Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club by Laurie Notaro

Continuing on my memoir kick, I picked this book up at the library after getting a recommendation for it while searching for more books by Jen Lancaster. It is a pretty short book, only 225 pages and I was able to finish it quickly. It definitely had some pretty funny points and I could relate to some of the things she talks about. I give this a B.

From Amazon:

I’ve changed a bit since high school. Back then I said no to using and selling drugs. I washed on a normal basis and still had good credit.”Introducing Laurie Notaro, the leader of the Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club. Every day she fearlessly rises from bed to defeat the evil machinations of dolts, dimwits, and creepy boyfriends—and that’s before she even puts on a bra.For the past ten years, Notaro has been entertaining Phoenix newspaper readers with her wildly amusing autobiographical exploits and unique life experiences. She writes about a world of hourly-wage jobs that require absolutely no skills, a mother who hands down judgments more forcefully than anyone seated on the Supreme Court, horrific high school reunions, and hangovers that leave her surprised that she woke up in the first place.The misadventures of Laurie and her fellow Idiot Girls (“too cool to be in the Smart Group”) unfold in a world that everyone will recognize but no one has ever described so hilariously. She delivers the goods: life as we all know it.

Like I mentioned above, this book was very lighthearted and funny. It is an easy book to read in small bits like during commericals or when I wanted to take a quick 5 minute break from working on my portfolio. The wide range of topics from jury duty to when Laurie's mother finally gets email. I had a few chuckles out loud and overall it was a pleasant read. The only downside I had to the book was that it seemed to be completely out of order. In one chapter she is unemployed with no boyfriend, and in the next she is living in a house with a boyfriend. After doing some research on Amazon though I saw that these were all entries from her columns that she wrote for a newspaper in Phoneix. I wish she could have put it in some type of a timeline, though, as I wouldn't have been bouncing around so much. Overall though, I was able to really enjoy it.

Up next is the second of her books, Autobiography of a Fat Bride: True Tales of a Pretend Adulthood. This book is slightly longer, coming in at 258 pages though if I read for another hour tonight, I should have it done by tomorrow. Lately I haven't been able to stay awake later than 10:00 p.m., which is really early for a nightowl like me. However, I am absolutely giddy that I only have a couple of small things left to do on my portfolio which I plan on doing right after school. That is going to be wonderful. I even did my weekly cleaning tonight, so I all I will have to do is laundry this weekend. My husband and I have our bowling night on Saturday and I am meeting my dad Saturday afternoon but besides that it is going to be relaxing, reading, and catching up on my recorded shows. I can't wait! Well I hope everyone else is having a great time reading! Happy reading to all!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

I listened to Sellevision on my IPOD and this story had me cracking up. I decided to get Running With Scissors because it is written by the same author and I am on a memoir kick. I wasn't sure of what to expect from this book, but I don't think anything could have prepared me for this. It was an interesting read that I would have to rate a B+.

From Amazon:

This memoir by Burroughs is certainly unique; among other adventures, he recounts how his mother's psychiatrist took her to a motel for therapy, while at home the kids chopped a hole in the roof to make the kitchen brighter. Not all craziness, though, this account reveals the feelings of sadness and dislocation this unusual upbringing brought upon Burroughs and his friends. His early family life was characterized by his parents' break-and-destroy fights, and after his parents separated, his mother practically abandoned Burroughs in hopes of achieving fame as a poet. At 12, he went to live with the family (and a few patients) of his mother's psychiatrist. At the doctor's home, children did as they wished: they skipped school, ate whatever they wanted, engaged in whatever sexual adventures came along, and trashed the house and everything in it, while the mother watched TV and occasionally dusted.

The things that Mr. Burroughs writes about are just totally unbelievable, but sadly believable. After teaching you realize that some parents and the things that they put their children through are absolutely unbelievable. This story had me laughing at times and also feeling like crying. The pure madness and craziness is just so out there and weird. I did enjoy the book though at times felt uncomfortable. Some of the details are so extreme and can be a little bit over the top. It does go into some graphic details and probably not for everyone. I did enjoy it though, and this past weekend bought his other two memoirs from the Borders Outlet store. I know the title of one of them is Dry, though I am not sure what the other is. Another customer there told me they were both excellent so I picked them. I probably won't read them right away, but soon.

