Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Intellectual Candy

I may be a law student, but I was first a biochemistry undergraduate student, so every once in a while I like to pick up a science book. This book by Diana Preston is about the development of the atomic bomb, starting with Marie Curie's discovery of radiation.

This book is a facinating read from beginning to end, but maybe I just feel that way because my dream job is to be a scientific historian. But seriously, this book makes you feel like you're right there with the scientists, first as they were making amazing discoveries into the structure of the atom and then as the Allies raced to develop an atomic bomb before the Germans. What I especially liked was the way Preston made sure to include the human element. The attention she paid to Werner Heisenberg (the origin of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle) as he worked on the bomb for his native Germany while the Nazi party was in power was very intriguing because the poor man obviously had an inner battle to fight.

If you like either science or history you will love this book!

Lindsey's Grade: A+


I read these romance novels the week before last, and they were all so-so. Not bad, but nothing really great, either. Sometimes I wonder why I continue to read romance novels when I find them so unremarkable, but every once in a while a good one comes along and makes it all worthwhile!

The Book of Lost Books

The Book of Lost Books : An Incomplete History of All the Great Books You'll Never Read by Stuart Kelly

I really looked forward to this book after reading a great review of it in the NY Times. However I found it so boring that I skimmed through the majority of it. Its not that it is a boring book really, its more that I don't have a strong "classics" background and appreciation of these authors.

The chapters are short and list some of the authors achievements and discusses the work that was or may have been lost. Its a great idea for a book!

Hemingway's early work was stolen on a train in Europe while Kafka wanted all of his work burned when he died (although it wasn't). Dickens' last novel was never finished and possible plot lines are discussed.

I really enjoyed the pieces on the authors I was familiar with and learned some interesting things. If you enjoy Greek, and early British literature then this would be a great book for you!

Grade: B

Monday, May 29, 2006

A letter to Rachael Ray

Rachael Ray Express Lane Meals : What to Keep on Hand, What to Buy Fresh for the Easiest-Ever 30-Minute Meals

Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Get Real Meals: Eat Healthy Without Going to Extremes

Dear Rachael Ray,

You are now almost famous. You have tv shows on the Food Network, several cookbooks, a line of cooking utensils and your own magazine. Congrats! However, you have no clue what the average American cooks and eats!

I, like millions of Americans, live on a budget. I have a million things to do and like to cook fast meals but swordfish doesn't sound tasty on a Tuesday night. Have you looked at the price of swordfish or tuna lately? I am happy that you can afford to eat it but what about me?

Rachael, you claim that all I need to do is keep a couple of specific items on hand for your recipes but this isn't true! You've tricked me! I cannot afford the specific items, nor the other items to make the recipe! What am I supposed to do? Why do you tell me that all I'll need are a few items then send me to the store again?! THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE AN EXPRESS LANE BOOK! SHOPPING TAKES TIME!

Also, where am I to find a jar of fire-roasted tomatoes? or some chipotle liquid smoke?

By the way, frying bacon in EVOO, oh wait I'm sorry Extra Virgin Olive Oil since that is what its known as, is not healthy!

Rachael, you've left me feeling sheltered, poor and not a sophicated enough eater. Your books are not helpful and I'm returning them tomorrow!


Grade: C-

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Waste and Want

My friend Jamie asked me last night if I had read John De Graaf's book Affluenza the All-Consuming Epidemic. I haven't but I have seen the PBS show that takes after the book. I find it interesting these days that more and more literature is being transformed into television series. Doesn't anyone read anymore?

Another interesting book, which I have read, is Susan Strasser's Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash. This is an amazing book about where and what we do with our millions of pounds of trash. I highly recommend it!

Our worldwide garbage epidemic is starting to enter more conversations these days with the addition of websites like Freecycle where you can list goods you no longer want or search for items you may need. There are also growing communities of "Freegans", "
people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources" (http://freegan.info).

So when thinking about my own lifestyle with regards to yesterday I asked myself "did I overconsume?" Yes, I bought sushi I didn't need and a Coldstone cone BUT I rented audiobooks instead of buying them full price and we purchased used books. I will admit that I consume too many books but hey! I suffer from the vice of literature!

