”I miss myself.”
“I miss you, too, Ali, so much.”
“I never planned to get like this.”
A co-worker lent this book to me. Most of the books she reads tend to be bestsellers, Oprah recommended, etc. She said this one had an impact on her and we briefly discussed the fears we both had of developing Alzheimer’s disease. I thought it was very interesting that two people, both with degrees and proud of our intelligence, would fear losing that intelligence beyond just about anything else. And I do. It has always been a worry of mine, especially as life goes on and I find myself wondering if I am as smart as I was once. Am I losing my intelligence? Am I letting it go to waste? Would I lose who I am if I lost my mind?
This book is the story of a woman still in her prime who discovers her faulty memory is not due to stress or age, but is rather the slowly being degraded by a harrowing disease. What seems like the simple act of forgetting becomes the scary reality of uncertainty. The book is told from Alice’s point of view, allowing you to really understand the fear, confusion, and perhaps, acceptance of early-onset Alzheimer’s. It is a hard book to read and yet, so hard to put down. I laughed and I cried, often. I agree with the protagonist’s view that it would be better to have cancer rather than Alzheimer’s. At least you have something that people can see effects of, that you can fight, and that doesn’t have a stigma behind it anymore.
It is a very moving story and I highly recommend it. It feels terrifyingly real, but it is also a beautiful depiction. Read it, but be prepared to never forget it.
But what if, either by choice or by reluctant necessity, you end up not participating in this comforting cycle of family and continuity? What if you step out? Where do you sit at the reunion? How do you mark time’s passage without the fear that you’ve just frittered away your time on earth without being relevant? You’ll need to find another purpose, another measure by which to judge whether or not you have been a successful human being. I love children, but what if I don’t have any? What kind of person does that make me?
Another book lent to me by a good friend. Sometimes you put yourself out there and the universe provides. And sure enough – I have been having some crises of faith lately – not the big why are we here type questions, but more – are the decisions I made when I was younger the right ones? I made a lot of decisions when I was in high school and as a young adult that have had great impact on my life. They are a big part of who I am today. So the questions have often been – am I happy with myself? Am I who I want to be? Is this really where I saw myself being? Like the quote above, did I choose right by choosing not to have children?
The book didn’t answer my questions, but it reminded me of what I need to do. How to live my life to the best of its ability requires me to be honest with myself. It requires me to decide if this decision is something I will regret down the road or will it be a soft memory of what could have been, followed by a vivid reminder of what has been.
It reminded me that my belief of spirituality is not that far from others – that I am not wrong in exploring and testing and taking the best from each to create what works for me.
It is a story of one woman’s self-discovery at its core. But it is surrounded by the mysteries of the universe, the possibility of coincidence versus fate, the rapture of experiencing pleasure, the humbling rituals of devotion, and the kindness of strangers. It reminds you of the hope that surrounds each of us and asks you to open yourself up to the wonders around.
Hopefully, over the years of being best friends, Lee would learn the truth about music: that it was the third rail of life. You grabbed it to shock yourself out of the dull drag of hours, to feel something, to burn with all the emotions you didn’t get to experience in the ordinary run of school and TV and loading the dishwasher after dinner.
My good friend from the bookstore brought me to this book and asked if the author looked familiar. I looked at the picture and there was no mistaking the family resemblance – I said it looked like a young Stephen King. Joe Hill is, in fact, Stephen King’s son. When I asked if he was better at endings than his dad, my friend assured me he was and then suggested I read the first chapter. I started to flip to the page when she walked away. A couple of moments later, I was laughing – amazed at the succinct, attention-grabbing chapter. I was hooked.
It is hard to describe this book. My most constant description was it is interesting and disturbing all at the same time. No matter how odd it gets, you are drawn to keep reading. It’s hard to put down, while at the same time, you just want to walk away to absorb what you read.
And his ending is spot on. It answers the questions without making it the big Good versus Evil thing his father has become known for.
Do I recommend it? Heartily. It is a very engaging and interesting story. Be prepared though. There will be moments when you will put the book down because it just seems like there is too much. But you won’t put it down for long. You will want to pick it up to find out what is going to happen next. You will want the explanations. You will want to know how it ends.
"Its possible that my high self-esteem is bad for my health."
I have been far to busy reading lately to actually write a review, but I wanted to put a head's up about this book, because it had me laughing, nodding my head in agreement, and empathizing so much. Such a Pretty Fat is the personal story of the author as she decides to go on a weight loss journey. Her wit is sarcastic. Her need for control balanced by a desire to enjoy life, which includes food. She makes an interesting point how sometimes a high self-esteem can blind you from the reality that you are over-weight.
