Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New 2010

Wishing you Peace and Love in the New Year

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tales of Thanksgiving Food and Friendship

Tales of Thanksgiving Food and Friendship
By Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel,
Authors of The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship

For some people, Thanksgiving evokes warm feelings triggered by memories of a close-knit family gathering, where relatives share traditions and a home-cooked meal.

For others . . . it's the beginning of a holiday season stuffed with lunatic relatives, family dysfunction, bitter recriminations, and heartburn.

We heard a wide range of Thanksgiving Tales this year while traveling around the country for our Recipe Clubs. Inspired by the plot and structure of our book, Recipe Clubs are storytelling and friendship circles in which women gather to share true-life food-related stories along with recipes. Recipe Clubs are not about cooking; they're about creating community and fostering friendship . . . they're about laughing and crying . . . they're about honoring our own lives and the lives of others. They show us how the simplest, sweetest, or funniest tales about food can turn into deep revelations about our lives.

Just about everybody has at least one quintessential Thanksgiving food memory that perfectly captures the complicated feelings surrounding the holiday. Here are some of our favorites:

One Recipe Club friend recalls the first time she ever cooked a Thanksgiving meal on her own. Her mother, who traditionally did the meal, was recovering from surgery. Her father was working. And her sister was flying in just in time for the meal, but not early enough to help cook.

So our friend rose to the challenge, proclaiming that she would do the entire meal, on her own. No problem -- until reality set in. She woke at dawn, shopped, chopped, and soon realized her oven was half the size it needed to be. By the time the turkey wanted basting the chestnut stuffing required baking -- and the brussel sprouts were definitely not cleaning themselves!

But things really went south when it came time prepare her grandmother's famous pumpkin pie. This was the pie recipe that had been handed down through generations. If it didn't come out perfectly, our friend knew she'd feel like a failure.

Of course, nothing went right. The pie crust was too wet, then too dry. There was too much nutmeg, not enough ginger. With every crimp of the dough her head swam with the imagined voice of her southern grandmother: "A woman is judged not just by who she is, but by what she can bring to the table."

When the pie came out of the oven, the crust was too brown, and there was a giant crack running down the middle of the filling. Our friend fought back tears, took a deep breath, and set the pie out to cool, knowing more clearly than ever that neither it -- nor she -- was, or would ever be, perfect.

But when it came time for everyone to gather at the table, something shifted. Her parents and sister praised her hard work and loved the meal. And our friend realized she had somehow been carried on the wings of the generations of women who had cooked before her, without complaining, to serve a Thanksgiving meal to their family. She felt truly thankful for all the work that her mother, grandmother, aunts -- indeed all the women she'd known through her life -- had accomplished each holiday. Triumphant, connected, and happy, she understood that food cooked with love is its own kind of perfection.

One Recipe Club friend recalled her first Thanksgiving after her divorce.

Since carving the bird had always been her ex-husband's job, she delighted in finding a new, turkey-free recipe. She settled on an apricot-glazed ham, and went to work cooking a glaze of brown sugar, cloves, and apricot nectar (an ingredient that gave her extra pleasure knowing her ex-husband detested it.)

When her grown children came for dinner, they were childishly upset not to have their usual 12-pound bird. But it was delicious, and in the end each one complimented the chef. On her way out, the youngest daughter told her mother, "maybe we all need to learn how to gracefully accept change."

For this new divorcee, serving ham became a way of asserting her independence, showing her children there was life after marriage, and teaching the whole family to find new ways to be together.

The truth is, we don't pick our relatives. So if the Thanksgiving gathering of the clan is an annual emotional challenge, you aren't alone.

In a recent Recipe Club circle of old friends and new acquaintances, we met a woman who admitted that for most of her life she dreaded Thanksgiving; all it evoked for her were memories of family fights. The contrast of what she knew Thanksgiving was "supposed" to be, versus what it was in her home, always made her feel ashamed and disappointed. And yet every November she felt compelled go home for a family Thanksgiving meal.

But one year, that changed, when her parents and brother decided to have Thanksgiving away from home. They journeyed together to Nantucket, where they ate dinner at a seaside inn. The inn served a New England clam chowder, rich with cream and warm on a cold autumn night. And they discovered that a new location, with new foods, away from the house where memories were often more fiery than the jalepeno cornbread, turned out to be just what the family needed.

Now, every year, back at home, they have a new tradition: serving New England Clam Chowder at their Thanksgiving feasts, each spoonful bringing back fond memories of a peaceful and loving family holiday.

