Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A tale of two disappointing books

I recently finished two books that i was disappointed in. the first one was "Chicken Soup for the Grandma's Soul." i love the Chicken Soup series and i love being a grandma. i did not love this book. the cartoons weren't funny and the stories were for the most part disappointing. they were feel good stories, yes, but none of them usually touched me the way Chicken Soup books usually do. the book was a gift to me and i would not have bought it on my own. i am willing to pass it on should anyone be interested.
the 2nd book i will mention was absolutely horrible. entitled "Sudden Fiction - A Collection of American Short-Short Stories" edited by Robert Shapard and James Thomas this book was a genuine waste of time. i kept at it hoping to find at least one story that was any good. these stories were by famous American authors, among them Tenessee Williams, Joyce Carol Oates, etc. awful stories. many made no sense and many was just vulgar and ridiculous. my daughter got this book as a textbook for one of her English classes in college and i kept it as i am always interested in trying new things. we'd return it to the campus bookstore and get our money back except it was the text from a class a few years ago. it's been on my shelf that long waiting to be read.
if anyone is interested in this short story book or the Chicken Soup book mentioned above, please let me know within two weeks. after two weeks we plan to have a book sale on our street to pass on some of our overflowing collection of books. have a great day!

The Lost Symbol

our women's book club is going to be discussing Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" next week. this is Dan Brown's newest book and it features the Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon. he is tricked into coming to Washington DC by someone posing as a good friend. he is invited to give a speech in the Capital rotunda. he arrives there and ,of course, there is no audience. just a cryptic clue - a man's hand with tattoos on it and a Masonic ring. the hand is that of his friend's. thus begins a race around the capitol to save his friend's life and stop a mystery person from deciphering the clue to a hidden portal. i think this is Dan Brown's best book yet. i loved "The DaVinci Code" and even more, "Angels and Demons." ("Digital Fortress" and "Deception Point" were very disappointing.) i couldn't put this book down. i'd stay up way too late at night reading and be so tired the next morning for work. i am going to read it again to catch all the nuances. there is a lot of Masonic info and symbology in the book and it is fascinating. it really makes me want to read a book on the Masons. there is a huge twist towards the end that i should have figured out and didn't. i hope they make this book into a movie. it would be fascinating. i loved learning about the architecture in Washington DC. i'd love to go there some day. let me know what you think about the book. i am looking forward to hearing your comments as well as those of my book club members. For an exciting read, try "The Lost Symbol."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ice Cold by Tess Gerritsen

I have not read a Tess Gerritsen book in a long time. i have to say my favorite is still "Harvest". have any of you read that one? i have read a couple of her others and enjoyed them. i ordered this one from a mail order book service. it is her newest. it is another Rizzoli and Isles mystery. Dr. Isles, who is a forensice pathologist, attends a conference in Wyoming and meets and old friend from medical school. she is a very controlled and rational person, however, this old friend brings out the risk taker in her, and she agrees to go with him and some friends to a lodge and spend some time cross country skiing. they take a wrong turn, get lost, and come upon an abandoned little township where every house is exactly alike, and where the people are mysteriously missing from each home. a series of terrible events occur and Dr. Isles turns up among the dead who have died in a serious car accident and been burned to a crisp. Rizzoli and friends back in Boston start a search when Dr. Isles does not return home as anticipated. A cult is involved. there are a crooked sheriff or two involved and a run away boy. it read the book in a few hours in one sitting. it was pretty interesting as i wanted to see where things ended up. i will say that it is definitely not one of my favorite books of hers. i'd like to hear opinions from other readers of Tess Gerritsen and see what you have to say. have a great day! (it is sunny and warming up here in So.Cal.)

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

How many have you ever read this classic? our women's book club read this book for our August meeting which was last night. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." we had a really good discussion about the use of doubles, forshadowing, revenge, and mob rule last night. it was amazing how many of our group read the book. it is not the easiest book to read. he uses a lot of description that you have to sort through. he also descibes a lot of places that have significance but for someone in our time, it may not be something we know. i am glad for the Barnes and Noble version that my daughter found for me. it has a forward by an English professor about Mr Dickens and then has footnotes explaining some of the locations and terms that Dickens uses. it was really helpful in getting an understanding of what was going on. while Mr Dickens deplores the way the aristocracy abused the lower class, he also is clear that he did not favor the method used by the poor during the French revolution. mob rule is scary and dangerous. i have not had much time to read lately and so i have not yet finished the book. i will be doing so. it is not a quick read. it takes thought and some deciphering to understand what he is saying. i will say that the middle of the book is much easier to get through than the beginning. that may be because he has set the groundwork and explanations in what he terms as Book 1. our entire book group overwhelmingly liked the book. i like it, but i guess i am a little impatient. i am waiting for the real action to begin. the revolution has not started yet where i am in the book. how many of you enjoy the works of Charles Dickens? Do you have a favorite? most everyone knows "A Christmas Carol." critics say that his best book is "Great Expectations." What do you think?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The White Masai by Corinne Hoffman

