Book Review – The Grownup By Gillian Flynn

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Do I still say Happy New Year?  Well, I guess there’s no harm in that right?  Happy New Year Everyone.  I haven’t gotten a heck of a lot of reading done but I’m working on it.  Most of you know I joined the Book the Month Club a few months ago and every month I look forward to receiving the ONE book.  This month….. TaDa!!!!! There were two …. WHAT?????? yep, as you can see in the picture above, I got a special gift from the Book of Month Club… Well, I’m not special.  We all got a special gift from them.

The Grownup – a short story by Gillian Flynn.  The author of Gone Girl.  I didn’t read Gone Girl.  Not because I have been living under a rock but because 1) the hype.  It felt as if for a while there everyone was reading it.  You couldn’t enter a subway in New York or a train in New Jersey without seeing that cover peaking at you hiding someone’s face.  Everyone was reading it and I rebelled and decided it was not for me.  I heard enough about it and there was no reason to read it now.  2) thriller and not just any type of thriller, I can handle a thriller but I had heard that this one was a scary thriller.  hmmm I’m a chicken…. haven’t you heard?  So not for me, I thought.  I decided that Gillian Flynn was not for me.

So, after receiving my January monthly box I couldn’t figure out if I wanted to read this very short story. After all, how scary can it be in 62 pages?  hmmmm I opened it…… I read the first few lines and ……What the……. seriously?  right off the bat the book was a punch in the gut.  It was gross…. my sensitive eyes could not believe what they were reading.  Was this a sex novel?  Not my type of genre, I must admit.  I’m a bit prudish for that.  I continued, imagining myself putting it down at around page 4 or 5.

I WAS HOOKED.  Good job Ms. Flynn.  You have converted a chicken.  2017 will find me reading more thrillers.  I read the book in about 1 hour — yes, ok, it was only 62 pages.  But considering I was not even planning on reading it, it says a lot for me and the book.  Yay me!!!!

The book follows a somewhat prostitute turned fortune teller.  Sounds like someone who you can’t like right?  But she’s funny, intelligent even though she lacks formal education, and loves books.  You even come to understand why she chose such careers for herself.  She tells us the story of her mother and why she got to where she is and even though her mother sounded like a winner I found myself sympathizing with her.  An single parent trying to do the best she could…. ok, maybe not!!! She learned the trade of con artistry from her mother and it has served her well.  She’s even gotten better at it.

The story takes a few twists and turns and we find ourselves in a mansion with an amazing library –yes I’m super jealous of that library – Our protagonist has somehow coned this family into letting her cleanse the house…. or did she?

The book was great.  I, of course, don’t have many other like genres to compare it to, but I had to finish it in one sitting.  The writing was super clear.  It was as if I was sitting in the library or in the kitchen with the characters.  There were points in the novel where I had so many goose bumps on my body that it hurt.  I was super hypersensitive to what was happening and THAT my friends is good thriller stuff.  I don’t like that feeling but I couldn’t stop reading almost just so I could put a stop to it.

I never thought I would recommend a scary thriller to anyone.  But, never say never right?  And it is only 62 pages…. go for it.

I gave this book 4 stars.  Why four you might ask?  Well because there were a few twists and turns that I just didn’t see the reason for and 4 because I don’t like being scared …. no seriously …. because the ending was really bad.  It was as if Gillian Flynn had ran out of words.  It felt incomplete ….

Hope you read it and if you do, let me know what you think.

Ana

Book Review – Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

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“Last night I dreamed I went to Menderley again.” The first sentence of the book, although very simple, it is as catchy as “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

I read a lot of reviews about Rebecca and Daphne Du Maurier.  Unlike many bibliophiles I am not opposed to reading reviews and maybe even some spoilers before I open a book.  Sometimes it’s almost a challenge to see if I agree with the reviewer or not.  Perhaps that’s what made me pick up Rebecca.

The story follows a young woman who is a companion for an older bored and snobbish older lady, and while on vacation in the South of France meets a wealthy gentleman 40 years her senior.  We are at that point introduced to the reason why Mr. De Winter, the older gentleman is in the South of France.  It appears that his wife, Rebecca, has suffered a tragic death.  After getting to know each other our protagonist and Mr. De Winter become romantically involved and he ultimately asks her to marry him.  The proposal leaves the reader wondering about the true feelings of Mr. De Winter, since it was a not a romantic proposal at all.