The book chronicles her entry into weight loss, including Atkins, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, and a personal trainer. She does lose some weight, which was the point of the story, but more, she learns another side of herself. I like stories about self-exploration. And when I can relate, it makes the tale just that much richer. I have never done Atkins as I believe it is far to hard on the body and my kidneys don't need that kind of stress. She finds out the diet isn't sustainable. I've thought about Jenny Craig (because goodness knows, if I could afford a personal chef, I am sure I would lose weight), but I agree with her findings, you get bored after awhile. I have never done Weight Watchers for the same reason she was leary to try - because of those darn meetings. I am not interested in group therapy. I certainly could not stand a group who rebels against cake at work like she depicts in the book.
If you are looking for a humorous look at weight loss, this just may be a book to read. I know I am now interested in reading her previous books.
“I will love you always. When this red hair is white, I will still love you. When the smooth softness of youth is replaced by the delicate softness of age, I will still want to touch your skin. When your face is full of the lines of every smile you have ever smiled, of every surprise I have seen flash through your eyes, when every tear you have ever cried has left its mark upon your face, I will treasure you all the more, because I was there to see it all. I will share your life with you, Meredith, and I will love you until the last breath leaves your body or mine.”
I swear my heart paused for just a moment as I read this. I felt both the passion in the paragraph and the love and a tiny part of me was envious because I want someone to love me in that way. This book was probably the most emotional of the Merry books lately. It deals a lot more with the relationships between Merry and her men. And though it answers the burning question we have all had reading the book – will she get pregnant or not and by whom, you leave the book feeling like there is more to come. Of course, this feeling could also be from Laurell vehemently stating on her blog that there are at least 2 more books for the Merry series.
The neon hammer and sickle buzzed and flickered into life over thenight club og the Lan Xnag Hotel. The sun had plummeted mauvely into Thailandd across the mekhong River, and the hotel waitresses were lighting the little lamps that turned the simple sky-blue room into a mysterious nighttime cavern.
I was loaned this book by a good friend of mine and that day, I only had time to read this first paragraph. The sun had plummeted mauvely… that phrase stuck with me for the rest of the week until I had a chance to start reading the book and it stayed with me through to the end. I love the imagery in that phrase – you can sense the sunset, not just see, but hear, feel, even smell the sunset. I mean really, what impression do you get from plummetedmauvely? It is just so magnetic. Even now, I love how it rolls off my tongue.
This is a wonderful book about a seventy-two year old coronor based in Laos in 1977. The story is a balance between science and spiritual in the world of solving crimes. And it is a good book. Though I did find it easy to put off to the side for sometimes days at a time, when I did pick it up, it read almost quickly and certainly, interestingly. The characters are well-developed and the setting is both modern enough to relate to and yet, old world enough to maintain that allure of mystery. The main character, Dr. Siri Paiboun, is a man who has been blessed with skills and abilities that sometimes baffle him. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge, but his challenges are unusual and sometimes new to him. Add to that a beleagured bureaucratic system that funtions more as a hinderance than as help and friends who are charming and not without their own beliefs and flaws and you have the recipe for an interesting series that can only grow in depth.
Though this appears to be the second or third novel of the series, I was able to follow the story line quite easily and am interested in the reading the first book(s) more for the development of Dr. Siri, than because of a need to understand the back story. It looks to be an interesting add to my library.
My holidays were this past week, so not only was I able to finish a book I was in the middle of (more on that one later), but I also read four other books. Here is my short review on each in the order I read them.
Dark Demon – Christine Feehan
Next in the series for the Carpathian novels, Dark Demon not only delves into who is the soulmate of Vikirnoff, but it also develops further the story of what is happening to the vampires of the world.
Vikirnoff is on his last legs of being a worthy, honorable Carpathian. The darkness within him is growing and the line is growing more and more blurry between what is right and what is evil. He worries that soon he will cross over and he will not be able to tell the difference in his endless existence. We met Virkinoff is earlier novels and worry grew of what was going to happen to him. Luckily, there is someone for him – someone who can surprise him - and rival him.
Through Natalya, we learn of what has been developing within the vampire legions and why they are acting as they are. We learn of a far deeper plot that we could have imagined and how everything is even more interconnected. While knowledge is power, by the end of the novel, one cannot help but wonder – what haven’t we learned yet? What is to come? What will be the key to the survival of the Carpathians?
The next novel Dark Celebration promises more details into the survival of the Carpathians. I eagerly await the novel.
Touch of Evil – C.T.Admas & Cathy Clamp
This is a new series from the authors of Hunter’s Moon and Moon’s Web. What an interesting take on vampires. No longer is the vampire the sexy, dark stranger who rescues one from the despair of human existence. In Touch of Evil, vampires are a parasite that works similar to the borg in Star Trek. Vampires attach to humans through the bite by another parasite that swims through the blood stream to the spinal cord where they bond, thereby creating a Host. By using mind control through the hive connection, they force people to bite other people to feed and to grow the population. Of course there are complications to this symbiotic relationship – as the parasite grows, there is less and less room in the skull to hold both it and the human’s brain, so the host tends to die rather quickly. Of course, from the queen’s perspective, workers come and workers go.
