Book Review – Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Vinegar GirlVinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my second book by Anne Tyler. For those who may not know, this book is the retelling of the Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare which I never read and perhaps that’s the reason I was a bit underwhelmed by this book.

This is the story of Kate Battista and her family, her father and a younger sister. We find out that the mother passed away “died” as Kate Battista, the oldest daughter seems to prefer at some point after Kate’s sister, Bunny was born. Kate’s father is a scientist, Dr. Battista. I got the sense that he was not a good one…. I’m not sure why I thought that. I don’t believe Anne Tyler wanted that to be a fact, but … throughout the book I kept trying to like him and completely failed at that. Dr. Battista’s lab assistant, Pyotr, an immigrant, in the United States on a Work Visa was on the verge of perhaps being deported which would have put Dr. Battista’s research in jeopardy so the only solution was for Kate to marry him and help him get his green card.

The writing is beautiful as we all know Anne Tyler can do. The scene description made me feel like I was completely familiar with my surroundings and gave me the sense of being there, standing next to Kate when she told her co-workers about her impending marriage, or when her and Bunny talked to each other on the morning of the wedding.

As expected from Anne Tyler, each character was very well developed. None of them felt two dimentional at all. There was substance to who they were. Kate, although not very likable, was a good person and wanted to do right by her father and her family…. Dr. Battista, although a jerk, in my opinion, did the best he could and knew how, and even Pyotr, who may be as much a victim as he the aggressor. The only problem I had was the predictability. Once I got to know the characters the only one that surprised me was Bunny. There was very little Anne Tyler could do to make me believe, from the beginning that Pyotr was not going to turn to out to be who he was, or was he?

The story develops normally, as expected and then the end was a let down. It felt as if it was cut short. it didn’t flow and it didn’t fit the personalities of the characters. it felt fake and I felt as if I missed something.

Having said all this. I still thought the writing was very much worth it. I never once felt as if I needed to put the book down that stop reading. As a matter of fact I couldn’t wait to pick it up again. The hardest question is whether or not I would recommend it. I think the answer would be; if you like reading about families and the intricacies within a family unit…. what makes people who they are and how they get that way and if you like reading and feeling taken to the place you’re reading about, I would recommend the book. I would caution you that you will not be reading an award wining book (at least I don’t think you are). You will probably be disappointed at the end, and if you’re not I would love to speak to you about it…..what did I miss?

Ana

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Around the Net – Interesting Links

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Ok, yeah, this sounds a bit sad and not what I normally preach but honestly, isn’t it beautiful?  It came from a book of poems I read this past week.  Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur.

I think my mind has been on my career and on how to move it past the point where I have been for the past few years.  I think it’s important for everyone to assess where they are and where they want to go, periodically, throughout their lives and lately that’s what I have been trying to do.

There is a lot always been said about mentor/mentee relationships.  Everywhere you turn for career advice people are telling to find a mentor.  I think it’s important to have mentors and those types of relationships.  Like anything in life these relationships come and go.  This article from Ivankatrump.com about the 5 Rules for Modern Mentorship was very refreshing.

I’m not job hunting…. Or am I?  I think in a way we are all job-hunting all the time.  I have a great job and I am not looking to leave but isn’t growing in your career, in a way, job hunting?  So, for that reason alone I would recommend that anyone keep an eye on the market and this article is really interesting at pointing out the places where you will find the most information.

I have also joined the Book of the Month Club and got my first book.  Along with joining the club and getting books I have also been perusing their website for additional bookish information.  There are loads of articles about books and readers and authors.  For those of you who have been trying to read more.  This article was written for you.

Ok, not much internet reading😦 but my book reading is going really well this month.  Follow me on Goodreads so you can see all the amazing books I’m reading.

Have a great rest of your weekend.

XoXo

Book of the Month Club

Hello all.  If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw pictures of my Book of the Month box.  I was so excited I had to post it even before I opened it.

So, let’s start from the beginning.  A few months ago I stopped my Vegan Box membership.  Not because I hated it or didn’t think it was good but because I wanted to try something new.  I didn’t want to be that woman who receives a million subscription boxes because I think at some point it stops being special.  It’s like have too many Christmases (yeah, I know…. that may not be a bad thing).  Anyway, as usual I’m totally missing the mark and going in a whole bunch of different directions…… So, I canceled the Vegan Box and for a month or so wanted to subscribe to something else.  Enter The Book of the Month Club….. It could have been the Wine of the Month Club (it might still be at some point).

So, Basically what is The Book of the Month Club?  It’s a monthly subscription box where you receive one book picked by you….. What???? I hear you say.  Yes, so there are five judges (I don’t know why they call them judges) and they each pick a book.  5 judges and 5 genres.  At the begging of the month you go on line and you pick the book that most interests you.  You can also pick an additional 2 books for only $9.99.  I only picked the one Book of the Month.

