Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday, September 30th

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading. Feel free to join in the fun by clicking on the logo to go to bermudaonions.

These wondrous words are from The Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder.

"violence, that is, of the quotidian kind, the physical and psychological violence of poverty, the type of violence that had surrounded Deo all through his childhood and adolescence.
" p. 200
1. daily: a quotidian report.
2. usual or customary; everyday: quotidian needs.
3. ordinary; commonplace: paintings of no more than quotidian artistry.
4. (of a fever, ague, etc.) characterized by paroxysms that recur daily.
"There was rampant and blatant corruption, and complete impunity for those who practiced it - and impunity also for the soldiers who killed and the officers who gave them their orders." p. 201
1. exemption from punishment.
2. immunity from detrimental effects, as of an action.
"It was a gruesome and harmful form of palliation, and for Deo it expressed a psychological truth with broad application - that pains exist in layers, with the most excruciating at the top obscuring the pains beneath." p. 209
–verb (used with object), -at⋅ed, -at⋅ing. 1. to relieve or lessen without curing; mitigate; alleviate.
2. to try to mitigate or conceal the gravity of (an offense) by excuses, apologies, etc.; extenuate.
palliation, noun

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Brothers Boswell by Philip Baruth

From Barnes and Noble: The year is 1763.Twenty-two-year-old James Boswell of Edinburgh is eager to advance himself in London society. Today his sights are set on furthering his acquaintance with Dr. Samuel Johnson, famed for his Dictionary; they are going to take a boat across the Thames to Greenwich Palace. Watching them secretly is John Boswell,James’ younger brother. He has stalked his older brother for days. Consumed with envy, John is planning to take revenge on his brother and Johnson for presumed slights. He carries a pair of miniature pistols that fire a single golden bullet each, and there is murder in his heart.

This was the September selection for the Facebook Historical Fiction Book Club. It started out great - the descriptions were lovely, the set-up of two brothers at odds was engaging but then the book faltered. Neither of the brothers ever captured my heart. For the story to work, you really needed to care about one of them but they never came to life or gained my sympathy enough for me to do that. I had to force myself to finish the book. I found parts confusing - the one brother had mental health issues so there were things that I was never certain if they were true as part of the story or if they were his imagination. I went back and reread the last third of the book hoping it would gel for me and I would come away more satisfied but it still didn't work.

This is one of the books on my list for Fall Into Reading 2009. Click on the logo to see my progress.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

I've never partcipated in this meme before but I had such a great haul from the library book sale this weekend that I just had to share it and I decided this was the perfect forum!

Here's what we have from the bottom up:

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle Saw this one on other blogs - wish I could remember which ones so I could give know who you are!
Daddy's Little Girl by Mary Higgins Clark One I don't have from one of my favorite authors.
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
One Thousand White Women Just saw a review of this one but, again, can't remember where!
Fortune's Rocks by Anita Shreve
Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs I've enjoyed the two books I have read already - Running with Scissors and Dry.
The Faith Club and Abraham by Bruce Feiler Abraham is a reread for me but I liked the idea of reading these two together. I loved Abraham when I read it but then never could get into his other big book, Walking the Bible. I had given away my copy of Abraham after I reda it so I was happy to find this one. First I found it for four dollars and then about six inches down the row, I found it again for just one dollar - even better! I love how the prices can be so different depending on which volunteer did it!Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout Another blog find that I can't remember where to give credit to...
Body Surfing by Anita Shreve Love Anita Shreve - usually.
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion Again with the "saw it on a blog" but " can't remember where".
Good Dog, Stay by Anna Quindlen I'm not sure about this one - looks like a gift book you buy at the drugstore when you don't have a present. I'll hope for the best.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Nickled and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

From the author's website: Millions of Americans work for poverty-level wages, and one day Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that any job equals a better life. But how can anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 to $7 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich moved from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, taking the cheapest lodgings available and accepting work as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide, and Wal-Mart salesperson. She soon discovered that even the "lowliest" occupations require exhausting mental and physical efforts. And one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors.

