Top Ten Tuesday - Books I want to reread

Top Ten Books I want to Reread

1. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - this was one of my immediate favorites when I read it about 6 years ago. As with any old favorite, I want to see how it holds up with time. Plus I could use a reread of such an epic love story.
2. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss - I remember this story being beautifully written and inspirational. I think it's one of those books I might like even more the second go round.
3. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer - I read this one more recently so I might not revisit it for a bit, but it's definitely on my to be reread list! Oskar is one of my favorite fictional characters ever.
4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - This book made me cry more than any book ever has and I think that's a great thing. I will probably reread The Book Thief over and over.
5. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky - I've reread this a few times already and I think some days are just days you have to sit and read this in one sitting.
6. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling - I'm already in progress with this (sort of). I began listening to the audiobooks but have only completed the first two. I'm not sure if I'll continue with the audio version or if I'll pick up the actual books instead. Either way, this is a series that I'm sure I will continue to reread over and over for a long time.
7. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - I read this during a somewhat difficult time in my life and I remember relating so much to the main character. I'm not sure how it will be on a reread but I'd like to find out.
8.  Looking for Alaska by John Green - I love John Green and this was the first book by him that I read, before I realized that he has a formula for his characters. I thought it was such a good book and it's pretty perfect for a rainy day reread.
9. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath - I just really enjoy Ms. Plath's writing and I'm planning on reading her journals soon. I think after getting a little more insight into what went on in her head, it'd be good to reread The Bell Jar.
10. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller - I read this in college when I first started getting back into reading for pleasure again and I remember being a little overwhelmed with schoolwork at the time. I'd like to reread and see if it's more enjoyable to me now.


Review: Bossypants by Tina Fey

Book/Author: Bossypants by Tina Fey
Publisher/Year: Little, Brown and Company/ April 2011
Pages: 277 pages
Where I got it: bought on Amazon
Buy It: Amazon

Summary (from Goodreads): In her acceptance speech for Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Tina Fey announced that she was proud to make her home in "the 'not-real America'." It is perhaps that healthy sense of incongruity that makes the head writer, executive producer, and star of NBC's Emmy Award-winning 30 Rock such a cogent observer of the contemporary scene. Bossypants, her entertaining new memoir, shows that strangeness has been her constant companion. Fey's stories about her childhood in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania are only appetizers for LOL forays into her college disasters, honeymoon catastrophes, and Saturday Night Live shenanigans. Most funny read of the month; the best possible weekend update.

My thoughts: I don't have much more to say about Bossypants other than you should read this now, whether you're a fan of Tina Fey or not. This book is laugh out loud funny. In fact, I started reading it on a day out at the beach with a bunch of friends and they all kept looking at me like I was either crazy or annoying (or both?) because I couldn't stop giggling. I've always been a Tina Fey fan and an even bigger Liz Lemon fan. Bossypants made me realize they are probably the same person. I love how much Fey embraces her goofy, awkward side because let's face it, we were all a little awkward at some point. I still am.

If you're a weirdo and don't like Tina Fey (and the haters do exist as she mentions several times in this book), read this and I'm fairly certain you're view will change. Bossypants is witty and sarcastic, and the cover is so creepy I just can't stop staring at it. There were so many quote worthy passages, but I'll leave you with one of my favorites.

"Little kids’ birthdays in my neighborhood were simple affairs. Hot dogs, Hawaiian Punch, pin the tail on the donkey, followed by cake and light vomiting. (Wieners, punch, and spinning into barfing would later be referred to as “the Paris Hilton.”"

My rating: 5 stars


Top Ten Tuesday - Books I Feel As Though Everyone Has Read But Me

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week we are talking books that we feel as though everyone has read but for whatever reason we haven't gotten around to. I was pretty proud of myself while trying to come up with this list. I feel like in the last couple of years I've made a pretty conscious effort to read the classics and over hyped books.

1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - Yep. All of you have read this except me.
2. The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater - I have these on my Nook but haven't gotten around to them yet. I've heard so many good things from other bloggers.
3. Anything by Bill Bryson - I have Neither Here Nor There on my bookshelf but I haven't read anything by him yet. I have no idea why considering how much I enjoy travel literature.
4. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck - this is an obvious classic that I just don't know why I never read. It wasn't required reading but after East of Eden I definitely need to read this at some point.
5. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - I read an abridged version of Little Women when I was little but it there was so much of the real story cut out.
6. Delirium by Lauren Oliver - It's been sitting on my shelf and I WILL get to it soon, but for now I'm one of the few left in the blogger community that hasn't read Delirium yet.
7. The Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty - I've been hearing people tell me to read this series for years now and I'm beginning to think I'm the only person left who hasn't been introduced to Jessica Darling.
8. Almost anything by Jane Austen - I've only read Emma. FOR SHAME, I know.


