Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Post Script:

According to Jane pg.223

"Your soul mate could not be genuinely happy without you. You deserve someone whose eyes light up when he sees you across the room, someone who'll rub your shoulders when they're aching just because he wants to relieve your pain. Someone whose heart never stops beating for you."

It is a truth universally acknowledged....

Typically, Lady Luck is not on my side. I don't win things in raffles or sweepstakes. And unfortunately, this is not a success tale, where I tell you all how I won a car or a trip to Italy.

Have you heard of or These websites are awesome! They are kind of like virtual libraries where you can organize your books into categories (books you've read, are reading now, and want to read). I guess you can say it is like facebook in the sense that you can friend people with similar book tastes, ask for others' opinions on books you want to read and join groups that discuss books/genres that you are interested in. friend* entered a contest on goodreads and ended up winning According to Jane by Marilyn Brant. Funny thing is, out of the whole list of books that she tried for, that was the only one she chose thinking that I might like it because it had something to do with Jane Austen. Heehee...

(Personal Note: I love anything Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice is one of my all time favorite books. I can't turn down any book that has Austen in the title. As an example of my weird addiction; currently I'm waiting for the books Austenland and Jane Austen Ruined My Life from my library. Yes, it is that bad.)

She received an uncorrected proof with an inscription by the author. Very cool.

After the glow of winning wore off, she told me it was my job to read it as fast as I could and write a review of it for goodreads so that she could be in the good graces of the goodreads gods (say that 3x fast!).

So, here are my efforts towards being a critic:

"According to Jane is an intriguing spin on a typical piece of chick-lit. For those hard-core Austen fans, like myself, it will cause you to instantly be jealous of Ellie, the lucky protagonist who has the honor of being the vessel in which Austen's spirit decides to reside. Austen is depicted as I would have imagined; sharp-witted, slightly stoic with a dry sense of humor, and, at times, dark and ominous.
The relationship that grows between the two women, starting from when Ellie is in her early teens until she reaches the ripe age of 34, is similar to any other friendship. There are ups and downs, fights and calm discussions, proclamations of admiration,a genuine love for each other's company, and respect for their advice and role in each other's lives.
Marilyn Brant's juxtaposition of Austen's Victorian ideals and Ellie's "modern" decisions is brilliant. It gives Brant the opportunity to show how ahead of her time Austen was even with her reservations and tight-lipped warnings.
Yes, it is a little weird and far-fetched that a famous author would somehow take up residence in a person's mind, and that person does not end up being a bag lady mumbling to herself in the middle of street. But it was fun to suspend reality and think, "What if?"
All-in-all, this book was a great read, not only for the Austen fan, but for any fan fond of friendships, true love and self-discovery."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Here's to the ones we love. Here's to the ones who love us. Here's to the ones we love who don't love us. Hell, screw them all, here's to us!"

Cassie Moore, Type-A personality, follows a "PLAN" that she created when she was 17. Step-by-step her life is planned out into a neat checklist.

At 28, she had most of her list checked off: she had a great job, a drool-worthy apartment and a loving fiance. But, as we all know, all that can change in the blink of an eye, or in this case, in the turn of a page...

Cassie goes into work early one day, gets called into the boss' office and instead of getting promoted gets FIRED! She gets home to find that she is being EVICTED from her apartment! And walks in on her "loving" fiance cheating on her with his ex-girlfriend!

Three strikes and you're OUT!

So she does what any sane 20-something would do. Calls her friends and drinks herself into oblivion. And let's admit, we've all had our share of blackouts, but did yours involve waking up the next morning to 13 missed phone messages from her mom, a flight booked to Buenos Aires and an apartment rented for six months. Talk about a blackout.

First thought: Where did she get the money to do this?
Second thought: Why don't I have this kind of money to do this?
Third thought: God, I need money
****Pity Party****
Fourth thought: SNAP OUT OF IT!

Cassie goes from control freak, to Argentinian fling-er, to even more rigid control freak, to finally, letting loose, throwing out all the plans and falling in love with the right guy (the guy who's been under her nose the whole time).

Lessons learned:
1. Do not ASSUME anything about anything/one
2. Allow for spontaneity
3. Life and Love are messy, so stop trying to tame/clean them up.

A deliciously intricate self-discovery book that reminded me that not everything is made to fit into a checklist or spreadsheet. A tough lesson to learn, being a control freak myself, but a good one nonetheless.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Be careful what you wish for!

I have been reprimanded for using my friend's, let's call her "T", ideas and opinions without duly noting her in my blog. Therefore, in lieu of being sued I will share her kind words with you now:

"I don’t like being the observant friend…..and I’ve never said you needed rehab. It’s just you call yourself a reader and that you are sick of chick lit but you loooooove it

And that one serious one funny one serious combo is so mine… know I can sue. Taking my ideas and not giving me credit. I’m always this weird mention. As opposed to the back bone of your reading frenzy and material.
But, whatever. Maybe I'll start a blog talking about that."