This book caught my interest right away. I loved reading about the ins and outs of all the different jobs. I identified with Barbara's idea that her co-workers should have recognized her as a fraud right away and her humility when she realized that all they saw was a waitress, who wasn't very good! I confess I've had days when I wished my job was more contained - that I could stock the shelves or wait the tables and go home at the end of the day without giving it another thought. (Like the whine here.) But this book opened my eyes to the idea that that doesn't happen because #1 you aren't going home but are probably going to your second job and #2 there are plenty of things to worry about like housing and child care and transportation - all things we take for granted. Since reading this book I have made a concerted effort to be kinder to the minimum wage employees that I do business with. Only the second day into my efforts, I had an experience with a Wal-Mart clerk and when I countered her rude attitude with a kind word, she turned it around and we both walked away happy. Compare that to the time just a few weeks ago when I not only "lit into" the clerk but also called the manager and complained - ooh boy, embarrassing. This is still taking real effort on my part - I am of the school that any job you do, you should do to the best of your ability, and that often seems to run contrary to the work climate in the South, but I'm trying.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Open House by Elizabeth Berg

From the author's website: A woman whose husband abruptly leaves her decides that rather than selling their house, she will keep it and rent out rooms to boarders. This novel, which was an Oprah pick, is about finding the gifts inside yourself that you've ignored or not been aware of. It emphasizes the fact that sometimes it takes a tragedy to get you to the best place you can be.

I am undecided about Elizabeth Berg; she makes me think of an American version of Maeve Binchy. This story, Open House, is a gentle unfolding of someone's relationships following a divorce but being the American version there is some sex and some cussing! I was interested in the story, the characters, the descriptions. Berg describes the fresh-faced, polite bag boys at the fancy supermarket and says she thinks they go home at night "back to the 1950's". An unsuccessful sexual encounter results in comparing a penis to a flaccid "grub worm". The part that leaves me undecided is that the story unfolds almost too gently and slowly, it doesn't have the distinct arc that hooks me and makes me want to keep going and find something out. This story seemed like it could go on forever - that we were just following Samantha through life and it would never end - after all, aren't we all unfinished business until The End? My only other thought is that both books I have read by Elizabeth Berg were about women restarting their lives after losing a man - the first, The Year of Pleasures was about a widower, and now, Open House is about a divorcee. I wonder if all her books are like this or if I just happened to run into two with a similar theme.

I've finished up the audio book challenge but I'm adding the extras as I finish them.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Memory in Deathby J.D. Robb

The author's website has an excerpt to read but this blurb is from Amazon: Eve Dallas is one tough cop. She's got no problem dealing with a holiday reveler in a red suit who plunges thirty-seven stories and gives new meaning to the term "sidewalk Santa." But when she gets back to the station and Trudy Lombard shows up, it's all Eve can do to hold it together. Instantly, she's thrown back into the past, to the days when she was a vulnerable, traumatized girl-trapped in foster care with the twisted woman who now sits in front of her, smiling.

I have a habit of picking up a book and not knowing it was one of a series - this is one of those. It's actually somewhere around number 25 in a very long series - wow! This was your basic crime/detective series books with the unique twist of being set in the future around 2050 or so. That twist was enough to give it a little different feel without being overwhelming - JD Robb's version of New York city forty years from now isn't too much of a stretch for my imagination.

I picked out the murderer right away but it was still entertaining to hear the tale unfold. The main character Eve Dallas is so much of tough cop that she borders on a caricature. Perhaps if I had read the twenty four preceding books, I'd have a better opinion of her - I got the impression she's had a hard life. Like so many of the audiobooks I pick up used that are part of a series, it's not something I'm going to seek out but it wiles away the time in the car for me so if I happen across another, I'll listen to it too.

J.D. Robb is a pen name for Nora Roberts. She has her JD Robb website that I linked above but she also has a Nora Roberts website. This lady is a work horse - she has written too many books to count- most are romance, not my cup of tea, but the amount she is putting out there is amazing.

I've finished up the audio book challenge but I'm adding the extras as I finish them.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Easiest Dessert Ever

I often see bloggers post pictures of dishes they have made that look oh so very elegant! And, even better, sometimes they accompany the post with pictures - a step by step guide so you too can create this marvelous dish.

Well, I made something the other day that was pretty darn good. I had to wait until I was alone in the house because the night before I had watched an Oprah show I had recorded about people who weighed over 500 pounds and along with that I had watched the Biggest Loser so I was supposed to be feeling motivated about my diet. In light of those television choices, I'm not sure why I couldn't resist making this but I am weak. It really was Ex-Marine's fault because he did the grocery shopping and he bought a big tub of real Cool Whip.

