Book Challenge - Page 5 - Mothering Forums
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Alkenny's Avatar Alkenny 10:50 AM 06-11-2004
I'm reading The Privilege of Youth by Dave Pelzer right now.

mdcanon8765309's Avatar mdcanon8765309 12:45 PM 06-11-2004
I don't really keep track of how many books I read but it's a fair number. To answer the question posted on page 2, I believe, I do read YA fiction and quite a bit. I just finished my Master of Library and Information Science last month (and saw at least one other librarian on this post, yippee!) and am looking for a position as a school library teacher for the fall. I'd really like to work in a middle school/junior high so keeping up on YA is obviously a priority for me.

In the past couple weeks I read one of this year's Alex Award winners from the Young Adult Library Services Association. (I've got a few other winners sitting around home but haven't started them yet.) Peresopolis by Marjane Satrapi is a graphic novel about a girl who lived through the Islamic Revolution in Iran and how it affected her spirituality, her education, her family, and her world-view.
librarymom's Avatar librarymom 01:07 PM 06-11-2004
If you like YA Sisterhood of the ...Pants and Second Summer, try Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings by Megam McCafferty.

Little Children by Tom Perrotta was good. He also wrote Election-which was a movie with Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon. Little Children is about families in the suburbs--the cliques, the parks, the day-to-day. A stay-at-home dad makes waves. Interesting details and spawned lots of fun daydreams, for me.

The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper was also a really good read. The guy (Joe) writes a prize-winning book about his hometown, where he wasn't BMOC. And never goes back, until his father falls ill. Big city success, goes back hole, blissfully unaware of how the town feels about him. Very poignant and very funny, and very sad. Cool replay of the 80's, for those among us who were teens ourselves then. Musical references, movies, fashions. Really enjoyed this one. Recommend it A LOT at work.

SoccerMom--I can recommend some good romances that are IMHO better than Danielle Steel...
cathe's Avatar cathe 03:03 PM 06-11-2004
Alkenny - which did you agree with the comments on the thread or the comments on The Art of Mending?

Here are the last few books I read:

The Monk Downstairs- Although it got great reviews on Amazon and the book store clerk recommended it, I was disappointed. It was a light romance about a ex-monk who rents a basement apartment from a single mom and about how they eventually get involved - unfortunately, I never really liked or cared about any of the characters so it didn't really do much for me.

Housekeeping - A beautifully written book about 2 girls with a very unstable life. Their mother kills herself and then the live with their grandmother who dies, then two aunts who can't handle kids, and then eventually their mother's sister who is also emotionally unstable. Sound good? I thought so, but again I did not feel any emotional involvement with any of the characters so I didn't really care what happened to them.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - I LOVED THIS BOOK! It is a young adult book but really well written. It starts with a really fun concept of a pair of jeans found at a thrift shop that magically looks wonderful on four girls of different body shapes and sizes. The girls are separating for the first time that summer and the pants travel from girl to girl and we get to hear their stories. The girls deal with some real issues like a divorced dad getting remarried, a girl falling for an older guy and getting in over her head, etc. I am saving this book for when my daughters get older. I guess there is a sequel out too which I want to read.

Now I am reading "The Jane Austen Book Club" - I'm about 2/3's throught it and it is EXCELLENT also. It's about 5 women and 1 man who have a book club to read Jane Austen books. There personal life and history is woven in between meetings of the club. Every story is really interesting is done in such a great way to let you know why the characters are the way they are.
Alkenny's Avatar Alkenny 04:21 PM 06-11-2004
Originally Posted by cathe
Alkenny - which did you agree with the comments on the thread or the comments on The Art of Mending?

