Monday, November 24, 2014

Dracula by Bram Stoker

This was one creepy book! I could not read it while I was home alone in the evening. Then I realized that Boomer is really no match against a vampire anyway.

I found myself curious about vampires about a year ago, so I thought I would go to some primary source material to understand more about them. They are scary.

One of Boomer's friends unexpectedly came over one evening so I was sitting at the kitchen table with him while we waited for Boomer to come home. I told him that I was reading Dracula so we started talking about vampires. He said, "Remember, vampires can't come into your home unless you invite them in." And then I started wondering if Boomer's friend was actually a vampire and I had just invited him into my house, and then I started really hoping that Boomer would come home soon...and then remembered that Boomer could not protect me against a vampire anyway.

So if you want more information about vampires, I recommend Dracula. But be prepared to be creeped out.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Books, books, books.

Here are the latest books I've read with a short review.

A Sudden Light by Garth Stein
Written by the same author as The Art of Racing in the Rain (which I really liked), A Sudden Light is a dark coming-of-age story complete with ghosts and family secrets. A neat setting (outside of Seattle) and some interesting characters. I did like The Art of Racing in the Rain better though.

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
My therapist recommended this book to me which was weird. Now I have an idea of what my therapist reads. Double weird. This book is about a man looking for the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis. The narrator is an English learner who seems like he uses a thesaurus to find the right words to use. The words are close, but not exactly the right words. Original in some ways, but to be honest, sometimes I just didn't get what was going on. But I pay my therapist too much to ask him what the heck this book was about. Hahaha.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
It's 1922, after the war, and 26-year-old Frances and her mother are forced to take in some boarders when their finances are tight. I was deeply engrossed in this book. The only slight disappointment was the end. I thought that someone else needed to die (!).

Monday, November 10, 2014

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies is about three mothers with kids at the same school. One mom seems perfect, another is trying to deal with her teenage daughter and ex-husband, and the last is a single mom looking to start anew. At the beginning of the story, we find out that there's been a death, but it takes the unfolding of the stories to figure out who it is that died and how. Throughout, there is the theme of the little and big lies that we tell ourselves and others about who we are and how we're doing.

I LOVED The Husband's Secret by Moriarty and was afraid that she would get stuck in the same formula. But no, this book was different from The Husband's Secret. Different, but not quite as good. Still, I read it in a couple of days and really liked it. It's definitely a runner-up to The Husband's Secret.

Monday, November 3, 2014

What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey

Have you ever read O magazine?? At the back is a montly column written by Oprah titled "What I Know For Sure." In her column, she writes about life lessons about all sorts of topics. This is a collection of all of those columns.

This is a book to read slowly. It's full of life wisdom and encouragement to enjoy life and to become who you are meant to be.

If you are needing some positive energy in your life right now as the darkness of autumn falls upon us, I encourage you to check it out.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

I hesitated before starting The Secret History because it is by the same author as The Goldfinch. I read The Goldfinch under the heaviness and craziness of jet lag and so I wasn't sure if it was the book or the jet lag, but I felt pretty punchy.

I read The Secret History anyway, and it is some heavy duty reading. It's the tale of a group of college students at a small liberal arts college who are in on a secret. Keeping this secret tears them all apart physically and emotionally in different ways. Psychologically insightful and deftly written, I would recommend this if you're looking for a solid book to read, but I actually did like The Goldfinch better. Make no bones about it...this is not lighthearted beach reading fare.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy by Lacy Crawford

College admissions have become so competitive. I actually don't think I could get into the university I attended for undergraduate again with the grades/essay/activities I had. Good thing I finished up all that undergrad business in the 90s!!! :)

Anyway, Early Decision is a fictional tale about Anne, a 27-year-old who works with high school seniors on perfecting their personal essays for college applications. She works with five students as they write and re-write their essays. The essays give a view of what it's like to grow up privileged and under the rigid and high expectations of parents.

A so-so book. It could have used some editing as it rambled at times and dragged.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Still Point of the Turning World by Emily Rapp

What a sad, somber, heartbreaking story. The author's son was diagnosed with Tay-Sachs disease which means that he stopped developing at six months old and gradually regressed until he passed away before he turned age three. She starts the book with the day of his diagnosis.

This is a different kind of memoir (and it's actually more of a long reflective meditation rather than memoir) than I've ever read because she seeks to find comfort and meaning in literature and weaves all sorts of literary references throughout the book. I actually wish that she wrote more about her son's decline and what it was like in terms of the practical ways she had to care for him. Her vagueness about the end of his life left me unsure about what it was like for her and her husband.

If you're looking for an uplifting and happy book, you are not going to find it here.