This was a book we were going to read in our ladies's book club, but the person who suggested it changed her mind. i had already bought the book so i am currently reading it. have any of you read the book? i would love to hear your thoughts on it. i am about a third of the way through the book and i will finish it even though i don't really like it. i think the author is a selfish, crazy woman who acts as if she is a demanding spoiled teenager. she is on a trip to Africa w/ her boyfriend and sees this Masai warrior standing there. She instantly falls in love and has to get to meet him. she's there with her boyfriend but could care less about him now that she's seen this warrior. she becomes obsessed w/ meeting him and becoming his woman. what i do like is the info on the Masai culture and a description of life in Kenya. as a social studies book it has its merits. as her personal story, yuck! she really becomes obsessed. she has written 2 more books about this man and i definitely won't be buying and reading them. the people i have talked to who have read the book said the same thing. one person couldn't make herself finish the book. i
would really be curious to hear from all of you good people out there. maybe you have a different perspective and i would love to hear it.

Let me tell you about my daughter,the blogger master

My daughter did an interview w/ me already on this blog, so it is my turn to tell you a little bit about her. Daphne was originally given her name because I loved the Scooby Doo cartoon and Daphne, as you know, was the blond girl. Then when I found out her name meant gift or prize I knew I had to name her Daphne. She is my 2nd child. I have a son who is married and has 2 wonderful children that I just adore. Being a grandma is awesome.
But that's beside the point. Back to my daughter who is the brains of our blog. She loves writing and hopes to be published some day. She writes great short stories and is plotting out a novel. We took creative writing together last year and had a blast. She doesn't share her stories often because she doesn't think they are good, but trust me, they are. She loves to read and loves to e-mail her friends or IM them. She has a soft heart and is always willing to help those in need. And she is definitely an animal lover. She adores our wicked dog,Mr. Pete. She also loves our fat cat, Clara. When my mom couldn't take care of Clara anymore, she was going to take her to the humane society. But Daphne and my son begged for the cat and she couldn't stand the idea of the cat being given away. So, our cat just lazes around and I really believe that cats do sleep for 20 hours of the day as I have heard. She not only sleeps, but she snores loudly! Clara also is about 15 years old. We have had her for 10 years or so.
Daphne is really good with children. She is very creative. She has a great laugh and a great sense of humor. I think she must have gotten it from me. LOL If there were only hamburgers, pizza, and spaghetti to eat, she'd be just fine. Those are her favorite foods. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have ice cream and chocolate on the menu. We enjoy watching movies at home. We just finished watching an A&E version of EMMA with Kate Beckinsale. They took a lot of liberties with the story. We both couldn't stand Frank Churchill or Emma in this version. We really like the movie w/ Gwyneth Paltrow. Daphne is a huge Jane Austen fan. She also likes Buffy books and Janet Evonavich. She's a Nancy Drew fan, too.
There's the short version of my daughter's story. She is a great daughter and we like hanging out together.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Her Good Name

I just finished another book that we will be discussing in our ladies book club in July. The book is entitled "Her Good Name" by Josi Kilpack. The story centers around a Mexican-American woman named Chrissy, who is single, 35, and living in Idaho Falls. She is set up on another blind date which does not go well. She pays w/ her debit card and the waitress steals her identity in order to get drugs. The whole story centers on how identity theft has ruined this woman and what she does to try to re-establish her good name and credit. At first I didn't think I would like this character because of the way she acted on the blind date. Who would pull a typed sheet of their personal stats about herself out of her purse and give it to the date to read? On top of that she doesn't even remember his name. She insists on being completely honest and not playing games, yet when he turns the tables on her and asks her her weight, she gets offended. Luckily as the book goes on you discover that she does have many nice qualities. His identity happens to be stolen that night as well, but he doesn't have half the problems she does. The person who steals her identity commits all kinds of crimes and runs up 90,000 in debt, has a baby that she abandons because it has a cleft palate, and is doing drug running all in the name of helping raise money for her father's Guatamalan rebel army. There is some on and off romance woven in there. The story is chilling in the fact that this really does happen. I guess that's why I don't bank on line and I pay cash. The author does give some really helpful info in the back of the book on how to protect yourself from identity theft and what to do if it happens. The book is an easy read and not the most literary ever. I also don't like the fact that it left loose ends on a couple of plot lines. I think I have mentioned this before: I like all things tied up neatly at the end. I am left guessing about the fate of the bad guys and the fate of the main character's sister and children who move in w/ a boyfriend who doesn't seem to be all that wonderful. This book can be found in Deseret Bookstores and on line. I don't think it is available in Barnes and Noble or Borders. I don't plan on keeping it after the book club meeting. I'd be willing to pass it on if anyone is interested. Then maybe the person I send it to could pass it on to another blogger who is interested. Let me know.