For an interesting news story on Freegans go here!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Top Ten Summer Reads

These top ten summer reads came from USAToday.com.

A lovable pig. A baseball legend. Fearsome foliage. That's just some of the company you'll find in the pages of our 10 hottest summer reads.

The Ruins

Scott Smith
Knopf, 319 pp., $24.95
available July 18

What Stephen King did for cars with Christine and for dogs with Cujo, Scott Smith does for creepy foliage (and yes, it's horrifying!) in his new thriller, The Ruins.

It has been 13 years since Smith's thriller A Simple Plan rocked best-seller lists. Now he's back with a story so scary you may never want to go on vacation, or dig around in your garden, again.

Two couples enjoying a relaxing beach getaway in Mexico agree to help another tourist look for his missing brother. Their search takes them to an archaeological dig in some Mayan ruins.

What they find there is bad luck, a terrifying presence and an unimaginable battle to survive. Everything goes wrong, bad choices are made, and soon they are turning on each other.

If you love ABC's Lost and the novels of King and Thomas Harris, you'll love this book - and someday the movie: Film rights for The Ruins have been bought by

Ben Stiller.

The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth
By Leigh Montville
Doubleday, 400 pp., $26.95
In stores

It has been 58 years since Babe Ruth died, 71 since he last swung a bat. Yet as Leigh Montville writes in his lyrical biography, "The Babe remains remarkably vibrant." He was "the patron saint of American possibility." His "deferred childhood, extending pretty much though all of his life," was a "shared wicked delight." He was "crude and rude and kind and approachable, sometimes all in the same ten minutes."

But Ruth compares favorably to Barry Bonds, the modern-day slugger suspected of steroid use. Montville calls Big Bam "an attempt to tell the story again for the SportsCenter generation." He does that and a lot more. He does not break much new ground, but the writing is fresh and sharp, a reminder of all that remains unknowable about the most famous ballplayer.

Bonds will forever be linked to Ruth, but I doubt anyone will write a book about Bonds 70 years from now.

Lost and Found
By Carolyn Parkhurst
Little, Brown, 283 pp., $23.95
available June 13

The Amazing Race may have crossed the finish line for the season, but Lost and Found is just revving up.

In her new pop-culture-saturated novel, the author of The Dogs of Babel goes behind the scenes and imagines what TV reality show participants are really like.

Lost and Found- also the name of Parkhurst's fictional reality show - incorporates bits and pieces of actual shows we all either love or hate. It's like The Amazing Race, but it's one big global scavenger hunt.

Parkhurst's characters include a mother-daughter team dealing with a tragic secret, a husband and wife who believe religion will keep them faithful to heterosexuality, brothers divorced within a year of each other, and former child stars hoping to jump-start their careers.

You think the bickering is bad on TV? Just wait until you hear what Parkhurst imagines they're really thinking and saying off-camera.

The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood
By Sy Montgomery
Ballantine, 225 pp., $21.95
In stores

Animal lovers, prepare to be seduced by Christopher Hogwood.

The Good Good Pig is naturalist Sy Montgomery's tender valentine to the sickly runt she and her husband adopted and nursed back to health - and then some.

This little piggy comes home in a shoe box and soon porks up to 750 pounds.

Saved from the slaughterhouse, "Chris" lives in hog heaven in rural New Hampshire, indulging in "Pig Spas" (scrub-downs from the little girls next door) and choice slops (from a gourmet shop).

The peripatetic pig (this pen can't hold me!) becomes a local celebrity, adored by everybody, especially his besotted mistress, who tells his story with effortless charm.

When Christopher meets his maker after a good, long life, get ready for waterworks.

Spoiled rotten, dearly loved. Extraordinary, indeed.

Telegraph Days
By Larry McMurtry
Simon & Schuster, 289 pp., $25
In stores

Imagine Augustus McCrae from Lonesome Dove in petticoats and on


In his lighthearted new novel, Telegraph Days, Larry McMurtry creates the daughter whom Gus should have had with Clara - a lively, lusty, take-charge heroine named Nellie Courtwright. Nellie romps through the post-Civil War American West, ensnaring gunslingers and cowboys with her grit, gumption and gall.

