Friday, May 29, 2009

Sunday at Tiffany's by James Patterson -- A Book Review

Janet: I really did not like this book. I thought the whole thing was a little ridiculous...I guess I wasn't expecting her to end up with Michael. I think that she should have figured things out for herself and maybe Michael would come into her life again to help her see that she could find someone better on her own. It was creepy to me that she knew this guy when she was nine. I know that I was supposed to get caught up in the romance of it all, but I just thought it was weird. So, overall, I did not enjoy it much.

Lisa: This book is Drop Dead Fred meets City of Angels. You have a little girl with an imaginary friend whom she is suppose to forget all about, but doesn’t. Then in-between “jobs” he’s in New York to help her once again. I don’t ever remember having an imaginary friend, but if we go by what these authors are saying we wouldn’t remember would we? Of course that’s just stupid because the parents would remember and then tell them, as they got older. I’m being a bit technical I know! Overall I think it was an average book. It was a nice easy read and it entertained me for the time.

Stacy: All in all I thought it was a decent book, I probably wouldn't read it again, however it was good for what it was. It was a quick read and it kept me entertained. I did think that there was a bit of a creepy factor that he was her imaginary friend...I'm not sure why.


Q & A:
1.Michael says that the role of an imaginary friend is to make children feel less alone and to help them find their place in the world. Do you think imaginary friends help children deal with their lives or keep them from dealing with life head on? In what other ways do we use our imagination to cope with life or hide from it?

Janet- Being honest, I think imaginary friends are ridiculous. But PJ had a 'little PJ' that would just appear wherever he wanted him. I thought that was cute and I liked that he was using his imagination, but that was it. I definitely think that using your imagination to get you though tough times can take on many different forms. I know that if you can control your thoughts, you can control a bit of every situation. Like when I was in labor, I counted. I imagined the numbers as I said them and it had a calming effect on the hardest physical times of my life.
Lisa- I think it keeps them from dealing with life head on. Instead of having a real friend at school that she could confide in she had to make one up. Of course this books wants you to believe that they aren’t imaginary at all, but invisible friends. Daydreaming is another way people cope or hide from life.
Stacy- I think without our imaginations we would be lost. Imaginary friends only help kids; they have friends to fit their needs.

2.When Michael leaves Jane on her ninth birthday, Jane is devastated and says, "I'll never forget you Michael, no matter what." Do you think there is one perfect love for each of us? How influenced are we by portrayals of love and love affairs in the media, movies, and on television?

J- I do not believe that there is one perfect person out there for each of us. I do think that your choices in your life can help define who the person you are with will be. I believe that there can be a connection between two people that can be unexplainable. I also think that sometimes, even said connection or even love, is not enough to hold two people together. I think all of the outside sources in our lives can give us a skewed idea on love. I think true love is wonderful but it takes sacrifice and compromise (but not too many!), which much of the media leaves out.
L- I don’t believe in a perfect anything. Nothing is perfect. When I was younger I used to think that there was one person for everyone. I was also a pessimist and believed whenever I heard of a young boy dying on the news that he was probably my one. I know a bit morbid as well huh? I think personality-wise people can match in so many different ways. It’s all about choice. I think the media and such give us the impression that everyone cheats and has affairs and so on. I don’t believe it’s as commonplace as that although I don’t doubt it happening.
S- I don't think that there is one love for everyone; I think that there are many different kinds of love for everyone. Yes it would be everyone's dream to just be able to see someone and know that that was his or her perfect person, but that's not how life works.

3. Jane's play Thank Heaven, is based on her childhood friendship with Michael. Would you have an interest in seeing the play? Do you prefer the play's ending where Michael leaves Jane on her ninth birthday or do you prefer the book's ending where Jane and Michael meet again as adults?

J- I think that I like the plays ending. Obviously there would be no story if it did, but I think Jane needed to figure things out on her own.
L- It is hard to say really. In the scene where she buys herself a diamond ring is suppose to show that she’s an independent women (Destiny’s Child song playin’ right now!) but to me this is a contradiction to the whole story. She needed him to feel whole. I think if you can’t be happy with yourself your chances of ever being happy are slim.
S- I would see the play, I am a theatre person and I think that ending the play where he leaves and doesn't come back brings some emotion to it. It really makes the audience feel something. As a movie though you would need him to come back, because viewers would suggest that. That's the difference in movies and plays.