What if there were people who were psychically powerful enough to avoid the parasite’s mind control and physically strong enough to eliminate infected humans? What would these people do if those around them were not able to fight for themselves? Would they stand up and fight or live in ignorant bliss? What happens if those who don’t want to be heroes have no choice?
Give the novel a try. It will both entrance and surprise you with its fresh take on the supernatural genre.
Undead and Unreturnable – MaryJanice Davidson
Davidson is an author extraordinaire. Though, for me, her books only take about a day to read (a few hours), they are funny, pertinent and so enjoyable. This is the fourth book in the series and I was so miffed when I discovered a hardcover book with the SciFi book club that had 4 stories in it and I only owned 3. It took 2 months more before I finally found the book in paperback, but I was not sorry for the wait. I can only assume that since the fifth book Undead and Unpopular is out in hardcover, this one probably came out in hardcover first as well. Oh well, guess I will have to wait for the fifth.
Betsy is a dream as the vampire queen and the reader totally understands her responses to the situations she ends up in. And goodness knows, deep down in my heart, I would love her shoe collection.
This is how my tombstone read:
Elizabeth Anne Taylor
April 25, 1974 – April 25, 2004
Our sweetheart, only resting
…”I think standing in front of my own grave is the last place I want to be on the seventeenth day of December, is what I think.”
In this tale, Betsy babysits her new colicky half-brother, deals with demanding ghosts, and tries to track down a dangerous serial killer. Hey, life is never boring for the Queen of Vampires.
Biting wit and snappy dialogue with a comedic bent set Davidson apart from most other vampire stories. With vampires being a favored subject of mine, I can honestly say I was delighted by this series and I continue to snap up each title when it comes out.
Dead and Loving it – MaryJanice Davidson
4 stories by Davidson – definitely a great day to be a reader. The stories intermix the Undead series and the Wyndham werewolves series. I love that the series can work together as storylines. Davidson is a wonderful romp into something with a tad of romance, a little sex, just a bit of violence, a great plot and some supernatural elements.
While her stories are great on their own, I would suggest reading the entire series in order. The tales are even funnier with some background knowledge.
The undead series:
1. Undead and Unwed
2. Undead and Unemployed
3. Undead and Unappreciated
4 . Undead and Unreturnable
1. Derik’s Bane
Dead and Loving it – 4 stories to connect them all
This is the first book in Jim Butcher’s new series The Codex Alera. I was first introduced to Butcher off of a friend’s blog. I was blog surfing and going through various friends of friend’s blogs when I came across Butcher’s blog. It is not a long blog and he hasn’t updated it since Feb 2005, but then again, he has been quite busy being a famous author. It is a fascinating blog though in that he discusses various aspects of writing, including characters and story, fundamental basics. I mentioned the blog to my friend in passing and she mentioned that she knew him and told me a little about his books. I was curious and after a long time, I finally tracked down the first 3 books of the Dresden series. I refused to buy them, unless I could get them in order. And I figured 3 would give me a good introduction to his writing.
I devoured the first two books and I stopped before reading the 3 knowing that I did not have the rest. It took me a few months before I finally tracked down books 4 through 6, at which point I just read the rest. When I purchased the final 3, I noticed that he had released a new book in hardcover and that it was a new series. Now, I tend to collect my series in a certain book type. If the first book I bought was hardcover, then the entire series needs to be hardcover. Same goes if the first book was paperback. Since I had collected all of the Dresden series in paperback, I wanted to collect the new series in paperback as well. So I waited. I waited for the book to come in paperback.
I ended up finding it in the library in paperback, and I still haven’t seen it in the bookstores in paperback, only in hardcover. It took me a bit to get into, but I think that is solely because it’s a library book and so I had to read it in a set time and couldn’t let it sit on my shelf, waiting for that perfect moment to start. I tend to read books in a sort of pattern, sometimes sticking with a topic or style for several books in a row, sometimes, bouncing between styles, between fiction and nonfiction. But I rarely read a book unless I am in the mood to read that style. I wasn’t in the mood for a fantasy book at the time, so while it is wonderfully written, it just took me a bit to nudge my interest in the style more. But when I did, it was a hard book to put down. I honestly was debating whether I could sneak more time at work to read it and hope nobody noticed.
The course of history is determined not by battles, by sieges, or usurpations, but by the actions of the individual. The strongest city, the largest army is, at it most basic level, a collection of individuals. Their decisions, their passions, their foolishness, and their dreams shape the years to come. If there is any lesson to be learned from history, it is that all too often the fate of armies, of cities, of entire realms rests upon the actions of one person. In that dire moment of uncertainty, that person’s decision, good or bad, right or wrong, big or small, can unwittingly change the world.
