Book Challenge 2005: February - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 207 Old 02-08-2005, 11:04 AM
 
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2. Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood

from Amazon.com

Quote:
Returning to the city of her youth for a retrospective of her art, controversial painter Elaine Risley is engulfed by vivid images of the past. Strongest of all is the figure of Cordelia, leader of the trio of girls who initiated her into the fierce politics of childhood and its secret world of friendship, longing, and betrayal. Elaine must come to terms with her own identity as a daughter, a lover, an artist, and a woman-but above all, she must seek release from Cordelia's haunting memory. Disturbing, hilarious, and compassionate, Cat's Eye is a breathtaking contemporary novel of a woman grappling with the tangled knot of her life.
I love Margaret Atwood! This was a great book- insightful, funny, she really knows about how cruel children can be to each other. It's not Atwood's strongest work, but still a good read!

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#62 of 207 Old 02-08-2005, 12:47 PM
 
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So did you like Bee Season? Should I get it?

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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#63 of 207 Old 02-08-2005, 02:39 PM
 
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Hi. I am new to this thread. THanks for all the suggestions. I just read The Good Mother by Sue ******. Here is the review from Amazon:
Anna Dunlap, newly divorced, is shaping a life centered around her three-year-old daughter, Molly. Then Leo Cutter sparks a sexual responsiveness new to Annaherself the product of a circumspect New England family, frigid during her marriage to a man of similar temperament. Molly and Leo like each other, too, and Anna sees them as a loving family unituntil her ex-husband sues for custody, citing sexual activities that put his child at risk. The love affair is irrevocably changed, as Anna opens her life to a court-appointed psychiatrist and bends the truth to her lawyer's strategy. Anna's first-person narrative, with its skillfully interwoven flashbacks, creates foreboding as it builds to the drama of the hearing and its wrenching conclusion. ******'s first novel is a stunner: so emotionally true and cleanly written, its characters so wonderfully and fallibly human, its issues so painful. Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., Va.
I read Bee Season a while ago. It was a great book.
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#64 of 207 Old 02-08-2005, 03:20 PM
 
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10. You Remind Me of Me by Dan Choan

Bleak. Very bleak. I found it too depressing to be reading in January/February, although it is well-written and well-constructed. Here's the description from Publisher's Weekly:

Three lives viewed through a kaleidoscope of memories and secret pain assume a kind of mythical dimension in Chaon's piercingly poignant tale of fate, chance and search for redemption. As he demonstrated in his short story collection Among the Missing, Chaon has a sensitive radar for the daily routines of people striving to escape the margins of poverty and establish meaningful lives. Here, a woman's unsuccessful effort to rise above the pain of giving away an illegitimate baby, and to fight against mental illness and offer love to a second child, blights all their lives.

11. And Baby Makes Four : Welcoming a Second Child into the Family
by Hilory Wagner

Self-explanatory. The best of the couple of books I've read on the subject. And, though she's not exactly AP, she is very pro-breastfeeding and talks about home births in a pretty matter-of-fact way.
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#65 of 207 Old 02-08-2005, 03:24 PM
 
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3. The American Girls Handy Book: How to amuse yourself and others

This is a reprint of an old, old book. Here is the card catalog description
Card catalog description
Quote:
A reprint of a gay nineties publication for young ladies instructing them in such hobbies as fancy needlework, handmade dolls, china painting, painting in oils, heraldic painting, preservation of wild flowers, and many others.
I started out looking for Valentine's Day ideas and ended up poring over it all night. Some of it is cute, some gives insight into the period, some of it is just plain scary, but it's a great book.

Annette

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#66 of 207 Old 02-08-2005, 03:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cathe
So did you like Bee Season? Should I get it?
Oh, yes! Forgot to put that part. *LOL* Loved it! Each character and each of their "things" going on. And blew me away about the mom...I'll leave it at that, but I highly recommend it.
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#67 of 207 Old 02-08-2005, 05:34 PM
 
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cathe - bee season is great. i loved it! i think you would, too.

