Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Summer We Read Gatsby by Danielle Ganek

I really liked this book. It takes place in about 4 weeks during the summer of 2008. The two main characters are half-sisters that have never lived together, but have spent a few summers together at their aunt's house. When she dies, she leaves the house to the two women, with the stipulation that they live there a month together.

It's about family, love, summertime, reading, and figuring out what you want. I think. I enjoyed it, but I wish it had been filled out a bit more. Even though some parts were slow moving, I felt that other times the character development jumped a bit. I did like the ladies relationship with each other, and I liked both of the romances.

I am inspired to re-read The Great Gatsby, because it is relevant to the story and is referenced through out.

I do recommend this book. I really liked the characters, the story was pretty good, but overall it wouldn't make any of my most favorite lists. I think it is written for adults, and there are a few f-words, but other than that it is tastefully written, and modern without being racy. I did keep imagining the ladies as being younger than they were. I felt like the author had to give the characters grown-up careers and mention them to remind us of their ages. I think early 30's.

What I did like were some very valuable points made by individual characters. So maybe Cassie's internal thoughts were the strong point.

Here are some quotes to prove my point:

"She delivered her opinions as though she'd received some divine wisdom that told her she was right, despite any evidence or logic to the contrary."

***"Later I would look back at this moment as the beginning of what I would come to think of as a sort of awakening in me, the first in a series of shifts that led me to want to write a different story for myself."

"Missing her--that physical ache in the heart that made it feel as if it could sometimes break in two--dredged up the feelings of loss over my mother from which I'd thought I'd recovered."

"We stayed up until the sun rose, talking about everything and nothing. Not since university days had I spent this kind of late night time with women, and I'd forgotten how much fun it was."

Re-reading the sections these quotes come from has reminded me how much I liked reading this story. Maybe I'm over analyzing it. I can't remember where I got the recommendation for this, anyone? Anyone read it?

***I LOVE this quote.

PS. I think this would make a great movie!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Table Manners by Mia King

***Post Edit***I originally posted this under the title of a different book by the author! Sorry!

So as I was looking for a cover image, I realized that there is actually a "prequel" to this book. It's the second book featuring the main characters. I picked this up from the Staff Picks section of my library, and had no idea.

I liked it. I think if we're looking at good, better, best, I'd rank it good. You know how there are some movies you would watch on TV, but not pay money in a theater, or even seek it out to rent? That's how I felt about this book.

It's a nice story about a nice woman named Diedre whose life seems really great, then lots of things start falling apart around her. I like how she deals with her roadbumps. I like the characters enough. I was a little annoyed with the whole idea that her boyfriend was part of this socially elite family, and that Diedre's life was being watched by gossip columnists. It just seemed a little goofy.

Each chapter has a short quote about etiquette, and I think that's what the title is referring too. But I didn't think they were anything too special.

Overall its a nice book, I enjoyed reading it, but I wouldn't go out and buy a copy for a friend.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Mysterious Benedict Society

It's been awhile since I blogged a book!

My son read this book a while back and really liked it. I vaguely remember him explaining the plot to me, but only vaguely. He checked it out to re-read from his middle school library, and I borrowed it when he finished. Because of that, I can tell you that it is labelled as AR level 5.6 and 18 points. So if your kids need to keep track of that kind of thing. I would guess it would be interesting for 4-7th graders. I hope to convince my 4th grader to read it. It is 485 pages, so it took a chunk of time to get through.

All that being said, I liked this book. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Quirky,brainy kid characters. I love them, don't you?

2. A story with enough twists and turns that it wasn't all together predictable. Including one moment when I genuinely felt exactly like the characters.

3. Good, if not unoriginal, messages about believing in yourself, working together, resisting the dark side.

4. A happy ending. Did I give it away?

A few good quotes to give you a feel for it:

"Although most people care about the truth, they can nonetheless--under certain circumstances, and given proper persuasion--be diverted from it. Some, however, possess an unusually powerful love of truth, and you children are among the few."

"What if he created a fear, a fear everyone would hold in common, a fear the entire public would share?.....Then his next step would be to soothe that fear with just the right message."
(He, of course, being the bad guy.)

"He'd never expected doing the right thing to be so hard. But it was."

And of course being religious, I loved the parallels. Toward the end, at the moment when Reynie just doesn't think he can resist the evil, he thinks of Mr. Benedict. He doesn't think he can go on, so he sends a message, and knows if it is heard and returned he can do it. And he does. The whole moment is so great.

I enjoyed the characters, the story and the writing style. I'd love to hear what you think!