The first paragraph caught me. It just sounds epic. It was, and is, like I can see a part in the clouds and the first of the world is about to be revealed. And curiosity has captured my imagination. I want to see more, but it comes slowly, bit by bit. Just a hint here, a tidbit there. Then you turn the page, and the world comes in to startling clarity.
But history can be quite the slattern. One never knows who that person is, where he might be, or what decision he might make.
The story is not about one person, and yet there are stories within stories focusing on one person, but it is the interactions that capture you. How they deal with the situations thrown at them, how they feel when no one is looking. The Dresden books are for the most part based on one person and how he interacts with those around him. Furies of Calderon is based on several people and their interactions, with each other, with themselves, with their environment. Butcher pulls it off wonderfully. The descriptions are rich, the setting lush, the people real. It is definitely a book I will be purchasing to add to my collection.
It is almost enough to make me believe in Destiny.
Books get to me personally. When things go right, I read. When things go wrong, I read more.
This is the book that finally inspired me to get to work on this site. I really didn't have a theme for this site, as originally I had started it so I could read friends' only entries at a friend's livejournal site (though since I did it, she has never had a friends' only entry, so hmmmm...)
The books is about Sara Nelson's experiences reading books for one year. Her goal was to read 52 books in a year and write about the impact it had on her life or what feelings/memories the book brought up. The book is very well written and being a reader, I completely understood what she went through as she completed her journey. From the rereading of a favorite book to the bypassing of a classic, I could empathize with her completely, even the dislike of reading the 'in' book. I still haven't read Da Vinci code and I don't know if I ever will. It is not the fact that it is based on religion, but rather that it is SO popular that I can't trust that I will read it and have my own impression, rather than an impression brought on by the hype. I own The Satanic Verses, because it looked interesting, but it received such huge hype, that several years later I have not read it. I am always afraid that by reading it, it will disappoint, not because it wasn't good, but because the hype was so much better. I especially appreciated her explanation of how the book sometimes chooses you, rather than you choosing the book. And how sometimes, you will buy a book and put it in the pile to be read, but don't read it for months. And it just sits there. Then one day, you just feel like you need to read this book and when you do, it was like part of you knew that you would need this book at this exact moment and it wouldn't chance you not having it when you needed it.
My friends thought Nelson's book was rather weird for a subject and couldn't believe I bought it, let alone read it. I did pick it up off the Bargain tables at Chapters, but it was certainly worth a read.
Explaining the moment of connection between a reader and a book to someone who's never experienced it is like trying to describe sex to a virgin. ...For me, the feeling comes in a rush: I'm reading along and suddenly a word or phrase or scene enlarges before my eyes and soon everything around me is just so much fuzzy background. The phone can ring, the toast can burn, the child can call out, but to me, they're all in a distant dream. The book - this beautiful creature in my hand! - is everything I've ever wanted, as unexpected and inevitable as love. Where did it come from? How did I live without it for so long? I have to read and read and read, all the while knowing that the more aggressively I pursue my passion, the sooner it will end and then I be bereft.
I understood it when she reread a book from her childhood and how the experience was so different from then. How her experiences has changed what she got from the book and while the book wasn't better or worse, it was just different, almost a different story because what you need from it this time is different from when you were a teenager. She also refused to reread a book from her childhood, because she didn't want to take something different away from the book. I have a few of those. A few books from childhood that have a lasting impression and to just touch the spine brings back the memories and the lessons I took from the book.
I am the type of person who develops feelings about a book and that is what I take away from it. I don't read a book and then regurgitate the details back at a later date. Rather I read it, then days, weeks, even years later, I can tell you how the book made me feel. There are certain books I hated. One Hundred Years of Solitude, for example, made me feel like I lost one hundred years of my life from boredom - Don't know how Oprah thought it was the best book ever - obviously she never took it in college. There are certain books I fell in love with, or that gave me answers to questions I had, or even helped develop a dream just a little more. I am not referring to non-fiction books right now either, though I enjoy those as well. I am referring strictly to fiction and all that it entails. I have learned little details that I never would have imagined even looking up, just because I read a book - like how to hold a gun properly - thank you Laurel K Hamilton. Best of all is that with reading a book, I am developing - whether it be learning a new fact, experiencing a feeling, or finding out something about myself. I never come away from a book the same that I went into it.
I've lived the past year exactly how I've wanted to - between the covers of books and in the places in my head that those books have taken me. I've been agitated, excited, enthralled, annoyed, frustrated, and sometimes a little bored. But I've never been lonely. As my friend Bonnie pointed out on New Year's Day, to read a book is to have a relationship. And I've had dozens of them in the past dozen months.