The Book Nook

*It’s true, I really can read!

THE BOOK: Are You There Vodka, It’s Me Chelsea, by Chelsea Handler

My thoughts (which most likely carry little to no influence): Although it held so much promise since the title references nostalgia from my childhood, this book, well, sucked.  Hey, I’m usually all about fart jokes.  I can be a fan of crass sex humor. What I don’t like is rape jokes, and especially a whole book of them.  Sorry Chelsea, this read was so not funny.  And I’m not kidding.

Grade: D-, only because I did think one sentence in there was somewhat clever.  ONLY ONE.

Would I recommend it to a stranger on the bus (trying to make his way home)? No.

What I am reading now: I finished the second book from the Hunger Games!  Think I can whiz through the third by the time the movie comes out this month?  I just grabbed Tina Fey’s Bossypants, but I am really hoping it fairs better than this one…

The Book Nook

The Book Nook is my little place to talk about (not to be insanely obvious here…) books.  Because I like to read a book every year or so.  I promise I won’t give anything away (but, things happen).  And, there is a 76% chance that you’ll find this review a complete waste of time because you read the book 10 years ago.  Moving on.

*Can you believe how many books I’ve read lately?  I think it’s because I miss TV.

THE BOOK: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games

My thoughts (which most likely carry little to no influence): This book was recommended to me this summer by two people I only got to hang out with a few times, but wished I had a lifetime more to spend with them. They trucked it home to the Midwest but I am still holding out hope that they’ll move back to the mountains.

Since I was waiting for Cane River to dry up apparently, it took me almost half a year to honor their recommendation.  I can tell you now, I wish I wouldn’t have waited so long!  The premise of the book drops you into a futuristic society ruled by a cruel government; where the main attraction is the annual Hunger Games – in which girls and boys, in between the ages of 12 and 18, are forced to fight to the death.  Yeah.  It’s really really disturbing.  I busted through this book so fast that I gave myself situational hypertension.  It’s a good read.  It’s a TRILOGY so, of course I have the two other books on reserve at the library.  Another bonus?  It gave me a way to relate to my track kids since they’ve all read these books too.  It’s a nice change because normally they have a hard time wrapping their brains around the stuff I like to talk about (going to sleep before 9.30pm, health insurance woes, and granny panties).

Grade:  B+

My reasoning for the lower grade being, it’s a teen novel so the writing is simple.  More importantly, in my mind,  it just could have been so much better.  The latter part was a bit cheesy for my taste, and I came up with a bazillion better ways to end this bad boy that I drove myself mad.

Would I recommend it to a stranger on the bus (trying to make his way home)? For sho’.  I recommended it to Hubs and he devoured it faster than my homemade pumpkin bread (which, obviously, was not received well).

What I am reading now: I’m reading instructions on a box of hair dye, and am hopeful for fancy new highlights that look like they are worth more than the eight dollars I paid for them.

The Book Nook

**I know I just published one of these Book Nooks last week.  Be patient, I’ve got really interesting, juicy, witty, meaty posts coming up.  Actually, that’s not true but I am trying to buy time is all until I come magically uncaged from blogger’s block.

The Book Nook is my little place to talk about (not to be insanely obvious here…) books.  Because I like to read a book every year or so.  I promise I won’t give anything away (but, things happen).  And, there is a 76% chance that you’ll find this review a complete waste of time because you read the book 10 years ago.  Moving on.

THE BOOK: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help

My thoughts (which most likely carry little to no influence): A wonderfully written novel about African American maids working in the south at the dawn of the Civil Rights Era; with stories and characters that warmed your heart and then ripped your right heart out.  The ending left me yearning some, but I don’t have much more to jabber about than that.  It’s a book that makes you wonder, given different circumstances, if you’d be the type to shrink away from doing what’s right and let the world go merrily along doused in its own viciousness, or would you be the one to take a stand and fight for decency, no matter the consequences?

Grade: A

Would I recommend it to a stranger on the bus (trying to make his way home)? YES, of course! Hubs is perusing its endearing pages as I type.  I can’t wait to finally see the movie.

What I am reading now: I sailed through the first book of The Hunger Games.  I’ve got the rest on hold (it’ll be a while until they turn up available) and in the meantime, I think I need to attend to the real and fake life (ahem, my blog) that I’ve checked out of to gobble up these past few recent reads…

The Book Nook

The Book Nook is my little place to talk about (not to be insanely obvious here…) books.  Because I like to read a book every year or so.  I promise I won’t give anything away (but, things happen).  And, there is a 76% chance that you’ll find this review a complete waste of time because you read the book 10 years ago.  Moving on.

