Archive | May, 2011

I’m a Centerfold…

26 May

…of the Cuyahoga County Library’s 2010 Annual Report!  I am proud to be a part of it!

Click here to view it (I’m on page 9)!

Cuyahoga County Public Library

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Book Review: Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

26 May

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah: CD Audiobook CoverMy Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars

An entertaining epic a lot like Beaches.  Serious nostalgia if you were a teenage girl in the 1970s.

I’ve obviously had some reading time on my hands!   This was a book I really ‘tucked in’ to, the term I use to describe me being drawn in and wrapped up in a (usually epic) novel.  I love that!   This book it spans 30 years of a friendship between two girls who meet as young teenagers.   They meet in 1974, so it was just a teensy bit before my time, but if you were a teen in this era, you will get a bonus because this book is filled with nostalgic references (ABBA, anyone?) as they grow up.  Music references are a huge part of this story. 

Here’s what I didn’t like:  I’ve already heard this story!  I’ve seen Beaches like a billion times and I  watched Lifetime movies every Saturday and Sunday through 2002 and 2003 (don’t you dare judge me!).  There was really nothing in this storyline or characters I hadn’t seen already somewhere.  And honestly, that is pretty okay with me for the most part – it was just a bit disappointing.

Book Review: The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo

26 May

The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo: Book CoverReview 4 out of 5 stars

This is a kid’s fairy tale that centers on persistence and hope.  It reminded me that wishing is still okay to do sometimes! 

I envision this book being made into a  movie, kind of like The Tale of Despereaux.  This is partly because I knew this author, Kate DiCamillo, also wrote Despereaux and partly because it just screams to be made into one of those artsy Sundance movies.  Imagery plays a large role in this book too, although here the scene is a made-up town called Baltese that seems to be kind of like Russia to me.  There are a lot of contrasts between coldness and warmth, light and dark.    

The book is simple yet complex, making it a perfect ‘inspiration book’ for all ages.  There are a lot of angles and nuances to impress the reader personally.  For me, as I mentioned, it reminded me that wishing for something isn’t always ‘impractical’ or ‘useless’.  Hope is a positive emotion that gives people the strength and support to survive or least be a little happier.

Book Review: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

26 May

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman: Book CoverRating:  3.5 out of 5 Stars

What a perfect start to spring!  

I found this book so refreshing in a couple different ways.  First, the imagery is extraordinary.  The story begins in northern Ohio (really close to where I really live actually) but most of it takes place in Georgia.  The descriptions of the Savannah heat, old plantation homes with lush flower gardens, and real southern hospitality were so illustrative, I swear I actually smelled honeysuckle!   This book was refreshing to me because it was a perfect departure from the heavy books I’ve been reading.  It’s almost as if my reading choices follow the seasons, and I was ready to read something more vibrant and colorful. 

This book reminded me a bit of The Help, but really only because they take place in the same time period and area.  Saving CeeCee is told from the perspective of CeeCee herself, and she is 12 at the start of the book, which makes the overall perspective was much more innocent than that of The Help, even though there is some seriousness to the overall tone of the book.   I gave it a 3.5, though, because it was a bit boring in parts.  Not slow, per se, but there were parts where what was happening wasn’t all that interesting.

Free Comic Book Day Tomorrow

6 May

On behalf of my husband and four-year old son, I’d like to remind you that Saturday, May 7th is FREE Comic Book Day across the country.  You will get free editions of many comics at any comic book store you go to.

Comic Books are a great way to get kids (and, yeah, okay husbands) into reading! 

For those in my area, York Comic & Cards is by Tri-C on York Road, just north of Pleasant Valley.   We’ll be there!

Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

4 May

Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars

About the Book*

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, “Room” is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

* Taken from borders.com

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My Review

This book is another one that’s been on the circuit for a while.  I’ve had it on my TBR list for about 6 months.  It was published in September 2010, and still sits on the New York Times Bestseller list (#30 this week).  It’s also my book club’s selection this month.

I found this book hard to put down, very emotional, well paced and extremely well written.  Yet I didn’t find it particularly fun or entertaining – in fact, I’d put it in the category of downright depressing.  The subject matter is heavy and remains so throughout the whole book.

Here’s what I did like:  the pacing.  It was just right.  When I picked up the book I was thinking to myself, “How could a story about a kid and his mom in a 7×7 room be 336 pages?  Grrr Boring!”  But it wasn’t at all.  I nearly read the whole thing in one sitting! 

The author captured the perspective of a 5-year old boy so completely.  I have an almost 5-year-old boy, and I could see traces of his thought process in Jack’s and vice-versa, which is what I would expect.  I loved Jack so much – perhaps it is because of my son that it made him so loveable to me.  I though Ma was written very well too.

I asked myself several times throughout this book if I would have the strength to be like Ma, or would I just give up instead?  I’d like to believe I’d find the strength from somewhere, but it seems like what she did for Jack in that room almost unbelievable. 

This book doesn’t have a ‘happy’ ending.  I found that extremely refreshing and very realistic.  Most situations we deal with end with something a bit more complex than ‘happy’ or ‘sad’. 

I’m glad I read this book, I admire it and the author, and I would recommend it.  But probably not to every reader  – you have to be prepared to appreciate the story for what it is, and expect the strong emotions that will go along with it.  It will make a great discussion book!