Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Book Review Time! Yay!


Whew. I feel better, now. Rough day. Sorry to mention this again, but we're talking incredibly freakishly hot. Don't we have air conditioning, you ask? Yes we do. But we just broke a record for the number of consecutive days of triple digit temperatures and this means my kids are going stir crazy. It is too dang hot for them to go outside and so they are, ya know, INSIDE. All The Time. So Am I. As in, we're together, inside, all the time. Get it?

So it has been a rough and noisy day here in the can.

Even though we can't tell from the thermometer...summer is almost over. I can't believe it! We made it to the beach once (see previous post) and that is all. I did not get my little sanity break with my hubby that I like to take.....well, I did get a little break but it didn't involve books on the beach alone...and that is what I really look forward to. I mean, don't get me wrong. I love taking the kids to the beach, too. Tons of fun and all. And I do know that someday I will have an empty nest and childless vacations yada yada yada....but I need some time alone NOW occasionally. As in once a year. Nothing makes me happier than sitting on the beach all day while Jeff works, reading and staring out at the surf without constantly counting bobbing heads, or re-applying sunscreen to sandy bodies, or fixing sandy get the point. But this summer it just didn't happen. Oh well. At least I wasn't nursing sandy babies or toddlers on sandy breasts or changing sandy diapers! Done that plenty of times, too.

So speaking of books and reading and summer.....I am done with Haruki. I love him. I adore him. (I'm pretty sure he would love me and adore me, too...if we ever happened to meet.) BUT. Sometimes love just isn't enough. Haruki has just pushed all of my buttons for the last time. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle was the last straw. It was a beautiful book with delightful characters and just enough weird stuff (Murakami likes cats, sheep, and parallel universes) to keep it interesting. The only thing it didn't have (along with every other Haruki Murakami book I've ever read - and I've read a bunch 'cause I'm weird that way) is an ending that explained any one of the previous 400 or so pages. Hmph. Really. How much of this nonsense is a girl supposed to take?

I have considered learning Japanese. I'm thinking that a lot is getting lost in translation. If only I could read it in Japanese - surely I would understand it? Probably not. That would be a hoot. Spending years learning Japanese only to read a Murakami book and get to the end and go, "What???? Are you freaking kidding me????" Not gonna do it.

So. I have read a few books this summer. And I mean a few. As in I cannot believe how few. What does that mean? It isn't as if I have had an especially busy summer.....usually I read way you can see I have some major reading to do during the last days of summer.

Here's the deal: I'll tell you what I've read if you tell me what you've read. I need to add to my end-of-summer reading list. I'll read anything. I think I've already proven that with the whole Murakami thing. So let me hear it. What have you read this summer? I want lots of comments. In fact, if you are the first person to respond I will give you a big old HOORAY on my blog. This is worth a ton of money, by the way. Well, no it isn't. So I'll go a step further. If you are the first person to leave book reviews in my comments - I will send you my favorite Murakami book....Hard Boiled Wonderland and the Edge of the World. SO THERE. I almost understood that one.

Here is the list.

1. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. I highly recommend it although you will not understand it unless you are way smarter than me and that isn't possible. I don't mean that. Yes, I do. No, I don't. Actually - seriously - read it. If you love characters you'll love Murakami. I love his characters. They are wonderful. They are quirky. They become my best friends...which is sort of sad....but anyway - yes, read it!

2. God Without Religion by Sankara Saranam. Great introduction by Arun Gandhi. But then it got kind of weird. Not kind of. It got weird. I didn't finish it. Interesting, though. Kind of. I like the idea of God Without Religion.... because I don't do religion but I do do God. That sounded bad. I don't do God. But I saw a Sarah Silverman episode where she did God. Ack. See? Bad me. Even thinking that way. What I mean is I'm all for the idea of God. Without Religion. Which is the name of the book. I don't think I'll finish it but won't go so far as to not recommend it. Because you might like it. Who knows?

3. Lisey's Story by Stephen King. Typical Stephen King book. This one started off a bit slow, but picked up at the end. Didn't like the end, though. But I did pick up the new word of "smucking".

4. On Writing by Stephen King. Recommended to me by my friend, Amy. Simply the best (and by far the most entertaining) book I've ever read about writing. Didn't do much for my writing, though. Except for this here blog - I'm still not doing any.

5. Interview With a Vampire by Anne Rice. I was inspired to re-read this book after watching the movie from Netflix. I loved the movie so much - Tom Cruise is awesome as Lestat. And a beautifully young Brad Pitt as Louis was...well....beautiful. Watched it with Ellie and she laughed through most of it. She also poo-pooed Pitt as a "pretty boy", which she apparently finds unattractive. She didn't make it through the book, either. I love the book. I love Anne Rice. I even read one of her Jesus books and loved that, too. What was it called? Out of Egypt? And of course, I love both Jesus and Louis, the world's most depressed and longest suffering vampire. That's Louis, not Jesus. Although Jesus is also known for his suffering.

