Archive for 2010

#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

#13 Cathy Lamb's "Such a Pretty Face"


I know... it's been a while, but I'll be writing two reviews today!  I just haven't gotten around to blogging!

This is a review of Cathy Lamb's Such a Pretty Face.  It was a book club selection, but alas the meeting has come and gone already in my non-blogginess.  

The book is about a woman who is trying to come in to her own after getting gastric bypass surgery.  She has to deal with weighing 325 lbs. and then dropping about 165 lbs. of it.  It basically describes her battle with insecurity and overcoming that insecurity.  Oh yeah, did I mention that when she was a child her mother was schizophrenic and threw her, her little sister & herself over a bridge, leaving Stevie (our main character) as the only survivor?  That's just a little added bonus for you.

I liked this book.  At times I became very annoyed with Stevie's insecurities, which may sound somewhat ignorant or bitchy, but I was.  As she got more confident I found that I liked her much better than in the earlier parts of the book.  This book is very good for character development. 

There are a lot of strange characters throughout it and Lamb does a fine job at giving you a good picture of who each of the characters really are.  Stevie is really the most normal of all of the characters.  Between the seriousness of some characters (a verbally abusive demeaning adoptive uncle, an equally abusive ex-husband, a bitchy lawyer/co-worker, an anorexic cousin) and the absolute comedy of some of the others [the hyper-sensitive super athlete cousin who sells blow-up dolls, Stevie's mother - the schizophrenic (also very sad, but rather humorous throughout the story), the co-worker who was a roller derby queen], this book had a nice even tone for what was really happening in the story.  In all seriousness, the book was really tragedy, but the comedic efforts made for it to give you the lightness you needed so that you didn't need to put the book down and take a break every 5 seconds in order to protect yourself from slitting your wrists out of grief.  (Maybe that was a bit of an extreme example...)

Anyway, this book is RECOMMENDED.  You just need to get past some of Stevie's whiny insecurities.  :)

First line teaser:  "I know when it started."

Next Up:  Portia de Rossi's Unbearable Lightness  (Book club selection)

#12 Francisco Jiménez's "The Circuit"


*Disclaimer:  spoiler alert.  Trust me, you won't care that I spoiled it.*

For my twelfth book, I chose The Circuit:  Stories From the Life of a Migrant Child by Francisco Jiménez.  This book was, well, it was a book.  It was okay.  I chose it based on the fact that it was short and I need to make up for some serious time in this challenge.  (Even though it still took me over a week to read because I've been in such a lull with reading lately!  Hopefully that will improve this winter.)

Anyway, this is a semi-autobiographical story about a family of illegal Mexican immigrants who come in to the States, written from the perspective of a child.

First complaint:  The family is living in poverty in shacks/tents/whatever on the farms that they are working for.  The dad smokes like 6 packs a day.  This pisses me off.  This is one of my biggest pet peeves that I have for families that I work with.  Do not sit there and complain about money issues while you chain smoke right in front of me.  3 packs a day?  That's $20 people.  You could FEED your entire family on that for a day, easily.  Grrrrr....

On a similar note, when the family moved to the States there were 2 children with a 3rd born shortly after.  In the span of the time that they were in the US during the book (estimating a span of maybe 7 years tops), they increased this amount to 7... SEVEN KIDS.  If you are this poor and are working for a total of $15 a day and spending $20 of that on cigarettes, HOW CAN YOU AFFORD TO FEED YOUR KIDS?!?!  GRRRRRRRR (again)!  (OH and might I add that at one point, when there were 5 kids, all 7 of the family members were sleeping on one mattress... how is that even possible?)

Another big complaint I had for this book were the random Spanish words throughout it.  I know very little Spanish and there were several words per page that were written in Spanish without explanation of what they meant.  I was able to figure some of them out (without translating) due to context, but it was a major annoyance for me.

