Friday, November 30, 2012

Book Blog Hop and Follow Friday (11-30-12)

Happy last-day-of-November everyone! This month has flown by ... I'm still thinking that Halloween happened just a few days ago. Are you getting ready for Christmas? I tested two sugar cookie recipes the other day, but now, I'm not sure which one I want to use! They are both quite tasty! Oh well, at least that's the toughest problem in my life right now. Now, onto the Friday fun ...

Jen at Crazy for Books asks:

Apart from being readers, many of us collect books on a specific subject or by a particular author. What books or which author do you collect?

I tend to collect books from authors that I really enjoy (meaning that I've read at least two books by them). It's nice to have a collection of books from people that I really enjoy, and I also like the fact that by purchasing their book, I'm paying them for their efforts. 

Well, there's no question posted for the Book Blog Hop yet, but once it's up, I will be sure to give my answer!

Parajunkee asks:

Who is your to-die-for book crush? What do you think they look like? Add an image to make us all happy.

There are so many! I would have to say my all-time favorite book crush is Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. And there have been so many men who have played him, so I would say any of those men are great choices.

So who is your book crush? Let me know and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (11-28-12)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each week, you highlight an upcoming release that you are eagerly anticipating. This week, I'm looking forward to Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini (release date: January 15, 2013).

Synopsis (from Amazon): In Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, novelist Jennifer Chiaverini presents a stunning account of the friendship that blossomed between Mary Todd Lincoln and her seamstress, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Keckley, a former slave who gained her professional reputation in Washington, D.C. by outfitting the city’s elite. Keckley made history by sewing for First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln within the White House, a trusted witness to many private moments between the President and his wife, two of the most compelling figures in American history.

In March 1861, Mrs. Lincoln chose Keckley from among a number of applicants to be her personal “modiste,” responsible not only for creating the First Lady’s gowns, but also for dressing Mrs. Lincoln in the beautiful attire Keckley had fashioned. The relationship between the two women quickly evolved, as Keckley was drawn into the intimate life of the Lincoln family, supporting Mary Todd Lincoln in the loss of first her son, and then her husband to the assassination that stunned the nation and the world.Keckley saved scraps from the dozens of gowns she made for Mrs. Lincoln, eventually piecing together a tribute known as the Mary Todd Lincoln Quilt. She also saved memories, which she fashioned into a book, Behind the Scenes: Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House. Upon its publication, Keckley’s memoir created a scandal that compelled Mary Todd Lincoln to sever all ties with her, but in the decades since, Keckley’s story has languished in the archives. In this impeccably researched, engrossing novel, Chiaverini brings history to life in rich, moving style.

I think this sounds like a great book and I cannot wait to read it! So, what are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (11-27-12)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week, 
they post a different topic, and you get to create your own top ten list. So, this week's 
topic is:

Most Anticipated Books for 2013
(since my mind is whirl and I cannot think of books that I'm looking forward to, I'm just going to list authors who will have new books out)

1) Kristin Hannah - I always love her books and her newest one is no different! Eagerly awaiting it's release!

2) Emily Giffin - now, she normally doesn't have a book out every year, but a girl can dream, right?

3) Penny Vincenzi - I discovered Penny this past summer and loved her work. Hopefully she will have a new book that I can snatch up and read!

4) JK Rowling - once again, a girl can dream, right? Perhaps I should just focus on getting around to reading A Casual Vacancy first.

5) J. Courtney Smith - I love her writing style and her ability to write about young women in their mid-20s. I'm anxious to see what her new book will be about.

6) Sophie Kinsella - I love her work, it always makes me laugh. It's the perfect material to listen to in the car, so I cannot wait to hear her latest one!

7) Jacqueline Winspear - I just love the Maisie Dobbs series and cannot wait to see what adventure she will take Maisie on next.

8) Pete Hamill - I know that he has a new book coming out sometime in 2013 (I'm just blanking on it right now), and since I love everything that he writes, I cannot wait to see what he publishes this time around.

9) Adriana Trigani - I LOVE the Valentine series and I'm really hoping that the last book in this series is published this year!

10) Catherine McKenzie - I found this author at the beginning of this year and have fallen in love with her work. Looking forward to her next book!

