Monday, June 28, 2010

It's Monday, What's on the cover


Vexation

I'm enjoying my journey through post-World War I Shanghai in Heart of Lies by M.L Malcolm and the 1940s in Sweet Dates in Basra by Jessica Jiji. My latest review should by up by Wednesday or Thursday. Next up on my list is Vexation by Elicia Clegg. The young girl, Devin, on the cover literally looks like she's running from something or someone. Her eyes are staring directly at you. Her eyes seem somewhat scared. Scared from what? I'm not sure yet. I almost said no to reading this, but then I did a little research. Other readers alluded to a surprise ending. I'm always a sucker for those. Happy Reading!!


Note: I'm still hosting a giveaway for Mara's Flowery Arrows http://asiturnthepages.blogspot.com/2010/06/book-giveaway.html

Friday, June 25, 2010

Let's hop hop hop!!

Every week Jennifer at Crazy-for-Books (http://www.crazy-for-books.com/) hosts a Friday night blog hop. Put your link in, post a comment and you can discover a lot of great blogs. Make sure you leave a comment on the blogs you find it helps drive up traffic for my fellow book bloggers. The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week. Check it out!


Here are a few I came across:
http://booksloveme.blogspot.com/
http://www.pageturnersbooks.org/
http://tamingthebookshelf.blogspot.com/
http://www.booksnob-booksnob.blogspot.com/

Book giveaway

So far in this reading journey I have liked just about everything. But every so often I come across a book that I can't finish. Sometimes the book just doesn't live up to the press release. Mara's Flowery Arrows is one of those books. So I've decided to pass this along to another blogger who can finish it. Only rule is you must be a follower of my blog and please, please, please post a review of it. First one to respond gets it! Here is a snippet of the press release I received:

Does a mysterious manuscript, discovered by chance in the library of a Burma's monastery, contain the oldest thriller story of Southeast Asia literature? In the far east of the Indochina peninsula during the Ninth Century A.D., Prince Asaka fights against the intrigues of the Khmer Court. A prince of the Court, son of the King, is found assassinated: why somebody would want to accuse a poor slave unjustly of such an important crime?

Note: A few weeks ago I hosted a giveaway for The Souls of the Fire Dragon by John Wrieden. CKY Books was generous enough to post a review at http://www.ckybooks.com/archives/664 Check it out!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My take on: We Need to Talk About Kevin

I bought this book more than a year ago. When I finally started to read We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver, there was a thin layer of dust on it. The pages also looked a little weathered. For those of you who said this was a hard read, you weren't kidding!!!

On April 8, 1999 Kevin Khatchadourian lured 10 people to their deaths. One student survived, but seven students, one teacher and a cafeteria worker lost their lives. Kevin's mother, Eva, is left to deal with the aftermath. To the outside world, Kevin is a little strange, but he doesn't come from a "broken home." His father Franklin, was a doting father, but he never tried to really know Kevin. Younger sister, Celia was Kevin's pet, she did whatever he asked. But, Eva was one of the few who had Kevin figured out from an early age.

Eva never wanted to have Kevin, and perhaps he could feel that in the womb. He certainly could feel her disdain for him at birth and beyond. Kevin refused to stop wearing diapers until he was 6 years old, not because he wasn't potty-trained. But just to tick off his mother, leading to a violent exchange when it finally stopped. He trashed Eva's beloved office with a menagerie of juice, ink and motor oil to make it "special." From that moment on, Eva could only see the bad in Kevin. She will always assume the worst. It was Kevin who badly injured his sister. It was Kevin who ruined a teacher's career with a false accusation. But on that day "Thursday," Eva didn't assume the worst and wonders how she could have missed the signs. Why did Kevin do it? His answer was simple, people love watching things like this on television. Think about it! Are you more likely to be mesmerized by the story highlighting the newest restaurant in town or a high school massacre? I'm certainly guilty of this one.