Now, I don't condone illegal immigration.  I understand that people feel that life is better in America and that there is more opportunity for them here, but it doesn't mean it's okay.  I don't feel that it is the fault of these children that they were brought to America, and I don't necessarily feel that they should have to leave, but I do feel like the parents should know that, while they think they are making a better life for their children, they are greatly jeopardizing the childrens' success.  These kids are bounced from town to town, school to school, and sometimes are not in school at all due to work.  Every time they make a friend, they have to leave.  Every time they build a rapport with a teacher, they have to leave.  They are living in complete poverty and receive no health care.  The parents would rather let the child get as close to death as possible before getting them health care.

While reading this book, I faced a lot of the same issues I deal with every day in my job.  I get so angry.  I loved the main character, Panchito.  He seemed to be a great kid in spite of every thing he was going through.  I don't get angry at these poor kids that are going through this trauma, showing poor behaviors due to it.  I get angry at the parents.  Take care of your children. 

Anyway, I'm ranting.  I'll make sure to post a blog on my other blog, ranting more about this some time.

Oh yeah, one last thing.  This book ends with the kids being collected by immigration from their various work sites.  Like... it just ends.  In the middle of the story.  It's like he was in mid-sentence and just decided that he was done with the book.

This book is NOT RECOMMENDED.  It was interesting to read from the viewpoint of a migrant child, but at the same time it was very stereotypical and didn't hold much content for the things that most people don't already know about migrant workers.  (Or maybe I just think that since I'm in the social work field.)

First Line Teaser:  '"La Frontera" is a word I often heard when I was a child living in El Rancho Blanco, a small village nestled on barren, dry hills several miles north of Guadalajara, Mexico.

Next Up:  Elie Wiesel's Night

#11 Stieg Larsson's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"


Okay, so I know I am now notorious for not reading what I say I am going to read but I can't help myself.  This was a book club selection, so again, I may not post much about it here, but I will say a bit!  :)  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was not conducive to my challenge.  At nearly 600 pages, I could have read 3-4 books in that amount of time!  However, it was a VERY good book.

This book has an interesting setting.  It has the elements of being an investigative journalism novel, a suspenseful "find the murderer" novel, as well as a psychological thriller, all tied up into one neatly well-written book!

I rather enjoyed this book.  It starts out very slowly but after the first 2-3 chapters, it picks up pretty quickly and sucks you in.  It is by no means a "fast" read, but I got through it pretty quickly because I didn't really want to put it down.  I will say also, this book is not for the faint of heart.  There are a few rather graphic sexual scenes in the book, that you really can't "unread", if you know what I mean.  That aside, it brings in an extra element of suspense and while the perversion is real and intense, it also makes you want to know more about the characters involved as well as their backgrounds.

My only real complaint with this book is that there are parts of it that seemed to drag on.  While one of the main goals of the characters is to uncover the dirty deeds of a local businessman; I feel that the real story was found within the personal relationships of the characters in the novel.  This being said, I feel that there was a lot of unnecessary information surrounding the "Wennerstrom Affair", as it is referred to in the novel, and other information regarding unveiling all of Wennerstrom's negative deeds, as opposed to what I really wanted to read about:  The Love Triangle... (or maybe I should say Quadrangle, or Quint...angle?  What am I even saying anymore?)  This is not a love story in any way, shape, or form... but that element is there.  I guess I'm just saying that I was more interested in that (as well as everything within the Vanger family).

I apologize, I know this is vague and if you haven't read it, you have no idea what I'm talking about.  Like I said though, it's a book club selection!  Perhaps I will write more thoughts later, but let's face it... probably not.  :-(

This book is RECOMMENDED!

First line teaser:  "It happened every year, was almost a ritual."

Next up:  The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez

#10 Laura Weiss's "Such a Pretty Girl"


That's right; I skipped The Catcher in the Rye again.  Give me some credit though, I read this entire book today!  That should help me catch up with where I should be in this challenge a bit!  :)

The tenth book for my challenge is called Such a Pretty Girl and it was written by Laura Weiss.  I picked it up based on the cover at the Planned Parenthood book sale on Friday.  There is something sort of haunting about the picture (which fits well with the book topic).

