Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Other Boleyn Girl

My sister Megan gave this to me to read forever ago, and I finally did. And I stayed up WAY too late two nights in a row. That is just tempting fate with Miriam and Cowen still in the same room and the general state of sleep deprivation in the house. However, it was a hard one to put down.

Good points: the story was extremely well-researched (a major factor in historical fiction) and extremely well-written. The characters very much came alive. The only thing I knew about Ann Boleyn came from watching the movie "Ann of a Thousand Days" which made me cry at the end watching little Elizabeth walking in the gardens while her mother was beheaded. However, the book made everything much more realistically complex and there was no "good guy" or "bad guy." Although if there was a bad guy--I'd say it was Ann. Maybe. Like I said, the author did a great job of putting in shades and gray areas and complexities--just like real life. Very believable writing.

Bad points: it was very, very bawdy. Lots of references to sex, without actual graphic sex like you find in Harlequin Desires. For example, the one sister who had had a four or five year affair with Henry spends a few paragraphs giving her sister tips on what pleases the king in bed. The author doesn't romanticize it, so it seems very bald and in your face. Also, and this is what I liked least, the Boleyn brother was homosexual. While it never went into details of any sort--I still really hate that.

Overall--I would be careful picking up that author again but I am definitely going to read the ones my sister Megan recommended that she said were much cleaner.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Elizabeth Enright

I heard about this author fairly recently.
I read "Thimble Summer" to the girls and we all enjoyed it.
Then I heard about a series that she wrote about the Melendy family. We're about 4 chapters into the first book, "The Saturdays", and it's very popular with the girls (not so much with my 5 year old son). If you like books along the lines of Anne of Green Gables, the Betsy-Tacy series, and All-of-a-kind Family, then you'd probably enjoy this author.

On my own I'm reading a book about Libertarianism that is actually not too dry. I wanted to learn more about this political viewpoint. I'm slowly working through it. I only read it at night and I usually start falling asleep because I waited too late to get started.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Custom of the Country

Loved it. I can't rave about Edith Wharton enough. After reading such terrible writing as Stephenie Myer and some other YA fiction that I've picked up lately (The Magician's and Mrs. Quent, and Wings: A Fairy Tale AVOID AT ALL COSTS), it was refreshing to drench myself in incredibly beautiful writing. She is just plain gifted.

I hated Undine--the main character. I strongly, strongly disliked Ralph--Undine's second husband. I can't BELIEVE HOW IT ENDED. But, of course, it was the perfect ending because it was true to the time and the characters.

Can't say enough good things about this one. If you haven't read a Wharton--please, please, please pick one up. I also loved The Age of Innocence and as Wharton is Kami's favorite author she's read them all. She'd probably know which other Wharton's to recommend.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I'm halfway through Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton and am LOVING it. She's fabulous. If you haven't read anything by her--you really should.

Also, I'm reading Just How Stupid Are We: Facing the Truth About the American Voter by Rick Shenkman in a few days (when I'm done with Custom). A friend at church recommended it and asked if I'd read it and compare notes with her. Since she's a crazy, liberal democrat, I thought it would be fun. If you want to join in on the discussion--feel free. I'll be posting about what I think.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My Two Latest Favorites

WOW! Just read the best two books in awhile.

The Book Theif by Marcus Zusack (or something like that)
BEAUTIFUL book! It was about WWII and how this one young girl found joy and power in written words and book stealing. It was one of the best WWII books I've ever read. Sad. And there is some language to get past (but most of it is in German anyway!). :-) It's just a beautiful book.

The Alchemist by Paulo Cohelo
Another beautiful book. I want to read all of his others. This is about a boys search for his Personal Legend. A great philosophical read. I would not agree with the back cover's praise "as good as The Little Prince" because is was 100x better!!! :-)