2013 Fall Reads

Yo yo yo internet “Finer Things Club” members!

Only 3 books have weaseled themselves into my hands over the past couple of months and frankly, I feel quite lazy.

I blame Netflix.

Here they are!

1. Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin

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I am actually very surprised I haven’t read all of this author’s books. I mean, the covers are shades of pastels. The names are cute. Where have I been?My sister lent me “Something Borrowed” (haha) when I was in Kennewick for her wedding. Very appropriate. So basically, the main character has an affair with her best friend’s fiance. Part of me wanted to slam it down or throw it in the trash. ¬†I was disgusted at the behavior of these two individuals, sneaking around and lying for their own mutual satisfaction. I felt for the best friend, despite the author’s attempts to make me hate her. However, like most things that come in baby-pink packaging, everything turned out okay. Apparently it is a movie too? Again – where have I been?!

2. The Midewife of Venice by Roberta Rich

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Oooh, I luuurved this book. I read it in 3 sessions, over the course of probably 5 days. All I wanted to do was read this book. I thought about while pedaling nowhere on the elliptical. I had dreams about it. I found myself talking about it to the checker at Safeway. This book is set in Venice during the sixteenth century and follows a young Jewish mid-wife named Hannah. She is the best of her trade in all of Venice, but her faith only allows her to deliver other Jewish babies. Her husband is a prisoner in a foreign land and in order to pay his bail, she agrees to deliver the baby of a Christian noble-man’s wife. Each page builds in suspense and the every chapter quickly crescendos into the ultimate cliff hanger. Each more dramatic than the previous. My only wish would be that this book had a sequel.

3. French Lessons by Ellen Sussman

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I really enjoyed this cheeky little book about Paris and love. The book is split up in sections and focuses on the relationships of three french tutors and their pupils for the day. The characters are interesting and the dialogue is witty. Relationships. Sex. Affairs of the heart. (MUST LEARN FRENCH!)

So that’s it. Bryan and I leave for Hawaii in less than 48 hours where I will voraciously read on the beach in between sips of daiquiri ūüôā

‘Til then.

Let’s Talk About Books, Baby

Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about all the good times and the bad times that will be.

Are those the lyrics? I warn you, I’m notorious for ¬†making up my own words and completely disregarding what lyrically makes sense. So sue me. Or don’t, because I’d rather spend my money on items at Norstrom Rack.

It’s time for…ba-ba-dah-dah…….!!!!

A book update. ¬†So for anyone who is still reading, let’s dish.

  1. Hotel Pastis by Peter Mayle

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I must preface all of these mini-reviews by thanking Bryan’s parents, particularly Mary for lending and recommending several of these to me.¬† A million thanks!

Why¬†this book isn’t a¬†movie yet, I don’t know. Oh yes, we’re too busy¬†watching Kristin Stewart making the same pathetic¬†face throughout the Twighlight movies…I must have forgotten.¬†¬†This book tells the story of a man who opens up¬† a hotel in Provence.¬† It’s romantic, funny and I’m sure the locals of Provence hate Mr. Mayle for turning their beloved town into a major tourist destination and¬†frequent¬†haunt for thousands of Rick Steves fans.

2. Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl

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Another Mary Nash suggestion. I absolutely adored this book and was genuinely sad when it was over.¬†¬† The story follows a newbie New-York Times food editor through her first restaurant¬†experiences.¬† What made this book¬†so much fun was that in order to fool¬†the restaurants into not recognizing her, she wears disguises and takes on different personalities.¬† She pretends to be everything from an old woman to an eccentric artist to a hot blonde.¬† If that doesn’t reel you in, surely the descriptions of the meals will.¬† She reviews Daniel, Le Bernadin and many others that I have only dreamed of dining at.¬† I highly recommend this one, especially to foodies and will probably read it again and again.

3. Chez Panisse and Alice Waters by Thomas McNamee

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In keeping with the theme of gastro-delight literature, of course I had to read this book.¬† ‘Twas another jewel which I happily plucked from the shelves of the Nash library.¬† I have actually eaten at Chez Panisse once, while on a business trip to San Francisco. Although it was lunch and I only had a salad, it was something I’ll never forget.¬† Chez Panisse is an institution, not only in SF but world-wide and Alice Waters is the person behind the magic.¬† I am eager to return to Chez Panisse now that I feel I know it so intimately.¬† I assume this book will do the same to anyone who reads it.

4. The Pact by Jodi Picoult

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I think I’ve now read all of her novels by now.¬† This one wasn’t my favorite of the bunch, however in congruence with all of her books, it was a gut-wrencher.¬† A boy and girl fall in love who are next door neighbors. They make a pact to kill themselves one night, however only the girl goes through with it.¬† So yeah, you can imagine how this book caused my gut be wrenched.

5. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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Gone Girl was one that Mary gave me to read because her book group had read it.¬† I found it completely thrilling and despite the crazy nature of the story, I found myself sympathizing with the characters from time to time. After about Chapter One, just stop what you’re doing because you won’t be able to put this down.

6. Kris Jenner and All Things Kardashian by Kris Jenner

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This was a cast-off  destined for Goodwill, when I regretfully pulled it from the bag.  I blame it on being un-employed at the time.

Ahh…Kris Jenner.¬† ¬†I laughed out loud many times through this book.¬† Sometimes at the heinous writing, or references to her daughters being “smart” or at any number of the times where she unsuccessfully begs¬† the reader to sympathize with her when she was dripping in diamonds and playing tennis.¬† Boo hoo, Kris. If I am being harsh, good.¬† The only salvageable morsel of usefulness came from learning more about the OJ Simpson trial.¬† Despite those moments, this book would be better served as kindling.

7.¬† My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

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In my book (which is worth a read), this Picoult novel rates up there with Nineteen Minutes and A Plain Truth.¬†¬† That being said, this book is beyond sad. It is totally heartbreaking.¬† If you’ve recently been dumped or your gerbil has passed away, please don’t pick up this book.¬† On the other hand, if you want to read a book with amazing characters and a thought-provoking story line on so many levels, than this book is perfect.¬† I can’t bring myself to watch the movie because I don’t feel like crying that hard all over again. ‘Nuff said.

8. Open House by Elizabeth Berg

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This was another Mary cast-off and the first time I have tried this author.¬† I found the book to be somewhat slow moving but not terrible.¬† It is about a woman who is recently divorced with a son and a stack of bills due to her excessive retail-therapy.¬† I did enjoy the part where she goes to Tiffany’s and drops thousands of dollars on china, I will say.¬† She¬† decides to rent out rooms in her house to supplement the mortgage and thus, different characters are introduced.¬† She gets involved with a new guy, blah blah blah.¬† This one was just aight for me dog (shoutout to Randy) but I may try something else from this author.

9. Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

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I had been searching for¬†this book for months at thrift stores, ¬†so I was extremely stoked when my mom scored this at Goodwill.¬† It’s fairly new and I was beyond excited to read¬†it as I am passionate about the subject-matter.¬† This book deals with¬†gay rights issues and it also looks at Christianity.¬† I don’t want to get all political on y’asses but I feel this book (as J.Picoult has a knack for doing) shows both sides of a hot topic very well.¬† Even though I¬†fall very much on one side of these particular issues, I was impressed with the manner in which they were presented.¬† Bravo, Jodes.

10. Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult

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Another gut-wrencher here. We face a situation involving  medical ethics when a couple have to decide if they can bring a medical malpractice lawsuit on their best friend who delivered their baby.  The baby was born with a disease which makes her bones super-brittle and break at not much more than a drop of a hat.  Even though they love their kid, they struggle with finances and wonder what may have happened if they knew about her condition before she was born.  Another sad, but very compelling book which made think about the choice that I would make.

11. Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult

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The topic here is¬†religion and¬†one of my favorites…the death penalty.¬†¬†*I meant to say the topic of the death penalty, not the death penalty itself, you get it.¬† Basically a¬†convicted criminal wants to donate his heart to his victim’s sister after he gets¬†lethal injection but he can’t because it’s medically impossible.¬† Dah-Dah-DAHN!! Your average, everyday dilemma obviously.¬† This one was really thrilling and given my affinity for serial killers, a fast and interesting read.

12. Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult

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I won’t lie, this is probably my least favorite Picoult novel.¬† True to form, Ms. Picoult thrills us and educates us.¬† Honestly, I think I just really hated the main character’s movie-star husband.¬† He was a tool. ¬†And anyways, she was an¬†archaeologist – what was she doing with a Hollywood d-bag anyway? So basically,¬†she runs away from him to live on an¬†Indian¬†reservation. ¬†Oh yeah, and she is pregnant.¬†I think¬†I just felt so bad for her that it made the book less enjoyable. ¬†I encourage someone¬†I know to read this and help me rationalize my feelings.

13. Breaking the Silence by Diane Chamberlain

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I really like this author.¬† I think this is the 3rd book I’ve read by her and she is amazing.¬† This book felt more like a mystery novel than anything but the characters were so amazing and the story, unpredictable.¬†¬†A woman is searching for answers…her husband kills himself and her young daughter has gone completely mute.¬† I¬†kind of¬†want to read it again, now that I’m writing about it.¬† It is that good!

14. Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult

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This book is literally about wolves. ¬†When I saw the cover I thought the wolf thing must be an allegory, or an analogy or whatever the heck that word is, for something else. ¬†Surely, Jodes is referring to the¬†nomadic¬†nature of our protagonist or maybe his deep,¬†acrimonious thoughts. ¬†Not the case. While there is a storyline accompanying the wolf stuff, it’s basically a lot of wolf stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this book thoroughly.¬† I guess I also deepened my canine knowledge as well. Never a bad thing.

15. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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Holy David Copperfield, I loved this book! I picked this up whilst shopping at Costco in Hawaii.¬† I realized that I hadn’t brought anything to read (the horror) and per Mary’s suggestion, picked this up.¬† I’m glad I did.¬† Not usually a sucker for sci-fi or fantasy, this book could have been a huge disaster.¬† It was quite the opposite for me.¬† The author combines a compelling storyline of two star-crossed illusionists who are pitted against each other, yet fall in love.¬† This book captures all the senses.¬† Appealing to my Moulin Rouge-loving, carnival food-eating self, the author struck a chord with vivid descriptions and a tantalizing love story.¬† Just read it. You’ll be glad you did.

16. The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin

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I received this one courtesy of my mother, who thoughtfully tucked it in my Christmas stocking.¬† She fell victim to it’s pretty cover at Costco as many people do.¬† I’m actually reading this right now and it’s aight.¬† It’s reminiscent of Downton, which is favorable I guess.¬† More than anything it makes me pine for more episodes.¬† I suppose it’s interesting to read about the differences between the English and Americans during those times.¬† What I’ve learned so far? Not much has changed.

I am forgetting a few other books that may have slipped through the cracks, but I have a feeling you will forgive me. As always, let me know if I’m missing anything great.¬† I devour books much like I devour fro-yo, voraciously.

2011 Fall Reads

I’m a total bookworm.

It’s time for a book update. I know, thrilling.

But honestly – NOTHING beats a good book. You get to use your imagination, become smarter and look cute in your reading glasses, it’s a good thing :-).

Here are the books I enjoyed this fall:

Catch me if You Can by Frank Abagnale Jr.

This book was incredibly interesting. If you’ve seen the movie, you know the general plot. It was mind boggling how ballsy this kid was. There were quite a few jaw-droppers while reading this. I highly recommend for a quick, easy and fun read.

The Debutante Divorcee by Plum Sykes

I like these books purely for the outfit descriptions. Brands I’ve never heard of. Trends I never knew existed. The life of the Manhattan super-rich.¬† A life I will never know. Totally fun to read.

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult is hands down one of my favorite authors. Her writing style makes the characters seem so real and alive, like someone you’ve met or actually know. She always writes about really thought-provoking subjects and sometimes controversial subjects, which is awesome because I end up learning loads from her books.

Nineteen Minutes is about a school shooting, with close parallels to the events of Columbine. She tells the story from each characters point of view,¬† most interestingly, the shooter. She delves into the psyche of these high school students to uncover the true impact of bullying, cliques and friendships. I also really enjoyed learning about the responsibilities and perils of being a judge as well as a judge’s daughter. This book is heavy and emotional but completely worth it. The mark of a good book, in my opinion is, does it make you think? Does it challenge a belief? This book certainly meets that criteria and leaves you with a sense of hope in the end.

A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard

Okay – so this is the memoir of Jaycee Dugard, the girl who was kidnapped when she was 11 and held hostage in a backyard for 18 years. A Stolen Life¬† is the polar opposite of a “light read”. It is heavy. Many times through out this book, I had to simply set it down, walk away and spend 15 minutes alone. As I read this book, my mind automatically placed myself in her situation. I physically shuttered through out the book. Jaycee tells the story exactly as it happened and doesn’t leave out any details. In the book, she will write a section, for example “The Studio”, tell us what happened and then goes on to reflect on how she feels about¬† it now that she is free. I highly recommend this book for it’s amazing story of survival.

The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult

This book was awesome. Not my favorite in the way of Picoult books, but excellent nonetheless. Maybe it was the subject matter…rape…it honestly gives me goosebumps to even think about. So horrible. I loved the relationship between the family members in this one as well.

Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult

This Jodi Picoult novel also doesn’t fail to disappoint. This time, we are thrown into the life of an American family dealing with osteogenesis imperfecta. Google it for all the details, but basically it’s when a human is born with super brittle bones that break very easily. People that have OI either die right after they’re born or live a life where they’ll likely break hundreds of bones, never walk and not exceed 3 feet in height. This book depicts a family dealing with a child with this disorder. Again, we hear stories from all members of the family and also a few outsiders. This book also addresses issues like cutting and bulemia. This one is incredibly compelling and as always, really makes you think.

I am currently reading the The Shadow Wife, by Diane Chamberlain per a recommendation from this awesome blogger.

Next on the list:

  • Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult – PUMPED about this one!
  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey
  • How to Love an American Man by Kristine Gasbarre
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

What are you reading lately?