Teaser Tuesdays ~ March 31st, 2009

It’s that time of week again, everyone, and time for the Tuesday Teaser. Again the reminder of what this is all about. We are asked to:

Grab your current read.

  1. Let the book fall open to a random page.
  2. Share two teaser sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  3. Share the title of the book that the “teaser” comes from, so people can find the book if they like the teaser.
  4. And again remember – avoid spoilers.


From GRACELINGby Kristin Cashore ~

“What kind of mind reader is she?” Katsa asked.  “They’re not sure, My Lady.  She’s so unformed.  And you know how the mind readers are, their Graces always changing, and so hard to pin down.  Adults before they’ve grown into their full power.  But it seems as if this one reads desires.  She knows what it is other people want.”

Musing Mondays ~ March 30th, 2009

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about recording your reading…

Do you keep track of what and/or how many books you read? How long have you been doing this? What’s your favorite tracking method, and why?If you don’t keep track, why not? (question courtesy of MizB)

Before blogging, I didn’t really keep track of the books I read except for the list in my head.  Now that I do blog about books, the tracking of what I read just happens naturaly as I review everything I read.  I like how it keeps me going and I like seeing the names of the books I read in one place.  It gives me a sense of pride when I post my review and know that I finished another book. 

Book Review ~ Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Little Bee: A Novel

Little Bee, by Chris Cleave, is a story of survival, both literally and figuratively.  The description on the inside cover of this book says, WE DON’T WANT TO TELL YOU TOO MUCH ABOUT THIS BOOK.  It is a truly special story and we don’t want to spoil it.  Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this:  It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific.  The story starts there, but the book doesn’t.  And it’s what happens afterward that is most important.  Once you have read it, you’ll want to tell everyone about it.  When you do, please don’t tell them what happens either.  The magic is in how it unfolds.”  Little Bee

In the spirit of the author and publisher’s request, I will not go into details about Little Bee.  I will tell you that I loved this book.  The writing is wonderful.  The characters are so real I actually wish they were except for what happens to them.  I still find it amazing that a male mind wrote this story which is told from the minds of two complicated, feeling, richly woven women.   The story will stay with you as it will stay with me.  You will want to talk about this book as you read it and when you are done.  When you are ready to talk about Little Bee please let me know. 

{Rating ~ 4.5 out of 5 stars}

You can learn more about Little Bee and author Chris Cleave at his web site HERE.  Below I have included an author interview/book promo video for Little Bee (in the U.K. it is titled The Other Hand). 

Sunday Salon ~ March 29th, 2009

Over the last two weeks the question hasn’t necessarily been, “What are you reading?”, but “How have you been reading?”  I have been reading on my Kindle 2 and enjoying every moment of the new reading experience that it provides.  It is such a natural way to read that I keep finding myself going to turn the page as with a regular book and having to remind myself that I have to push one of two buttons in order to actually turn the page forward.  There is another button for going to the previous page.  One of my favorite features is the dictionary.  Say I don’t know what a word is.  (When doesn’t that happen?)  Well, I can just move the cursor with the five-way button to the word in question and the definition is displayed at the bottom of the page.  If the first sentence of the definition doesn’t provide enough information then hit the return key on the Kindle’s keyboard and the definition entry will appear in it’s entirety as it appears in a real dictionary.  I love it!

Amazon Kindle 2 Photos

Living overseas, I am unable to use the Whispernet function which would allow me to be anywhere the Kindle receives service in the states, i.e. cell phones, but I can easily download my purchases from Amazon.com onto my computer and then transfer them to the Kindle in the blink of an eye.  I have already read THE READER on it and am now reading LITTLE BEE.  I have also downloaded DROOD, HANDLE WITH CARE, REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, THE COMPLETE WIZARD OF OZ (for $0.99), THE SCHOOL OF ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS, THE BOOK THIEF, THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (for $0.99), THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE, GRACELING and THE HOLY BIBLE (for free).   When Hubby and I were coming back from Hong Kong two Friday’s ago, we had a four hour lay over in Taipei.  Well, I finished THE READER in the first thirty minutes of us sitting down at the gate.  I was able to use the notes function and start typing my book review right there on the Kindle and then I browsed the titles that I had downloaded before the trip and chose to start LITTLE BEE.  Too cool!

I know I have been praising the Kindle seemingly nonstop since I received it in the mail two weeks ago, and I promise to reel myself in about it, but I can not recommend this little contraption enough.  My idea for managing which books I buy in “real form” and the Kindle format is the same as how I buy music and use my iPod.  There will always be that book that I have to have on my literal shelf and hold in my hands but there are so many that I want to own but don’t need to have the “real” book in house.  Buying books in the digital format will help me control space on bookshelves, using paper and not lugging a bunch of books around when on trips, subways, and I can carry a bunch of books at once in one small package.

Book Review ~ The Reader by Bernhard Schlink


Unfortunately, thanks to all the hype over the film, I already knew the secret of The Reader when I started to read it.  I don’t think that it ruined the story for me though.  Instead it made each hint into Hanna Schmitz’s secret that much more frustrating.  During the 2009 award season earlier this year, I watched many interviews with actress Kate Winslet.  During one of these interviews she made said some very interesting things regarding playing Schmitz in the movie adaption of The Reader.  “How do you begin to understand the mind of an SS Gaurd?  That was extremely hard for me.” and “I did find my own way of understanding her because she has a secret.” 