I usually like Elizabeth Berg, but I thought this one went on and on with no conclusion if that makes any sense. She told her sister and brother what happened, they didn't believe her, then nothing with the mother. KWIM?
cathe's Avatar cathe 05:07 PM 06-11-2004
I totally agree.
MamaBug's Avatar MamaBug 05:41 PM 06-11-2004
Alkenny thanks for the link. I just saw the commercial and the lead girl is the one from the Mean Girls movie, which is a complete 180 in charater, which should be good.

librarymom, thanks so much for those recommendations! I LOVED the Traveling Pants books too. I also have read almost all but one of the Gossip Girl series, I know don't even say it : And I would love romance recommendations although I will always have a soft spot for DS! :LOL

cathe you have to read the sequel to the Traveling pants one it is really good too. I am interested in the Housekeeping book and the JAne Austen one you just told about! They sound great!!!

Look out summer it is a reading bonanza!!!!
MamaBug's Avatar MamaBug 04:13 PM 06-13-2004
Just finished reading this at 1:30 this morning, I HAD to know the ending! :LOL

Jemima J: A Novel About Ugly Ducklings and Swans by Jane Green

Jemima Jones is overweight. About one hundred pounds overweight. Treated like a maid by her thin and social-climbing roommates, and lorded over by the beautiful Geraldine (less talented but better paid) at the Kilburn Herald, Jemima finds that her only consolation is food. Add to this her passion for her charming, sexy, and unobtainable colleague Ben, and Jemima knows her life is in need of a serious change. When she meets Brad, an eligible California hunk, over the Internet, she has the perfect opportunity to reinvent herself–as JJ, the slim, beautiful, gym-obsessed glamour girl. But when her long-distance Romeo demands that they meet, she must conquer her food addiction to become the bone-thin model of her e-mails–no small feat.

With a fast-paced plot that never quits and a surprise ending no reader will see coming, Jemima J is the chronicle of one woman's quest to become the woman she's always wanted to be, learning along the way a host of lessons about attraction, addiction, the meaning of true love, and, ultimately, who she really is.
Indigo73's Avatar Indigo73 04:25 PM 06-13-2004
I really liked Bookends, will have to track Jemima J down.

Sorta OT, my dh and I are "decluttering" and one way I am helping was by cutting my paperback collection in half. I am ashamed or proud to say I now have over $250 credit at the local paperback trader. 8 big boxes of books left the house and that was just 50%. And doesn't include the box my mom borrowed to start her retirement. But no more stacks on the floor, the ones that stayed are all on a shelf with a bit of room to grow.
MamaBug's Avatar MamaBug 04:34 PM 06-13-2004
WOW aimee!!! I am going to try and do that as well. I have so many unread books that once this lot from the library is read I plan to read the ones I bought and then donate them to our local library. I may also sell some on amazon to make some $$

Wanted to add that I really liked Bookends, more so then Jemima J, I also liked Babyville alot too. I did skip some parts in Jemima J because they were boring, like talk to how LA and London look. But it was a good read!
napless's Avatar napless 01:20 AM 06-25-2004
What a great thread!!!!! I want to join!

I just finished The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. It was a wonderful read. (It was synopsized - is that a word? - above). I have been thinking about it all day, and I even want to go back and reread parts of it.

Before that I read Morality for Beautiful Girls (from the #1 Ladies' Detective Agency series). I really like the series - a light easy read but with some meat on it - makes me think.
cathe's Avatar cathe 01:57 PM 06-25-2004
I was very excited to get the book "Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination" by Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones Diary) but I got about 2/3 thru it and just couldn't read it anymore. I did not like it at all - seemed really stupid to me.

Then I read "I Sailed with Magellan" by Stuart Dybek. This was not one of those books that you can't put down - not was it a fast and easy read. It was a beautifully written book of short stories about life in Chicago - mostly centered on one family. I particularly liked the coming of age type stories about the Perry and his brother and his friends. There was also a wonderful story about Perry's grandmother where you really felt like you are right there with her. The author has a wonderful way of describing characters so you feel like you know them.

I read Room to Grow by Tracey Gold. This was the story of her battle with anorexia written by her. Not much there - tells how she got into acting and about her career. Mildly interesting.

Anyway, I am reading My Sister's Keeper now for the MDC discussion group. Now this is a book you don't want to put down!
Annais's Avatar Annais 02:54 PM 06-25-2004
Cool thread! I was very excited to find it, as I've been on a reading binge, my first since dd was born!

