Did I give up?



Kind of.


The truth is that I decided I felt like having a social life this year.  It GREATLY decreased my chances of completing this task. 

Task in question?  50 books in one year.  July 1, 2010 - July 1, 2011.  Books read: 19.  I suck.  I didn't even make the halfway point.  R.I.P. goals... R. I. P.

I have decided to keep this old bloggy up and running for your viewing pleasure.  Maybe I set a new goal and I lower the bar this year... August 1st, 2011 - August 1st, 2012: 25 books?  HA!  I'm such a slacker.  Hey... it will still be more than I read last year, right?

I promise I'll be back soon.  And for all of you following my other blog, I promise a post very soon.  My life's been crazy lately so it will most likely be airing all of my dirty laundry.  Enjoy.

#19 "Night" by Elie Wiesel


I finished Night by Elie Wiesel.  It's only 109 pages long and it's a quick read so I can't tell you why it took me so long to finish it.  I've been really bad about reading lately.  REALLY bad.  This book was good.  It was a rather short account of a man's time going through concentration camps as a Jewish teen.  It's always depressing, yet fascinating to read these accounts from the view of someone who was actually there and went through it.  This is obviously a fictionalized account based on true events, but it is still a rather brutal story.

 The most interesting thing to me about Wiesel's account of what happened at Auschwitz (and other camps) is reading about how desensitized the prisoners became, no longer caring who died, whether a family member or not.  That is very real to me and, maybe it's the psychologist in my coming out, but how could you not become that way after years of living in a concentration camp?

*Spoiler Alert*
One thing that annoyed me about the book was that there is absoutely no account of Wiesel's time after his father passed away.  He claims in the book that this is because he no longer cared about anything that was happening, but to me that is exactly why I would want to read about it.  A completely indifferent account of the story.

I know this is short today, but the book was short.  Deal.

This book is RECOMMENDED.

First line teaser:  "They called him Moshe the Beadle, as though he had never had a surname in his life."

Up Next:  The next book club selection  which will be announced at our meeting tonight!

#18 Lorna Landvik's "Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons"


*Disclaimer:  Spoiler Alert*

Meh.   That's all.  Book #18 and it's almost April.  I think I'll be lucky to make half of my goal by July 1st.  In fact, I think that just became my NEW goal.  25 books because I'm such a slacker that I will never get 50 done in time.  Boo me.  It's been a busy year for me, okay?

Anyway, double meh (meh) for this book.  I could take it or leave it.  It wasn't so boring that I couldn't handle it, but it was so cliché that I got super annoyed at it.  Landvik pretty much covers it all with this book.  First of all the idea of "angry housewives eating bon bons" is cliché in and of itself, but that is the whole point for why they called themselves and their book club this.  But looky here at your line-up of book club members in the book:  woman hiding horrible childhood, woman beaten by husband leaves husband and finds "perfect" man, bra burner, older woman who can't have child adopts a child of another race, oversexified woman turned pastor, the gay neighbors and let's also bring in a gay son for the woman who hides everything, best friends' kids getting married to one another, etc., etc., etc.

Seriously, this book WAY overdoes it with the cliché's.  Of course this book is also broken up by decades and of course every distinguishing characteristic of each book club member has something to do with something pivotal happening during the given decade.  Oh wait, let's not forget about the brother who has PTSD from Vietnam and the open-ended cancer bout... does she die?  We'll never know... or at least I won't because I would NOT read a sequel to this book.  400 pages of NO THANKS.

Anyway, I feel as though I'm being harsh.  I will not say that I loved this book, but I really didn't hate it and it really didn't bore the crap out of me.  I won't even be so harsh as to 2 star it on Goodreads.  3 stars it is.

This book is NOT RECOMMENDED (but if you're bored, give it a shot).

Oh, and did I mention that this is a book club selection?  It is.  I don't think I would ever pick up this title on my own.  In fact I guffawed at my buddies for suggesting it.

First line teaser:  "I knew all about having my life saved."