The story is told in letters written to Franklin, taking you from the early years of their marriage, the birth of their children and that day, "Thursday." I was all set to rate this book "Meh," but then I read the last 30 pages. I read them with my mouth wide open at 4:00 a.m. I don't want to give anything away, but I didn't see that ending coming. I re-read the last 30 pages just to make sure I wasn't seeing things. The signs were all there, but I chose to ignore them. Up until this point, I was a little put off by Shriver's writing. I'm a copy editor, and I hate when someone uses 80 words for a sentence when 30 would have been just fine. That's what I was feeling while I read this. I thought some passages could have been shorter, but by the time I got to the end that was all out the window. As a character I hated Eva. I'm not a parent, but it's hard for me to fathom a mother hating her own child since birth. However, the ending gives you a better understanding for Eva's hatred. She and Kevin do make peace by the end, which is all one can ask for.

Rating: O.M.G. !!!!

Almost at a loss for words

I was driving home this morning, and wondered what am I going to rant about this Thursday? It has been a relatively peaceful week. I had nothing to gripe about until I was about 400 feet from home. I realize it was 2 a.m., but I still find it rude when someone double parks and blocks the street. I'm not against double parking, I do it myself. But I don't prevent other cars from going around me. This person was not in the car and I had about a millimeter on each side of my SUV to get by. I made it through without scratching the dude's precious sports car. Want to guess when this dude decided to move his? AFTER I PASSED BY!! When I parked my car I further down the street I made sure to block his way. I took my sweet time parking!!! I'm sure someone was throwing daggers at me through the tinted windows of his precious sports car. But, I don't really care!!!! Now I'm off to finish the last 60 pages of We Need to Talk About Kevin. Wimbledon distracted me from reading Wednesday!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My mailbox is getting full!!

VexationAsleepLife After Yes: A Novel


There were lots of lovely treats in my mailbox this past week. I'm diving into the Young Adult world with Vexation by Elicia Clegg and Asleep by Wendy Raven McNair. Then we'll be going back to adult fiction with Life After Yes by Aidan Donnelley Rowley.

Here are a few teasers:

Vexation: "Welcome to Devin Sinclair's world.... A world where each move is watched, each move is carefully controlled, and trusting your eyes can be a fatal mistake."

Asleep: "Adisa Summers doesn't know her boyfriend. Micah Alexander, can fly. Micah's odd emotionless behavior, rigid posture, and vacant eyes are mysteries sending mixed messages to Adisa."

Life After Yes: "Quinn must confront impossible questions about commitment and career, love and loss. Her idealistic beau desperately wants a wedding, and whisks her away to Paris just to propose. But then Quinn has a dream featuring judges and handcuffs and Nietzsche and Britney..."

Can't wait to dive into everything!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

What's on the cover?


Heart of Lies: A Novel

I promise, promise, promise to finish We Need to Talk About Kevin by this week. I'm more than halfway through Lionel Shriver's tale, and I have to say it's been a long time since I've hated a character. I can't stand the main character Eva Khatchadourian. If I knew a person like this in real life I would run in the other direction. I'm still engaged in Sweet Dates in Basra by Jessica Jiji.

In the last few days I've added another book to the pile. Thanks to the people at Bookreporter.com (http://www.bookreporter.com/) and Harper Collins, I'm getting to read Heart of Lies by M.L. Malcolm. It's set during the aftermath of World War I. Normally I stay away from historical fiction. I don't know why, but my brain usually has a lock against historical fiction. I used to think I had to think too much with historical fiction. But I'm glad I made an exception. Leo Hoffman is on the run from counterfeiting and murder charges, but along the way he fell in love with the young Martha. So far I can tell you it's wonderful. I can only assume that is Martha on the cover looking out over the water. I think she's longing for Leo. Where is he? Is he coming back? What will Martha do without Leo?  Questions I hope that get answered!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hippity Hippity Hop!!!

Every week Jennifer at Crazy-for-Books (http://www.crazy-for-books.com/) hosts a Friday night blog hop. Put your link in, post a comment and you can discover a lot of great blogs. Make sure you leave a comment on the blogs you find it helps drive up traffic for my fellow book bloggers. The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week. Check it out!


