Rainy Day Read

the husand's secret

What?  Husbands aren’t supposed to have secrets, are they?  I read the book in the middle, according to my Kindle, but I quite like the cover with the butterfly in a jar.  I also love balloons, especially red ones.  So given the choice,  the middle cover is the one I would be least likely to purchase.  In case you were all wondering about that, now you can sleep tonight.

I’ve read “What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty, and have “Big Little Lies” downloaded and ready to go, and now I’m looking at “The Hypnotist’s Love Story”, thinking that one could be next.  So it’s obvious I like this author and her stories a lot.  Sometimes my Goodreads star rankings are based on how quickly I finished a book, two days or less making four and five stars much more likely than if I had to slog through something or couldn’t force myself to care how it might end.

Well, so far, this is a rather stupid book review, but trust me, there are stupider ones out there.  I gave this book four stars.  It is a good readable story, well written, with interesting characters and plot, and a fantastic epilogue.  Every book should have an epilogue exactly like this one for us readers who don’t like endings which leave us wondering why all the questions haven’t been answered in a satisfactory manner.  Especially when the answers we come up with on our own are seriously lame.

Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .(from Goodreads)

I was a little surprised at some of the negative reviews I read, which contained words like predictable, shallow and dull.   A one-star person said she didn’t have the patients to read more than 25 pages.  She also misspelled bullshit.  So let’s not take that one too seriously.  There are many five-star reviews too and I’m more inclined to agree with those.

I read this book in less than a day and a half.  I liked it.  And I know how to spell big words like bullshit and patience.  I hope that’s a good enough recommendation for you to give this author a go.

Pictures and Pages and Seasons Oh My

imageimageimageimageimageimagechapters

You might think, because of the nature of these book related pictures from various Facebook pages, that I have spent my entire Sunday reading.  But I haven’t.  I’m saving that for tomorrow, day two of two days off.   I’m part way through The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt, which is turning out to be a book with no end in sight.  Had to take a break.

What I’ve actually been doing today is making myself feel less sad about the fact that there are only two seasons of Downton Abbey available on Netflix by watching The Good Wife instead. I didn’t notice how many seasons there are to get through on that one, but I’ll take a serious stab at getting to the end of them.

It’s a hard life I know, but don’t worry,  I’m managing okay.

List of Eleven

eleven

From 365 Days of Writing Prompts, January 3rd.

Kick It:  What is the 11th item on your bucket list?

I do not have a bucket list and probably never will have one.  I get exhausted just thinking about such things.  And W has become so efficient and organized doing the shopping that I don’t even have a grocery list kicking around anywhere from which I could take the eleventh item and use it to write something astounding.  Imagine an entire blog post on lettuce.

No, it’s okay, I can’t imagine that either.

Instead,  I’ve decided to focus on a couple of random words in this prompt and call it being creative.  Or maybe even inspired.  Although that’s probably pushing it.  So here’s a list of eleven memorable quotes from the book Eleven Minutes, by Paulo Coelho. 

eleven minutes

“Once upon a time, there was a prostitute called Maria. Wait a minute. “Once upon a time” is how all the best children’s stories begin, and “prostitute” is a word for adults. How can I start a book with this apparent contradiction? But since, at every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss, let’s keep that beginning.”

“When I had nothing to lose, I had everything. When I stopped being who I am, I found myself.”

“I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It’s all a question of how I view my life.”

“When we meet someone and fall in love, we have a sense that the whole universe is on our side. And yet if something goes wrong, there is nothing left! How is it possible for the beauty that was there only minutes before to vanish so quickly? Life moves very fast. It rushes from heaven to hell in a matter of seconds.”

“I am two women: one wants to have all the joy, passion and adventure that life can give me. The other wants to be a slave to routine, to family life, to the things that can be planned and achieved. I’m a housewife and a prostitute, both of us living in the same body and doing battle with each other.”

“No one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone. That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it”

“Considering the way the world is, one happy day is almost a miracle.”

“Really important meetings are planned by the souls long before the bodies see each other.”

“No one owns anything. Anyone who has lost something they thought was theirs forever finally comes to realize that nothing really belongs to them. And if nothing belongs to me, then there’s no point wasting my time looking after things that aren’t mine.”

“Read. Forget everything you’ve been told about books and read.”

