Monday, May 11, 2015

April Reads

I am embarrassed.  I haven't posted anything since mid April and that post was the March reads.  Now here we are 11 days into May and I'm finally posting something and sure enough I'm posting April reads.

I don't like the excuse "I'm busy", because I strongly believe that if you make it a priority "I'm busy" just isn't in your vocabulary.  So I have no excuses, but will share- briefly-what I've been doing to keep me away from my blog: I'm taking a writing class on line.  It is 10 weeks with two "free weeks" throughout the 10 week course schedule.  It is called DIY MFA 101.  I am enjoying it, but "woo dogs" it is keeping me hopping.  I plan to share my DIY MFA experience after I'm done with the experience- kind of like a review.  I may not be writing much here, but I have been writing more and doing more writing exercises since starting the class.  Had to go out and buy another spiral notebook today.

I'm also in the midst of trying to keep up with two book club books- one I need to finish by this Sunday so I can help run the kid's book club at church.  One of the girls in the group chose "The Dragon Rider" by Cornelia Funke.  It is a great book, but boy it is a long one 500+ pages, and it is not big print.  I'm trying to finish it within the next two nights.  Then I need to start my book club book for May- "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn".  It is a long one too.  I am feeling the pressure of reading by a deadline- should be interesting to see if I pull this one out and keep up with my online writing course- oh and the laundry, cleaning, being a mom, and wife. 

O.K. now onto April reads:

"Compromise Cake: Lessons Learned from my Mother's Recipe Box" by Nancy Spiller
I found out about this book because it was talked about in another book I read about writing memoirs.  This is a memoir with the main theme centering around the relationship between the author and her mother.  Each chapter has a food dish/item and recipe as the basis for the discussion of their relationship and also the author's relationship with other family members in her lifetime.  The book painted a picture of a real life experience of a daughter whose mother is depressed and has mental illness issues.  I found it a somewhat sad story overall.  It is a true/real life story though and I did enjoy how she tied different recipes into her subject matter for each chapter. 

"Museum of Thieves" by Lian Tanner
This was another great pick for the kid's book club at church.  I loved the characters and found the story line interesting.  It reminded me, somewhat of the Hand Maid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, meets The Giver by Lois Lowry meets the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  (Now there weren't girls being used as "baby making" machines like in the Hand Maid's Tale and yes I know many YA- Fantasy novels could fall into these three books descriptions).   The story begins with Goldie Roth waiting for "separation day".  She is ready for the chains to be broken among the children, their parents or The Blessed Guardians.  However, the story really takes off when this "separation day" is cancelled, and Goldie, being like any other strong women/girl protagonist: mischievous, strong willed/stubborn and emotional, will have nothing to do with her "day" being taken away from her and so does what any sound minded girl her age would do- runs away.  She meets a cast of characters throughout the story and they are all very well developed and written: Olga Civolga, Sinew, Morg, Broo, Toadspit, the Fugleman, The Protector, Hero Dan.  It lead for great discussion and fun activity of making book marks and book covers depicting our favorite scenes from the story and/or favorite characters from the book. Others have asked me what we do at the kid's book club and I say the same thing I do at adult book club, just don't drink wine, and have more emphasis on an activity tide with the book.  The kids are really amazing and well read ranging from kindergarten to 6th grade.  My favorite part of book club is discussing what our next book will be and voting on it. 

"Mountains Beyond Mountains (Adopted for Young People): The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Could Cure the World" by Tracy Kidder
I wrote on this one already.  It was a good story.  I'm amazed by this physician's ability to sleep so little, work so continuously and be so optimistic.  At times I found the story almost too hard to believe.  His never ending work ethic, networking ability and confidence + intelligence get him far in life and his goal to "cure the world".  Great book for anyone in healthcare.  The best part of this book was the fabulous Haitian meal we had at the host's house for book club.  This Bookie is a true master in her kitchen.  The food was incredible and the drinks and dessert just added to fabulous Bookie conversation.

"Life After Life" by Kate Atkinson
GREAT BOOK!  Really enjoyed this one.  It has a very intriguing story line.  The book starts with the birth of this child Ursula and the reader gets to experience Ursula's birth, life, death over and over again throughout the book.  It has many historical references (WWII being a major one).  I felt like it was a very well written and interesting twisty turny type of "Ground's Hog Day", but instead of Bill Murray reliving the day over and over again with the Sonny and Cher song playing in the background (I've Got You Babe) you hear instead the over and over again life beginnings of this interesting being- Ursula.  Amazing story and it really kept me entertained and wanting more despite me knowing where the story would go- over and over again- to her birth, her life and her death, but oh how a person's life can be born, lived and death occur differently over and  over again.  I'm ready to dive into her next new release "A God in Ruins". 

Onto May reading.  I'm being optimistic that I will have accomplished reading both book club books by the end of May.  Hope that optimism isn't too unrealistic. 

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