This story is about a girl whose father is sent to jail for sexually abusing her (as well as neighborhood boys and girls).  He is supposed to be there until she is eighteen but is let out after 3 years for good behavior.  While her father is in jail, Meredith begins a relationship with a boy who is a bit older than she is but was also abused by her father.  This story tells the struggle of both of the teenagers dealing with Meredith's father's return to the neighborhood.

My honest thoughts on the story?  I'm not sure.  It was definitely a fast read and I found myself connecting with it on a professional level.  (I'm sure most of you know that I am in the social work field, so this type of situation holds a special place in my heart.)  However, I also felt dirty at times, as though I was actually reading a book that would excite a pedophile.  More often than not, this was not the case, but it was more graphic than it needed to be at times, all the while needing that information to really drive home what was going on for Meredith.

One recurrence that really annoyed me was the mother's ignorance.  I can not handle mother's who are so obsessed with being loved by their husbands that they completely ignore what might be happening to their kids, whether it is physical, emotional, mental or sexual abuse.  The mother in this story remains completely ignorant throughout.  Sadly, when it comes to these types of situations, I know that this happens more often than not.

Would I recommend this book?  Well, this book is definitely not for the faint of heart.  I know I would not recommend this book to most people, but at the same time, I know several of my blog readers work in the same field as I do and for such people I would recommend it.  So, I guess it depends on who you are.

First line teaser:  "They promised me nine years of safety, but only gave me three."

Next up:  The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (I think...)  :)

#9 Jeff Lindsay's "Dearly Devoted Dexter"


Yes, I surpassed The Catcher in the Rye to read a Dexter book in lieu of Dexter starting next Sunday.  So what?  As you can see, I don't stick to my "next up:  books" very well; I'm okay with that.  Deal.

Anyway, Dexter Dexter Dexter.  This book is the second in the Dexter series.  I read the first a couple of years ago and have owned the second and third for the same length of time and just haven't gotten around to reading them.  The fifth book was just released (or is soon to be released... I don't remember which for sure.)

After reading the first book I was discouraged.  The story went about the same as the first season of the show, yet the show was much better than the book.  (How often can you say that?  Maybe it's different with TV shows than movies...)  Anyway, I assumed the latter books would follow suit.  (A book seems to come out each season.  It only makes sense, right?)  Wrong.  The second book has a few similarities to the second season of the show, but really is nothing like it.

I liked this book for the most part.  It was hard for me to get into in the beginning, but once I got a bit further, it turned out to not be so bad.  I still like the show better.  I mean, come on... it's Michael C. Hall.  Love!  (Although it weirds me out that his wife plays his sister in the show.  I guess it would be stranger if his sister played his wife though...)

This book is twisted and a bit gruesome, yet oddly humorous in parts.  You'll still fall in love with Dexter, even though he is a murderer.

My biggest complaint with this book (other than it not being as good as the show) is that the climax of the book happened in the last 5 pages or so and was resolved and the book was ended all within those 5 pages.  That's a bit quick.  It was almost as if Lindsay decided he just wanted to be done writing it.

I plan to read the third book, since I own it and will judge at that point whether I will read #4 or #5.

This book is:  Recommended on the basis of it being a quick read and if you don't like it, you will decide so in the first couple of chapters and can quit reading it.  (Does that make it a true recommendation?  Probably not, but meh... what can you do?)

First line teaser:  "It's that moon again, slung so fat and low in the tropical night, calling out across a curdled sky and into the quivering ears of that dear old voice in the shadows, the Dark Passenger, nestled snug in the backseat of the Dodge K-car of Dexter's hypothetical soul."  (Yes, first sentence AND first paragraph!)

Next Up:  Finishing The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (but probably also starting something else.)  :)

#8 David Sedaris's "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim"


The eighth book of my challenge is one that I've wanted to read for a while and have owned for probably close to a couple of years and just hadn't gotten around to yet.  That would be David Sedaris's Dress Your Family in Corduroy in Denim.