Telegraph Days opens mere moments after Nellie's feeble father has hanged himself. She ditches the failing ranch, hustles into town, gets her little brother hired as the deputy sheriff and gets herself situated as the town's telegraph operator. Soon Nellie encounters legends such as Buffalo Bill Cody, Jesse James, the Earp brothers and other buckskin immortals before ending her days as a famous novelist in Hollywood.

Telegraph Days is a picaresque and entertaining ride.

Natural Selection
By Dave Freedman
Hyperion, 414 pp., $21.95
June 27

Jaws meets Charles Darwin in Dave Freedman's debut novel, Natural Selection, a maritime horror story.

Freedman, a former Wall Street executive, creates a survival-of-the-fittest predator from the deepest depths that can snack on mere sharks. The creature, forced to look for new food sources by an underwater virus, is a supersized, hostile kind of stingray. It's hungry, learning to fly and comes with a set of teeth "more powerful than the crushing mechanisms of most garbage trucks."

The novel opens with a question: "Aren't dinosaurs, crocodiles, lions and sharks really monsters? ... Every single one of them a product of evolution. So could evolution make another monster?"

Of course it can in a thriller with a budding romance between scientists and a lot of marine biology thrown in. There's also much foreboding: "Strange things were happening in the world's oceans." The formulaic writing won't win any literary prizes, but it doesn't slow down the plot.

OK, everybody in the water!

By Tilly Bagshawe
Warner, 480 pp., $24.95
June 13

Ah, to dwell forever in a fantasy world where reality, sexually transmitted diseases, terrorism threats, credit card limits and cellulite never loom.

If this sounds like your ideal summer literary destination, book a trip with fledgling trash queen Tilly Bagshawe.

Aficionados of sex 'n' shopping sagas will fondly recall the Brit's debut novel, Adored, now out in paperback. That book centered on modeling and movies. In Showdown, Bagshawe probes the world of high-priced horseflesh and L.A.'s mega-money moguls. The plot revolves around the romantic and professional collision between a gorgeous horse trainer from California's cowboy country and a feisty English girl jockey.

Supporting players include trophy wives possessed by insatiable carnal and consumer appetites, vile real estate developers who like to dominate women emotionally and sexually, overweight heiresses stalked by fortune hunters, and stallions on two and four legs. Go, girlfriends! Use that whip hand!

Jump at the Sun
By Kim McLarin
Morrow, 320 pp., $24.95
July 3

Whew. Kim McLarin sure aims high in Jump at the Sun, and you've got to love her for that.

At its best, her daring novel has the fire-breathing sass of Terry McMillan's Waiting to Exhale and the soul-searching depth of Toni Morrison's Beloved.

Grace Monroe is what they used to call a Buppie. She's a black sociologist with a Ph.D. Her husband, Eddie, is a chemist. They've got two cute little girls and a nice new McMansion in a Boston suburb. Life is good, right? Well, not exactly. Grumpy Grace's maternal instincts are MIA: She loves her kids (she thinks), but she's tempted to pack her bags and flee without even a see-ya-later.

What's wrong with her? Aren't black women the rocks who hold their families together? Grace looks for clues in the fascinating life of her elusive, poor Southern grandmother, Rae, and in the damage Rae inflicted on Grace's mother, Mattie.

Jump at the Sun is not flawless, but it's honest and surprising and provocative. And that's refreshing on a hot summer day.

The Whole World Over
By Julia Glass
Pantheon, 509 pp., $25.95
In stores

Julia Glass' The Whole World Over is such good company that toward the end of its 509 pages, it's tempting to ration a few pages a day.

This is Glass' first novel since she won the 2002 National Book Award for Three Junes, her lyrical debut about a gay bookseller (Fenno) and his family and friends.

Fenno returns in a minor role in The Whole World Over. But taking center-stage is Greenie, who leaves NYC to be a chef for the governor of New Mexico, bringing her 4-year-old son. Her husband, Alan, a therapist, stays behind.

Everyone is trying to figure out their lives - whether to adopt, have children, get married or leave a relationship.

All this builds to Sept. 11, 2001, a day of terror, and, for the people in this novel, a day of reckoning with their own lives.

