Sunday, September 26, 2010

Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler

Liam Pennywell, who set out to be a philosopher and ended up teaching fifth grade, never much liked the job at that run-down private school, so early retirement doesn’t bother him. But he is troubled by his inability to remember anything about the first night that he moved into his new, spare, and efficient condominium on the outskirts of Baltimore. All he knows when he wakes up the next day in the hospital is that his head is sore and bandaged. His effort to recover the moments of his life that have been stolen from him leads him on an unexpected detour. What he needs is someone who can do the remembering for him. What he gets is — well, something quite different.

I went to read this one with mixed up expectations. I knew I had read other Anne Tyler books and thoroughly enjoyed them. At the same time, I couldn't recall many specific titles or details so they must not have been very memorable. I am usually more attracted to books where the main character is a woman and this is a man, an old man. And, finally, I read several reviews that described this book as slow; I'm not good with slow. So, how did it end up?

It ended up just fine. Liam Pennywell is an old man, things do move pretty slowly, it's not the most memorable story I've ever read but I loved it anyway! There was enough going on to keep me turning the pages but not so much going on that it took me more than a few hours to polish it off. When things got complacent, there was one unexpected twist that made me sit up and read with renewed enthusiasm. Liam was somewhat interesting and he was surrounded by people that added to that in their own unique ways. When all is said and done, Anne Tyler has a gift for just nailing human emotions and interactions. She does family life well and it reads smooth and easy.

This book is my "N" book for the 2010 A-Z Reading Challenge. Click on the button to see my progress.

And finally, an oops, please forgive me if I spammed you with the product description and a misspelled title the other day - hit post instead of save!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I Like You by Amy Sedaris

From the Amazon product description: Are you lacking direction in how to whip up a swanky soiree for lumberjacks? A dinner party for white-collar workers? A festive gathering for the grieving? Don't despair. Take a cue from entertaining expert Amy Sedaris and host an unforgettable fete that will have your guests raving. No matter the style or size of the gathering--from the straightforward to the bizarre--I LIKE YOU provides jackpot recipes and solid advice laced with Amy's blisteringly funny take on entertaining, plus four-color photos and enlightening sidebars on everything it takes to pull off a party with extraordinary flair.

I've raved often enough about how much I like David Sedaris so coming across this book by his sister, Amy, at the library delighted me but as is often the case when I go in with such high hopes - it wasn't all wonderful. There were some things about it that just fascinated me - the photography to start. Amy is a very pretty girl and she dresses her self up in costumes to grace many of the pages; seeing her transformations was fascinating. She also used plenty of pictures of food and decorations. The sneak peek page on her website says, "This book is so visual, a monkey could enjoy it." The vignettes she creates to go along with the party themes are very clever and looking at all the details is a treat. Some of the recipes sounded pretty good but if I am actually going to get a recipe from a book and try it - it's not going to be from a comedienne, it's going to be from a cook so although they sounded okay, I didn't make anything from the book. The humor was at times wonderful and at times made me cringe. When she talks about how to deal with the inebriated and says, "Better to cut them off rather than pretend it's not happening and then allow them to stay over and wet your bed" that makes me laugh. But then other times she goes too far over the edge and I am not offended but neither am I amused. She also includes crafts which I could absolutely live without. The final verdict is that I was glad I got this one from the library, it was a sometimes funny romp but not something I would ever refer back to again.

This post is linked to Weekend Cooking over at Beth Fish Reads. Click on the logo to see the other posts this week.

This book is my "I" book for the 2010 A-Z Reading Challenge. Click on the button to see my progress.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday started 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). This month Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Kathy at bermudaonion. Stop by there to check out everyone else's mailboxes. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

It's been awhile since I put my mailbox up so these wins actually came over the last month rather than the last week! But there are still a lot - I had quite the lucky streak going for awhile.

Deliver us From Evil by David Baldacci was a win from Kristi at Books and Needlepoint. I have loved everything by David Baldacci (except the Christmas train one), I especially love this narrator Ron McLearty; he does an excellent job bringing the stories to life. He has an amazing ability to differentiate characters so well that you lose yourself in the story.

Innocent by Scott Turow was a win from Gwen at A Sea of Books. Thank you, Gwen! Everyone wanted this book and I was so lucky to win!

Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson was a win from Teddy at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time. The combination of Southern and Catholic reel me right in, I am listening to this one now and enjoying it immensely! Thank you, Teddy!

The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar came by accident and the generous folks at Hachette said I could just keep it. From the back cover, I know it is about how we make choices in life and "why do we sometimes chose against our best interests?". Sounds interesting enough and I do fairly well with nonfiction on audio so I'll give this a try.

I actually have a couple of others still on the way - can you believe that luck?!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Hunger Games Trilogy

No need for a description on these, if you haven't heard about them yet, you must be in an isolation unit somewhere! Both Bookworm and Youngest had read the first two when it came time for Mockingjay to come out. I figured if both those kids (not to mention the bulk of the book blogging world) liked the series, I probably would too so I carved out some time this past week and enjoyed all three in a row.

I probably liked the first one best for the usual reason -it was all fresh and new and exciting. The next two had surprises but they couldn't match the wonder of discovering everything for the first time. I had the same response with Harry Potter and Twilight With The Hunger Games, I liked the way the author expanded the scale with each book leading up to such a climatic ending. And I liked that she gave each of the male romantic possibilities a true shot at winning Katniss' heart. (Unlike the Twilight series where the answer was soooo obvious. OK that's a joke just for all the Edward fans out there.)

I know there is a movie coming but can't find any details yet - I'll look forward to seeing who gets picked to be Katniss - although I shouldn't get excited, it will probably be some teenager I have never heard of!

I've been so idle that I've lost track of my challenges but if it is still going on this one would count for Woman Unbound (Katniss is definitely unbinding herself and everyone else!). And, The Hunger Games can be my "H" book and Mockingjay my "M" book for the A-Z Reading challenge.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


This is my new leaf...the one I am turning over to start September! I've been in "perfectionist" mode. It's those times where I immobilize myself with thinking that things must be prefect. It takes hold on the blog when I get behind on posting and then I want to try to post the backlogged books in the order I read them rather than just jumping in and writing about what's fresh on my mind. And with feeling like my posts have to be some great work, when really, my 10 followers (if they are still around, hello?) could not care less or they would never have started following my ramblings in the first place! It takes hold at home by my trying to do it all with chores and children so that it is DONE RIGHT! But all that does is wear me out and teaches the children they can get away with doing nothing because mom will do it. Unfortunately for the US Navy I haven't been in perfectionist mode at work but at least that means I am doing soemthing there rather than the nothing I have done here!

So what does this mean? It means I am almost finished with Mockingjay and when I get done, I'm going to tell you what I think despite the fact that I haven't posted Hunger Games or Catching Fire yet! Perfectionism is gone...let's get back to sloppy and fun. Maybee I won;t even spel check this...