Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book Wish list...

I won this spiral notebook, the size of my hand ,one year from the local library through a "read four books in February contest".  I've only been able to complete this task 2 out of the four February's I've signed up for the contest.

First off reading four books in February has been challenging for me over the last few years, no idea why.  I understand it is the shortest month of the year, but why I always gravitate towards one very long or one very short, but intense/philosophical- "have to actually pay attention when reading" book each February is beyond me.  Anyways, this spiral notebook is a book which allows me to keep lists of books I want to read, kids books "wish list", music for the kids, and web sites I want to visit- normally related to some kid topic.  I love adding to this list, but feel like I never really bite into the "wish list".  When writing the name of the book down in my book I really do believe that I will someday read the book.  Well my list is getting longer and longer and I'm not crossing too many of the books off my list.  So after the marathon I plan to embark on another marathon.  I have 10 books I've picked from my list that I would like to read within lets say the next 4 months.  10 over 4 months doesn't sound too bad, but the kicker is these books can't include any of my book club books- so really 13 books (we take Dec off from book club) in the next 4 months. I think this actually might be a little above me to complete in 4 months, but you know me and setting goals.

 So here they are.  The first one is a recent addition to my "wish list" and I highly recommend looking at this lady's blog.  I first heard about her in the Sunday NY Times Art and leisure.  The story really struck a chord in my heart and I find her idea of reading as therapy for the loss of her sister something I could actually see myself doing. 

1. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair:  My Year of Magical Reading
You know me always copying from other's here is the book description found on her http://www.readallday.org/about_tolstoy.html site. 

Nina Sankovitch has always been a reader. As a child, she discovered that a trip to the local bookmobile with her sisters was more exhilarating than a ride at the carnival. Books were the glue that held her immigrant family together. When Nina's eldest sister died at the age of forty-six, Nina turned to books for comfort, escape, and introspection. In her beloved purple chair, she rediscovered the magic of such writers as Toni Morrison, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ian McEwan, Edith Wharton, and, of course, Leo Tolstoy. Through the connections Nina made with books and authors (and even other readers), her life changed profoundly, and in unexpected ways. Reading, it turns out, can be the ultimate therapy.

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair also tells the story of the Sankovitch family: Nina's father, who barely escaped death in Belarus during World War II; her four rambunctious children, who offer up their own book recommendations while helping out with the cooking and cleaning; and Anne-Marie, her oldest sister and idol, with whom Nina shared the pleasure of books, even in her last moments of life. In our lightning-paced culture that encourages us to seek more, bigger, and better things, Nina's daring journey shows how we can deepen the quality of our everyday lives—if we only find the time.

The second line of the first paragraph had me hooked.  My mother has talked about going to the bookmobile as a child and finding reading as a way to escape. 

2. My friend Wikipedia for next one- I've wanted to read this for awhile and have avoided due to page length (515), but I've decided page length sometimes means nothing if it is a great book.

Sophie's Choice is a novel by William Styron published in 1979. It concerns a young American Southerner, an aspiring writer, who befriends the Jewish Nathan Landau and his beautiful lover Sophie, a Polish (but non-Jewish) survivor of the Nazi concentration camps. An immediate bestseller and the basis of a successful film, the novel is often considered both Styron's best work and a major novel of the twentieth century. The difficult decision that shapes the character Sophie is sometimes used as an idiom. A "Sophie's Choice" is a tragic choice between two unbearable options.
Sophie's Choice won the National Book Award for fiction in 1980.

3. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss- main character writes his long-lost love a book written for the one he loves to read, but is  then published without his knowledge and goes onto change the lives of others. 

4. The Mercy Rule by Perri Klass
At first glance, Dr. Lucy Weiss looks like the typical high-achieving, upper-middle-class working mother who, along with her husband, is bringing up much-beloved children in a world of Saturday morning soccer, private-school teacher conferences, and hyperaggressive classroom mommies. But Lucy's own history makes her an anomaly. Having overcome a difficult childhood in foster care, she is what's called a super-survivor, a kid who grew up in the margins. Now a pediatrician, Lucy finds herself working with some of these same at-risk patients and their families.
The Mercy Rule is a novel about the all-important job of taking care of children. Lucy's work takes her back into the world of families living on the edge, where every day she must decide whether parents' actions are so incompetent--or so flaky--that their children are in danger. It's her job to make the call and to step in when she has to. As she moves between her disparate worlds--from worrying about her own brilliant but odd son being labeled with a diagnosis to worrying about parents struggling with drugs and impossible living situations--Lucy must judge herself as a parent, critique other parents, and also deal with the echoes of her childhood.
Watching Lucy try to keep the balance, enjoy her own children, and look at other families with humor and justice and mercy, readers will understand why Chris Bohjalian said of Perri Klass, "Few writers write as beautifully or as authentically about parenting."