I liked this book.  It's witty and clever and made me laugh out loud several times.  Sedaris has no problem making himself look... bad.  It's one thing to degrade yourself, but Sedaris takes it to a whole new level.  It's brilliant really.

This book is actually a collection of essays that Sedaris wrote about his life.  They range from stories about his early childhood well in to his adult life.  Some stories are touching, some are morbid and most are hilarious or at least bordering on so pathetic that they are funny.

I enjoyed this book a lot.  I wouldn't say I struggled with it in the beginning; it was just sort of a slow start for me.  Once I got in to it though I got through it pretty quickly.

This book is:  Recommended

First line teaser:  "When my family first moved to North Carolina, we lived in a rented house three blocks from the school where I would begin the third grade."

NEXT UP:  The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger  (Yes, I've never read this book.  I know...)

#7 Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love"


I've finally done it.  I finished Eat, Pray, Love.  I don't know what my problem with this book was!  I actually did enjoy it (for the most part), but I really struggled to get through a lot of it.

That being said, let me tell you my thoughts.  Like I said, I enjoyed this book, for the most part.  I love the idea of this book, but I am still very skeptical of a lot of it.  I understand that Gilbert went through a huge "bad" spell in her life before the content of the book, but the story (where the novel picks up) just works out to perfectly for me.  Yes, there are still struggles for her throughout the book, but... I don't know.  I'm not at a loss for words as that last sentence makes me out to be, but I am at a loss for thoughts.  Mixed feelings.

Let's break this book up in to three parts.  We'll call them, fittingly, "eat", "pray", & "love".  These sections will be from her time spent in Italy, India & Indonesia, respectively.

  I liked this portion of the book.  I love Europe.  I love food (especially pasta).  I love the romance languages.  I'm sure all of these things helped in my liking this portion of the book.  I don't have a lot to say about this section though other than that I just liked it. 
     *I will add, however, that I got really annoyed by her sob story leading in to Italy.  Not that I don't like a good tale of sadness and despair; she just bordered on pathetic a lot of the time.  I also recognize that she was most likely looking for the reader to see that side of her life though.*

  This part is where I struggled the most.  I am not an overly religious person, but I am not an atheist either.  I have always been very interested in learning about different religions, but consider myself to be agnostic, because honestly, I don't know.  (And, as I've mentioned, I'm a huge skeptic.)
  I don't know if my reason for having difficulty getting through this book had anything to do with this being the more "religious" section of it, but I REALLY struggled through this portion.  When I read stories like this and I hear stories similar from people, or I meet someone with a really strong faith, it always makes me feel the same way.  I wouldn't say that I am jealous of these people, but I definitely am in awe of them.  Don't get me wrong, I have faith.  I have faith in my friends and family and I usually have faith in humanity, in general.  I am talking about religious faith.  There are some things in this world that I can never be sure of and religion is one of them.  I've tried.  I really have.  I've learned a lot of my values and morals growing up in a Christian based family and growing up with the church and I am proud of that fact.  I would change nothing about that fact.  It's made me who I am.  I also want to raise my children in a similar manner, giving them the option of having religion be a part of their lives. 
Sorry, I'm getting off track.   This is supposed to be a book review, but it has turned in to a religion argument.  I will save that for my other blogStay tuned...
Back to the book... well, I think you get a feel for my thoughts on this section.  More power to Gilbert and good for her.

  This is probably the section of the book that I enjoyed the most.  Maybe it's because I'm a sap.  Maybe it's because I love my friends and family and this is the section of the book where you see a strong sense of friendship and the beginning of a family for Gilbert.  I also think some of it is because I love some of the characters you meet in this section.  I love Ketut Liyer (the adorable medicine man) and his complete disregard for time.  I love Wayan, and even more so love her daughter, Tutti.  And let me tell you about my love for Felipe.  (I don't think that it helps that I know Javier Bardem plays him in the movie version... all I have to say about that is YUM.)  I know that I am a hopeless romantic and that only makes me love Felipe more... Gilbert makes him out to be that "perfect" man that only exists in the movies... and books, of course.
  The only part of this section that I was completely liking was Yudhi.  Don't get me wrong; I liked Yudhi.  I did not like the way that they converse with each other... most importantly the "your mother" jokes.  Come on.  Everyone knows that they are "your MOM" jokes.  They don't ring the right way if you say "mother".  :)

Over all, I did like the book.  Consider it RECOMMENDED.

