Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday Wish List

The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian

When college sophomore Laurel Estabrook is attacked while riding her bicycle through Vermont’s back roads, her life is forever changed. Formerly outgoing, Laurel withdraws into her photography and begins to work at a homeless shelter. There she meets Bobbie Crocker, a man with a history of mental illness and a box of photographs that he won’t let anyone see. When Bobbie dies suddenly, Laurel discovers that he was telling the truth: before he was homeless, Bobbie Crocker was a successful photographer who had indeed worked with such legends as Chuck Berry, Robert Frost, and Eartha Kitt.

As Laurel’s fascination with Bobbie’s former life begins to merge into obsession, she becomes convinced that some of his photographs reveal a deeply hidden, dark family secret. Her search for the truth will lead her further from her old life—and into a cat-and-mouse game with pursuers who claim they want to save her.

In this spellbinding literary thriller, rich with complex and compelling characters, Chris Bohjalian takes readers on his most intriguing, most haunting, and most unforgettable journey yet.

I became familiar with Chris Bohjalian when I read Midwives. I can't believe I haven't read more of his books! They all sound just as good as this one.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

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 (or a few) 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!

"You know that underwear thief has stolen again," says Gregory, sliding his hands around his Big One coffee as if he needs to keep them warm. "And he's planning worse."

from The Suburbs of Heaven by Merle Drown

Monday, June 28, 2010

Movie Mondays

Girl, Interrupted

Book, 1993 by Susanna Kaysen

In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she'd never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years on the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital as renowned for its famous clientele—Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, and Ray Charles—as for its progressive methods of treating those who could afford its sanctuary.

Kaysen's memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perception while providing vivid portraits of her fellow patients and their keepers. It is a brilliant evocation of a "parallel universe" set within the kaleidoscopically shifting landscape of the late sixties. Girl, Interrupted is a clear-sighted, unflinching documnet that gives lasting and specific dimension to our definitions of sane and insane, mental illness and recovery.

Movie, 1999 directed by James Mangold

Features: Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Brittany Murphy

Tagline: Sometimes the only way to stay sane is to go a little crazy.

Awards: Angelina Jolie won the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress.

Have you read the book or seen the movie? Did you know it was a true story?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Survey

Has anyone started Olive Kitteridge?

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

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday Spotlight

Today's author is Jen Lancaster.

Jen Lancaster was once a successful technology sales executive. She lost her job after Spetember 11th and started writing and keeping a blog soon after. Her first book was published in 2006: Bitter is the New Black.

Four other books soon followed...

You can read more about her on her blog, Jennsylvania.

Have you read any of her books?

Group Pictures-Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

What a great and dried fruit!!! Our overall rating for this one...3 hearts. We liked it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Meeting Today & Member Profile-Heather

We're meeting today at Heather's house @ 6pm to discuss Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.

Here's a little info about our hostess this month...

What is your favorite book? Little House in the Big Woods

Who is your favorite author? Currently....Jennifer Lancaster

What is your favorite type of book to read? Mystery

Who is your most loved fictional character? Lindsay Boxer from the Women's Murder Club series by James Patterson

If you could force everyone you know to read one book, what would it be? The Bible

What is the most difficult book you've ever read (you had to actually finish it)? George Orwell's 1984

What's the last book you read? My Fair Lazy (Jen Lancaster)

How many books do you own? Less than 50

Paperbacks or hardbacks? Hardback

Has any book changed your life? The Bible

Feature Fridays

Today's classic is A Clockwork Orange (1963) by Anthony Burgess.

Told by the central character, Alex, this brilliant, hilarious, and disturbing novel creates an alarming futuristic vision of violence, high technology, and authoritarianism. Anthony Burgess' 1963 classic stands alongside Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World as a classic of twentieth century post-industrial alienation, often shocking us into a thoughtful exploration of the meaning of free will and the conflict between good and evil.

Adrift in the impersonal, iron-gray society of the superstate, the novel's main character, 15-year-old Alex, leads his gang of teenage rockers in all night orgies of random violence and destruction. This is Alex's story- of rapes and stompings and rumbles with the police, of prison life and the frightful "Ludovico Technique" by which Alex is "reconditioned" into a model citizen, and of his subsequent adventures as a mindless pawn in the cynical hands of the authorities.

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

Did you know? Burgess wrote the original book with 21 chapters but the last chapter was cut in the American publication.

Have you read it (or seen the 1971 movie adaptation directed by Stanley Kubrick)?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thoughts for Thursday

I know, it's only June, but have you started thinking about what you want to read for book club next year? Where do you get your ideas?

Reading Group Guides is always a good place to look. On their website they shared 30 "book club perfect" selections as chosen and presented by the publishers @ BookExpo America in New York.

I think this one sounds really good:

Up from the Blue by Susan Henderson

When Tillie Harris goes into labor with her first child, nothing is right. Her husband is away on business, the boxes in her new home aren’t unpacked, and the telephone isn’t even connected yet. Forced to reach out to her estranged father for help, their first contact in years, Tillie must face the painful memories she’s been running from since she was a little girl—the memories of her own mother and the year that changed everything.

As a child, Tillie’s home was a manic and messy world with her mother, Mara, at its center. While some days brought dancing, dress-up, and laughter, others became long hours of listening to Mara cry, depressed and unable get out of bed. When Tillie’s father takes a top job at the Pentagon and forces the family to move, and as Mara’s worsening condition can no longer be ignored, Tillie’s life spirals out of control.

