Book Challenge 2005: February - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-18-2005, 08:21 PM
 
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#6 The Dive from Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer

How much do we owe the people we love? Is it a sign of strength or weakness to walk away from someone in need? These questions lie at the heart of Ann Packer's intimate and emotionally thrilling new novel, which has won its author comparisons with Jane Hamilton and Sue ******. At the age of 23, Carrie Bell has spent her entire life in Wisconsin, with the same best friend and the same dependable, easygoing high school sweetheart. Now to her dismay she has begun to find this life suffocations and is considering leaving it - and her fiance, Mike - behind.
But when Mike is paralyzed in a diving accident, leaving seems unfor givable-and yet more necessary thatn ever. The Dive from Clausen's Pier animates this dilemna-and Carrie's startling response to it-with the narrative assurance, exacting realism, and moral complexity we expect from the very best fiction.

I would recommend this novel My sister lent it to me after she read it. It's a little long but a quick read, I really wanted to finish it and find out what happened, but dc have been sick all week, and wouldn't allow me. But I did finish last night and would suggest this book to whoever is at a loss as to what to read next.

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Old 02-19-2005, 02:24 PM
 
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#28 Local Girls by Alice Hoffman

Another great coming-of-age story from Hoffman. I love the way she combines realistic situations and adds just a tough of magic to them. This story is mostly about Gretel who experiences a lot of loss and sadness but doesn't give up and makes her way through it.

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Old 02-19-2005, 02:52 PM
 
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14- A Murder, A Mystery, and a Marriage by Mark Twain.

From Amazon:
"An unpublished Mark Twain story surfaces 125 years after it was first written.

Set in the quaint hollow of Deer Lick, a mythical town resembling Mark Twain's Hannibal, Missouri, this bizarre tale chronicles the fortunes of humble farmer John Gray, determined to marry off his daughter Mary to the scion of the town's wealthiest family. But the sudden appearance of a stranger found lying unconscious in the snow not only derails Gray's plans but also leads to a murder whose solution lies at the heart of this tale. Written in 1876 between Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, the story was composed as a "blindfold novelette" that Twain planned to launch as a competition for writers, including Henry James and William Dean Howells. But the competition never took place, and the story, enjoined for decades from publication by the Twain estate, was thought by many to have been lost. Published here for the first time in book form and beautifully illustrated, it will delight Twain fans old and new alike. 6 four-color illustrations."

This book was not up to par with Twain's other works, which is probably why it was not published when he wrote it. Most of it is predictable, and what isn't predictable is ridiculous. And it is really a short story, not a book- the afterword is longer than the main body.

I would say don't waste your time, but it is so short it really won't take too long- maybe 30 minutes. The Twain estate was on to something when they prevented it from being published. (Sorry, Sam! Love your other books.)


1) Daughter of God 2) The Lovely Bones 3) The Shattering 4) Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code 5) The Burning 6) Shadow Divers 7) Shadowmancer 8) Recipes For a Small Planet 9) The Red Tent 10) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time 11) Diet For A Small Planet 12) Middlesex 13) The Time Traveler's Wife 14) A Murder, A Mystery, and A Marriage
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Old 02-19-2005, 09:37 PM
 
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12. Your Three-Year-Old : Friend or Enemy
by LOUISE BATES AMES, FRANCES L. ILG

Despite the unfortunate title, this was a helpful book -- one of a series that looks at what is developmentally appropriate at different ages.

13. Plainsong by Kent Haruf

"Ambitious, but never seeming so, Kent Haruf reveals a whole community as he interweaves the stories of a pregnant high school girl, a lonely teacher, a pair of boys abandoned by their mother, and a couple of crusty bachelor farmers. From simple elements, Haruf achieves a novel of wisdom and grace--a narrative that builds in strength and feeling until, as in a choral chant, the voices in the book surround, transport, and lift the reader off the ground."

A nice, easy read. Also a National Book Award winner.
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Old 02-19-2005, 09:41 PM
 
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14. Cunt: A Declaration of Independence (Live Girls Series)
by Inga Muscio

"Inga Muscio traces the road from honor to expletive, giving women the motivation and tools to claim "cunt" as a positive and powerful force in their lives. In this fully revised edition, she explores, with candidness and humor, such traditional feminist issues as birth control, sexuality, jealousy between women, and prostitution with a fresh attitude for a new generation of women. "

I really, really liked this book. Very thought-provoking. Highly recommended!

