Saturday, January 7, 2012

52 Books, 52 Weeks, 1 Year

SO the year has come to an end - I wanted so badly to write as I read .. alas, real life certainly has a way of screwing things up.

Here are a few reviews:

I read this book as a pick for my book club.  Wendy (the woman that chose it) has been begging to read this book, for the year I've been involved with these ladies, and after reading the reviews, we all agreed that we'd read it this time.  And I cannot tell you how glad I am.   This book is powerful, while being based on a true historical event, it weaves just enough fiction to grip you.   I enjoyed it so much, I actually bought the book form, not Kindle form.  (GASP)

I am not one to read what I'm told to read.  Which is why, in some ways, a book club is the worst place for me to be.  Now, that said.  This book was read prior to my joining our book club (Reading Between the Wines .. great name right?) and all the ladies do is refer back to it when discussing other books (not - plot/character-wise, but more .. how it made them feel ... I'll explain further) ... I was told, months ago, to read this book - by many many people.  Including my Aunt.  It's a "love it or hate it sort of book" and - while I'm not a "love it or hate it" sort of reader, I get what they were saying.  This book was everything I'd been looking for to read.  Historical, but not heavy.  Light, but not easy.  Gripping, but not intense.  I borrowed the hard cover version of this book from a dear friend (the very same who got me into the book club) ... and I bet I'm going to have a hard time returning it.  The discussions always revert back to this book because of the depth in the pages.  The character development, and story -- beyond explanation, unless you've read it.  Take the time, read it.  Then we'll talk.  Promise.  BTW Skeeter?  A-Freakin'-Mazing Woman, and well beyond her time.  Well Beyond.

Even if you're not a mom?  You need to read this book.  Amy Wilson is hilarious, and so much like so many of us - it's hard not to love her words.   She explains things in a way, that while laughing, you have a moment of "I am so not alone! I'm NOT the worst mom in the world, this is NORMAL!!  Other Moms Compromise JUST Like I do!"  Chronicling the trials and tribulations of conception, birth, and those first days, weeks, months - even years - being a first time parent ... and then, chronicling them again, being the first time parent of more than one child.

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure (The 25th Anniversary Edition) discovered and abridged by William Goldman

Classic doesn't even begin to start describing this book .... The movie itself is a must see, must own, love story ..The Book?  Puts it to shame.   Westly, Inigo, Buttercup, The 6 Fingered Man, Vizzini, Fezzick .. they're all there - they are all as wonderful in print, as they are on the screen.   Granted, this is an abridged version of the original, focusing on the actual tale, and not the history of Florin, the compliments of "Mrs. Morgenstern" - it is still very worthy of a read.  (S. Morgenstern does not truly exist, so perhaps this version is the only version.  Perhaps)  And really?  "As You Wish" In print?   Just as powerful in print, if not more-so, than on film.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

 Really a Novella, but I believe it counts none-the-less ... A few years ago, there was a movie released - A Tim Burton Production no less.  Tim Burton - is a genius.  I will argue that to the death.  The Man Is A Genius.  The worlds he brings to life, are some of the most amazing worlds I could dare to imagine.  Coraline is about a young girl who moves with her parents to a new "flat" -- where there are 14 doors, and only 13 of them open.  Well, only 13 of them open --- Most of the Time.   This book is rather close to the movie, or vice versa anyway - the movie is much like this book.   It contains pictures, drawings, that are placed at just the right times, and help you see the story play out.   The 14th door opens to an alternate universe.  The only thing constant between the two - is Coraline herself.  Coraline is a dark, twisted tale.  At times supremely creepy, and at others supremely charming.    A story that involves charming and dark characters, twists and turns, and a creep factor that is, by all rights, out of this world.

Julie & Julia:  365 days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen  by Julie Powell

One woman's journey to recreate every dish from Julia Child's classic book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" .. in one year, while blogging, maintaining her marriage and thankless temporary office job - while friends were excelling in their lives, one after the other.   Julie Powell is loveable.  Beyond loveable.  She is Every Woman.  Every woman who has ever seen/heard/read Julia Child and wished, for even one minute, we had the time, passion, interest and expertise (even though she was mostly self taught) to create the dishes she did.  The feed our loved ones the gorgeous, aromatic and tasty creations of Julia Child.  Julie Powell gives herself a challenge.  To prove to everyone, including herself, that she can finish something.  That she can complete a goal, and in the process - finds herself.  Whatever that means to her.  I'm not one to let reviews (obviously, I don't like to be told what to read, and what not to read) dictate to me how I feel about a book - I will say, if profanity and sex-talk offend you?  Don't read this book.  It's not all about cooking.  It's not all about Julia Child,  This Book is about the Journey of One Woman.  And her telling of it.  (The movie - phenomenal)

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese 

I had a hard time with this book.  This one was a Book Club pick as well.  I won't lie (when have I ever) -- I had a really really really hard time getting through this book.  It was long - and arduous - and didn't need to be In My Opinion as long as it was.  560 pages.  Five Hundred & Sixty Pages.  If you can get through the dragging back story (and I say dragging because, really?  1947 Ethopia .. such a sad time, depressing state, horrid illnesses.  560 pages) ... This is the story of twin brothers Marion and Shiva Stone as they discover the truth of their father - their birth, their mother, their lives, and learn what it is to be doctors in the midst of a Revolution.  Love, Lies, Illness, Betrayal, Rebels, War.  It really does have it all. When I finally did finish it, I was glad I didn't give up.  The end .. blew me away.  The things these brothers, and their family (you'll see what their family consists of, and you'll agree) are put through ... the things they survive ... make you realize, even if you think you're strong - the strength of these characters, puts you in your place.  Firmly.  Even if it took me forever to read it, I'm glad I did.  I'm glad I finished.

Anyway, those are the reviews - and links to the books - thus far.   If there are any on the list that you're interested in - and want my take?  Ask away.  I'll tell you... in no uncertain terms, what I think.  If you don't like my reviews .. meh.  It's okay.  I know what I think, I know what I mean, and it's cool.   I enjoyed my challenge, and look forward to 2012.

1 comment:

Jessi said...

LOL. I was just thinking I needed to do my year end review of the books.

Clear off your 52 in 2011. I need to know what you're reading... sometimes I steal ideas from your book list (although, I am starting with Hunger Games this year!)

PS. Sarah's Key was my favorite of 2011 this year!