But he didn't buy anything that goes with the Cool Whip - no pudding, no angel food cake, no ice cream, nothing! And the Cool Whip just called to me from the fridge driving me to distraction. The idea of just eating Cool Whip straight out of the container without anything else is not foreign to me but, again, it's one of those things that will get me a look from the family with all my professions of dieting going on.

So I searched the cupboards until I found this.

We buy these chemical filled concoctions for Tween's lunch and there are always a few leftover after lunches have been made for the week. I could save them for the next week, I could probably save them for next month, or even next year, I have a feeling there are no perishable ingredients in them whatsoever - but I decided not to.

The result of that decision was this, the easiest dessert recipe ever...

Unwrap the Hostess Cup Cake....

Place it in a bowl....

Cover it with Cool whip...


I had so much fun eating my dessert creation that I decided to make another and blog about it - spread the joy to all who have Cool Whip calling to them. I didn't have the patience to wait until I was alone (a very rare occurence in the Round File home) so I just waited until Youngest was busy with a TV show. Unfortunately, that boy has a sixth sense about any food preparation and he was in the kitchen like a rocket. So I made him one too - and he liked it!

I'm not sure this post is going to give Fancy Fast Food any competition but I had fun eating blogging it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday, September 23rd

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading. Feel free to join in the fun by clicking on the logo to go to bermudaonions.

These wondrous words are from The Queen's Lady by Barbara Kyle.

"Clap the murderer in the pillory." p. 29
pil⋅lo⋅ry   –noun a wooden framework erected on a post, with holes for securing the head and hands, formerly used to expose an offender to public derision.

"The Vicar pivoted in the oriel window..." p. 35
o⋅ri⋅el   –noun (in medieval architecture) a large bay window of a hall or chamber.

"...he was hounding Tyrell for another benefice with tithes and glebe lands.."p. 104
glebe –noun glebe land. Chiefly British. the cultivable land owned by a parish church or ecclesiastical benefice

"Some ladies find such an experience lends piquancy to their past." p. 212
pi⋅quant  agreeably stimulating, interesting, or attractive: a piquant glance.
of an interestingly provocative or lively character: a piquant wit.

"I recall a kiss that augured well endough." p. 212
au·gured, au·gur·ing, au·gurs verb. To predict, especially from signs or omens; foretell.

"..King Henry...did not care what admission he was making of the Pope's right to set up this legatine court in his kingdom" p. 214
leg·a·tine adj. Of, directed by, or authorized by a legate. (leg⋅ate   
–noun 1. an ecclesiastic delegated by the pope as his representative. )

"The judges had declared the Queen contumacious ...."p. 217
con⋅tu⋅ma⋅cious   –adjective stubbornly perverse or rebellious; willfully and obstinately disobedient.

"I long for sanctuary from the moil of men, the grasping for gold, the lusting, and the vile desires." p. 503
moil noun 4. hard work or drudgery.
5. confusion, turmoil, or trouble.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What's On Your Nightstand? September 2009

This monthly feature is hosted by 5 Minutes for Books on the last Tuesday of every month. Click on the logo to go and check out all the participants.

From last month's list I read and reviewed Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder, an ARC from Library Thing. I got a good chunk of John Adams read but that was it for my Nightstand books. Here's what I have for this month.....

John Adams is still there but VERY close to getting finished just a mere nine months after I started it! Next is The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown; I've loved all his other books so I am anticipating enjoying this one too. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society has just been all over the blogs so I had to grab it when the opportunity arose (it was from one of the girls at No Stress Book Club). Revolutionary Road will complete the A-Z Reading Challenge for me - something I really wasn't sure I would be able to do when I started it! And, finally Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is on my list for the Everything Austen Challenge although I still have two movies I wanted to watch for that first so it may not get done this month - we'll see, I think the challenge is open until December so I will have time.

Fall Into Reading 2009

Hooray, it's Fall! That means time for Fall Into Reading hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days. Last year I entered the challenge a complete novice and it completely took over my blog. I've neglected all my aspirations for recording my children's' development and reflecting on my personal goals - the blog has become just books, books, books. So, one year later, I'm back with a bigger TBR pile than ever!

