When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

Hi, I’ve been busy writing, dealing with home issues, chairing the book fair at the Princess’s school as well as traveling, but I have recently posted a book review here at Egghead23 is reading. Thanks for stopping by, hope all is well with you.


A kid’s video review of Pottermore.com


A new blog just for book reviews

I am launching a new blog today called egghead23 is reading, which will cover just books in the future. Please feel free to subscribe and enjoy!


What are they teaching you people?

 

Yesterday I was talking to my boys about the book I had just finished, Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann. (Great book, btw, highly recommend.) They asked me what it was about, so I said that it was about a bunch of people in New York City around the time that a guy walked between the World Trade Center Towers.

Philippe Petit walked between the towers in August of 1974. He crossed back and forth six to eight times during a span of forty minutes. His story is told in the film Man on Wire.

 

 

I thought this feat was totally amazing, but my kids just stared back at me blankly.

“You know the World Trade Center?”

Nnnnope.

The two towers that were destroyed on September 11th?

Nnnnope.

Not a bell rung there. Kind of reminded me of one time when I mentioned Jim Jones to my sister, who was born in 1971, and she had never heard of him either. She said that she would have been watching the Banana Splits in 1978, and she seriously doubted that they would have interrupted that programming to bring news of a mass murder/suicide to their audience.

I realize that my kids are young; Edison was only a year old when the towers fell, and I can remember him toddling around us as we watched the TV and wept for (among many things) his future. But I would think that in all the flag waving and patriotism we get every year around September 11th, there would be some discussion of why we remember that day. Shouldn’t there be?

I do know one thing: Next September, when we commemorate the 10th anniversary of September 11th, there will be some discussion around this house.

 


Little Fur Family

With all of the decluttering, there are a few things, I am glad not to have parted with over the years. One of them was a favorite book when I was a child, Little Fur Family by Margaet Wise Brown. My brother had given a special edition copy to Edison a few years ago. Edison and Clooney read it a few times, but it never really tickled their fancies, despite being entirely covered by brown fur. The Princess, however, recently discovered it, and has had to have it read at bedtime for a week. It makes us all feel warm as toast.

 

 


My “To Read” List for 2011


The Book Thief

So, I’m setting up my classroom, and I would love to have a poster for The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.

You know, you’re supposed to be able to find anything you want on this Internet thing. Why can I never seem to find what I am looking for?

If you know where I can get a promo poster for this wonderful, amazing novel, please email me asap.

book-thief-2

Thanks.


This was kind of cool

The other day I ordered an audiobook from my local library. I like to read at the gym, but  I can only read on the recumbent bike. If I’m on the elliptical machine or something else, forget it. So I figured audiobook might be cool.

I priced the download on iTunes, and it was like $45, so I put in a request at the library, fully prepared to have to download four or five CD’s (the book is 25 hours unabridged) to my computer, and then again to my iPod. But to my delight, this is what I got when I went to pick the thing up:

 

Playaway Wally Lamb

 

Blah. Can’t figure out how to rotate that…try tilting your head to the left a bit. That should fix it.

 

Anyway, it’s totally cool! The book is already on this little player, and all I have to do is plug my phones into the built-in jack.

Playaway

 

Like all audiobooks, it’s a huge pain in the button if you accidentally lose your place, but overall, it’s very convenient. And so far, the book’s not bad either.


A Case of The Mondays

So, yeah, I just mopped the kitchen floor.  I hate mopping.

Last night, just as I was setting dinner on the table, Edison came down with a stomach bug of epic proportions.  It was like that scene in Stand By Me with the pie eating contest. I’m talking everywhere. Not sure he could have hit more surfaces if he had tried. Basically, he ran for the bathroom, and just missed the toilet, and when it splashed off the rim, it hit the rest of the powder room like spin art.

I scoured that room last night, cleaned and disinfected the family room rug, (though I still think we might need to just burn that), and then today I did the kitchen floor with a little more elbow grease than I had the time for last night.

Fun!

Also last night, I watched the second half of Tess of the D’Urbervilles on PBS’s Masterpiece. It was good, but the end was kind of a downer. Plus, you know, it was one of those BBC productions. There are plenty of good looking Brits. You got your Clive Owen, your Jude Law. I don’t swing that particular way, but neither Kate Winslet nor Kate Beckinsale is hard on the eyes. So, what then is with the BBC productions? Other than Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice…with a few exceptions in every production, it’s a lot of horse-faces. We don’t claim to look like Brangelina or anything, but Manfrengensen says it’s like watching a propaganda ad against socialized dentistry.