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#68 of 207 Old 02-08-2005, 08:32 PM
 
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4. How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Farber and Elaine Mazlish

This is a gentle parenting classic.
From Amazon.Com
Quote:
Here is the bestselling book that will give you the know-how you need to be effective with your children. Enthusiastically praised by parents and professionals around the world, the down-to-earth, respectful approach of Faber and Mazlish makes relationships with children of all ages less stressful and more rewarding.

Recently revised and updated with fresh insights and suggestions, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk is full of practical, innovative ways to solve common problems and build foundations for lasting relationships.

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#69 of 207 Old 02-08-2005, 10:54 PM
 
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#12 Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding

From Publishers Weekly
Considering the number of writers who've tried, and generally failed, to do plummy Bridget Jones one better, it only makes sense that Fielding should take a vacation from the genre she spawned and seek (sort of) greener pastures. Her new inspiration? Think Ian Fleming. Fielding's ridiculous, delicious, wildly improbable plot goes something like this: freelance journalist Olivia Joules ("as in the unit of kinetic energy"), formerly Rachel Pixley (her whole family got run over when she was 14), gets bumped from the Sunday Times's international coverage down to the style pages thanks to the titular imagination (e.g., a story about a "cloud of giant, fanged locusts pancaking down on Ethiopia"). In between ducking twittering PR reps and airheaded blondes at a Miami face cream launch party, she uncovers what looks like an al-Qaeda plot, headed by a dreamy Osama bin Laden look-alike, who is either (1) a terrorist, (2) an international playboy, (3) a serial killer or (4) all of the above. Languid, mysterious Pierre Feramo returns Olivia's interest, and thus begins an around-the-world adventure that has plucky Olivia eventually recruited by MI6. In addition to the fun spy gear (e.g., Chloé shades fitted with a nerve-agent dagger) there are kidnappings, bomb plots and scuba-diving disasters. Olivia is slim, confident and accomplished; ostensibly, she's "painstakingly erased all womanly urges to question her shape, looks, role in life," etc. But she still has her bumbling Jonesian moments, and though she may not need a man, she'll get one in the end. What's wrong with the book: two-dimensional characters, dangling plot threads, the questionable taste of al-Qaeda bombings in an escapist, comic spy novel. What's right: girl-power punch, page-turning brio and a new heroine to root for.
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#70 of 207 Old 02-09-2005, 12:17 AM
 
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#22 - Shadow Baby by Alison Mcghee

What a great, great, great, great book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn't wait to finish it but didn't want it to end - one of those. I am looking for other books by this author.

This is an adult book but the narrator is an 11-year-old girl. She is obsessed with trying to find out who her father was, how her baby sister died, and what happened to her grandfather - questions her mother refuses to answer. She makes up stories about what happened.

Meanwhile, though she doesn't have friends her own age, she makes friends with an elderly man who she is interviewing for a school assignment and since he is not too forthcoming, she makes up a past for him as well.

Anyway, that all probably doesn't sound that exciting but this character is just so wonderfully odd and unusual for an 11 year old (though totally believable) that you can't help loving her and wanting things to turn out right for her.

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#71 of 207 Old 02-09-2005, 01:18 AM
 
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#4 - The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares - A short YA coming-of-age tale about 4 teenage girlfriends. Cute, a very quick read, but nothing spectacular. Definitely leaves itself open for sequels (which, I've just discovered, exist).

From Amazon:
They were just a soft, ordinary pair of thrift-shop jeans until the four girls took turns trying them on--four girls, that is, who are close friends, about to be parted for the summer, with very different sizes and builds, not to mention backgrounds and personalities. Yet the pants settle on each girl's hips perfectly, making her look sexy and long-legged and feel confident as a teenager can feel. "These are magical Pants!" they realize, and so they make a pact to share them equally, to mail them back and forth over the summer from wherever they are. Beautiful, distant Lena is going to Greece to be with her grandparents; strong, athletic Bridget is off to soccer camp in Baja, California; hot-tempered Carmen plans to have her divorced father all to herself in South Carolina; and Tibby the rebel will be left at home to slave for minimum wage at Wallman's.

Over the summer the Pants come to represent the support of the sisterhood, but they also lead each girl into bruising and ultimately healing confrontations with love and courage, dying and forgiveness. Lena finds her identity in Greece and the courage not to reject love; Bridget gets in over her head with an older camp coach; Carmen finds her father ensconced with a new fiancée and family; and Tibby unwillingly takes on a filmmaking apprentice who is dying of leukemia. Each girl's story is distinct and engrossing, told in a brightly contemporary style. Like the Pants, the reader bounces back and forth among the four unfolding adventures, and the melange is spiced with letters and witty quotes. Ann Brashares has here created four captivating characters and seamlessly interwoven their stories for a young adult novel that is fresh and absorbing.
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#72 of 207 Old 02-09-2005, 09:42 AM
 
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#23 The Better Part of Valor by Tanya Huff

This one was good, but I think I liked the first one better...

From Library Journal
When Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr makes the mistake of speaking her mind to a superior officer, she finds herself tagged for a special mission for the interplanetary Confederation to act as protector to a scientific exploratory team assigned to investigate an enormous derelict spaceship. Along with her crew and her charges, Kerr soon finds herself in the midst of danger and faced with a mystery that takes all her courage and ingenuity to solve. This sequel to Valor's Choice, featuring a gutsy, fast-thinking female space-marine protagonist, establishes veteran fantasy author Huff as an accomplished spinner of high-tech military-sf adventure. For most sf collections.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

My family of 3 (plus pup) Indigo (Aimee), Rob (dp), Ryne (ds) & Phebe (dog), plus my BIL's family of 3.

 
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#73 of 207 Old 02-09-2005, 11:22 AM
 
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5. The Artemis Fowl Files by Eion Colfer

I stumbled upon the Artemis Fowl series when I was taking a long car trip home, and stopped at one of the "Book Sale" places that set up in old Aimes stores.
I bought the third Artemis Fowl book on tape to help keep me awake, and I loooooved it.

This is really just a couple of short stories and some other fluff.

From Amazon.com:
Quote:
Grade 5-8–No, this is not a sequel to the previous titles; it's a companion book. It includes two original short stories, one a prequel to Artemis Fowl (the first) about Captain Holly Short and how she became a member of the LEP, and the other a story about Artemis looking for the Fei Fei Tiara (Seventh Dwarf). In it, readers see Mulch working with Artemis for the first time. There are also games; readers can practice fairy code, learn the gnomish alphabet, do a crossword puzzle or a find-a-word (the latter may cause problems in libraries). Finally, they can read interviews with Artemis, Captain Short, Butler, Mulch Diggums, Foaly, Commander Root, and the author. With the write-in caveat in mind, this volume will give all of those Fowler fans something to read while waiting for the next book.
It was pretty good!
Annette

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#74 of 207 Old 02-09-2005, 05:13 PM
 
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"The Continuum Concept" by Jean Liedloff

This was by no means a long book yet took me quite a while to read. For me, the style in which it was written made it difficult for me to absorb. I read this book in short chunks over a period of several days and believe I will have to read it again at some point to make sure I absorb it all. I do not agree with all the points she makes but it was a worthwhile read.

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#75 of 207 Old 02-10-2005, 12:33 AM
 
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Itlbokay: you got me into this thread with The Darling...I have been waiting to see someone start a recommendation with "if you liked The Poisonwood Bible you'd like..." (I adore Barbara Kingsolver and consider writing her daily notes to beg for a new novel...but I don't want to scare her.)