Here are a few I came across:
http://thenewdorkreviewofbooks.blogspot.com/
http://bookreviewerz.blogspot.com/
 
 
Note: Darn the LAKERS JUST WON THE TITLE!!! NOT COOL THE CELTICS BLEW IT BIG TIME!!!

Whew!!!!



As a cartoon character, Pepe Le Pew was hilarious, but his real-life counterparts are rather stinky. Driving home early Wednesday morning I was too focused on getting home to my bed, that I almost ran over a rather foul SKUNK CARCASS!!! I swerved just before I hit it, but I wasn't sure at first. I carpool, so I asked my co-worker, "The smell is going away right? The smell is going away right? The smell is going away right?" If you say something enough, it should come true right? He wasn't sure and neither was I. The smell of a skunk can linger for miles, so I continued to drive home in fear. It's not like I can give my car back, I just converted the LEASE INTO A LOAN LAST MONTH!! I'm stuck with a potential stinker!! "Oh My God!! What's going to happen?" I was secretly praying, "Make that smell go away! Make that smell go away! Make that smell go away!! I can't afford the amount of tomato sauce it would take to soak my SUV!" Sure enough if you say something enough, it comes trues. A couple of miles past that stinky carcass the smell went away. Crisis averted! I drove the car on Wednesday without a problem! Now that this is over all I have to say is, "Please make me a millionaire! Please make me a millionaire! Please make me a millionaire! PLEASE MAKE ME A MILLIONAIRE!" I don't think it's working now!

My take on: The Girl Who Fell From The Sky

Rachel Morse literally fell from the sky. The sole survivor of a fall from the rooftop of a Chicago apartment building, which took the life of her mother, Nella, brother Robbie and sister Ariel. Rachel must now navigate a new life with her grandmother in Portland, Oregon circa 1982. How and why this happened is part of the underlying mystery throughout the novel by Heidi W. Durrow.

Rachel is the blue-eyed daughter of a Danish woman and a black military officer, Roger. Nella leaves Roger for another man, settling in Chicago. Their new life together is cut short by that tragic fall. A young boy named Jamie struggles to find his voice after witnessing the tragedy. When Jamie finds his voice again, he transforms himself into 'Brick' -- a stronger version of himself who will one day find and help Rachel overcome her past. Brick's path to Rachel is not without strife, drug abuse takes him over before he can truly move on.

Rachel's new life in Portland is not without challenges. To the kids at school, she is the 'light-skinned-ed' girl who 'talks' and acts white. She fights the impulse to correct every one's speech but doesn't because then Rachel could be accused of "acting white." Rather than fight back, Rachel bottles up her feelings. -- "When something starts to feel like hurt, I put it in this imaginary bottle inside me. It's blue glass with a cork stopper." -- Before life in Portland, Rachel didn't see color, but now it is everywhere even at home. As far as her grandmother and Aunt Loretta are concerned, Rachel's mother (Mor: Danish for Mom) doesn't exist. She didn't amount to much and they don't want Rachel to follow in Nella's footsteps.

As a teenager, she reconnects with Brick, but isn't sure how to act around him or even talk to him. "... I can forget that Brick's black. Or Brick's something like that. I don't ask Brick what he is. Brick is light-skinned with golden colors in his brown eyes. He could be black or Mexican or mixed like me. He's twenty-five and maybe at that age it doesn't matter." Without knowing his race, perhaps it's hard to truly know who he is.

In the beginning I felt a little detached from Rachel. It takes some time to learn why Rachel is so guarded. The novel is told from several different perspectives -- Rachel, Brick, Nella, Roger and Nella's co-worker Laronne. As a reader, sometimes I can't stand it when a story is told by several characters, but with Durrow's writing it works. The different perspectives help fill in the holes in Rachel's past. To me, Laronne serves as Nella's moral compass. Nella goes around calling her children "My little jigaboos," not realizing it's a racial slur until Laronne points it out. Laronne helps Nella to see the world a little more clearly. To Nella her children are a gift, but Laronne forces her to realize the potential dangers they face -- the No. 1 being racism. Rachel's character comes full circle when that blue bottle holding her feelings burst, but fortunately someone is there to catch her. By the end, I'm not sure if Rachel has found her true identity, but it was enjoyable journey to read.