15. The Sunday Wife by Cassandra King (aka Pat Conroy's wife)

"Finely drawn characters and complicated social intrigue make King's second novel (after Making Waves in Zion) a charming read. When Dean Lynchs ambitious preacher husband, Ben, is assigned to a pulpit in the small Florida town of Crystal Springs, Dean is resigned to the prospect of yet another church-owned house and the necessity of putting aside her own beloved music (she plays the piano and the dulcimer) in favor of the congregations choir. Orphaned as a child, the retiring Dean has spent 20 years of marriage in the shadow of her overbearing, charismatic husband, always feeling out of place. But when she befriends Augusta, a wealthy, well-born, caustic beauty whose attendance at the Crystal Springs Methodist Church would be Ben's greatest coup, Dean finds herself coming out of her shell and tangled up in secrets she is not prepared to handle. The only false note comes from the gay couple Augusta befriends, who border on stereotype. The rest of King's secondary cast, which includes a sympathetic psychic and the magnetic but sinister former preacher at Ben's church, is a captivating bunch. King has written a truly heartwarming story, a tale of turbulent emotions and the vagaries of public opinion in a small Southern town; she has a sure winner here."

Not my usual kind of book, but I finished it and did enjoy it, although it felt a little padded.
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Old 02-20-2005, 01:12 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isosmom
#6 The Dive from Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer
I read this a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it!
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Old 02-20-2005, 05:21 AM
 
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#7 Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson

Jesus' Son, the first collection of stories by Denis Johnson, presents a unique, hallucinatory vision of contemporary American life unmatched in power and immediacy and marks a new level of achievement for this acclaimed writer. In their intensity of perception, their neon-lit evocation of a strange world brought uncomfortably clost to our own, the stories of Jesus' Son offer a disturbing yet eerily beautiful portrayal of Ameican loneliness and hope.

I didn't really enjoy this collection of short stories. Maybe I'm just over the junkie theme in stories, but there was nothing interesting or new here for me.

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Old 02-20-2005, 05:18 PM
 
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OT -- Jesus' Son is a great movie! If you like junkie movies (I do). And probably even if you don't. Very moving. I liked the movie better than the book (a rare occurrence!).
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Old 02-20-2005, 07:59 PM
 
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I almost put this one down, but in the end I liked it fine. Pretty light, fun. I don't have another book lined up, though: horrors! Off to the library...

Quote:
From Publishers Weekly
Three very different Latina women vow to bring Los Angeles to its collective knees in this funny, guilty pleasure of a novel, which bears some resemblance to its author's previous hit, The Dirty Girls Social Club. Dallas-born talent agent Alexis Lopez is trying to break her fellow Meximericans, a band called Los Chimpances del Norte, into the big-time spotlight, but she's also looking for new blood. Enter Marcella Gauthier Bosch, a half-French bad-girl actress, once a star of Spanish-language soap operas and now aching for a mainstream movie career that doesn't involve being cast as a maid or a hooker. All she needs is a serious, Latina-focused script—and that's where Olivia Reyes comes in. The shy, dowdy stay-at-home mom is still traumatized by the memory of seeing her father gunned down by Salvadoran soldiers. But she also has a serious, autobiographical screenplay, and Alexis convinces her to let Alexis show it around—with the idea that Marcella will be perfect as Soledad, Olivia's mother. Complications abound, of course—there's Olivia's cheating husband, Marcella's disdain for men in general and a Cuban rap star who seems determined to break Alexis's heart—but so do the laughs. There's Alexis's middle-aged white ex-boyfriend who thinks he's a teenage gangsta, Marcella's latent-goth suitor and the good ol' hard-drinking, beer-gutted, coke-addled Mexican boys of Los Chimpances del Norte. While the action is slow and the novel repetitive in places—Alexis turns whining about her small breasts into an art form—this is a funny, heartfelt piece of escapism, Latina-style.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Old 02-20-2005, 09:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by isosmom
#7 Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson

Jesus' Son, the first collection of stories by Denis Johnson, presents a unique, hallucinatory vision of contemporary American life unmatched in power and immediacy and marks a new level of achievement for this acclaimed writer. In their intensity of perception, their neon-lit evocation of a strange world brought uncomfortably clost to our own, the stories of Jesus' Son offer a disturbing yet eerily beautiful portrayal of Ameican loneliness and hope.

I didn't really enjoy this collection of short stories. Maybe I'm just over the junkie theme in stories, but there was nothing interesting or new here for me.
Jesus' Son is more mean sporited than Johnson's other big work, Resusitation of a Hanged Man, which I liked and recommend very much.
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Old 02-20-2005, 11:23 PM
 
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A friend gave ne a big bag of trashy novels so I have enough fluff to keep me entertained for quite a while. I don't usually read vampire novels but, hey, it was free!