Last week, read Lolly Winston's Good Grief. lol funny and touching story about a young widow.
this week, Pearl Abraham's The Romance Reader, a coming of age story about a young woman growing up in a Chasidic community, struggling with tradition and her heart's cravings

I'm glad to be here to share in everyone's reading!

mama to one amazing daughter born 1/2004
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#76 of 207 Old 02-10-2005, 12:34 PM
 
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6. The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin

I had never heard of this tragedy until I read the book. It was sad, but interesting.

From Amazon.com
Quote:
In 1888, a sudden, violent blizzard swept across the American plains, killing hundreds of people, many of them children on their way home from school. As Laskin (Partisans) writes in this gripping chronicle of meteorological chance and human folly and error, the School Children's Blizzard, as it came to be known, was "a clean, fine blade through the history of the prairie," a turning point in the minds of the most steadfast settlers: by the turn of the 20th century, 60% of pioneer families had left the plains. Laskin shows how portions of Minnesota, Nebraska and the Dakotas, heavily promoted by railroads and speculators, represented "land, freedom, hope" for thousands of impoverished European immigrants—particularly Germans and Scandinavians—who instead found an unpredictable, sometimes brutal environment, a "land they loved but didn't really understand." Their stories of bitter struggle in the blizzard, which Laskin relates via survivors' accounts and a novelistic imagination, are consistently affecting. And Laskin's careful consideration of the inefficiencies of the army's inexpert weather service and his chronicle of the storm's aftermath in the papers (differences in death counts provoked a national "unseemly brawl") add to this rewarding read.

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#77 of 207 Old 02-10-2005, 12:55 PM
 
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#24 Wisdom Tales from Around the World: Fifty Gems of Story and Wisdom from Such Diverse Traditions As Sufi, Zen, Taoist, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, African, and Native American (World Storytelling) by Heather Forest

Got it from the library for reading to my son because most of the stories are less than 2 pages, but I sat down last night and read through the whole thing. Awesome. I was a bit surprised at how many of the stories I already knew. Gonna add this to our personal library

***

For long winter nights Those who get fed up with holiday cheer can turn to darker entertainments with the ghost stories of Haunts: Five Hair-Raising Tales by Angela Shelf Medearis, illus. by Trina Schart Hyman. The lively stories, several of them set in Texas, feature a spell-binding fiddler, a dancer who won't stop and a talking cat. The swirling, shadowy black-and-white illustrations add a mildly spooky edge. Storytelling of a more uplifting nature is offered in Wisdom Tales from Around the World by Heather Forest. Culled from such diverse traditions as Taoist parables, the Panchatantra of ancient India, the Bible and European folktales, the 50 entries, says Forest in an introduction, "pass down homespun wisdom encased in stories." The tales are often no more than a few paragraphs in length, and rarely more than two or three pages.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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#78 of 207 Old 02-11-2005, 01:02 AM
 
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#10 My Jim

this was an excellent book by Nancy Rawles. It's the story of Huck Finns sidekick Jim. it's told by Jim's one & only love Sadie. i couldn't put this book down. It was sad to read about the wickedness of slavery but there's also an amazing lovestory to this. Highly recommended.

Lola , loving my DH, Mama to & we &
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#79 of 207 Old 02-11-2005, 11:06 AM
 
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#14 Hear My Sorrow, the Diary of Angela Denoto, a Shirtwaist Worker 1909

Another Dear America...short read.
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#80 of 207 Old 02-11-2005, 02:47 PM
 
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Phew - My reading seems so sluggish these days. I am ONLY at book #7. You do what you can do.

#7 Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Farber and Elaine Mazlish - 10 year anniversary edition.

AWESOME. Great book. Has already helped me tremendously. I'm so glad to have read it. I have to tell you, though. The 10-year edition is the one I recommend. The authors added 3 chapters in the back of the book, one of which deals specifically with younger children, one deals with older children at home alone. This book is one of those I hope to remember to re-read every so often, ideally every few months, but realistically once a year. Great advice.