4. Michael gives up has immortality to be with Jane. Do you think he could have made another choice? Do you support his decision? If you had been presented with a similar situation, what would you have done to be with the one you loved?

J- I think Michael's decision was out of his hands and I would do anything, realistically, to be with the one I love.
L- I don’t think he knew he was making a choice. He was slowly falling in love and it happened. I don’t believe love is enough. Michael’s “life” concerns so many other people that if it were a conscience decision I would object. As for what would you have done to be with the one you loved…is moving to England mean anything?
S- I think that you only have one life to live and if you can't be with the one you think you are meant to be with then what is there to live for. Mine as well give it a shot right?

5. Michael takes Jane to Nantucket because he doesn't want to waist a minute of the time they have together. Michael says, "Is it so difficult to imagine or believe that a man and a woman can find happiness together for a little while, which, after all, is all that we have?" Is this the moral of the story for you? If not, what is?

J- I do think that it is the morale of the story - to cherish the moments you have together.
L- I never believed Jane was supposed to die. It was all the sudden thrown in and thought it a bit odd that he would have thought that when his job is to help kids deal with things that are wrong in their life; in Jane’s case a neglectful parent. Life is short. I think the moral of the story for me is that love can be found in unexpected places or that friends make the best lovers or something like that ;0)
S- I do not think this is the moral of the book, I am not sure what it, but I don't think it's that just because it is suggested. I will have to get back to you.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Death Note Volume One (Manga) by by Tsugumi Ohba -- A Book Review

Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects - and he's bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal...or his life? Light tests the boundaries of the Death Note's powers as L and the police begin to close in. Luckily Light's father is the head of the Japanese National Police Agency and leaves vital information about the case lying around the house. With access to his father's files, Light can keep one step ahead of the authorities. But who is the strange man following him, and how can Light guard against enemies whose names he doesn't know?

I will also let you know how I like the next one.....

Death Note Volume 2

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Catch the Reading Bug!!

"Catch the Reading Bug" a new slogan being used by local library's and schools to encourage kids to read! Do you have someone to read too? Help them catch the Reading Bug!! To catch the reading bug have a look at your local library's website for further information!! Once typed into your search engine loads will pop up!!

Research Shows that avid readers: (2)

~ Read better, write better and concentrate better.
~ Are quicker to see subtleties.
~Have an easier time processing new information.
~ Have a better chance for a successful, fulfilling adult life.
~ Have many interests and do well in a wide variety of subjects.
~ Develop an ability to understand how other people think and feel.
~ Acquire the ability to sift information and to understand how unrelated facts can fit into a whole.
~ Tend to be more flexible in their thinking and more open to new ideas.
~ Weather personal problems better without their schoolwork being affected.



http://www.readtoyourkids.co.nz/

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/entertainment/mediawise/time_for_a_good_read/benefits_of_reading.aspx (2)

http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/all_reading/reading_babies.html

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sundays at Tiffany's


I have posted the discussion questions in the comment section, if you'd like to take a look. They will be posted as a blog entry for discussion at the end of the month...they are posted here in case you wanted to get a head start.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls - A Recommendation by Alicia


Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.
Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town -- and the family -- Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.
What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.
For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to MSNBC.com, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Judge Rules Teen Unable to Refuse Chemo

I thought you might be interested in this news bit after reading My Sister's Keeper.

2009-05-16 15:03:51 (GMT) (WiredPRNews.com - Law, News)

A judge has declared that the family of a 13 year-old cancer patient cannot refuse chemotherapy treatments for him.

