Monday, July 20, 2015

Book Review -- Go Set a Watchman

Go Set a WatchmanGo Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
My enjoyment rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Hangover rating:  2
Source: Library copy
Genre: General fiction
Objectionable material:  liberal use of the N* word

You cannot compare any book to To Kill a Mockingbird. Period. Even one written (supposedly) by Harper Lee. So this book was in an impossible situation from the beginning.

That being intention was to read this simply as a book. A book with familiar characters, but only a book, and judge it as to whether I enjoyed it or not.

I did enjoy it.

I enjoyed Scout (in the book referred almost exclusively as Jean Louise) as a 20something; I enjoyed the witty, gritty, intellectual dialog between characters; I enjoyed the flashbacks to Scout's childhood (especially the one involving falsies!); I enjoyed the "bombshell" that occurs within the opening pages of the book and it's lingering effects; I enjoyed learning that ultimately, Atticus is a complicated character -- a Southern White Man, and all the trappings that may or may not go with that designation.

Was it the best book I've ever read? No. Was it a financial vehicle for the estate of Harper Lee and her handlers? Probably. Did it forever tarnish how I feel about TKAM?? Goodness NO!!! I can't imagine anything ever changing my view of Maycomb and the Finches and Boo Radley. Ever.

But this is a book you'd have to read for yourself and judge accordingly.

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Monday, June 15, 2015


I've been in a blogging void.

Because I do this now...

I've been "rescuing" old, discarded, damaged books from the library donation dump and making them into "upcycled" bookmarks.  I've been giving them out to friends, sending them as gifts, using them as party favors.  I could spend hours with old book pages, scrapbook paper, ribbons and mod podge.  

It's a new happy place. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Book Review -- The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars  (3.5 stars)
Hangover rating: 3
Source: Library
Genre: Thriller/Fiction
Objectionable material:  F-bombs

Rachel is a drunk. A drunk that rides the train back and forth to her former employer, because she's been fired. For being a drunk.

What she sees on her daily, endless train ride leads to suspicion, a police investigation and murder.

It's a blend of Gone Girl and Before I Go to Sleep. And I would say I liked it more than those two books.

An intriguing mix of neighborhood secrets, infidelity, addiction, and abuse. The author did a great job of creating sympathy for a main character who was overall miserable.

I liked it -- I didn't love it. In retrospect -- it was a bit predictable -- but that being said, I still didn't know "who dun it" until 30 pages to the end.

I would recommend it.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Book Review - Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies

My enjoyment rating: 5 of 5 stars
Hangover rating: 5
Source: Personal copy
Genre: General fiction/women's fiction
Objectionable material: F-bombs

This was such an engrossing read and a brilliant look at the complications and secrets of a seemingly ordinary neighborhood and the families that are brought together by a public elementary school.

School fundraisers are brutal -- and in this case, deadly.

And PTA moms are very, very mean.

Couldn't put it down.

View all my reviews

Thursday, January 22, 2015

2015 Reading Bingo!

Ready for some Bingo?!

Last year my kids and I tracked much of our reading on a bingo card created by -- it was a lot of fun for all of us and I was eagerly anticipating this year's edition!

However, their current bingo card includes numerous Canadian-type books, for obvious reasons, so most of their options I can't access at our local library, so I created my own!

This is the card I will be following this year!  I hope you will join me!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Book Review -- Serena


My enjoyment rating: 5 of 5 stars
Hangover rating: 5!!! OMG!
Source: Personal copy
Genre: General fiction
Objectionable material:  Very little language, some sexual innuendo, but nothing explicit, and the violence all happens "off stage."

Lady Macbeth meet Serena Pemberton -- I'm not sure which one of you would survive in a throwdown, but I'd love to watch.

Serena has one goal -- and that's to cut every tree down on the Western Hemisphere and make a truck load of money while doing it. With her husband, of course.

Oh -- and whatever you do -- do not get in her way.

I loved this book.

The writing was impeccable.

The characters gloriously complex and simple at the same time.

If Shakespeare had written a play about the Appalachian timber industry -- he would have written Serena.

Amy Dunne (Gone Girl) wouldn't stand a chance with Serena either.

The woman had acid in her veins.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 -- The Year Very Few Books Were Read


The year I read far fewer books than I planned and blogged very little about those few books.  It is not a literary year I'm proud of.

I took a lot of naps instead.

I did complete a 2014 Reading Bingo, published by  Both my daughter and I finished bingo cards.  That my friends, is an accomplishment.