The book is shipped to you at some point after the first week.  I received mine on the 13th of the month…. I was super excited.  As it usually happens with me I get my packages after I purchase a similar item.  So the books you see next to the box were books I had just bought at Barnes & Noble (Reviews will come).  I started reading Milk and Honey in the car on the way home — Fun Fact, I was not driving:)

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The book is shipped USPS and you get a tracking number.  I was not supposed to receive my book until that Monday…. So it was early, yay Postal Service…. Bonus points to you.

With the book you receive a note from the judge which sort of explains a little about what you are about to read…. Nice touch I thought… you also receive a little something extra and this month we all received a wine glass koozi.  I don’t have much use for that since my my wine doesn’t last that long in the glass to get warm:) …. (Is is serious or is she joking?!?!?!?).

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I’m looking forward to starting this book this weekend.  According to the judge this is a book about a woman who may or may not exist and who goes missing.  Yeah, strange.  It’s touted as an Agatha Christie type mystery so I’m super excited to start it.

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The Man Booker Prize – Reading Challenge

“The prize, which launched in 1969, aims to promote the finest in fiction by rewarding the best novel of the year written in English and published in the United Kingdom.To maintain the consistent excellence of The Man Booker Prize, judges are chosen from a wide range of disciplines, including critics, writers and academics, but also poets, politicians and actors, all with a passion for quality fiction.” From the website.

Because the judges are not aligned to any one particular genre the prize seems to be the most trusted by us, the readers.

In 2005, the Man Booker Prize International was launched.  Until 2015, the prize was awarded every two years to an author who published fiction originally in English or whose work was translated into English. ” In July 2015, the Booker Prize Foundation announced that the Man Booker International Prize was to evolve from 2016 to a prize for fiction in translation and join forces with the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.”  This prize is shared between the author and the translator.

So this, being the first year this change is happening and although I’m a little late to the party, since the International Prize was already announced — Spoiler Alert The Vegetarian by Han Kang, and translated by Deborah Smith, won the prize — I decided to read one of the finalists….. Why?  Well mostly because I want to read more books by Portuguese authors so…. there!!! I will read the translated version but I also want to purchase and try to read the Portuguese copy.

  • A General Theory of Oblivion by Jose Eduardo Agualusa and translated by Daniel Hahn

The Man Booker Prize long list was announced on July 27, 2016.  It’s a pretty long list and since I will not have the time to read all the books I have picked a few.

  • The Sellout
  • Hysteria
  • Hot Milk
  • His Bloody Project

The short list will be announced on September 13th so I’m hoping for two things; 1) that these books make it to the short list and 2) that I have time to read these books before the short list is announced…… Ugh!!!!! Considering I only have about a month left (less than that) I’m not very hopeful but I can give it a try…….

Wish me luck!!

Ana

 

It’s been a hot hot hot week

Dakota and Adele have had a somewhat boring week. it’s been so hot here on the East Coast that the humans have done nothing but stay home.

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It’s so hot.  We’re not too sure the air conditioning is going to be able to keep up with this 104 degree weather.  Adele and Dakota have the right idea….  Perhaps not the most comfortable positions in which to sleep but …. sleep nonetheless.

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This week we were finally able to find a good groomer for these two crazy dogs.  Adele and Dakota had a spa day while we we enjoyed some time with other animals.

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Yeah, it was slow week.  So hot.  we wen to the horse and farm show in Sussex County and I tried to convince the husband to let me buy this beauty….. Nope…. We didn’t but how awesome do we look together?

Reading around the net

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Again, another quote that has nothing to do with what I’m reading or about reading.  However, I like it and I did find it on the internet…. It counts:)

So, this has been again a week from heck at work and my reading has been basically my books….. I finished The End of Average by Todd Rose and gave it five out of five stars.  It’s a non-fiction so admittedly not for everyone but if you like non-fiction and, like me, have always wondered why averages always confused me, this book is for you.  Nope, not about math…. I would NEVER do that to you so don’t worry.

I did have some time to read a few articles on line, but not a lot so ….. good news…. this will be a short post.

Have you ever been a situation when you have to introduce someone and …. OMG I can’t say this person’s name is all that your brain can scream at you?  Gosh knows I’ve been there so many times.  Normally I just say…. I’m so sorry…. I will totally butcher your name so why don’t you just help me …. and then laugh.  I’m thinking the person probably thinks I’m a dope but…. hey!!!!! have you read the article?

Yep…. I’m almost 50 years old but I have a Pokemon problem.  I’m in good company though.  Check out this article.