Well, there are certainly a lot of authors that I love and always look for their books, so this is just a small sampling of them! What books are you most looking forward to? Let me know! (That way, I can start on my TBR pile for next year ... haha!)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Review: Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

Seating Arrangements
Author: Maggie Shipstead
Published: June 12, 2012
Genre: contemporary fiction
Hardcover: 302 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): Winn Van Meter is heading for his family’s retreat on the pristine New England island of Waskeke. Normally a haven of calm, for the next three days this sanctuary will be overrun by tipsy revelers as Winn prepares for the marriage of his daughter Daphne to the affable young scion Greyson Duff.  Winn’s wife, Biddy, has planned the wedding with military precision, but arrangements are sideswept by a storm of salacious misbehavior and intractable lust: Daphne’s sister, Livia, who has recently had her heart broken by Teddy Fenn, the son of her father’s oldest rival, is an eager target for the seductive wiles of Greyson’s best man; Winn, instead of reveling in his patriarchal duties, is tormented by his long-standing crush on Daphne’s beguiling bridesmaid Agatha; and the bride and groom find themselves presiding over a spectacle of misplaced desire, marital infidelity, and monumental loss of faith in the rituals of American life. 

Hilarious, keenly intelligent, and commandingly well written, Shipstead’s deceptively frothy first novel is a piercing rumination on desire, on love and its obligations, and on the dangers of leading an inauthentic life, heralding the debut of an exciting new literary voice. 

My Thoughts: This is Maggie Shipstead's first novel, and what a story she manages to tell. Focusing on the Van Meter family during the days leading up to the oldest daughter's wedding, Shipstead tells a tale of social classes, birthrights, relationships, family, and the expectations that we place on the people and things in our lives. Each character is grappling with their own issues, trying to come to grips with their lives while on an island off the New England coast. The patriarch of the family, Winn, is stuggling to comprehend why he hasn't been invited into the prestigious golf club on the island. All his life, where ever he travles, Winn joins clubs. He loves the sense of belonging that they provide and how they clearly state where you are in society. His oldest daughter is getting married while being seven months pregnant. His youngest, Livia, is distraught after her first real relationship ended and she had an abortion. For me, Livia and Winn are the most interesting people in this book.

Winn is just such a stereotypical New England prep-school man. He loves how belonging to different clubs provides not only a physical shelter from the world, where he can go in and drink and read newspapers. He also loves the emotional shelter of it, the identity that one has when they belong to such a place. He doesn't realize this, but it becomes clear as you read the novel that this is a man who needs these exclusive clubs to define who he is and provide him with an identity. Then there is Livia, trying to cope with an abortion and her first relationship ending. She has so many needs, but her need to understand why she is no longer with Teddy (her ex) consumes her. It's a weight bearing down on her, and for someone who has always gotten what they want in life, she feels as if she will also get Teddy back, if for no other reason than just because that's how she wants it to be. 

I could continually sit here and gush about this book (I've already told so many people about it that I'm hoping one of them will read it so we can discuss it!), but I will just implore you to read it. This is not a book to breeze through, not a romantic tale about a New England wedding. If that's what you are expecting, then you will be very disappointed. If you are looking for a great piece of literature, then you need to read this book. Maggie Shipstead may only have one book to her name, but it's an amazing book and one that will leave you thinking for many days after you finish reading it.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Review: The Next Always by Nora Roberts

The Next Always
Author: Nora Roberts
Published: November 1, 2011
Genre: chick lit
Paperback: 324 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): The historic hotel in Boonsboro has endured war and peace, changing hands, even rumored hauntings. Now it’s getting a major facelift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. Beckett is the architect of the family, and his social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there’s another project he’s got his eye on: the girl he’s been waiting to kiss since he was fifteen.

After losing her husband and returning to her hometown, Clare Brewster soon settles into her life as the mother of three young sons while running the town’s bookstore. Busy, with little time for romance, Clare is drawn across the street by Beckett’s transformation of the old inn, wanting to take a closer look . . . at the building and the man behind it.

With the grand opening inching closer, Beckett’s happy to give Clare a private tour - one room at a time. It’s no first date, but these stolen moments are the beginning of something new - and open the door to the extraordinary adventure of what comes next . . .