Wired PR News –
A judge ruled Friday that the family of a teenager with cancer cannot refuse chemotherapy and radiation treatments for him. As reported by the Associated Press (AP), Judge John Rodenberg ruled that 13 year-old Daniel Hauser must receive a medical evaluation to determine whether the treatments would be of benefit in treating his condition.
As noted in the report, Daniel’s parents, Colleen and Anthony Hauser have objected to the treatments due to their religious beliefs, and favor alternative treatments for their son’s Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The Minnesota judge is quoted by the AP as stating that Daniel had been neglected medically by the couple and the teen had “rudimentary understanding at best of the risks and benefits of chemotherapy. … he does not believe he is ill currently. The fact is that he is very ill currently.”
If chemotherapy is determined to be a beneficial treatment, and the family refuses to abide by an order for Daniel to undergo it, then he will reportedly be placed in child protective custody.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella -- A Book Review

Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She’s made a mistake so huge, it’ll wreck any chance of a partnership. Going into utter meltdown, she walks out of her London office, gets on a train, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she’s mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as housekeeper. Her employers have no idea they’ve hired a lawyer—and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. She can’t sew on a button, bake a potato, or get the #@%# ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to cope—and finds love—is a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake. But will her old life ever catch up with her? And if it does…will she want it back?

http://www.randomhouse.com/bantamdell/kinsella/index.html

Friday, May 8, 2009

Woman in Red by Eileen Goudge - A Book Review by Stacy

Returning home to the snug offshore community of Gray's Island, Washington, after nine years in prison for the attempted murder of the drunk driver who killed her son, Alice Kessler finds that much has changed. For one thing, her intended victim, Owen Wilson, now confined to a wheelchair, has been elected mayor and uses his infirmity to great political advantage: blackmailing police and court officials, green-lighting controversial property developments, and mercilessly intimidating anyone who dares oppose him. Wanting only to lead a quiet life so she can rebuild a relationship with her surviving son, Jeremy, Alice quickly discovers the depths of Wilson's need for revenge when Jeremy is falsely accused of rape. Desperate to clear Jeremy's name, Alice must rely on one of the few people brave enough to stand up to Wilson, recovering alcoholic and former Manhattan district attorney Colin McGinty. He has come to Gray's Island still mourning his wife, who was killed on 9/11, and finds strength in Alice's fierce determination to save her son and put her past behind her. Goudge's skillful storytelling slyly juxtaposes bucolic imagery and congenial, if not particularly complex, characters with an incisively sinister, often surprising tale of secrets kept and promises broken.

** HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**

Cocaine and Blue Eyes by Fred Zackel - A Book Review - by Stacy


Brennen got a thousand dollar bill in the mail, and all he had to do was find the blue-eyed California beauty who had slipped out of a cocaine dealer's bed . . . and neglected to slip back in again. But the dealer was already dead, and what was Brennen going to do with those big, blue eyes? "The American private eye story was in the Dumpster when Fred Zackel fished it out at the point of a gun. He revived the form, electrified readers and critics, and started the juggernaut that shoved aside the paperback romance to establish the mystery as the most popular category in the world. Finally, the generation that grew up since COCAINE AND BLUE EYES has the chance to meet Michael Brennan. An event like this ought to have a national holiday connected with it."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Turning Pages for Peace of Mind

"Reading 'can help reduce stress:
Reading is the best way to relax and even six minutes can be enough to reduce the stress levels by more than two thirds, according to new research."

Follow this link for the whole article! ;0)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/5070874/Reading-can-help-reduce-stress.html

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand -- A Recommendation by Melanie

Ayn Rand's story of Howard Roark, a brilliant architect who dares to stand alone against the hostility of second-hand souls. First published in 1943, this best-selling novel is a passionate defense of individualism and presents an exalted view of man's creative potential; it is a book about ambition, power, gold and love.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler -- A Book Review

It's a book about a book club.
Six people – five women and a man – meet once a month in California’s Central Valley to discuss Jane Austen’s novels. They are ordinary people, neither happy nor unhappy, but each of them is wounded in different ways, they are all mixed up about their lives and relationships. Over the six months they meet, marriages are tested, affairs begin, unsuitable arrangements become suitable – under the guiding eye of Jane Austen a couple of them even fall in love…
what I had to say: I think this is the first time I enjoyed the movie more then the book. There are books that have been made into movies that I enjoy equally (like Jurassic Park) but usually I like the book 10 times better then the movie (Harry Potter series.) I saw the movie first and found it entertaining so I thought I'd try the book. I felt that the characters background stories to be almost unnecessary and some of them had huge gaping holes in the story. Strange. I just don’t believe that a person’s past is the only thing that defines who they are. I wanted more of a present story. I liked the characters and I wanted to feel more for them, but the author gave me nothing.