“She wasn’t a victim of fate, she was running her own risks, pushing beyond her own limits, experiencing things which, one day, in the silence of her heart, in the tedium of old age, she would remember almost with nostalgia – however absurd that might seem.”

There.  Now wasn’t that a lot more educational than finding out that I’ve always wanted to swim naked in Paris?  Well I certainly hope so.

The Joy of Being Booked

fall reading

Photo Credit “Eat Sleep Read”

Prompts For The Promptless Approach-approach conflict is the psychological conflict that results when a choice must be made between two desirable alternatives.

Oh for a life filled with nothing but approach-approach conflicts!  Should I read a book or take a nap?  Pick up an actual paperback or flip open my Kindle?  Read inside or outside? Or upside down?

I think I was born to read.  Time on my own with a book is one of this life’s greatest pleasures. I’m always just one good book away from an excellent mood.

Books are time travelling magic and sometimes it’s hard to start a new book when I’m still living in the last one.  And sometimes it’s equally hard to read just one book at a time.  I will be in the middle of something when I decide to download the next great read, and then I’m impatient to get into that as well.  Often I have three open books in three different places and my kindle collection in hand.  My head is full of delicious choices.

What authors mind and voice and soul will speak to me today?  Decisions, decisions.

From "Therapy Room by Joanna Cross" page on Facebook

From “Therapy Room by Joanna Cross” page on Facebook

My Monday

It’s best to get minor traumatic ordeals over with first thing in the morning, which is why I booked a hair appointment at 9:00 a.m. on my Monday off.  I know that’s an ‘orphan-which’ clause, but I dearly love my orphan-which clauses and don’t feel like correcting it.  One day I might be a famous author noted for just such a repeated grammatical faux pas.  In fact, maybe I’ll call my first best seller The Orphan Which.  Watch for that, and remember, you saw it here first.

Today my hair stylist pronounced herself ‘so super excited to fix this up!’ which (sorry, I’ve done it again) set off a couple of alarm bells in my head.  But there’s really no backing out once you’re sitting in that pumped up chair under the giant black cape of doom.

To soothe my frazzled nerves and quiet what’s left of my hair standing on end,  I have spent the better part of the rest of this day finishing the second book I picked up off a bargain table.  Every so often I like to read a real book, as opposed to an e-book, and these two looked like easy reading romantic novels with a bit of mystery thrown in. I was not expecting to learn all kinds of things about assisted suicide.  In not just one of the books, but in both of them.  Really, what are the odds?

me before you

Louisa Clark has been let go from the Buttered Bun Tea Shop and with very few marketable skills is desperate for a job.  Will Traynor has spent the last two years of his life as a paraplegic following a motorcycle accident, is depressed and in pain, and has lost his will to live.  His mother hires Louisa as Wills secondary caregiver, hoping to somehow add something to his life which will change his mind about his decision to end it.  Louisa isn’t initially aware of his plans, but once she finds out, she goes a little crazy doing everything she can think of to make him happy and show him that his life is still worth living.  It’s funny and heartbreaking all at once.  Any story that makes me laugh and cry is probably one of the good ones.  The outcome is never a given.  You might be surprised.

kiss me firstAnd now meet Leila, a solitary and sheltered young woman who has recently lost her mother.  She joins a chat forum and impresses the sites founder with her ethical debate, and is asked by him to become part of what he calls “Project Tess”.  Tess, a beautiful and popular woman with bipolar disorder, has decided to commit suicide but wants to pass her identity on to Leila so that it will appear to her family and friends that she has simply moved out of the country.  They e-mail, chat and Skype in preparation for Tess’s check-out day.  Leila is very opinionated, but doesn’t have a lot of people skills and constantly misinterprets events and situations after she takes over this new identity, and you begin to think that this cannot possibly end well.  And that’s why you keep reading, because you have to find out.

I love to be pleasantly surprised by books that have a lot more depth than their titles or covers seem to indicate.  I am also pleasantly surprised by this hair cut, now that I’ve had a few hours to adjust my head to its present state of lightness and air.

So, all things considered, it’s been a not too shabby day.

ADHD Book Reviews

This has been a summer jam-packed with books for me. Sometimes it feels like the reading of them is more important than the content.  It’s like that feeling you get when you’re really hungry and you don’t care what strange thing you eat as long as it fills you up.