Next Up:  Who knows?  Probably whatever the next book club selection is.  That is two weeks away so maybe you'll get another one before then.  (But probably not.)  ;)

#17 "Sarah's Key" by Tatiana de Rosnay


The next installment of this wonderful blog belongs to Tatiana de Rosnay's novel, Sarah's Key.  This story is set in both current day France, as well as France during the Holocaust. 

Sarah's a 10 year-old girl who locks her 4 year-old brother in a hidden cupboard in their apartment when the French (yes, French) police come to round up the Jewish families in the apartment building.  She leaves him with his water and a book and promises to come back for him, not realizing there may be a chance that she might not be back.  She and her parents are then taken with other Jewish families in France for the Vel' d'Hiv roundup.  Her part of the journey then encompasses trying to find a way to get back to her brother.

This book also flips back-and-forth, every other chapter with the present time, Julia Jarmond, an American who has lived in France for over a decade.  She, of course, is researching the Vel' d'Hiv for an article.  As you can imagine, the two stories mesh together quite well by the end of the novel.  As I'm not one for ruining books, I shall say no more regarding the content of the novel!

This is a book club choice and our meeting isn't until Wednesday, so forgive me for what little of a review I'm about to do for it.  Don't want to give too much away!

For the most part, I enjoyed this book.  I always enjoy historical fiction for some reason (does that make me a nerd?) and this book definitely has that element.  I think that the author did a great job at bringing the two settings together and melding the parts in to one solid story.  I feel as though de Rosnay did a great job at making me empathize with Sarah and the different characters from her part of the story.  Obviously, I was not around at this time in history, but I feel that the way she told the story seemed to be a somewhat accurate portrayal of what I've learned about this and similar events taking place at the time.

And now for a few things I disliked hated about this book.  The most annoying part for me was the fact that de Rosnay felt the need to name EVERY SINGLE STREET in France throughout the novel.  Don't get me wrong; I loved France when I was there.  I love reminiscing when I hear names/places that I recognize or have been to.  I do NOT, however, need to read EVERY street name that Julia/Sarah encounter throughout the novel.  Seriously... I bet 10% of this book was JUST street names.

Anyway, enough ranting about that.  The other thing that annoyed me and landed this book with a lower Goodreads star-rating than it would have had from me otherwise, happened in the last 50 pages of the book.  (This might not make sense if you haven't read it, but again, I don't want to give anything way either.)  There was a point at or around 50 pages 'til the end, in which it either need to be more elaborate in bringing the story to a close, or it just needed to end there.  There was a chance for a perfect stopping spot that I would have been more than happy with, but when she drones on and lengthens the story, she doesn't do enough.  Does that make sense?  Either she needed to quit earlier or elaborate further.  That may be confusing, but if you read the book and want to know what I'm referencing, I'll be more than happy to share.

Needless to say, that is all I'm going to say at this time.  I know I always say I'll write more after my book club meetings and I never do, so I'm just not going to promise it this time.  :)

This book is RECOMMENDED.

First Line Teaser:  "The girl was the first to hear the loud pounding on the door."

Up Next:  Who knows?  Seriously... I feel like I always lie to you.  I currently have 15, yes 15, books going.  (If your curious, you can friend me on Goodreads to find out what I'm reading/have read.)  The next one that lands a blog will probably be the next book club book when we pick it on Wednesday.  I'll keep you posted.

#16 "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins


Two in one week?!  I must be on a roll!  The truth is, I literally had 17 different books going at the beginning of this week and my goal is now to start finishing them before I start any new ones (with the exception of my book club selections, because I HAVE to read those, obv).  Anyhow, I am officially down to 15 now; yay me!

The Hunger Games was a fantastic book!  I'm very eager to read the rest of the series, but alas, unless they are book club selections, I shall not allow myself to do so until those other 15 books are done!   For those of you who know nothing of the series, it is basically about a post-apocalyptic North America in which the nation has been divided into 12 districts.  Each year, from each district, a female and a male teenager are chosen and are placed in an "arena" to fight to the death in front of the entire nation via video, called none other than the "Hunger Games".  It's very reminiscent of Stephen King's Running Man, or that movie "The Condemned" with Steve Austin.