After a short honey moon the newly married couple goes to Mr. De Winter’s home, Manderley, where the story starts picking up speed.  We are at this point introduced to the house keeper, Mrs. Denvers, and a host of other characters, including Mr. De Wiinter’s sister and brother in law as well the grandmother.  Each character is developed well and, I as the reader, felt as if I could touch and feel them and have conversations with them.

Throughout the story Manderley comes alive.  What a beautiful house surrounded by woods and a garden on one side and the ocean on the other side.  We can feel the coldness of the stone and we can feel the warmth of the fires in each of the fire place.  The writing is impeccable and draws the reader in effortlessly.

I really enjoyed meeting each of the characters, even the ones I disliked the most.  Mrs. Danver’s, although mean and rude,  I could not help throughout the book to like her.  She was wearing her emotions on her sleeves and nothing less was expected.  Then there was Rebecca’s second cousin whom we meet halfway through the reading and I really did not like.  the writing of this character was so on point that I could even smell the alcohol and tobacco on his clothes when I was faced with him on a page.  Although, the reason for his behavior was as excusable as Mrs. Danver’s I could not bring myself to root for this character and wanted him to just go away.

Through out the narrative, although Rebecca was dead I learned to like her.  She was described as beautiful by everyone, she appeared to be extremely organized and neat and very much into making a house a home.  Towards the end we learn new things about Rebecca and still, did not make me hate her.  I’m not sure if that was the purpose.  The new Mrs. De Winter on the other hand…. made me crazy sometimes.  She was described as a shy and simple woman, which is fine.  However, at times I felt as if her shyness and simplicity was a bit over played.  I found myself almost yelling at her to “suck it up.”  It was apparent that Mrs. Danvers was not her fan, yet, and even though she was aware of that, she kept bowing down to Mrs. Danvers.  I wanted rip my hair out.  As the book progressed her demeanor became a bit more tolerable.  Especially after a certain even where it appears was the tipping point for her.

This was my first Du Maurier book and I’m sure it won’t be the last.  Although I hear that this was the best one.

I give this book 4.5 stars and not 5 only because of the main character’s faults.  As I said, the writing was amazing but I am not sure that Du Maurier accomplished what she set out to be with this character.  There were also other characters that were introduced and never fully developed  where perhaps they should have been either better developed or omitted all together.

I would recommend the book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery and even romance although I don’t think I would classify the book as a romance at all.

Ana

Book Review – Covering Kenji Yoshino

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Publisher:  Random House
Year Published 2006

Although I enjoyed the book. I have a few problems with it.  The book is very well written, perhaps one of the better written books I have read this year.  However, I can’t help but view “covering” as something we all do because we all need to live in society.  Another form of “Survival of the fittest.”

I couldn’t help but feel as if we keep looking for more reasons to place labels on ourselves. Why is it necessary to have a label?  Just because I choose to try to get rid of my accent doesn’t mean I feel as if I’m being discriminated against.  It can be and most likely the reason is that I hate my accent….. period.  Why is that wrong?  And why should I be made feel as if I cannot do that without questioning it or being questioned.

I don’t mean to say that perhaps in the early days of our country, immigrants felt the need to mask their accents, their way of living and any other foreign aspects of their beings.  However, I can say with 100% certainty that the only time I ever felt discriminated against or made fun of was actually by kids from my own country when I first arrived in the United States.  Perhaps due to their own insecurities.

There is a saying “when in Rome do as the Romans do” and we should keep that in mind.  The fact that we behave like the majority of the people is not to hide who we truly are but because humans are social creatures and that’s what social creatures do….. they conform so they can live peacefully.

Although I do not live in the shoes of the author and I do not know what it is to be a gay man in his world, it cannot be any different than any other man who is gay and made it through life without winning about it.  I found myself angry with the author at times and my book wound up full of little notes and tabs ……. Very stressful reading for me.