Sorry that this review kind of turned in to a novel, in and of itself.

Here's your first line teaser from it:  "I wish Giovanni would kiss me."

Next up:  Dress Your Family in Corduroy & Denim by David Sedaris.

#6 Dan Wells's "I Am Not a Serial Killer"


First, I'd like to start by saying that blogger has added an underlining option!  Yay!  That makes me feel so much better about blogging about books.  :)

Moving on... number "six" (I quote because you all know I'm getting out of whack with this whole thing) is a book called I Am Not a Serial Killer, by Dan Wells.  Again, I remind you, this is a book club selection so I won't be giving away too terribly much.  Gotta save that for the meeting!  I will tell you this, as I know if for a fact, some of my book club members are going to absolutely HATE this book.  I think it is a bit gorier than some of them can handle, or would like to handle.

Aside from this fact, I also did not enjoy this book.  Mind you, it was a very fast read and I finished it quickly, but I did not really like it.  As those of you who actually know me know, I am not one to be a huge fan of things that I don't think are real or that I don't think could actually happen.  Having said that, I actually was enjoying this book until around page 100 or so.  Said serial killer turns very unrealistic.  I won't elaborate for now.  (Let's face it... I probably won't elaborate later either.  Have I managed to do that for any of my other book club books?)

I have a problem with things being too unrealistic.  I mean, ghosts?  They might be real... you don't always see them but you've got to wonder when you have those freaky happenings going on.  Serial killers?  I'm all about learning about them.  Sasquatch?  Yetis?  Chupacabra?  Probably not, but I wouldn't be surprised to find out that they exist.  Demons?  I'm over this book. 

Honestly, I think I would have been okay with it had I known what I was getting in to.  But with a name like "I Am Not a Serial Killer", you expect it to deal with just that.  At least I did; don't you?  I think had I known the actual topic, I might actually have enjoyed the story, because I do like a mini-man sociopath trying to take on demons.  (Okay, really I just like anything dealing with psychology; sociopathic children included.)

That all being said, if you like the previous paragraph of this, then perhaps you would like this book.  It's just not for me.

First line:  "Mrs. Anderson was dead."

This book is:  not recommended.

Next up:  I am going to finish Eat, Pray, Love.  Oh yes, I am.

Apologies, Apologies


So I just wrote an apology the other day for not blogging on my other blog, and here is my apology for this one.  I'd like to say that I haven't been posting because I've been too busy, but I'm not entirely sure that's true.  Maybe, kind of.

I just wanted to update you all on my current reading situation.  For some reason, even though I really like the book, I am struggling to get through Eat, Pray, Love at a quick enough pace for this challenge.  Thus, I have added my P90X guides (I know... I will try to cancel them out further down the road).  They are very informational though and this program is going to complete kick my tush since I am not in shape, whatsoever.

Bringing me to now.  We had the book club meeting on Monday and chose our new book.  I am taking a break from Eat, Pray, Love in an attempt to be more loyal to it after this book is over.  Our new selection is I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells.  I started it last night and am probably somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 of the way done with it.  It's a super easy and fast read so far.  Does it make me a freak that I compare myself to the little sociopath in the book?

Anyway, I promise to get back on track with my booking blog.

#5 P90X


Okay, some of you may say this is cheating.  I have skipped Eat, Pray, Love (which will now be my 6th book instead of 5th).  I am counting my P90X guides as books for my challenge as that has been my reading material for the past few days.

P90X will, in and of itself, be an entirely new challenge for me.  The guides are both over 100 pages long though, so I think that combining them I can count them as one book.  Thoughts?  Call me a cheater; call me what you will; I'm doing it.  Just thinking about doing P90X allows me such convenience.  If you don't know what P90X is, you better check it out.  It's going to be insane, yo.