Finally, a little tale of food and friendship.

A reader of our book told us that she had a choice this year. She could invite Uncle Tim and Aunt Zoe, the way she does every year, and spend the entire holiday worrying about whether or not the perpetually complaining couple were happy. She could include cousins Beth and Sean, knowing they would be competitive, putting down her choice of food, her way of cooking, her table setting. She could extend an invitation to her brother and dreaded sister-in-law, who would sit in silence the entire meal and pick at the food.

Or . . . she could shake things up and do something entirely different: invite only friends. True friends. People she enjoyed being with. Who made her laugh. Who spoke truthfully. Who shared her passions for good books, good wine, and good music.

She took the leap. She dumped the whiners, broke with tradition, irritated several family members -- and never looked back. The moral: good food and good friends are the perfect combination. Sometimes it's a good idea to trim the guest list before you serve the bird with all its trimmings.

©2009 Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel, authors of The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship

Author Bios for The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship

Andrea Israel is a producer/writer for ABC's Focus Earth. She was a producer/writer on Anderson Cooper 360, Dateline, and Good Morning America (which garnered her an Emmy Award). Her story In Donald's Eyes was recently optioned for a film. Ms. Israel is the author of Taking Tea. Her writing has appeared in many publications.

Nancy Garfinkel is co-author of The Wine Lover's Guide to the Wine Country: The Best of Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino(Chronicle Books, 2005). A creative strategist, design consultant, writer, and editor for magazine, corporate, and non-profit clients, she has won a host of graphic arts and editorial merit awards. She has written extensively about food and graphic arts.

For more information please visit

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Defenders of the Scroll by Shiraz

There is a place where you should fear the shadows

A teenage boy
A dark wizard
A mystic scroll
...and the fate of a world hangs in the balance

When Alex "the Axeman" Logan is pulled from his world to help young princess Dara save her kingdom from the Shadow Lord, he thinks there has been a mistake. He's a teen guitar player close to failing 11th grade, not some defender of the realm, All he has are some school books, his wits, and his love of fantasy movies. Overnight his life is history.

Alex must confront the Shadow Lord and his minions when he is thrust into a land that has changed from a magical paradise to a barren, hopeless, helpless realm invaded by a dark army. But Alex is not alone. He has the help of Dara, a magic scroll, and a band of unlikely companions drawn from his own history books: a hardened Roman Legionnaire, a swift Japanese Samurai, a mighty African Warrior, a fiery Amazon Archer, and a spirited Shaolin Monk.

Can Alex become more than he believes and lead his small band of Defenders to the Hall of Shadows, the birthplace of the Shadow Lord?

The fate of the realm and everyone in it rests on him.

Reviewed by my daughter Lauren:
My mom gave me this book to review because she thought it was a story I would find exciting and I must say she was right! It's a great story about hardships, and friendship. It's full of magic, and spells and potions, and pirates among many other things.
My favorite character was Maya because she was brought up to dislike men, but as the story flowed, her feelings changed. The main characters were Alex (who was from this time period), and Dara (the daughter of a powerful wizard and king). Thats all I will tell you for now.
If you like action and adventure, then you've got the right book. It's a fantasy world if you think about it. That is why I did a "U Gotta Read" review.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

From the back cover:
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist: books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

My thoughts:
Set in the midst of World War II in Germany, this book features the life of Liesel Meminger who was sent to foster parents around age 10. The story is narrated by "death", a reluctant collector of souls, who does not enjoy the job he is given. A bit quirky (yes) but as a member of my book club said, death has no time restrictions and so the book is written in such a way that you get glimpses of the future then you are plunged "headlong" into the story! I found that irritating at times but totally understood the writer's perspective. Leisel as a teenager is a person I hope to be some day. She is brave, loving, tender and kind. She is able to form these loving friendships borne out of heartache, misery and pain and you gotta love and appreciate her character! I enjoyed the "banter" she shares with Rudy, her soul mate and partner in crime. Well Rudy doesn't really enjoy stealing books, he just likes to eat. We are also introduced to Liesel's real mom, brother and her foster parents! As meagre as their existence was, they were able to be a family, opening up their home to a jewish man by the name of Max. Again, Leisel comes forward and shows Max unconditional love. The kind of love that can raise the dead (yes, literally). OK, you need to go and buy this book. It's an entirely different perspective on the war and holocaust. Enough said........great read!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Me and My Reading Habits

I decided to participate in the Reading Meme from the BBAW and answer a bunch of questions about my reading habits (whoop whoop)! Here goes:

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?
No snacking for me. I usually read at night in bed and wouldn't want the bed to get all "crumbly!"