THE BOOK: Cane River by Lalita Tademy

My thoughts (which most likely carry little to no influence):

I actually finished this book before The Book Thief but decided to put the review on hold because, well, The Book Thief was awesome and Cane River was just meh.  I started reading the thing way back in March-ish but then life cluttered things up (I got lazy) and just barely finished it before the holidays.  The story, based on historical fact, follows a family of a American ‘Negro’ women and how they found the courage to suffer through slavery, the Civil War and it’s the aftermath.  By the end, you find out that the author, Lalita, is actually a decedent of these amazing women, which is pretty special.  A few complaints: it was sincerely hard to keep track of how everyone was related and it was just too long for me.  Way too long.  That’s why it took me a hundred years to read it.  I must say, it’s another Oprah bookclub pick that let me down.

A few things I do admire, even so.  Formerly, the author was a very successful VP for a Fortune 500 tech company, but decided to quit her impressive job to focus on researching her lineage and write this novel in honor of her family’s struggle, history, and courage.  I appreciate her taking that leap to give a shout out to the ladies that laid the groundwork for her own independence and success.

Grade: B-

Would I recommend it to a stranger on the bus (trying to make his way home)?  Nah, probably not.

** UPDATE: What I am reading now:  I just finished The Help and lordy, it was a good story.  I’m waiting patiently (not a strength of mine) for The Hunger Games now.

 

The Book Nook

The Book Nook is my little place to talk about (not to be insanely obvious here…) books.  Because I like to read a book every year or so.  I promise I won’t give anything away (but, things happen).  And, there is a 76% chance that you’ll find this review a complete waste of time because you read the book 10 years ago.  Moving on.

THE BOOK: The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

My thoughts (which most likely carry little to no influence):

This book was recommended to me a lifetime ago right here on this piddly blog and I finally buckled down and read it over the holidays.  When I say buckled down, what I mean is, I was down right glued to its delicious pages, with only one care in the entirety of the world: I needed to find out what happens to the alarmingly michevious book thief.  I’m not going to tell you what it’s about because I want you to go in blind, like me.  It’s for the best.  I stayed up until midnight reading it (you have no idea the magnitude of this gesture), with the Christmas tree all aglow and a blanket tucked around my legs.  Although I read furiously, as my heart did gymnastics and my hands sweated, I could not for the life of me, warm my feet.  Because, honestly, you can’t read The Book Thief and feel warm all over.

Grade: A++

Would I recommend it to a stranger on the bus (trying to make his way home)?   My god, YES already!!!  That’s three exclamations!  Now four!  I need to just. stop.

What I am reading now:  Nothing right this hot second, but have I high hopes that my friend will lend me The Help.  If not, I will resort to reading the Twilight series secretly in my closet because it’s almost 2012 and I’ve got some serious catching up to do.

The Book Nook

The Book Nook is my little place to talk about (not to be insanely obvious here…) books.  Because I like to read a book every year or so.  I promise I won’t give anything away (but, things happen).  And, there is a 76% chance that you’ll find this review a complete waste of time because you read the book 10 years ago.  Moving on.

THE BOOK: Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire.

(I know.  I said I was reading The Book Thief.  Turns out, I had only *intended* to read it but never got my lazy behind to the library to check it out.  I assumed announcing it on the internet would be just the motivation I needed but we all know what happens when you assume…  So, when a friend took me into her library to tell me her grand plans of redecorating it, I did what any good friend would do:  Got distracted from her decor infused motions by her sweet collection of reads and selfishly asked if I could borrow one (Wicked) so I could put off going to the library for a few more months.)

My thoughts (which most likely carry little to no influence):

Ok, I am just going to come out with it:  This book was smarter than me.  G. Maguire, you won, okay?  So, this is what’s up.  This book is a prelude to the tale we all know from our childhood, The Wizard of Oz.  This novel details the life story of a very adept little girl who took note of the unjustness swirling about her world and its assortment of inhabitants – and as it goes, she decided to do something about it.  Her unique nature, unfortunate green skin and a series of random and not so random events  culminate into her final life experience as the infamous Wicked Witch of the West – which (teehee) very much challenges the definition of being wicked – of being evil.