When I did Spring Reading Thing, I MANGLED my list and later felt somewhat guilty. So I'm making this list and I'm sticking to it!

The Brothers Boswell by Philip Baruth This is the September pick for the Facebook Historical fiction book club moderated by Jennifer at the Literate Housewife.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon This is the October pick for the Facebook Historical Fiction book club.

The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran This is the November pick for the Facebook Historical Fiction book club.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by by Seth Grahame-Smith I selected this one for the Everything Austen Challenge hosted by Stephanie at Stephanie's Written Word.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows This was from one of my friends in the No Stress Book Club. And, it's been all over the blogs so I have wanted to read it.

John Adams by David McCullough I started John Adams last January for the US Presidents Reading Project hosted here by Lezlie. By taking it on my vacation last month, I actually made some progress on it; I am almost done! I'm going to need a sleection for Jefferson next if anyone has any ideas - maybe somethign I can finish in under eleven months!

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates This one will be my "R" book for the A-Z Reading Challenge.

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown This one is just for fun! But, unfortunately, my DD Bookworm already read it and said it was not as good as his others. I'm hopeful that a "not as good" Dan Brown will still entertain me because I have thoroughly enjoyed all his other books. And, you know, my standards are pretty low!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Queen's Lady by Barbara Kyle

From the author's website: Set in the nerve-jangled court of King Henry VIII during his battle with the Catholic church for a divorce, THE QUEEN’S LADY is the story of Honor Larke, a ward of King Henry’s chancellor, Sir Thomas More, and lady-in-waiting to Henry’s first wife, Queen Catherine of Aragon. Forced to take sides in the religious extremism of the day, Honor fights to save the church’s victims from death at the stake, enlisting Richard Thornleigh, a rogue sea captain, in her missions of mercy, and finally risking her life to try to save Sir Thomas from the wrath of the king.

Very nice historical fiction. It looked at the same time period as The Constant Princess but with such different emphases that it still felt fresh. The heroine, Honor, is a fictional character responding to the events of the times. I'm thinking that I might like that format more than the books that narrate through a historical figure but fictionalize their conversations and such. Honor's faith journey was a realistically depicted struggle - this was a terrible time for the Catholic church so we see Honor turn away from her own faith, tolerate, although never embrace, Protestantism, and then toy with atheism. The author documents the atrocities of both the Catholics and the Protestants during the time period. There was a secondary storyline about a mysterious book that Honor discovers at the start of the story. That never grabbed hold of me and when the author returned to it at the end to wrap it up, I wasn't interested. Overall, this was a good story, this is a genre I enjoy.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Clear Off Your Shelves Challenge

I saw a post about this challenge at bermudaonions blog and knew it was right for me. The ins and outs can all be found here at S. Krishna's Books but the gist is to count only books that you have had in your possession for at least six months. You don't predict a number read but rather a percentage of the total books you read during the challenge time frame, October 1, 2009 – November 30, 2009.

This challenge came into my life at just the right time. I just did a post for Book Blogger Appreciation Week showing my TBR pile. That got me thinking about how old some of them might be and I remembered this post where I listed my TBR pile almost a year ago! A quick glance comparing the two showed me there was some overlap!

I'm going for 20%. I'll keep you posted about my progress.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Gift of Peace by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin

From the dust jacket: In the last two months of his life, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin made it his ultimate mission to share his personal reflections and insights as a legacy to those he left behind. The Gift of Peace reveals the Cardinal's spiritual growth amid a string of traumatic events: a false accusation of sexual abuse; reconciliation a year later with his accuser, who had earlier recanted the charges; a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and surgery; the return of cancer, now in his liver; his decision to discontinue chemotherapy and live his remaining days as fully as possible. In these pages, Bernardin tells his story openly and honestly, and shares the profound peace he came to at the end of his life. He accepted his peace as a gift from God, and he in turn now shares that gift with the world.

The Cardinal's message throughout the book is turning to prayer for relief. He encourages young seminarians by urging them to develop a "strong prayer life in their best moments so that they can be sustained in their weaker moments".

This was the quote that resonated with me:

"Pray while you are well, because if you wait until you're sick you might not be able to do it."