I promise that if I have time I will add another book to my line up to make up for this one, but for some reason it has taken me almost 3 weeks to get through Eat, Pray, Love.  I like it all right, but I can't stick to reading it for long for some reason.

The next book club meeting is on Monday, so we will see what my next selection will be then.

I shall NOT recommend p90x... YET.  :)

#4 Lisa Scottoline's "Look Again"


The fourth book of my challenge was a book club selection.  Lisa Scottoline's "Look Again".  The book was pretty good.  Not excellent, but not horrible. 

The short of it is basically, a reporter gets a "missing child" postcard in the mail and he resembles the son she had adopted a year and a half ago.  She is then faced with the moral dilemma of where to go from there.

There were things that I liked about this book and things that I didn't.  I loved that it had super short chapters.  That always makes for a really fast read and it keeps me interested because I can always squeeze in that one last chapter.  I also liked that it dealt with a topic that I am all too familiar with due to my line of work, adoption.  (Along with the psychological mumbo-jumbo that comes along with it.)

A few things I did not like.  First off, I don't like it when an author over does it with descriptions.  Yes, I like a book to be descriptive, but I don't like it to feel forced.  I felt this way several times throughout the book.  I don't need to have a complete description of something that matters NOT to the story, whatsoever.  Granted, this wasn't through the entire book, but I definitely felt this way at different points.  Also, for the most part, the book was extremely predictable.  From the moment the main character started talking about the family she adopted from as well as the family of the missing child, I theorized the ending of the novel.  I got it 100% correct.  But I am very smart.  :)  It doesn't mean you shouldn't read it.  You might not be as smart as I am... (I'm kidding, I promise... or AM I?)

Again, this is a book club selection so I am not going to talk too much about the actual content of the novel because I do not want to give anything away to my fellow NIBC'ers.

So, here's a first line teaser for you:  Ellen Gleeson was unlocking her front door when something in the mail caught her attention.

This book is: Recommended for some.  Not for others.  I will tell you to base that completely on what I've written in this little "review".

Next up:  "Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert

#3 Jonathan Safran Foer's "Eating Animals"


Okay.  Let me just start out with saying that I am completely and utterly terrified by this book.  I knew a lot of what I would be facing in reading this book and yet I am still completely horrified.  I liken this book to Dave Pelzer's "A Child Called 'It'".  Not because they are in any way similar to one another, but rather because I had the same feeling of disgust, yet complete fascination while reading it.  They set up the perfect instance to use the phrase "horribly good" to describe a book.

For those of you who don't know about it, "Eating Animals" is about, well exactly what the title tells you; eating animals.  There is an emphasis on factory farming versus family farming (which I don't feel the need to explain to you).   This book has a particularly interesting take, as it not only tells you the "bad" about factory farming but Foer also provides interviews with workers on the "inside" of these farms to show you things from their perspectives and some of them only have "good" to say.

As I've mentioned before, Jonathan Safran Foer is a personal favorite, but his previous books were novels and completely different than "Eating Animals".  On that note I have to add that I am still a huge fan.

I can't believe the amount of actual abuse that the animals at factory farms go through.  Before reading this book, I was well aware that a lot of animals are not slaughtered in the most humane ways possible, but it sickened me even more to learn about the perversion and torture that takes place at some of these factory farms.  Unbelievable.  My faith in humanity is depleted in some way every day the way it is and this book only made it deplete more rapidly.

There was a point during the book when Foer was writing about the amount of pollution given off by factory hog farms. I'll just say that it made me want to plug my nose when I drive by now for many reasons more than just the smell.

Oh yeah, and I might want to add that I have a new term ingrained in my brain thanks to this book:  "fecal soup".  Read the book.  You might not like what you learn. 

I have never felt more of a connection with a quote that wasn't my own than I did while reading this book.  That quote being, "ignorance is bliss".  I guess I don't know that I was really ignorant before but I definitely know a lot more now and it is definitely going to make me change some of my buying habits.

