and minny did was earth-shattering because it made people stop and think. so now i recommend the help whole-heartedly versus my eeh review in may. sometimes, I wonder about myself

and now, I’m slogging thru the girl with the dragon tattoo and so far my {previously mentioned} feeble brain isn’t as impressed as the rest of the world. what am i missing?

happy reading, my friends!

Monday, May 24, 2010


i'm a talker, and I like "talking" books...
i don't care for books that have very little dialog.

for example, nabokov's lolita or bernhard schlink's the readerare both are fabulous books, and are worthwhile reads. but they are too one-sided to me. i'm aware that's a literary device, and creative license, and lalalalalaaaa...

but give me somethin' that i can sink my teeth in and hear a fuller version of the story.

the help by kathryn stockett is a talking book!

there are three different voices talking about what happens when the color lines get blurred in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962. the world is on the verge of change, and it's starting to trickle south, as it were.

one thing i love about southern books, is everyone's got a nickname. think about the ya-ya sisterhood... and the help is no different. eugenia "skeeter" phelan has come home from ole miss with a degree and not an MRS like her all of her friends. she has aspirations different from the junior leaguers... skeeter wants to be a writer! sadly the only journalism job available in jackson is as the housekeeping advice columnist.

yep, there's a bit of irony there, as she's never done anything for herself because she was raised by "the help" too. but thru a series of events finds herself turning to aiblieen and minny, house maids, for help on the housekeeping column, and the column turns into a book about what it's like to be a black maid in mississippi.

in 2010, the civil rights movement is a moment in history that invokes a wide range of emotions for everyone, i'd suppose. for me, it was breaking out in goosebumps in the nashville public library's civil rights room with a lunch counter replica and ugly visions of peaceful demonstrations...

or being on the lincoln memorial with hot tears escaping down my cheeks with thoughts of dr. martin luther king having a dream for a better future while standing on the very same stepl...

or the anger, shame and disgust i feel by reading this book! these friends of skeeter's are steeped in a sweet tea of ignorance! and i know this is how the world was then, and how they were raised, but an initiative for every home having a separate bathroom for the help because they carry diseases that the whites can catch? really...!?!

the fear i feel for the help who are working with skeeter on her book, i can't help wonder what will happen when the book is completed. and what will skeeter do? will she continue to say thank you--and actually mean it--to the black women who wait on her? will what they're doing make any difference in the world in which they live?

i don't know...

obviously, i'm not done with the book yet... my ipod battery died this morning! i'm dying to finish it!!

however, here are a couple of other books I loved with good talk:

almost paradise by susan isaacs--certainly not high literature, but a good story told from two sides of a courtship, marriage, and betrayal.

joy luck club by amy tan

the other boleyn girl by philippa gregory

snuff by chuck palahniuk

and most of fannie flagg's books

happy reading, my friends!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010


now, you know i really try to be positive about reading, authors and books... but i was so disappointed yesterday with listening to a new book and i feel like i need to tell you.

i love, love, love garden spells and all things sarah addison allen. this isn't new to you, i know. yesterday, i decided that i would listen to it because i had just finished listening to winter solstice by rosamunde pilcher in my office...

... the reader for winter solstice was wonderful. she carried the story beautifully. i was in scotland. i was in rosamunde pilcher's world--which you also know is another of my favorite places!

that's one of the things i love about listening to novels, is getting the dialect of the region to make it even more real in my head. i'm also listening to pat conroy's south of broad... and that reader makes me melt with gentle lilt of the carolina accent, even when talking about the vilest of vile situations. it makes me feel like i'm there, and sometimes that's what i want--an audio escape!

but this reader and her interpretation of garden spells is all wrong! she's too clipped, too abrupt, with too much emphasis in spots--making me feel not what i felt when i first read this book... i want to be awash with the gentle magic that is this book.

i understand, that it must seem that i live in this little naive book world. but i listen to a lot of books and there has only been one other book that i've felt this way about... okay maybe three books:

and sadly, both of the girls guide to hunting and fishing and fahrenheit 451 were read by the authors! oh, now i feel bad karma* coming my way...

quick! did i tell you
what is your favorite audio book?!

*or as much karma this little lutheran girl can feel... maybe some residual catholic guilt

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


today, i stumbled across a new blog... a novel ideaa

sometimes it's about books,
sometimes about life, husbands and babies
and sometimes about being a feminist.

but what this blog really is about--if you ask me--is a young woman finding her place in the world. i have hoped for this for her for quite awhile, and glad to see her coming into her own. however, i have to confess that her idea of a role model kinda blew me away...

thanks alice... but if you don't reach out, no one else will either!