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of
writing in books horrify you? No writing in books for me --- I am not against it, just never need to!

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Dog ears!

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both? Fiction

Hard copy or audiobooks? Both

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you
able to put a book down at any point? Put down at any point!

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away? Certainly not! I usually try to figure it out! Remember I read in bed and don't want to go find a dictionary either......

What are you currently reading? The Book Thief!

What is the last book you bought? The Help!

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can
you read more than one at a time? I read up to 3 books at a time -- more than that and I will start making up my own stories!

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read? Night - in bed!

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books? Stand Alone! Don't you just hate it when you cant find all the books in a series!

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over? Right now its Khaled Hosseini! He rocks!

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?) By title, however on my blog: anything romantic or spicy can be found at Evysharlequins. More serious or classics listed here. In my home, books are everywhere!

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Castaways, Elin Hilderbrand

Greg and Tess MacAvoy are one of four prominent Nantucket couples who count each other as best friends. As pillars of their close-knit community, the MacAvoys, Kapenashes, Drakes, and Wheelers are important to their friends and neighbors, and especially to each other. But just before the beginning of another idyllic summer, Greg and Tess are killed when their boat capsizes during an anniversary sail. As the warm weather approaches and the island mourns their loss, nothing can prepare the MacAvoy's closest friends for what will be revealed.

Once again, Hilderbrand masterfully weaves an intense tale of love and loyalty set against the backdrop of endless summer island life.

My Review:
Wow, where do I begin! This book is not your typical beach read! Its much more. Elin Hilderbrand weaves a tale of friendship, love, lust and betrayal among eight friends (all couples) who call themselves "The Castaways." They are a close knit group who share their personal lives in every way. The book opens with the drowning death of Greg and Tess MacAvoy and chapter by chapter, we are introduced to the other characters (Addison and Phoebe, the Chief and Andrea, Jeffrey and Delilah) as they tried to unravel the events that lead to that horrific day. The question forefront in my mind was: did the boat capsize in bad weather or was foul play involved?

I enjoyed the way in which the story was developed with each chapter exploring one of the friends and his/her role in the group. As I got deeper into the story, I couldn't help but feel connected to the characters and though I didn't like each one, I could empathize with their issues. Each couple had their strengths which made them unique but also had their weaknesses; which threatened to destroy their own relationships as well as their friendship as part of the Castaways.

There are countless secrets and lies weaving a thin thread throughout the story and the reader is left to slowly unravel the intricacies of their friendship. I must say I was not expecting some of the twists and turns as the story progressed. To get into more detail would be to give the story away but I will say its one of my favorite summer reads of 2009 and which you must add to your “you need to read” pile.

Thanks to the folks at Hatchette Books for sending a review copy!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction by Laura Berman Fortgang

From the back cover:
In Now What? pioneering life coach Laura Berman Fortgang shares the process that she has used so successfully with hundreds of clients to help them make major changes in their lives. Whether it's moving on from a dead-end job, discovering an entirely new creative outlet, or answering the age-old question "What am I meant to do with my life?" this book provides a clear and infinitely practical ninety-day program to discover a new direction for your life.
Readers will learn from the success stories of Berman Fortgang's clients, including:
*A woman who left her unfulfilling job to discover the rewards of doing motivational work with professional athletes.
*A high-fashion shoe executive who found more gratifying work helping adoption agencies around the world place children in permanent homes.
*A highly paid corporate consultant who became a minister.
Full of inspiring and empowering exercises and tools, Now What? guides readers--day by day and step by step--through a process that will lead to true life satisfaction and fulfillment.

My thoughts:
I tend to "shy" away from self help books as I read mostly for relaxation! This book grabbed me as soon as I read a synopsis! Its a practical guide for moving your life into a new direction. I think the timing is perfect as there are so many people who are currently unemployed and have no idea what to do next.
In the introduction, the author explains who can use the book and the ways in which the reader can address his/her concerns. She also gives example of others who have changed careers or entire lifestyles after using the principles outlined. The ensuing chapters address specific issues that may cause a "roadblock" in the reader's quest for change. Packed with practical, no-nonsense exercises, wisdom, and real-life examples you will never again ask, "Where do I go from here?".

