Sunday, February 28, 2010

Group Picture--The 19th Wife

Another lively discussion...We gave 4 hearts to The 19th Wife!

no. 9 of 52

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

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.

To sum it up: captivating, astounding, lengthy. There was a lot of information in this book. It could get confusing as I wondered what was history and what was fiction. I should have read the author's note first. Overall, I did really enjoy the book. I like interconnected stories told by multiple narrators. I would have liked to read more about Jordan, though.

Meeting Today & Member Profile-Karen

We're meeting today @ Karen's house @ 3:30 to discuss The 19th Wife!

About our host this month...

What is your favorite book? Gone with the Wind

Who is your favorite author? James Patterson

What is your favorite type of book to read? Mystery

Who is your most loved fictional character? Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables

If you could force everyone you know to read one book, what would it be? The Last Lecture--everyone should know how to die with dignity.

What is the most difficult book you've ever read (you had to actually finish it)? Moby Dick and Red Badge of Courage--I hated both of them.

What's the last book you read? The Help (which is fabulous!)

How many books do you own? If you are talking adult books, probably somewhere around 200. If I added in the books I have purchased for my classroom I'd say it was around 800-1000.

Paperbacks or hardbacks (or e-books)? e-books, but hardbacks (because of the smell) are a close second.

Has any book changed your life? I think of Still Alice. It gave such insight into such a horrid illness that I can understand more fully what families go through. I really don't think suicide is an answer to anything, but if I had to live through that I might change my mind.

I love to read because of my mom. She was a reader and encouraged us to read. For that I am eternally grateful.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday Spotlight

Today's author is Judith Guest.

1. She was born March 29, 1936 in Detroit.
2. She earned her BA in education at the University of Michigan.
3. She was a public school teacher before becoming a novelist.
4. Her first novel, Ordinary People, was published in 1976; it was made into a movie that won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1980.

5. Her novels are known for dealing with family crisis.
6. Her most recent book, The Tarnished Eye, is based on a true unsolved crime that took place near her hometown in Michigan.

7. She is the great-niece of Edgar A. Guest.

Have you read anything by Judith Guest?

I loved Ordinary People! It's one of my favorite books. I did some type of analysis on it for junior English...I wonder if I still have it? Even though the movie won Best Picture, it still couldn't compare to the book.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Feature Fridays

Today's classic is The Odyssey by ancient Greek epic poet Homer.

After ten long years of war Troy is finally destroyed and the besieging Greeks depart for home. Odysseus and his men set sail for Ithaca, but their journey is far from easy. Captured by Cyclops then detained by the nymph Calypso, it is only after a visit to the underworld and a miraculous escape from the witch Circe that Odysseus finally regains his island kingdom. But many years have passed since he was last there, and things are not as he left them.

The Odyssey is literature's grandest evocation of everyman's journey through life.

The Odyssey is the sequel to The Iliad, the other epic poem attributed to Homer.

You can read The Odyssey online at Page by Page Books (and The Iliad at Read Print).

Have you read either of Homer's classic epic poems?

I remember reading both of them in freshman English at Rosati. I have to admit that I don't really remember them that well!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thoughts for Thursday

What's your favorite story or novel that has been adapted into a Disney movie?

My childhood favorite was Pinocchio! I remember I had a record of the story that I played on repeat all the time. The novel (The Adventures of Pinocchio) was written by Carlo Collodi. Remember Jiminy Cricket? He was a main character in the Disney movie but was a relatively minor character in the novel and was unnamed (The Talking Cricket).

The old wood-carver Geppetto decides to make a wonderful puppet which can dance and turn somersaults, but by chance he chooses an unusual piece of wood - and the finished puppet can talk and misbehave like the liveliest child. But Pinocchio is brave and inquisitive as well as naughty, and after some hair-raising adventures, he earns his heart's desire.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday Wish List

The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley

A year ago, Ann and Peter Brooks were just another unhappily married couple trying–and failing–to keep their relationship together while they raised two young daughters. Now the world around them is about to be shaken as Peter, a university researcher, comes to a startling realization: A virulent pandemic has made the terrible leap across the ocean to America’s heartland.

And it is killing fifty out of every hundred people it touches.

As their town goes into lockdown, Peter is forced to return home–with his beautiful graduate assistant. But the Brookses’ safe suburban world is no longer the refuge it once was. Food grows scarce, and neighbor turns against neighbor in grocery stores and at gas pumps. And then a winter storm strikes, and the community is left huddling in the dark.

