Monday, January 31, 2011

Movie Mondays

The Blank Wall | The Deep End

Book, 1947 by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding

Movie, 2001 directed by Scott McGehee & David Siegel

Features: Tilda Swinton, Goran Visnjic, Jonathan Tucker

Storyline: With her husband perpetually away at work, a mother raises her children virtually alone. Her teenage son is testing the waters of the adult world, and early one morning she wakes to find the dead body of his gay lover on the beach of their rural lakeside home. What would you do? What is rational and what do you do to protect your child? How far do you go and when do you stop?

Awards: Tilda Swinton was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actress.

Have you read the book or seen the movie?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Survey

How do you like The Truth-Teller's Lie?

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

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday Wish List

Rescue by Anita Shreve

A rookie paramedic pulls a young woman alive from her totaled car, a first rescue that begins a lifelong tangle of love and wreckage. Sheila Arsenault is a gorgeous enigma--streetwise and tough-talking, with haunted eyes, fierce desires, and a never-look-back determination. Peter Webster, as straight an arrow as they come, falls for her instantly and entirely. Soon Sheila and Peter are embroiled in an intense love affair, married, and parents to a baby daughter. Like the crash that brought them together, it all happened so fast.

Can you ever really save another person? Eighteen years later, Sheila is long gone and Peter is raising their daughter, Rowan, alone. But Rowan is veering dangerously off track, and for the first time in their ordered existence together, Webster fears for her future. His work shows him daily every danger the world contains, how wrong everything can go in a second. All the love a father can give a daughter is suddenly not enough.

Sheila's sudden return may be a godsend--or it may be exactly the wrong moment for a lifetime of questions and anger and longing to surface anew. What tore a young family apart? Is there even worse damage ahead? The questions lifted up in Anita Shreve's utterly enthralling new novel are deep and lasting, and this is a novel that could only have been written by a master of the human heart.

See what Anita has to say about her newest book.

Are you an Anita Shreve fan? Which one of her books is your favorite?

I've read a bunch of her books, but I think my favorite was Body Surfing.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Survey

Has anyone started reading The Truth-Teller's Lie?

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

Friday, January 21, 2011

Feature Fridays

Today's classic is Main Street (1920) by Sinclair Lewis.

The first of Sinclair Lewis' great successes, Main Street shattered the sentimental American myth of happy small-town life with its satire of narrow-minded provincialism. Reflecting his own unhappy childhood in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, Lewis' sixth novel attacked the conformity and dullness he saw in midwestern village life. Young college graduate Carol Milford moves from the city to tiny Gopher Prairie after marrying the local doctor, and tries to bring culture to the small town. But her efforts to reform the prairie village are met by a wall of gossip, greed, conventionality, pitifully unambitious cultural endeavors, and--worst of all--the pettiness and bigotry of small town minds.

Lewis' portrayal of a marriage town by disillusionment and a woman forced into compromises is at once devastating social satire and persuasive realism. His subtle characterizations and intimate details of small town America make Main Street a complex and compelling work and established Lewis as an important figure in twentieth-century literature.

You can read Main Street online for free at The Literature Page.

Did you know? Lewis was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for one of his other works, but he refused it. He also won the Nobel Prize in Literature, which he accepted.

Have you read this classic or anything else by Sinclair Lewis?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thoughts for Thursday

If you read The Hunger Games trilogy, did it make you want to read more young adult books?

I loved The Hunger Games trilogy! It's like nothing else I've ever read before. If Suzanne Collins writes more I would definitely try it. I'm not sure I'm going to get into young adult reading in general, though. Karen did mention a new trilogy that might be interesting. Have you heard of it? The first book (Nov 2010) is called Matched and the second (Nov 2011) is called Crossed. The third (Nov 2012) is still Untitled.

Matched by Ally Condie

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday Wish List

Precious and Fragile Things by Megan Hart

Gilly Soloman has been reduced to a mothering machine, taking care of everyone and everything except herself. But the machine has broken down. Burnt out by the endless days of crying children and menial tasks, and exhausted from always putting herself last, Gilly doesn't immediately consider the consequences when she's carjacked. With a knife to her throat, her first thought is that she'll finally get some rest. Someone can save her for a change.

But salvation isn't so forthcoming. Stranded in a remote, snowbound cabin with this stranger, hours turn to days, days into weeks. As time forges a fragile bond between them, she learns her captor is not the lunatic she first believed, but a human being whose wasted life has been shaped by secrets and tragedy. Yet even as their connection begins to foster trust, Gilly knows she must never forget he's still a man teetering on the edge. One who just might take her with him.

Have you heard of Megan Hart? She is known for her Contemporary Erotic Romance/Short Fiction and Fantasy/Science Fiction/Paranormal Short Fiction.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Movie Mondays

Hard Sell | Love and Other Drugs

Book, 2005 by Jamie Reidy

Jamie Reidy is to the pharmaceutical business what Jerry Maguire was to professional sports and Frank Abagnale was to bank fraud. He's the guy who's been there, done that, and walked away with the insider stories. You'll find yourself rooting for Reidy and at the same time, you'll be shocked by the realities of the world that paid his salary. Hard Sell is a witty exposé of an industry that touches nearly everyone in contemporary America. It reveals the questionable practices of drug reps, nurses, and even physicians. Reidy traces his ups and downs as a rep for giant drug manufacturer Pfizer, maker of some of the most widely prescribed and used drugs in existence, including Viagra. With equal parts self-confidence and self-mockery, Reidy tells it like it is in the drug-selling trenches that are our local doctors' offices. The result is a funny and fascinating book that will appeal to those with pharmaceutical sales experience, medical professionals, those who have tried Viagra, and any American unhappy with rising drug prices.

Movie, 2010 directed by Edward Zwick

Features: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway

Tagline: none?

Awards: Jake and Anne were nominated for the Golden Globes for Best Actor and Actress, but neither one won.

Have you read the book or seen the movie?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

February Book Choices!

The greatly anticipated book choices are here! Vote for the one that sounds the best.

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult | Paperback, 432 pages

The discovery of a dead infant in an Amish barn shakes Lancaster County to its core. But the police investigation leads to a more shocking disclosure: circumstantial evidence suggests that eighteen-year-old Katie Fisher, an unmarried Amish woman believed to be the newborn's mother, took the child's life. When Ellie Hathaway, a disillusioned big-city attorney, comes to Paradise, Pennsylvania, to defend Katie, two cultures collide -- and for the first time in her high-profile career, Ellie faces a system of justice very different from her own. Delving deep inside the world of those who live "plain," Ellie must find a way to reach Katie on her terms. And as she unravels a tangled murder case, Ellie also looks deep within -- to confront her own fears and desires when a man from her past reenters her life.

The Truth-Teller's Lie by Sophie Hannah | Paperback, 400 pages

Naomi Jenkins knows all about secrets: three years ago something so terrible happened to her that she's never told anyone about it. Now, Naomi has another secret: her relationship with the unhappily married Robert Haworth. When Robert vanishes without explanation, Naomi knows he must have come to harm. But the police are less convinced, particularly when Robert's wife insists he is not missing. In desperation, Naomi decides that if she can't persuade the detectives that Robert is in danger, she'll convince them that he is a danger to others. Naomi knows how to describe the actions of a psychopath; all she needs to do is dig up her own traumatic past.

The Butterfly House by Marcia Preston | Paperback, 320 pages

As a child, Bobbie Lee found refuge from her lonely life at her best friend's house. Rockhaven was a place of magic, colored by the butterflies that Cincy Jaines's mother, Lenora, studied. Her friendship with Cincy and Lenora soon became Bobbie's compass. But the tangled intimacies between them began to unravel, and in one night, Rockhaven became a place of unspeakable tragedy.

Now, a decade later, the long shadows of that night continue to haunt Bobbie, despite her attempts to hide from the past. When a stranger with ties to Lenora and Cincy arrives at her doorstep, she is forced to confront the memories she has tried to avoid, and the dark secret at the heart of the tragedy slowly emerges.

Veronica is hosting the February meeting.

Group Picture-Half Broke Horses

It was a great first meeting of the new year! We all decided to read The Glass Castle too (some of us have already finished it)! What an interesting and funny family!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Feature Fridays

Today's classic is All the King's Men (1946) by Robert Penn Warren.

Winner of the 1947 Pulitzer Prize, All the King's Men is one of the most famous and widely read works in American fiction. Its original publication by Harcourt catapulted author Robert Penn Warren to fame and made the novel a bestseller for many seasons. Set in the 1930s, it traces the rise and fall of demagogue Willie Talos, a fictional Southern politician who resembles the real-life Huey "Kingfish" Long of Louisiana. Talos begins his career as an idealistic man of the people, but he soon becomes corrupted by success, caught between dreams of service and a lust for power. All the King's Men is as relevant today as it was fifty years ago.

Generally considered the finest novel ever written on American politics, All the King's Men is a literary classic.

The title is taken from Humpty Dumpty:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.

All the King's Men is rated the 36th greatest novel of the 20th century by Modern Library.

There are 2 film adaptations, 1949 and 2006. The 1949 version won the Academy Award for Best Picture. The 2006 version starred Sean Penn.

Have you read this classic?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thoughts for Thursday

What were the NY Times best sellers on your birthday?

Go to to find out! (You have to list the day of your birth before the month.)

The top fiction and non-fiction best sellers on my birthday were...

Princess Daisy by Judith Krantz

She was born Princess Marguerite Alexandrovna Valensky. But everyone called her Daisy. She was a blonde beauty living in a world of aristocrats and countless wealthy. Her father was a prince, a Russian nobleman. Her mother was an American movie goddess. Men desired her. Women envied her. Daisy's life was a fairy tale filled with parties and balls, priceless jewels, money and love. Then, suddenly, the fairy tale ended. And Princess Daisy had to start again, with nothing--except the secret she guarded from the day she was born

The Brethren by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong

The Brethren is the first detailed behind-the-scenes account of the Supreme Court in action. Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong have pierced its secrecy to give us an unprecedented view of the Chief and Associate Justices -- maneuvering, arguing, politicking, compromising and making decisions that affect every major area of American life.

Bob Woodward has written numerous other books including his latest about Obama.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday Wish List

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

Sarah Nickerson is like any other career-driven supermom in Welmont, the affluent Boston suburb where she leads a hectic but charmed life with her husband Bob, faithful nanny, and three children—Lucy, Charlie, and nine-month-old Linus.

Between recruiting the best and brightest minds as the vice president of human resources at Berkley Consulting; shuttling the kids to soccer, day care, and piano lessons; convincing her son’s teacher that he may not, in fact, have ADD; and making it home in time for dinner, it’s a wonder this over-scheduled, over-achieving Harvard graduate has time to breathe.

A self-confessed balloon about to burst, Sarah miraculously manages every minute of her life like an air traffic controller. Until one fateful day, while driving to work and trying to make a phone call, she looks away from the road for one second too long. In the blink of an eye, all the rapidly moving parts of her jam-packed life come to a screeching halt.

A traumatic brain injury completely erases the left side of her world, and for once, Sarah relinquishes control to those around her, including her formerly absent mother. Without the ability to even floss her own teeth, she struggles to find answers about her past and her uncertain future.

Now, as she wills herself to regain her independence and heal, Sarah must learn that her real destiny—her new, true life—may in fact lie far from the world of conference calls and spreadsheets. And that a happiness and peace greater than all the success in the world is close within reach, if only she slows down long enough to notice.

Remember Still Alice and how much we LOVED it? I think we definitely need to read this book! It's the #1 Indie Next pick for January. Have you heard of left neglect syndrome?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

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!

I was usually friendly to foks like Jehovah's Witnesses, admiring their genuine conviction, but this fellow was particularly persistent, lecturing me, giving me a lot of poppycock about how Armageddon was imminent and for the sake of my unborn baby I needed to seek salvation and convert. Who the hell was he to tell me what I had to believe?

from Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

Monday, January 10, 2011

Movie Mondays

Ring/The Ring

Book, 2002 by Koji Suzuki

One night in Tokyo, four healthy teenagers die one after another of heart failure. A journalist, the uncle of one of the victims and intrigued by the coincidence, investigates and learns of a videotape that the four watched together a week before dying. Amid a series of bizarre and frightening images is a warning that the viewer will die in exactly one week unless a certain act is performed. The description of the act, of course, has been erased from the videotape, and the journalist's work to solve the mystery assumes a deadly urgency.

