Friday, July 31, 2009

Feature Fridays

Today's classic is The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1831) by Victor Hugo.


Set in medieval Paris, Victor Hugo's powerful historical romance has resonated with succeeding generations ever since its publication in 1837. It tells the story of the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda, condemned as a witch by the tormented archdeacon Claude Frollo, who lusts after her. Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer of Notre Dame Cathedral, having fallen in love with the kindhearted Esmeralda, tries to save her by hiding her in the cathedral's tower. When a crowd of Parisian peasants, misunderstanding Quasimodo's motives, attacks the church in an attempt to liberate her, the story ends in tragedy.

Read The Hunchback of Notre-Dame online at The Literature Page.

If you've already read it, take a quiz to test your memory.

Have you read this classic?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thoughts for Thursday

What's your favorite book series or set of books by the same author with recurring characters?

My favorite series is the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I've already mentioned that series, so I think I'd have to go with Elizabeth Berg's three books (Durable Goods, Joy School and True to Form) featuring recurring character Katie Nash.

Durable Goods is a story about a twelve year old Army brat, who has recently lost her mother to cancer, coming to terms with an abusive father. Katie lives on an Army base in Texas with her father and her older sister, Diane. When Diane escapes their home in the middle of the night with her boyfriend, Dickie Mac, Katie goes along.

Joy School is a story of first love. Kate is thirteen, and the object of her desire is a 23-year old gas station attendant named Jimmy. He is married and has a child, but as Katie says (after noting that he does not wear a wedding ring) it's every woman for herself.

In True to Form, Katie has moved from Texas to Missouri, and is having a hard time finding friends. She longs to be in with the in crowd; instead she and her one friend are classic losers. The story is about how hard it can be to admit yourself to yourself, to live your life in a way that is congruent with what you really believe.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Borders Bestseller

What's Hot Now?

The Bride Will Keep Her Name by Jan Goldstein

Something borrowed. Something blue. Do you really know the man to whom you’re saying ‘I do?’

Madison Mandelbaum is on top of the world. She’s got a loving — though totally neurotic — family, two fabulous girlfriends, and best of all, she’s head-over-heels in love with Colin Darcy, an investigative reporter for NBC, a distant relation to the Queen, and–most importantly–Maddie’s fiancĂ©. Be careful what you wish for her mother’s always fond of saying, but with Colin on her arm, Maddie is certain that everything will finally go right.

With one week to go before the wedding, Maddie receives an anonymous email that suggests that her fiancĂ© may not be the man she thinks he is. Is this someone’s idea of a pre-wedding joke? Yet as sinister phone calls, text messages, and disturbing clues turn up, all linking Colin to the murder of a sexy callgirl, Maddie realizes that she must get to the bottom of this. Fast.

As the clock counts down towards what was to be the ceremony of her dreams, Maddie’s life is turned into a wild race to find the truth. Between frantic dress fittings, entertaining future in-laws, and putting on a brave face, she and her best friends are propelled into an undercover investigation that plunges them into a seedy underworld of anonymous sex and backroom politics.

As her search brings her ever closer to the knowledge she desperately seeks, Maddie finds her heart being tested in ways she’s never dreamed. Determined to take back her life, she discovers just how far someone in love will go to cover up the truth. And along the way, she stumbles upon a shocking secret she never saw coming.
Did you think Jan Goldstein was a woman? He's not! Find out more about the bestselling author here.

Weekly Word Wednesdays


I don't mean to bring up your pigritude, but that snail overtook you 10 minutes ago.

Save this word and others at Save the Words.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays (started on Should Be Reading) asks you to:

Grab your current read (or a book on your shelf that you've read or been wanting to read). Let the book fall open to a random page. Share two teaser sentences from that page. Don't forget to share the title and author of the book in case someone is teased into reading. Please avoid spoilers!

I've posted my teaser below. Post yours in the comment section if you'd like to share as well!

Frances watches the head bobbing along on the water and thinks, "He's going to find my black and white candy, he's going to eat it, he's going to tell someone in a far-off land what I did." The head is carried off and out of sight toward the sea.