The actress who played Tess was attractive, but then in the end, don’t want to ruin it for you, but her horse-faced husband ends up with her sister and I kind of felt sorry for them for a number of reasons, the very least of which was their fates.  Not that I am superficial or anything, but you know, if I want to get into a romance, I don’t need Fabio, but for me, they need to throw in a little more eye candy.  I don’t think I am alone here, I mean, that’s why Colin Farrell’s the leading man and Bob Hoskins isn’t. I mean no disrespect to Mr. Hoskins, mind you.  He’s a fine actor, but I don’t want to see him strip down to his tighty whiteys, if you know what I mean.

He's Irish, I know, but you get what I'm saying.

Tess was one of the books we had to read at my Catholic girls high school, along with The Scarlet Letter and A Light In August. The fates of wayward women were big in that literary curriculum.

I have like fifty pages left in Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette. Overall, the book has been excellent.  I think I will read Naslund’s Ahab’s Wife next. Love her writing. Ethereal and accessible. A book I think about all day and cannot wait to find time to get to.


Misc. Updates

Yesterday The Princess and I baked together for the first time.  It was fun.  She was into pouring all the ingredients into the bowl and mixing them together, but for me, it meant so much more to do this mother-daughter thing.  Nothing special, just brownies, which from what I have heard, turned out to be delicious.

The Princess Making Brownies

I haven’t talked about the diet for a while, but to give a quick update, I am doing great with the Jenny Craig.  I am more than half-way to my goal weight, having lost more than 18 pounds since I officially began the diet.  More importantly, I went back to the doctor yesterday, and all of my numbers have come down.  Since July, when I last saw him, I have lost 21 pounds.  My cholesterol has gone from 252 to 175, and my trigycerides, which were embarrassing — over 700 — are now 122.  It’s great to look in the mirror and feel better, but I have to tell you, when they gaveEdison in his play me the numbers yesterday, I teared up.  The numbers are the important thing.  Overall, I feel pretty great.

Edison was in a play this week, written by his music teacher and performed by everyone in the third grade at his school. He spent weeks singing and dancing around the house, and even though there were times when I really wished he would stop, there will be times in the future, when other pursuits have garnered his attention, when I will miss that singing.

I am finishing up a book I had to read for the book club called The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff.  It’s one of those books I can’t wait to be done with.  The writing is just okay, nothing overly literary, and at times the narrative is cliche, or just doesn’t feel real, like the author is stretching a limited imagination.  It tells two stories in two separate narratives that the author is trying to somehow relate to one another.

One is a historical fiction about Brigham Young’s 19th wife, who divorces him and sets about on a crusade to end polygamy in the late-19th Century. That part of the book I really like.  It’s fairly well researched and feels authentic.  The other is a modern sort of murder mystery about a 19th wife in a cult-like sect that split of from the Mormons after 1890 who is accused of killing her husband.  Her estranged gay son returns to the small town and proceeds to investigate the case, and I don’t want to ruin it for you, but you know, the mother’s innocent.

But I had some real problems with that part of the book.  First of all, the solving of the murder comes abruptly and totally from left field.  There’s no building of the clues, only a bit of meandering around them.  The explanation of the murder is less than a page, and the motive isn’t fully believable, especially given that the climax is the first we’ve heard of it.  Also, the confession comes after a totally contrived scene where the main character is captured and seems to be threatened, but again, it doesn’t feel as real as the author had been hoping to make it.

My biggest problem was with the main character, who as I mentioned, is gay. Why? Because I guess that would make the story more interesting? The author tells us that the guy spent a little time selling his bod, and on more than one occasion mentions that he was paid by a dude to let him put his “arm in a place where no arm should go.” Ew.  And then, about 2/3 through the book, he meets a guy who falls in love with him and wants him to stay, make a commitment after ONE NIGHT TOGETHER, and the author tries to kind of make a case that it’s hard for Jordan to do that because of how he was raised in the polygamist sect.  He can’t love, you see.  But I felt like — well, he did just meet the guy. Frankly, the love interest comes off more like a creepy stalker than a sincere life partner.  (I pictured him as Kenneth Parcells from 30 Rock, only you know, as a creepy stalker.  If they ever make a movie of this book, Jack McBrayer should totally play the character of Tom.)

 

But I keep turning those pages, because I do want to find out what happened to Ann Eliza Young, Bringham’s 19th wife.  I’m not sure I will find out, and I also worry that we’ll never find out what happened to the son she left behind when she left Utah, though the fact that she misses him is mentioned several times in the course of the story.  I have like ten pages to go.  Then, like Ann Eliza, I will be free (to read something else.)

 

p.s. — just searching on youtube, I found these clips.  Seriously, this is the funniest show on TV: