April 2010 Book Challenge Thread - Page 4 - Mothering Forums
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#91 of 104 Old 04-27-2010, 06:13 PM
 
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#25 Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl

A fun memoir from a New York Times restaurant critic. I enjoyed her writing style, fun and witty, and really liked reading about her transformation into other characters to avoid being recognized while visiting restaurants. And she does a wonderful job describing food, as you would expect. I didn't expect the internal musings of trying to fulfill all the role changes into those other characters, and that was fascinating. I can't wait to check out her other books.
I love Ruth Reichl's books. Have you read her other books "Tender At the Bone" and "Comfort Me With Apples" ? Those are just as interesting. I think Tender At The Bone is her first book. She has a travel/food show on PBS on Saturday evenings.

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#92 of 104 Old 04-27-2010, 06:36 PM
 
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#12 this year

The Wedding Girl by Madeline Whickham...Bor-ring!

wife. dd1 : dd2
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#93 of 104 Old 04-28-2010, 09:23 AM
 
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Book #44 of 2010 was "Get Lucky" by Katherine Center.

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Sarah Harper is on the New York fast track at a top advertising agency until she grows a conscience overnight and sends out a companywide e-mail debunking her popular bra campaign. Fired, she flies home to Houston, where she crashes with her older sister, Mackie, and Mackie's husband, Clive. Turns out Mackie has problems of her own: after years of trying to have a baby, she announces she's done. In an effort to do something good for a change, Sarah offers herself up as a surrogate. In the nine pregnant months that follow, Sarah juggles unexpected feelings for her brother-in-law and expected feelings for an ex-boyfriend, and instead of the pregnancy bringing her and Mackie closer, it drives them apart.
I was going through this book thinking it wasn't my favorite of Center's novels. I couldn't relate to the main character (Sarah) and I wasn't sure about all of her foreshadowing - if disaster was going to happen just get to it already. Then I got to the end and everything made sense. It wasn't that the book ended neatly and all-too-perfectly. In fact, that might be why I liked the book so much -- Center has an incredible knack for writing about real people who live real lives. The ending helped me look back over the entire book with a different attitude (and I teared up a bit at the end too). Kudos to her and her writing - I expect more great books in the future.

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(1-04) (8-09)
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#94 of 104 Old 04-28-2010, 10:59 AM
 
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Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Well, I gave this another try because of great reviews. I thought it was good like all of Anderson's stuff but I didn't find it terribly original--pretty similar to other books about anorexic teens I've read.

Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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#95 of 104 Old 04-28-2010, 12:45 PM
 
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I love Ruth Reichl's books. Have you read her other books "Tender At the Bone" and "Comfort Me With Apples" ? Those are just as interesting. I think Tender At The Bone is her first book. She has a travel/food show on PBS on Saturday evenings.
No, but they are on my list now. I loved her writing style. I'll have to look for her PBS show, thanks for the heads up!

#27 Neon Angel by Cherie Currie

The lead singer of The Runaways the teenage girls rock band from the 70's wrote this memoir about how she got into the band and what happened afterwords. The 70's excess was a little crazy, especially for someone so young. But it was interesting to read about them and their touring and how the band got along. Their manager was a totally controlling a***ole. And they were pretty much screwed out of any profits from their tours and album sales. There were a couple anecdotes about famous guys she hooked up with but she didn't say who they were, I wish I could figure those out. Fun read though.
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#96 of 104 Old 04-28-2010, 10:05 PM
 
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#10 Why are all the Black kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity by Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D

This is a fascinating book. The title is what got me to read it. It's a good attempt to raise consciousness on the subject of racism. She explains how racism is different from prejudice. It's easy to read, not full of statistics and technical information. It's a straightforward discussion on a controversial subject that many would rather not address head on. I liked the fact she had a section on Asians, Latino/Hispanics as well as biracial Americans. This is a good first step into race exploration. It's not meant to be the definitive book about racism in America. It's definitely a great book for people who think racism is no longer an issue in this countr.
This sounds really interesting. I think I am going to put it in my queue. Living in a super white rural area, it is very easy to believe that the days of racism are over. I am certain I could use a solid eye opener.

I just finished Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne.

Absolutely phenomenal in my opinion. This was my first experience with anything remotely near Waldorf philosophy, and it was life changing. First, it was exciting to see someone else suggesting a parenting style so similar to ours (yet so different from most parents I know). Second, it offered suggestions on how to push further into a simple lifestyle. I took extensive notes on this book and I will likely purchase it when the budget allows.
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#97 of 104 Old 04-29-2010, 10:36 AM
 
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Boom by Mark Haddon

Jim and Charlie's scheme to bug the staff room takes an unexpected turn when they find out that two of their teachers are actually aliens. While this sounds like a great premise, the book was not really that interesting and not at all hilarious (as it was billed). It has a drawn-out set up and then when they actually get to the planet and meet the aliens, it's kind of rushed and confusing. This is definitely not as well put together as Haddon's 'Curious Incident of the Dog in the NIght-Time', though it might appeal to some 6th-8th grade boys. If you are looking for a good, new sci-fi read for middle-schoolers, I would recommend Mark Teague's 'Doom' over this one.