I have to say that I heard the author speak about the book at had the same feeling during the speech. I wanted to get up and put a stop to the conversation but…. the rest of the room seemed interested so …… I behaved as the rest of the room and kept quiet because that was the polite thing to do….

The book is well written.  The author is very personable and those were reasons enough for me to give the book 3 stars.

Book Review – Talking as Fast as I can by Lauren Graham

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Publisher:  Balentine Books
Medium:  Audio (Audible)
Date Published: November 29, 2016
Rating:  4.5 out of 5 Stars

For those of you who are nutty about the Gilmore Girls this is going to be such an awesome treat.  I put myself on the waiting list as soon as I heard it was being published.  I’m really glad I go the audio book instead of the print, because Lauren Graham is the narrator and the story takes a life of its own as she reads it in the way only she can …. that fast talking way that her and Rori are so famous for.  However, I am also going to get the book in print so I can re-read it and because I want to look at the pictures she mentioned throughout the book.

So, this book is a collection of essays by Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) spanning from dating, use of social media, being an actress, having a job and in general being a human being with all our dents and bruises as well as all the smooth parts :).

As you can imagine, this book is a fun read and intertwined there are small things you can take with you as learning experiences.  I particularly enjoyed hearing about how social media and our devices in general have taken over our lives and how in the grand scheme of things, why are we so afraid to miss out on something?  Also, as a New Yorker, I related to her lesson on take life slower, another did-bit of advice from Old Lady (I can’t remember her name whaaa!!).

There were times throughout the book where I laughed out loud (LOL) literally… I’m glad to be in New York… people laughing out loud to themselves is really normal around here.  There were also times when I felt as if I could cry along with Lauren (Lorelai).  Particularly during her discussion about Richard, Lorelai’s father, whom passed away last year.  I spoil this for you but there is one particular point when she’s writing about her Emily (Lorelai’s mom) and discussing Richard …. that was a tough moment.

I enjoyed every minute of this book and am glad I commuted to the office a few days so I was able to really relax on the train and listen to it.

I gave it 4.5 stars only because I think the book speaks mostly to fans and not to everyone.  I think if you’re a fan of the show you are going to love the book but if you aren’t or you haven’t followed the show, some of the references will mean nothing to you and the dynamics of the book will be lost on you.

Now, off to the bookstore to get the print copy 🙂

XoXo

Top 3 Christmas/Snowy Books

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I don’t think any of us can talk about a list of top Christmas books or Winter books without mentioning the biggest classic of them all…. A Christmas Carol, both the book and the movie will always be at the top of my Winter Book lists.

The covers range from whimsical to scary

When in college I took a Children’s Literature class.  I mostly took that class so I could fulfill my English requirement and also because it was either that or Shakespear and as a senior the prospect of Shakespear was a little scary to me so ….. yeah.  I was trying to take the easy way out.

I could not have chose a better class for me.  I enjoyed every minute of the class but the one book I will NEVER forget is the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis.  A very unassuming book but definitely one of my top 3 for a Wintery read.

I cannot remember any of the other books we read that semester but I will never forget this one.

Lastely, it’s a book I am currently reading.  If you follow me on Good Reads you will know that I have just recently discovered Daphne Du Maurier and am reading Rebecca for the first time….. Where have I been?

Looking at the first cover of this book I would say it looks more like an October read.  But, perhaps because I’m reading it now, I will forever think of this book as a Christmas/Winter read.

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the above is my copy.

So these are my top three books for the Winter season.  What do you read in the Winter.  What books bring up memories of relaxed evening on the most comfy chair and a cup of tea or hot chocolate.  Maybe in your PJs —– wait is that just me?

 

XoXo

Around the Net – Interesting Articles

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I haven’t done much reading these past couple of weeks.  Why?  Well, the holidays have a way of getting in the way.  We’ve had family staying with us and in an attempt to not be rude I tend to watch more television than ever.  I do manage to sneak away for a bit at night when I either watch my shows (I’ve been watching The Crown and rewatching Downton Abbey) but more often than not we’re either hanging out chatting in the kitchen or joining other family members going out to dinner.

Having said all that, thank God for my iPhone when I can, while enjoying time with the family, still check out some articles on the inter webs :).