This is so true for me. I tend to pray only in anguish. I do have some set times for prayer like the hour a week I set aside for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. But my most fervent prayer is always in desperation. I see that lack of sustained prayer coming back again to kick me in the rear. I prayed so regularly for my children the first weeks of school but then they all seemed to be settling in so I backed off; the prayer book stayed in my purse, I just stopped. But here I am facing three notes homes in three days about Tween and I think, what happened to my prayers? I can't say they went unanswered, they simply went unsaid.

Just a note - I have put the Kleenex away. This fourth book in a row with death as a major theme will wrap up the depressed/crying blog phase! I just finished a historical fiction novel and have a shelf full of upbeat,light reading to turn to for my next selection.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

BBAW - A book I found

The book I found was The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. You can click on the title to read my review. It's a perfect example of the book blogging community impacting me. I can't remember which blog specifically mentioned it. I do remember that I just kept seeing the title over and over again on the reading lists for my very first challenge - Fall Into Reading hosted by Katrina over at Callapidder Days. (BTW - That challenge is about to start again if you are interested!) prior to reading those lists, it was not on my radar at all. I used to be a classroom teacher and knew what was up and coming in children's literature but when you're out, you're out, and I am O-U-T of the loop. When I read it and loved it, I had to go back to my online community to talk about it because no one around here had read it yet. So I recommended it to all of my Youngest's friends and then, felt very "in the know" describing this great new book to his teachers! All thanks to book bloggers!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BBAW - The TBR pile

I have enjoyed taking a peek at other folks TBR piles; I'm surprised the earth can still rotate when I see how many books we've all got piled up!

Mine are organized quite simply into two shelves...

The Hardbacks!

and The Paperbacks!

That looks really manageable doesn't it? But, wait a minute...look a little closer...

There's another row of paperbacks behind that first one!
And, what's this? Another row of hardbacks too?

Oh no, not just one row! A third row of hardbacks as well. Ahh, that's more in line with the other folks - see, I'm completely normal.

BBAW - Reading Meme

Do you snack while you read? Nope.
Do you tend to mark your books as you read? No again.
Fiction, Non-fiction, or both? Both but definitely more fiction.
Hard copy or audiobooks? Both.
Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you
able to put a book down at any point? Stop anytime.
If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away? No, but sometimes I mark it with a post-it in the hopes of participating in bermudaonion's Wondrous Words Wednesady. In typical procrastinator fashion...I have accomplished this goal one time!
What are you currently reading? The Queen's Lady by Barbara Kyle
What is the last book you bought? Just ordered The Brothers Boswell by Philip Baruth for the Facebook Historical Fiction Book Club - haven't received it yet.
Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can
you read more than one at a time? More than one.
Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read? Anytime, anywhere.
Do you prefer series books or stand alone books? Stand alone.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

For One More Day by Mitch Albom

From the author's website: For One More Day is the story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that covers a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one?

I'm rounding out my own little death themed trilogy with For One More Day. Both Geography of Love and The Last Lecture were memoirs so it was hard for me to keep reminding myself that For One More Day is fiction. I think I've read all of Mitch Albom's books. The unfortunate part of that is that the more I read, the less I like. His first, Tuesdays With Morrie, hooked me but the ones to follow have seemed contrived. He tugged at my heartstrings with Morrie but now he's just yanking my emotional chain. He has a new book coming out that returns to non-fiction, Have A Little Faith. I'm looking forward to it because I have faith that when he returns to non-fiction, he is going to knock it out of the park again!

P. S. - And the crying is not yet done, I've finished one more book that fits right in with these three!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

From the author's website: On September 18, 2007, computer science professor Randy Pausch stepped in front of an audience of 400 people at Carnegie Mellon University to deliver a last lecture called “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” With slides of his CT scans beaming out to the audience, Randy told his audience about the cancer that is devouring his pancreas and that will claim his life in a matter of months. On the stage that day, Randy was youthful, energetic, handsome, often cheerfully, darkly funny. He seemed invincible. But this was a brief moment, as he himself acknowledged.

The book, The Last Lecture, that came from the event is a quick read. It's sentimental as you might expect and filled with life lessons that Randy wanted to pass on to his children. The book is divided into sixty short chapters each either a memory or an illustration of an axiom to live by. Through it all we learn Randy's history, his childhood, career success, and, finally, love and family. Would the same piece of work have any impact on us if not for Randy's illness? Probably not - Anna Quindlen proved that to me. But knowing that Randy was so sick at the time and has since died moved me. I wept my way through and took each little nugget of advice straight to heart.