First line teaser for y'all:  "When I was young, I would often spend the weekend at my grandmother's house."

Oh!  I also must add that this book has only furthered my desire for a Whole Foods in the area.  It's time Des Moines.  Get a move on!


Up next:  "Look Again" by Lisa Scottoline (book club selection)

#2 Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World"


All right, so I know you all thought that I'd quit my challenge already because I hadn't blogged, but I assure you, I have not!  I have finished book #2, Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World".  First off, let me say, where can I get some soma?  I assume it to be similar to ecstasy.  Just a thought.  Anyone else who's read it have an opinion about that?  Don't get me wrong, I've not done ecstasy, but from what I've heard of it, I assume soma to be similar.

Anyway, moving on.  I really liked this book.  When I started reading the first chapter I got a little annoyed and thought I wouldn't like it based on all of the science lab-by B.S. that it had to explain.  It really was necessary to set the novel up though.  This is why I can never stop if I don't like the first chapter in a book.  Prime example.

For those who don't know about this book, it is basically about a post-apocalyptic society where everyone is a test-tube baby created and honed to be in a certain caste.  Everyone is given this happy drug "soma", to make anything negative go away.  There are absolutely no moral repercussions for any choice made because no one in this "civilized" society would ever do anything that they aren't conditioned to do.  However, throw in a few "savage" characters from outside of the civilization and a few "civilized" characters who break the mold, and we have ourselves a story folks!

"Brave New World" had me feeling all kinds of emotions.  Like I said earlier, I really liked this book.  I would recommend it to most people, but will also add that you have to stick out that first chapter or two.  I found myself angry right off the bat because I can totally see our society headed in this direction.  I know that may seem far-fetched to some, but at the same time everyone is already brain-washed by something to some extent, how long before everyone gets brain-washed by the same thing/person/group?

Of course, I always enjoy a book with a nice dark twist, which this book definitely takes at the end.  Huxley could easily have ended the book without the last chapter by just adding a few predictable paragraphs, but he doesn't!  I think he did it just because he knew that I would read it and would want a darker ending from him!  Okay... I know he passed away like 20 years before I was born, but still...

Your first line action:  "A squat gray building of only thirty-four stories." 

(I am aware that was a sentence fragment.  I did not WRITE this book; you can't blame me.)

This book is: RECOMMENDED

Unless you can only handle a light, fictional read.  Then don't read it.  You won't like it.



#1 Mark Haddon's "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time"


I've finished my first book of the challenge!  "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" by Mark Haddon!  I don't know that I'll type a whole lot about it today, only because it is also our book club book and I've got to save some of my ramblings for our meeting!  (Maybe I'll share more of my thoughts after that!)  I must also comment that I chose this cover for my blog image because I like it better than the actual cover of my book! : )

I will say that I would recommend this book to most people!  There's something about reading the point-of-view of a child/teen that gets me.  Maybe that makes me somewhat immature with my reading selections, but I loved it in this book, loved it in Jonathan Safran Foer's "Everything is Illuminated" & loved it in Stephen Chbosky's "The Perks of Being a Wallflower".  I think it is something about an author being able to capture the innocence of the youth that makes it so appealing for me.  Not just any adult is able to really capture and relay that for me.  I mean, I will admit that I've read the Twilight series and the Harry Potter series and those are child/teen P.O.V.'s, but it's in a different way.  Upon typing that I think I've discovered that it's when dealing with kids with psychological issues.  Given my chosen profession I suppose that makes sense.

Here's your first line action (a lil' taste):  "It was 7 minutes after midnight."

Anyway, possibly more to come on this book after my book club meeting.  As for my next book, I will be reading "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley.  Yes, I know that is a classic and I should have read it by now, but I haven't, so I am going to.  : )

This book is:  RECOMMENDED

And it begins...


Today's the day folks.  CHALLENGE!!!  Wish me luck.