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#98 of 104 Old 04-29-2010, 11:58 AM
 
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I'm way behind on writing reviews...here's a few more from January.

#3 Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor
Category: Fiction, Young Adult
Rating: 4/5

Summary: Three stories, each about a different girl and a kiss. And no ordinary kiss, either. These kisses carry a dangerous promise to forever change the girls’ lives.

Review: I must read more by this author. Soon after I started this book, I was jotting down page numbers of quotes left and right. When I hit page 100 and had filled up an entire post-it with page numbers, I decided I’ll just have to reread this someday.

These stories are weird, but deliciously so. They reminded me of Pretty Monsters, which I also loved.

The only reason this book didn’t get 5 stars from me is that the ending of the first story let me down a bit. I wanted more conclusion, but I don’t read many short stories so I’m probably just not calibrated for them.

Here’s a taste for you from the first story about a girl named Kizzy whose grandmother has just passed away:
Quote:
Sometimes Kizzy imagined her grandmother knife-fighting her way down the long tunnel of death, but mostly her daydreams were of a very different nature. She daydreamed of slow-dancing with Mike Crespain and of sitting on his lap at lunch while he hugged her around the waist instead of Sarah Ferris, his knuckles resting lightly against the underside of her breasts instead of Sarah’s. She daydreamed about having slim ankles like Jenny Glass instead of peasant ankles like the fetlocks of a draft horse. About smooth hair instead of coarse hair, sleek hips instead of belly dancer’s hips. About a tinkling laugh, and a butterfly tattoo, and a boy who would tuck his hand into her back pocket while they walked, and press her up against a fence to suck her lower lip like a globe of fruit.
That’s hot. The next paragraph is even better, but I would’ve had to give you more background to the story.

So go read it for yourself!

#4 The No-Cry Potty Training Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Child Say Good-Bye to Diapers
Category: Nonfiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Review not written yet.

#5 Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High
Category: Nonfiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Review not written yet, but I recommend this book to everyone now! It's taught me how to have more mature conversations with my husband instead of resorting to petty tricks to "win" an argument.

#6 Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart
Category: Fiction, Young Adult
Rating: 2.5/5

Summary: 16-year-old Gretchen doesn’t fit in at The Manhattan School for Art and Music, something weird is going on between her parents, and her best friend seems to be avoiding her.

Review: This one was just okay for me.

I was liking the story until about halfway through when the action slowed way down. I’m not spoiling anything you can’t get from the Amazon description—and maybe I’m outing myself as a jaded old married lady—but in particular, I could have done without the pages of reflection on the male anatomy.

The pace picks up again in the last 30 pages or so. But after no real action for so long, it seemed like everything wrapped a little too neatly.

Here’s a taste so you can decide for yourself. Gretchen is talking to her best friend, Katya, about a guy named Titus:
Quote:
Later that afternoon, Sanchez the gym teacher makes us play dodgeball, which leaves bruises all over my legs. I’m not that fast, and I get hit a lot. Titus hits me twice.

“Do you think it means something?” I ask Katya after gym, sitting on the locker room bench in a towel.

Katya is naked in the shower like that’s a normal way to have a conversation. She’s washing her hair like she’s just everyday naked in front of people.

Well, we are everyday naked in front of people. Gym is five days a week, shower required. But anyway, Katya is having a naked conversation like it doesn’t even bother her, which it obviously doesn’t—even though she’s not built like a model, just regular.

The locker room is so cramped and tiny that I can feel the warm spray of her shower water on my knee as I’m sitting on the bench.

“It would have meant something if we were sixth graders,” says Katya, scrunching her eyes as she rinses out the shampoo.

“Like what would it mean?”

“You want to hear me say it?” She’s laughing.

“Yes.”

“It would have meant that he liked you back.”

“I didn’t say I liked him,” I mutter.
#7 Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Category: Fiction, Young Adult
Rating: 1/5

Summary: High school senior Nora and her best friend are lab partners in biology, but for some reason their teacher makes a new seating chart with only weeks left in the year. Nora gets stuck with the new guy who she feels simultaneously attracted to and repulsed by.

Review: This book was lucky to get even a 1-star rating from me. The star it did earn is based purely on the writing—which I thought was good for the most part save for some repetitive internal dialogue—and nothing to do with the actual story.

Because I hated the actual story.