What I haven't done yet is watch the lecture. Here it is for when I am ready.

BBAW - Miss Congeniality

Our BBAW posts today are to highlight a blog that we love that didn't get shortlisted - kind of the "Miss Congeniality" post. This was an easy pick for me...the literate housewife. The literate housewife is Jennifer, mother, wife, worker, and bibliophile. She's a busy gal but she maintains a wonderful blog complete with the cutest design and logo! Check out her button.

Jennifer consistently provides great reviews. She's been hosting all sorts of great giveaways and has an especially good series of giveaways planned this week. (That's actually a quite punny description but you won't know why until you click!)

This summer Jennifer hosted the Dog Days of Summer, a whole week of dog-themed fun.

In her spare time (ha,ha)...Jennifer leads the Facebook Historical Fiction book club. She has made some great picks: Loving Frank, Soul Catcher, and The Last Queen were some of my personal favorites. The club has grown steadily under her leadership; I think every time I click over to the group page it is another member stronger.

I think what really sums up Jennifer was the grace she used to express her moment of sadness at not being shortlisted but her continued total support of the celebration that is BBAW - great style!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Blogoversary winner .....

I am quite the slacker for not posting sooner - I have a confession - we went to Disney World and I left the blogging world behind in order to ride rides, watch shows, and eat more than I should! I did make quiet a dent in John Adams during the car ride - progress!

So I wrote all four names down on slips of paper, balled them up and bandided them about and then dropped them on to the table and the one that landed farthest away was the winner. See, you can do really fun things like that when you're dealing with a small group. Who wants so many possibilities that you have to go off and master some random number generator?!

The ball that bounced the farthest was "bermudaonion". That was a nice surprise because I have actually won something from her before so it was like a little cosmic payback coming into play. And, BTW, she has a couple of giveaways going on at this very moment so click over and you can enter!

Bermudaonion, you have won the gently used, slight slutty audiobook collection - I'll send you an e-mail so I can post it to you. Just the David Sedaris alone is gold - I just love that man!

Thanks all for reading, thanks for commenting, and thank you for your patience while I went off to play with Mickey Mouse.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Geography of Love by Glenda Burgess

From the author's website: Love is always a leap of faith...

There are magical moments in life that part time and change everything. That moment came for Glenda Burgess when she met a charming and enigmatic stranger. But with the undeniable spark came the discovery of a tragic and disturbing past. Despite this, she embarks on a passionate affair that becomes a second chance at happiness for both of them until a cruel twist of fate turns their world upside down.

The Geography of Love is a powerful and moving exploration of a woman's life, of love tested by unthinkable circumstances, and of our ability to love and trust no matter what the odds. It is also a poignant love letter to a woman's great love, a man who had lost so much yet taught her to see every twist and turn that life offers as an adventure and an opportunity.

My feelings about Geography of Love are ambivalent. I like memoirs, I like dysfunctional families, and I like a good cry now and again - this book was all of those. But it was also a love story and the love story part of it was just a bit much. Like... "as his bare chest glistened in the light"...., he says, ..."Being with you feels like an open horizon." Please. No man I know talks like that. No man I know glistens in the sunlight (BTW - I really wanted that from the movie version of Edward but didn't get it. See, even Edward doesn't glisten.) Maybe this is just the "tired working mother of three about to celebrate her twenty year anniversary" blues but that's not the kind of love I know and thus it was hard to connect with this couple.

My ambivalence also comes from the fact that this is a memoir, so these are real people, how can I criticize her memory of this great love? Who am I to say, "It's too much."? I felt I ought to like these people. I wanted to like this story, and in a way I did. There were these glimpses of really interesting things like her scrappy mother and his dubious past. It would be that pulse quickening, Oh now it's getting interesting!, moment. But then it would pass and we'd be back to drinking wine and laying heads in each other laps.

The journey through cancer was exquisitely, painfully detailed. Every woman my age has someone they care about fighting this battle and reading through it was emotional. But it was a good kind of ache because it was real. Unlike the syrupy romance sections, the gritty sections captivated me and kept me turning pages

I read this book for the Library Thing Early Reviewers program.