Sunday, December 30, 2007

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Currently I am reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. In the book, the author describes the Chinese tradition of binding feet. I couldn't wrap my head around this idea; what do the feet look like? How is it done? I always imagined women with petite feet but the pictures I found really blew my mind! Check this out...

Look at the teeny red shoes! The feet were only to be as large as a thumb. Can you imagine balancing on feet so small?

The feet are not only small, they are completely deformed. I thought this was insane but then I considered all the women I know who have breast implants. The women who get repeated plastic surgery, shots of botox in their faces. Liposuction. All the plastic surgery that woman get, is that not so different than foot-binding? I wonder if we told the women whose feet were bound about the plastic surgery taking place in the 21st century, would they think we were the crazy ones?

The book is very good so far, I recommend it. Happy Reading!

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Friday, December 28, 2007

2007 Books I Loved

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert is a book that is loved by all who read it. I read it and liked it but the more I think about it, the more I think it was fabulous.

Swim to Me by Betsy Carter was such a fun read.

I adore Gayle Brandeis and her lovely writing. Self Storage was a very good novel, paper back will be out as of Feb. 12, 2008.

I read this book in one night, Lottery by Patricia Wood. Such a interesting idea for a book.

I enjoyed the Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz for the quirky characters and the entertaining story. Can't wait for the sequel!
I mentioned how the sheer size of The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory made me sweat but I ended up completely absorbed in this book!

Min Jin Lee's debut novel Free Food for Millionaires was brilliantly and beautifully written.

Both The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini were must reads. If you haven't read either of these, order them right now!

I read so many good books throughout the year. Some of them I review here and get to interview the authors. Others I read and don't write about. These are some that I couldn't put down, a good blend of serious and funny and intriguing.

Water For Elephants, Friday Night Knitting Club, Town House, The Rest of Her Life....more books you need to read. I can't wait to see what good novels 2008 brings. I look forward to books by Jodi Picoult, Caroline Leavitt and Lisa Tucker, Ann Rule and Michael Lee West. Shouldn't Lauren Weisberger be coming out with a book soon too? Don't you just LOVE good books?


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Kabul Beauty School and other books

I was never interested in the Middle East, I admit. That part of the world was as distant and unrelatable to me as Mars. Like I said before I had The Kite Runner on my shelf for years! But once I read that book, I became interested in the Middle East and the people. I read A Thousand Splendid Suns and then tried to find another book so I could learn more about the women of Afghanistan. I recalled reading a review of the Kabul Beauty School so I got a copy.

I loved the story of Debbie, an American beautician who helped to train and teach Afghan women to work in the world of hairdressing and beauty. You might not think it would be too important or have a lasting impact but what Debbie did is amazing and commendable. She taught many women, helping them to develop skills that would earn these women, so many repressed and dependent on men, an income. These women learned skills and gained confidence. I loved reading the stories Debbie shared, so many of them heartbreaking. Unless you take an interest and learn about how women are treated, you can't imagine what many of them go through. After reading this book, I feel so much compassion for the women and I wish them lifetimes of blessings and peace. For more information, please go to Kabul Beauty School or Oasis Rescue.

I was eager to read this book as I've enjoyed Steve Martin's comedy for years. Not that I'm that old, but I watched Saturday Night Live reruns and have seen his skits and movies and read Shopgirl. Born Standing Up (how painful that must have been for his mom, hardy har) is a look behind the comedy starting when Steve was a teenager selling Disneyland guide books for a few cents. He had a keen interest in magic and worked to hone his craft beginning at Disneyland and then moving to other places and bigger venues. Steve worked hard for years and years and his huge success was earned with dedication and ambition. I enjoyed reading the book and I am always interested to gleen information on how creative people "make it."

I think Sue Grafton's books are getting better and better! T is for Trepass was a page turning novel combining the topics of identity theft with elder care and abuse. Of course the book features our favorite detective, Kinsey Milhone. The book is detailed and so well crafted that I didn't want it to end. The book flips from Kinsey's voice to evil Solana's point of view which gave insight to the books villian. I know that fans of Sue Grafton's will be eagerly reading this book and hoping that her U is For... book comes out sooner rather than later!

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A Boy Named Shel, Lisa Rogak

Lisa Rogak, Tara Reid and I all have one thing in common- we grew up within miles of each other in a small cluster of towns in Northen New Jersey. That tidbit aside, Lisa contacted me a while ago asking if I would like to read her biography of Shel Silverstein. My answer was: of course! And when I learned she grew up near me in New Jersey, I feel that we really bonded and that just made me all the more enthusiastic to read her book.

I read and reread Shel's books as a child and then read them to my own children, most recently The Giving Tree. I still have my copy of A Light in the Attic from many, many years ago. I didn't know much about Shel and was surprised to learn details from his somewhat nomadic life. I enjoyed this book and recommend it to those of you who know Shel or even if you don't. You can learn more about Lisa, who is a very very interesting person, on her website. A convention of the National Funeral Directors Association, really Lisa?

Tell me about the process of researching the life of Shel Silverstein. This book must have been something you were very passionate about.

Before I began the book, I only knew Shel from the songs he wrote for Dr. Hook. He was one of several I was considering for my next biography, and once I started the research, I thought he would be fascinating. It was a lot more work than I thought, because he lived so many different lives, it was like writing 5 books instead of one.

What was the most interesting detail or fact you learned about him?

That he gave no excuses: his art came first. His was an example of how to live a totally creative life.

Do you think Shel was someone that you would have been friends with?

I would like to think so, but he's me times 50 in terms of curiosity and energy, so I think he would have driven me crazy.

Did you read his childrens books when you were growing up?

No, they came out and became popular after I became a teenager, I'm talking about Where the Sidewalk Ends, etc. I do remember The Giving Tree from Sunday School, but that was it.

Lisa, I cant believe you and I grew up in the same area. Do you ever miss those small towns in New Jersey? Do you ever crave diner food? We probably went to the same places- Friendly's in Midland Park, The Goffle Grill, Paramus Park, Garden State Plaza, Bennigans- I could go on and on.

Eek! I remember all of them. I don't miss the area though, it's changed so much, gotten more sterile and commercial. Up here, if I crave diner food I go to a truck stop, just as good. I remember a great hot dog place, in Paterson? Fat Mikes? Pizzatown on 17 had great zeppole. There was a restaurant/diner across the street from Burger King in Midland Park, that was my favorite when I was a kid.

Did you have big Jersey girl hair?

No, long straight hippie hair in the disco years.

Okay back to Shel, in three words, how would you describe him?

Gifted beyond belief, uncompromising, generous (to those who could put up with him)

What I was surprised to learn was that he was a cartoonist for Playboy and was long time friends with Hugh Hefner! Did you get to interview Hef?

No, Hef turned me down.

Do you think Shel was sad or lonely? He never married and seemed like a gypsy- never staying in one place too long.

His art and creativity came first. There were lonely times, but artists are always set a bit apart from others, by design. It's necessary to observe the foibles of others.

Will you tackle another biography again? I know you wrote about Dan Brown too- this seems like a huge amount of work, research and details!

I'm working on Stephen King now, to be published next fall. There are some commonalities with Shel, ie the intense focus and dedication to their work, but there are more differences that similarities. King has been married for almost 37 years and has lived in the same place since 1980. Plus, whereas with Shel I felt in many cases there was not enough material available, with King it's almost the opposite. It'll be a significantly longer book.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2007

Call Me by Your Name
André Aciman (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)This tender, gay coming-of-age novel set in an Italian palazzo exquisitely renders first love on the Riviera.

Mischa Berlinski (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
This first novel about an anthropology student in northern Thailand who “goes native” has it all: story, mystery characters, suspense, resolution.

The Savage Detectives
Roberto Bolaño (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Chilean-born novelist Bolaño (1953–2003), beautifully translated by Natasha Wimmer, deliriously tracks Mexico City poets Arturo Belano (Bolaño's alter ego) and Ulysses Lima as they travel the globe over 20-plus years.

The Tin Roof Blowdown
James Lee Burke (Simon & Schuster)
Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath provide the backdrop for an account of sin and redemption in New Orleans in Burke's 16th Dave Robicheaux novel.

Falling Man
Don DeLillo (Scribner)
DeLillo's 9/11 novel captures with breathtaking force the numbness and inchoate rage that followed the attacks.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Junot Díaz (Riverhead)
Díaz's fierce, funny and tragic first novel, starring a sci-fi-and-fantasy–gobbling nerd-hero, is just what readers have held out for since Drown.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Mohsin Hamid (Harcourt)
Hamid's intelligent war on terror novel is written from the perspective of a young Pakistani whose sympathies, despite his fervid immigrant embrace of America, lie with the attackers.

Returning to Earth
Jim Harrison (Grove)
This gorgeous novel of an early death spirals into a wrenching saga set in Upper Michigan, as grief grips a family.

The Chicago Way
Michael Harvey (Knopf)
Harvey's debut thriller spins a twisted story in which the line between cops and criminals becomes dangerously blurred; the author combines the sardonic wit of Chandler with the gritty violence of Lehane's Kenzie and Gennaro series.

Heart-Shaped Box
Joe Hill (Morrow)
A particularly merciless ghost goes on the rampage in this debut supernatural thriller from the son of Stephen King.

The Archivist's Story
Travis Holland (Dial)
Set in 1939 Moscow, the story of a disgraced literature professor who's in charge of destroying anti-Soviet writings and decides to save an unfinished manuscript of Isaac Babel's captures the mood and realities of life in Soviet Russia.

Body of Lies
David Ignatius (Norton)
One of the best post-9/11 thrillers yet, this highly elaborate novel tells the story of an idealistic CIA officer stationed in Jordan after being wounded in Iraq.

Tree of Smoke
Denis Johnson (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Is it the ultimate Vietnam novel? Very likely. A terrifying epic that revolves around a murky intelligence operation.

Bowl of Cherries
Millard Kaufman (McSweeney's)
The bawdy, original coming-of-age debut from the nonagenarian creator of Mr. Magoo has a delicious screwball sensibility.

What the Dead Know
Laura Lippman (Morrow)
In this outstanding stand-alone thriller, a driver who flees a car accident breathes new life into a 30-year-old mystery—the disappearance of two young sisters at a shopping mall—when she tells the police she's one of the missing girls.

You can view the entire list on the Publishers Weekly website here. I can't believe I havent read a single one of these books! The list of best books of 2007 is very long featuring all genres so take a look!

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

From Book to Film

I was reading thru Variety online as I am apt to do from time to time and my heart skipped a beat when I read this:

"Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah and Sophie Okonedo have signed on to Fox Searchlight's "The Secret Life of Bees," based on the Sue Monk Kidd novel. Dakota Fanning is in negotiations to star as the 14-year-old girl who flees her home and is taken in by an eccentric trio of beekeeping sisters.

Alicia Keys is also in negotiations to join the film, helmed by "Love & Basketball" director Gina Prince-Bythewood from a screenplay she wrote. Set in South Carolina in 1964, story centers on Lily Owens (Fanning), who escapes her lonely life and troubled relationship with her father by running away with her caregiver and only friend (Hudson) to a South Carolina town that holds the secret to her mother's past. Latifah, Okonedo and Keys would play the three sisters. Shooting is scheduled to begin Jan. 9 in North Carolina, and the pic will be released by Fox Searchlight in 2008."

This is wonderful news because The Secret Life of Bees was amazing and I am convinced the movie will be just as good as the book. I get chills when I think of Queen Latifah and Jennifer Hudson in the roles of the beekeeping sisters. If you haven't read the book, rush out this minute and get it now from your local library, from Amazon, where ever you get your books. You will not be disappointed!

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Earthly Pleasures, Karen Neches

The thing about a good writer is this- they make it look easy. Words flow like water in a stream and the book moves along without stalling. You don't see the seams, you don't sense the hard work that went into crafting the book. Karen Neches does it flawlessly.

When Karen wrote the Bottom Dollar Girls series, she displayed a sense of humor and created fun characters that I really enjoyed. Now Karin Gillespie is writing as Karen Neches and her book, Earthly Pleasures is as sweet and delish as angel food cake. Is that a terribly corny thing to say? But it's true. Its a good book with a happy ending, a few twists along the way and ultimately a satisfying story.

Karen's new book won't be out until February but I wanted to mention it now so you can pre-order and keep an eye out for it. Earthly Pleasures is getting advance praise and I bet it won't be long until we hear movie news. I feel so lucky to have the chance to get an advance copy of the book and do a little q & a with Karen.

Did you let your imagination run wild as you wrote about heaven? You were super creative with so many of the details.

It’s so much fun to create a custom-made Heaven. That’s why my version has Perrier and rose petals coming out of the bath faucets and nonfattening, yet delicious chocolate. I wanted my Heaven to be the place where souls can have the time of their lives. They can watch their dreams on the big screen at Nocturnal Theater, check out past lives in the Reincarnation Archives, or see where new souls come from at the Sacred Creation of Souls. Rather than taking itself seriously, my Heaven is run very much like Disney World. Earth, on the other hand, is where the soul’s hard work is done.

If real heaven is anything like your version, no one would be afraid to die. What is your thoughts on what heaven is really like?

My novel reflects my beliefs somewhat although I exaggerate things for entertainment value. For instance, my God acts and sounds a lot like Bette Miller. I envision a God who is larger than life and has a great sense of humor. Bette seemed to fit the bill.

Also I think of Heaven, not as a place of judgment, but a place of reflection on the last life lived.

You wrote fun southern fiction with the Bottom Dollar Girls, how was it to switch gears with Earthly Pleasures?

I have so many ideas for novels I felt penned in by a series. I did discover that it’s much more difficult to write a novel out of the series. I had to create a new setting and get to know a whole new set of characters. It took me two years to write EARTHLY PLEASURES whereas my series books take just six months. But I really like a challenge so I think I’ll be writing stand alone books from now on.

Did you ever see the movie, Just Like Heaven with Reese Witherspoon? That movie could be the distant cousin of your book. And naturally almost all writers want Reese in the film versions of their books.

I did and I’d already written the first draft of EARTHLY PLEASURES by that time so I was a little nervous to see it. Of course, despite the title, there is no Heaven setting in the Reese Witherspoon movie, which was a relief.

I know every book starts with a seed of an idea. What inspired the writing of Earthly Pleasures?

Two of my favorite books are BRIDGET JONES’ DIARY and LOVELY BONES. One day I had the thought: Bridget Jones meets Lovely Bones. It even rhymed. Boy, I did think I was clever!
Anyway the novel sprung out of that one idea, which is kind of nutty because those two books are nothing alike. I had to fight for this book because both my agent and editor initially disliked it but my critique group was in love with it. I reworked it a half a dozen times and at one point almost gave up on it. But then my agent had read the new version and she said, “You can’t give it up. It made me cry at the end.”

If there was a heaven on earth, what would it be like for you?

Honestly I feel like I’m living Heaven on Earth. I get to make up stories for a living and there’s nothing more satisfying to me than exercising my imagination. Also, after over twenty years of living the single life, I finally met and married the man of my dreams. EARTHLY PLEASURES is dedicated to him. At its core, my novel is a love story between a greeter in Heaven and a mortal on Earth. I wanted to create a story where it was almost impossible to get the two characters together.

What is the last- book you read? Movie you saw? TVshow you watched? Magazine you paged through?

I read YOU’RE NOT YOU by Michelle Wildgen, which is about a college student who cares for a thirty-something ALS patient and the friendship they develop. It sounds depressing but it’s a very unsentimental and entertaining novel. I watched the Simpson Girls story (Jessica and Ashley) on E! I love their True Hollywood Stories. The last movies I saw was Waitress, which was a colorful, feel-good film. My favorite kind!

I’m a devout reader of People magazine although I sometimes have to supplement with In Touch or Star if People isn’t gossipy enough.

I want a Dyson vacuum and Tivo for Christmas. (world peace and an end to global warming of course) What are you asking for?

I’d love to have a GPS because I’m going to the ends of the Earth to promote EARTHLY PLEASURES. Half the fun of writing a book is getting out there and letting people know all about it. I’m really excited because EARTHLY PLEASURES is a Booksense Notable in February, which means most every indie bookstore will be promoting it.

Do you worry about what critics will say when the book comes out? Do you get nervous or anxious when a book is about to hit the shelves?

I remember with my first book I got three bad Amazon reviews in a row and I completely freaked out. I didn’t want to go on tour and promote this loathsome book I’ d written. Luckily I got over that quickly. EARTHLY PLEASURES is my fifth novel. I know there will be people who won’t like it. If you go to Amazon, you can look up any novel in the world and there will be people who say it’s a piece of junk.

I try to remember that whenever I get a less than positive review. Sure it’ll sting for a few minutes and I’ll have a couple of moments of doubt. But then I let go of it and move on and enjoy the positive reviews, which always far outnumber the negatives.

If you could cast the movie version of your book, who would star in the film?

I think Kate Hudson would be fabulous as my main character, Skye. And hey, since they do so well together, why not cast Matthew McConaughey as Ryan?

I had a really nice Publishers Weekly review for EARTHLY PLEASURES and right afterwards I heard from two film producers. Apparently Heaven is a hot topic for Hollywood.

And what is next for you Karen?

I’m putting the finishing touches on a novel about a girl band in the eighties who get back together and start a middle-aged band. I’m also doing a rough outline of another novel that will feature a woman who is half angel.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Juno, Diablo Cody and Candy Girl

I love stories like this. Diablo Cody (which is the coolest name ever even if she did make it up and even if Diablo means devil in spanish) was a stripper in Minnesota who wrote a book, Candy Girl.

Then Diablo wrote this very brilliant and witty screenplay and the next thing, everyone is raving about a little film called Juno. The buzz for the movie began months ago. I didn't know much about the writer behind the movie until recently, now I've seen her in magazines and on the internet. I think we could be BFFs. Maybe just Fs. She is funky and bold and probably one of those people who can walk into a room and the atmosphere changes with their coolness. I might be speechless if I were to meet her. I have to sometimes remind myself that we are all just people. See if this link works to watch Diablo, her hot pink fishnets and David Letterman.

It's the kind of Cinderella story I dream of-minus the seedy underbelly of Minneapolis- you know, the talented writer toiling away living on nothing but dreams and cheap coffee then BAM! Hollywood comes knocking and life is never the same.

How did this stripper- turned- screenwriter- turned Hollywood IT girl, learn to write a screenplay? And HOW did she ever hook up with Steven Spielberg? I have questions that need to be answered.

Below is the trailer for the movie. Doesn't it look fantastic? Add it to my Must See Holiday Movie list.

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Book to Film, PS I Love You

The book was great! I saw a photo of Katherine Heigl reading PS I Love You while getting a pedicure. I read this a while back and never envisioned Hilary Swank in the lead role but I am certain she does a fabulous job. I'm looking forward to seeing this movie during the holidays. Perfect chick flick!

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Best books of 2007...

According to Time Magazine, these are the best books of the year. Have you read any? The only one that I've read is A Thousand Splendid Suns. I'm not a big fan of short stories and a few of these are collections of stories. I like to dig into a juicy novel and go along for the ride. Can you believe I have never read a single Harry Potter story? Nope.
The Post-Birthday World - Lionel Shriver
Like You'd Understand, Anyway - Jim Shepard
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
No One Belongs Here More Than You - Miranda July
The House of Meetings - Martin Amis
Tree of Smoke - Denis Johnson
Out Stealing Horses: A Novel - Per Petterson
A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
Then We Came to the End: A Novel - Joshua Ferris
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Díaz
A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917 - 1932By John Richardson
The World Without Us By Alan Weisman
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy SoldierBy Ishmael Beah
Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA By Tim Weiner
The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth CenturyBy Alex Ross
Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life By Steve Martin
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life By Barbara Kingsolver
The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court By Jeffrey Toobin
The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through MadnessBy Elyn R. Saks
Here If You Need Me: A True Story By Kate Braestrup


A Thousand Splendid Suns

I read this book very quickly. Like The Kite Runner, this novel pulls you in and doesn't let you go until the very last page. Its sad and scary and I find myself so much more sympathetic towards the people of the Middle East. A Thousand Splendid Suns was incredibly well written and will be one of the books I recommend to my friends.

I just ordered a book called Kabul Beauty School. I am interested in learning more about the people of Afghanistan. I wonder how one person like myself can possibly help make the world a better place?

The Kite Runner movie comes out this week, I hope to see it over the weekend. If the film is as amazing as the book, it will be an Oscar contender.

Here is an essay from the author Khaled Hosseini from Newsweek magazine:
In an exclusive essay in the December 10 issue (Newsweek, Monday, December 3), best-selling author Khaled Hosseini writes that despite Afghanistan’s raging Taliban insurgency, governmental corruption, rampant poverty and persistent oppression of women, there are signs of positive developments. Still, the only certain thing about Afghanistan, he writes, is that “without a genuine and sustained long-term commitment on the part of the United States and its allies, Afghanistan is doomed.”

As a good-will envoy to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Hosseini, who traveled to Afghanistan in September, compares the country today to how he last remembered it in 2003.

“When I visited Kabul in 2003, it looked like a war zone, a grim landscape of jagged debris, flattened buildings and roofless walls. The Kabul I saw in September is dramatically improved,” he writes. “Many of its neighborhoods have been rebuilt. I was happily surprised to visit cultural landmarks, like the famed gardens of Babur, and find them successfully renovated. In many towns, I saw children in uniform walking to school. School enrollment, in fact, has increased to more than 5 million children over the past five years. Land mines are being cleared, the press is relatively free (if under attack by religious conservatives) and telecommunication is booming. (Even in the poorest, most remote villages, I had the surreal experience of seeing old men in tattered clothes speaking on cell phones.) The rebuilt roads I traveled in northern Afghanistan were in excellent shape, and traffic on them was brisk, boding well for commerce.”

Earlier this year the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission conducted a survey in 32 out of 34 provinces in Afghanistan, and found that nearly 80 percent of Afghans polled said that they felt optimistic about the future. “I find this to be an extraordinary statistic (I suspect far fewer of us here in America would say the same about our own future). This finding isn’t proof of a dramatic improvement in Afghan standards of living,” Hosseini writes. “Rather, it reflects the constitutional ability of Afghans to remain hopeful and optimistic in the face of overwhelming hardship. Which, to me, makes it a moral imperative that we in the West not give up on a people who have not given up on themselves.”

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Water for Elephants

A while ago I checked out Water for Elephants from the library. I did not end up reading it because it was due back. I did not think I would like it so I disregarded it, not attempting to renew this best selling novel. When am I going to learn my lesson? For years The Kite Runner sat on my book shelf, another novel I thought I would not like. I ended up loving it so much that I recommend it to everyone now and am anxiously awaiting the film. The Other Bolyen Girl looked too big and thick and I decided I would never get through it. But I did eventually read it and I loved it.

Fast forward several months and my book club chose Water for Elephants as the December pick. I was not too excited. The book is so popular though that I could only get the Large Print edition from the library so you know, people really are enjoying it.

I was intrigued from the beginning of the book. Author Sara Gruen pulls the reader into the story told by aging Jacob, in the nursing home reliving his days as a veterinarian in the circus. He is ninety three, maybe ninety years old- he can't remember- and sits waiting for his family to visit and take him to the circus. As he waits, he thinks about his own tumultuous time under the big top. Jacob as an old man is so heart wrenchingly sad! But Jacob as a young man keeps the reader turning the pages as we learn about his forbidden love with beautiful Marlena, the animals he cares for, particularly Rosie, and relationships with other circus workers.

I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning so I could finish the book. Water for Elephants is a different kind of story about the circus back in the depression era, not exactly a hot topic in the year 2007 which makes it stand out! It's such a good book, so well written and interesting. I have to recommend it to you if you haven't read it yet. Here in the Amazon link.

And I have to mention another novel set in the circus world, Wonder When You'll Miss Me by Amanda Davis. Amanda died tragically after the book was published. This author no doubt would have gone on to have an amazing career.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Meg Cabot loves celebrities too

You probably know Meg Cabot from The Princess Diaries books and movies. She seems hilarious. I think I should meet Meg so we can talk about celebrities because according to the above video, she's a big fan of tabloids and the whole Hollywood world. Oh, I could send her a copy of A Thousand Dollars for a Kiss! She would totally dig the humor. Anyway, Meg has a new book out called Big Boned which sounds like a lot of fun. More Meg Cabot here.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Five Minutes with Maggie

The novel takes place over the course of an evening in which a suicidal patient, Elizabeth Cruikshank, tells her story of isolation to her psychiatrist, David McBride, who is struggling with his own loneliness. The story disentangles a heartbreaking story of passion, love, art, and death, which leaves both doctor and patient changed forever. The eccentric Elizabeth strikes a cord within David that calls him to question his own disintegrating marriage. Through her insights and passions, he begins to understand the meaning behind his own life and love.

Vickers meticulously weaves the strands of her two characters' lives together in this captivating tale, and her elegant prose resonates well after finishing the novel. Utilizing flashbacks and the doctor's innermost thoughts, the overall story shows that we can never help who we fall in love with or why.

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Five Minutes with Maggie

Black and White beautifully portrays the difficult relationship between mothers and daughters. The novel simultaneously explores the intimate relationship between an artist and her subject. Clara's mother Ruth is a world-famous photographer who built her career on revealing photographs of young Clara. Accused of being exploitative and pornographic, Ruth struggles to defend herself to critics and family alike. Clara escapes the scrutiny and begins her own life and family away from the public's watchful eye. When Ruth begins to die of lung cancer, Clara must face her past and her future as both daughter and muse.

The language of the novel is evocative and emotional. Shapiro elegantly captures the intricacies of love between women – mothers, daughters, sisters, friends – and results in an emotional resonance that any woman can identify with.
-Maggie Marton

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