Rating: Superb

Notes: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. For more information on Heidi W. Durrow, go to http://heidiwdurrow.com/

Monday, June 14, 2010

What's on the cover?

The Girl Who Fell from the SkySweet Dates in Basra: A Novel  

I'm still reading We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. Shriver might take me a while because I want to make sure I absorb as much as possible. We've already talked about that cover so let's switch gears. This week I'm trying something different. It's been a long time since I read three books at once. I used to think three at once was too much, but that's because the last time I did it I was in college. After reading thick textbooks, who wants to read more books for pleasure? But with so much reading material right now, I decided it's time to kick it up a notch.

I came across The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow while browsing the Algonquin catalog. I was flipping through the catalog aimlessly. The cover on this one got my attention. Algonquin books was kind enough to send me a copy. A girl was falling from the sky on this cover. The title had me thinking it was a metaphor for a larger issue plaguing the main character, Rachel Morse. Rachel is of mixed race, so perhaps she's trying to find her place in society. But after delving deeper into the book, the title has also taken on a literal meaning. I am more than halfway through, so I hope to have a review up by Wednesday or Thursday.

I saw a review of Sweet Dates in Basra by Jessica Jiji on another blog (sorry I can't remember where??). The description sounded pretty good to me, a love story set in Iraq during the World War II. Thanks to the kind folks at Avon I was able to get a review copy. The cover is equally compelling. All you see is a mysterious pair of eyes peeking out. The eyes are definitely female. Those eyes are holding some kind of secret or possibly she's trying to tempt someone with her eyes. Since I'm a few chapters in, I think those eyes want freedom more than temptation. Those eyes have a story to tell!! Stay tuned!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Awards are awesome


I received an award from a fellow blogger SenoraG at Reading, Reading and Life (http://readingreadingandlife.blogspot.com/). Thank you so much for the award. The rule for this award is to just pass it along to blogs new to you. One of the blogs (The Reading Ape) isn't new to me, but I just enjoy reading it so much. I'm passing this award to:

The Reading Ape at http://thereadingape.blogspot.com/
 Allison at http://theallureofbooks.blogspot.com/

It's time to hop

Every week Jennifer at Crazy-for-Books (http://www.crazy-for-books.com/) hosts a Friday night blog hop. Put your link in, post a comment and you can discover a lot of great blogs. Make sure you leave a comment on the blogs you find it helps drive up traffic for my fellow book bloggers. The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week. Check it out!

Here a few I came across:
http://restlessreader.com/
http://memybookandthecouch.blogspot.com/
http://always-books.blogspot.com/

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My take on: Rolling with the Punches

At a very young age Joey Douglas' father told him he had to roll with the punches. It would be years before Joey finally understood what that meant. To the outside world the Douglas clan was a perfect family, cut straight out from the 1950s. He had two older sisters, Kathy and Mary, his mother was a Donna Reed clone and his father was the disciplinarian. But Joey always felt different. Not every boy in his small Kentucky town identified with female movie characters, not every boy loved Hayley Mills or was obsessed with Doris Day and musicals. By the sixth grade while other boys were trying to impress the girls, Joey was thinking about boys. In the early 1960s, Joey didn't know what being gay was. With no one to turn to, Joey fell in with the wrong crowd. He had his first taste of alcohol and marijuana in the seventh grade. Rather than acknowledge his feelings, Joey thought he found the answer to his problems in drugs and alcohol.

Unfortunately, Joey becomes prone to drunken blackouts. During those blackouts Joey would feel his true feeling towards men, leading to beatings from other kids who didn't want to know who Joey really was. Telling his parents where the bruises came from would mean telling them the truth about his sexual orientation. Joey has always been seeking his father's approval, and he doesn't believe he'll get it by revealing the truth. Putting on dance shows and a stand-up comedy acts become Joey's therapy.

