Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Wednesday Sisters

I am sooo excited that this is our September Group Read!!! I read it back in 2010? 2009? One of the two, and it is FABULOUS!! I will not be able to re-read it with you, but I can't wait to talk about it.  I still remember it a lot. ;)

Description: Friendship, loyalty, and love lie at the heart of Meg Waite Clayton’s beautifully written, poignant, and sweeping novel of five women who, over the course of four decades, come to redefine what it means to be family.

For thirty-five years, Frankie, Linda, Kath, Brett, and Ally have met every Wednesday at the park near their homes in Palo Alto, California. Defined when they first meet by what their husbands do, the young homemakers and mothers are far removed from the Summer of Love that has enveloped most of the Bay Area in 1967. These “Wednesday Sisters” seem to have little in common: Frankie is a timid transplant from Chicago, brutally blunt Linda is a remarkable athlete, Kath is a Kentucky debutante, quiet Ally has a secret, and quirky, ultra-intelligent Brett wears little white gloves with her miniskirts. But they are bonded by a shared love of both literature–Fitzgerald, Eliot, Austen, du Maurier, Plath, and Dickens–and the Miss America Pageant, which they watch together every year.

As the years roll on and their children grow, the quintet forms a writers circle to express their hopes and dreams through poems, stories, and, eventually, books. Along the way, they experience history in the making: Vietnam, the race for the moon, and a women’s movement that challenges everything they have ever thought about themselves, while at the same time supporting one another through changes in their personal lives brought on by infidelity, longing, illness, failure, and success.

Humorous and moving, The Wednesday Sisters is a literary feast for book lovers that earns a place among those popular works that honor the joyful, mysterious, unbreakable bonds between friends.

This was an immediate favorite of mine.  I hope it becomes one of yours too!

Do you plan on reading with us?

Discussions will be September 14th and 28th.  I gave my mom my copy so I don't have one in front of me, so just figure the first half on the 14th and the last half / whole book on the 28th. ;)  If you want to guest post either of those, let me know!  Have a great Tuesday!

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Drowning Tree

We read The Drowning Tree by Carol Goodman for our 5th Books & Bars meeting! We met outside at a local bar and had a good discussion, even though none of us loved the book.  And I loved that we could do that.  This book was heavy on Greek mythology and art, none of which are up ANY of our alleys, but we ignored that part and dove into the story/mystery surrounding The Lady in the Window glass window at Penrose College.

Juno McKay is a 37 year old single mother of a 15 year old girl.  She lives in an old factory and runs her dad's stained glass window company.  She dropped out of college, Penrose, in her senior year when she was pregnant with her daughter.  She married her college lover, Neil, but divorced shortly after when his mental state deteriorated and he tried to kill her, his daughter and himself in the river.

The book starts out with Juno attending a lecture given by her oldest friend, Christine, about The Lady in the Window.  Juno's company is just about to restore the window as their graduating classes gift to the university.  During her speech, Christine reveals secrets about the founding members of the college Eugenie Penrose and her husband Augustus.  It rattles a few people and shortly after her speech, Christine vanishes.

The book centers on The Lady in the Window and a lot of mythology and on the relationship that Christine, Neil and Juno shared. 

When we were discussing it, our main complaints were that the author spelled out connections that were easily seen by the reader and didn't need to be spelled out.  It was overkill.  Also, it was a bit toooo much on the mythology end for us and we didn't need to read ANY more times that the lady in the one painting had bark growing out of her arms.  We got it. ;)

It was fascinating to read about mental illness and the effects on others around them and we did enjoy reading about how current psycho drugs are named after some mythology, but it wasn't really for us.  We also didn't like that there were SOO many red herrings and possibilities and not all explained and some just left hanging that didn't make sense.

Now, if you enjoy art, mythology and a mystery? Right up your alley. ;)  It was a great discussion.

Next month we are reading We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver.

Have you read The Drowning Tree? Does mythology or art interest you?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

September Group Read Suggestions

Ahh summer, you have quickly gone on by and we are ready for our first book of Fall.  I can't wait to snuggle up under some blankets and a cup of tea and get reading again.  Oh and football. ;)  But I will be enjoying every last ounce of warm summer days until the bitter sad end.  Winter is so long and usually encompasses half of my fall.  ::sniff::

Here is what we've already read:

Looking for Alaska
Cutting for Stone
One Summer
The Year of Fog
Winter Garden
The Violets of March
State of Wonder
The Invisible Bridge
The Postmistress
The Scent of Rain and Lightning
Still Missing
The Sandalwood Tree
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Something Borrowed
The Blue Orchard
Sammy's Hill
In the Woods
Shanghai Girls
The Weight of Water
Water for Elephants
The Color Purple
The One That I Want
The Secret Garden
House Rules
American Wife
Firefly Lane
The Reader
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Awakening
Pride & Prejudice
I See You Everywhere

Discussions in September will be on the 14th and the 28th.  Suggestions will be open until the 22nd when I will add the poll to the side bar!  Hope you will join us!

What do you suggest?

Saturday, August 18, 2012


I'm currently reading The Drowning Tree by Carol Goodman, and in it there is a character  Juno, who is a single mother of a 15 year old daughter.  She's reminiscing about college and mentions that she misses the fearless that she used to possess. 

How she would do random things on the spur of the moment and have no fear.  Ride every roller coaster, try illegal drugs, anything and everything she tried it.  Until, her senior year of college when she was pregnant with her daughter.  Then she started being more cautious, losing the fearlessness and replacing it with fear and anxiety.  She ponders if it is the protecting of another life that made this change or if it was a growing up / wiser sort of thing.  She wonders if she ever will have that fearlessness again.  If she can ever let her daughter go out to kayak without the constant fear that she will tip and drown. 

It resonated with me because I sometimes wonder what happened to the fearless girl inside of me.  Sure, some of it IS growing wiser with age and experience, but when people my age and older still take the world by the seat of their pants OBVIOUSLY it doesn't affect everyone.  No matter what, my roller coaster days are behind me, thanks to some really bad motion sickness that set in around age 16.  Thanks a lot, body.  You always manage to ruin my fun!

I used to possess SUCH confidence but then life happened.  Good things, things that were easy to me either stopped happening or were suddenly not so easy.  I got frustrated the first few times, brushed it off and got back on the horse, but I can only handle so much defeat and frustration until I quit.  And I never used to be a quitter. 

I hate that.  I want that balls to the wall girl back.  The girl who never quit, never took no for an answer.  I occasionally catch glimpses after a few too many cocktails and I feel invigorated.  But why should alcohol be the force behind my carefree ways?

Is it age? Is it being a mom? I want to be that kick ass girl again.  Not the girl constantly not taking chances cuz she's afraid of the rejection.  Again.

I need to let it roll off my shoulders and move on.

So here's to taking life by the seat of the pants! I'm looking for you crazy fearless me, and we are going to get close again.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Looking for Alaska - Discussion 1

Okay, I feel horrible, but I have not yet started.  I'm a bit busy at the moment and I meant to start it this week, but I didn't get around to it.  So forgive me haha.  I can't wait to start! Probably, this weekend.  Or maybe not til next weekend cuz we are meeting for Books & Bars next Thursday and I haven't started that one yet either! Whoops.

1. Miles tells the story from his own first-person voice. How might the book differ if it had been told in Alaska’s voice or the Colonel’s? Or in the voice of an omniscient narrator?

2. How did you experience the book? Were you engaged immediately, or did it take you a while to "get into it"?

3.  What main ideas—themes—does the author explore?

4. What passages strike you as insightful, even profound?

5. Do you identify with any characters?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What Isla is Reading v.2

Back in May I shared some of Isla's favorite books and thought I'd do a follow up.  Girlfriend LOOOVES to read books.  Over and over and over and over and over again.  I am so thankful we have a ton of books to keep switching out or I might start twitching haha.

Disney Nursery Rhymes - I like this book and Isla has started nodding and swaying to the beat of the different rhymes when I'm reading.  It's pretty neat.  Her favorites are This Little Piggy, Rub a Dub Dub, and Pat- A - Cake. I could probably write a whole post on how weird some of the nursery rhymes are.  Seriously.  Oh, and it comes with a CD but we have actually not listened to it.  And we probably won't. haha

Corduroy - This is a new favorite and I am impressed she will sit through it.  She has sat on my lap through the whole book twice, but usually will get up and play about half-way through but gives me a glare if I stop reading, so I continue reading it while she plays.  Also, I do not know if it is our copy or the book in general but it has at least one error and the writing just doesn't flow.  I remember loving this book so I am a bit disappointed.

Goodnight Moon - I am STOKED that she finally wants to read this over and over and over again.  This is my favorite kids book.  I love the different voice I can give it, I love that we can talk about kittens, and mittens and I love that Isla is starting to make a hush signal with me when we say goodnight to the old lady whispering hush.  Goodnight, room.  ;) LOOOOVE

The Very Hungry Caterpillar - This one she likes because there are holes to put her fingers in! She doesn't ever sit through this whole book but she loves to put her fingers in the holes and helps me turn the little tabs of pages for the days of the week.  I will admit, I was never a huge fan of Eric Carle or this book, but reading it to Isla has made me me like it a bit more but something that irks me is that it uses the words anymore twice in one sentence and since I read this book about 34234324 times in a row it just makes me stabby. 

We of course always read some Dr. Seuss and she loves this one Elmo book my aunt got her (I think it is Itsy Bitsy Spider) that I actually don't mind because it gives grate factual information about stuff and plays music which Isla loves.

What are some of your favorite kid books?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Perfect Husband

And no, this isn't about mine, sorry. ;)

Remember earlier this summer when I read a book that I later found out was in the middle of a series? No, well it was Gone by Lisa Gardner, and I finally got around to reading the first book in that series, which is The Perfect Husband.

I must say that I like that the parts of series by Gardner I've read so far, don't go overboard (yet) on the main character they focus on.

