Monday, July 15, 2013

Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand

Summer Read #5

I liked the idea behind this book.  A mother, dying of ovarian cancer, leaves a written notebook for helping plan her youngest daughter's wedding day.  She knows she won't be there to help her, so she writes the notebook before the bride has even met the groom. Seven years after her death, her daughter uses the guide to plan her "beautiful day."

Hilderbrand writes the book so that you have a chance to see what the main players in the wedding are thinking. You see the mother's notebook, and you get to know the typical dysfunctional families involved in this merger of two families. 

This was an enjoyable read.  Is it great literature?  No.  But I like the fact that it makes me think about what it is I am leaving behind to the people that are most important to me. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by James Dean, Illustrated by Eric Litwin

This is a great read for kids.  Better yet, it is a great read aloud for kids.  You can youtube the author reading the story.  And it will make you smile, if not laugh out loud!

Pete's white shoes get "dirty."  He walks through a blueberry patch, mud, etc.  And with each color change in his shoes--he loves them.

What a great way to teach kids to look at the sunny side of life.

If this isn't in your little one's library, it should be!

Island Girls by Nancy Thayer

Summer Read #4

A house on Nantucket Island brings three sisters (OK, two half sisters and one step sister) together after their father/stepfather dies.  The stipulation of his will is that they spend the summer together and then sell the house for their inheritance.  It is an interesting story of three wives, some deception, and grown single daughters with unresolved issues. 

Best of all is the description of Nantucket life:  ferry rides, an old Victorian home, afternoon swims, sailing, a small tourist town, backyard gardens, and the pace of life.  This is summer reading the way I love it! 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinsky

Summer Read #3-

This book dealt with two of my favorite things:  blogging and writing.  The fact that it was set on an island off the Coast of Maine didn't hurt either.  One of the bloggers dealt with island recipes and native herbs and produce. 

The story was one of enduring friendship and love and redemption. 

Pretty much every ingredient that I need in a summer read.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer Read #2- The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank

Another book I loved.  Sometimes, summer reads are quite forgettable.  Luckily, this summer that hasn't been the case. 

Younger, trophy wives are the norm with the older men.  Only one marriage is intact in this group of friends, and I'm not sure intact is adequate.  Leslie falls in a manhole, and her husband and the couple they are with don't realize that she isn't with them until 40 minutes later when they arrive at their destination.  Wes, her husband, is an inattentive jerk.  He's stingy, rude, and inconsiderate.

Leslie and Wes have two kids.  Their grown daughter is a single mom, who frequently dumps her daughter on Leslie and hangs out in the bars.  Their son is in Nepal, calling home for money on a regular basis. 

This book makes you question the enabling parent role.  It makes you question the love and attention you give your spouse.  It especially makes you think about how you want to spend the "final act" of this play that is your life.  A lot of food for thought in this fictional story.  

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Smart One by Jennifer Close

Summer Read #1-

For a summer read, I really liked this book.  As a mother, whose empty nest had been filled up again for awhile, I identify with Weezy.  Two daughters who get along, but argue--got 'em.  The mother's constant worrying and wanting so much for her kids--check.  Weezy's crazy, bordering on rude, mother made me think of some older people I have known.  Even the unexpected pregnancy of one of the kids and Weezy's worries and fears for them, seems like another chapter out of my book.

I loved the fact that the chapters changed narrators, so it was possible to see things from each character's point of view.  This wasn't a happily-ever-after-everything-finished-off-neatly ending.  Everyone is at a better place by the end of the novel, but things aren't perfect.  Hmmm...kind of like life. 

Oh, and I'd kill for their two weeks all together at the beach house every August.  So, I guess it wasn't my life.

Great beginning to the summer of reading.

PS.  Now I want to read Close's first novel:  Girls In White Dresses.  I like her writing style!

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Art of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein

I liked this book a lot.  The entire story is told from a dog's point of view.  I now find myself looking at Baxter and imagining what he is thinking or why he is doing what he is doing. 

Enzo is a dog owned by a race car driver.  The driver eventually marries and has a child.  This is the story of Denny and his family as understood by Enzo.  He's a smart dog--and a thinker.

I like the view that dogs are reincarnated, and when they are ready-- they return to earth as men. 

This is a story of love, tragedy, and victory.  I wiped tears more than once. And best of all, this story will make you love your pets even more.  Stein is right:  No one knows us in quite the way that they do.