A bonus: delicious descriptions - one overwrought wife is "mosquitoey."

The Whole World Over is the literary fiction of the summer - and, surely, way beyond that.

The Futurist
By James P. Othmer
Doubleday, 257 pp., $23.95
June 6

This intelligent, wise-cracking debut satire, written by a former Young & Rubicam ad exec, takes a hard look at what's cool, what's not and what people are willing to buy into morally, emotionally and culturally.

Yates, the book's protagonist, is a "futurist" paid millions to be "the Codifier of Cool." But a series of events - he's dumped by his girlfriend, witnesses a deadly soccer riot in Johannesburg and makes an emotional connection with a prostitute - sparks an attitude adjustment.

He decides he's a phony. He proclaims it to the world and is cheered as if he's the new, new thing. He even gets a job offer and is hired by a mysterious organization to travel the world to find out why everyone hates the USA.

Yates' tumultuous journey takes him to Bas'ar, an

Iraq-like country, where he sees firsthand why Americans are so unloved.

The Futurist slams pundits, corporations, government policy and American war policy. Othmer leaves us with a taste of fear in our mouths even as we're laughing at Yates' ridiculous life.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Self-Help comes with Five People

A while back I listened to this audiobook. It was only six hours long and that was the length of my drive so I thought why not? I would like to be able to tell you that I liked it, mainly because I've criticized most of the books I've read lately.

I didn't like this book though. I felt it was a sneaky self-help book disguised as fiction. Each of the five people Eddie meets has a "lesson" for him to learn whether it be love or forgiveness. As readers we are supposed to learn that we influence more people's lives than we realize, and thus learn to treat people differently. This reminds me of the whole "if Jesus walked the earth today would we recognize him?" I really had a hard time finishing this, but this book was a huge success. The reader was horrible too. I hate it when they try to "do voices" for each character. Sometimes a man is not believable as a woman!

Mitch Albom has a new book out this fall on a relationship between a mother and son, most likely similar to this one.

Grade: C+

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Romance Reads

I love Lisa Kleypas's books. She is a great writer of Regency era romance. However, I think this book must have been one of her earlier works because it just didn't have the energy and excitement that her newer books have. The couple in the book were married by their opportunistic fathers when they were four and seven, and haven't seen each other since. The hubby is searching for the wife so he can move on with his life and get a real wife, and the wifey has run away from her domineering father. Lo and behold the hubby's surprise when he discovers the actress he's been lusting after is his long-lost wife! Oooh, how exciting!

It was an okay read, but nothing spectacular.

Lindsey's Grade: B-


I recently read two books by Anita Shreve, her latest release "A Wedding in December," and the previous release "Light on Snow." I resisted buying "Light on Snow" for a while because the large print and sparse number of words on a page made me think that it wasn't worth $14. So I bought "A Wedding in December" and read it first. Kinda disappointed. Shreve is the master at taking a subject that sounds infinitely boring and turning it into an enjoyable read. This book was about a bunch of high school friends who get together 27 years later at the wedding of two of their classmates. Adultry abounded, and if you know one thing about me, it's that I hate adultry in books. I thought the ending was uber lame, even though the characters were interesting.
Lindsey's Grade: B-

"Light on Snow," on the other hand, was touching, funny, and sad all at the same time. The story is told through the eyes of a twelve year old living with her widowed father. While hiking in the woods during December, they find an abandoned newborn and save its life. Again, Shreve is wonderful at making an ordinary sounding plot full of life and interest. Her books are always character-driven and, for me, the characters become people you genuinely care about.
Lindsey's Grade: A

Winner: "Light on Snow"

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Da Vinci Economy (a rant)

The Da Vinci Code is now an economy! Here are your many choices! You can choose the original novel by Dan Brown, the special illustrated version, or the illustrated screenplay.

I, like many, don't get all the hype about this movie. It must be some
"Harry Potter" for adults thing. We listened to the abridged version on a trip to the San Juan Islands two summers ago, but I didn't think it was SPECTACULAR.

However, have you noticed all the OTHER books in the Da Vinci world lately? Let me fill you in!