p.151 of Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald

Monday, July 27, 2009

Movie Mondays

Where the Heart Is

Book, 1995 by Billie Letts


A funny thing happens to Novalee Nation on her way to Bakersfield, California. Her ne'er-do-well boyfriend, Willie Jack Pickens, abandons her in an Oklahoma Wal-Mart and takes off on his own, leaving her with just 10 dollars and the clothes on her back. Not that hard luck is anything new to Novalee, who is "seventeen, seven months pregnant, thirty-seven pounds overweight--and superstitious about sevens.... For most people, sevens were lucky. But not for her," Billie Letts writes. "She'd had a bad history with them, starting with her seventh birthday, the day Momma Nell ran away with a baseball umpire named Fred..."Still, finding herself alone and penniless in Sequoyah, Oklahoma is enough to make even someone as inured to ill fortune as Novalee want to give up and die. Fortunately, the Wal-Mart parking lot is the Sequoyah equivalent of a town square, and within hours Novalee has met three people who will change her life: Sister Thelma Husband, a kindly eccentric; Benny Goodluck, a young Native American boy; and Moses Whitecotton, an elderly African American photographer. For the next two months, Novalee surreptitiously makes her home in the Wal-Mart, sleeping there at night, exploring the town by day. This is not a subtle book; there's never any doubt that our heroine will make a home for herself and her baby or that Willy Jack will get what he deserves for abandoning them. Still, Billie Letts has created several memorable characters, and there's always room for another novel that celebrates the life-affirming qualities of reading, the importance of education, and the power of love to change lives.

Movie, 2000 directed by Matt Williams

Features: Natalie Portman, Ashley Judd, Stockard Channing, Joan Cusack, Sally Field

Tagline: Laughter is harder... Friendship is stronger... Trust is deeper... When it comes from the heart.

[Mama Lil]: You got a man?
[Novalee Nation]: No.
[Mama Lil]: Then where is the prick who put you in this mess?
[Novalee Nation]: California.
[Mama Lil]: That figures. All the pricks move to California. They oughta call it Prickafornia.

Have you read or seen Where the Heart Is? Did you read it back in 1998 when Oprah chose it for her book club?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Group Pictures--The Middle Place

Another great book and fun-filled meeting!

Meeting Tonight!

We're meeting @ Susan's house tonight @ 6pm to discuss The Middle Place! See you there!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

August Book!

The August book has been's The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger! We'll have to decide on the best day & time to go see the movie (opens August 14th).

Saturday Spotlight

Today's author is Alice Sebold.

Quick Facts:

1. She was born September 6, 1963 in Madison, Wisconsin.
2. She grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia.
3. She attended Syracuse and during her freshman year, she was attacked and raped; she returned to school a few months later where she recognized her attacker and ensured his conviction.
4. She attended graduate school at the University of Houston.
5. She moved to Manhattan after grad school and held several jobs as a waitress while pursuing her writing career.
6. After 10 years in New York she moved to California, where she became a caretaker of an arts colony, living in a cabin in the woods without electricity.
7. She attended grad school again at the University of California-Irvine, and while there, she began writing the memoir about her rape, Lucky.

8. Her first novel, The Lovely Bones, was published in 2002.

9. The film adaptation of The Lovely Bones is set for release on December 11, 2009; here's the cast:

Saoirse Ronan as Susie Salmon

Rachel Weisz as Abigail Salmon, Susie's mother

Mark Wahlberg as Jack Salmon, Susie's father

Stanley Tucci as George Harvey, Susie's neighbor

Susan Sarandon as Lynn, Susie's grandmother and Abigail's mother

Rose McIver as Lindsey Salmon, Susie's sister

Michael Imperioli as Len Fenerman, police detective

Reece Ritchie as Ray Singh, Susie's mutual love interest

Carolyn Dando as Ruth Conners, Susie's classmate

Amanda Michalka as Clarissa, Susie’s best friend

10. Her second novel, The Almost Moon, was published in 2007.

Have you read any of her books? Who wants to see this movie? I definitely do.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Feature Fridays

Today's classic is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) by Mark Twain.


Hilariously picaresque, epic in scope, alive with the poetry and vigor of the American people, Mark Twain's story about a young boy and his journey down the Mississippi was the first great novel to speak in a truly American voice. Influencing subsequent generations of writers— from Sherwood Anderson to Twain's fellow Missourian, T.S. Eliot, from Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner to J.D. Salinger—Huckleberry Finn, like the river which flows through its pages, is one of the great sources which nourished and still nourishes the literature of America.

Here's the beginning:
You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth. That is nothing. I never seen anybody but lied one time or another, without it was Aunt Polly, or the widow, or maybe Mary. Aunt Polly -- Tom's Aunt Polly, she is -- and Mary, and the Widow Douglas is all told about in that book, which is mostly a true book, with some stretchers, as I said before.
Read the rest of Huckleberry Finn at The Online Literature Library.

If you've read it, take a quiz to test your memory at SparkNotes.

Have you read Huck Finn? Tom Sawyer too?
Make sure to vote for the August book!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thoughts for Thursday

What's the best book you've never read (a classic or bestseller that pretty much everyone loves but you haven't gotten around to or don't want to read)?

I would say Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. It's not that I don't want to read it, I just haven't yet. I obviously need to because it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937 and is one of the most popular books of all time with more than 28 million copies sold. The American film adaptation became the highest-grossing film in Hollywood history and received a record-breaking number of Academy Awards.

Find other thoughts at BTT.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Borders Bestsellers

What's hot now?

Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan

A sparkling debut novel: a tender story of friendship, a witty take on liberal arts colleges, and a fascinating portrait of the first generation of women who have all the choices in the world, but no clear idea about which choices to make.

Classmates their first year at Smith College, Celia, Bree, Sally, and April couldn’t be more different. Alone and together, they soon learn that Smith is a hothouse: of sexual discovery, political activism, female bonding, and carbohydrates eaten with abandon. And although several years after graduation they live in far-flung places, their Smith years have left them fiercely devoted to one another. Schooled in the ideals of feminism, they must decide how it all applies to their own real world in matters of love, work, family, and sex. For Celia, Bree, and Sally, it will mean grappling with one-night stands, loneliness and heartbreak, parental disapproval, and changing maiden names. But for April, whose college activism becomes her life’s work, it will mean something else entirely.

Written with radiant style and a wicked sense of humor, Commencement not only captures the intensity of college friendships and first loves, but also explores with great candor the complicated and contradictory landscape facing young women today.

J. Courtney Sullivan is a contributor to Check it out!

Weekly Word Wednesdays

removing warts and calluses

Podiatrists often prescribe ectylotic medicines to patients with hyperkeratotic lesions.

Adopt this word and others at Save the Words.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays (started on Should Be Reading) asks you to:

Grab your current read (or a book on your shelf that you've read or been wanting to read). Let the book fall open to a random page. Share two teaser sentences from that page. Don't forget to share the title and author of the book in case someone is teased into reading. Please avoid spoilers!

I've posted my teaser below. Post yours in the comment section if you'd like to share as well!

This morning she woke from a dream of killing Lily, and it comforts Beth to dream of killing Lily. Not in the way someone might think.

p.105 of The Secret Sisters by Joni Rodgers

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife--Movie

The movie version of The Time Traveler's Wife is set for release on August 14th. If we choose that book, we could also go see the movie and incorporate it into our discussion. Watch the trailer and see what you think.

Just an idea...I don't want to force anyone into picking that book!

Movie Mondays

The Other Boleyn Girl

Book, 2001 by Philippa Gregory


When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family's ambitious plots as the king's interest begins to wane and she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. Then Mary knows that she must defy her family and her king, and take her fate into her own hands.

A rich and compelling tale of love, sex, ambition, and intrigue, The Other Boleyn Girl introduces a woman of extraordinary determination and desire who lived at the heart of the most exciting and glamorous court in Europe and survived by following her own heart.

Movie, 2008 directed by Justin Chadwick

Features: Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Eric Bana

Tagline: The only thing that could come between these sisters... is a kingdom.

Did you know? There are plans to film a sequel based on another of Phillipa Gregory's novels, The Boleyn Inheritance.

Have you read or seen The Other Boleyn Girl? Did you like it enough to read anymore of Gregory's books? Will you see the new movie when it comes out?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

August Book Choices!

Natalie is hosting the next club meeting in August! Here are her three for the one that sounds the best!

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

Sweeping and lyrical, spellbinding and unforgettable, David Ebershoff’s The 19th Wife combines epic historical fiction with a modern murder mystery to create a brilliant novel of literary suspense.

It is 1875, and Ann Eliza Young has recently separated from her powerful husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. Expelled and an outcast, Ann Eliza embarks on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. A rich account of a family’s polygamous history is revealed, including how a young woman became a plural wife.

Soon after Ann Eliza’s story begins, a second exquisite narrative unfolds–a tale of murder involving a polygamist family in present-day Utah. Jordan Scott, a young man who was thrown out of his fundamentalist sect years earlier, must reenter the world that cast him aside in order to discover the truth behind his father’s death.

And as Ann Eliza’s narrative intertwines with that of Jordan’s search, readers are pulled deeper into the mysteries of love and faith.

Testimony by Anita Shreve

At a New England boarding school, a sex scandal is about to break. Even more shocking than the sexual acts themselves is the fact that they were caught on videotape. A Pandora's box of revelations, the tape triggers a chorus of voices--those of the men, women, teenagers, and parents involved in the scandal--that details the ways in which lives can be derailed or destroyed in one foolish moment.

Writing with a pace and intensity surpassing even her own greatest work, Anita Shreve delivers in Testimony a gripping emotional drama with the impact of a thriller. No one more compellinglyexplores the dark impulses that sway the lives of seeming innocents, the needs and fears that drive ordinary men and women into intolerable dilemmas, and the ways in which our best intentions can lead to our worst transgressions.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Audrey Niffenegger's innovative debut, The Time Traveler's Wife, is the story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry finds himself periodically displaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

The Time Traveler's Wife depicts the effects of time travel on Henry and Clare's marriage and their passionate love for each other, as the story unfolds from both points of view. Clare and Henry attempt to live normal lives, pursuing familiar goals - steady jobs, good friends, children of their own. All of this is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control, making their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.

You have one week to vote!

Sunday Survey

Have you finished The Middle Place? One week left!

5=I love it!
4=I really like it.
3=I like it.
2=It's just okay.
1=I don't like it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday Spotlight

Today's author is Cormac McCarthy.

Quick Facts:

1. He was born July 20, 1933 in Providence, Rhode Island.
2. He attended the University of Tennessee and was a liberal arts major, but he never finished his degree.
3. He was in the United States Airforce for 4 years.
4. His first novel, The Orchard Keeper, was published by Random House in 1965.

5. In 1979 his 4th novel, Suttree, was finally published after he'd worked on it for twenty years.

6. He won the MacArthur Fellowship in 1981.
7. He finally earned widespread recognition in 1992 with his National Book Award Winner, All the Pretty Horses.
8. His 2005 book, No Country for Old Men, was adapted for film by the Coen Brothers; it won 4 Oscars including Best Picture.

9. His latest book, The Road (2006), won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature.

10. He had never done a television interview until 2007 when he appeared on Oprah; she had selected The Road for her book club.

Have you read any of his books?

I haven't yet, but a couple of them are on my 100 prize winners challenge list. I did see No Country for Old Men and was not a fan (Brad liked it, though.)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Feature Fridays

Today's classic is The Crucible (1953) by Arthur Miller.

Arthur Miller's classic parable of mass hysteria draws a chilling parallel between the Salem witch-hunt of 1692 - one of the strangest and most awful chapters in human history - and the McCarthyism which gripped America in the 1950s. The story of how the small community of Salem is stirred into madness by superstition, paranoia and malice, culminating in a violent climax, is a savage attack on the evils of mindless persecution and the terrifying power of false accusations.

If you've read The Crucible, take a quiz to test your memory.

Have you read The Crucible? If not, have you seen Arthur Miller's own film adaption (1996) starring Winona Ryder?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thoughts for Thursday

Whose is the most interesting memoir, biography or autobiography you've read?

Since I've posted a few times already about Prairie Tale, I'll choose something else. The most interesting memoir I've read is probably Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia by Marya Hornbacher. I read it for an Adolescent Psychology class in grad school. * This book isn't recommended for those suffering from an eating disorder. *

Eating disorders are frequently written about but rarely with such immediacy and candor. Hornbacher was only 23 years old when she wrote this book so there is no sense of her having distanced herself from the disease or its lingering effects on her. This, combined with her talent for writing, gives readers a real sense of the horror of anorexia and bulimia and their power to dominate an individual's life. The author was bulimic as a fourth grader and anorexic at age 15. She was hospitalized several times and institutionalized once. By 1993 she was attending college and working as a journalist. Her weight had dropped to 52 pounds and doctors in the emergency room gave her only a week to live. She left the hospital, decided she wanted to live, then walked back and signed herself in for treatment. This is not a quick or an easy read. Hornbacher talks about possible causes for the illnesses and describes feeling isolated, being in complete denial, and not wanting to change or fearing change, until she nearly died. Young people will connect with this compelling and authentic story.
I was curious if she wrote a follow-up since she was only 23 at the time Wasted was published. I checked into it and it seems she has also written another memoir (2008) called Madness: A Bipolar Life.

When Marya Hornbacher published her first book, Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia, she did not yet know the reason for her all-but-shattered young life. At age twenty-four, Hornbacher was diagnosed with Type 1 rapid-cycle bipolar, the most severe form of bipolar disease there is.

In Madness, in her trademark wry and utterly self-revealing voice, Hornbacher tells her new story. Through scenes of astonishing visceral and emotional power, she takes us inside her own desperate attempts to control violently careening mood swings by self-starvation, substance abuse, numbing sex, and self-mutilation. How Hornbacher fights her way up from a madness that all but destroys her, and what it is like to live in a difficult and sometimes beautiful life and marriage—where bipolar always beckons—is at the heart of this brave and heart-stopping memoir.

Madness delivers the revelation that Hornbacher is not alone: there are millions of people in America struggling with a variety of disorders that may mask their true diagnosis of bipolar. Also, Hornbacher's fiercely self-aware portrait of her own bipolar as early as age four will powerfully change the current debate on whether bipolar in children exists.

This storm of a memoir will provoke, educate, and move.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Weekly Word Wednesdays


Brad and I see many oporopolists on Saturday mornings when we go to the Soulard Farmers' Market with my mom and dad.

Adopt this word and others at Save the Words.
Related Posts with Thumbnails