I did enjoy it as an inbetween read. It was light and breezy. Entertained me for the moment. Would I read it again? I don't know.

I also thought her quick little reviews on the books in the back for those who may not have read Austen before were very opinionated and against what the book was trying to say. She's saying we all have an Austen in us. Which also would mean that as individuals we would read stories differently enjoy different characters and moments. Yet, the author puts her opinion on certain characters and on the story. How does that work??

Overall I don’t really have a solid opinion on this book. I neither loved it nor hated it. I would say “Proceed with Caution.”

Monday, May 4, 2009

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga -- Additional Reading


This month's Book Club Book was a quick read for me, so I am planning on reading The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. If you are interested, I would love for you to read along and then we can discuss! :)
Remember to send us your suggestions for the Book Club Book (mysistersandme3@gmail.com). This should be a title that you are interested in reading and have not read before. We would like to cover many genres, so send us some titles!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson -- A Book Review

I joined a book club!! It's at my local book store. I think they did it in hopes of bringing in some revenue, but hey I don't mind! ;0) Our first book was Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson.

It's hard to explain this book. It's mainly a novel about a family history told through one of the youngest members, Ruby. She's all-knowing (omniscient) of each individual story, but not of how they are feeling. The story runs around the times of both World Wars and portrays the role of the women during that time. Along with the way that role was changing.

I felt a bit detached from the book only relating to the relationship between the sisters. Even that relationship was flawed, but it was the only one that seemed to have any feeling behind it. It's also got an interesting twist that I picked up on right away. Others in my book club seemed to have missed the clues. I thought the clues were quite obvious, but I am prone to pick up on some things...much to the annoyance of my husband when we're watching movies! I don't like picking up on things it makes me feel left out of the big surprise! I think I read too much and watch too many movies/TV shows!! ;0)

In a museum all the artifacts follow a time line. In real life things aren't so linear. Events are all happening at once, but in a museum they need a way to display it. Right? Those artifacts and displays don't tell the whole story. Just like knowing your family history. We might know what their names are/were, where they went to school, who they married and who their kids are. We might even know a few of their dirty secrets or when they died. We might know all that, but that's just stuff on a timeline. What we don't know is how that person thought, their daily routines, behavioral traits and so on. Or in other words the scenes behind the museum.

Over all it was an entertaining read. It was funny, sarcastic, a little dark and satirical. I would recommend it as something a little different. It made for a good book club book as it gave us different topics to discuss which is another reason I recommend it. I love a book that makes me look at the world a little differently.

Offical website: http://www.kateatkinson.co.uk/

Friday, May 1, 2009

May's Book Selection


Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson

AN IMAGINARY FRIEND
Jane Margaux is a lonely little girl. Her mother, a powerful Broadway producer, makes time for her only once a week, for their Sunday trip to admire jewelry at Tiffany's. Jane has only one friend: a handsome, comforting, funny man named Michael. He's perfect. But only she can see him. Michael can't stay forever, though. On Jane's ninth birthday he leaves, promising her that she'll soon forget him.
AN UNEXPECTED LOVE

Years later, in her thirties, Jane is just as alone as she was as a child. And despite her own success as a playwright, she is even more trapped by her overbearing mother. Then she meets someone–a handsome, comforting, funny man. He's perfect. His name is Michael...
AND AN UNFORGETTABLE TWIST

This is a heartrending story that surpasses all expectations of why these people have been brought together. With the breathtaking momentum and gripping emotional twists that have made James Patterson a bestselling author all over the world, SUNDAYS AT TIFFANY'S takes an altogether fresh look at the timeless and transforming power of love.
http://www.jamespatterson.com/
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