For the most part you have about a dozen of books questioning Brown's novel!
(***novel: a work of fiction) There is Breaking the Da Vinci Code by Darrell L. Bock, The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code: A Challenge Response to the Bestselling Novel by Richard Abanes, The Da Vinci Hoax by Carl Olson and Sandra Miesel, Secrets of the Code: The Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries Behind the Da Vinci Code by Dan Burstein, or The Da Vinci Code: Fact or Fiction? by Hank Hanegraff and Paul Maier. Fwew!

If you want to start a discussion group about it you can use Discussing the Da Vinci Code: Examining the Issues Raised by the Book and Movie by Lee Strobel and Garry Poole.

Ok, if that was not enough please read on!

There is the diet! YES, A DIET!
The Diet Code: Revolutionary Weight Loss Secrets from Da Vinci and the Golden Ratio by Stephen Lanzalotta.

Da Vinci was a smart, smart man!

My favorite has to be Da Vinci style travel!

Fodor's Guide to the Da Vinci Code includes "A travel section featuring unique suggestions on where to go, stay, and eat for Da Vinci Code disciples who want to take the ultimate self-guided tour."

CRAZY!! For more on traveling to unlock already unlocked mysteries go here!

I think I'll just watch the movie...just to see if
Tom Hanks can make a comeback after his flop The Ladykillers.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Books to Read Aloud List

As you know, I like to read. Every now and then I skim the literature sections of major newspapers to see what interesting bits I might find.

I found one, although I believe that this list is geared towards girls.

Books to read aloud. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Short Cuts

I read this book. The title kind of says it all. Not much else to say.

Although I will add one thing. The hero was a total asshole at one point, and the heroine forgave him WAAAAAY too easily. Just my opinion. He needed to do a lot more groveling.

Book News

This book is getting a lot of press lately. Some sources say that it will be the book most women will read this summer but I disagree, Oprah hasn't selected her book yet.

Entertainment Weekly gave this book a C+ while USA Today gave it a good review:

"In The Man of My Dreams, Sittenfeld gets inside the man-obsessed motives that strike some women in their late teens and 20s.

The result: Dreams could be the women's novel of the summer, the one they talk about, dissect, analyze and compare with their own experiences.

In this insightful book, Sittenfeld asks: Does every woman deserve a soul mate?

Modern women might cringe at a story about a young woman who, for most of this novel, is looking for the perfect man.

Despite the title, Dreams is no frothy tale of looking for love. Hannah Gavener, Sittenfeld's protagonist, is no chick-lit chick. She's not perky, pretty and effervescent. She's plain, obstinate and sometimes very hard to like."

For more of the review click HERE

Monday, May 15, 2006

You're Wearing THAT?

Tannen's book IS NOT for me. No, I didn't read it because it was Mother's Day; I read it because, (sigh), its on the NY Times Bestsellers List.

If you have a mother then read this. The book is about how words have more power and impact between mothers and daughters than in other relationships. We tend to take personally what our mothers, or daughters, say to us and think of our conversations as mostly criticism.

I suppose that if I had a relationship with my mother I may be able to relate to many of the stories. I was hoping there would be suggestions to re-build your relationship with your mother, but this was lacking.

Kim's grade: B nice writing, but cannot relate

Friday, May 12, 2006

What are you thinking FREY!?

Move over Opal Mehta! James Frey is the new liar...well, the new "yeah, I lied again" liar.

It was announced today that he admitted to fabricating parts of his sequel "My Friend Leonard" about his friendship with a gangsta!


For more of this go here!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I finished this book around nine o'clock last night, and it haunted me all evening. Yes, I ended up crying at the end, and even a few hours later because it was so moving.

This is a genuine love story, even though it does have a tragic ending. I would recommend it to anyone who, like me, occasionally enjoys being moved enough to have a strong emotional response.

Lindsey's Grade: A+

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

I usually enjoy memoirs and travel but really struggled through this one. I think its because she has so much privilege yet fails to acknowledge it. Not everyone has the luxury of spending three months each in Italy, India, and Indonesia JUST TO "FIND" THEMSELVES!!

Maybe I haven't found myself yet and that is why I cannot relate (someone please find me so I don't have to). I looked forward to this book because it has been well-reviewed and on the NY Times Bestselling list but I just see Gilbert whining, complaining and not fully appreciating what is in front of her.