Ring is not only a chillingly told horror story but also a shrewdly intelligent and subversive commentary on the power of imagery and contagious consumerism. Ring spawned one of Japan's highest-grossing films ever as well as the blockbuster DreamWorks remake starring Naomi Watts. The Japanese version of the novel has sold almost 3 million copies.

Movie, 2002 directed by Gore Verbinski

Features: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman

Tagline: Before you die, you see the ring.

Awards: It won the Golden Trailer Award for Best Horror/Thriller and Most Original.

Have you read the (translated) book or seen the movie?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday Survey

Less than 1 week left to finish Half Broke Horses! We're meeting at Heather's house on Friday @ 6pm to discuss 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.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Feature Fridays

Today's classic is Cyrano De Bergerac (1897) by Edmond Rostand.

This is Edmond Rostand's immortal play in which chivalry and wit, bravery and love are forever captured in the timeless spirit of romance. Set in Louis XIII's reign, it is the moving and exciting drama of one of the finest swordsmen in France, gallant soldier, brilliant wit, tragic poet-lover with the face of a clown. Rostand's extraordinary lyric powers gave birth to a universal hero, Cyrano De Bergerac,—and ensured his own reputation as author of one of the best-loved plays in the literature of the stage.

The entire work is written in rhyming couplets.

Do you recognize this well-known quotation?
A kiss, when all is said, what is it?
An oath that's ratified, a sealed promise,
A heart's avowal claiming confirmation,
A rose-dot on the 'i' of 'adoration';
A secret that to mouth, not ear, is whispered ...

You can read it online for free at Questia.

Have you read this classic?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thoughts for Thursday

Have you seen the results of the 2010 Goodreads Choice Awards?

The Book of the Year is Mockingjay! AND, it won a bunch of other choice awards too. Go to Goodreads to see the rest of the award recipients. A lot of our proposed books for 2011 are on the list!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2011 Goodreads Challenge

Did you know you can use your Goodreads account to track your progress in the 52 Challenge? Just log in to your account and you can sign up on the home page. It's a really easy way to tally your 2011 books (even if you're not participating in the 52 Challenge).

Wednesday Wish List

A Happy Marriage by Rafael Yglesias

A Happy Marriage is both intimate and expansive: It is the story of Enrique Sabas and his wife, Margaret, a novel that alternates between the romantic misadventures of the first weeks of their courtship and the final months of Margaret's life as she says good-bye to her family, friends, and children -- and to Enrique. Spanning thirty years, this achingly honest story is about what it means for two people to spend a lifetime together -- and what makes a happy marriage.

Yglesias's career as a novelist began in 1970 when he wrote an autobiographical novel at sixteen, hailed by critics for its stunning and revelatory depiction of adolescence. A Happy Marriage, his first work of fiction in thirteen years, was inspired by his relationship with his wife, Margaret, who died in 2004. Bold, elegiac, and emotionally suspenseful, even though we know what happens, Yglesias's beautiful novel will break every reader's heart -- while encouraging all of us with its clear-eyed evocation of the enduring value of marriage.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays

Didn't want to give anything away from Mockingjay! If you're not reading the trilogy yet, start!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Movie Mondays


Book, 1983 by Hayden Herrera

The biography of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo reveals a woman of extreme magnetism and originality, and an artist whose sensual vibrancy came from her experiences. Following Kahlo from her childhood near Mexico City during the Mexican Revolution, her crippling accident at eighteen and her tempestuous marriage to Diego Rivera.

With generous use of firsthand sources including collectors, friends, and fellow artists, Hayden Herrera has produced an exhaustively researched study of the Mexican painter's life, loves, and artistic ambitions. Material from the artist's letters and diaries adds a distinctively intimate tone to a sympathetically told tale of sexuality, politics, and marginalization in the world of art. This bestselling book is considered the primary record of Kahlo's life

Movie, 2002 directed by Julie Taymor

Features: Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina, Antonio Banderas

Tagline: Prepare to be seduced.

Awards: The film won 2 Oscars: Best Makeup and Best Music, Original Score. Salma Hayek was nominated for Best Actress but lost to Nicole Kidman (The Hours).

Have you read the book or seen the movie?

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