The author does a very good job of drawing you in and making you care about the characters in the novel.  I literally read all but maybe 50 pages of this book today.  Even at 374 pages, it's a very quick and easy read.

I really enjoyed imagining the characters development throughout the story, as pretty much everyone in the arena has not been forced to kill in the past.  Everyone is out of their element and have to develop in to a new sense of self.

For those of you unaware of the series, I realize that the concept seems sick and sad and just... wrong.  But the truth is, that's what makes for an intriguing read, right?  I won't lie though; I'm a wee bit fascinated with death.

This book is definitely RECOMMENDED.

First line teaser:  "When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold."

Next Up:  Not continuing something I've already started, I will probably read the new book club book next.  It is called Sarah's Key and it is by Tatiana de Rosnay.

#15 David Sedaris's "Holidays On Ice"


First off, I'd like to start by saying that I am fully aware of the complete slacking I've been doing with this whole "50 books in a year" goal.  I've read a few that I haven't posted about, but I will.  All in due time... I've been busy, I swear!

Anyway, the 15th book of my challenge was Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris.  I believe I also read his Dress Your Family in Corduroy & Denim as part of my challenge.  This book was very similar.  It was a collection of short stories and essays, in fact, several of the stories were repeats from what I'd already read in Dress Your Family in Corduroy & Denim.  (The stories all just happened to have some sort of holiday theme.)  I'm not going to lie, I won't say I loved it and I won't say I hated it.  I will say that I read it and my opinion of it is just that... it's a book.  Some parts made me laugh, but for the most part I kind of just felt unmoved by the whole thing.

I did enjoy reading about Sedaris's stint as a "Christmas elf", where he worked in a Santa village at Christmas time.  I also did enjoy reading "Christmas Means Giving", which was about a family that bought themselves any lavish gift they might desire.  When a family moved in next door who wanted to compete with the original family, it all took a turn for the worst.  It was really just amusing because I think everyone knows someone that is like that.

Anyway, over all, I would NOT recommend this book.  I'm not a huge fan of short stories, so maybe, if you are, you might like this book more than I did.  I don't think that it helped that I'd already read several of the stories either.

First Line Teaser:  "I was in a coffee shop looking through the want ads when I read, "Macy's Herald Square, the largest store in the world, has big opportunities for outgoing, fun-loving people of all shapes and sizes who want more than just a holiday job!"  (Taken from the beginning of "SantaLand Diaries", which is the story in which Sedaris is a Christmas elf.)

Next Up:  Finishing The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

#14 Portia de Rossi's "Unbearable Lightness"


Another one today!  Lucky you!

Then next book in my lineup was Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi.  This book was very good.  Unlike the last book where I complained about the title character's insecurity, I felt much different about the EXTREME insecurity of Portia de Rossi throughout this book.

For those of you who don't know, Portia de Rossi (Arrested Development, Ally McBeal, Better Off Ted) suffered severe anorexia.  The book chronicles her history with bulimia and anorexia throughout her life, beginning with her adolescent years.  I wasn't sure what I was going to think of this book before starting it, given the topic and the fact that I am not big into learning about the lives of celebrities, but I really enjoyed this book.  Well, as much as you can enjoy a book where a person starves themselves to the point of practically dying.  Let me say, it was not a GOOD book... it was very interesting.

Portia de Rossi does a great job at showing what it feels like to have the insecurities that come with bulimia and anorexia.  The book is almost written as a novel at times because she does an amazing job at bringing you in to the lives of the "characters" throughout her life.  I am willing to say that if de Rossi wrote a fictional novel, I might just pick it up and read it.  She is surprisingly a fantastic writer.

I can't delve too much in to this book as it is our latest book club book and I don't want to make all of my great points before our meeting, but I will say that I really do have a lot of thoughts and feelings on the book.  Get in touch with me if you want to know more about my thoughts (and you aren't a member of the NIBC).  Definitely get in touch with me if you've read it, because I'd like to know your thoughts as well.

This book is definitely RECOMMENDED!

First line teaser:  "He doesn't wait until I'm awake."

Next Up:  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins