Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Here's what I've been reading....what about you?

I just read Ganelle's Posting about what she's been reading and realized it's been awhile since I've shared what I've been reading.  I've actually been on a reading binge lately -- for two reasons.  One, LOVING my Nook and two, I'm going back for my master's in nursing shortly (The 24th....ahhhhhhh) and want to do some reading for pleasure before I'm bogged down with reading about nursing theory and writing papers.

Stolen Lives by Malika Oufkir is the last book I finished.  It's a book club read, chosen by my friend Jacqui.  She was worried she picked a bad one because  she seems to have a run of bad luck in picking out book club books.  But she did good.  I had actually read this book a few years ago and didn't remember much of it except her descriptions of life in the Harem.  Pretty lush descriptions about Harem life and what life was like of people of privilege during the 50's and 60's in Morocco.  It reminded me of the book Under a Marble Sky by Jonathan Shors -- at least the lavish descriptions of the the life of wives and concubines in a harem of a king.  This, for me, was the best part of the book, it had the most vivid descriptions and the most colorful.  The story about the time she was imprisoned were slower and sad (which makes sense -- it just wasn't enjoyable).  Their escape was courageous and I felt terrified for them while reading that section.

A side note, I actually had this book in my basement and during our continued clean up we donated it before this book got chosen for our book club....arggg, sort of reinforces my hoarding tendencies. 

Another side note, this is not available on Nook or Kindle -- neither was Under A Marble Sky.

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin is the book on which the movie with the same name is based.   I forced Jason to go went with Jason.  Turns out he was not the only man in the theatre.  The movie was cute and fluffy, it didn't go into as much depth into the women's relationship or the main character's angst about her decision.  The subject matter was actually pretty difficult to read and I do believe the author knew that.  Reading the side of the adulterous and actually wanting to root for her made me feel a bit shameful.  I really felt that although the other characters in the book were happy for her because the 'friend' seemed more of a frenemy, the main character did have wonderful memories of their friendship and there were glimpses that even though the frenemy was selfish, she was also a good friend at times and the main character recognized this.  It was hard for her.  It was hard for me.  The author did a good job with this struggle, I think that maybe this might have been difficult to write from this perspective and so kudos to the author for not making it easy by making one character perfect and the other evil.
Found this next book (Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkenen) on a review done by Jenn Lancaster (who wrote Bitter is the New Black and other funny stories).  This is one of the first times I've actually pre-ordered a book (and have I mentioned how much I love my Nook for the ease it provides in doing this).  This is more chic-lit, which, if you haven't noticed, is my favorite genre.  This one made me cry (whatever, I can't help myself) and I went as far to cyberstalk the author and not only become a 'fan' on her Facebook page but actually comment on how much I liked the book (she even wrote me back -- feeling a little star-struck).  The meat of the novel is about falling back in love again with your spouse.  Even though the gulf between them was huge and the impetus to working on their relationship was dramatic, many of us who are happily married have those minutes-days-hours-months where we have, if not a gulf, maybe a gully, or gulch between us.  It's not insurmountable but there and aggravating.  This book was a reminder to reach across and do what you need to bring your relationships closer (not preachy, that's just what I got from the book).  Have some tissues ready.
I would not normally choose a book like Raven Black by Anne Cleeves (seriously, how cool is her name, one of Henry's wives' names...that's awesome) but this was another book-club book, chosen by our resident, Brit, Ann.  I loved the description of the Shetland Islands (I confess, I actually had to look up where they were) and the people who lived there.  The mystery itself dragged a bit and I wanted more back story on the detective as well as the detectives who came over from the mainland to help with investigation.  I figured out early on who did one of the murders, but was surprised by the other and frankly wasn't too happy about it (not that I get happy about murder).  It was just a surprise without any clues, it seemed a bit unfair to the reader that there would be no way to guess it was that person.  But then again, sometimes rage is like that, it makes people do things they normally wouldn't do so there's no way to anticipate it.  Glad I read it, but probably won't go on to read more.  Unless Ann picks another one in the series for another book club read.
Another book where you may need some tissues, either that or I cry a lot, Jason would say yes to that -- oh well, it's probably good to have someone in the household who understands emotion and doesn't analyze everything in a sterile Spock like manner -- oh, I digress.  Mrs. Perfect by Jane Porter will hit a chord with those of us who don't feel like we completely belong and try our best to fit in.  This character does it on steroids though.   What's great about this story is that although she does fall apart she also finds herself, realizes who her friends really are, finds new friends and comes out strong.  I kind of wish the ending wasn't so picture perfect, if these people were real, I'd wonder if the lessons they learned would have been lost with the opportunity given them at the end.  Part of me liked (the mean part) that the snarky beyotch didn't benefit long but having known a snarky (and not in the fun way) beyotch I know that this never happens, the beyotches always get to keep their friends and they never get what they deserve.  But I do appreciate the author trying to make it 'right', that's the wonderful thing about fiction.
The title, Everyone is Beautiful drew me to this story.  It's another chic-lit-find-yourself-through-adversity type of novel by Katherine Center.  Of course her adversity is another person's adventure.  She has to move to another city and in doing so she finds out who she is.  I too have moved away from family and friends, thankfully for only a year.  But that was the year I discovered Mosaics and found a new passion (one that I desperately am trying to get back to, which is one of the motivators in getting my basement cleaned).  For the character in this book, it's photography.  There are some funny mommy-embarrassing moments to which I can completely relate.  I like that her kids aren't perfect and she becomes "that mom" at the park.  I can't imagine (at least I hope not) that I'm the only one who ever feels the same way she does at those moments.
Yeah, yeah, polygamous lifestyle blah blah...can't help myself (which may be why I dug the Harem scenes in Stolen Lives and Under a Marble Sky)  In Escape, though, she does not romanticize this lifestyle at all.  It's remarkable how she was able to get out with all of her children given her "husband" was a major player on the compound.  It's also good to see that she was able to find love again (why yes I am a romantic) and to make her life and the life of her children whole again, or actually whole for the first time.  I found it very interesting how the wives had to vie for attention from such a major Ass and how the dynamics worked with favorite wife status and how the kids benefited or suffered depending on who was in favor.  It's such a topsy-turvy life and the author did a great job describing it.

I'm reading Jen Lancaster's new novel right now, Wish You Were Here.  It reads just like her non-fiction-bloggy-type-other-books so is quite enjoyable and a nice break after reading the heavy depressing Stolen Lives.

I'm curious to hear what the rest of you have been reading or if you've read one of these, what were your opinions?


Rock Chef said...

I am about to read a book that I have been told is like the most ridiculous action movie you can imagine - everything explodes and people are even killed in pits full of komodo dragons! Can't wait!

Bare Bonsey said...

You read. A lot. I love your snapshots commentaries for those readers who have the attention span on a gnat. *raises hand*

Great blog! Keep it up!

ganelle said...

You've mentioned that skips a beat before. I'm putting it on my list - yea!

Thanks! I love these!

Jeannie said...

I am currently having a hard time trying to finish reading Eat, Pray, Love! I started reading from beginning of January and am just at Chapter 22! I would love to read Something Borrowed or maybe just popped into the cineplex to watch the movie huh?

tz said...

RC - you crack me up...
Amanda Kate...these books are also good for people wth attention spans of gnats...also raising hand'll have to let me know what you think, i love your book reviews!
jeanne...i confess i couldn't get into it either, move was okay though.