Why is it that 20-30 something women are breaking down and having to find themselves through trekking abroad? I'm starting to think this is a new genre! I can think of three other books off the top of my head just like this! "Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure" by Sarah Macdonald, "A Year in the World" and "Under the Tuscan Sun" both by Frances Mayes. I want to read something happy, light, or challenging. I don't find "finding yourself" escapades challenging--its a luxury most people will never have.

However, this book is an interesting look at how one woman lost nearly everything she had and renewed her spirit and life. I also appreciated greatly that she recognized a relationship was something she DID NOT need and kept her celibacy within focus. Realizing that a relationship won't fix anything or parts of everything is something most people don't think through when trying to get their lives back in order. I really respect her for that.

B+ interesting comments on mediation and renewing one's self-esteem and confidence /more self help or spiritual than travel

Monday, May 08, 2006

Too Emotional

I'm on page 152 of this book with 389 pages, but I honestly have wondered more than once if I'll be able to finish it. I've mentioned on my blog how Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper basically ripped my heart out and stomped on it, leaving me in a crying, slobbering mess at the end.

I can already tell this book will be worse.

Every page, every single page, is so unbelievably sad. Heck, I've already cried and I'm only on page 152! The book is about two families who have lived next door to each other for eighteen years. The moms are best friends and the oldest children, Chris and Emily, have been inseperable their whole lives and have been dating for the past three years. At the beginning of the book, Emily is shot dead. The police think Chris murdered her. He says they had a suicide pact and they were stopped before he could kill himself.

Not that grieving parents aren't bad enough, Picoult tells Chris and Emily's story throughout the present events, doing flashbacks to their childhood (they are seventeen when Emily dies). Anyone who was in love as a teenager can relate, and knowing that Emily will eventually die is just awful. And to top it off, Emily was pregant when she died and I think she was molested when she was a little girl.

I will keep you posted on how I fare at the end. I except some major waterworks.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

More Grocery Store Selections

This time my Safeway book wasn't so bad. The writing was actually pretty good. The plot was just your standard romance, though. It was kind of silly because the hero was supposed to be the governor of Florida, but he was such a complete goofball that it was kind of hard to believe. Oh well.

Lindsey's grade: B-

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Last Templar

The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury

I chose this book because it was on the NY Times Bestseller List (which we all know I like to read from) and it was in the library (beats paying 25 pigs for). Initially I was put off because it opens with the same quote the Templar Legacy does (See Book Wars posting). But being that the book is due and that I was struggling through my other read I opened it again.

Its a fast read (1/2 day) and I didn't think it was as predictable as the Templar Legacy. I liked that it brought the alchemist side of the Templars into view and that most of the plot happens in NYC versus Europe. This is Khoury's first book. He works as as a screenwriter and I feel that is very obvious when reading the book.

Kim's grade: B not really my kind of fiction

Thursday, May 04, 2006

No Happily Ever After

There are some authors that I find, to borrow a phrase I once heard in a book review, “compulsively readable.” For me Tracy Chevalier is one of those authors, although at times it’s hard for me to understand why.

Chevalier is probably best known for her book Girl With The Pearl Earring which was made into a movie starring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth. Since finishing Falling Angels I’ve now read all four of her books and I’ve absolutely loved all but one of them, even though I HATED EVERY SINGLE MAIN CHARACTER! I don’t understand how she does this to me!

Also, I like happy books. That’s why I primarily read romance novels – they’re guaranteed to have a happy ending. But there is a darker side to my persona that delights in sadness and despair, apparently. I cannot resist certain authors that I know are going to piss me off by not making everyone happy at the end. Chevalier, along with Anita Shreve (who I LOVE) is one of the best at doing this.