Joey moves to New York after high school, in hopes of making it big on Broadway. How wrong he was. The drinking doesn't stop. He meets a religious married couple, Joan and Morgan, and convinces them that the only way to salvation is for Joey to have an affair with Morgan. This is where the book starts to deviate off the path for me. Up to this point, everything Joey has gone through is very believable. His struggles with identity and alcoholism are prevalent in every society. But his affair with Morgan just seemed stupid and unnecessary. His life in New York eventually crumbles, and Joey reluctantly returns to Kentucky. Once home he continues to drink, mostly in secret rather than admit his problems.

A move to California doesn't help either. He starts off well, going to school and living with relatives. But he sinks deeper into drug addiction and promiscuity. A suicide attempt leads to a rather funny stint in the hospital. Suicide is not funny, but the exchanges between Joey and a nurse are. "I had no intention of telling the truth in a place with doorknobs only on the outside. The interrogation continued. 'What's your name?' 'Joey' 'What's your last name?' 'What' 'What's your last name? Joey what?' 'Joey what?' 'Yes, Joey what?' 'Joey what'" The exchange as author Jamie Kerrick points out is reminiscent of an Abbott and Costello routine. After failure in California, Joey returns home still trying to come to turns with his sexual orientation and drug abuse and alcoholism.

If you come to this book with an open mind there many elements of the books one can identify with. I found myself getting tired with Joey's act. How many drunken blackouts does a person need before you realize it isn't working? How high do you need to be before you realize drugs are bad for you? But just before I decided I was done with Joey, I realized that this is really what the cycle of addiction must be like. Kerrick's language is very blunt, so adults only on this one. Language aside, the pace of the story is very quick and Kerrick does a good job with a difficult subject.

Rating: Superb

Notes: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
The giveaway for The Souls of the Fire Dragon is now closed. Thanks to Rhoni Wilkins for agreeing to read the book!!

Another Thursday, another gripe

It's Thursday, so it's time for my weekly departure from books. It's time for me to rant. If you follow me on twitter, you've seen my little rant on the New York State DMV. Today I want to expand it a little. Six months ago a cop pulled me over for allegedly following another car too closely. Who gets pulled over for that?? At the time I felt setup. I was in the fast lane going about 55-60 mph initially but I had to slow down because the other car decided to go 40 mph in the FAST LANE!! Three seconds after the slowpoke moved out of my way, I got pulled over. Fast forward to this week, I finally went to my local DMV torture chamber. When I went in, I could see the place was C R A W L I N G WITH GERMS!! No wonder some people who work at the DMV are so crabby!! I've been to other DMV offices and they were much cleaner.

As I made my way to the room. I was a half-hour late, due to traffic issues so I was crossing my fingers that the cop wouldn't show up. There were two cops in the room, but I wasn't sure who my cop was. Who can remember a face from six months ago?? I saw the cop for all of a few seconds when he leaned inside my car!!  No such luck with the cop not being there. One of New York's finest said I was going 70 mph and so was the other car!! LIES!! If we were both speeding, why did he only pull me over? Of course I can't remember for sure how fast I was going that night or last night on my way to work for that matter. I really had nothing to back up my case, so of course I was found guilty. The clerk told me the fine was $25. I was ready to jump for joy before the clerk told me about the $80 S U R C H A R G E!! Highway robbery!! A simple $25 ticket turns into $105!! What a racket!! Anyone else have a wonderful DMV story to tell??

Monday, June 7, 2010

What's on the cover?

We Need to Talk About Kevin: A Novel (P.S.)    Rolling With The Punches  
Another week, and now two more covers that are currently holding my attention. I bought We Need to Talk About by Lionel Shriver almost a year ago at Borders. I decided it's time that I learn about this Kevin. Besides there was a thin layer of dusting forming on the poor book! After I finishing writing this post I'm going to finally start reading it. The little bit I know about the book is that a married couple work to overcome the aftermath of the crimes of their son Kevin. On the cover I see the downtrodden face of a woman. Her eyes are closed to the world. Closed perhaps to shut out the stares from people who know about her son. Or perhaps because she's just at the end of her rope. I will soon find out!