When the family arrives at their new home in Washington, Tillie’s mother has vanished—a stunning development made even more disorienting by her father’s refusal to discuss what happened. As he tries to impose a new, orderly pattern to family life, Tillie’s fertile imagination attempts to fill in the missing gaps, inventing elaborate narratives about what might have happened, and about her father’s culpability. But when the veil is lifted and the mystery revealed, Tillie discovers that the truth behind her mother’s disappearance is far more complicated than she could have imagined.

It comes out in September.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday Wish List

Confessions of a Prairie Bitch by Alison Arngrim

For seven years, Alison Arngrim played a wretched, scheming, selfish, lying, manipulative brat on one of TV history's most beloved series. Though millions of Little House on the Prairie viewers hated Nellie Oleson and her evil antics, Arngrim grew to love her character—and the freedom and confidence Nellie inspired in her.

In Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, Arngrim describes growing up in Hollywood with her eccentric parents: Thor Arngrim, a talent manager to Liberace and others, whose appetite for publicity was insatiable, and legendary voice actress Norma MacMillan, who played both Gumby and Casper the Friendly Ghost. She recalls her most cherished and often wickedly funny moments behind the scenes of Little House: Michael Landon's "unsaintly" habit of not wearing underwear; how she and Melissa Gilbert (who played her TV nemesis, Laura Ingalls) became best friends and accidentally got drunk on rum cakes at 7-Eleven; and the only time she and Katherine MacGregor (who played Nellie's mom) appeared in public in costume, provoking a posse of elementary schoolgirls to attack them.

Arngrim relays all this and more with biting wit, but she also bravely recounts her life's challenges: her struggle to survive a history of traumatic abuse, depression, and paralyzing shyness; the "secret" her father kept from her for twenty years; and the devastating loss of her "Little House husband" and best friend, Steve Tracy, to AIDS, which inspired her second career in social and political activism. Arngrim describes how Nellie Oleson taught her to be bold, daring, and determined, and how she is eternally grateful to have had the biggest little bitch on the prairie to show her the way.

Doesn't she look exactly the same?

I can't wait to read this book! I loved Melissa Gilbert's Prairie Tale and am so excited to read this one too. I still love watching Little House re-runs!

Were you a Little House fan?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

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 (or a few) 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!

He had been trained to consider the fact that 85 percent of the cases they investigated were hoaxes perpetrated by people who either wanted to waste their time, or get on national TV, or prove that paranormal investigation was anything but a science. He couldn't count how many times they'd found a speaker hidden in the moaning wall; fishing line wrapped around a quaking chandelier.

from Second Glance by Jodi Picoult

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Challenge 2010

Can you believe it's summer already? It's time for a new seasonal reading challenge! I was thinking that this time we could read 3 books by a favorite author. I'm choosing Jodi Picoult. I haven't read one of her books in awhile now and summer seems like the perfect time. You can choose her or any other author. Let me know what author and which books you pick.

I'm choosing Vanishing Acts, Perfect Match and Second Glance.

The Summer Challenge starts today and runs through September 21st!

Movie Mondays

Julie & Julia

Book, 2005 by Julie Powell

With the humor of Bridget Jones and the vitality of Augusten Burroughs, Julie Powell recounts how she conquered every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and saved her soul.

Julie Powell is 30-years-old, living in a rundown apartment in Queens and working at a soul-sucking secretarial job that's going nowhere. She needs something to break the monotony of her life, and she invents a deranged assignment. She will take her mother's dog-eared copy of Julia Child's 1961 classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and she will cook all 524 recipes. In the span of one year. At first she thinks it will be easy. But as she moves from the simple Potage Parmentier (potato soup) into the more complicated realm of aspics and crepes, she realizes there's more to Mastering the Art of French Cooking than meets the eye. With Julia's stern warble always in her ear, Julie haunts the local butcher, buying kidneys and sweetbreads. She sends her husband on late-night runs for yet more butter and rarely serves dinner before midnight. She discovers how to mold the perfect Orange Bavarian, the trick to extracting marrow from bone, and the intense pleasure of eating liver. And somewhere along the line she realizes she has turned her kitchen into a miracle of creation and cuisine. She has eclipsed her life's ordinariness through spectacular humor, hysteria, and perseverance.

Movie, 2009 directed by Nora Ephron

Features: Amy Adams, Meryl Streep

Tagline: Passion. Ambition. Butter. Do You Have What It Takes?

Awards: Meryl Streep was nominated for the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. She won the Golden Globe but Sandra Bullock beat her out for the Oscar for The Blindside.

Julie Powell's blog during the year of cooking and beyond was called the Julie/Julia Project. Have you visited it?

Have you read the book or seen the movie?

We just got a new TV package that includes movie channels (yay!) and I was up sick last night and decided to watch Julie & Julia. I was very surprised by how much I liked it and would definitely recommend seeing the movie. I always enjoy books and movies with more than one story line. I'm even kind of tempted to try cooking some of the recipes from Julia Child's book (or make Brad do it!).

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Did you complete the Spring Challenge?

Well, spring ends today and I'm sad to report that I did not complete the challenge. Spring went by very quickly and I spent most of my time planning and making things for my sister's wedding. Now that it's over, I need to get back to my regular reading routine! I still really want to read my 3 spring books, so I'm going to unofficially add them on to my summer challenge list.

How about you? Did you do better than me?

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