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#81 of 207 Old 02-11-2005, 11:13 PM
 
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#82 of 207 Old 02-12-2005, 01:38 AM
 
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#6 The Nature of Water and Air

Last year I became a Regina McBride Fan. This was her first novel, and, I think, my favorite. The others are The Marriage Bed and The Land of Women. They are all about the relationships of Irish daughters with their mothers. In these books, they don't tend to have good relationships with their mothers!

McBride's writng is just lovely, and she often has phrases where I stop and recognize just what a nice phase that is.

From the back: "My mother was never easy in the world of houses. She was a tinker, a traveler girl who had married a wealthy man. Her name was Agatha Sheehy....There are silences all around my mother's story."

So begins The Nature of Water and Air, set on a patch of Irish coast where, amid a flurry of whispers, we meet Agatha's only surviving daughter, Clodagh. Determined to secure her mother's elusive love and the truth about her, Clodagh is swept into a relationship with a handsome, isolated man. He brings her to the heart of her mother's story, where she must confront the questions "Does a truth change love?" and "What madness will come from chasing a secret?"

Powerfully sensitive, this startling debut novel about forbidden love will place Regina McBride among our most celebrated novelists.
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#83 of 207 Old 02-12-2005, 11:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Alkenny I LOVE the Dear America series

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all
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#84 of 207 Old 02-12-2005, 12:03 PM
 
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7. Riding the Bus with My Sister: A true life journey by Rachel Simon
I read this as part of our "One Book, One City" program.
from Amazon.com
Quote:
This perceptive, uplifting chronicle shows how much Simon, a creative writing professor at Bryn Mawr College, had to learn from her mentally retarded sister, Beth, about life, love and happiness. Beth lives independently and is in a long-term romantic relationship, but perhaps the most surprising thing about her, certainly to her (mostly) supportive family, is how she spends her days riding buses. Six days a week (the buses don't run on Sundays in her unnamed Pennsylvania city), all day, she cruises around, chatting up her favorite drivers, dispensing advice and holding her ground against those who find her a nuisance. Rachel joined Beth on her rides for a year, a few days every two weeks, in an attempt to mend their distanced relationship and gain some insight into Beth's daily life. She wound up learning a great deal about herself and how narrowly she'd been seeing the world. Beth's community within the transit system is a much stronger network than the one Rachel has in her hectic world, and some of the portraits of drivers and the other people in Beth's life are unforgettable. Rachel juxtaposes this with the story of their childhood, including the dissolution of their parents' marriage and the devastating abandonment by their mother, the effect of which is tied poignantly to the sisters' present relationship. Although she is honest about the frustrations of relating to her stubborn sister, Rachel comes to a new appreciation of her, and it is a pleasure for readers to share in that discovery.
I mostly liked it, although I would disagree with the reviewer who said it wasn't sentimental. The backflashes to her childhood were extremely disturbing. What was most distracting to me is that I am from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and I kept trying to figure out in what "gritty Pennsylvania town" the story took place. There are "continuity errors" in the book (page one she is waking up to ride the bus; later in the year she states she has never slept over at her sister's before- well, which is it???) that drive me nuts. I guess if you are going to choose a book for a whole city to read, it can't be too difficult, but honestly, I thought they could have chosen a deeper book.

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#85 of 207 Old 02-12-2005, 12:41 PM
 
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Annette, I read The Price of a Child by Cary for last year's Philly One Book program...have you read that one? Overall I really liked it but there were some parts that were just too heartbreaking.
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#86 of 207 Old 02-12-2005, 01:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaBug
Alkenny I LOVE the Dear America series
So do I! Just about done with this last one...DD checks them out and I sneak them :
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#87 of 207 Old 02-12-2005, 03:10 PM
 
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The Book Club, by Mary Alice Monroe.