Falling Angels is set in London between 1901 and 1910 and it revolves around the lives of the Coleman and Waterhouse families, whose daughters Livinia and Maude are best friends. Let me just say this – I HATED MAUDE’S MOTHER WITH A PASSION! She was a selfish bitch. No other way to put it. All she cared about was herself and could focus on nothing but how discontent she was with her life. Sure, it probably wasn’t easy being a woman in 1901, especially one who was an independent thinker, but buck up, missy! Maude desperately wanted attention and love from her mother but Kitty (the mother) never gave it to her. Oh, and Kitty was also adulterous on more than one occasion. This was “justified” in her mind because she was unhappy in her marriage. Her husband, although he loved her, didn’t appreciate her independent nature enough. Nevermind that she made the decision to marry him! Chevalier did this in her first book, The Virgin Blue, as well, but at least here Kitty was not set up as the protagonist. In my opinion Maude was the protagonist, even though the book was written through multiple character voices. Towards the end of the book Kitty gets involved in the suffrage movement, but I couldn’t get behind her at all because her motivations were purely selfish. You got the distinct impression that she wasn’t doing it because it was something she really believed in, but rather because she just wanted a “cause” to get behind that would make her feel important. She needed the attention and her neglect of Maude was heartbreaking.

There were other heartbreaking turns of events in this book that nearly brought me to tears. The more I think about it the more I realize I read romances not just because I like a happy ending, but also because I can’t handle these somber, sad, depressing stories all the time. They’re great for unleashing the vulnerable and human side, but Lord Almighty they’re downers.

Lindsey’s Grade – A-

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Opal Mehta = Literary Theft

Do you see that woman right there?! She is a THIEF! Her first book How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life now has TWO charges of literary theft against it!!

I have a few things to say about this!

1. I liked this book. I found it hilarious and was excited to learn that Dreamworks bought the movie rights.

2. I don't read "chick lit" often enough to pick up on the similarities between Opal and ABOUT A BAZILLION OTHER CHICK LIT BOOKS!!

3. Yes, originality should be important but AHEM! JUST ABOUT EVERY PLOT HAS BEEN DONE BEFORE!!! (see just about any Clancy or Dan Brown novel or visit your friendly romance/thriller/sci-fi section of your library)

Kaavya Viswanathan YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER THAN TO PLAGIARIZE!! YOU GO TO HARVARD FOR BETSY'S SAKE! There is NO excuse for you. Is this what Harvard is producing? You don't deserve your book contract and YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION MORE IN YOUR ENGLISH CLASSES!

5. After all this, I still recommend this book. Its funny and light-hearted.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Sounds Familiar

Well, I FINALLY finished this book last night. It was pretty good, I have to admit. I did stay up until I reached the end. But while it was entertaining, I couldn't help but feel that I had heard this story somewhere before...

...Hmm, let's see, this book had:

- a young person whose mother sacrified herself to save her child
- a young, motherless person who is "the chosen one" and has special abilities
- a group of children at a boarding school that are experimenting with magic
- an evil bad-person who went over to the dark side of the magical world and is determined to destroy the motherless child

Where have I heard that before? Gee... Oh wait!

Now, this book still had a lot of creativity, but honestly it was lacking in originality and that kind of put me off. I know, I know, I read romance novels and I'm put off by a book that lacks originality? I admit it doesn't make much sense, but nevertheless... But it was entertaining. And I'll probably read the sequel

Oh yeah, and the big "surprise" at the end? I totally called it about half-way into the book.

Monday, May 01, 2006

School Stuff

Before you all (and by you all I mean Kim and Boise because I'm not sure anyone else reads this blog) wonder why I'm putting a textbook here, there is a good reason.

I'm not sure if I've ever been in a class where we've gone all the way through the textbook before. Well, we did it in Contracts this year. 883 pages of offer, acceptance, consideration, and the like. Fabulous.


Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog
by John Grogan

I love dogs!! I love everything about them and this book is ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL! Now, the dogs I had were crazy and we could never quite relate to others who had dogs since their dogs never did some of the things ours did.
For example, when it thundered Pixie would jump into the bathtub to hide. It took us forever to find her! Once we walked Olive all over the side of a Wal-Mart we were at trying to get her to go potty. She is a very stubborn dog! So, she shit in my car after we walked her for twenty minutes. (We weren't in Wal-Mart for long!) I had a table dancing Rottweiler for a while and Ocean always liked to ride on the hood of the truck instead of the back.

Well, if you have stories like those then this is the book for you!! I laughed and cried and didn't want it to end!

for more similar stories go to www.marleyandme.com