* * * * *
another confession... i despised "confessions of a shopaholic"

ridiculous drivel.

and i was totally not interested in another book by sophie kinsella until my beautiful and wonderfully, pushy italian friend LORI put this one in my hand... and now i have to say that i loved loved loved

i was hooked with
5 little words:
my g-string is hurting me

how many times have you been sitting or standing somewhere, and thought that very thought? or have you wondered why you are even wearing the said item... are you wearing because someone you adore bought it for you? and are you wearing it so you don't hurt that adored person's feelers? wouldn't it be nice not to have to have these little fibs?
wouldn't it be amazing to have a relationship {any relationship} with all of your secrets out in the open...

in can you keep a secret, emma confessed all of those hidden, deep, dark secrets to the stranger next to her on the plane when she thought she was going to crash and die... and then that stranger turns out to be something more... something far more!

simple concept... does honesty on all levels makes for a better relationship? would you rather have total honesty, or have your feelers spared with little lies?

i don't know... hard call...

happy reading, my friends!

Friday, March 26, 2010

book whore

OH MY... did she really just say that?!

yes, i did...

i'm in portland, oregon and i've been to powell's books not once, not twice, but 3 times, i have had to eat divine desserts in cafes that idaho falls has never seen the likes of, and of course, i've had to have the house cocktails* and actually have enjoyed being in the rain.

but why am i here--senza famiglia?!

i'm here for work... i know, poor me!! i've been working really hard too... having to sleep in a lovely hotel room since monday... have had to attend some thought provoking and educational conference sessions about telling people what to read as well as learning more about what is out there that is worth reading... had to visit with vendors and listen to their presentations, thus getting crazy-good swag... and sadly i'll have to lug home some of my very favorite swag in the world: advanced readers copies!

these are uncorrected proofs the publishers send to conferences and to lucky readers to drum up business for the authors. that's how i came into having "the girl who chased the moon"!!

but now, i've amassed 21 new books! yes, TWENTY-ONE NEW BOOKS! of, course i'll give some to my staff who covered for me while i was slaving away here in portland; some are gifts, but many are just for me... it even says so in the front cover--yeah, they are signed by the author too : )

where will i start? well, i'm still on the diana gabaldon journey with meghan... and i very rudely dropped the ball there--sorry meghan!! but after that...

the next effort by cornelia read, invisible boy
perhaps my first ivan doig book, work song

the thing is, after my haul... i started to feel a little guilty as well as a little nervous about all of the books! nervous, because i hope i can get them home without paying an arm and a leg... and guilty because, i'm just out here on a complete pleasure trip--yeah, it's work, but i have about the best job in the world and not only do i love reading for a living, but i love that i get to go on conference to become even better at reading for a living!

whore? maybe that's a bit strong... but it's far more attention grabbing than the typical librarian's tag: bibliophile...

happy reading, my friends!

*i highly recommend tom's sidecar at jake's famous crawfish... best cocktail i've had thus far!!!

BTW: i added a poll to the bottom... i'm on a fact finding mission to see if i'm a freak because of the way i shelve my personal books at home

Thursday, February 18, 2010

i hate long posts...

... so i apologize. jh

slacker... i know!

a few weeks ago, i arrived home to the usual mound of mail. there were the usual bills {which i ignore... thank God for the bill-paying husband!}, the magazines, the catalogs that are full of swim suits and spring clothes {glorious spring!} and a flat mailing envelope. nothing outstanding... so after my first glance, i walked away without another thought.

a few days later, after darling husband had paid the bills, cleared away some of the magz and catalogs, that flat envelope remained on the counter. you have to understand, i'm a "piler" and have piles of this stuff here and there, so i'm trying to keep this specific counter clutter-free, and at this point i was so irritated that there were still lego pieces, many school papers and this big envelope on my counter. in my irritation, i start huckin' lego pieces down the hall to the boys' room, and then see that MY NAME is on the said envelope. and then i see that the envelope was from random house... random house!? OH GOLLY!! did i buy another book? did i buy another book and forget that i bought it?! does the said darling husband know...

i ripped that envelope open and dumped out the most wonderfulest of wonderful surprises...

sarah addison allen's

well, i can tell you that right then i gave up with clearing the counters of the legos... i clicked on the kettle, made a cup of tea, grabbed a blanket and plopped down in my sunny reading chair and jumped right in.

in true SAA fashion, we head to north carolina, and i'm a goner. hang up the "do not disturb" sign, make your own dinner... mom is reading!

so, emily returns to the north carolina town where her mother grew up to find a giant for a grandpa, a bedroom with "mood" wall paper that changes all by itself, new friends with old stories about her mother that contradict with the woman emily knew as her mother, and... a boy.

i love the magic that bubbles up from all of her books, like the bubbles from a muscato d'asti... sweet, ticklish to your insides and makes you drunk on the pure pleasure of drinking it... or reading it, in this case.

and then there's the baking... always with the cooks in these books. SAA brings in a subplot of emily's baking neighboor that weaves in and out of emily's story seamlessly, yet makes you crave (yes, the pun is intended) more of the sweet stuff.

have you read garden spells yet? what about the sugar queen?

garden spells is SAA's debut and i just loved it--so much, i recommended it to everyone who came into the library for about a month! again set in NC, a magical house with a magical garden and a group of ladies you wish you were friends with--especially claire who bakes the most wonderful yummies with the things from her garden... and cousin evanelle, who gives random {yet immensely useful} gifts...

and then speaking of random gifts, in the sugar queen chloe finds books everywhere--just when she needs them. and josie has a closet where she hides her sweet stash, her romance novels and just recently a new friend, della lee. then they all whip up some magic to change josie and chloe's lives... and what happens to della? hmm...

now that i've disected these books {like i know anything}, i think the thing i like as much as the food is the ties of female friendships. emily and julia, josie, chloe and della, and even the friendship that sneaks up on sisters like claire and syndey. and you know how i like that idea of friendship!!

and next to friendship, i like to bake... sooooo, i think that SAA's next book should be a cookbook!! what do you think?!

