Tuesday, February 13, 2018

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Saints for All occasions; J. Courtney Sullivan


Every Tuesday Vicki @ I'd Rather Be at the Beach now hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where readers share the first paragraph, maybe two, of a book that they are reading or plan to read soon.

Saints for All Occasions; J. Courtney Sullivan
Knopf - 2017

PART ONE
2009

1

"IN THE CAR on the way to the hospital, Nora remembered how, when Patrick was small, she would wake up suddenly, gripped by some terrible fear--that he had stopped breathing, or spiked a deadly fever.  That he had been taken from her.

She had to see him to be sure.  They lived then on the top floor of the three--decker on Crescent Avenue.  She would practically sleepwalk through the kitchen and past Bridget's door, and then down the hall to the boys' room, her nightgown skimming the cold hardwood, the muffled sound of Mr. Sheehan's radio murmuring up from downstairs."

Based on the into above, would you read more or pass?

(I just started this one and so far it's a great story.)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Week in Review - 2/11/2018

This has been a tough week for us.  My husband's birthday celebration was not meant to be. Wednesday we had a snowstorm, Thursday and Friday brought some funky stomach bug for me and a granddaughter and then yesterday and today the birthday boy himself is feeling lousy.  This bug hit me hard and I can't ever remember having such a violent stomach bug as this one. Even today I'm not back 100 percent and living on tea and toast. (I did lose 4.5 lbs. very quickly though with no effort) Today we'll be taking it easy.

This week I finished 2 books and both were very good.



William Morrow (2018)

Anna Fox worked as a child psychologist but now spends her days inside her $3,000,000 Manhattan brownstone, afraid to go outside. She watches movies, visits internet chat rooms for agoraphobics, over medicates, drinks too much and she spies on her new neighbors in the building across the street. Anna was once married to Ed and together had a daughter Olivia, but now she lives alone. One day she thinks she's witnessed a horrible crime, but then she is an unreliable narrator, so did something awful really happen or did she imagine it?

This book started out kind of slow for me, but gradually the tension and excitement builds. I figured out part some of the twists but not all.  Overall, an enjoyable read that made me want to watch  lots of old movies once again.

Rating 4/5 stars

Jessica Bruder (2017) W.W. Norton

Nomadland looks at the growing trend of unemployed, uninsured, often older individuals (baby boomers ages 55-75), some who are too young to collect social security benefits but, also find themselves cash strapped and unable to afford housing and food.  These nomads "workampers" are leaving behind the towns they've called home, the homes that are now worth less than what they still owe on them for seasonal employment wherever they can find work.

The work is hard, hours are long and pay is low but, they take what they can find and begin living a lifestyle on wheels be it by RV, van or camper. Some of these individuals have made bad choices in life,  but many have lost everything through no fault of their own. Instead of enjoying life in their 60's and 70's, they find their savings depleted, social security benefits inadequate and are being forced to work long hours to simply survive.

A well-written and researched book yet a sobering and depressing read as well. I read this book in one sitting and as a baby boomer, it was quite an eye-opener.

Rating 4.5/5 stars

New Books Arrivals - Kiddo Pleasers
Thanks to Candlewick Press




Movies Watched this Week

As I read The Woman in the Window this week, there were several references to old movies and the movie Gaslight so I just had to see it. What and excellent movie from (1944); loved that it was in black and white. Murder at 1600 (1997) was chosen for the cast Wesley Snipes and Diane Lane. The movie was okay but not exceptional. I think that movie was based on a book by Margaret Truman.

Hope all of you had a good week and may this coming week be even better.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

(2) Weeks in Review - 2/3/2018

It's been (2) weeks since I posted some mini reviews so thought I'd try to catch up as I sit here with my second cup of coffee.  Last week was my book group meeting, we discussed, Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (my second time reading it). It made for a lively discussion and everyone there said they enjoyed the book.

Tomorrow's Super Bowl will prove interesting in our house. My husband is a Philadelphia native and life long Eagles fan and, me as a life long New Englander, once again will be rooting for the Pats.  (Last time Eagles were in the Super Bowl (2003 or 2004) they lost to the Pats). To make it interesting I have a $30 bet with the hub and a $20 bet with his friend from Phili. Any Super Bowl plans for you? I do wish Pink was the halftime show instead of just singing the National Anthem.