"Night Pleasures" by Sherrilyn Kenyon

from Amazon:
Dear Reader,

Have you ever wanted to know what it's like to be immortal? To journey through the night stalking the evil that preys on humans? To have unlimited wealth, unlimited power? That is my existence, and it is dark and dangerous. I play hero to thousands, but am known to none. And I love every minute of it.

Or so I thought until one night when I woke up handcuffed to my worst nightmare: a conservative woman in a button-down shirt. Or in Amanda's case, buttoned all the way up to her chin. She's smart, sexy, witty, and wants nothing to do with the paranormal-in other words, me.

My attraction to Amanda Devereaux goes against everything I stand for. Not to mention the last time I fell in love it cost me not only my human life, but also my very soul. Yet every time I look at her, I find myself wanting to try again. Wanting to believe that love and loyalty do exist.

Even more disturbing, I find myself wondering if there's any way a woman like Amanda can love a man whose battle scars run deep, and whose heart was damaged by a betrayal so savage that he's not sure it will ever beat again.

Kyrian of Thrace

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Old 02-21-2005, 11:02 AM
 
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Finally, after switching books 3 times ,I have finished book #4.

The curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Hammond.
Synopsis from Powels :
"Narrated by a fifteen-year-old autistic savant obsessed with Sherlock Holmes, this dazzling novel weaves together an old-fashioned mystery, a contemporary coming-of-age story, and a fascinating excursion into a mind incapable of processing emotions.

At fifteen, Christopher's carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbor's dog, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork and is initially blamed for the killing. Christopher decides that he will track down the real killer and turns to his favorite fictional character, the impeccably logical Sherlock Holmes, for inspiration. But the investigation leads him down some unexpected paths and ultimately brings him face to face with the dissolution of his parents' marriage. As Christopher tries to deal with this crisis within his own family, the narrative draws readers into the mysterious workings of Christopher's mind. "



I liked it!

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Old 02-21-2005, 01:19 PM
 
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#21 About Grace by Anthony Doeer

Quote:
David Winkler begins life in Anchorage, Alaska, a quiet boy drawn to the volatility of weather and obsessed with snow. Sometimes he sees things before they happen -- a man carrying a hatbox will be hit by a bus; Winkler will fall in love with a woman in a supermarket. When David dreams that his infant daughter will drown in a flood as he tries to save her, he comes undone. He travels thousands of miles, fleeing family, home, and the future itself, to deny the dream.

On a Caribbean island, destitute, alone, and unsure if his child has survived or his wife can forgive him, David is sheltered by a couple with a daughter of their own. Ultimately it is she who will pull him back into the world, to search for the people he left behind.
The author is REALLY descriptive, so if you read it try to stick it out. :LOL It was a REALLY good story though, otherwise.
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Old 02-21-2005, 01:48 PM
 
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Bee Season by Myla Goldberg

It was recommended on this thread so I won't post a description. I really enjoyed it, both the story and the descriptive writing. I have so many books from this list on hold and they are finally starting to come in


Alkenny, that book sounds really good! Off to see if my library has it so I can put it on hold
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Old 02-21-2005, 02:07 PM
 
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#29 Healthy Eating for Life for Children by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

I'm doing research for a new book so I picked up this book of nutrition for kids. Surprisingly it recommended a vegetarian diet. It was pretty basic - more for people who dont know anything about nutrition - one helpful thing for parents though was that it had recommended servings of food groups. There are also some recipes that look pretty good.

#30 Was it Beautiful? by Alison McGhee

What a disappointment. I read this because I loved her last book Shadow Baby so much. This new book is well written but I had to push my way through it because I just didn't care about the main character. (The magic about Shadow Baby for me was that I fell in love with the main character and could have read about her forever.) The story is about a man who has recently lost is son. His wife leaves him because she thinks its his fault the son died and the man seems to be feeling a lot of guilt as well. I also found the book somewhat confusing because they kept skipping around from present to past and I wasn't always sure which I was reading about.

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Old 02-21-2005, 03:50 PM
 
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12. Telling Lies to Alice by Laura Wilson

from Amazon.com
Quote:
The sleazy glitter of London in the late 1960s and early 1970s provides a backdrop for murder in this third mystery thriller by Wilson (A Little Death; Dying Voices). Nightclub bunny Alice Conway met television comedian Lenny Maxted in a scene out of a James Bond movie: she was speeding along in a white Mercedes Cabriolet and he whipped past in his blue Aston Martin coupe, racing her to a stop. When Lenny visited the nightclub accompanied by the other half of his comic duo, Jack Flowers, the chitchat was full of sexual innuendo. Soon Alice and Lenny fell in love, leaving Jack to his suburban wife, Val. Then, for reasons Alice never fully comprehended, Jack and Lenny split and Lenny committed suicide. The novel opens six years later. Alice, alone in her country hideaway, receives newspaper clippings of a woman's body recently discovered at the bottom of a lake. Alice believes the dead woman is Kitty, a fellow bunny who disappeared shortly before Lenny's death. More questions arise and danger threatens when Jack shows up at Alice's door, triggering memories, telling lies and asking Alice to put on her bunny costume one more time. Familiar elements render this suspense novel less than suspenseful: the beautiful young woman alone in a remote country house, the old friend turned enemy, the secret porno tape, the trail of blood and confessions leading to the denouement. But Wilson has a strong sense of the times, and the portrait of the comedians, individually and as a team, is vivid and convincing.
Quick read; lots of strong language, but good.

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Old 02-21-2005, 06:13 PM
 
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Well, I am slooooowwww these days, but I f-i-n-a-l-l-y finished my 8th book: Mad Cowboy by Howard Lyman.

It's already been reviewed this month, so I won't add a review here. However, I will say that after reading this my whole family has gone vegetarian and we are also in the process of going completely vegan. What an eye-opening book.

I think I'm finally done with my non-fiction stack (except for cookbooks. ) so maybe I can start breezing through some fiction.

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Old 02-21-2005, 10:12 PM
 
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#9 Man and Boy : A Novel by Tony Parsons. Thanks to all who recommended this book! I loved it, and I'm planning on checking out his new one from the library.

#10 Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition by Marilyn Shannon. I was not as impressed by this one as I had hoped to be. Lots of emphasis on supplements rather than getting the nutrition from the food as well as not a lot of new information for me. Oh well...
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Old 02-21-2005, 11:23 PM
 
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#5 House of Bush, House of Saud by Craig Unger

a book about the LONG relationship between the Bush family and their "tribe" and the al-Saud "tribe" - how it relates to the last 30 years of events, a bit long on specific details but interesting all the same - I like history like that.

am now half way into #6, see you them.
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Old 02-22-2005, 12:35 AM
 
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"I Never Believed in Ghosts Until..." by USA Weekend

This is just a collection of ghost stories sent in by readers to USA Today. I spent a relaxing afternoon in B&N sipping a coffee and reading ghost stories with DS nursing and sleeping in the sling - my kind of afternoon!

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Old 02-22-2005, 12:02 PM
 
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#5 - Digital Fortress

From amazon.com:
When the NSA's invincible code-breaking machine encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, the agency calls its head cryptographer, Susan Fletcher, a brilliant, beautiful mathematician. What she uncovers sends shock waves through the corridors of power. The NSA is being held hostage--not by guns or bombs -- but by a code so complex that if released would cripple U.S. intelligence. Caught in an accelerating tempest of secrecy and lies, Fletcher battles to save the agency she believes in. Betrayed on all sides, she finds herself fighting not only for her country but for her life, and in the end, for the life of the man she loves.

I read this because I enjoyed the Da Vinci Code so much; however I didn't think it was nearly as good. Still a quick and fairly entertaining read.
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Old 02-22-2005, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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FINALLY #90!!! I liked this book but it was very sad. I did get to read it in one day though so that was a plus!!

Sam's Letters to Jennifer by James Patterson

From Publishers Weekly
Though Patterson is best known for his Alex Cross thrillers, one of his biggest-selling titles has been Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas (2001), an affecting love story awash in tragedy and hope. This new, less powerful but compulsively readable novel is cut from the same sentimental cloth, with the narrative hook here being not diary entries but letters that an elderly woman writes to her beloved granddaughter. When Jennifer, a grieving widow and columnist for the Chicago Tribune, hears that her grandmother Samantha has fallen and is in a coma, she races to Sam's town of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. At Sam's home on the shores of the lake, she finds a packet of letters addressed to her; their text, recapping Sam's life with an abusive husband but also with a mysterious lover she calls "Doc," occupies half the novel. In counterpart runs Jennifer's romance with a childhood friend, Brendan, she reunites with, only to learn that he is dying of brain cancer—a romance that allows her to heal her grief for her dead husband, Danny, who drowned the year before. The novel's structure works brilliantly, with Patterson as usual using brief chapters and simple prose to propel the reader onward; more thrust comes from the plot questions: Will Sam survive? Who is Doc? What will become of Jennifer and dying Brendan? The answers will leave readers satisfied but not as stirred as they were with Suzanne. This is a slighter tale, but also one that few if any will put down as Patterson again shows how it is done.