Did you see these?  I’m not sure how to feel about them.

Speaking of the inter webs.  I recently gave up Facebook.  For no other reason than the fact that there were things being posted that made me really upset or angry and honestly I don’t believe that the internet, something I choose to do, should make me mad.  I enjoyed going on there to see my family in Portugal but, even they aren’t posting that much and rely on seeing pictures of me as an excuse to not dial the phone…… So I gave up.  I do use twitter.  I hated twitter at first.  It just felt as if there was no engagement.  No one really talks to you on there.  If feels like we are talking to ourselves…. at least that’s how it made me feel.  Now…… I like it.  I still feel as if I’m talking to myself but I enjoy my own company (insert laugh here).

I would imagine many people have made the same observations.  I have even read some articles predicting the demise of twitter because of the same reasons.  This article reminded me of that.  Are we raising a generation that requires constant praise.  Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and felt that you NEEDED to click that heart button?  What if they know you saw the picture and didn’t like it?  Would they be mad at you?  Or what about, like the article in this article that has taken down pictures because they didn’t get many likes….. we are addicted to likes.

I like this time of year for the food and the family.  However, this time of year is also the time when we are all struggling with end of year reviews and trying to remember how to put into words the crazy amount of work we put in throughout the year.  I tend to read a lot of work related articles … i.e. how to manage, how to be managed, how to manage up, office politics; we all hate them but we all must learn to play them, how to read a room and how to get promoted (we all want this)

Gilmore Girls – A Bookish Challenge

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Warner Bros. Television

The Gilmore Girls….. Like Friends and Sex In the City, this was on my list of “make no plans you have to be in front of the television.”  So, in anticipation of the Netflix Reboot in just a few days  I thought that we could start a brand new challenge .  Perhaps involve our children  — well, I don’t have any, children that is, but maybe you do, and this is a good way to introduce them to the love of books.

Throughout the seven (were there really only seven) there were 339 books mentioned.  Presumably Rory read each and every one of them.  Why can’t we?  Let’s take a few books per month…..We don’t have to read them all but we can do that through 2017 can’t we?  let’s see how many we can get through……..