So, The Perfect Husband is the first in the Quincy & Rainey series aka the FBI Profiler Series.

What would you do if the man of your dreams hides the soul of a killer?

Jim Beckett was everything she'd ever dreamed of...But two years after Tess married the decorated cop and bore his child, she helped put him behind bars for savagely murdering ten women. Even locked up in a maximum security prison, he vowed he would come after her and make her pay. Now the cunning killer has escaped--and the most dangerous game of all begins....
After a lifetime of fear, Tess will do something she's never done before. She's going to learn to protect her daughter and fight back, with the help of a burned-out ex-marine. As the largest manhunt four states have ever seen mobilizes to catch Beckett, the clock winds down to the terrifying reunion between husband and wife. And Tess knows that this time, her only choices are to kill--or be killed.

Another reason I am glad that I read Gone earlier is the fact that you can tell Gardner has become a much better writer as she has continues.  This book had multiple errors and the cliches of, I'm super stubborn, no I'm more stubborn, I'm going to have hot sex with you because I'm angry, I'm going to jump in bed with a hot guy and forget all my male troubles was a bit much.

Yeah.  Get over that part and I liked the mystery.  Tess finds J.T. Dillon and wants him to train her to defend herself against Beckett.  Of course he is a brooding hot male who is stubborn but eventually helps her.  They of course fall gaga over each other. However, there is a deeper story into both of their messed up childhoods and it's very interesting what Mr. Jim Beckett does to not get caught.

I will continue reading on her series. ;)

What cliche totally ruins an otherwise good book for you?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters

What's the point of solving murders if we're all going to die soon, anyway?

Hank Palace, a homicide detective in Concord, New Hampshire, asks this question every day.

Most people have stopped doing whatever it is they did before the asteroid 2011L47J hovered into view. Stopped selling real estate; stopped working at hospitals; stopped slinging hash or driving cabs or trading high-yield securities. A lot of folks spend their days on bended knee, praying to Jesus or Allah or whoever they think might save them. Others have gone the other way, roaming the streets, enjoying what pleasures they can before the grand finale. Government services are beginning to slip into disarray, crops are left to rot.

When it first appeared, 2011L47J was just a speck, somewhere beyond Jupiter's orbit. By mid-October it revealed itself to be seven kilometers in diameter, and on a crash course with the Earth. Now it's March, and sometime in September, 2011L47J will slam into our planet and kill half the population immediately, and most of the rest in the miserable decades that follow.

All of humanity now, every person in the world--we're like a bunch of little kids, in deep, deep trouble, just waiting till our dad gets home. So what do I do while I wait? I work.

Today, Hank Palace is working the case of Peter Zell, an insurance man who has committed suicide. To his fellow police officers, it's just one more death-by-hanging in a city that sees a dozen of suicides every week. But Palace senses something wrong. There's something odd about the crime scene. Something off. Palace becomes convinced that it's murder. And he's the only one who cares.

What's the difference, Palace? We're all gonna die soon, anyway.

As Palace digs deeper, we are drawn into his world. We meet his sister Nico and her screwup boyfriend, Derek, who are trying to beam S.O.S messages into outer space; we meet Erik Littlejohn, a "spiritual advisor" helping his clients through these difficult times. Palace's investigation plays out under the long shadow of 2011L47J, forcing everyone in the book -- and those reading it-- to confront hard questions way beyond "whodunnit." What basis does civilization rest upon? What is life worth? What would any of us do, what would we really do, if our days were numbered?

So, this is totally not a type of book that I usually read (future set, world ending etc..) but it was about a policeman, and well, I like a mystery and it sounded interesting.

Detective Palace has got to be the WEIRDEST policeman ever.  He is very into doing the right thing, very into procedure and doing his job until the very last minute.  He's not a really good detective either, but he's learning.  He just does his job because that is what you do.  You can tell he is a very loyal, honest and hardworking man.

I thought the book was interesting.  The case solving stuff, didn't fascinate me as much as the world ending stuff.  How oil stopped being pumped, people quitting their jobs to have fun, restaurant franchises disbanding, running cars on vegetable oil, that stuff intrigued me.  And, I am not a omggg the world is ending type of girl. ;)  Now, my co-workers husband, he'd probably be all up on this conspiracy, since he is convinced the world is ending in December.  Weirdo.

It was kind of slow moving for me and I will admit that a few times, I skipped over Palace's thoughts on his crime solving, but like I said, the world ending stuff was good.  It was interesting to learn about the reasons some people stayed on the normal path of their life, while others ditched responsibility and went for fun.

It's also the first in a trilogy, which kind of surprises me giving how this one ended.  However, the world is supposed to end in October and this book ends in April, so plenty of months to still talk about! ;)

You can catch a trailer for the book here:

Sorry, I had to link because apparently, I have technical difficulties!

If you knew the world was ending in 6 months, would you continue on your day to day routine or would you live it up?

I received this book from Quirk Books, all thoughts and opinions are my own!