About the Author:
Laura Berman Fortgang is a pioneer in the life-coaching profession. A renowned speaker and the president and owner of InterCoach, Inc., a full-service life-coaching business that works with individuals, small businesses, and corporations, she is also the author of The Little Book on Meaning, LIving your Best Life and Take Yourself to the Top. She lives in Montclair, New jersey. For more information please visit

Thanks to Caitlin Price over at FSB Associates for sending this book!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Next on my List, Jill Smolinski

I read this book for my Book Club which I am happy to say, I have been a part of for 2 months now. Its really nice to meet over wine and food to discuss the lastest time so I am definitely looking forward to seeing everyone on Tuesday.

I won't give a long review but just to say I enjoyed reading this book because it was heart warming, light read, though it had moments of sadness. June gave Marissa a ride home from their weight watchers meeting and they ended up in an accident in which Marissa died. June found a list of things Marissa wanted to do before her 25th birthday and decided to complete the items on the list as a means of honoring Marissa's life.

Well, I don't to give the book away so you will have to read the book if you want to know whether or not June completed the list. I will say that on the journey, June definitely changed her life for the better and inspired her friends and relatives along the way.

A good weekend read!

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Well written classic but extremely depressing. Follows the story of the poor Joad Family as they left Oklahoma for California to seek a better life during the depression. It shows the hardship and oppression suffered by migrant laborers during the Great Depression. The story starts with Tom Joad who was released from prison for killing a man during a fight. We follow Tom home and along the way, he meets Casey, his former Pastor -- they continue to Tom's home together only to find his family had to move and was living with Tom's Uncle John. The rest of the book gives an account of the Joad's journey to California where they hope to find work and start a new life. Everything that can go wrong -- goes wrong. From the death of the family's dog to their Grandpa then their Grandma long the way. When they arrive in California, its to find that they flyers that advertised work, were handed out to thousands of families so wherever the Joads show up for work, there would be hundreds of families wanting to work as well. This is a sinister plot by the landowners to decrease the wages paid to pick (whether fruit or cotton) and the poor "Okies" (as they are called) had to take the job so they can buy food for the families. This book is worth the read as it gives an account of life as a Migrant Laborer as he struggles with taking care of this family while trying to keep them together. My gripe with the book is that the ending is desperately sad and the characters disillusioned!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Southern Reading Challenge 2009

Another Challenge you say? Well, I was gonna read them anyway!
Read at least 3 books based in the South. The rules are easy:
Read 3 Southern Setting Books by Southern Authors in 3 Months beginning May 15 through August 15!
Here are my choices:
The Help by Katheryn Stockett
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Girl who stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson
Cane River by Lalita Tademy
If you are interested in this challenge, please visit to sign up.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Books, books, so many books, so little time! I gave myself the challenge of reading 50 books this year with 25 of those borrowed from my library! After joining a few yahoo groups related to books I love and book challenges, I realize I am not even close to being the book reader I aspire to be. There are people who have already read 100 books are we are not even half way though the year! I ask the question, can you read a book that quick and really enjoy it?

Well, I am not going to beat myself up over this. This week I got my first review book (an erotica) so I am thinking I may start a new blog as I just cannot see "Wanton Wager" next to...or....above Kite Runner! Just doesn't add up! We shall see!!

As for an update, I have completed perhaps 6 books from the library and currently reading Grapes of Wrath. I kept Song of Solomon too long so I have to return it. Kite Runner was so good, now I want to read A Thousand Splendid Suns (by the same author) so that's an issue as now I can't concentrate on Grapes of Wrath.

OK - Mother's Day weekend is coming up and I asked my husband to take care of the kids so I can have my peace and quiet and finish my books.

Smooches Blog Land!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Kite Runner

Profound, thought provoking. I totally enjoyed this book! Its one I would not have read had it not been for my decision to read some bestsellers in 2009. I picked up the book on cd at the library for a 4 hour trip and got so wrapped up in the story.....the writer Khaled Hosseini, actually read it and since he is from Afghanistan, he is able to pronounce words which I may not have understood on my own. In the book, Khaled always put the english version of any word he writes in his native language .....for the benefit of the reader of course!

This story revolves around Amir, a Pushtan boy, who is the son of a wealthy merchant in Kabul, Afghanistan. Amir talks about his relationship with his dad whom he refers to as "Baba". Amir also reflects on his relationship with Hassan, A Hazara and the son of their servant Ali. Amir yearns for his father's love and respect and is jealous of Baba's seemingly love and respect of Hassan.