Nora’s love interest, Patch, is downright abusive to her, but she keeps coming back for more. It’d be one thing if through the relationship, she learned to assert herself or learned that she doesn’t deserve to be treated that way or learned anything about herself, actually. Nope.

Nora can tell he wants to hurt her, at least emotionally if not also physically. And it seems to make her want Patch all the more.

Maybe I just need to get over it. After all, it’s just a story. A bit of candy in book form. At least it gets kids to turn off the TV and read.

But…is it “just a story”? Here’s a quick snippet from a book called Influencer, which looks at behavioral science research to determine what motivates people to change their behavior.
Quote:
Entertainment education helps people change how they view the world through the telling of vibrant and credible stories. Told well, these vicariously created events approximate the gold standard of change—real experiences… We can use words to persuade others to come around to our way of thinking by telling a story rather than firing of a lecture… A well-told narrative…changes people’s view of how the world works because it presents a plausible, touching, and memorable flow of cause and effect that can alter people’s view of the consequences of various actions or beliefs.
Meaning? Stories matter. Lectures from parents and teachers, not so much. Stories—and the messages they carry—break through where nagging doesn’t and make a real impact.

The impact books like this and Twilight will make—are making—scares me. Not because I imagine girls will finish the book, set it down, and think to themselves “Golly gee, I’d sure like to find me an emotionally abusive boy.” The problem is they won’t think about it. They’ll get caught up in the story, which will leave an imprint on their sensibilities.

I wish this were just an irrational fear of mine. Unfortunately, research has proven this is exactly what happens. Again, from Influencer:
Quote:
Concrete and vivid stories exert extraordinary influence because they transport people out of the role of critic and into the role of participant. The more poignant, vibrant, and relevant the story, the more the listener moves from thinking about the inherent arguments to experiencing every element of the tale itself. Stories don’t merely trump verbal persuasion by disproving counterarguments; stories keep the listener from offering counterarguments in the first place.
So why did this book get my dander up? Because this is the message it mainlines to girls: A boy who abuses you is hot. The reason he abuses you is he truly loves you. If you put up with the abuse long enough, he’ll prove his love to you and it will all be worth it.

Expecting #2 in May 2013!

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#99 of 104 Old 04-29-2010, 12:05 PM
 
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Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Well, I gave this another try because of great reviews. I thought it was good like all of Anderson's stuff but I didn't find it terribly original--pretty similar to other books about anorexic teens I've read.
Oh, bummer. I really liked that one, but I haven't read any other books on that topic so maybe that's why it got to me.

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The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

I finally got to read this --- like everyone else, I loved it!
That's one of my all-time YA faves! Glad you liked it.

Expecting #2 in May 2013!

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#100 of 104 Old 04-29-2010, 05:54 PM
 
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Is anyone here on Goodreads? I'm using it more and more lately, and I really enjoy it.
Can you tell I'm catching up on my MDC reading today?

I'm on Goodreads, and I enjoy being on it. I get a daily email of updates from my friends on Goodreads, so I get to see what books they're reading & loving (or not). Good for getting recommendations, just like this thread!

Expecting #2 in May 2013!

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#101 of 104 Old 04-29-2010, 11:03 PM
 
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Just checking in. I never have much time to read once the farming season begins, but I'm still slowly working my way through Stephen King's Dark Tower series. I'm on book 5, and really enjoying it.
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#102 of 104 Old 04-30-2010, 10:03 AM
 
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Wait a minute! You read more books than what you post here! Where do you find the time girlfriend?!
There are so many different answers to this question. My husband does a lot around the house. We have one child. We don't have a yard that creates work or a hobby for us. We don't have a TV. My husband is a big reader too. Right now I'm not working. I keep a book in the bathroom. But probably one of the biggest things is just that I am a fast reader.
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#103 of 104 Old 05-01-2010, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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May's Thread is up and running here: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...php?p=15361071

"A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." - Tyrion Lannister

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#104 of 104 Old 05-03-2010, 01:50 PM
 
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There are so many different answers to this question. My husband does a lot around the house. We have one child. We don't have a yard that creates work or a hobby for us. We don't have a TV. My husband is a big reader too. Right now I'm not working. I keep a book in the bathroom. But probably one of the biggest things is just that I am a fast reader.

Well that all makes sense! I think I'm the opposite in all those factors, we have an overgrown yard, 2 kids, I work at an office full time, we have a tv (although, we don't watch it *too* much), I keep magazines in the bathroom And I won't say my husband doesn't do a lot around the house, b/c he does since he's the at home parent, but there's still plenty to do. Actually, most of my reading is done in the elevator or at lunch at work, I squeeze it in wherever I can, waiting in lines, etc, and at night after the kids fall asleep I squeeze in some pages before I fall asleep and the book starts hitting me in the face.
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