Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Sunday Salon: February in Review

This is going to be a terribly short month in review. I read a whopping two book. Two! I feel terribly chagrined.

That Bridge of Sighs consumed my month. Should you read it? Here's my review. I also read Alexander McCall-Smith's most recent installment in his Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series, Tea Time for the Traditionally Built. I haven't reviewed it yet, but I sure do love that series.

Pitiful, I know. And that's about all I have to say, except…

Much Ado About Nothing (World Lit, high school)
Roar of Thunder, Hear My Cry (literature circle, middle school)

Reading with the Kids
American Adventure: The Great War
Call Me Francis Tucket by Gary Paulsen

Up Next
Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Next month will be a better reading month! It can't be much worse!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Book Review: Bridge of Sighs

I am sooo happy to finally be writing a review for Richard Russo's Bridge of Sighs. I'm happy because, well, I'm finished with the book. After nearly 3 weeks, it's been returned to the library. Phew.

I almost gave up on it. The first 10 days or so, I could only manage reading a couple of pages each night before I fell asleep. So the question is: was I falling asleep because the book wasn't captivating, or was I falling asleep because I was sleepy? I suspect it was a lethal combination. But somehow I stuck with it. I just couldn't quite admit book defeat.

So the next question is: am I glad that I spent nearly 3 weeks reading this book? I'd have to say: no. I am not happy to have spent 3 weeks on any book (except for The Count of Monte Cristo-- that deserved three weeks). But I guess I'm kinda glad I finished Bridge of Sighs. It was interesting. The characters are memorable. As tempted as I was to give up, I bigger part of me (slightly bigger) wanted to find out what happened in the end. Russo gave just barely enough bait to keep me from falling off his hook. Barely.

The problem is that the book was too…much. There was too much going on with too many characters at too many time periods. I was always thinking, "Huh? Wait, whose POV is this now? Where are we? Huh?" There is Lucy/Lou, the nervous, awkward boy/man; Sarah, his wife; and Bobby/Noonan, the renegade/painter. And about a zillion other key characters. Too much happened. Nothing happened. And yet, I stuck with it.

In fact, my review is now reminding me of the book. I'm trying to say something, but I'm falling into a trance. Repeating myself. Don't read it. Unless, of course, you have to find out why I can't write a proper review about this odd but somehow intriguing book.

Other Reviews of Bridge of Sighs
Caribous Mom
I Read, I Knit, I Am

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

17 Days and Other Rambling

I can hardly believe it, but I've been reading the same book for 17 days. Or maybe even longer; I've actually kind of lost track of time. The culprit: Richard Russo's The Bridge of Sighs. For the first week I seriously read 3 pages each night before falling asleep. I think I was on page 21 at the end of the first week, and I had no idea what I was reading. I came soooooo close to giving this book up; but now that I'm nearly done, I'm glad I didn't. I'll hopefully be done within two days and can finally post a review.

In other bookish news, I went to the library today and was terribly confused. I usually go during the day when it's nice and quiet there, but apparently there was no school today and it was packed with people. I'm happy that they all like the library, but I was feeling the need for peace and quiet, which is why I left my own children at home. Anyway, I did pick up three books on my TBR list. Actually, I picked up only one book (The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon) on my actual TBR list; the other two were on my mental TBR list (Alexander McCall-Smith's Tea Time for the Traditionally Built and Still Alice by Lisa Genova).

Here's a cool thing: I met a new friend who said that she actually picked our city to move to because she loved the look of the library from the website! She and her husband are retired, and they each had a special desire: she wanted to be near a great library, and he wanted to be able to hike. My kind of people.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Book Review: The Bright Side of Disaster

I needed this book by Katherine Center after a month of heavy reading. This is total chick lit, a genre I don't indulge in terribly much. But sometimes it's exactly what is needed, and Center is really an excellent writer. Her dialogue is great, and she has lots of funny scenes and great characters.

So the story goes that Jenny's fiancé leaves her the day before she gives birth to their baby. The reader can't help but be glad; obviously, he was a loser and Jenny is extremely likable. She spends the next several months in the oblivion of postpartum and post-relationship. She finds a mommy group and meets a man. It all sounds like a trite story, but Center really does tell it quite well. She does a great job especially of detailing what it's like to be in that weird world of newborn baby bliss/torture.

I liked this book. Like I said, this is chick lit—perfect for an in-between, relaxing kind of read.

Other reviews of The Bright Side of Disaster:
Book Addiction
Lit and Life
Maw Books