Behold my completed reading bingo card:

A Book with more than 500 pages:  The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
A Forgotten Classic:  A Separate Peace by John Knowles
A Book that became a movie:  If I Stay by Gayle Forman
A Book Published This Year:  Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan
A Book with a Number in the Title: Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
A Book Written by Someone Under 30:  Popular by Maya Van Wagenen
A Book with Non Human Characters:  Things Invisible to See by Nancy Willard
A Funny Book:  The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
A Book by a Female Author:  The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
A Book with a Mystery:  The Bookman's Tale by CharlieLovett
A Book with a One Word Title:  Landline by Rainbow Rowell
A Book of Short Stories:  I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan
A Book Set on a Different Continent: The Voices of  Heaven by Maija Rhee Devine
A Book of Non Fiction:  Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey
The First Book by a Favorite Author:  I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
A Book You Heard About Online:  Under the Jeweled Sky by Alison McQueen*
A Best Selling Book:  Fault in Our Stars by John Green
A Book Based on a True Story:  Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
A Book at the Bottom of Your TBR Pile:  Change it Up by Amanda Dickson
A Book that Scares You:  Before I Go to Sleep by S J Watson
A Book More than 10 Years Old:  The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Second Book in a Series:  Cracks in the Kingdom by Jaclyn Moriarty
A Book with a Blue Cover:  The Time Between by Karen White
A Book your Friend Loves:  The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

I hope your reading endeavors were far more accomplished than mine.

Here's to a new year and new books!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Book Review -- Texts from Jane Eyre

Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters

My enjoyment rating: 3 of 5 stars
Hangover rating:  3 (I've re-read several "texts" since I finished the book)
Source:  ARC received from the publisher -- I was not compensated in any other way for my review.
Genre:  Humor non-fiction
Objectionable material: Multiple uses of the f-bomb

If your favorite literary characters (like Lizzie Bennett, Jane Eyre, Sherlock Holmes) could text -- what would their 21st century conversations sound/read like?

Fortunately, Mallory Ortberg has given us an extremely clever and humorous glimpse at the perceived texts of these classic, fictional icons.

Some of my favorite exchanges were:

Sherlock Holmes & Watson: "there's only one thing we're missing...only one thing we need that will help us solve this case...Cocaine, Watson....scads of it..."

Edgar Allan Poe: "...where do I even start...there's a heart in the floor and it will not shut upppp...but that's not the main thing, there's a cat with one eye that keeps calling me a murderer..."

The best sequences were Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre (duh!) and Gone With the Wind. (You'll have to read those for yourself).

Unfortunately, for me, nearly half of the texts/references were from literary works that I'd either not read or had long forgotten. So the text exchanges for Plato, Circe, Rene Descartes and others were totally and completely lost on me. A sad reflection of my feeble mind and education.

This is, however, a fun, quirky volume that will keep you highly entertained.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book Review -- I Work at a Public Library

I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks
I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks by Gina Sheridan
My enjoyment rating: 4 of 5 stars
Hangover rating: 4 (I've taken the book to the library -- my co-workers have enjoyed it as well)
Genre:  General non-fiction
Source:  Publisher (Other than a review copy, I was not compensated in any way for my review)
Objectionable material:  None

Life is never dull when you work in a public library.

It's the melting pot of humanity.

Gina Sheridan, in her blog inspired book, I Work at a Public Library, perfectly captures the crazy, humorous, odd, quirky, sometimes questionable scenarios one may encounter at the library.

As a library employee, I thoroughly related to this book. Library patrons seem to be the same regardless of where you live.

One of my favorites: Gina helps a patron indulge on Krispy Kreme donuts. It's precious. A must read.

It made me wish I'd chronicled all of my patron queries over the years.

It was delightful.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Book Review -- What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
My enjoyment rating: 5 of 5 stars
Hangover rating: 5 -- I really want to discuss this with someone!
Source: Personal copy
Genre: Literary fiction
Objectionable material: Honestly, I don't remember anything.

Who knew spin class could be so risky? But for Alice, a fall off her stationary bike and a "bonk" on the head, causes 10 years of memories to disappear.

I loved it. I loved it. I loved it. I loved reading about Alice's discovery that before her accident she was a suburban, overachieving mom with three kids with an estranged husband, to the realization that she was none of the above after her accident. I loved her family members -- especially her sister, Elisabeth, whose infertility woes and letters to her therapist are truly crushing. And Gina -- the friend that everyone knows, Alice most of all, but who can't remember the depth of their relationship.

I loved the author's writing style -- using glimpses of memory, epistles, and diary entries -- made this so interesting and unique and added necessary depth to all the characters.

This was such an enriching read and a brilliant look at the complications of a seemingly ordinary domestic family life.