Things are finally calming down. I have my last observation tomorrow and I think I am just so tired of it all that I am kind of thinking who cares. I have worked so hard for so long and am getting the recgonition, which I am thankful for, but I have a case of senioritis and I love just relaxing at night. After Thursday I will be able to finish my huge project so that should be put to bed by Sunday. Yay! Anyways, I love getting back into my reading swing and am so happy that I am reading at a relative good pace. My goal that I set for myself for 2007 was to read 100 books and I am at 86 right now. It may be a stretch with only a little bit over a month left, but I am going to try. Considering how busy and little reading I have done since school started in September and my big slump this summer when I was going through depression and anxiety, I am pretty impressed with my reading. Most of the books were not short ones so that makes me feel better.

Up next I am reading another memoir by Laurie Notaro. This one is called The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club. I hope it is as good as the others I have been reading. I hope everyone else is getting a lot of reading done. Happy Reading!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cage of Stars by Jacqueline Mitchard

I am not sure how I ended up picking this book up but I did get it from the library. This is another book that I probably would not normally read, but I am glad I did. I started it this evening and stayed up to finish it because it was really well-written. I rate it a B+.

Twelve-year-old Veronica "Ronnie" Swan witnesses the murder of her two sisters in her family's yard in tiny Cedar City, Utah. Murderer Scott Early is immediately apprehended, but is diagnosed with schizophrenia and ends up spending just three years in a state mental hospital. The rest of Ronnie's family turns to their faith to forgive Early, visiting him just before his release after a battery of drugs have restored him to normalcy. But Ronnie remains angry and haunted by her inability to save her sisters from him, and as she comes of age she tracks Early to San Diego, becomes an EMT, talks his wife into hiring her as a nanny for their infant daughter, and starts planning her vengeance. But as Early's life comes into focus, Ronnie's plan leads to an unexpected, if overly summative, climax.

This book really tugged at my heart strings. The story was so well written and though there is not a lot of dialogue and action in it, which I really like, I enjoyed it. I couldn't even imagine what Ronnie and her family went through and I think the story had some really important life stories. Told over a span of about 10 years, I really enoyed how we got to see Ronnie grow up. The story is somewhat depressing because of the horrible acts, but I found it so compelling. This is the first book I have read by Ms. Mitchard and I will probably look for more of them at the library. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good story that has a lot of character development. While not exactly suspensful, I had no idea where the ending was going though I was satisfied with the ending. I really came to love and care about Ronnie and thought she was just such a likeable character. The story also allows the reader to get a look inside the Mormon church, and not the radical Mormon's who practice polygamy. I am very interested in the Mormon religion because of all of the news lately about those extremists.

I started this book this evening and finished it in about 2 and half hours. It felt really good sitting down and just getting lost in a book. I got a ton done today, including all of my Christmas decorations up, all of my cleaning and laundry and more work for school. I will probably spend a little bit more time working tomorrow, but I mainly am planning on starting my next book Running With Scissors. I listened to the author's other book, Sellevision, on my Ipod this week and was cracking up, so I am looking forward to it. Hope everyone is getting some reading done and having a wonderful weekend! Happy Reading!

Friday, November 23, 2007

The House on Sprucewood Lane by Caroline Slate

While at the library checking out the paperback shelves, I saw this book and it kind of jumped out at me. While reading the back, it sounded like something right up my alley. I picked it up because I had kind of been reading books outside of my comfort zone. It wasn't what I was expecting, but still turned out to be an all right book. I rate it a B-.

Calista McQuade is a star from the beginning, adored and pushed by her strong but driven mother, Melanie; loved from a distance by her damaged journalist father, Tom; and both loved and hated by her older brother, Jared. After the murder, at Jared's request, Melanie's sister, Alexis, is reconciled with the family after a rupture caused by her affair with Tom. But can the troubled and bulimic Lex even help herself? And whom can she trust? Suspicion centers on the family and 12-year-old Jared in particular. Lex employs her considerable detective skills as a documentary filmmaker to discover anything that might help her nephew. There are other possibilities: the McQuades' wealthy friend Courtney and Courtney's husband, Calista's coach, Vin; their maid, Tonya. But the police are looking no further than the family, and Lex knows Jared's time is running out.