The book weaves a tale of relaxed childhood days spent in Kabul where Amir would go to school, return home to play with Hassan, who could not attend school as he is a servant boy. Hassan loves Amir and looks up to him and would do anything to protect him. The story is set against a backdrop of upheaval in Afghanistan and explores the fall of the monarchy in Afghanistan through invasion of the Soviet Regime, the mass exodus of refugees to Pakistan and and other countries and recounts the "chilling" rise of the Taliban.

This reads more like a "Memoir" and most of the time I think Khaled Hosseini gave an account of his own life ........rather than creating a fictional story........Its simply amazing and a must read!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye is a classic which most of you may have read in school! I grew up in Jamaica and read lots of West Indian literary works as well as the classic of all classics (Shakespeare). This book reminds me of one of Shakespeare's work!

The Catcher in the Rye is set around the 1950s and is narrated by a young man (16 years old) named Holden Caulfield. It seems Holden is telling his story from a clinic (mental hospital) where he is being treated for a nervous breakdown. He talks about the events that take place in the days between the end of school and Christmas which invariably leads to his breakdown.

For most of the story, Holden seems like a lonely boy who is failing all but 1 class (English). Holden is from a fairly wealthy family (lawyer dad) with a brother who is a writer, a 10 year old sister who he loves and a brother (Allie) who died of Leukemia a few years prior to the story. He speaks fondly of Allie as being fun loving and my guess is that Holden is in mourning for the brother whom he looses and for his mom who he mentioned has not gotten over the death of his brother.

Holden is enrolled at Pencey State and rambles on about his room mate whom he refers to as a "sexy bastard" and got upset when the roommate (Stradlater) dates a girl he has gone out with and still has feelings for. He also complains about a dorm neighbor Ackley whom he refers to a unhygienic. He gets into a fight with Stradlater then sets off to New York a few days earlier than the end of the school term.

The rest of the novel is about Holden's time spent in New York, his yearning for past acquaintances whom he thinks about calling or actually rings them at night to spend time with him (loneliness). We see the characters frustration after they meet with Holden as he rants and raves about sex, the ducks in central park or hitchhiking his way west to work on a farm.

Holden finally goes home in the middle of the night to see his beloved sister Phoebe who figures out he got kicked out of school and gets mad that this is the fourth school he has been in. I think Phoebe's roll is to give Holden a sense of self and a connection to family.

I could say this book is the "ramblings" of a teen but then I wouldn't give it the respect it deserves. Instead I will say the book covers many topics such as lonliness, confusion, anxiety and love.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Orange Mint and Honey by Carleen Brice

After grad school, Shay Dixon feels like she's had enough for awhile. Inspired by her spiritual adviser - a soul soothing blues player named Nina Simon - Shay calls her estranged mother Nona for the first time in years and shocks herself by asking if it would be ok to come home for awhile. Things were difficult before, as Nona spent all her time hitting the bottle and carousing with good-for-nothings while her daughter was growing up. But now Nona is different, sober, well-adjusted-and with a new baby named Sunny! Shay feels herself changing as well-but somtimes life takes unexpected turns.

My thoughts: An inspiring love story between a mother and her daughter. One which weaves a tale of addiction, abuse, forgiveness and re-birth. While Shay (LaShay) was growing up, her mom would leave her alone at night to go drinking so Shay's story is borne out of loneliness and fear. I think the writer tries to show how these two traits can totally destroy life and she does it in such a way that it grips you and sucks you in right til the end. I empathize with Shay and could not imagine the horror she went through. On the other hand, Nona went through a phase where she could not control herself or dare I say, she fell into a cycle and did not want to get help. What frustrates me throughout the story is Nona's thought that if she apologized to her daughter then it would make things better. The lesson learned here is that when we forgive someone, we in turn allow ourselves to heal. Sometimes that's the only way we can move ahead. I don't want to get into the habit of rating these books but I do think this is a must read for all as this books shows how fragile relationships are and gives us hope for a brighter future.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Just Too Good to Be True by E. Lynn Harris

Harris serves up a treat that will capture and enchant audiences everywhere—a big, bold, and irresistible novel about football, family, and secrets.

Brady Bledsoe and his mother, Camryn, have a strong relationship. A single mother, faithful churchgoer, and the owner of several successful Atlanta beauty salons, Camryn has devoted herself to her son and his dream of becoming a professional football player. Brady has always followed her lead, including becoming a member of the church’s "Celibacy Circle." Now in his senior year at college, the smart, and very handsome, Brady is a lead contender for the Heisman Trophy and a spot in the NFL.