My Thoughts: This is the first Nora Roberts novel that I have ever read. I have seen quite a few bloggers reading her books and they always give them positive reviews, so I figured I should try one. And this was nothing groundbreaking, nothing that made me think or expanded my mind in anyway. It was pure fluff and I ate it right up. This story takes place in a small town and has romance, a bit of danger, and some laughs. It wasn't like a romance novel where it's focused on two people falling for one another and passionate love scenes. There is a whole cast of characters who add to the story, and each is an individual, bringing something to the story without cluttering it. In addition to Clare and her three boys, there are the Montgomery boys, grown men working on the run-down inn located in the town square. They are all clearly different and it's obvious to figure out early on that the subsequent novels in this series will focus on one of the brothers. Which I'm fine with! This was a great book to read and get lost in, which I needed after reading so many heavier books lately. It was light and fluffy and I cannot wait to finish the rest of this trilogy.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Book Blog Hop and Follow Friday (11-23-12)

Happy Friday everyone! Is everyone all full from turkey and mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie? I know that I certainly am ... did you go out shopping at 8 pm last night (or whenever the stores opened last night)? I did not partake in that experience, but I did go out to see the movie Lincoln last night and it was spectacular! Seriously, go out and see it. It doesn't matter if you are young, old, or somewhere in the middle, just go out and see it. Now, let's get onto the Friday fun ...

Jen at Crazy For Books asks:

The sound of silence: When reading, do you assign each character their own voice in your head, or do they all sound the same? Do they sound like you or someone else?

Every character has their own distinct voice in my head. They all sound different from one another and they don't sound like me or anyone else that I know.

Parajunkee asks:

Are you thankful for a fellow blogger? Tell us about him or her.

There are lots of bloggers who I am thankful for, but I will highlight The Broke and the Bookish. They host my favorite meme every week (Top Ten Tuesday) and it's just a great blog that they run. There is collection of bloggers (all in their early 20s) who come together and blog about what they are reading or whatever is on their mind. It's just a great blog and I encourage you to go and check it out!

So, what do characters sound like in your head? Who are you thankful for? Let me know and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (11-20-12)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week, 
they post a different topic, and you get to create your own top ten list. So, this week's 
topic is:

Authors I'm Thankful For

1) Sophie Kinsella - I am thankful for this wonderful author who keeps me laughing with her great stories and amazing leading ladies. Thank you for always making me laugh!

2) JK Rowling - I am so thankful that Ms. Rowling became a published author. Her stories are so creative and universal at the same time. Thank you for giving me one of the best book series that has ever been written (at least in my opinion).

3) Harper Lee - I am so thankful that Ms. Lee published one of the greatest stories of all time, one that still resonates with people today. 

4) AA Milne - I am thankful for this man who wrote about an amzing childhood world, one that still exists for many children today. I feel like he doesn't always get enough recognition these days.

5) Laura Hillenbrand - I am thankful that there is a person out there who is willing to do digging for the truth of the unknown or unsung hero. I'm thankful that she researches and researches and then tells someone's amazing life story.

6) Adriana Trigiani - I am thankful that there is such a gifted woman's literature writer who takes the genre beyond that of women having children. I am unmarried and have no kids but her stories and characters all resonate with me, which I believe is a sign of a great author.

7) J. Courtney Sullivan - I am thankful that there is finally an author who writes about what real women in their 20s are going through. It's not always glamorous and fun, which she shows perfectly in her books.

8) Pete Hamill - I am thankful that this man can write such beautiful prose about New York City and make me feel like I am there. I doubt that I will ever live in NYC, but reading a Hamill novel always takes me there and feel like I'm living in the Big Apple.

9) Catherine McKenzie - I am thankful for an author who writes chick lit but doesn't make it all fluffy. I'm thankful for her ability to come up with unique storylines and to create characters who are real and seem like people that we all know.

10) Tina Fey - I am thankful for her because ... well, she's just awesome. Enough said.

It was hard to only choose ten! Who are you thankful for? Let me know and have a great Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Review: Goodbye for Now by Laurie Frankel

Goodbye for Now
Author: Laurie Frankel
Published: August 7, 2012
Genre: contemporary fiction
Hardcover: 304 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): Sam Elling works for an internet dating company, but he still can't get a date. So he creates an algorithm that will match you with your soul mate. Sam meets the love of his life, a coworker named Meredith, but he also gets fired when the company starts losing all their customers to Mr. and Ms. Right.