~Monkey Hunting by Cristina Garcia~
A great story about a Chinese immigrant to Cuba in the mid-19th century, and his descendants.

~My Invented Country by Isabel Allende~
A fabulous memoir about her life and Chile. Now I want to read Paula.

~The Idiot Girls Action Adventure Club by Laurie Notatro~
Cute stories, but I think I'm too old and busy to appreciate them right now.

~The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon~
Great book

Now I am reading Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand. I'm enjoying it so far.

cathe- Danticat is one of my favorite authors, and so is Jamaica Kincaid. Have you read Danticat's first 2 books: Breath, Eyes, Memory and Krik? Krak! They are wonderful. I haven't read Dew Breaker yet, but it's on my list.

Thanks for the ideas, mamas!

Indigo73's Avatar Indigo73 03:49 PM 06-25-2004
I loved - Breath, Eyes, Memory. Read it ages and ages ago. Hmm may be time to read again and see what else my library has for her.
cathe's Avatar cathe 08:00 PM 06-25-2004
I did read Krik Krak but don't think I read the other. I'll have to check it out.
napless's Avatar napless 03:34 AM 06-26-2004
I can't wait to get to the library!!!! I just sat down and made a long list of the ones I want to read.

I too like YA fiction. The Giver by Lois Lowry and The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis are a couple of my favourites. Oh, and anything by Sarah Ellis or Kit Pearson or Katherine Paterson.
Annais's Avatar Annais 12:16 AM 06-29-2004
I just finished Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand. It's shockingly riveting! I seriously couldn't put it down.
cathe's Avatar cathe 01:53 PM 06-29-2004
I finished My Sister's Keeper. It was one of the best books I have ever read. It was a story of a girl who was specifically created (thru invetro process) to be a donor for her sister with leukemia. She spends her whole life donating one thing after another but when her parents tell her she has to donate a kidney, she hires a lawyer to fight them. This is such an incredibily heartbreaking story from every side.
MamaBug's Avatar MamaBug 06:46 PM 06-30-2004
I know cathe I really liked that book but boy oh boy did I cry!!!
Annais's Avatar Annais 11:29 PM 07-02-2004
I just finished reading The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst (sp?)

I was for the last 2 or 3 chapters. It's one of those books that I can't stop thinking about!
cathe's Avatar cathe 12:48 AM 07-03-2004
I just finished a pretty cool book called "The Perfect Play". It was about a girl looking for her father who left his family to become a professional gambler - as she looks into the gambling world to find him, she becomes drawn into the game. IT was well-written with the modern, quirky kind of english humor. It wasn't one that will stay with you like My Sister's Keeper and The Dogs of Babel but it was a fun, interesting read.
MamaBug's Avatar MamaBug 03:26 AM 07-24-2004
I just finished a really great, dark book. I could not put it down, very very interesting

The Hiding Place: A Novel
by Trezza Azzopardi

Frank McCourt and Mary Karr may have written definitive accounts of grim childhoods, but British first novelist Azzopardi can stand on her own as a writer of remarkable sensibility and literary prowess. A seedy dockside community in 1960s Wales is the apt setting for this memoir-like narrative. Physical and emotional abuse haunts every detail in Azzopardi's account of a poor Maltese immigrant family's misery. Dolores, the youngest of the six Gauci daughters, narrates the story of her father Frankie's arrival in Tiger Bay, Wales, his marriage to young waitress Mary Jessop, the birth of their children and the family's eventual disintegration as a result of Frankie's gambling and jealousy. In Part One, Dolores's five-year-old narration is emotionless as she relates the awful events that shape their lives. Hers is the perfect voice to unearth the family's confusing and shady secrets; because the child doesn't quite understand the emotional impact of situations, she questions and observes with detachment. On the day Dolores is born, Frankie gambles away their house and caf . When she is just a month old, Dolores loses her left hand in a fire. Frankie's jealousy and gambling debts lead him to sell one of his daughters, Marina, to gangster Joe Medora, the man he believes is her father. Azzopardi chills the blood with gruesome details as Frankie skins Dolores's pet rabbit for older sister Celesta's wedding dinner. Eventually, Frankie abandons the family to join Medora, and Mary, losing her grip on reality, also loses the remaining children to public care. Dolores's stoic perspective continues into adulthood, as, in Part Two, the sisters return to Tiger Bay for Mary's funeral. Although the narrative line can confuse as the story shifts from present to past, readers will be riveted by this brilliant psychological prose poem of a family united only in helplessness and despair, in a poverty-stricken corner of the world rarely evoked in fiction.
Alkenny's Avatar Alkenny 02:56 PM 07-24-2004
Originally Posted by SoccerMom
I just finished a really great, dark book. I could not put it down, very very interesting