The Reader is narrated by the grown up character called Michael Berg.  When he was fifteen he developed a temporarliy debilitating illness and during one of his attacks, while walking home, he meets Hanna Schmitz.  She helps him out and assists him home.  Michael gets better and with the suggestion of his mother, he makes a visit to Hanna’s apartment to thank her again.  Somewhere between the doorway and the kitchen table an affair between a woman in her mid-thirties and this fifteen year old boy (though she is led to believe that he is seventeen) begins and lasts for a few months.  During their affair, Hanna begins to have Michael read to her before she will join him in her bath and bed.  Due to her secret though, the summer ends abruptly when she suddenly leaves town and leaves in her wake a broken hearted and confused teenager.  It takes many years for Michael to recover from this and when he sees her again, it is in the most horrible and unbelievable places he could have ever imagined.  Hanna is on trial for war crimes that occured during WWII and Michael is a law student assigned to cover the trials for a class in post-war Germany.

The Reader is thick with drama, suspense, lust and secrets.  I don’t think it is a book to enjoy due to the serious and heavy subjects but it is an important novel to help remind people of the horrors of war and what the human mind and body is forced to do in those terrible times in order to survive.  I am glad I read The Reader and I am especially interested in seeing the film version as soon as I can. 

{Rating ~ 4out of 5 stars}

Below I have posted Kate Winslet’s interview on CBS Sunday Morning from earlier this year.  In it she talks about her role in The Reader as well as her role in Revolutionary Road.  I LOVE HER!

BTT ~ Best Bad Book

btt button

The opposite of last week’s question: “What’s the best ‘worst’ book you’ve ever read — the one you like despite some negative reviews or features?”


The book that comes to mind first when I think of answering this question is The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards.  I read and blogged about TMKD in October of 2007 and at the time there was a Lifetime Movie adaption of the book coming out and the reviews of the book weren’t great.  I agreed with the reviews to a point but over all, I really liked the book.  I usually agree with the book bloggers out there on books but this one was an edge of your seat read for me and I am glad I read it.

Book Review ~ Baby Proof by Emily Giffin


Don’t be fooled by the sweet yellow paper and charming baby shoe charms on the cover of Emily Giffin’s third novel, Baby Proof.  I was pleasantly surprised with how much this story had to offer and how many layers the characters and plot had. 

Claudia is a book editor for a Manhattan publishing house and is great at her job.  She has always known what she wants and one of those things is *gasp* to never have kids.  She meets Ben on a blind date and finds out that they have this in common.  After a quick courtship (seven months or so) they get engaged and then married and begin their “kid-free” life together in their beloved city of Manhattan.  Then one day a switch turns on in Ben and he announces that he would like to have a baby with Claudia. 

So begins Baby Proof by Emily Giffin.  I picked this book up off my TBR shelf to kill time while getting through the last week of waiting for my Kindle to arrive.  I was surprised at how much this book had to offer and that it wasn’t a shallow, light and easy read.  Though Baby Proof falls under the Chick Lit category it has so many layers to it, that I really ended up loving.  I liked the characters, the sub plots were all good and the outcome was acceptable in the end.  I enjoyed reading about Claudia’s job as a book editor (one of my dream jobs) and how she related to the authors and tried to promote them to her best capabilities.  I liked reading about a woman who doesn’t need children of her own in her life in order for it to be a fulfilling one.  Claudia’s husband, Ben, is not a bad guy for changing his mind after a few years of sublime marriage, his priorities changed is all.  That happens to all of us at some points in our lives.  I did like that Giffin didn’t have Claudia give in and she stuck to her wants. 

This book made me do a lot of unexpected thinking and soul searching.  My priorities changed a couple of years ago and now I wish to live a kid-free life.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with that and though sometimes Hubby disagrees with me, our love and adventures are strong enough to enrich our lives together.  We are a great aunt and uncle team to our nieces and nephews and friend’s children too.  Reading Baby Proof brings up a conversation that not a lot of other chick lit books seem to do and I enjoyed the experience and the conversations that came from it. 

{Rating ~ 4 out of 5 stars}

Teaser Tuedays

It’s that time of week again, everyone, and time for the Tuesday Teaser. Again the reminder of what this is all about. We are asked to:

Grab your current read.

  1. Let the book fall open to a random page.
  2. Share two teaser sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  3. Share the title of the book that the “teaser” comes from, so people can find the book if they like the teaser.
  4. And again remember – avoid spoilers.


Little Bee: A Novel

From Little Bee by Chris Cleave ~

“My legs were tired.  Two years I had been in that detention center, going nowhere, and I was weak.  But although my ankles hurt and the backs of my legs ached, it felt very good to be moving, and to be free, and to feel the night air on my face and the grass on my legs, wet from the dew.”

Monday Musings ~ March 23rd, 2009

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about bookstores…

How many bookstores do you frequent? Do you have a favourite? If so, which one and what makes it so?


Living overseas has caused me to rely on Amazon.com for buying books but when I’m at home in the MD/DC/VA area, I am a loyal customer of the White Flint Borders Books, Music and Cafe in Rockville, MD.  I used to work at this store from 1997 to 1998 and due to the fond memories from this job, I never hesitate to go peruse this particular stores shelves.  Over a decade later, I am still close friends with some of the people I met while working there.   I will admit though that over the years, I find that I like the Barnes & Noble at Tyson’s Corner Mall in Tyson’s Corner, VA though.  Maybe it’s because when we go home to visit, we stay my in-law’s house which isn’t far from that mall. 

When in downtown DC, I love to visit Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle.  They offer a good variety of titles and I love the fact that it’s open (I think) twenty-four hours and also has a restaurant in the back called Afterwards.  Another local book store which is has a few locations in the DC Metro area is Olsson’s Books.  Their CD section used to be wonderful as well but I haven’t visited one since iTunes became a way of life. 

*I just  went to the Olsson’s website to make sure I was spelling their name correctly and I sadly discovered that they have closed all their stores and are filing for bankruptcy!!  OMG!  I just checked Kramerbooks to make sure the same hasn’t happened to them, and they are still up and running.  The independent bookstore is definitely facing problems in these tough times.