Friday, August 23, 2013

Don't Order Dog - CT Wente

Ok...  Really quickly, I'll tell you my two big beefs with this book. 

1st, it took what seemed like FOREVER to finally get to the what and the why of what was going on.  I love a good suspense story but, come on!  Then get to it!

And 2nd, some use of words... There are ways to use words that make things and scenes become witty or funny or interesting.  And then there's words for the sake of words. 

And when describing the dinner date as, "as she sat there 'molesting' her food..."ugh... it just felt a bit forced.  Like trying too hard to be witty. That's all! 

Other than that, it was ok.  I can see that it's set itself up to be a series, but I'm not terribly motivated to follow the series.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother - Amy Chua

Well this was certainly a converstation getter!!!

I first heard about this book from a friend of ours (who doesn't even have kids!). She's the hip Mahnattan-living fashionista younger sister of my very good friend J.

She was telling us about how this book was stirring up controversy everywhere and it was a hot topic on all the major morning news shows.

Well, if you know us well, you know that we do not have TV.

No, it's not that we don't watch TV.

We don't HAVE a TV.

We live under a rock and we like it that way.

She was pretty much stunned that we'd never heard of this book and she said it was a must read.

What I appreciated most about her telling us about this book was HOW she told us.  She told us in a way that was not for or against the book.  She didn't love it and she didn't hate it, but she was fascinated by it and highly recommended it! 

Fast forward to a few weeks later and some one else (who I can't remember now) brought it up again! They also pressed on how fascinating it was.  I was sold.

I downloaded the Kindle sample and after reading the first chapter, I wanted more.  I started reading this book before our bookclub group had met to decide on our next selection.  I'd decided that I was going to read it with or without them.

When we finally met, it was my suggestion for the basket and it was picked!  Some rolled their eyes at it.  Some were excited.

We all agreed that it would be a great conversation getter for us as 2 of them have daughters (2 each) so it would be interesting. 

Well I really enjoyed this book.

Not only did I think it was a good read (well written, a page-turner, witty, funny, etc), I liked some of what she had to say!

I liked that she worked hard to not speak in generalizations (ie - "All Americans are lax with their parenting").

Whether people took it that way (and I can see SOME people being that way), it was not her intention. 

She was very clear to mention that not all parents are this way or that. 

Or, she was clear to say that the term "Chinese Mother" is an idea specific to how a person parents, regardless of their nationality or gender.

She said she knows some Western parents that are total "Chinese Mothers" and she knows some chinese parents that are not "Chinese Mothers" at all.

As for all the scandal and hub-bub... I will admit, I did not see any of it on the morning shows or on the talk radio so I can't speak to exactly what they were so scandalized about but for me, I did not find anything particularly shocking or scandalous in this book.

The example I'd heard of was when she was given a handmade birthday card by one of her daughters and she kicked it back.

Upon hearing it put that simply, sure... that might sound harsh.

But when you read the entire paragraph, the entire chapter and the whole context, it makes so much sense!  She had a real legit reason why she did that and it was simply that she thought knew her daughter could do so much better.  And she was right.

If anything, I think this book as taught me how to push myself more.  I don't see why we can't each be our own Chinese Mother (to ourselves).

For the past 5 years, I have been trying to perfect Tart Tatin.  I don't know why.  I got a bug up my butt and it's just something I feel I need to perfect.

Every time El Hub sees me pull out the cast iron skillet, he's like, "Oh geez... not that apple thing again..."

But I'm glad that I push myself to try and perfect it and I do think that everytime I make it, it does come out a bit better.

What if I'd given up after the first try, when it was basically a carcinogenic burnt charcoal mess.

The kicked-back Birthday card is no different.  She just wanted her daughter to do better cause she knew her daughter could do better.

I hope when people read this book, they'll enter it and read it with an open mind. 
Nothing bums me out more than when people are so closed off and closed minded that they miss the whole point of the story.

In the end, only 3 out of the 4 of us read the book.  Two of us really liked it and one of us thought it was a bit too much.  But that's cause her parenting style would be what the Chinese Mother would epitomize as 'typical Western parenting' - focusing all on the emotion of the child and not on their betterment...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen

Well, I didn't read this one...

Not for any other reason than that I just wasn't in a reading mood.

Everyone else read it for January's bookclub book and no one was crazy about it!

Everyone just kept saying, "Well... it's the circus..."

Bottom line - none of us were excited about the circus. 

I was kinda bummed to hear that they didn't really care for it because I had heard so many great things about it!

One person even told me that 'it really is a book with a happy ending'.

Well... I'm guess I'm glad I didn't read it. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith

Well I ended up really enjoying this one!

This one was for book club and I was a bit worried at first cause this was my pick and it started off real slow...

I had mixed feelings on this one early on.

At first, I could not get into it at all.  I found it to be waaaaaay too much detail.

Then, I found myself just powering through, just to get it done.

But after awhile, I really wanted to know what was going on with Francie and the people in her life.

While it was sad at times and times were tough, I liked that it wasn't completely depressing (like some of the other books we've read).

There was a hopefulness in every part of the story and kept me wanting to know more.

I think the author did a nice job of balancing between Francie's growing up and out of Brooklyn with not leaving her Brooklyn roots behind. 

She wanted more for herself, but she did not let go of herself or lose herself.

I really ended up enjoying this book and am so glad I finished it!  I'm glad I didn't let myself get caught up in the slowness of the detail in the beginning!  :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Half Broke Horses - Jeannette Walls

Love!  Love!  Loved this book! 

Another great story from Jeannette Walls. 

This one was for Book Club and we all LOVED it!

I'm so glad we read The Glass Castle last year because it really helped set the scenery & characters for this story.

Jeannette's grandmother really was quite a woman and a character!