Yesterday we went to see - Three Billboards Outside of Epping, Missouri. We both liked it an awful lot and, once again proves how anger, eats away at you unless you can find away to let it go.









Other movies we watched were repeats for us, but ones we enjoyed as well.











I finished (3) books over the last (2) weeks. 


Picador - 2015

A woman in my book group recommended, Why I Read by Wendy Lesser was a book for booklovers - it's just over 200 pages.  Part of the prologue really spoke to me so I decided to give it a try -- ...“Reading can result in boredom or transcendence, rage or enthusiasm, depression or hilarity, empathy or contempt, depending on who you are and what the book is and how your life is shaping up at the moment you encounter it.” 

Reading is such a personal taste experience and clearly my choices over the years were not the same as the author here as I've only read 10/100 that are her favorites. There were so many books that she wrote about that I have never read so maybe, I'm not the "bibliophile" I thought I was. When she went into some detail about these books I hadn't read, I found myself skipping ahead - just in case I decided to try the book in the future.  My favorite part of the book was the fact that she included a list of her 100 all time favorite reads.   Here they are in case you are interested---(The 10 that I read are highlighted)

Ackerley, J. R. MY FATHER AND MYSELF
Ambler, Eric. A COFFIN FOR DIMITRIOS
Austen, Jane. PERSUASION
Baldwin, James. NOTES OF A NATIVE SON
Balzac, Honore. COUSIN BETTE
Bellow, Saul. RAVELSTEIN
Bennett, Arnold. THE OLD WIVE’S TALE
Bishop, Elizabeth. THE COMPLETE POEMS
Bolano, Roberto. DISTANT STAR
Bowen, Elizabeth. THE HEAT OF THE DAY
Carroll, Lewis. ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND
Cather, Willa. THE PROFESSOR’S HOUSE
Chekhov, Anton. THE LADY WITH THE DOG & OTHER STORIES
Coetzee, J. M. DISGRACE
Collins, Wilkie. THE WOMAN IN WHITE
Conrad, Joseph. UNDER WESTERN EYES
de Waal, Edmund. THE HARE WITH AMBER EYES
Der Nister, THE FAMILY MASHBER
Dickens, Charles. DAVID COPPERFIELD
Dickinson, Emily. FINAL HARVEST
Dostoevsky, Fyodor. CRIME & PUNISHMENT
Dyer, Geoff. OUT OF SHEER RAGE
Eisenberg, Deborah. TWILIGHT OF THE SUPERHEROES
Elkin, Stanley. VAN GOGH’S ROOM AT ARLES
Ellison, Ralph. INVISIBLE MAN
Farrell, J. G. THE SIEGE OF KRISHNAPUR
Faulkner, William. ABSALOM, ABSALOM!
Fitzgerald, Penelope. THE BEGINNING OF SPRING
Flaubert, Gustave. SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION
Ford, Ford Madox. PARADE’S END
Ford, Richard. THE BASCOMBE NOVELS
Forester, E. M. A PASSAGE TO INDIA
Gissing, George. NEW GRUB STREET
Gluck, Louise. A VILLAGE LIFE
Goncharov, Ivan. OBLOMOV
Greene, Graham. THE QUIET AMERICAN
Grossman, Vasily. LIFE & FATE
Gunn, Thom. COLLECTED POEMS
Handke, Peter. A SORROW BEYOND DREAMS
Hardwick, Elizabeth. THE SIMPLE PLAN
Hardy, Thomas. JUDE THE OBSCURE
Hazzard, Shirley. THE TRANSIT OF VENUS
Heaney, Seamus. THE HAW LANTERN
Herzen, Alexander. MY PAST & THOUGHTS
Highsmith, Patricia. THE COMPLETER RIPLEY NOVELS
Hopkins, Gerard Manley. POEMS
Howells, William Dean. A HAZARD OF NEW FORTUNES
James, Henry. THE GOLDEN BOWL
Lahiri, Jhumpa. UNACCUSTOMED EARTH
Lampedusa, Giuseppe di. THE LEOPARD
Lawrence, D. H. SONS AND LOVERS
Li, Yiyun. GOLD BOY, EMERALD GIRL
London, Jack. MARTIN EDEN
Lowell, Robert. LIFE STUDIES
Macdonald, Ross. THE BLUE HAMMER
Mailer, Norman. THE ARMIES OF THE NIGHT
Malcolm, Janet. IN THE FREUD ARCHIVES
Malouf, David. THE GREAT WORLD
Mankell, Henning. SIDETRACKED
Mann, Thomas. BUDDENBROOKS
Mantel, Hilary. BEYOND BLACK
Marias, Javier. A HEART SO WHITE
Maxwell, William. SO LONG, SEE YOU TOMORROW
McEwan, Ian. THE INNOCENT
Melville, Herman. GREAT SHORT WORKS
Michaels, Leonard. COLLECTED STORIES
Mistry, Rohinton. A FINE BALANCE
Munro, Alice. FRIEND OF MY YOUTH
Murakami, Haruki. HARD-BOILED WONDERLAND & THE END OF THE WORLD
Norris, Frank. THE PIT
O’Connor, Flannery. WISE BLOOD
Ondaatje, Michael. RUNNING IN THE FAMILY
Orwell, George. THE ROAD TO WIGAN PIER
Pinsky, Robert. SELECTED POEMS
Platonov, Andrey. SOUL & OTHER STORIES
Price, Richard. CLOCKERS
Roth, Joseph. THE RADETZKY MARCH
Roth, Philip. I MARRIED A COMMUNIST
Rushdie, Salman. THE MOOR’S LAST SIGH
Queiros, Eca de. TH MAIAS
Sebald, W. G. THE RINGS OF SATURN
Serge, Victor. THE CASE OF COMRADE TULAYEV
Stafford, Jean. THE MOUNTAIN LION
Stendhal, THE CHARTERHOUSE OF PARMA
Svevo, Italo. ZERO’S CONSCIENCE
Theroux, Paul. THE FAMILY ARSENAL
Toibin, Colm. THE MASTER
Tolstoy, Leo. WAR & PEACE
Trevor, William. THE CHILDREN OF DYNMOUTH
Trollope, Anthony. THE WAY WE LIVE NOW
Turgenev, Ivan. VIRGIN SOIL
Twain, Mark. HUCKEBERRY FINN
Verne, Jules. THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND
West, Rebecca. THE FOUNTAIN OVERFLOWS
Wharton, Edith. THE HOUSE OF MIRTH
Wolff, Tobias. IN PHARAOH’S ARMY
Wright, Richard. NATIVE SON
Zola, Emile. THE LADIES’ PARADISE