When Meredith's grandmother, Livvie, dies suddenly, Sam uses his ample free time to create a computer program that will allow Meredith to have one last conversation with her grandmother. Mining from all her correspondence—email, Facebook, Skype, texts—Sam constructs a computer simulation of Livvie who can respond to email or video chat just as if she were still alive. It's not supernatural, it's computer science.

Meredith loves it, and the couple begins to wonder if this is something that could help more people through their grief. And thus, the company RePose is born. The business takes off, but for every person who just wants to say good-bye, there is someone who can't let go. 

In the meantime, Sam and Meredith's affection for one another deepens into the kind of love that once tasted, you can't live without. But what if one of them suddenly had to? This entertaining novel, delivers a charming and bittersweet romance as well as a lump in the throat exploration of the nature of love, loss, and life (both real and computer simulated). Maybe nothing was meant to last forever, but then again, sometimes love takes on a life of its own.

My Thoughts: When I read the description of this book, I was intrigued and just knew that I had to read it. I mean, the premise of being able to communicate with people who have passed on is a unique idea and I wondered how Laurie Frankel would tackle such a big issue. She is a gifted writer, which comes across within the first few pages of the book. She is able to pull you in and feel a connection with Sam Elling immediately. He is a likable guy, someone who you are pulling for and want him to get everything that he deserves. When he creates a computer-generated version of Meredith's dead grandmother, you realize who smart he is and that he deserves to reap the success of coming up with something as groundbreaking as this. For me, Sam is a great character and someone who I was sad to see go when I finished the book. Meredith, his girlfriend, is also likable, but she wasn't on the same level as Sam. She was nice and sweet, but something about her (I guess it was continuing to talk with her grandmother) just rubbed me the wrong way. The cast of characters who comes into RePose to talk to their departed loved ones is diverse and it's amazing how all of these people who have recently lost loved ones, all wish to communicate with the dead for a different reason. For some, it's because they miss them. Some have questions as to where things are kept in their homes, and others wish to let steam off and let the dead know how bad they were to live with. Everyone goes in for something different yet they all reap the satisfaction of having talked to their loved one, one more time.

This is a heavy topic and I recommend that you do not read this book if you are not in the mood to be depressed. Not saying that it's a depressing book, but it will drag you down and make you think about people that you've lost in your own life. I found myself wondering who I would want to communicate with if RePose were actually available in real life. Frankel doesn't make light of how hard this is for people, especially when showing the effects it can have on young children. There were parts of the book that were so sad, I just had to put it down and walk away. She really makes you stop and think about grief and death and loss. It was a heavy read and one that made me think throughout the entire novel.

The only downside for me was the pacing. I felt as if we were sprinting throught the novel, racing to finish it. Everything happens very quickly, from Sam and Meredith's first date to creating their first RePose (Meredith's grandmother) to the start up of a business. It was like the fast forward button was on and I wish it just slowed down a little bit. All in all, it is a good book and I cannot wait to see what Frankel writes in the future.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Review: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters

Beautiful Ruins
Author: Jess Walters
Published: June 12, 2012
Genre: fiction
Hardcover: 337 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.

And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot--searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of "Cleopatra" to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion--along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow. Gloriously inventive, constantly surprising, "Beautiful Ruins" is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.

My Thoughts: I won't lie, I was mostly attracted to this book because of the cover (seriously, it's gorgeous!) After I read the synopsis, I figured I would give it a try, but it would probably end up in the pile of DNFs where the books that I choose only for their pretty cover end up. I was pleasantly surprised by this novel and by it's author, Jesse Walters. Spanning several decades and encompassing a cast of characters who are all searching for what will make them whole, Walters tells the tale of love lost, passions ignored, and people and circumstances falling together and bringing total strangers closer than they thought possible. I won't give a recap of the story (I think my synopsis above sums it up pretty well), I can tell you that this book is more than the Italian coastline and Hollywood, more about love and loss, more than any of the mundane things that we find in novels now. Walters as constructed a novel which causes you to think and examine the path that your own life as taken.
While I tend to stay away from putting quotes into my reviews (I worry that something might be a spoiler for someone), there is no way that I can review this book and not list at least one piece of beautiful prose that Walters has written down:
"Sometimes what we want to do and what we must do are not the same. Pasquo, the smaller the space between your desire and what is right, the happier you will be."
I have never thought how true that is until I stumbled upon that quote in the book. I just had to close it and sit there for a few minutes, really contemplating what that means to me in my life. There are so many of those quotes throughout the novel that I could go on and on, listing all of the wonderful quotes that I found.
If there was a downside for this novel for me, it's that it took so long to read. It's one of those books that makes you think so much, that it's hard to bust through it in two to four days. But it was definitely worth it and I would consider this one of the best books of the year. If you are looking for something literary to finish out your year, I would highly recommend this book. It's a wonderful story and one that I feel like would resonate in some way with every person that read it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Book Blog Hop and Follow Friday (11-16-12)