My thoughts: This is a fast paced read with a predictable finish. Brady is Camryn's only son so as you can imagine, she is very protective of him. She encouraged him to work hard, focus on celibacy (yeah, right) and do the best he could. Brady does have lofty goals but as with most teens (young adults) his hormones are raging and though he pledges "celibacy", he has a hard time staying on track.

Because Brady is good at his game (no pun intended), Sports Agents hover at every corner. Some has his best interest at heart while others just want to make money. Well, in walks Brady, a beautiful cheerleader whose "job" is to tempt the "celibate" Brady with the hope to cashing in on his future fortune.

As the story unfolds, many stories are told and secrets revealed. What's interesting to note is how Camryn tries to protect her son while repairing their relationship and finding a love of her own!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

I completed "The Bluest Eye" today and felt like I was transported to Black America in the 1940's. To say I was shocked at the turn of events in Pecola's young life would be putting it mildly.

The story is told by Claudia, a young black girl (dirt poor), who lives with her sister Frieda, mom and dad in a tiny house (well a room, really). It takes the reader through the seasons beginning with the "burnt" leaves of Autumn then the bleak and coldness of winter, the promise of Spring and the dry and sometimes unyielding summer. And so we get a glimpse into the life of Pecola Breedlove.

Pecola is a young girl who most would consider ugly. She was so ugly to some that they could not look her in the face. We learn about Pecola's background, how her dad (Cholly Breedlove) is a wasp of a dad and comes home drunk and burns his house down. Pecola lives with Claudia and her family for a while so they all become friends. Pecola's life is like a downward spiral into the abyss of pain and heartbreak. Pecola dreams of having blue eyes, "the bluest eye ever" so she could be beautiful, loved and accepted. She suffers a rape by her dad while her mom beats her (probably blames her) for her predicament!

The book closes just after the death of Pecola's baby, after her dad dies, her brother runs away and her mom still keeps house for a white family whose daughter she treats better than her own. This book peels away the cover of the lives of an African American community in Ohio and showcase their pain, love, ideology, anger. It is well written in my eyes but very sad and dark in many ways.

I am not sure how to rate this book so I will leave it unrated for now........

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge

I have decided to join J. Kaye's Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge 2009. She is a big supporter of her local library and what better way to encourage others to use their library than to have a challenge such as this.

The rules are simple. Just read books checked out from your local library. They can be any kind of books including audio, downloads, children's, and YA. The challenge runs from 1/1/09 to 12/31/09.

There are three levels of challenges:

1. Read 12 books from your local library.
2. Read 25 books from your local library.
3. Read 50 books from your local library.
The only stipulation is that they HAVE to be read in 2009. You can join anytime. The other thing is that you have to choose which level you are going to complete when you join.That's it - just go to j. kaye's and sign up on Mr. Linky.

I will be doing the 25 book challenge to give myself some wiggle room. This challenge works for me since I have my own Book Challenge and planned to get the books from my local library anyways. Win win.........

Following is the list for the Library Challenge - I may revise occasionally depending on availability and will review as I complete each one:
  1. The Bluest Eye - completed
  2. Just too good to be true - completed
  3. Cather in the Rye - completed
  4. Love In The Time Of Cholera
  5. Pride and Prejudice
  6. Song of Solomon
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird
  8. Jane Eyre
  9. Wuthering Heights
  10. Anna Karenia
  11. Great Expectations
  12. Little Women
  13. Birdsong
  14. Catcher in the Rye - completed
  15. The Time Traveller’s Wife
  16. Orange, Mint & Honey - completed
  17. The Women of Brewster Place
  18. The Great Gatsby
  19. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  20. Grapes of Wrath
  21. The Wind in the Willows
  22. The Kite Runner - completed
  23. Their eyes were watching God
  24. Three cups of tea
  25. A Thousand Splendid Suns
  26. Notes From A Small Island
  27. Sula

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My softer side

Harlequin Presents are my true passion. They are quick, hot and easy. You may read my reviews here:


New Endeavour

I did say I wouldn't read anything too heavy after college so harlequins did it for the most part. Every once in a while I would dabble into someting a bit more time consuming like Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden or Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code.

The difference is I have committed to a Challenge on my own. If I can't loose weight then I must read. My entire waking moment will be filled with reading; that is when I am not working or cooking, cleaning, etc. So I figure I will read 1 book from my challenge then 2 harlequins then another book and so on. I am really excited.

I started "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison and currently at page 20 something. Did I add that most of these books will be from the I could like to a library challenge if I can find one.

Toodles for now---will be back to review the lastest......