31 January 2012

january reviews

This took way longer than planned. For that, I apologize.

I got the final kick in the pants when a friend emailed me about "The Story of Beautiful Girl" and I realized I needed to get this review up. 
My mom was reading this book and I assumed, incorrectly, that I wouldn't like it if my mom was interested in it. We have totally opposite opinions on books. Completely opposite. She's stopped asking to borrow my books because she says that I don't have "her kinds" of books. Whatever, Mom. 
But. The Story of Beautiful Girl is a book we both agree on. (Actually, now that I think about it, my mom & I read all three of the books I will be reviewing for January. I guess our taste in books isn't so different...) 

I really loved this book. I hesitated to type those words because there is so rarely a book that I don't like (there IS one that is coming for February that will get a poor review, I promise). How to go about reviewing this book without telling everything? The story opens on a dark and story night. Novel gold, if ever there was. Martha Zimmer, a retired school teacher, widow, and almost complete loner opens the door to her farm house to a rain soaked Lynnie and Homan, escapees from the Pennsylvania State School for the Incurable and Feebleminded. Wrapped in stained and rain-soaked rags is a newborn baby. 
The book breaks into three different story lines, following how Martha, Lynnie and Homan's lives change after their fateful night in the rain.
I feel like I'm leaving out so much in my description here, but I don't want to give it away! It is a story of love, choices, hope and chasing love wherever it takes you. 
Some of you might recognize the author, Rachel Simon, from her first novel "Riding the Bus with my Sister."  I haven't read or seen the movie based on the book, but if it is anything like "Beautiful Girl," I'll have to put it on my list.

I am NOT going to apologize for this, however: run, do not walk, to your nearest book place and pick up The Help by Kathryn Stockette. Seriously. There is hardly much more I can say about this book. I have heard some reviews about the book, commenting that it is just one more book by a white woman trying to understand and explain the life of black women. I don't know how I feel about that. I know it was written truthfully. My mom got the book that Stockette used for research and she was amazed by some of the stories. Will we ever really get the true and honest stories? Maybe. Maybe not. But the stories that are out there, if they contain even mostly truth, they are shocking and eye-opening. Just like The Help. And maybe after you read it, I can have Minny bake her famous Chocolate Pie so we can chat about the story.

The last book I read in January (and finished right under the wire!) was The Vow by Kim and Krickett Carpenter. I am very excited to see the movie that is coming out the end of this week (Channing Tatum. Need I say more?) and like the good book reader that I am, wanted to finish the book before the movie. 

I wish I had nothing but good things to say about this book. The story is romantic, sad and everything in between. Kim & Krickett Carpenter were married three months before a horrible car accident changed their lives forever. While Kim (the husband) had pretty serious injuries, his wife suffered much more. Krickett came out of her comma missing the last year and a half of her memories. Unfortunately for Kim, that year and a half included the first time they met and the romance that led them to their marriage. 
All of that said, I had trouble reading this book. I was looking at it like a novel. For a novel, the writing is poor, unclear at times and not very good at drawing the reader in. BUT. (And it took me a while to realize this.) It isn't a novel. It isn't fiction. It is written by the man who found the love of his life, lost her in a car accident and kept loving her. Even through her bad days, days when he could have given up and left, he stayed by her side. And that makes it worth it in the end.
*Update* I finally got to see the movie! And sadly, I was not impressed. So much of the story had undergone changes, as I expected Hollywood to do, that it was hardly recognizable. 

Well, I'm sorry this is so late. I really am. And I realize that now I'm three months behind. I hope you have no high expectations for the upcoming posts. I am looking forward to sharing with you what I've been reading. 

21 January 2012

is there such a thing as too many books?

Just in case you didn't quite understand the problem I have with wanting to read more books than I actually have time for from my last post, let me tell you a little about my morning.

Since the snow did it's little magical dance, I didn't have to go into work today. Instead, I went to the library with my dad to drop off some movies.*  I swear, that's all I was going to do. 

I left with a new book. That was not on my list for this year. Oops.

How will I ever have time to finish all of these library books?! Gah. Well at least I have a few extra hours today to read, and I guess I know exactly what I'll be doing tomorrow afternoon! 

*For the curious, I was returning Easy A, The English Patient, and season 1 of Dollhouse. And yes, I recommend all of them. If you decide to watch The English Patient, don't forget the tissues.

book love

If you would ever stop me on the street and demand I open my bag, you will find at least one paperback novel. Depending, of course, on the size of my bag. I carry my iPod with me almost all of the time as well. That holds about 8 or 9 classic type books that I would like to or am currently reading. There is a stack of 3 or 4 books on my bedside table, in the event that I forget to get the current book I am reading out of my bag or if the book I am reading is too big to fit in my bag. 

All of that said, (and yes, every bit of it is true), I have only read one complete book this month! If this is any indication of my reading patterns for this year, I'm not sure I'll make it to my goal. I also realize that if I am only reading 2 or 3 books a month, this blog won't be updated very often. On the first problem of not reaching my goal, I have no other solution except to keep pressing on. On the second problem, I have a solution. 

I have asked a number of my fellow readers to consider doing some guest blogging for me while I am trying to make it through the mountain of reading I have planned for this year. I hope to have more information for you soon. I also hope to have a review up soon for the first book I've completed: The Story of Beautiful Girl. 

In the meantime, I've picked up "A Clash of Kings" and am attempting to plow through all 1009 pages. I am about 130 pages in, which feels like not much at all, but I am enjoying it much more than I did "A Game of Thrones" at this same point in the book. 
I have also picked up "The Help," something I am really excited about. A bunch of people have been asking me if I've read it and I am kind of tired of saying no! Plus, everyone had good things to say about the movie, so I'd like to have some kind of frame of reference when I eventually get around to see it. I picked it up the last time I was at the library (the book, not the movie), so I do have a shorter deadline than I do with "Clash of Kings."

This might not be the most exciting entry ever, but I wanted to give you a little bit more of a glimpse into my reading life. And, after seeing the incredible film "Extremely Close & Incredibly Loud," the book by the same title by Jonathan Safran Foer has been added to my reading list. I recommend the movie highly, but I suggest you take an entire box of tissues with you to the theatre. Trust me. You will thank me later.

12 January 2012


When I was in London, I had to read "Great Expectations" for one of my literature classes.
As much as I love literature, British literature, and every single part of my class at London Metropolitan University, I deeply despise this book.


However, while I was reading it I happened upon the phrase "scattered wits."
Scattered wits take a long time picking up; and often, before I had got them well together, they would be dispersed in all directions by one stray thought...

And somewhere through all the Dickens hate (as an English major, I'm allowed *some* hate, right?) those two words stuck with me.

So I went online to check if 'scattered wits' was a blog name throu
gh Google. It was not and so I snatched it up...and have been sitting on it for the past three years.

From the beginning I decided I wanted to keep it as a book/movie review type blog, since I already had a personal blog going. I read a lot of books and love recommending them to friends. I'm not saying I'll have fabulously brilliant things to say about everything I read. I just like to share.

A few days into January, I also set a goal for myself on Goodreads to read 35 books this year. Everybody else was setting goals, and so I gave into the peer pressure. I figured this blog would be a really good way to keep track of that as well.

I hope to bring you reviews of good books, good movies and maybe a book or film (or two) that just doesn't make the "must" list. But as Pip said, sometimes one single thought can derail the train, so I make no promises...

A few books on my to read list:

A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin
The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Scarlet by Stephen Lawhead
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy edited by Bassham & Walls