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all
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Old 02-22-2005, 01:16 PM
 
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Mamabug...90? Did I read that right? Not a typo? 90 books since January 1st?
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Old 02-22-2005, 02:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alkenny
Mamabug...90? Did I read that right? Not a typo? 90 books since January 1st?
I *think* MamaBug was going to keep adding to last year's total - so it's 90 since Jan 1, 2004 (not 2005)!
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Old 02-22-2005, 03:58 PM
 
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"Kiss of the Night" by Sherrilyn Kenyon

from Amazon:
Wulf is an ancient Viking warrior with a useful but extremely aggravating power-amnesia. No one who meets him in person can remember him 5 minutes later. It makes it easy to have one-night stands, but hard to have a meaningful relationship, and without true love he can never regain his soul. When he finally meets Cassandra, the one woman who can remember him, she turns out to be the princess of the cursed race he's sworn to hunt-and forbidden to him. The two of them must face ancient curses, prophecies, and the direct meddling of the Greek gods to find true happiness at last.

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Old 02-22-2005, 04:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kofduke
I *think* MamaBug was going to keep adding to last year's total - so it's 90 since Jan 1, 2004 (not 2005)!
Oh, okay! I missed that somewhere and was panging with jealousy.
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Old 02-22-2005, 08:31 PM
 
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#6 Everyday Blessings, The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting by Myla & Jon Kabat-Zinn

This book is somewhat self-explanitory from the title and it speaks to how I like to parent - skimmed some of it since it wasn't telling me anything new, it was supporting what I know to be the truth for me.

A good book, am sending it off to my sister-in-law who parents in a similar manner but seems to struggle with it more and this is a great support-system book.
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Old 02-22-2005, 09:33 PM
 
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another quick, trashy read - cotton candy for the brain.

"Night Play" by Sherrilyn Kenyon

from Amazon:
Bride McTierney has had it with men. They're cheap, self-centered, and never love her for who she is. But though she prides herself on being independent, deep down she still yearns for a knight in shining armor.

She just never expected her knight in shining armor to have a shiny coat of fur...

Deadly and tortured, Vane Kattalakis isn't what he seems. Most women lament that their boyfriends are dogs. In Bride's case, hers is a wolf. A Were-Hunter wolf. Wanted dead by his enemies, Vane isn't looking for a mate. But the Fates have marked Bride as his. Now he has three weeks to either convince Bride that the supernatural is real or he will spend the rest of his life neutered--something no self-respecting wolf can accept...

But how does a wolf convince a human to trust him with her life when his enemies are out to end his? In the world of the Were-Hunters, it really is dog-eat-dog. And only one alpha male can win.

Chaotic uc.jpg homeschool.gif mama to 5 plus a bonus one on the way.  stork-suprise.gif

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Old 02-22-2005, 09:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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:LOL Sorry kofduke is correct. I was trying to read 100 books last year and I didn't make it so I decided to go to 200 for this year. My reading has been super slow though this month, I have to get in there and do it, but my brain has just not been into it.

And I am re-reading Bergdorf Blondes and I SWEAR that I read this already but it is not on my list that I keep on my site, so I am reading it again

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all
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Old 02-23-2005, 04:53 AM
 
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#8 Maybe Baby

Eh. This was alright. It was clever, which I always appreciate, but it wasn't well written enough to be compelling. From Amazon:
The tensions and controversies surrounding gender-neutral parenting form the core of Darlington’s quietly provocative debut. Former home-ec teacher Judy Glide doesn’t understand why all her children drifted away from her: Henry gone to join a rock band, Carson to join a cult, Gretchen to somewhere in Chicago. None of them ever calls home. That is, not until Gretchen phones to declare that she’s pregnant, filling Judy with dreams of homemade pink and blue baby outfits. But Judy is soon dealt a shocking blow: Gretchen and her partner, performance artist Ray, plan to raise their child in an underground gender-neutral community where children are brought up without a gender, without toys and wearing black clothing. Darlington carefully juxtaposes the futuristic, almost sci-fi, allure of this unorthodox community with the domestic details of the Glides’ family dynamics, flipping back and forth between Judy’s home in Fort Cloud, Wis., and bohemian Chicago. And she skillfully tracks how the unexpected development forces Judy and her husband, Rusty, to acknowledge the longstanding rift in their marriage and their still-painful disappointments in their children. Though the story has an earnest, activist feel to it (complete with ultra-optimistic ending), and the historical placement is a little shaky, this is a quirkily engaging suburban drama.
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