Per Amazon:
Monroe's (Girl in the Mirror) new novel opens as five friends, all members of a monthly book club, face turning points in their lives. Eve's husband dies suddenly, shattering her comfortable lifestyle, while Midge's mother makes an unannounced and unwelcomed reappearance. Annie finally feels ready to have a child, only to find her health and her marriage in jeopardy. Gabriella strains to make ends meet after her husband is laid off; Doris slides into depression as she tries to deny signs of her husband's infidelity. Sometimes close to and sometimes at odds with each other, the friends struggle to face harsh realities and, in the process, gain new independence. The actual book club of the title plays an oddly small role in this celebration of friendship and growth--the books the club reads are mentioned only briefly and often seem irrelevant to the women's struggles. Still, Monroe offers up believable characters in a well-crafted story.

Kind of slow in the beginning, but then I *really* got into it.
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#88 of 207 Old 02-12-2005, 03:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kofduke
Annette, I read The Price of a Child by Cary for last year's Philly One Book program...have you read that one? Overall I really liked it but there were some parts that were just too heartbreaking.
Maybe I will try it- thanks!

Flowers, fairies, gardens, and rainbows-- Seasons of Joy: 10 weeks of crafts, handwork, painting, coloring, circle time, fairy tales, and more!
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#89 of 207 Old 02-12-2005, 06:11 PM
 
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I mostly enjoyed this British novel. She's a good writer, although the premise (of two people who met briefly and then can't seem to get together) does get a little worn toward the end. The male character has mild Asperger's, which was an interesting twist. It is a page-turner; I finished this book faster than anything else I've read this year.

From Amazon:
Quote:
Margot Livesey's Banishing Verona is the story of two people who enjoy an enchanted evening together, and then spend the next few weeks chasing each other across continents in order to decide if it's the real thing. Zeke Cafarelli is an endearingly timid, rather obsessive-compulsive housepainter who dismantles clocks, "laying out the springs and coils in careful sequence and putting them back together," in order to gain the courage to leave his house. Verona MacIntyre is a seven-months-pregnant radio talk show host who goes back and forth between wanting to rescue her wayward brother and simply wanting to rescue herself. The backdrop for this ethereal novel is London and Boston, and Livesey does a masterful job of creating characters out of the cities and places that house her protagonists.

Banishing Verona is a love story at its core; however, Zeke and Verona are seen together in only a few scenes. Instead, Livesey tells the story from each character's perspective, overlapping time and place yet creating entirely unique situations. Each event is described with such precision that even the most mundane tasks take on a sense of importance that feels almost palpable. ("Then he noticed the red light on the phone, blinking ... He raised the receiver and heard only the usual high-pitched note; he had no idea what to do next.")

While her attention to detail may seem a bit excessive at times, Livesey is undeniably adept at creating a vivid, colorful world whose only purpose is to exist as a backdrop for Zeke and Verona's search for self, and for each other. Even secondary characters, like Zeke's employee Emmanuel and Verona's brother Henry, are only there to accentuate the good (and the bad) in our hero and heroine. Still, the underlying message here is that no one ever really knows anyone else, or as Zeke says, "Only years later ... did he grasp that even at their most vivid ... his thoughts were invisible, not only to teachers and tyrants, but to everyone..." What keeps us reading this dreamy novel until the very last page is the hope that people exist who are willing to take a chance on what can never truly be a sure thing. --Gisele Toueg

Momma to 8 y.o. DS and 5 y.o. DD. Married to a Maker!

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#90 of 207 Old 02-12-2005, 07:37 PM
 
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Sigh.... I am so far behind.....

#3. Currant Events By Piers Anthony the 28th novel in the Xanth universe (yes I have read them all! LOL) It is a quest with the Muse of History. Fantasy, lots of bad puns, some romance. Pretty good.

As a side note, the geography of Xanth is based on FL (where I live) and the author lives 90 minutes from me.

ETA: Ooops, this was book 3 for me, not 2....
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