Friday, December 31, 2010

December wrap up

Here is what I read in December.

Little Bee
Beneath the Silver Lining 
Fever 1793   
You Know when the men are gone
The Upstairs Room
Keeping the Moon
Tell No One who you are
Paper Towns
The Happiness Project
The Tenth Circle
A Christmas carol
A Little Princess
Gregor the Overlander
The Sister Wife
Black and Blue
The Weird Sisters 
Second Glance
Hidden Wives   
The Virgin Blue
Living Dead Girl
A Thousand Rooms
Chasing Brooklyn
Death Du jour
The Man who loved books too much

Favorite books: Hidden Wives and The Weird Sisters
Least favorite:  Illyria

Friday, December 24, 2010

More mini reviews

On Chesil Beach: A Novel -- First 1st U.S. Edition w/ Dust JacketOn Chesil Beach: A Novel -- First 1st U.S. Edition w/ Dust Jacket
While I didn't love Atonement, I have really enjoyed several other books by Ian McEwan.  Most of his books are shorter (this one is 166 pages), but he has a way of bringing the characters alive in a short time.  Another very good book, but I was disappointed by the ending. 

Everything I Never Wanted to Be: a memoir of alcoholism and addiction, faith and family, hope and humorEverything I Never Wanted to Be: a memoir of alcoholism and addiction, faith and family, hope and humor
I got this book from one of my blogger buddies at our meet-ups.  I really enjoyed this book despite the serious subject.  This book is really inspiring, about how the author overcame her addictions and trying to help her daughters do the same.  Highly recommended. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mini reviews

I am way behind on reviews again, so I am going to do some mini reviews.

Zeitoun (Vintage)Zeitoun (Vintage)
I picked this up when I was in New Orleans last month.  When I travel some place, I like to read books that are about or take place where I am at.  This book is about one family during the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.  It is non-fiction, and Dave Eggers has a way of making non-fiction incredibly interesting.  This is a great story and great writing.  Highly recommended.

In the WoodsIn the Woods
I have been wanting to read this for a while, and finally picked it up.  While not as good as I hoped, it was still a good read.  The one part I didn't like was the ending.  I wanted the whole story to tie together, but it really didn't.  It was still very good, and I am planning on reading the rest of the author's work.

Thirteen Reasons WhyThirteen Reasons Why
Another book that has been on my to be read list for a while.  This was as good as the reviews I have read, and I read it in one sitting.  Very highly recommended.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Review: The Corrections

The Corrections: A NovelThe Corrections: A Novel
I read this because it is on a best books ever list that I am trying to get through.  It is also an Oprah pick.  For me, it did not live up to the hype at all.  It was not bad enough for me to put it down, but it didn't really hold my interest much either.  This is probably the first Oprah book that I didn't like.  Usually I love her picks.  I think most of what I didn't like was the characters.  I just didn't care about them.  Most of them were spoiled and uninteresting.  I probably won't read any more of Franzen's work.  

Friday, December 17, 2010

Guest post: Kandy Siahaya

Today I have a guest post from Kandy Siahaya, author of Making Light of Being Heavy, which I reviewed yesterday.
Finally, a little vindication for the fat chicks….
According to an the article on WebMD “New Genes Linked to Obesity, Belly Fat” two studies have identified 18 new genes linked to overall obesity and 13 more that influence whether your weight goes to your belly or to your thighs (the lovingly labeled apple shape or pear shape body). These new findings may explain why blanket recommendations about exercise and eating right just don’t work for a lot of people. Wow, imagine that. This is exactly one of the points I was making in my book, Making Light of Being Heavy.
Anyone who is just normally skinny seriously cannot wrap their head around any reason for another person being fat, and these people include physicians, counselors, experts, etc., unless it is one of the obvious incorrect assumptions including eating too much, not enough exercise, and basically not taking care of oneself. These studies do not surprise me in the least, but actually make total sense and validate my lifelong struggle with weight and many others like me. Apparently, the more obesity genes you have the greater chance for you to have the risk of obesity and even greater difficulty in maintaining a “normal weight.” Personally, I think the whole “normal weight” theory is a bunch of hogwash anyway because as I have said before, if we all fit perfectly into the predetermined guidelines set forth by our physicians, counselors, experts, etc. we would all be the same size. And how normal would that be??
So there you have it, proof genetics plays a key role in our weight. To all my fellow fat chicks and professional dieters, give yourself a break! Life is good, get out and enjoy it - things will fall into place.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Blog tour: Making Light of Being Heavy

Making Light of Being Heavy

These days everyone has a society-driven mindset and totally forget to laugh, especially at themselves. This may be cliche but the author truly believes that laughter is the best medicine and thinks everybody should laugh every day. Period. Over the years as a person blessed with the fat gene, Kandy has been in many situations where if she could not find humor she probably would end up on the couch in the psychiatrist s office. This book is about as politically incorrect as it gets for such a subject but it is also based on reality. This is a reality that many women have just like Kandy but do not think they can (or should) at times just laugh about it. Her intention when she started writing this book was to hopefully give insight to many who could never relate but at the same time perhaps provide a different perspective to women just like her. It is a point of view that has given her the strength to live her life happily and project these feelings onto everyone she comes in contact with. She has a great sense of humor and a quick wit and guarantees you will be laughing (and thinking) with each chapter of Making Light of Being Heavy.