The Hiding Place: A Novel
by Trezza Azzopardi
I read it! I read it! It was an awesome book!

I'm reading "The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio" by Terry Ryan. It's the story about the author's mother, and I've read it before but am reading it again since they just started filming the movie (Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern are in it).

Defiance is a one of my neighboring towns, so it's pretty interesting to me.
MamaBug's Avatar MamaBug 10:30 PM 07-24-2004
Sounds great! I will have to add that to my list!
MamaBug's Avatar MamaBug 12:59 AM 07-26-2004
Just finished book #57 today!!! : It was a nice fun summer read, and it was set in England which I love love love!

Spin Cycle

Her husband left her for another man.
Her boyfriend may be cheating.
Her mother’s got a secret.
Is everyone having great sex but Rachel?

Lately, stand-up comic Rachel Katz’s life has begun to resemble a not-so-funny comedy routine — the kind where nobody laughs and everybody inches toward the door.

It began when her husband cheated ... with another man. Now she’s raising a ten-year-old son who’s fixated on Barbra Streisand and wondering if her dentist boyfriend — who won’t stop flossing long enough to make love to her — is having an affair.

Enter Matt Clapton, a wickedly sexy washing machine repairman who likes Rachel’s jokes and makes her feel like a woman for the first time in ages — maybe in her entire life.

With her mother busy planning a wedding Rachel isn’t sure she wants, her son dead set on inviting Barbra to the reception, and the groom-to-be in South Africa, working on someone else’s oral hygiene, the question is: What’s she going to do about it? Especially when fame and fortune beckon in a comedy contest that could put her on the map ... and change her life forever.

Spin Cycle tells a wickedly funny, shamelessly erotic story of lovers and liars, exes and children, parents and other strangers. This hip and hilarious new novel by the acclaimed author of Neurotica introduces a heroine who never loses her sense of humor and who discovers, somewhere between the rinse and spin cycles, that love — and laughter — can truly conquer all.
Indigo73's Avatar Indigo73 02:16 PM 07-26-2004
Oh sounds good. I was on a hardcore SciFi kick and I think I overloaded my brain - looking for this type of fun light reading, thanks for the recommendation. My dh made me stop counting books it was too depressing for him - probablly at 150 or so at this point. No TV and little internet access at home. LOL. But I have a jump start on my winter holiday gifts - lots of crocheting.
MamaBug's Avatar MamaBug 09:35 PM 07-26-2004
Glad to help. I am up to #58 now and trying to keep track for a year! My dh doesn't read much either but he loves that I don't watch TV
Annais's Avatar Annais 11:38 PM 07-27-2004
I just finished reading Paula by Isabel Allende.

It's a letter that Allende wrote to her dying 28 year old daughter, so it recounts Paula's illness (porphyria) and Allende's life. It was great, very sad. I can't seem to read any happy books. Ah, well...
MamaBug's Avatar MamaBug 12:47 AM 08-07-2004
I am now up to book 60 in my quest to read 100 by the end of the year! YAY ME!!!

This was a good book, I didn't love the ending but it was a good read. I am going to check out some of her other books now
Sometimes I Dream in Italian
by Rita Ciresi

Angel Lupo grew up in a traditional Italian home — an exclusive club where Mama’s word was everything ... and where nice girls saved themselves for marriage. All Angel wanted was to be movie-star blond, change her name, and get as much attention as her prettier older sister Lina.