My Rating 3.5/5 stars

Alternate Side; Anna Quindlen
Random House - 2018

I think I've read everything Anna Quindlen has written so I was excited to read her upcoming March release as well. Alternate Side, taken place in Manhattan's upper west side. The Nolan's, Charlie and Nora, have two children in college and live a comfortable life.  Their particular block is on a dead end street, that has a coveted parking lot with a waiting list, their neighbors as well as the Nolan's have hired help (everyone seems to use the same handyman) and, most everyone seems to get along. One day when Nora returns home from her run with her coveted bagel in hand and is shocked to learn of an incident that has taken place that not only rocks their insular neighborhood but her own marriage as well.

I enjoyed reading this one but, it is a super, slow moving story. I thought it was an interesting look at  relationships and how sometimes it's not until something major happens that one begins to stand up, take notice and sometimes take sides.

My Rating 3.5/5 stars



Grove Press - 2012

Phillip is a university professor and Nina his wife loves to paint; the couple has been married over 40 years and have one adult daughter who is 35.  One day when Phillip comes home from work as Nina is preparing dinner, he decides to take a nap and -- never wakes up.  Nina spends the next 24 hours holding his hand and reflecting on their marriage -- good times and bad.

I love Lily Tuck, spare but quality writing - reflective but told in the present.  The author has a way of drawing you into the lives of your characters and had me reflecting on my own marriage and relationships.  Just over 200 pages, this was another enjoyable book by Lily Tuck.

My Rating 4/5 stars

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - I Married You for Happiness; Lily Tuck


Every Tuesday Vicki @ I'd Rather Be at the Beach now hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where readers share the first paragraph, maybe two, of a book that they are reading or plan to read soon.  This week's selection is by an author whose book, Sisters, I just read and loved.


Atlantic Monthly Press - 2011

"His hand is growing cold; still she holds it.  Sitting at his bedside, she does not cry.  From time to time, she lays her cheek against his, taking slight comfort in the rough bristle of unshaved hair, and she speaks to him a little.

I love you, she tells him
I always will.
Je t'aims, she says."

Based on this Intro, would you read more or take a pass?