Happy Friday everyone! I hope that you are having a great month of November, which will shortly be over (isn't that astonishing?!) and are gearing up for the craziness that is December. I am so excited for this weekend because I have a 5 DAY WEEKEND!!!! That's right, 5 days off from work and it is not one of my vacations. I am super excited because we as a family are taking a little trip to Disney World (which just happens to be my most favorite place in the whole wide world). So after tomorrow, I am free!!! Super excited, mostly because working in a restaurant, you rarely get 4 day weekends, so a 5 day?!? That's just amazing. Let's get onto the Friday fun ...

Jen at Crazy for Books asks:

The bookish gods are giving you free hand, you can pick any one character (book, TV series/movie, play etc) and inject them into a different novel of your choice. Which character and series would you mix’n'match?

Wow, this is a toughie! I would place Blair Waldorf (Gossip Girl) in the Shopaholic series. I think Blair loves to shop enough that her and Becky would get along great, but she's such a schemer that it would really keep Becky on her toes.

Parajunkee asks:

What movie would make a great book?

Another tough question! All my favorite movies are based upon books (Forrest Gump, The King's Speech), but I think that Up would make a great book. I mean, Carl and Ellie's love story is so touching that you know it would be a bestseller!

So, which characters would you move around? What movie would make a great book? Let me know and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (11-14-12)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each week, you highlight an upcoming release that you are eagerly anticipating. This week, I'm looking forward to Eternity by Barbara Delinsky (release date: November 20, 2012).

Synopsis (from Goodeads): Gideon Lowe is more than some macho construction worker, and the Crosslyn Rise building contract will prove it. The last thing he needs is Christine Gillette tromping onto his work site, disturbing his equilibrium. Christine is appalled that the rough-hewn—but frankly gorgeous—Gideon holds the deciding vote on whether or not her interior designs will be used on The Rise. She's not going to let any he-man bully her around…or sweet-talk her into submission.

Father of the Bride: Cynthia Bauer dreads seeing Russ Shaw after their scandalous divorce years earlier. Yet Russ is returning to town for the first time in twenty-five years, determined to give his only daughter away at her wedding. There's no way they'll be able to avoid each other, but it soon becomes clear that staying away from one another is the last thing either of them wants.

So, what are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (11-13-12)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week, 
they post a different topic, and you get to create your own top ten list. So, this week's 
topic is:

Books I'd Want on a Deserted Island

1) The Harry Potter series - I realize that this is seven books, but I can't just choose one (or two or three) out of the series! So, the whole thing is coming along.

2) To Kill a Mockingbird - I love this book and I never tire of it, no matter how many times I read it.

3) Pride and Prejudice - what woman wouldn't be in need of Mr. Darcy while lounging around on an island, waiting to be rescued?!?

4) All of David Sedaris' books - I'm definitely going to need some laughs while I'm stranded, and I know that David will keep me laughing.

5) Unbroken - this is a true story about a man who was shot down over the Pacific during World War II. Not only would it be inspirational but I might be able to pick up some survival tips.

6) Bossypants - I just love Tina Fey and since I won't have electricity to watch her shows or movies, this will have to do until I'm rescued.

7) The Maisie Dobbs series - I love a god mystery and this one is so entertaining. And just like with Harry Potter, I can't just choose one!

8) The Marriage Plot - this book makes me think about the world and relationships with others. Something that would encourage me to think about life beyond my little island.

9) Some sort of medical book - I don't know which one I want to take, but I'm going to want to make sure that I know what weird diseases I can develop while stranded out on a deserted island.

