Friday, January 28, 2011

Book Review

This last batch was much better than the previous group. Here goes:

The best line of this memoir was "An Amber is like a Heather, only she 's attacking your spiritual worthiness and your dress size at the same time." (Genius!!!) My friend TZ read The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance and didn't really like it, but I couldn't put it down. TZ's not Mormon and I'm guessing the non-stop references to the Church and it's doctrine were a bit too much for her. I, however, found it totally compelling and super funny - probably because I could relate to so much of it. Elna tells of her experiences being a single Mormon woman living in New York City. Caught between two worlds in her quest for a husband Elna nailed a whole lot of what I experienced growing up. It's not for everyone (I think the typical Mormon may find it a bit crass, and if you aren't LDS, it may come off as too preachy) but I loved it.

While so much of I Am Number Four follows that irritating teenage formula (ya know, superpowered teen falls in love with a moral while the bad guys are after him and the fate of the world depends on his success, blah, blah, blah) I actually liked this one. Somehow it didn't feel quite so trite. It's fluff for sure and the ending was way too sci-fi for my taste, but I enjoyed it. It's being made into a movie, due to be released next month.

While I didn't see The Lovely Bones movie, it did inspire me to read the book. It's an intriguing concept - a teenage girl is murdered at the beginning of the book and the rest of the story is her watching from heaven as her family copes and adjusts to their loss. There were parts that had me aching for the family and other parts that had me furious at the killer. The ending was lame but it was still worth my time.

This memoir tells of an adopted woman who meets her birth mother only to discover she was the product of an extra-marital affair. Everyone involved is a bit unstable and watching how they interact with one another in the midst of these dramatic changes is unsettling. There were some parts that kinda bored me, but overall The Mistresses Daughter is an interesting look at adoption, family and stability.

I almost quit The Road about 30 pages in, but somehow the story took hold of me. In a post-apocalyptic world a father and his son wander while trying to survive. The tone and pace of the story were both very bleak - but that is exactly what the author was trying to do. McCarthy's writting is incredibly well done. The Road is a downer for sure but the kind that left me feeling incredibly blessed to have plenty of food and a warm bed at night.

I only read A Christmas Carol because it was a free download on my I-Pod plus I figured if I wanted to consider myself well-read I probably should read it. Dickens is a fabulous writer and I was surprised by how funny it was. There is a reason this is a classic.

A woman in our book club has been making her way through some list of young adult fiction. The Witch of Blackbird Pond came from that list and I agree that it was good read. Set in Connecticut in the years prior to the American Revolution, the reader follows Kit as she adjust from her plush life in the West Indies to the Puritanical strictness of New England. Witch is an insightful look into that period of history.

My favorites this time? Mormon Halloween and I am Number Four - bur really, they were all pretty good.

I've got a trip to the beach planned next month and I already have three books lined up; The Mennoite in a Little Black Dress, The White Queen and Pride & Prejudice. I can't wait!!! Reading a good book by the beach is about as good as life gets!


Julie Ramsay said...

I just ordered the Mennonite one...should start reading it next week! I've read the singles halloween one. I couldn't put it down, appreciated her honesty but didn't agree with her all the time.

ganelle said...

Julie: I totally agree with your comment. I so totally appreciated how she didn't white wash her struggles. I would way rather hear her doubts and challenges and how she sometimes made poor choices than to have her portray herself as if it was all so easy. I learn more from the honesty. Plus she was sooo funny!

Susan said...

I love it when you do book reviews!

I've read Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, but I'll hold my tongue until you write your review.


Christina Call said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FOX said...

Ganelle I hate to read non-textbooks so I am going to write something better than a book review... lol!

So I was reminiscing with the family and we were reading about the day we got cupcakes from the sweet tooth fairy, and I was SURPRISED to read the comment from you.

Let me help you evoke this memory... you wrote it after all and I think it should come true!!!

ganelle said...

mmmmm cupcakes....

I need to talk to Dave about a cleaning lady coming in! Maybe when I start bringing home a paycheck again?

SEPTEMBER 21, 2009 1:42 PM

You bring home bacon now so I am all for your new maid service. Phi Phi and her husband cleaned my house for $40 once a month. Rock on!'

JK! Hope you like my happy thought flashback. Every time some Mom gave me slack for working part time, I would say "ya but I pay someone to clean my house, so if you minus the time I am saving, then I break even, AND working makes me get dressed so I do more activities with my kids."

LOL that was way too much info about me. I just thought it fun to read your comment about you day dreaming for the day you would be back in the front of a classroom and now your dream is real.


ps. delete my deleted comment. I tried to italicize your original comment from 2009 but it didn't work. I don't know why... it says you can. oh well.

tz said...

oooh, putting mistress's daughter on my to read list (mother-in-law was adopted and there's a 'story' about it so find these types of memoirs very interesting).... oh and I so hope I wasn't offensive when I wrote my review on the halloween one...I did find it funny in parts and I did respect how she held to some of her values...and you are right I think I was unable to understand portions of it...and I am also appreciative when people don't white wash their struggles, it's great when they can be 'real' --

right now reading jan lancaster....over the top, but hilarious.

ganelle said...

Christina: LOVE that you were able to find that! I totally forgot. Hmm, I may need to give that some thought. Only problem is that an adjunct doesn't make a whole lot of money - but only $40 is a deal! I've asked before and it seems like it was a lot more. Something to check into for sure! Thanks!!!
TZ: no worries about your review AT ALL. I totally get where you were coming from. I think she would have done better to better define her audience, and then speak to them. Thanks for bringing my attention to the book though- I really did love it!

FOX said...

Thanks Ganelle. Yes it was only $40 because Phi Phi and her hubbie were from Taiwan and you will just have to get what I am implying there, because I admit to nothing... lol

But they deserved my buisness and did a way better job than Merry Maids that I had the first time and only time!

But I was kidding anyway. I didn't expect you to really think about it, I just thought you would find your comment funny, since it seems by your writings and comments, that there was never a day that you didn't miss the class room.

How many sections do you teach as an adjunct?

ganelle said...

Fox: I'm only teaching 3 sections. It's not a whole lot different than what I was doing at CCHS - except they talk about their kids instead of their parents. :)

I really do LOVE being back. There is a certain energy that I get from being in the classroom. It seems I am laughing almost the whole time I am teaching and I just love it. It really has felt SOOO good to be back in my skin this way.

Thanks for being my cheerleader. You've been great!