Maybe I'm not giving myself enough credit; maybe it will be easy.  I just know that I go through bouts where I don't read for a few weeks at a time, so I hope I can stick with it.  I'm expecting all of my faithful followers to keep me pumped up about it.  Keep giving me book ideas so that I can look forward to the next one and keep  myself motivated!

As I think you all know, my first book will be Mark Haddon's "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time".  I hope it's FABULOUS!

You know what they say, "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body!"  (I think I should do more of both!)
Thanks for supporting me! :)

The Premier Selection


So, I've made my decision.  Well, technically my book club made my decision... kind of.  I will be starting my first book of the challenge in two days.  I've decided to read our first book club selection as my first book, mostly so that I can pass it along to someone in the NIBC (New Improved Book Club!) when I am done with it since I SHOULD have it done in a week or less, right?

The book we/I have chosen is "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" by Mark Haddon.  Not only is it our first book club selection since restarting book club, but it was also a recommendation for one of my challenge books, so why NOT start out with it, right?  Plus, it looks like it will be an fast & easy read, which will only motivate me to keep on keepin' on, if you know what I mean.

My plan with this blog is to keep you posted on what I am reading as well as any thoughts/comments/questions that I have about the book.  All feedback will be welcome.  I'm looking forward to the motivation & feedback from all of my faithful followers to push me along in this journey!

One week 'til showtime!


It's getting closer folks.  One week until I reveal which book will be my first of the challenge.  I know you are all on the edge of your chairs just waiting to find out. 

I've decided that my first book will be one of your fine recommendations.  I plan to (hopefully) read most of your suggestions at some point during the challenge.  Chances are, if we choose a book club book by the 1st, that may just be my first book I read.  We'll see.

I will say that I broke down and bought "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer yesterday.  I've been itching to read it but have been trying to convince myself that I'm too poor to buy books.  I just read "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" though, so I've got to read a couple others before I read another JSF book.  It will definitely probably make it in to my first couple months worth of reads.  (Has anyone read it yet?  Alice, I'm mostly talking to you because I think that I saw on goodreads that you did and I know that you are also a fan of JSF.  Enlighten me with your thoughts.)

In lieu of the challenge...


In lieu of the challenge I am going to restart book club.  Formerly YESS book club, the book club is now being called "book club" as I no longer work at YESS.  Deal with it people.

This being said, I will be emailing you all soon.  I know I already posted this on my other blog, but I felt it only made sense to post it on here as well.

If there is anyone in the DSM area that meets the following qualifications and would like to join, please let me know!


  • You must be a reader.
  • You must not be annoying.
  • At least one of the former members should probably know you.  (We don't need any creepsters in our lives, thanks.)
Former members, suggestions for further qualifications are welcome at any time.



All right peeps.  I'm currently taking recommendations for the first book of my challenge.  I need it to be something that will completely entrance me and keep me "booking" through it. (See what I did there?)  :)  I want the first one to be a super fantastic book so that I can start out extremely motivated!  Help me out people!

Much love.

50 in a year?


I've decided as a way to motivate myself to read more, I am going to start a blog that is dedicated to pushing myself to do so.  I am officially going to start my "year of reading" on July 1st, 2010.  My goal is to read 50 books in a year.  Maybe this seems like a small number to some and impossible to others.  I'm honestly not sure how it is going to work out for me.  I don't read nearly as often as I would like to.  I'm hoping by setting my goal at approximately one book per week, I should be able to hammer through a few more than I have been lately.  I mean if I post this goal for you all to see, I have to hold myself to it, right?

I think I'm going to take the next couple of weeks to finish up the several books that I currently have started so that I can start fresh on July 1st. 

Thoughts?  Is my goal reachable?  Any suggestions for good books for me read in the upcoming year?  I have shelves of books that I have yet to read, but  I always prefer recommendations from others!  (Also, please note any books that you think I absolutely should NOT read.  GREATly appreciated!)

I will add that I am also willing to read books that you, my (currently zero, hopefully soon to be many) followers want to read yourselves, but want a review from someone else first.  I will test the books out for you!

My plan is to keep you updated on what I'm reading, as well as how I feel about what I read!  Enjoy!