Now Angel is nearing thirty, penning Catholic greeting cards for a living, and still jealous of her sister, who has a house in the suburbs, two kids, and a husband who loves her. So Angel does the next best thing: She answers a personal ad.

Dirk Diederhoff is blond, teaches at Vassar, and is definitely not Italian. Nor is he the thrill-a-minute lover and soul mate Angel prays for. But as Lina, recklessly embarked on an affair of her own, would tell her: There are no perfect tens out there — only men who want you to talk to them in Italian during sex.

The award-winning author of Pink Slip gets the rituals and rhythms of domestic life just right in Sometimes I Dream in Italian, a bittersweet comedy about sisters, lovers, and a family that doesn’t quite translate.
In her novels Pink Slip and Blue Italian, Cirisi established herself as a resonant voice chronicling the lives of Italian-Americans. In this wry, charming second story collection, the recurrent character is Angelina Lupo, a daughter of Italian-American immigrant parents, who grows up in '60s and '70s New Haven, Conn. For Angel, life is rife with contradictions: strong family ties also means having her hands bound behind her back, as her overbearing mother attempts to keep her two daughters obedient and tractable. In "Big Heart" and "La Stella D'Oro," a prepubescent Angel learns the price some people pay for challenging tradition. "Babbo," Angel's father, is a hardworking soda-pop deliveryman who is too tired to pay much attention to Angel or her beautiful older sister, Lina, who is not afraid to rebel. Angel's admiration for and loyalty to her sister puts the younger girl in a bind during adolescence, when she becomes a kind of mediator in the conflicted family, afraid to hurt or anger her parents, but eager for Lina's approval. Each of these 12 linked stories offers new insight into Angel's difficult reckoning with her mixed feelings and her colorful family and heritage. Narratives told from the perspective of an adult Angel show her with Lina waxing nostalgic about their childhood while reluctantly taking on the roles of caretakers to their aging and ailing parent , and coming to terms with their own ambitions after the older generation dies. Angel is an immensely likable character whose self-deprecating and humorous reflections on family, men and careers is paired with imagery that deftly evokes all five senses. One doesn't have to be Italian to relate to Angel; she represents any contemporary woman poised between the values of her parents' generation and her own burgeoning sense of self.
MamaBug's Avatar MamaBug 10:29 PM 08-08-2004
I just finished this great book in one day! I could not put it down and am off to the library tomorrow to try and get the next 3 books in the series! With all the talk about the new show Amish and the City this is a better alternative! :LOL

The Covenant (Abram's Daughters)
by Beverly Lewis

Inspirational novelist Lewis begins Abram's Daughters, a Lancaster County series about four Amish sisters, in the tradition of her previous novels. It should please her fans, while not offering much in the way of fresh material. It's 1946 in Gobbler's Knob, Pa., and Sadie Ebersol and her sister, Leah, are exploring the joys of "rumschpringe" the period of relaxed rules and running around that Amish teens enjoy prior to their baptism into the church. Tomboy Leah's first love is Jonas Mast, but her father Abram has determined she'll marry Gideon Peachey, whose father's farm adjoins the Ebersols'. Her beautiful sister Sadie's defiance crosses the boundaries when she becomes involved with Englischer Derek Schwartz. Heartache is inevitable. The dialect (perty, redd, Dat, ach, wonderful-gut, jah) is as dense as sugar cream pie, as are the italicized terms. There are further challenges for the reader: multiple points of view and cumbersome Amish definitions make the novel a bumpy read for the uninitiated. The characters are flat and unchanging, and the plot functions mostly as a setup for the series. There are factual errors, as when Ebersol's home garden produce stand features early spring vegetables in the month of August. Several events, including a hidden pregnancy that remains unobserved by the family until almost the eighth month, require enormous suspension of disbelief, and readers will see the key plot developments coming from the earliest pages. However, none of these troubles may deter Lewis's enthusiastic audience
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