Sunday, September 28, 2008

eat cake by Jeanne Ray

What a fun book! I really enjoyed reading this and I recommend it to everyone. Thanks Amy for introducing me to the book and loaning me your copy!

What I liked:
I was trying to think of how to explain why this book that has plenty of sadness and trials made me happy. Well, first of all it has a happy ending *yay,* but the characters are nice. It has people who surprise you with their kindness, generosity and support. I couldn't help but think of Lars and the Real Girl that I watched last week (thanks Kim!). It also has characters that surprise you with their kindness, generosity and support. I love stories like that. I think too many times people in real life dissappoint you by being selfish, lazy and apathetic. So its nice to read about better people.

There are so many great moments in this book. I especially liked when Ruth's mother compliments her, and when both her parents come through for her. There were so many great quotes, I'll post some at the end.

One of the best things about this book is that the characters make positive changes in their lives. I think that is very encouraging and uplifting. Motivating, really.

Also all the cake imagery and description is great! Having a cake as her safe place. I just got a kick out of it and thought the metaphors held up well.

I don't have a list of things I don't like this time.

But here are some great quotes from the book:

"Everybody gets tired of cooking dinner. There's too much responsibility. Did we eat this last week? Is it balanced, is it green, will he like it, will she eat it, do I have the right ingredients, enough time, will this new recipe fail me?"
I can relate, can't you???

"We'll drink and eat cake and in the morning we'll come up with some sort of plan. I think it would be good if we didn't try to figure it out right this minute."

"I was terrified. I loved him."

"Doing something is always easier than waiting."

"She was a teacher in her soul."

"It did the very thing that music can do when it is at its best: It elevated us and healed us an showed us how to be our better selves."
I LOVE this quote.

This book is a slim 225 easy-to-read pages. Pick it up if you don't have time to read, really. It's lovely, quick and fun.

I'm hoping it was a nice appetizer for Truman that I picked up from the library yesterday, Colby are you kidding me with this 1000 pages??!! It's worth it??

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Enders Game by Orson Scott Card

Recommendation: Yes. I liked this book.

I went to a literary conference in college to hear Orson Scott Card speak. I don't remember much except the question answer period during lunch, and a lot of people trying to impress him. BUT I do remember how smart he sounded, but not snooty, just bright and interesting. So I don't know WHY it has taken me so many years to read one of his books. Many people in my family are big fans. I also saw him waiting to be seated at Brick Oven once. Famous.

So, I actually decided to read this, his first book, to see if it would be a good read for my son. I think he needs to wait a couple more years.

What I liked: I just have say it again, but OSC writes smart. I don't know how else to describe it. But I liked his style right off. I can count the number of science fiction books I've read on one hand, but this one was really easy to read.

I liked the character. It is easy to think of Ender as being about 5 years older than he is, but I think that's the point. In his intro, which I only read part of before the book, OSC says, "I forced the audience to experience the lives of these children from...the perspective in which their feelings and decision are just as real and important as any adult's." He also talks about the "personhood of children."

Something else cool is how the desks the boys use are so similar to laptops. Very insightful for 30 years ago. Also the "nets." Cool.

I really liked the end. The last chapter was good for me. I like the whole Speaker for the Dead, which pretty much means I'll read the next book. I liked that things didn't finish up the way I predicted. I don't know if you can call it a happy ending, but it was happy compared to the majority of the book.

What I didn't like:

I got a little bogged down with the descriptions of the futuristic governments, and the details of the battles. I read them, but didn't fully process them. This didn't affect the story.

It was also a little more violent that I like to read. Which is why Griff will be waiting a couple more years. Some of the characters are just so MEAN. I guess that's real life. But it was troubling.

Some of the boys slang is a little annoying, or offensive. I did see that the original copyright was 1977, which explains a little.

Cool Quotes:

"There's only one thing that wil make them stop hating you. And that's being so good at what you do that they can't ignore you."

"So everything depend on how you push off, the course you set when you start."

"It was better in the morning. Home was merely a dull ache in the back of his memory. A tiredness in his eyes."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Million Dollar Mermaid by Esther Williams

Recommendation: Yes. I think this book was entertaining and interesting.

What I liked:

Esther Williams was a champion swimmer when there were not a lot of women in the sport. She qualified for the Olympics, then WWII broke out. She is a great example of someone who made something out of themselves.
The details she includes about how she got into swimming, the behind-the-scenes dramatics, and what little pieces of advice helped her along the way are fascinating to me.

I like that Esther did not sleep her way to the top. She did not use men, and she did not allow herself to be used. I admire how spunky she was in deflecting the passes of the creepy men in her story.

I like the way her voice shows through with old fashioned phrases, and views of what was going on. She has a good sense of humor. I also enjoyed all her cracks about the short men. Very funny.

I loved the pictures in the middle. It took me a while before I noticed them, and I think they really add to the narrative! She was so amazingly beautiful! So classic.

Having grown up in a pool, and always surrounded by swimmers, it was fun to read her perspective on swimming and those around her in the movie business that didn't get it. I swam with a couple of girls who competed in synchro, and it was cool to see how Esther Williams was so instrumental in developing it, and furthering it as a real sport. In fact she mentions at the end how it was made an official sport in the 1984 Olympics in LA and the winners were Tracie Ruiz-Conforto and Candy Costie. They were from Bothell and they even named the pool we swam in Highschool after them, so how's that for 6 degrees of seperation.

What I didn't like:

Be forwarned that some really terrible things happen to Esther. She has some horrible things happen to her when she was young, and some more when she's older. Obviously they need to be in the book, but I still didn't like reading about them. So sad.

It bugged me that she admitted and was frusterated that her movies were all fluff and basically the stame story line, yet she was huffy and offended if someone else said the same thing.

I also started feeling a little skeptical about Esther's opinions. I think in its own right, this is a bit of a "tell-all" book. She mainly focuses on herself and the details of her life, but she does name names. There are all kinds of little stories of big stars in not-so-flattering light. I'm sure they are true, but I just wonder why she felt like she had to report the dirt on others. ALSO, as she gets older, she makes several choices that I think are hard to justify, yet she does. She is honest about her motivations at times, but other times she seems to miss the irony that she was acting like those she earlier condemned. It kind of made me trust her less.

Suggestions: Amy told me that our library had collections of Esther William's films. I checked one out that had 6 DVDs. I admit I didn't watch all of them, the stories are sweet, but a little silly. I did a lot of fast forwarding of scenes she wasn't in, but it was so cool to see the scenes and actors that she talked about in the book. I LOVED IT! I think it would have been cool to watch them intermittently as I was reading the book.

Monday, September 1, 2008

BBC Pride and Prejudice


First of all, the scenery is AMAZING. So beautiful. I watched most of the series in the first night, but had to crawl up to bed at 2. I finished it the next night, and it was so great.

I realized when Elizabeth arrived at Pemberley that I had read the book. Sometimes I get the Austen books mixed up. I really enjoy this story, but of course it drives me crazy that she doesn't tell everyone that Mr. Darcy saved Lydia. But these old fashioned books never do.

I enjoyed all the characters, the men were so handsome, and so were the women.

Definetly worth the 5 hours!

Thanks to all of you who have recommended it over the years, I wasn't disappointed!

Favorite quote: "There are few people whom I really love, and even fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more I am dissatisfied of it."

I also loved when Elizabeth is telling her Dad that she does love Darcy and that she's never known a better man. He replies something like, "Good, because I could never have parted with you otherwise." So great.

I also watched Mansfield Park last week. I liked it. It was on TV, and not a book I had read. But I recommend it.