The cover of Rolling with the Punches by Jamie Kerrick is pretty basic in color. Dancing men in different poses. The book is about a young gay man named Joey Douglas coming of age. For me the poses on the cover represent different stages in his life. The poses show that no one's path in life is the same. I'm about 40 pages from the end, so a review is coming soon. Happy reading everyone!!

My take on: The Haunting of Andrew Sharpai

Andrew Sharpai is a drifter without solid roots. He goes from town to town and relationship to relationship. While working as a cook in Las Vegas, Andrew becomes enraptured with a beautiful dancer named LaRae DuFont. During their first meeting Andrew tells LaRae of his many failed relationships. Thinking he lost LaRae with his morbid tales, she instead tells Andrew a story that will have a profound impact on the rest of his life. A bible story of how Mary Magdalene once mistook Jesus for a gardener. Andrew isn't sure what to make of it, but the overwhelming theme is that not everything is what it seems.

Andrew and LaRae fall in love and plan to marry, but a tragic twist of fate separates the happy couple. Andrew once again picks up what little roots he has, and settles in a small town in Idaho. He drowns himself in alcohol to numb the pain. Before long he is smitten with the mysterious Iris Winkle and her daughter, Lily. Iris is scarred both physically and emotionally. She is known around town as the local witch. It turns out that Iris is a Wiccan witch, but that doesn't deter Andrew. He tries not to be scared off by the spells, animals and freaky artwork. A raven named Elijah Corbeau watches over Iris and Lily from his perch on a tree outside their home. Elijah is also a scene-stealer. Many times Andrew, Lily and Iris are talking to Elijah as if he were a real person. While I don't believe a bird would ever talk back, it is funny to read the interactions between the bird and the characters. Elijah's squawks have the same impact as words.

As Andrew and Iris work to forge a life together, Iris' ex-husband Devon, also a witch, threatens to destroy their happiness. Andrew becomes sick, Lily starts to have bad dreams and spirits start appearing. Is it Devon casting a spell on their relationship or is Andrew still haunted by LaRae? All the while, Andrew continues to use alcohol to mask the pain and confusion of his life.

Iris goes through fits of madness trying to figure out what the right path is. She even resorts to wearing a variety of masks to hide herself from the world. Those passages do provide a bit of comic relief, but at the heart of the issue is where does she fit in the world. Is it in witchcraft? Or should she return to her childhood roots in the church? Throughout the novel, I began to root for this couple. Both of them are trying to rebuild their lives, but how can you do that if there are obstacles in the way? Everyone can identify with that regardless of your personal beliefs. Towards the end The Haunting of Andrew Sharpai got to be a little preachy to me. Throughout most of the book, Iris and Andrew are embracing a different way of life, but by the ending I felt the novel was suggesting being different isn't the way go. I'm not saying go embrace Wicca or any other belief system, but there's nothing wrong with being different.

Rating: Give it a try

Notes: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
I am still hosting a giveaway for the Souls of the Fire Dragon (http://asiturnthepages.blogspot.com/2010/05/book-giveaway.html)

Friday, June 4, 2010

It's Friday, time to hop!!

Every Friday night Jennifer at Crazy-for-Books (http://www.crazy-for-books.com/) hosts a Friday night blog hop. Put your link in, post a comment and you can discover a lot of great blogs. Make sure you leave a comment on the blogs you find it helps drive up traffic for my fellow book bloggers. The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week. Check it out! If you're new to my blog I recently posted a review on The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating (http://asiturnthepages.blogspot.com/2010/06/my-take-on-sound-of-wild-snail-eating.html) and my thoughts on BookExpo America (http://asiturnthepages.blogspot.com/2010/05/beasensory-overload.html). I'm also holding a book giveaway, check out the post (http://asiturnthepages.blogspot.com/2010/05/book-giveaway.html) Happy reading everyone!


Here are a few blogs I came across:
http://thenerdswife.com/
http://thenewdorkreviewofbooks.blogspot.com/

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The first of many Blubbering Thursdays

Every Thursday I will be taking a departure from talking about books to blubbering about the nonsense of my week.

To start off the inaugural installment, I can't believe the person I've become. I have become a slave to my iPhone. The first thing I do every morning is turn that contraption on to see if I have any e-mail. Before I bought this phone, I would go days without checking my e-mail. I could care less what was in my inbox. But technology has changed my tune and not for the better. If I don't have any e-mail when I wake up I think something is wrong. Was I not important enough? Nobody cares anymore? Sometimes I reboot the phone. I know the phone goes through some dead periods. After I reboot the phone, I'm relieved to find I have e-mail!! But then I delete it all because it's usually junk mail, and I just don't want to be bothered!!! Anyone else suffer from this problem??

Tidbits: This next nugget is extremely fresh for me: Umpire Jim Joyce made a bad, bad bad, bad, bad, bad call last night. I work on the sports desk at a newspaper and everyone was up in arms over the blown call in the Tigers-Indians game. THE RUNNER WAS OUT !!! Joyce cost that dude a perfect game!! What's up with that? If you don't know what I'm talking about just watch ESPN for two seconds. The replays will be shown until the end of the season, that's how bad the call was. I'm a long-suffering Mets fan, but I was right there with all the angry Tiger fans!! On another note, I hated the Lost finale!! I felt like I had been hoodwinked after six years of dedication. Loved the 24 finale. Why make a movie? There's nothing left for Jack Bauer to do! If you want to blubber about the nonsense of your week, feel free to leave a comment!!

As always, happy reading!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My take on: The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

Several times I've walked up to my mailbox and heard a "crunch" below my feet. Sometimes it's just leaves and other times it's snails!!! Up until recently I could care less if there's one less snail in the world. But now, Elisabeth Tova Bailey has made me take a second look.

"The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating: A True Story" was recommended to me by a very nice woman at BookExpo America. I wasn't sure what to think. Who wants to read about snails?

We meet 34-year-old Bailey on her return from vacation. Suddenly she is felled by an unknown neurological illness. Reduced to bed rest, Bailey begins to feel useless and powerless. A friend brings her a pot of violets, and a lovely snail perched upon one of the leaves to keep her company. Bailey herself wonders why should she care about a snail. When mysterious holes begin to pop up on papers next her bedside, Bailey starts to give the critter a little attention. Feeding it mushrooms and leaving water out are just the start. She's even mesmerized by the crunching sound of the snail eating at night. Food alone isn't enough, Bailey gets a terrarium and fills it with moss, leaves, birch and of course a slice of portobello mushroom. This snail has got it made with its own condo!

At times the book can get a little bogged down with scientific terminology. But you'll learn lots of interesting facts about snails. Did you know a snail has more than 2,000 teeth? When one row of teeth gets worn down another one pops up. I want that dental plan!!


The snail and Bailey have been plucked from their natural environments, the snail from the forest and Bailey from her formerly active life. Making the snail more comfortable and learning about its habitat gives Bailey something to focus on. Something other than her illness. Despite being away from the forest, the snail still finds a way to explore its new habitat, and even begins to reproduce. Life still goes on for the snail, and Bailey soon comes to realize that hers must as well. The Sounds of a Wild Snail Eating is a very simple story and you will come away from it with a greater appreciation for life. I know I will never look at a snail the same way ever again. Who knows how one reacts when faced with a long-term illness, but let's all hope we have something to hold onto even if it is a snail.

Rating: Superb

A snail in action: http://www.algonquinbooksblog.com/tag/elisabeth-tova-bailey/ Scroll down the page to see a snail on the move!!

Notes: I received an Advanced Reader's Copy of the book at BookExpo America
I am still hosting a giveaway for The Souls of the Fire Dragon. Check out the link for details http://asiturnthepages.blogspot.com/2010/05/book-giveaway.html
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