She was very strong and modern for her time.

Even if this story is embellished, it is a great tale of a different time and place!

Their life on the ranch is so fascinating to me just 'cause it's so different than what I know.  And I find it even more interesting that they found 'city life' so odd!

I'm really glad we read this book and I'd absolutely read it again.

I'd read more from Jeannette Walls!  Tell us more great stories!!!  :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress - Rhoda Janzen

Well this is terrible but, I did read this and I didn't give it my all...

I read this as a filler between 'Bookclub Books' and I was dying to try something on the new Kindle!

I did enjoy this book and I did finish it!

It just took me waaaay longer than it should have.

And not 'cause of the book, either!

But just 'cause it ended up being a crazy-busy time.

I started this book around the time that my hubby busted his ankle surfing and my dad went into the ICU (both on the same weekend).

You'd think that I'd have had plenty of reading time at the hospital while visiting my dad but I really didn't!

I'd read this in bits and pieces whenever I could...

Like while waiting for hubby at his Physical Therapy appointments, or while waiting a few minutes at the hospital while my dad was sleeping.

Needless to say, I didn't give this book my full attention and it's safe to say I wasn't really 'all there' while reading it.

I did like it though!  She is witty and funny.  Her story is quite interesting.  I thought this would be more "Eat Pray Love"-ish and it's not quite.  But that's not a bad thing.

It's just another type of interesting story told in a different way.

I did enjoy reading about her mother and her sister.  If she really does have that kind of relationship with both, then I do envy her!  They sound and seem great and I'm glad for her that she has them in her life, especially during her hardest times.

As for reading on the Kindle... I love it!

I will say though... It's a bit of a double-edged sword on the whole dictionary thing.

It's great that the feature exists (where you can move the cursor in front of the first letter of any word and it'll give you a mini definition).  I loved learning new words.

The downside is that her book had a TON of words that I didn't know (or I'm just that dumb) but I was stopping every few minutes to see what a word meant!

That was great and slowing all at the same time.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Amazon Kindle

It's here!  IT'S HERE!!!

Our new baby!  The 6" Kindle (with 3G and Wi-Fi) is here!!!  It came and I am so excited!!!

I'd been tracking it's progress and when I knew it'd be arriving this week, I really started powering through my existing 'book' book so that once it showed up, I could start fresh with a new Kindle book!

I will admit... I had been hesitant about the Kindle (or any e-reader for that matter).

El Hub has been asking me since February if I wanted one and I just kept being wishy-washy and saying "I dunno..."

Well he finally got so sick of my flip-flopping that he just went ahead and made the decision for me and ordered it!

I have (or had) my reasons for being unsure about it.

  1. I love feeling books.  You know... those square papery things they still sell at Costco.  Nothing makes me happier than browsing books for hours at Barnes & Noble or the book section at Costco.  I love feeling them.  I love holding them.  I love the smell of the paper.  I was afraid I'd really miss that!
  2. The Library... I grew up at the library.  I remember when I was little, my mom would take me all the time!  And we'd sit there, between the rows of books and the homeless people.  I loved it!!!  AND!  The city also had a Book-mobile!  I dunno if they still do that but I LOVED the book-mobile!  I just thought that was the most fascinating thing every!  I traveling library!  They'd stop at the local park by my house and my mom would walk me down there & let me pick out a few books to check out.  Loved It!  I hope such a thing still exists.
  3. Do I really need another gadget.  Between the phone and the ipod (which I rarely use anymore as I am going a bit deaf... too much of the Rock 'n Roll...) and the laptop.  Did I/we need another techy gadget with wires and cables laying around the house?  Well to El Hub, the obvious answer was Yes.  :)  But I wasn't sure.  
Well... let me just say, I am over ALL of that! 

I quickly got 'over it' the day our new baby came!  :)

It is easy to hold.  I like being able to hold it with just my left hand and flip pages forward with my thumb (of my left hand) and the little 'forward' button.

It is easy to read.  I like that you can make the font bigger or smaller.  It seems that reading goes a bit quicker and is a bit more fluid as you don't think twice about flipping to the next page.  You just keep reading and before you know it, you've read so much!

I do like that the cute bright pink case El Hub got me for the Kindle comes with a light.  That has been a tough thing for us in that, if he wants to sleep and I want to read a book at night, I'd need to leave my bedside light on and he'd bury his head under the covers.

I am LOVING the definition feature!  I can't tell you how many times I've wondered what a word meant and was just too lazy to stop reading and go look it up.

I was able to learn 2 new words yesterday and continue reading my Chapter without even stopping or thinking twice about it!  That, for me is huge!

I am most excited about it being a space saver for us.  As much as I love having books around and I want our house to be a home of books, there are just so many you can keep and only so much space (at least for us) that we can give to our books! 

There are some books I'll NEVER part with (like my whole Anne of Green Gables series which I still have from when I was in the 8th grade) or my favorite Catcher in the Rye.

El Hub loves his computer books and I love my old Art History books from school.

But the rest just end up being big paperweights and space takers.  I have tried passing them along and they end up coming back!

Both my sis-n-law and my good friend Dianne are readers and I always pass my books along to them.  They read them and then they give them right back!

I have tried selling my books on Amazon and it's fine when they sell but when they don't, then they just sit here.  I recently sold a book and it had been the first time in like 4 months! (I'd actually forgotten that I even had a little Amazon 'book store').  :)

I was really getting to the point of just donating my books to the Library, which I'll most likely do with the books I have left to pass along.

I am really excited about the Kindle.  I read so much (about 1-2 books a month) that it just makes sense for us.

And everyone we know who has one, just loves it!  So that is good to know!

As I read it more, I'll let you know how I'm liking it and what I'm learning about it!  :)