Thursday, May 31, 2012

{a thought for Thursday} War

To learn what you have to learn at the war, to do what you have to do, does this make you the enemy of all that sent you to the war? -- Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

Thursday, May 24, 2012

{a thought for Thursday} The ocean

We aren't a drop in the ocean, but are the ocean, in drops. -- Anne Lamott, Some Assembly Required:  A Journal of My Son's First Son

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

{read: psychological thriller} Sister by Rosamund Lupton

**spoiler alert**A book club member highly recommended this psychological thriller, but for me it was only OK. About halfway through, I found myself wishing it was over, but I kept reading to find out who the killer was. In a nutshell, the plot is this: After Tess gives birth to a stillborn baby and is murdered, her sister Beatrice refuses to accept the police's verdict of suicide due to postpartum depression and launches her own investigation.

The story is told in a letter from Beatrice to (dead) Tess, and at times it felt awkward. For me, the most jarring point of this plot device was at the end of the book, when we learn that the attorney to whom Beatrice has been telling the story of her investigation was completely fictional and that, in fact, Tess has been drugged by the killer and left to die and has been writing this letter in her head to try to keep herself sane and awake.

I didn't dislike the book, as it kept me guessing about the killer and had some interesting insights about the relationships between sisters and mothers and daughters, and I enjoyed Tess's Polish friend, who ends up being Beatrice's savior.

Sister by Rosamund Lupton (Broadway, 2011)
My rating: 3 stars

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

{read: The first year} Some Assembly Required by Anne Lamott

Some Assembly Required is classic Anne Lamott. Her son, Sam, has a son when he's 19. Although she's not quite ready to be a grandmother yet, she embraces the situation as best she can - celebrating one moment and worrying the next. Modeled along the lines of Operating Instructions, which told the story of Sam's first year, Some Assembly Required tells the story of Jax's first year.

One major difference is that this book contains interviews with and emails from Sam to get his perspective on being a dad. While I enjoyed getting his perspective, these sections seemed a tiny bit more formal than the rest of the book - not much, just a hair off. My favorite parts were, of course, the ones from Anne's own point of view, and that's 90-95 percent of the book.

One of the reasons I love Lamott's writing so much is that she's not afraid to let us see her when she's in her neurotic, controlling phases -- and just as importantly, we get to see how she pulls herself out again. Breathe. Show up. Be present. Remember that you are not in charge. These are all lessons I need to be reminded of again and again, and she does so in a way that is entertaining, down to earth, and never preachy. While Bird by Bird remains my favorite, I would definitely recommend this book, especially for fans of Operating Instructions.

Some Assembly Required by Anne Lamott (Riverhead Hardcover, 2012)
My rating: 4 stars

Monday, May 14, 2012

{crafts} Memorial Day Rockets

Rocket Favor How-To:

  1. Print the Rocket Crackers Clip Art onto heavyweight paper; cut out the shapes.
  2. Place the rectangular clip art blank side up. affix double-sided tape to 1 long edge. Fold a piece of tissue paper in half (so it measures 4 by 5 1/2 inches). Place the tissue fold at the bottom of the card stock, pressing it to the tape to secure.
  3. Roll the card stock and tissue into a tube, and secure with double-sided tape. Cinch the tissue at the bottom of the rocket, and tie it with twine.
  4. Roll fan-shaped clip art into a cone; secure with hot glue. Place candies inside rocket. Use hot glue to attach cone to body.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

{read: non-linear fiction} Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru

This story follows two different paths that kind of merge for a short time. One, told chronologically, is the story of a couple with a young autistic boy. His disease has pretty much taken over their lives. On a vacation trip to the Mohave Desert, he disappears. The other story skips back and forth through time and focuses on other people who have lived in the same area where boy disappears. I had trouble following this thread because it took me a while to figure out that the stories were connected. I would be two-thirds done with a chapter until I realized that one of the characters was a character from a different chapter. Part of this is because they were called by different names (Native American names vs. English names), but part of it may have been because I wasn't paying close enough attention. I was hoping for some sort of ending that would provide resolution or at least guidance so that I could look back and tie things together, but I didn't find it. I finished the book just as confused as I had been while reading it. This book would probably appeal to those who loved Day for Night by Frederick Reiken, another novel that left me confused.

Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru (Knopf, 2012)
My rating: 3 stars

Monday, May 7, 2012

{crafts} Mother's Day Printable Card

Free printable Mother's Day card From How About Orange

Need a simple Mother's Day card you can print immediately? Download my watercolor freebie right here. The finished card is 5.5" x 4.25", sized for a standard A-2 announcement envelope. Be sure to print at 100% without a shrink-to-fit option checked.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

{a thought for Thursday} Quotations

Maybe our favorite quotations say more about us than about the stories and people we're quoting. ― John Green

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

{read: A dog book} One Good Dog by Susan Wilson

I read this for a book discussion and would caution animal and dog lovers that it was (at least for me)  a tearjerker. The book is told from the perspective of a self-made man who loses everything and is forced to reevaluate his life and priorities and, in alternate chapters, from the perspective of a pit bull who is forced to fight. The dog's chapters were hard for me to read throughout much of the book, especially in the beginning and in the end. He talks about what it's like to be in dog fights and what his life is like. It's a quick read, but I found it upsetting because it's realistic. So many pit bulls are bred and raised as fighters, and even if they make it to the shelters, they are often the first to be euthanized simply because of their breed, regardless of their nature.

One Good Dog by Susan Wilson (St. Martin's Press, 2010)
My rating: 3 stars