5. Another thanks to my friend Wiki below:

The Bonesetter's Daughter, published in 2001, is Amy Tan's fourth novel. Like much of Tan's work, this novel deals with the relationship between an American-born Chinese woman and her immigrant mother.
This book is actually called The Bonecutter's Daughter because the principal was a Chinese medicine man who prescribed slivers of dragon's bone to his patients. There is no bonesetting anywhere in this novel.
The Bonesetter's Daughter is divided into two major stories. The first is about Ruth, a Chinese-American woman living in San Francisco. She worries that her elderly mother, Lu Ling, is gradually becoming more and more demented. Lu Ling seems increasingly forgetful, and makes bizarre comments about her family and her own past.
The second major story is that of Lu Ling herself, as written for Ruth. Several years earlier, Lu Ling had written out her life story in Chinese. Ruth arranges to have the document translated, and learns the truth about her mother's life in China.

6. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck ( don't think I need to describe this one)

7. The Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon
following copied from Barnes and Noble review of book

Publishers Weekly

This brisk romantic mystery, set in post-WWI London, begins with a situation worthy of E.M. Forster as Evelyn Gifford and her family receive a visit from a nurse and a young boy who claim to be the wartime lover and child of Evelyn's late brother. Evelyn has little time to ponder the implications: a lawyer in training, she is pressed into service when her firm takes the case of a war veteran accused of murdering his wife and burying her body in the woods (along with all incriminating evidence). Evelyn believes in the man's innocence and tries to unearth new evidence that will exonerate him, but complicating her investigation are Nicholas Thorne, a handsome but engaged attorney whom Evelyn falls for, and the nurse, Meredith, who, having moved in with the Gifford family, begins to force Evelyn out of her settled existence. Despite these distractions, Evelyn doggedly follows a trail of clues leading back to a wartime coverup. In this determinedly old-fashioned novel of tangled mystery and morality, Evelyn makes for a smart and resolutely modest heroine. (Feb.)
8. The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostokova
again following copied from B&N review...
Andrew Marlow, a psychiatrist, has a perfectly ordered life—solitary, perhaps, but full of devotion to his profession and the painting hobby he loves. This order is destroyed when the renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes Marlow's patient.
When Oliver refuses to talk or cooperate, Marlow finds himself going beyond his own legal and ethical boundaries to understand the secret that torments this silent genius, a journey that will lead him into the lives of the women closest to Robert Oliver and toward a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.
Moving from American museums to the coast of Normandy, from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth, from young love to last love, THE SWAN THIEVES is a story of obsession, the losses of history, and the power of art to preserve human hope.

9. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (again don't think I need to describe this one)

10. Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy
below taken from books by Pat Conroy site.  I picked this one due to the fact that my favorite book of all time is Beach Music and yet I have only recently read one of his other books "South of Broad" which was phenomenal. 
THE LORDS OF DISCIPLINE is a novel about coming of age, brotherhood, betrayal, and a man's forging of his own personal code of honor. The scene is the venerable Carolina Military Institute in Charleston, in the fall of 1966. The first black cadet has been admitted to the college, and Will McLean, a senior on the cadets' honor court, is asked to keep an eye on him. There is a rumor that a secret organization, The Ten, may be trying to run the black student off campus.
An outsider by nature, Will plays basketball for a school that prizes military prowess but belittles athletics. He riles his gung-ho, conservative roommates by daring to question the escalating Vietnam war. Off campus, though, he is less sure of himself, in his tender but uncertain romance with the haunting Annie Kate Gervais, a native of the classically beautiful Charleston — with its Federal mansions and fragrant gardens — that captivates and threatens the country boy in Will.
THE LORDS OF DISCIPLINE shows us cadets desperate to prove they are men in a regimented, cruel world — and one determined to be a man in is own way, whose search for the truth ultimately leads him and his beloved friends into tragic conflict with a corrupt system.
Right in humor and suspense, abounding in a rare honesty and generosity of feeling, and written with magnificent force of language, this novel established Pat Conroy as one of the strongest fictional voices in a generation.

I hope to keep you posted on my goal of reading these books within the next four months.  If interested in reading along with me let me know :).

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