Thursday, June 30, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
The Arrivals by Meg Mitchell Moore (Reagan Arthur Books, 2011)
My rating: 4 stars
Monday, June 27, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Gerry Fegan, the main character, is a "hard man" - translation: IRA assassin - in Northern Ireland. He killed 12 people whose ghosts follow him around and won't give him any rest. The only way to make them go away is to kill the person (other than himself) responsible for their deaths. But as he embarks upon this path, he has to deal with the mysterious pull he feels toward Marie McKenna, whose family has ostractized her because she took an RUC officer as a lover. Along the way, his former comrades learn that he's the one responsible for the new spate of deaths. It all comes to a head at dogfighting ring out in the country, and Gerry has to figure out how to balance the wishes of the ghosts against the struggle to keep himself, Marie, and her young daughter alive. Neville has a sequel out, and I can't wait to read it.
The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville (Soho Crime, 2009)
My rating: 5 stars
Monday, June 20, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Jack is an interesting character: He knows big words and can do more math than you'd expect a five year old to be able to do, but his social skills are understandably stunted since he's only ever interacted with his Ma. I think that choosing him to tell the story gave it a unique twist. I also liked watching Jack's growth, especially when he stayed with his grandma. She seemed to push him toward "normal" behavior more than his mother did. Of course, Ma had her own issues to deal with as a young 20-something mother who’d spent so many years locked up. Although Jack sees her as his all-powerful mother, in reality she is a fragile young woman who did the best she could under difficult circumstances. Her fragility becomes most evident after the escape, when she has a difficult time dealing with all the stresses of life and takes some drastic action.
Just out in paperback, this is a great read with a unique narrator. My book club has chosen it as an upcoming selection, and I’m looking forward to our discussion.
Room by Emma Donoghue (Little, Brown and Company, 2010)
My rating: 4 stars
Monday, June 13, 2011
This past weekend, my 17 month old and I had some painting fun. We covered his picnic table with paper. We gathered a large casserole dish, paints, and a couple of small toy cars. We squirted some blobs of washable finger paint into the casserole dish. Then I showed Aaron how to drive the toy cars through the paint and then onto the paper. The cars made neat tracks on the paper. He added to it with regular paint brushes, and then created some nice scratch marks with his bubble wands. I wish I had more pictures of the process, but with only two hands, it was all I could do to keep him from painting the entire deck. We both had a wonderful time. Here is his colorful car painting:
Thursday, June 9, 2011
"When you are five, you know your age down to the month. Even in your twenties, you know how old you are. I'm twenty-three you say, or maybe twenty-seven. But then in your thirties, something strange starts to happen. It is a mere hiccup at first, an instant of hesitation. How old are you? Oh, I'm--you start confidently, but then you stop. You were going to say thirty-three, but you are not. You're thirty-five. And then you're bothered, because you wonder if this is the beginning of the end. It is, of course, but it's decades before you admit it."
— Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants)
— Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants)
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
This is written as fiction but it felt more like a memoir to me. After the tragic accidental death of his wife, Aura, Francisco Goldman writes this nonfiction novel about her life and their relationship. If you’re like me, the term “nonfiction novel” seems like a contradiction. Either it’s true (nonfiction) or not true (fiction). Perhaps I got too caught up with trying to label this book. I was struggling with trying to remember that it was fiction and trying to figure out HOW it was fiction -- what was true? what was made up? -- but then I just decided to go with the flow.
Overall, this book left me feeling depressed. Perhaps that shouldn't have been a surprise, given the subject matter, but I was hoping for more. I wanted to like Aura but came away with the impression that she was dominated by her mother and her mother’s ideas of how she should live and what she should be and do. Aura also came across as immature, but maybe it’s just because she was in her early 20s and she was still figuring out who she was. I wanted to like Francisco, but in some ways he also seemed immature, even though he was several years older than Aura.
If you have questions about this book, don’t miss the chance to see Francisco in person. Tour information is here, and he will be at Next Chapter Bookshop in Mequon, Wis., tomorrow (Wednesday, June 8).
Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman (Grove/Atlantic, Inc., 2011)
My rating: 3 stars
Monday, June 6, 2011
Over the weekend a friend had some really cute flip flops on at the beach. They were so creative, and so easy to make. I am totally turning a pair of my flip flops into these fun Rag/Ribbon Flip Flops. They would be perfect for a bride when she was ready to throw of the heals. They would also be fun for a little princess. This could even be a fun rainy day summer project home with the kids.
Measure and cut fabric strips/ribbon 1/2" wide by 6 inches long. The length you need will be determined by how long you want the strips to be.