So there you have it readers, now you know my secret. Maybe you too can get your own "reading/material backbone" and take all the credit?

I also take her jokes and tell them to people as if they were my own...... I am living on the edge!

"One of the great disadvantages of hurry is that it takes a long time." G.K. Chesterton

So, I have been gone for a while...We're almost done with September and I don't even have one post. SHAME ON ME!

I could riddle you all with excuses for my laziness, but that is just it, there are none. I have just been too lackadaisical to bring myself to the precipice of my keyboard and spew out insight on the wonderful books I have been devouring during this time.

Do you want a quick re-cap??? Ok, here you go:

1. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
An amazing tale of two friends, spanning three decades. Have you ever forced yourself to read a book really slowly, just so you wouldn't have to give up having the characters leave your life so quickly? (No? You should try it with this book, The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood, Bel Canto by Ann Patchett and Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger) This book was about 450 pages long, and even with my prolonged reading, it ended too fast.
I can remember what it was like to be a young girl who felt out of place but was kept afloat because of my great friendships with people who got who i was and accepted me all the same. This book reminded me that a good friendship is like a good marriage. You're in it for the long haul, you accept each other's faults and strengths and love each other unconditionally.
The tangled relationship that Katie and Tully have is something to envy. Even with some harsh words and painful events, they overcome them together. This book broke my heart, but only in the best way. An easy friendship is one that you work hard at effortlessly. Or at least that's what I think.
As you can tell this book bubbled up some intense sentimentality for me. It made me think of all the friendships I've had over the years and which ones have withstood the test of time/college/pubescent attitudes, etc. And I am thankful that I have friends from every walk of life. From when I was 3-years-old to when I braved the streets of Boston for 4 years. Those that can pick up from where we left off, be it hours, days, months or years. Those are the friendships I am thankful for and appreciate the most.

2. Breakfast at Stephanie's by Sue Margolis
After I finished sobbing over Firefly Lane, I knew I would have to counteract that lovely, familiar, literary pain in my heart with something light and predictable. Chick-lit can take me out of even the most terrible funk.
Stephanie is a single-mom and an aspiring singer. She has a close relationship with her grandmother and gets into some mischief when she's faced with picking between her son's father and a colleague of hers from the past. Of course she ends up with the right guy and with a wonderful career as the book comes to a close. I loved following the standard chick-lit plot, and even though I knew how it would presumably end, I still got that flurry of anticipation and anxiety when there were catastrophes and unforeseen hurdles to get over.
It was a fast and easy read, nothing too deep to furrow your brow over. I loved it.

3. The Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin
This book was surprising, because although it did have that classic Kathy Griffin humor, it was also sprinkled with serious anecdotes about her family and her rocky career path as a comedienne. It is definitely something that you should consider reading. Those of you who do not like Kathy may get to see a side of her that you can actually identify with.
(Merits its own post, so more to come later)

4. The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club by Gil McNeil

I try my best to switch from reading something light to reading something a little more serious. It keeps me grounded and more importantly gives me street cred with my annoyingly observant book-loving friends. I have more often than not been told that I am a chick-lit junkie and that I should seriously look into some sort of re-hab clinic. As you can see, my venture into "serious literature" does not travel far into the bowels of Truman Capote or a historically accurate account on the Cold War. It is something more substantial and thought-provoking. A book about knitting and self-discovery. I know, truly ground-breaking stuff here, people.
Regardless of its ranking on the gravity scale, I really liked the story. Jo Mackenzie, is on the brink of a divorce when her soon-to-be, cheating ex-husband dies in a car accident. Left with her two young sons, she moves out of London and back to her small sea-shore hometown and takes over her grandmother's wool shop. This book is a mixture of small-town quaintness and paparazzi-worthy panache. Along with acclimating her family into a new environment with meddling old biddies, Jo manages to befriend a celebrity, stage a "knit-it" to save their public library and found a "Bitch and Stitch" club for the women of the town.
Jo's story was fun to follow; however, the only thing that I found a bit off-putting was the intense British-ness of the book. Don't get my wrong I've read my share of dry-humored, wit-filled British novels, but normally the authors tone down the British-isms so that you don't trip over their colloquial phrasing. But, Gil McNeil did not hold back. Even with the over use of "cuppa", all in all it was a pleasant read.
Shall we delve into my private psyche for a moment? Okay.
Whenever I read a book about knitting, I instantly get inspired and come up with a million projects that I want to tackle in a day. But, hold on, let me take out my last knitting efforts since I read one of these books...oh here we are, scarves for all my friends for Christmas, five little squares knitted in an attempted to make a blanket and a half finished throw with colors that would put my own grandmother to sleep (really? teal, white and cream...sounds like it could be nice, but alas, it is not)
But I am not one to look adversity in the eye and walk away! I will not be put off by my embarrassing last efforts! I am absolutely positive this time will be where did I put those needles?

5. The Buenos Aires Broken Hearts Club by Jessica Morrison

(Post to follow)