1. 1984 by George Orwell
2. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
3. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
4. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
5. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
6. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
8. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
9. The Archidamian War by Donald Kagan
10. The Art of Fiction by Henry James
11. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
12. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
13. Atonement by Ian McEwan
14. Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
15. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
16. Babe by Dick King-Smith
17. Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi
18. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
19. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
20. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
21. Beloved by Toni Morrison
22. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney
23. The Bhagava Gita
24. The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy
25. Bitch in Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel
26. A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy
27. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
28. Brick Lane by Monica Ali
29. Bridgadoon by Alan Jay Lerner
30. Candide by Voltaire
31. The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
32. Carrie by Stephen King
33. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
34. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
35. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
36. The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman
37. Christine by Stephen King
38. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
39. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
40. The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
41. The Collected Stories by Eudora Welty
42. A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
43. Complete Novels by Dawn Powell
44. The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton
45. Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker
46. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
47. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
48. Cousin Bette by Honore de Balzac
49. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
50. The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
51. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
52. Cujo by Stephen King
53. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
54. Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
55. David and Lisa by Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D
56. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
57. The Da Vinci -Code by Dan Brown
58. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
59. Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
60. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
61. Deenie by Judy Blume
62. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
63. The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx
64. The Divine Comedy by Dante
65. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
66. Don Quixote by Cervantes
67. Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhrv
68. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
69. Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
70. Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook
71. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
72. Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn
73. Eloise by Kay Thompson
74. Emily the Strange by Roger Reger
75. Emma by Jane Austen
76. Empire Falls by Richard Russo
77. Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
78. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
79. Ethics by Spinoza
80. Europe through the Back Door, 2003 by Rick Steves
81. Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
82. Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
83. Extravagance by Gary Krist
84. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
85. Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore
86. The Fall of the Athenian Empire by Donald Kagan
87. Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser
88. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
89. The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
90. Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein
91. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
92. Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
93. Fletch by Gregory McDonald
94. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
95. The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
96. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
97. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
98. Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
99. Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
100. Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
101. Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
102. George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg
103. Gidget by Fredrick Kohner
104. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
105. The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
106. The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo
107. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
108. Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky
109. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
110. The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford
111. The Gospel According to Judy Bloom
112. The Graduate by Charles Webb
113. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
114. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
115. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
116. The Group by Mary McCarthy
117. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
118. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
119. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
120. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
121. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
122. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
123. Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare
124. Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare
125. Henry V by William Shakespeare
126. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
127. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
128. Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris
129. The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton
130. House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
131. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
132. How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer
133. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
134. How the Light Gets In by M. J. Hyland
135. Howl by Allen Ginsberg
136. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
137. The Iliad by Homer
138. I’m With the Band by Pamela des Barres
139. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
140. Inferno by Dante
141. Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
142. Iron Weed by William J. Kennedy
143. It Takes a Village by Hillary Rodham Clinton
144. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
145. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
146. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
147. The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain
148. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
149. Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito
150. The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
151. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
152. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
153. Lady Chatterleys’ Lover by D. H. Lawrence
154. The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
155. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
156. The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield
157. Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
158. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
159. Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
160. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
161. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
162. The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway
163. The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
164. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
165. Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
166. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
167. The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
168. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
169. The Love Story by Erich Segal
170. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
171. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
172. The Manticore by Robertson Davies
173. Marathon Man by William Goldman
174. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
175. Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir
176. Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman
177. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
178. The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer
179. Mencken’s Chrestomathy by H. R. Mencken
180. The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
181. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
182. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
183. The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
184. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
185. The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion by Jim Irvin
186. Moliere: A Biography by Hobart Chatfield Taylor
187. A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman
188. Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret
189. A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister by Julie Mars
190. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
191. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
192. Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
193. My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and It’s Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh
194. My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken
195. My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest
196. Myra Waldo’s Travel and Motoring Guide to Europe, 1978 by Myra Waldo
197. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
198. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
199. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
200. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
201. The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
202. Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature by Jan Lars Jensen
203. New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson
204. The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay
205. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
206. Night by Elie Wiesel
207. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
208. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism by William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan
209. Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on Toast/A Time to be Born by Dawn Powell
210. Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski
211. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
212. Old School by Tobias Wolff
213. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
214. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
215. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
216. The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan
217. Oracle Night by Paul Auster
218. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
219. Othello by Shakespeare
220. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
221. The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
222. Out of Africa by Isac Dineson
223. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
224. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
225. The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition by Donald Kagan
226. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
227. Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
228. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
229. Pigs at the Trough by Arianna Huffington
230. Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
231. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
232. The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
233. The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
234. The Portable Nietzche by Fredrich Nietzche
235. The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill by Ron Suskind
236. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
237. Property by Valerie Martin
238. Pushkin: A Biography by T. J. Binyon
239. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
240. Quattrocento by James Mckean
241. A Quiet Storm by Rachel Howzell Hall
242. Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers
243. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
244. The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
245. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
246. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
247. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
248. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
249. Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman
250. The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien
251. R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
252. Rita Hayworth by Stephen King
253. Robert’s Rules of Order by Henry Robert
254. Roman Holiday by Edith Wharton
255. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
256. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
257. A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
258. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
259. The Rough Guide to Europe, 2003 Edition
260. Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi
261. Sanctuary by William Faulkner
262. Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
263. Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller by Henry James
264. The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum
265. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
266. Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
267. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
268. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
269. Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman
270. Selected Hotels of Europe
271. Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 by Dawn Powell
272. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
273. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
274. Several Biographies of Winston Churchill
275. Sexus by Henry Miller
276. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
277. Shane by Jack Shaefer
278. The Shining by Stephen King
279. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
280. S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton
281. Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut
282. Small Island by Andrea Levy
283. Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
284. Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers
285. Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World by Barrington Moore
286. The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht
287. Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos
288. The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker
289. Songbook by Nick Hornby
290. The Sonnets by William Shakespeare
291. Sonnets from the Portuegese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
292. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
293. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
294. Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
295. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
296. The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
297. A Streetcar Named Desiree by Tennessee Williams
298. Stuart Little by E. B. White
299. Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
300. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
301. Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett
302. Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber
303. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
304. Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
305. Term of Endearment by Larry McMurtry
306. Time and Again by Jack Finney
307. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
308. To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
309. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
310. The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare
311. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
312. The Trial by Franz Kafka
313. The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
314. Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett
315. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
316. Ulysses by James Joyce
317. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 by Sylvia Plath
318. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
319. Unless by Carol Shields
320. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
321. The Vanishing Newspaper by Philip Meyers
322. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
323. Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) by Joe Harvard
324. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
325. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
326. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
327. Walt Disney’s Bambi by Felix Salten
328. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
329. We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews edited by Daniel Sinker
330. What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 by Richard Nelson Bolles
331. What Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell
332. When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
333. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson
334. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
335. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
336. The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
337. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
338. The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
339. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Book Review – The Astors

