Category Archives: Reading

The Story of My Life

I jump around between genres, both in what I read and in my writing styles, depending on my mood. I’ve been in a memoir-reading kind of mood lately. Perhaps this is because I’m in a “who am I really” kind of state in my life. At some point, I’d love to try my hand at writing a memoir. But what constitutes a life interesting enough to be worthy of people wanting to read about it? Don’t get me wrong, I love my life–although there are some days that are a challenge–but it all seems so “normal”, even boring sometimes, that I wonder what would make people want to read about it.

We want to read stories about a woman whose husband leaves her (Happens Every Day by Isabel Gillies). Or another who ate a lot of spaghetti and found deep spiritualness (Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert). Or the hilarious story of cooking dangerously (Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. While these true life story lines don’t necessarily seem like anything extraordinary, two of them have already been made into movies.

I can think of several more movies off the top of my head that have been taken from memoirs. I just can’t picture my life as that intriguing. (Although I’d like to think Jennifer Aniston would make a great me.)

So, what makes a good memoir? Is there a life lesson to be learned? Is it that we can all relate to something going on in the author’s life? Is it the “normalness” that makes it appealing? Do we just like having a glimpse into someone else’s life that we might not ordinarily have? Or is it something else?

What about you? Do you enjoy reading memoirs? Why?

Advertisements

11 Comments

Filed under Reading, Writing

What Should I Read Next?

I just finished Happens Every Day by Isabel Gillies from my Reading List. Now I’m debating on whether to pick one of the other two I have on there (I haven’t updated my list lately and I’m sure there’s more I could add!) or head to the bookstore or library for something else.

Any suggestions?  My taste in books varies as much as in music…in other words, I enjoy a wide range of different genres. So throw out any suggestions–I’m game!

2 Comments

Filed under Reading

A Visit with an Old Friend

It’s been a few months since I’ve picked up a book, I think. I honestly can’t remember the last one I’ve read. But, right now I’m re-reading The Pillars of the Earth. It’s due to come out later this year, I believe, in a mini-series for television, so I’m eager to brush up on my memory of the book.

At just under 1,000 pages, it’ll maybe take me through the doldrums of winter. At least that’s what I’m hoping. Maybe once I’m done I’ll write a book review on it since I started this blog well after my first go ’round with the book. But suffice to say, it’s definitely worth a read. And don’t let the historical presence of it intimidate you. Not my normal choice at all, but once I started it, I couldn’t put it down!

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Reading

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

I did it again.  I swore I wouldn’t, but I did it anyway.

I picked up another book (and not exactly a light read, either) before I’d finished my self-imposed rewrites on my own novel.  The trouble with this is once I get started on a book, I rarely put it down for anything other than the basics…like eating or sleeping or remembering, for instance, that I have children and a husband.

In my defense, it wasn’t my plan.  When I walked in the bookstore that afternoon, I was only browsing.  Innocent enough.  Then I saw it.  The paperback version of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski.  This book has long been on my Reading ListAnd it’s an Oprah Book Club book, so, I figure I have to give it a whirl.  But, the 500-plus page paperback was even more daunting when it was only available in hardcover.  So I’d waited.

And waited.

Which only made it even more inevitable, that at the exact moment I saw it in paperback while perusing the aisles of the bookstore, I was already bound to it.  The decision was made on the spot.  And everything else in my life would be put on hold.

I feel the need to issue a bit of advice, if not a mild warning here.  If you’re into instant gratification, fast-paced-plot reading, then The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is not for you.

It’s a “meat and potatoes” kind of book.  One that you curl up with on rainy days or in the dead of winter.  It’s very well written but very verbose, and not necessarily in a bad way.  But also not everyone’s cup of tea.  I happen to enjoy loquaciously written novels, so it was right up my alley.

The story was heartrending, the main character, very likable.  And if you’re a dog person, all the better.  The four-legged characters in this book were brought to life wonderfully, over and over again, by Mr. Wroblewski.  Although, after finishing the book last night, I have to say, I was not pleased, and very surprised, with the ending.  I don’t want to give anything away here, so I won’t go into specifics, but suffice to say, I think the story would have been better served had the turn of events at the end played out slightly differently.

All in all, I’d recommend The Story of Edgar Sawtelle to a select group of readers.

3 Stars

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Reading

Julie and Julia Book Review

Although, I’ve read many different genres, I’ll be the first to admit that I tend to shy away from memoirs.  I have found a few that I enjoy, but I’ve read an equal amount, if not more, that I didn’t really care for much at all.  Ironically, some of those least favorites were touted by critics as “one of the best memoirs ever”.  Or some similar hype.

It wasn’t until I saw the previews for the movie Julie and Julia, that I knew I had to read the book.  Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell will go down as one of my favorite memoirs and I’d definitely recommend it for those looking for some funny, light-hearted reading.  Although, her writing style carries a somewhat more sophisticated tone than my recent picks (and I willingly admit to finally giving up and “skipping over” the French food words), I still thoroughly enjoyed this book.

I’ll admit I was never really even a fan of the late Julia Child, either (may she rest in peace).  But I didn’t have to be to enjoy this book.

It’s a book for those of us who enjoy cooking, or wish they did.  Anyone who’s laughed at their own culinary disasters or managed to make a 7-course dinner party look effortless.  For those who have ever been stuck in a dead end job and dreamt there could be something more to life…or for those who are still stuck and still dreaming.

Definitely a must read.  3.5 stars

1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Reading

Reading List

I realized how many books I had on my mental want-to-read list and decided the best way for me to keep it all straight and not leave anything out was to post my ongoing list here.  Plus, I thought I’d share the list with my readers (thanks, Mom!) in case you want to check out some of them, too.

Happens Every Day by Isabel Gillies (I don’t generally read memoirs, but never discount them and this one intrigued me)

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (You probably noticed this book is already on my favorites list, but it’s a definite re-read and a must before the mini-series next year…can’t wait!)

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell

Little Bird of Heaven by Joyce Carol Oates

Peace Like the River by Leif Enger

The Host by Stephenie Meyer


2 Comments

Filed under Reading

Finger Lickin’ Fifteen

The latest in the Stephanie Plum series, Finger Lickin’ Fifteen, delivers the usual juiciness and robust flavor that fans have come to expect from bestselling author, Janet Evanovich.

Cover courtesy of http://www.evanovich.com

Cover courtesy of evanovich.com

Full-figured sidekick, Lula, pushes her way (in true Lula-fashion) to center stage in this story, having to dodge the bullet (well, in this case, the meat cleaver) more frequently than our all-time favorite heroine, Stephanie Plum.  Stephanie is never short on her fair share of near-mishaps though, leaving the reader laughing out loud at the antics of this beloved duo.  Hey, it’s all in the name of justice.  Well, that and a gravy boat-load of reward money!

And, who can forget Grandma Mazur?  Fans won’t be disappointed as this spunky senior definitely knows how to kick things up a notch or two whether in the kitchen or while hot on the trail of the bad guys.

Speaking of turning up the heat, we can’t leave out the yummy men in Stephanie’s life; the always hot and mysterious hunk, Ranger, or semi-sweet and spicy Trenton cop, Joe Morelli.  It’s an inevitable smorgasbord of choices, but can Stephanie have her cake and eat it too?

Rating: 5 Stars  (out of 5)

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Reading