From the blurb on the back of the book, it sounded like it was going to be a turn pager and highly suspensful. Instead, a lot of time is spent looking into Lex's growing up and her history. It really didn't add much to the story and in my opinion, did not have much at all to do with the mystery. The mystery kept me reading and while some of the backstory was interesting it was way too much. The book was over 400 pages long and the print was really tiny. I think that probably 100 pages could have been cut out. I did quite a bit of skimming. If the mystery wasn't as compelling to me as it was, I would have otherwise stopped reading it especially since my reading time is so limited. I finished this yesterday, though I am just now getting around to posting it.

I am running on pure steam right now. I went shopping lst night at midnight and didn't get home until almost 8:00 this morning. I slept about 4 hours and then got a ton of work done. It feels so nice. I am probably 90% done with my portfolio which is my huge project for graduation. Most of the stuff that I have to finish is just making up some title pages and organizing a bit. It shouldn't be too hard and I will get to it later. Tomorrow, I want to clean and maybe get a little bit more done on it and then get all of my Christmas decorations. Sunday will be spent reading and relaxing. I can't believe I have less than 3 weeks until graduation. It is surreal!

Up next is Cage of Stars by Jacqueline Mitchard. It is something else that is kind of out of my normal range, but I have high hopes. Well I am off to bed. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Bright Lights, Big Ass by Jen Lancaster

I am not even sure where I heard of this book but it must have been somewhere out in the blogosphere, but oh my gosh, this was hilarious. I loved the way it was written and it went by way to fast for me. I have to give this book an A.

From Amazon:

Jen Lancaster hates to burst your happy little bubble, but life in the big city isn't all it's cracked up to be. Contrary to what you see on TV and in the movies, most urbanites aren't party-hopping in slinky dresses and strappy stilettos. But lucky for us, Lancaster knows how to make the life of the lower crust mercilessly funny and infinitely entertaining. Whether she's reporting rude neighbors to Homeland Security, harboring a crush on her grocery store clerk, or fighting-and losing-the Battle of the Stairmaster- Lancaster explores how silly, strange, and not-so-fabulous real city living can be. And if anyone doesn't like it, they can kiss her big, fat, pink, puffy down parka.

Totally not my usual type of book but this was such a find. Now I am sure I am missing a whole genre of books that I would probably love but just didn't give a second glance to. I love the way this book is set up with footnotes and emails and the like and Ms. Lancaster has such a wonderful voice. I flew through this and it was perfect for the five minutes here and there that I could steal, though I can tell you I would open this up while sitting at red lights just to read a paragraph. This is Ms. Lancaster's second book and I have her first on hold at the library. I have already talked about this book to my SIL, it was just so funny that I had to gush about it. I never thought that a memoir or an autobiography would be my type of book but this was just wonderful. If anyone else has any more books like this, I would love to hear about them.

I am also listening to Sellevision on my IPOD by Augusten Burroughs. He is the author of his memoir Running With Scissors. I am LOVING Sellevision, and anyone who has any opinion about Home Shopping must read this. The reader is wonderful and I found myself driving around the block to just listen to a bit more. I got Running With Scissors from the library today and will probably read that soon. My SIL told me she heard wonderful things about it so I am hoping it is a good one. Like I said, I would love any and all suggestions for more books like this.

Up next is A House on Sprucewood Lane by Caroline Slate. This book is more of my usual cup of tea and it sounds promising. I haven't heard of this author though so hopefully it is good. I got a ton of work done today, so I think I may just spend the day tomorrow reading and doing laundry. I know I will feel guilty so maybe I will work a bit on my portfolio. I am on a good pace to get it done, but I think I need a day to recharge. Plus after two really good books back to back I have got bitten by the reading bug and that is what I am thinking about. Hope everyone else has a great rest of the weekend and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta

I read Little Children by Tom Perrotta earlier this year and enjoyed it and was not even aware that Mr. Perrotta had a new book coming out. While surfing some blogs, I came across a review for this book and decided to put it on hold at my library. After giving up on the previous book I was reading, I decided to give this one a try. I almost didn't but am so glad I decided to start reading it. I really enjoyed it and it held my attention. I rate it an A-.