Trapped inside the house she once called home, Ann Brooks must make life-or-death decisions in an environment where opening a door to a neighbor could threaten all the things she holds dear.

Carla Buckley’s poignant debut raises important questions to which there are no easy answers, in an emotionally riveting tale of one family facing unimaginable stress.

Read an excerpt of The Things That Keep Us Here. The book was just released on Feb. 9th.

Tuesday, February 23, 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!

The triumph of a culture of honor helps to explain why the pattern of criminality in the American South has always been so distinctive. Murder rates are higher there than in the rest of the country.

from Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Monday, February 22, 2010

Movie Mondays

In Her Shoes

Book, 2002 by Jennifer Weiner

Meet Rose Feller. She's thirty years old and a high-powered attorney with a secret passion for romance novels. She dreams of a man who will slide off her glasses, gaze into her eyes, and tell her that she's beautiful. She also dreams of getting her fantastically screwed-up little sister to get her life. together.

Meet Rose's sister, Maggie. Twenty-eight years old, drop-dead gorgeous and only occasionally employed. Although her dreams of big-screen stardom haven't progressed, Maggie dreams of fame and fortune -- and of getting her dowdy big sister to stick to a skin-care regime.

These two women with nothing in common but childhood tragedy, shared DNA, and the same size feet, are about to learn that their family is more different than they ever imagine, and that they're more alike, than they'd ever believe. In Her Shoes observes Rose and Maggie, the brain and the beauty, as they make journeys of discovery. Along the way, the'll encounter a wild cast of characters and they'll borrow shoes and clothes and boyfriends, and make peace with their most intimate enemies -- each other.

Funny and poignant, In Her Shoes will speak to anyone who has endured the bonds of big -- or little -- sisterhood, or longed for a life different from the one the world has dictated, and dreamed of trying something else on for size.

Movie, 2005 directed by Curtis Hanson

Features: Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette, Shirley MacLaine

Tagline: Friends. Rivals. Sisters.

Awards: Nominated for a Golden Globe, Best Supporting Actress (Shirley MacLaine)

Have you read the book or seen the movie?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

no. 6, 7 & 8 of 52

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

It's a book about change. In particular, it's a book that presents a new way of understanding why change so often happens as quickly and as unexpectedly as it does. For example, why did crime drop so dramatically in New York City in the mid-1990's? How does a novel written by an unknown author end up as national bestseller? Why do teens smoke in greater and greater numbers, when every single person in the country knows that cigarettes kill? Why is word-of-mouth so powerful? What makes TV shows like Sesame Street so good at teaching kids how to read? I think the answer to all those questions is the same. It's that ideas and behavior and messages and products sometimes behave just like outbreaks of infectious disease. They are social epidemics. The Tipping Point is an examination of the social epidemics that surround us.

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

It's a book about rapid cognition, about the kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye. When you meet someone for the first time, or walk into a house you are thinking of buying, or read the first few sentences of a book, your mind takes about two seconds to jump to a series of conclusions. Well, Blink is a book about those two seconds, because I think those instant conclusions that we reach are really powerful and really important and, occasionally, really good. You could also say that it's a book about intuition, except that I don't like that word. In fact it never appears in Blink. Intuition strikes me as a concept we use to describe emotional reactions, gut feelings--thoughts and impressions that don't seem entirely rational. But I think that what goes on in that first two seconds is perfectly rational. It's thinking--its just thinking that moves a little faster and operates a little more mysteriously than the kind of deliberate, conscious decision-making that we usually associate with "thinking." In Blink I'm trying to understand those two seconds. What is going on inside our heads when we engage in rapid cognition? When are snap judgments good and when are they not? What kinds of things can we do to make our powers of rapid cognition better?

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

"Outlier" is a scientific term to describe things or phenomena that lie outside normal experience. In the summer, in Paris, we expect most days to be somewhere between warm and very hot. But imagine if you had a day in the middle of August where the temperature fell below freezing. That day would be outlier. And while we have a very good understanding of why summer days in Paris are warm or hot, we know a good deal less about why a summer day in Paris might be freezing cold. In this book I'm interested in people who are outliers—in men and women who, for one reason or another, are so accomplished and so extraordinary and so outside of ordinary experience that they are as puzzling to the rest of us as a cold day in August.

To sum these up: easy to read, make you think, entertaining. I really enjoyed these books. I think he has a lot of interesting and informative things to say. I still have one left to complete the Winter Challenge!

Sunday Survey

How's The 19th Wife coming along? One week left to finish it!

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, February 20, 2010

Saturday Spotlight

Today's author is Joseph Monninger.

1. He was born October 28, 1953 in Baltimore, but he grew up in New Jersey.
2. He attended Temple where he played football.
3. He once served in the Peace Corps.
4. He used to compete in sled dog sprint races.
5. He has hitch-hiked across the US.
6. He has taught at various schools, the latest being Plymouth State University.
7. He has written many novels and 3 non-fiction books.
8. His work has appeared in various publications including American Heritage, Scientific American, Readers Digest and many more.
9. His latest novel, Eternal on the Water, came out this week.

From the day Cobb and Mary meet kayaking on Maine's Allagash River and fall deeply in love, the two approach life with the same sense of adventure they use to conquer the river's treacherous rapids. But rivers do not let go so easily...and neither does their love. So when Mary's life takes the cruelest turn, she vows to face those rough waters on her own terms and asks Cobb to promise, when the time comes, to help her return to their beloved river for one final journey.

Set against the rugged wilderness of Maine, the exotic islands of Indonesia, the sweeping panoramas of Yellowstone National Park, and the tranquil villages of rural New England, Eternal on the Water is at once heartbreaking and uplifting — a timeless, beautifully rendered story of true love's power.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Feature Fridays

Today's classic is Moll Flanders (1722) by Daniel Defoe.

Written by Defoe in 1722 under a pseudonym so his readers would think it an actual journal of the ribald fortunes and misfortunes of a woman in eighteenth-century London, the book remains a picaresque novel of astonishing vitality. From her birth in Newgate Prison to her ascent to a position of wealth and stature, Moll Flanders demonstrates both a mercantile spirit and an indomitable will. This vivid saga of an irresistible and notorious heroine—her high misdemeanors and delinquencies, her varied careers as a prostitute, a charming and faithful wife, a thief, and a convict—endures today as one of the liveliest, most candid records of a woman's progress through the hypocritical labyrinth of society ever recorded.

You can read it for free online at Read Print.

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

Did you know? It is also called The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders.

Have you read it? Have you seen the 1996 film starring Robin Wright Penn?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thoughts for Thursday

What's the earliest book you can remember reading (on your own)?

I remember reading all of the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books: Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm, Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and Happy Birthday, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. I never realized they had been around since 1947.

Everyone loves Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. She lives in an upside-down house and smells like cookies. She was even married to a pirate once. Most of all, she knows everything about children. She can cure them of any ailment. Patsy hates baths. Robert never puts anything away. Allen eats v-e-r-y slowly. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has a treatment for all of them.

The series was written by Betty MacDonald.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

100 Books Project

How's the 100 Books Project coming along? Half of our club is now participating: Kate, Veronica, Linda and Karen. You can see our book lists, slideshows and montages in the right hand column.

My list includes 100 prize-winning books (Pulitzer, Man Booker, etc).
Veronica's list includes 100 books by authors she's never read before.
Linda's list includes 100 books she's acquired over the years but never read.
Karen's list includes 100 books she's been meaning to read.

We have 5 years to complete our 100 books...I'm stuck on #6.

Wednesday Wish List

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

This debut page-turner from Australian Kate Morton recounts the crumbling of a prominent British family as seen through the eyes of one of its servants. At 14, Grace Reeves leaves home to work for her mother's former employers at Riverton House. She is the same age as Hannah, the headstrong middle child who visits her uncle, Lord Ashbury, at Riverton House with her siblings Emmeline and David. Fascinated, Grace observes their comings and goings and, as an invisible maid, is privy to the secrets she will spend "a lifetime pretending to forget." But when a filmmaker working on a movie about the family contacts a 98-year-old Grace to fact-check particulars, the memories come swirling back. The plot largely revolves around sisters Hannah and Emmeline, who were present when a family friend, the young poet R.S. Hunter, allegedly committed suicide at Riverton. Grace hints throughout the narrative that no one knows the real story, and as she chronicles Hannah's schemes to have her own life and the curdling of younger Emmeline's jealousy, the truth about the poet's death is revealed. Morton triumphs with a riveting plot, a touching but tense love story and a haunting ending.

The Riverton House is her first novel; her second novel is called The Forgotten Garden. Her latest novel, The Distant Hours, will be released later this year.

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