__________ updates & news __________
*megs and i are still reading drums of autumn, but by the way i've been sneaking it to work, we should be done soon! how can diana gabaldon still keep writing this story? and why can't i put it down?!

*i'm also listening to charlaine harris' book dead until dark... it's the sookie stackhouse series, the inspiration for the HBO series 'true blood.' my first foray in to vampire literature...

*i haven't read the percy jackson series myself, but the big kid did... and altho the movie is different from the book, he liked the movie "almost" as much as the book--and that's saying a lot from him! give the series a try!

happy reading, my friends!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

more of the same...

... and i mean that in a good way!

i just was ordering books this morning, and came across this one:
a fortunate age by joanna smith rakoff.

powells.com said, "Like The Group, Mary McCarthy's classic tale about coming of age in New York, Joanna Smith Rakoff 's richly drawn and immensely satisfying first novel details the lives of a group of Oberlin graduates whose ambitions and friendships threaten to unravel as they chase their dreams, shed their youth, and build their lives in Brooklyn during the late 1990s and the turn of the twenty-first century."

i'm excited to get into this one... and all of the sudden, this apres college genre is making me think of st elmo's fire. the person you were in college doesn't always translate into the "real world." and what a slap in the face that is... but you're lucky to have friends to help you thru.

and again, speaking of friends,i just finsihed a year on ladybug farm by donna bell. three friends buy a house and promise to spend at least a year there...which challenges their preconceived ideas, their bodies--but never their friendship.

they are older (than me), they are a widow, divorcee and single gal, who left the comfortable life in baltimore to fulfill their dreams. and just like life out of college never seems to be what one would hope, these gals realize that they didn't lose their dreams, but the dreams they brought with them to ladybug farm, changed and grew with them during the year.

life has a way of doing that. i think my buddy mick said it best when he said, "you can't always get what you want... you get what you need"

happy reading, my friends

*there is a sequel to a year on ladybug farm, called at home on ladybug farm...but it's on the back burner because my reading buddy (can i say your name?) and i are about to jump into drums of autumn!

Monday, January 11, 2010

friends... what a lovely idea

ok, there is just something about cornwall that calls to me...

and while the way we were was a great read about families, friends, secrets and cornwall, it was not quite pilcher's duplicate... but then can anyone really fill those shoes? i think not. it may even be a debilitating curse, if you thought about it...

so about a third of the way thru the book, i decided to stop comparing and to enjoy it for what it is-- another book by a lovely english woman who also writes equally lovely books about cornwall. if you can separate the two, you will enjoy this book.

i'm hopeless with female friendships, and so i read about them! julia and tiggy have one of those envious friendships that surpasses their school days and went into their adult lives. it happens that tiggy finds herself pregnant and very alone in 1976, and she turns to julia--who, with her three children, is also a bit alone with her naval husband at sea. over the summer, the family pulls tiggy in tight... along with all of her secrets! then 30 years later, those same secrets become dangerous to all of them!

* * * * *
speaking of female friendships, i also just finished beach trip by cathy holton. this one was set in another favorite place--north carolina coast. four friends reunite after 20 years! i can't even imagine! so much drama, and yet they all agree to meet at one of the four's beach "cottage"... is everyone in the carolinas fabulously wealthy?! it seems like every book i read, there is a lot of money and these beach "cottages" that are coastal mansions. hmm... i was just wondering...

so, this one is also told in the "then and now" flashback approach. things start out so confusing with pieces of the puzzle missing, and then the story progresses with the flashbacks mingling with the present and things start to make sense... it's one of those books that you have to speed thru just so you know the whole story!!! but this concept of friends reminds me of anne rivers siddons outer banks (also set in north carolina with wealthy people), mary mccarthy's the group and beth gutcheon's the new girls (both new england old school money).

in the beach trip, there is so much pain among the friends that is just swept under the rug. there are betrayals that they just overlook. and there is so much unhappiness... WHY WOULD THEY DO THIS? but they do. they make the plan, spend a week together and in the end {teensy spoiler alert} they come out as better friends than they were when they were in college... it's baffling to me and yet i want it!! so then i start thinking about who i'd like to spend time with after a 20 year separation... or if i'm friends with that many people for that many years?! i can think of only one person i've been friends with for that long... weird. and then to dredge up the nastiness of youth... i'm not sure there's enough firefly to make me want to do this! hmm...

so i ask you...
what's your favorite "friend" book?
would you take a "beach trip" with people you haven't seen in 20 years... or is keeping up on facebook good enough?!?

happy reading, my friends!