This new mom’s response to body shammer’s comment is disgusting.  Ladies and gentlemen, if you ever feel the need to comment on someone’s appearance, please think about it.  If it’s not nice and you would not like to hear it yourself….. don’t say it.  It’s really none of your business.

Lastly, as everyone knows, I am always looking for new books.  I have list of books I want to read and to be honest, I may never be able to read them all but I find such pleasure adding more books to that list.  This article from Real Simple lists a bunch a great juicy reads…. .have you read any?  Can you recommend one or two for my list?

That’s it!!!!! that’s all the internet time I had…. Although there was also that time on Snapchat and Instagram……. go find me.  I’m there:)

Book Review – The End of Average by Todd Rose

The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values SamenessThe End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness by Todd Rose
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is for all of us who, at times, have felt let down by being compared to an unattainable average. Perhaps I’m not good at something but that certainly doesn’t make me below average. I enjoyed every aspect of this book and the author makes some really good points. I found it interesting that not only did he make an argument for the end of what we call average (which what exactly is that) but he also makes a great argument for individuality.

Why can’t we celebrate our differences without being made feel like if we don’t measure up to some preconceived idea there is something wrong with us? The author makes the point for this with a story about a baby crawling and how we, in the West, think it’s normal for a baby to crawl. We never stop to think that our normal is someone else abnormal.

One of the things I found refreshing about this book is its lack of “tooting his horn.” Most of the books within this genre always make me feel as if the author is trying to show me how much he/she knows and how important he/she is. There is short passage where this author mentions his credentials but it’s appropriate where located and then that’s it. I don’t particularly care about the author (well, I do but not for my enjoyment of the book). However, I’m super interested in what the research in this area has to teach me.

I couldn’t recommend this book more. I’m not swearing but it may wind up in one of my Most favorite of 2016.

XoXo
Ana
The End of Average How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness by Todd Rose

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Book Review – A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

A Spool of Blue ThreadA Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my first book by Anne Tyler and I can already tell you that this will not be my last. The story is about a family (3 generations). It’s a sweet story of secrets kept and found out, love stories and heart aches, lives and deaths and how everything is connected some how.

Anne Tylor seems to be able to write about each individual in a way that makes you feel completely comfortable with him/her and even find little pieces of yourself in each one. The intricate weave of the three generations kept me interested throughout the book even though nothing much was going on but yet…. there was so much going on at the same time.

I couldn’t wait to finish the book but now that it’s done I can’t wait to get on to the next one.

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More Acts of Kindness – Donation Drive

This is what happens when you rally all your friends around you and come together to donate to a worthy cause. The Battered Women’s Shelter of New Jersey asked for help and all our friends got together to make sure they’re call was answered.  Below are some pictures of the many donations waiting to be picked up by the van.

Excuse my appearance……. It’s not pretty work carrying bags and bags of donations out to the car:) but it’s totally worth it.

It’s not difficult to do.  If you are thinking about getting involved and helping your community… go for it.  Contact an organization in your area and ask what, if anything can you donate.  Tell them you want to get your friends involved and you’ll be the contact person. They will be more than happy to work with you.  Then send your friends an email, post it on FB or any other social media you have and go to town…. well, not really to town, unless you do want to go…. anyway…… get everyone together and donate.  Be a part of the solution!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you to all my friends who donated and, yeah, if you’re wondering….. I’m wearing a sweatshirt because this actually took place in the spring.  I’ve just been so lazy to post lately.  Nevertheless, thanks to all.

XoXo

Ana

Around the Net – Links I like

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Yes, I know, the above has absolutely nothing to do with reading but…. I like it and since this is my blog, I will use it.  I’ve slacked and just like a slacker I just pop in and out of the blog as if nothing happened.  So, it’s my tradition, here are some of the links that got my attention this week.  I really have to start doing this more regularly don’t you think?

I don’t know about you, but durning the during the Summer I have such trouble finding my motivation to do anything.  Basically, all I want to do is sit, enjoy time outside and …. well, that’s it.  I found this article very interesting and the ideas very manageable.  I’m going to give it a try.

Ohhh yeah, another thing I like to do in the Summer — and that could possibly explain my weight gain — but I digress — is eating.  Here are the most scenic restaurants in America. It’s worth it just for the pictures.  I’m putting some of them on my bucket list.

Most of you know how I love to read Ivanka Trump’s blog.  She has some really good articles for and about women and I found this one about the best books (according to Ivanka) of the past decade to be really cool.  Have your read any of them?  Which?

Ok, this is it for now.  Work has been really busy and I haven’t really had time to slack off these past couple of days and …. honestly, I deleted the links from the other weeks so I can’t even cheat here.  I think the above links are great so I’m not too upset about not having more to share with you.

Hope you’re having a great weekend and I’ll try to be more on top of these things and report more often.

XoXo

Ana