Ruth Ramsey, divorced, is the human sexuality teacher at the local high school; she believes in being honest with her students, telling them that some people "enjoy oral sex." She lands in hot water when an evangelical church, offended by her curriculum, forces the school board to include a section on abstinence. Tim Mason is the beloved soccer coach of Ruth's young daughter, Maggie. He is also a reformed stoner/loser and an entrenched member of the church that attacked Ruth. Things get interesting when Tim, in a moment of crisis, leads his team of girls in prayer, and Ruth publicly drags her daughter from the soccer field. Ironically, Ruth and Tim find they have more in common than they thought, and a shaky—at times humorous—interchange begins.

I am not sure what exactly made me love this book so much, but I found myself counting down the minutes until my lunch break so I could read it. This book really got me thinking about how and where I stand on all of the issues addressed in the book and I really felt for both characters. This book is not my normal reading fare, I flew through it (well flew through it with my schedule) and I couldn't get enough. The book was written with both sides of the issues clearly stated and I could agree with both of them. I just really liked this book and I would reccommend it to anyone who likes realistic fiction and keeps up on current events. I am thinking about checking out more of Mr. Perrotta's books to see if they also hold up. I do know that his book Election is what the movie with Resse Witherspoon starred in was based on, so maybe I will check that out.

I am not sure what I am going to read next. I have parent teacher conferences tomorrow and Friday so I probably will not get that much reading done. Still, I want to start something. Hope everyone else is reading a lot of good books! Happy Reading!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Got Your Number by Stephanie Bond

Finally finished a book! I was reading another book and was about 100 pages in, but wasn't that into it and really wanted to spend the little time I had to read on something fun. Turning to Stephanie Bond, who always puts a smile on my face was a good idea. Got Your Number was a B read.

Gutsy Roxann Beadleman, a volunteer for an underground organization that helps abused wives escape from their husbands, needs to be rescued herself. She's being hunted by Frank Cape, a smarmy PI who wants his wife and child back, and by Joe Capistrano, a rugged police detective whose partner was shot by Cape. Joe intends to find Melissa, Cape's wife, and have her testify against her husband, but Roxann refuses to cooperate, fearful that the police won't be able to protect Melissa. When Roxann receives an invitation to her cousin Angora's wedding, she seizes the opportunity to flee town. Unfortunately, her cousin is jilted at the altar and, against her better judgment, Roxann agrees to accompany Angora to their college reunion in South Bend, Ind. En route, the former roommates have an unnerving run-in with Cape, but Joe steps in just in time. Although Roxann insists that she doesn't need his help or his affection, she quickly changes her mind when she and Angora are accused of murdering their theology professor.

This was a fun read. While not as funny as some of her others, especially Our Husband, I did like it and was looking forward to reading it whenever I had a free moment. I think the light hearted tone of the book really helped me get into it and it was fun. The mystery was kind of light and I had it figured out early on, but I still enjoyed it.

I really miss reading! Books that I have had on hold forever are coming in and I am having to return them unread because I don't have the time. I am not sure if things are going to start to slow down soon, but I do know that I have one month left. I have a ton of stuff to get done, but I think it is really less than I think. This weekend is dedicated to printing things out and preparing my portfolio so once I can see it organized and together, I won't stress as much. This stress is causing problems physically and I am losing a ton of hair and other womanly problems. I am somewhat scared too because I have been in school for so long and I don't know what to do with my time! Wait, I know... catch up on my reading! Yay!

Anyways, I hope everyone else is reading great and fun books. I do have a library book I started called Unnatural Causes by Leah Ruth Robinson. I have only read 24 pages and am on the fence about it. I decided I will probably give books 75 pages to capture my attention and if it doesn't, then it is on to the next one.

Happy reading and a have a great weekend!