The AstorsThe Astors by Virginia Cowles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am fascinated by the lives of the great aristocrats of early America. This book met all the goals it set out achieve. It went through the lives of the Astor family, discussed the trials and tribulations of the Astor and the Waldorf’s and it covered all the important points. Where I found it lacking was the illustrations and in a certain way it was very dry. Sort of listening to a monotone speaker. I didn’t get any sort of feeling from the author. I would have given it 3.5 stars as I do believe the. Ok delivered on the promise to guide the reader through the times and lives of this very interesting family.

I’d recommend it to anyone who is fascinated by this family and the architecture associated with them.

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Book Review – Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Rules of CivilityRules of Civility by Amor Towles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am usually not a fan of a book that starts at the end, but this one works. We meet Ms. Katey Kontent (yah) as she is admiring photographs at a gallery with her husband. This is the story of two friends Katey and Evie. This is also the story of a City, New York City. The choices we make and the roads we choose to take all lead us somewhere and we all have to live with those choices. What we do to stay alive. Not just in the physical sense of the word but what we do to stay alive in the metaphorical sense as well. Do we choose wealth over happiness? How we judge wealth and happiness?

At first I couldn’t help but feel as if Katey was an observer. At times it was as if she was allowing Evie to make all the decisions. However, the more I read and got to know both women the more I realized that, although it appeared as if Evie was in control, it was Katie who all along had control of the situation. She made the decisions whereas Evie although attempting to look in control allowed her circumstances to guide her decisions.

Amor Towles’ writing is hypnotic, poetic and raw. I found myself being transported to New York in 1938, and wondering what choices I would have made. Would I have been willing to put it all on the line and walk away would I have taken the easy and more comfortable road? It’s true that two roads diverge in a woods …… and whichever one you decide to take makes all the difference.

I had great time reading this book and it’s somewhat surprising to see how long it took me to read it but I think I know why. Finishing the book would have meant that I would have had to leave this characters in the past and move on….. Perhaps I was not ready for that. Now I am….. this could be telling as to what road I would have taken given enough time to assess my situation.

Five stars without hesitation.

Ana

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Book Review – The Sellout by Paul Beatty

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The Sellout by Paul Beatty

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Yep… two stars. I think that’s being generous. I thought about the prospect of giving it just one star but I know the author must have really put some effort into at least finishing the book so that deserves something.

I couldn’t help but feel as if the author was talking down to me the entire time. I understand satire and comedy but I do not like to be put down. It’s obvious the color of my skin and perhaps I am not able to understand what it’s like to be a different color, heck I can’t even understand what it’s like be a different sex. I didn’t think this book was funny, as a matter of fact I felt it was racist and in a dangerous way. It felt argumentative and it felt like it was generalizing the way everyone felt about each other. How blacks feel about whites and how whites feel about blacks.

Lastly, I will be the first one to admit that I do not have a large vocabulary. First English is not my first language and second …. well I just don’t have a large vocabulary so I couldn’t help but feel stupid while when I so often I had to stop reading to look up some of the words used. I get it…. the author is highly educated but does it have to be so much in my face? If the reader cannot understand what the author is trying to say, then in my mind it’s a bad book.

All I have to say. I’ll just add that I’m not really sure how this book won the Man Booker Prize but perhaps race had a part to play.

Thanks for reading this rant….. I hate that it sounds that way.

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