Review: The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

The Family Fang: A NovelBook/Author: The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
Publisher/Year: Ecco/ August 2011
Pages: 309 pages
Where I got it: received for review from the publisher
Buy It: Amazon

Brief Summary (from Goodreads): Mr. and Mrs. Fang called it art. Their children called it mischief.

Performance artists Caleb and Camille Fang dedicated themselves to making great art. But when an artist’s work lies in subverting normality, it can be difficult to raise well-adjusted children. Just ask Buster and Annie Fang. For as long as they can remember, they starred (unwillingly) in their parents’ madcap pieces. But now that they are grown up, the chaos of their childhood has made it difficult to cope with life outside the fishbowl of their parents’ strange world.

When the lives they’ve built come crashing down, brother and sister have nowhere to go but home, where they discover that Caleb and Camille are planning one last performance–their magnum opus–whether the kids agree to participate or not. Soon, ambition breeds conflict, bringing the Fangs to face the difficult decision about what’s ultimately more important: their family or their art.

My thoughts: The Family Fang is a story about a dysfunctional family of performance artists, the Fang's. Art has always been the most important thing to Caleb and Camille Fang, until they have children and suddenly have other responsibilities. The Fang's learned to incorporate the kids Annie and Buster, or Child A and Child B, into their "art" butas the kids grew up they weren't as willing to be a part of their parents mischief. This book was full to the brim with conflict and it reminded me of the family dysfunction in television and movies such as Arrested Development and The Royal Tenenbaums (in fact the blurb on the back of the book mentions this similarity to the Wes Anderson film). It was highly entertaining but often uncomfortable.

The Fang's artwork was always about the reaction of others and much of it was cruel or just plain wrong. I have to give props to Buster and Annie for both turning out relatively normal after having parents as bizarre as Caleb and Camille. I felt so bad for them because it was clear that their parents would always choose their artwork over them and that rejection is a pretty terrible thing to deal with for any kid. For the most part I enjoyed the wacky antics that went on in the novel, although the horrible parenting drove me nuts. I didn't particularly care for any of the characters, they were more of a love to hate bunch. The public displays that the Fang parents created were often at the expense of their children's privacy or innocence. A and B never got a choice whether or not they wanted to be a part of their parents creative process and now as adults they are finding out not only are they still a part of it but they have become victims of the Fang's craziest piece yet.

For much of the novel I was entertained but nothing was really making me want to drop everything to pick up the book. There was a bit of a twist ending that pulled me back in and caused me to blow through the last 50 or so pages. Overall, I thought The Family Fang was a fun read with a peculiar premise. I'd recommend this to anyone with an interest in reading books with a mix of flawed characters and comedic situations. It's not necessarily a laugh out loud book but it's one that will have you thinking on a much deeper level about society, families and what's important in life.

My rating: 3 stars


Review: The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock

Book: The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock
Published: July 19, 2011/ HarperCollins
Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 368 pages
Where I got it: received for review from NetGalley
Buy It: Amazon

Summary (from Goodreads): Life on the tiny island of Guernsey has just become a whole lot harder for fifteen-year-old Cat Rozier. She’s gone from model pupil to murderer, but she swears it’s not her fault. Apparently it’s all the fault of history.
A new arrival at Cat’s high school in 1984, the beautiful and instantly popular Nicolette inexplicably takes Cat under her wing. The two become inseparable—going to parties together, checking out boys, and drinking whatever liquor they can shoplift. But a perceived betrayal sends them spinning apart, and Nic responds with cruel, over-the-top retribution.
Cat’s recently deceased father, Emile, dedicated his adult life to uncovering the truth about the Nazi occupation of Guernsey—from Churchill’s abandonment of the island to the stories of those who resisted—in hopes of repairing the reputation of his older brother, Charlie. Through Emile’s letters and Charlie’s words—recorded on tapes before his own death— a “confession” takes shape, revealing the secrets deeply woven into the fabric of the island . . . and into the Rozier family story.

My thoughts: The Book of Lies revolves around the Rozier family, past and present. The book begins with a confession from fifteen year old Cat that she has killed her "friend" Nicolette. The rest of the book explains the complicated relationship and events that led up to the accidental murder. We also learn about Cat's uncle, as told by her father on old tapes. He was held as a prisoner by the Nazi's during their occupation in Guernsey in WWII. Historical fiction based in WWII has always fascinated me but that part of the story actually fell flat for me in this case. I was more interested in Cat's slow reveal of how she became an accidental murderer.

Cat was kind of an annoying teenager but I found it very easy to read the sections she narrated. It was like she was telling her story directly to me. I also was never quite sure if the murder was actually an accident because of how often she seemed like she was okay with it. I don't really blame her since Nicolette was so awful to her but there were times where I thought Cat could have done with some medication to combat the crazy vibes wafting off her.

This was a difficult review to write, partly because I've just been in a blogging slump and partly because I felt like there wasn't too much that actually happened other than Cat's story behind her confession and that murder might run in the family. The Book of Lies was an interesting read with enough mystery to keep my attention but I wasn't wowed by the suspense level.

My rating: 3 stars