So, which books would you take with you to a deserted island? Let me know!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Audiobook Review: Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster

Pretty In Plaid
Author: Jen Lancaster
Narrator: Jamie Heinlein
Published: April 4, 2009
Genre: memoir
Audiobook: 7 discs (approx. 8 hours)
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): In Pretty in Plaid, Jen Lancaster reveals how she developed the hubris that perpetually gets her into trouble. Using fashion icons of her youth to tell her hilarious and insightful stories, readers will meet the girl she used to be.

Think Jen Lancaster was always "like David Sedaris with pearls and a super-cute handbag?" (Jennifer Coburn) Think again. She was a badge-hungry Junior Girl Scout with a knack for extortion, an aspiring sorority girl who didn't know her Coach from her Louis Vuitton, and a budding executive who found herself bewildered by her first encounter with a fax machine. In this humorous and touching memoir, Jen Lancaster looks back on her life-and wardrobe-before bitter was the new black and shows us a young woman not so very different than the rest of us.

The author who showed us what it was like to wait in line at the unemployment office with a Prada bag, how living in the city can actually suck, and that losing weight can be fun with a trainer named Barbie and enough Ambien is ready to take you on a hilarious and heartwarming trip down memory lane in her shoes (and very pretty ones at that).

My Thoughts: I really love Jen Lancaster's books and thought, "Why don't I try her in audiobook form?" I mean, I listened to Mindy Kaling's book and was busting out laughing, so I thought I would try another funny lady in audiobook form. And while I was busting out laughing, it wasn't what I expected from it. This book is all about Jen's struggle with clothing throughout her life and the pieces that have defined her life. And while the writing was great, it was the narration that was a bit off for me. I have never heard Jen Lancaster speak before, but I have a clear image in my mind of what she would sound like. And unfortunately, this narrator just didn't sound how I imagine she should. It was just a bit too snotty and not enough sarcasm, which brought down the reading for me. 

I did identify with Jen at various points in her life. While I did not grow up in the 80s, I do remember some of the fads from when I was in middle school and high school, so I can understand where she's coming from. And hearing her talking about walking across the Purdue campus in the middle of wind storm is something I can definitely relate to (I also went there ... Boiler Up!) And when she goes suit shopping for a job interview, I was busting up. I mean, I have been there (what woman hasn't?), and pretty much every suit is designed for and old woman. So it takes forever to try and find something, normally with some annoying sales lady telling you how nice you look. I mean, it's something that all women go through, and Jen just nails the whole shopping experience perfectly. While I look forward to reading more of her books in the future, I will no longer be listening to them.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Review: The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

The Time Keeper
Author: Mitch Albom
Published: August 28, 2012
Genre: fiction, inspirational
Hardcover: 224 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): In Mitch Albom's newest work of fiction, the inventor of the world's first clock is punished for trying to measure God's greatest gift. He is banished to a cave for centuries and forced to listen to the voices of all who come after him seeking more days, more years. Eventually, with his soul nearly broken, Father Time is granted his freedom, along with a magical hourglass and a mission: a chance to redeem himself by teaching two earthly people the true meaning of time.

He returns to our world--now dominated by the hour-counting he so innocently began--and commences a journey with two unlikely partners: one a teenage girl who is about to give up on life, the other a wealthy old businessman who wants to live forever. To save himself, he must save them both. And stop the world to do so.

Told in Albom's signature spare, evocative prose, this remarkably original tale will inspire readers everywhere to reconsider their own notions of time, how they spend it and how precious it truly is.

My Thoughts: I've always enjoy Mitch Albom's books for a few reasons: number one, they are easy to read; two, they are relatable; three, they are completely unassuming. Albom maintains that same style in his newest work of fiction, focusing on the human obsession with time. Dor lives in time before time is measured. He loves to count things and develops ways to track the days. God decides to punish him by banishing him to a cave for eternity and listening to everyone's pleas for time. Dor becomes Father Time. He is introduced to Sarah Lemon, a teenager dealing with a serious crush, and Victor Delamonte, an old man on death's doorstep. He must make each of them realize that they must cherish time and not wish it to work for them.

Albom's writing is sparse, almost like Hemingway's. There isn't much description or elaboration. Albom gets straight to the point. I typically don't like writing like this, but with Albom, it works. His subjects are so real and fragile that burdening them with more words might break them (or your image of them). Albom definitely takes you on a journey, but he leaves it up to you to craft what everything looks like. This is a great short story, something that takes about a day to read. While I didn't feel like this was as strong as his other books, it is still a moving story making you think about our concept of time.