My review:
When I received the email offering this book, I was instantly interested in it.  I have always been on the chubby side and growing up, I watched my mom go on lots of different diets.  Eventually, I learned that it is not what is on the outside that matters, but on the inside.  That is the basis for this book, and it approaches the subject with humor.  I think that's what made me like the book the most.  The book had me laughing out loud through most of it.  I find it really inspiring that the author was so comfortable with herself to write something like this, and I think a lot of women would relate to it.  This was a great and funny light read.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

November wrap up

I have been really busy lately, so I am a bit late writing the wrap up for November.  I successfully finished my first semester of grad school!  I am really happy to have some time off and to see my family for Christmas. 
Here is what I read in November:

Making Light of being heavy

The amazing adventures of Kavalier and Clay
Everything I never wanted to be
Anne of Green Gables
The Jade Peony
The Cellist of Sarajevo
Devil Bones
You don't look like anyone i know
You Better not cry
The Edible Woman
In the Woods
That Summer

Best book read this month: A really hard choice, but probably Zeitoun
Coming up this week:
I have a review of Making Light of Being Heavy  and guest post by the author.
My wonderful husband is doing a guest post of Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall

Guest post: Amanda Wolfe

Today I have my first guest post, from Amanda Wolfe, author of the Beneath the Silver Lining Trilogy, which I reviewed yesterday.  
In the beginning, the whole purpose of this book, well, journal really, was to allow me to come face to face with and rid myself of what I had stored up in my black box. It is what I call the place in the pit of your stomach where you hide all your secrets; good, bad or ugly. My box was filled with ugly: quilt, embarrassment and a lot of shame and confusion. In short, it was just to painful to face head on.

It all started when my husband and I were having one of our ” OK, it’s time to bare your soul” conversations. He is the only one person who could ever make me do that, because I knew he would never use what I say against me in any way. He has always given me the space to get angry, cry, rant and rave like a lunatic when I needed to. Believe me, it has happened more than once!

It took a lot of years of his patience and understanding to get me this far, allowing me to face and rid myself of all these bad feelings I carried around with me always. They made me hard on the outside. He called it my wall and little by little it has crumbled. I’m not saying I don’t feel things from my past anymore, I do, but now they don’t paralyze me. I still have trust issue from time to time! but they no longer rule my life.

During this conversation I laughed and said I should write a book about all of this, but who the heck would believe it? He told me he thought that is exactly what I should do. I should start writing it all down, because writing was a great way to release feelings that you have difficulty talking about. We both agreed it would be a great outlet.

So I began writing it all down and, once started , I had a difficult time stopping. The emotions started pouring out of me. Sometimes I would come out of my office so angry I could spit.The memories that came flooding back were unbelievable. The sky in my world was not as rosy as I had made it out to be. My siblings’ annoyance with me remembering my past through rose- colored glasses was finally realized and understood.

My husband was right there for all of it, lending his understanding and support.I don’t think I could have done this without him. I’m very grateful to him for being there in all the craziness I went through.

After reading some of what I had written, he told me I should make it into a book, because it could really help other girls and women to know that they can go through bad things and still come out on top. I decided that if I was going to make it into a book that I wanted to bring the reader right along with me on the journey that I was going through in my emptying out process. I wanted them to come out the other side with me feeling a little inspired and wanting more. More importantly, I wanted them to know that if they themselves have been or are being abused that they are not alone.

There are options out there for everyone, even though you may think there are none for you. Trust me, I’ve been there. There are many, many forums out there with people who are willing and want to help you get the help you need. Even if it is just an anonymous voice at the other end of the phone.

A friendly voice can go a long way.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Blog tour: Beneath the Silver Lining Trilogy

Beneath the silver lining

On the outside, her family appeared to be one big, happy family. Their house, with her parents, three sisters, and two brothers, was the epitome of a simple yet fulfilling life lived in a small town. But as the author would soon discover, her childhood was in fact a nightmarish phase of her life she would always be running from. Growing up as a carefree girl, Wolfe struggled to comprehend why she was reared in a family where children are deprived of their right to know the truth, adults are always right, and smoothing out a misunderstanding is never an option.
At the young age of nine, she started experiencing cruelty at the hands of her father, who not only abused her emotionally, but physically and sexually as well. Her mother, whose love she sought, was a stern woman who refused to see her husband’s mistakes. As if her deeply troubled relationship with her parents was not enough, Wolfe also had to deal with inner secrets involving creepy characters from the afterlife. Feeling tormented, confused, solitary, and even filthy, this naïve girl had yet to be transformed into a strong-willed woman who would become cynical about love and learn to depend on no one but herself while facing more of life’s bitterness.
The first of a series of three, Beneath the Silver Lining Trilogy: Secrets of the Black Box chronicles the author’s journey along a perplexing road of growing up. It was originally written as a therapeutic way to heal her inner wounds and to let go of the pain and anger. However, it is now shared to bring inspiration to readers — especially women.

My review:
This book is very difficult to read.  The author went through some terrible things as a child, things that nobody should have to live through, let along at 10 years old.  While the story is well told, some of the grammar and punctuation mistakes detract somewhat from the story.  It is impressive that this is the author's first book.  After reading her story, I feel like I really know her, which is something that a lot of authors don't do very well.  The author was forced to grow up very young, and she went through a lot in her life.  She is a very strong and brave woman, and her story could have turned out much worse.  This is the first part of a trilogy, and I will definitely give the other two books a chance.  Hopefully they will be much happier than this one.