Monday, September 27, 2010

Book #88 of 2010

Book #88 of 2010 was ... "Bijou Roy" by Ronica Dhar.

When her beloved father dies of multiple sclerosis in Detroit in 1999, medical student Bijou makes the journey with her family back to his homeland in Calcutta to sprinkle his ashes in the Ganges. He had always told her about his political activism in the 1960s, about meeting his wife in Paris and their coming to America. But why did he leave Calcutta and never go back there to his Bengali family?

I loved this tale of one woman's search for her own identity amongst the expectations laid out by her family and culture. Dhar weaved both past and present events - which gives the reader the ability to see the "whole picture". I found the last chapter to be particularly strong - but I won't give it away.

Up next is "The Girl Who Chased the Moon" by Sarah Addison Allen.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Prayers for Crew

Please help us storm the gates of Heaven with prayer for my friend's two-year-old nephew Crew. Even if you don't believe in praying, send whatever positive thoughts you can to Crew and his family. He was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma at the age of 6 months and finished treatment in 11/09. On 9/16/10 an MRI scan revealed a spot on his brain. He is getting an angiogram on the that spot today at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.

You can friend Crew on Facebook and follow his progress:!/profile.php?id=100001624060713&ref=mf

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Book #87 of 2010

Book #87 of 2010 was "Thin, Rich, Pretty" by Beth Harbidon.

Twenty years ago Holly and Nicola were the awkward outsiders at summer camp, and rich and popular Lexi was their nemesis. As adults, all three women are having trouble finding their place. Holly, a successful gallery owner, is struggling with her weight and a manipulative boyfriend. Nicola tries to revive her slumping acting career with plastic surgery, making her just another pretty face. Lexi is left nearly penniless and with few real-world skills after her father's death. Through a chance meeting, Holly and Nicola find out Lexi was not nearly as charmed as they thought, and they set out to right a wrong they committed as kids.

A light read about what makes us truly happy - Money? Love? A perfect body? The three main characters each had and lost what they thought made them who they are only to get it back in a new way. 

Up next is "Bijou Roy" by Ronica Dhar. I am excited to read this book because it received a good review from Abraham Verghese, the author of one of my favorite books "Cutting for Stone".

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Book #86 of 2010 ...

Book #86 of 2010 was ... "Faithful Place" by Tana French.

Back in 1985, Frank Mackey was nineteen, growing up poor in Dublin's inner city, and living crammed into a small flat with his family on Faithful Place. But he had his sights set on a lot more. He and Rosie Daly were all ready to run away to London together, get married, get good jobs, break away from factory work and poverty and their old lives. But on the winter night when they were supposed to leave, Rosie didn't show. Frank took it for granted that she'd dumped him-probably because of his alcoholic father, nutcase mother, and generally dysfunctional family. He never went home again.
Neither did Rosie. Everyone thought she had gone to England on her own and was over there living a shiny new life. Then, twenty-two years later, Rosie's suitcase shows up behind a fireplace in a derelict house on Faithful Place, and Frank is going home whether he likes it or not. Getting sucked in is a lot easier than getting out again. Frank finds himself straight back in the dark tangle of relationships he left behind. The cops working the case want him out of the way, in case loyalty to his family and community makes him a liability. Faithful Place wants him out because he's a detective now, and the Place has never liked cops. Frank just wants to find out what happened to Rosie Daly-and he's willing to do whatever it takes, to himself or anyone else, to get the job done.

I, apparently, am dense because I didn't figure out whodunit until near the very end. I enjoyed this mystery from start to finish.

Up next is "Thin, Rich, Pretty" by Beth Harbison.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

And now the books!

Book #85 of 2010 was ... "The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate" by Jacqueline Kelly

As the only girl in an uppercrust Texas family of seven children, Calpurnia, 11, is expected to enter young womanhood with all its trappings of tight corsets, cookery, and handiwork. Unlike other girls her age, Callie is most content when observing and collecting scientific specimens with her grandfather. Bemoaning her lack of formal knowledge, he surreptitiously gives her a copy of "The Origin of Species" and Callie begins her exploration of the scientific method and evolution, eventually happening upon the possible discovery of a new plant species. Callie's mother, believing that a diet of Darwin, Dickens, and her grandfather's influence will make Callie dissatisfied with life, sets her on a path of cooking lessons, handiwork improvement, and an eventual debut into society.

Callie is a sweet, lively character - sort of a Texas Laura Ingalls with more spunk. She feels restricted by the role expected of her at that time and longs for something more.

Book #86 of 2010 was ... "City of Night"(Frankenstein #2)" by Dean Koontz.

They are stronger, heal better, and think faster than any humans ever created–and they must be destroyed. Not even Victor Helios–once Frankenstein–can stop the engineered killers he’s set loose on a reign of terror through modern-day New Orleans. Only the one-time “monster” Deucalion and his all-too-human partners, Detectives Carson O’Connor and Michael Maddison, stand in their way. But as the three race to uncover the true dimensions of an age-old conspiracy, they will discover that Victor’s new, improved models have infiltrated every level of the city’s society . . . and far beyond.

I am still deciding if I like this series of books. Its not particularly well written and the characters are one dimensional. Helios is an egomaniac of such great proportions as to be almost absurd. I think if you like Koontz, you will probably like this series. If not, there are better monster books out there. Of course, I will still continue to read them because I have to know how it ends.

Book #87 of 2010 was ... "The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives" by Lola Shoneyin.

When Baba Segi awoke with a bellyache for the sixth day in a row, he knew it was time to do something drastic about his fourth wife's childlessness. Meet Baba Segi ... A plump, vain, and prosperous middle-aged man of robust appetites, Baba Segi is the patriarch of a large household that includes a quartet of wives and seven children. But his desire to possess more just might be his undoing. And his wives ... Iya Segi — the bride of Baba Segi's youth, a powerful, vindictive woman who will stop at nothing to protect her favored position as ruler of her husband's home. Iya Tope — Baba Segi's second wife, a shy, timid woman whose decency and lust for life are overshadowed by fear. Iya Femi — the third wife, a scheming woman with crimson lips and expensive tastes who is determined to attain all that she desires, no matter what the cost. Bolanle—Babi Segi's fourth and youngest wife, an educated woman wise to life's misfortunes who inspires jealousy in her fellow wives ... and who harbors a secret that will expose shocking truths about them all.

There's no doubt Shoneyin is a gifted writer. However, the coarse language and situations in this book can be a real distraction at times. I think the book is still worth reading but be warned that it can be a little "risque" at times in its harshness.

Up next is "Faithful Place" by Tara French.

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And the angels rejoiced ...

My laptop is finally back home with me and *knock on wood* appears to be fixed. Can I get an "AMEN"?

I don't know where to start with my posting because some of you care about the books and some of you care about my personal updates (Hi Katie!). I guess I will go with pictures of the kids from their first day of school.

This, my friends, is classic Jake face.

So happy for the first day of school!

The second day dawned with a little more enthusiasm ... or at least they got better at faking it.

We are two weeks in and so far all is well. Jake started third grade and he is in the gifted program and advanced math class. No surprise the kid is smarter than me, now we just need to work on the social skills. Molly is in kindergarten and she seems to like school. She is playing soccer for the first time and she is also taking a gymnastics class.

She was mad that her uniform was too big.

So that should pretty much bring you up to speed on the kids. The dog, well she's just happy to still be alive.

As for me, I have been reading of course! Stay tuned for the next post with the list of books I have read most recently.

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Monday, September 06, 2010

Computer woes and 9 new books

Something is wrong with my laptop monitor. Its giving me a moment's reprieve to do some work on it but it could crash at any time. So instead of reviews, I am just going to list the last several books I have read. Hopefully I can get this fixed and be back in the saddle.

So here is what I have read since I last blogged:

#76 Some Things That Stay by Sarah Willis

#77 Prodigal Son (Dean Koontz's Frankenstein, #1) by Dean Koontz

#78 Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert

#79 Who Do I Lean On? (A Yada Yada House of Hope Novel) by Neta Jackson

#80 The Last Will of Moira Leahy by Therese Walsh

#81I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali

#82 Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

#83 The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home by George Howe Colt

#84 The Blessings of the Animals by Katrina Kittle

So there ya go ... I am now reading The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly.

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