"Atonement" by Ian McEwan

Out of sheer curiosity, I finally read "Atonement," and am happy to say that I made it through the entire book. Unfortunately, it's not one that I will pass on or recommend to others - it's pretty depressing and quite slow for the first half. But! As I have done so many other times, I have to commend the author for writing a novel that really made me think, and for writing characters that I truly fell in love with.

McEwan uses an interesting literary technique, where the final chapter is a sort of glance back at the rest of the book. I haven't seen the movie, but have heard that it does the same thing. The entire novel is in third person, but in the end, the main character, Briony, narrates in first person, revealing that she had become a novelist and had written the account of the horrible mistake she made as a child and the effects it had on her family. It's a technique I have seen before - though not often - and love!

It took me a long time to finish and had some pretty graphic parts that will keep me from reading it again, but everyone knows I can't resist WWII novels . . . and I especially loved reading the passages that took place in London. How amazing to be able to picture the places being described and to remember being there myself! It was an interesting read. Don't hurry to buy it or pull it from the shelf at the library, but trust me when I say it's not the last book on earth I would read. I was happy to get to the last page and am looking forward to my next read. Still undecided . . .


"The Pelican Brief" by John Grisham

What an amazing book!!! I've loved every Grisham I've ever read and "The Pelican Brief" doesn't fall short in any way. It's probably the most political one I've read of his, and I have to admit not my favorite, but that might also be because I saw the movie first. And loved that! The book exceeds the movie (of course!) in intensity and content, but knowing what happens in the end when I started the book made it drag on more than I think it would have otherwise.

If you haven't seen the movie, read this first! And then take yourself over to Blockbuster Video and prepare yourself for a thrill!

My next John Grisham will probably be "Runaway Jury," which I have also seen (with John Cusack - of course I've seen it!) but am looking forward to reading. In the meantime, stay posted for more reviews and please, KEEP READING BOOKS!


"The Trial of Mary Lou" by Ron Carter

I've decided to start posting reviews on a weekly, or at least semi-weekly basis. My goal is to read two books a month, but for the weeks when I don't reach that goal, I think I'll just post a review for one of my favorites.

So! "The Trial of Mary Lou" by Ron Carter. If you haven't read this, please pick up a copy today at your local Barnes & Noble. Don't borrow it from the library, or from your sister, or from anyone who doesn't allow you to leave it on your shelf permanently. It's definitely worth having in your collection!

Although Carter's writing is weak, this is one of the most hilarious books I have ever read in my entire life! I remember my parents reading it to us when I was a kid, but also remember falling asleep to the soothing sound of their voices . . . so I never did know what happened to Mary Lou in the end.

After a years of curiosity (and a few years ago now), I asked my Mom about it and she found a copy for me. We started reading it together (out loud - the best way!) late one night and ended up reading the entire thing, with tears of glee rolling down our cheeks and our bellies aching from laughter.

Read it! And then wait a few years and read it again. It's just as good the second time, as I'm sure it is the 27th.


"Breaking Dawn" by Stephenie Meyer

Although I was so against reading this book, I finally caved and started this week. Tara had a copy in the car and I finally couldn't resist anymore, despite my dislike for Stephenie Meyer and her horrible (in my opinion) writing style!

And . . . well, I must say (as I've said before) that Meyer has her creativity going for her. Her story is great, her imagination far surpasses anything I could ever come up with. All things vampire and werewolf, and even things human, come into a fascinating light in her books. But . . . and here it comes . . .

I still think she sucks. My overly-critical mind, when it comes to any form of writing, once again pulled through for me. I found only one or two typographical errors the entire 754 pages (at least she has a good editor!), but I also found a couple of spots with GLARING inconsistencies. If you're reading this, and haven't read the book yet, please stop now because I'm not holding back anything for the sake of "review" or anything like that. If you have read it, then please continue.

There is one part in the book, after Bella becomes a vampire (at last!), where she speaks to her father face-to-face for the first time. I was nearly driven mad by that whole confrontation, because Meyer kept dropping in little lines about Bella holding her breath. She's immortal now, and it's already been established that vampires have no need to breathe. She's holding her breath so she doesn't smell her father's blood, which makes perfect sense, but then it says something or other about her oxygen supply running out, so she HAD to take a breath. Oh, come on now! If that's not glaring, I don't know what is. Of course . . . no one else in their right mind would probably even pick up on such a thing, but this is my forte. I can't help it.

I finished the book and am perfectly satisfied with the happy ending. Edward and Bella are together, as it always should have been. I just wish it hadn't taken so long to get to that point. The story seemed to stretch on for eons, without any significant climax. There was just a LOT of deliberating . . . and more deliberating . . . and MORE deliberating . . . on the side of the good guys and the bad guys . . . LAME!

So, anyway. I should stop my ranting. It's true that I'm probably just jealous. A woman with my name and less literary skill (I'm not bragging, it's just how I feel) than I have, is now world famous. Ugh. Don't even compare her to J.K. Rowling or I might puke. J.K. is enormously talented. Meyer has some work to do.

Maybe I should write her a letter . . .


A few recent reads and favorites:

The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros:

We read this in my Sophomore English class, but I don't think I really read it at the time . . . so I read it for real recently. It's juvenile and delicious! And a quick read.

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho:

This book is INCREDIBLE! My friend Christian recommended it and although it took me a while to finally read it . . . it was well worth the wait! It's a beautiful story of self-discovery that I'm sure I'll read again and again.

The Firm, by John Grisham:

It's been a few years since I've read this one and I've read several other John Grisham books since, but this one was my first. And probably my favorite! If you haven't read it, get yourself to the book store or library IMMEDIATELY and be prepared for a thrill!!! I should probably read it again, too...

The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide, by Douglas Adams:

This is actually five books in one. I've only read "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," but I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in a book (except for maybe in "The Trial of Mary Lou!" Check that one out, too!). I read this one while I was working at America First and my coworkers always laughed at me cause I would sit there and giggle out loud. It's the silliest, most wonderful book! I need to read the other five books in the collection!!!

A Child Called It, by Dave Pelzer:

This will depress you. I read that Dave Pelzer's story is the 3rd worst case of child abuse recorded in California. The 3RD worst! It's unbelievable what he went through as a very small child. And survived! Seriously don't read it . . . although I'm glad I did. It opened my eyes to the kind of abuse that really does go on in our society and made me even more grateful to have been raised by loving parents.


"Marley and Me" by John Grogan

What a fantastic little book about a huge dog and the huge mess he created for his very patient owners, the Grogans.

Kimi recommended this book to me - she and Momma read it on their way to Kansas City last summer and as she describes it, laughed and cried the entire way through! I did that myself. It's a beautiful story and I really loved the writing style!

The only problem? This one didn't help me with my puppy hunger problem!!!

Read it for sure! I loved it!



Please pardon our appearance while we are under construction. The Bookshelf is coming soon!