6. Speaking of Anne Rice, I will admit to her erotic novel, Beauty, the first in a trilogy. A friend told me that it was the only Anne Rice book she'd ever read and that it was pornographic (don't know if she finished it, or not). I was not knowing of the pornographic Anne Rice books. So of course, I ordered Beauty right away. I was extremely disappointed by the time I got to the second chapter, and by the time I arrived at the third I had lost all interest. So I didn't finish it. It wasn't my cup of tea, so to speak. She wrote it under a pen name and I can see why.

7. Pitcairn's Island by Whoever Wrote Pitcairn's Island. This was the end of the Mutiny on the Bounty trilogy that Joel and I read. It was soooooo sad. And interesting. Of the 3, I loved Men Against the Sea the best. Sometimes it is just good to get out a classic or two or three.

Speaking of classics, we're currently reading

8. Lord of the Flies and

9. The Yearling. Jules is mostly snoozing through The Yearling but I love it love it love it love it. But then again, I like the nature stuff....loved Thoreau's Walden.

My bigger kids all re-read

8. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince over the summer. They wanted to refamiliarize themselves with it before we went to see the movie, which was rocking awesome, of course!

The kids have all been reading this summer and except for Potter, I'm not going to try and list them all. I'm lucky in that they love to read. Even my dyslexic kid loves to read. (We recently had a little visitor over who is just so intrigued by the whole homeschooling gig - he was like, "Do you guys have to read books?" and my kids were like, "We LOVE to read books!" and he was like, "so you have reading time?" and they were like, "It's always reading time!" And it is. Except for when it's not. And then I don't make a big deal out of it. I refuse to force them to read. So far, I've never even been tempted.)

OK - here's the deal AND I MEAN IT. Let me know what you've read!! We've been pitifully lacking of comments, lately. Free book to commenter number one. The only string attached is that you have to explain the ending to me when you're done - okay?

Start listing books. Cook books, spiritual books, self-help books, parenting books, erotic books, mysteries, brain candy for the beach.....whatever. Start typing.

Signing off as a Waiting Sardine Mama.


  1. You keep working on Jeff, I've got Chris on board....sort of :D

    What did I read this summer? Mostly twaddle.
    My Sister's Keeper
    The Time Traveler's Wife
    about 2/3 of Mornings on Horseback
    Riding Lessons
    about 1/3 of Miracle at St. Anna
    The Poisonwood Bible
    just started The Life of Pi
    and a few other novels, that didn't impress me much because I can't remember what they were

    I've got one on deck that looks really good.A mystery that takes place over three time periods. I can't give you the title or author becuase someone removed it from my nightstand :-P who knows where it could be?

  2. Dude, The Poisonwood Bible is soooo not twaddle! I've got your Midwife book on my coffee read?

    You win the prize! Yay! And I know where you live and everything!

    Nobody else is off the hood. Leave me book suggestions! Please.

  3. "off the hood" I'm not sure what that means. I meant hook. Obviously.

  4. Hey, I am was off in the hood shopping when K responded. Not fair.

    and, she stole one of my suggestions (well, my main one)
    Time Traveler's Wife. I read tons of stuff and most of the time I cannot remember what I read. This one, I remember. I saw the ad for the movie when I was on the phone and had the TV sound turned off and could tell what movie it was just by the images, even before they finally listed the title. I REALLY want to go see that movie. So, read the book, then let's go see the movie together. K can go to. M, too, if she wants :)

    So, right now, I am reading "The Life You Can Save". About why we should be giving more money to those in desperate situations. Not sure I recommend it. Will let you know when I finish.

    Water for Elephants was also good, think I already recommended that one to you.

  5. in the hood off the're funny. you didn't win but you can borrow mine any old time you'd like. or borrow k's because she's soon to have her own copy. exciting! read it! explain it!

  6. I say read the Shack! Don't give up on the first couple really goes a more non-traditional direction, I promise.
    Okay. Haven't read much else. Around the World in 80 Days for Work and Transforming the Faith of our Fathers which I really like.
    We've spent most of the summer at the Club or watching too many videos. Sorry.

  7. I just finished no. 1 Ladie's Detective Agency for my book club and liked it more than I expected. I'll have to read more of that series. Speaking of series, last month I finished Harry Potter 7. It only took me 10 months to real out-loud to my daughter. Funny how I was able to read each book in day or two to myself.

  8. No 1 Ladies Detective Agency was a fun read. Ann Marie gave me a copy at the last garage sale.
    I was looking for Water for Elephants at Bullfrog Books and they didn't have it but had another book by the same author, Riding Lessons. A good read. Not great, good.
    I really enjoyed The Time Travelers Wife. If you want to read it Carol let me know.
    I'll keep you posted on the really cool looking mystery that spans 1000 years IF I can find the !@#$ book

  9. "Shadow Divers." One of the best nonfiction books I've read. OK, so I don't read that much nonfiction, but still.

    "Away" -- nice and smutty but literary too, so you feel like you're reading with purpose.

    Struggling with Dante's "Inferno" because I should read it, I really should.

    "Me talk pretty one day." David Sedaris. It's been quite a ride so far, parts are real gut-busters.

    And I reread "To Kill a Mockingbird." I could read it once a year.

    I tried to get Anna Quindlen's "Good Dog. Stay" -- figured it would help me with the death of our dog, which was surprisingly hard. But it was lost on the library bookshelf somewhere.