This is not neccesarily a recommended reading list, it’s more a hodgepodge sample of what has been filling up my little head, because reading even a mediocre book beats sitting around staring off into space.  I think.  (*stares off into space and thinks about that*)

oceanA man revisits his childhood, drawn to a small farmhouse and the pond behind it where his seven-year old self encounters dangerous, strange and frightening things.  His beloved kitten gets run over, his family’s boarder commits suicide, and he and his eleven-year old friend Lettie try to send some creepy evil thing, accidentally awakened from another realm, back to its own world.  This is one for fans of grown up fairy tales who like to remember the terror and magic involved in simply being a kid.

illumination nightVonny and Andre are worried about their abnormally short four-year old son Simon, but go on to worry about a variety of other things after their elderly neighbor Elizabeth, suffering from deafness and dementia, jumps out of her second story window and has to have her 16-year-old (kind of trampy, Andre-seducing) granddaughter come to live with her while she convalesces.  Spoiler alert – Simon gets taller.

emailsCoco is a struggling author who has a cheating husband, a gay son named Rosencrantz, two best friends who receive the bulk of her crazy e-mails, a hideous mother-in-law, a snobby agent, and a seemingly endless run of bad luck.  It’s not easy getting back into the dating scene at the age of 42, never mind trying to steer your chaotic life in a new direction and get yourself back on track.  But like Rosencrantz – (“Fucking hell Mum, like, way to go”) – I was laughing out loud and rooting for her all the way.

eleanor and parkI guess I did not read nearly enough angst ridden young adult novels as a young adult so I’m making up for it now.  This is a book written for teens by someone who remembers very well what it’s like to be one.

cuckoo's calling

A down-on-his-luck disabled veteran detective investigates a super-model suicide and solves the mystery of her death.  I read this only because it’s actually J.K. Rowling writing under a pseudonym, and not because I like to read crime fiction or mysteries. More seasoned whodunit lovers will probably have this one figured out before the end, but I never expect these things to turn out the way they do.

bluebeard

What secret is locked inside Rabo Karabekians potato barn?  What better way to delve into the many layers of brilliance in the works of Kurt Vonnegut than to re-read some of my old and long forgotten favourites?

There are more books I could mention and give bad reviews, but why say things that aren’t nice?  Or did I do that already?  It’s hard for me to stay focussed on this because I’m part way through something new and hungry for the next chapter. In fact, I have two books on the go at the moment.  I am a book glutton.  Maybe I need help. Maybe there’s a book on that.

Books About Girls, Boys, and Dinner

the-dinner

The Dinner by Herman Koch.  This was a book in which I did not like one single character.  They are all nuts.  Two brothers and their wives go out for dinner in some city in the Netherlands to discuss what to do about their sons who have committed a crime but have not yet been found out by the police.  It takes pages and pages to get to this point.  Dinner goes on forever with every course described in endless detail.  There are many, many flashbacks, each helping to reveal the various relationships in each family, and how the different family members relate to each other, and how incredibly screwed up they all are.  To what lengths will they go to protect their sons and this family secret?  You will reach the end of  ‘the dinner’  still hungry, and maybe even a bit nauseous.

the burgess boys

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout.  There are some hard to like characters in this book too, but most of them get more likable as the story goes on.  Jim and Bob Burgess are attorneys working in New York, called home to Shirley Falls, Maine, when their sister Susan’s teenage son gets himself in trouble.  There is a lot of family history to be revealed which explains the siblings character traits and strained relationships with each other.  It’s not just a story about personal, marital and family issues, it is also a story of cultural clashes, with some interesting revelations and some surprising life changes thrown in.

lost girls
Lost Girls by Andrew Pyper  I would not describe this as a terrifying thriller, but compulsively readable sounds about right.  A cocaine addicted lawyer of questionable morals defends a teacher accused of being responsible for the disappearance of two high school girls in a small town north of Toronto.  The lawyer doesn’t care about the truth, only about getting his client acquitted as quickly as possible.  The town has a crazy Lady of the Lake legend, and the lawyer has a dark episode in his own temporarily forgotten past.  Strange visions and bizarre middle of the night incidents could be drug induced dreams – or they could be real.  The characters are real enough.  The atmosphere goes from disturbing to downright creepy.  The only thing truly terrifying about the story is how ‘evil’ can appear to be so normal and how hard it can be to tell the difference.

These are all good authors, and well written books.  I’m glad I read them.  I can’t say that they made me any smarter or better informed or interesting, but it was worth a shot.