Archive for July 2010

#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! :)