The gist of the book, I get.  It’s the layers of the book’s politics that lose me a little.  Maybe it’s too formulaic of me but I wanted more closure.  I wanted more convergence of the story I was familiar with and the ending of this novel.  The Wicked Witch of the West (Elphie) was marvelously developed, the writing was excellent, and the Land of Oz intricately painted,  but I was expecting to learn more of Dorothy, her three companions and how they fit in with other interesting characters living in the strange world of Oz.  Early on, the book sneakily references the Cowardly Lion and how he became so but the ending left me with more questions than answers.  I know it was the author’s purpose to turn the Land of Oz upside down, which he did, but I was hoping he would flip it back over and fill me in just a *teeny* bit more.  Overall: a good read, a serious novel, and a writer that is capable of crafting a dark and knotty journey that makes you think harder than you’re used to.  Maybe that’s a good thing every once in a while since my daily reading usually comprises solely of oldnavy.com.

Grade: B+

Would I recommend it to a stranger on the bus (trying to make his way home)? Depends. I envision that this book would spur a wonderfully enlightened coffee shop discussion if you could round up a political science major (to pontificate on the involved systems of successful and doomed leadership), an anthropologist (to discuss the nature and origins of different people and the complexities of tribal relationships), a philosopher (who would wax poetically regarding the muddled distinction between good and evil) and me, obviously (only because I love to talk a lot and sip excitedly from a white chocolate mocha-skim-extra vanilla drizzle-no whip-but if you accidentally put whip on I’d be insanely pumped).

What I am reading now:  Cane River because I borrowed it from my MIL a hundred years ago and I suspect she wants it back before the next Olympics.  The Book Thief, you will not elude me for much longer (I hope)!!!

Read any books lately that were smarter than you?

The Book Nook

The Book Nook is my little place to talk about (not to be insanely obvious here…) books.  Because I like to read a book every year or so.  I promise I won’t give anything away (but, things happen).  And, there is a 76% chance that you’ll find this review a complete waste of time because you read the book 10 years ago.  Moving on.

THE BOOK: The House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III

My thoughts (which most likely carry little to no influence):

You know what?  I’m not a fan.  And I think I know why.  I didn’t give a flying fortune cookie about the characters.  Sorry.  Wally Lamb ruined me.  I’ll probably never read another good book again.

Let me explain.

Kathy:  She’s a messed up little lady that showers infrequently, sports chronic cigarette breath, who happens to have a LOT of sex with a mustached *married* guy named Lester.  A guy named Lester!  With a mustache!  The pair of them got it on!  I thought I would hurl up my Dairy Queen.  And that’s some serious gag reflex.

The other guy in the book:  He is not overly interesting except for the fact that his pride is the size of the sun and he beats up his wife.  Ummm, check please.

The gist of the story is apparently their worlds collide because they are fighting over the same house.  *yawn*  Can you believe this was an Oprah bookclub pick?  Am I just being cranky?  You know what, it’s in your best interest not to answer that.

Grade: C-

Would I recommend it to a stranger on the bus (trying to make his way home)? Probably not. Even if the bus dropped him off to live on an island, with no access to HGTV, my blog, or any other books.

What I am reading now:  The Book Thief (which was recommended to me last Book Nook!)

Any books that you regret wasting your life on?

The Book Nook

The Book Nook is my little place to talk about (not to be insanely obvious here…) books.  Because I like to read a book every year or so.  I promise I won’t give anything away (but, things happen).  And, there is a 76% chance that you’ll find this review a complete waste of time because you read the book 10 years ago.  Moving on.

THE BOOK: She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb

My thoughts (which most likely carry little to no influence):

This book was fantastic.  I was astonished with how well Wally (we are already on a first name basis) could crawl inside the mind of a 14 year old girl.  The main character, Dolores, is hysterically clever yet so painfully wounded that she roped me in as her best bud by the end of the first page.  It’s a beautiful (with a large side of bitter) coming of age story, beginning in 1956.  Her little family is made up of people with sorta the right intentions who inevitably let their faults (the size of the San Andreas) overtake them.  She is left alone to defend for herself, eventually ballooning into a terribly overweight girl that hates herself completely but holds out a glimmer of hope that she just might deserve something better.  Her journey is nutty, sad, hilarious, but in a surprising way…relatable.  Does Dolores ever get set free from her demons?  You’ll have to wait and read.  Or just catch me off guard and ask.  Anyway, I’m officially a HUGE Wally fan.  His writing is, like, the bomb diggity.  And you can quote me on that.

Grade:  A

Would I recommend it to a stranger on the bus (trying to make his way home)? Yes. Name that tune and you win a free car.  My car.  Which has no air conditioning.

What I am reading now:  The House of Sand and Fog.  I know.  It’s so old school.  Be on the watch for my review in 2012.

Read any good books lately??  Spill The Beans (pretty please).