Monday, March 24, 2008

Book 2008_03: "Tender is the Night" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Hmmm, I just finished reading TN and I'm not sure what to make of it. The book itself was interesting and easy to follow. I like his style of writing. However, the story line was kind of sad.

I guess life is never perfect. I know there have been many a night when I've dreamt of living a life of travel and leisure and how wonderful it all might be. You could rent a house on the Riviera, wake up at noon and have breakfast as you sunbathe. Later you could go shopping, go to a cafe, read a book. Then attend a fancy ball and dance the night away.

However, it would be odd not to have my life structured. I don't know how I'd handle it. To have everything handed to me with no real sense of purpose or no goals to achieve, would it be that easy? In a sense, reading about the style of life Dick and Nicole Diver led didn't make me envious. I almost felt kind of bad about their situation. They have everything they could want at their fingertips, but somehow can't seem to find real happiness.

Nicole was born into this incredible life, but had to deal with some not so ideal events early on. It was believed that being molested by her dad at a young age led to her mental problems. That's got to be one of the WORST hands to be dealt! You really don't have any idea how that could impact the rest of your life. How do you pick up the pieces, though? Years of therapy? Taking it one day at a time? I have no clue!

Then there's the flip side, what do you do when it is one of your loved ones that has to go through this? You would think a renowned psychiatrist would know best, wouldn't you? But in these types of situations I think love and patience goes hand in hand with drugs and therapy. I don't think one can work without the other.

In a sense I don't think there was enough love and patience between Dick and Nicole to get through it. It was probably draining for both parties and the resentment grew. There was a lot of blame involved, I think. Dick felt Nicole and her family's money ruined him while Nicole became annoyed by Dick and his inability to adapt to her way of life.

In the end, yes, your wife/husband plays a big role in the person you ultimately become, but it is YOU who has the final say. YOU are responsible for the person you are and the person you want to become.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Book 2008_02: "The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger

TTTW was actually a pretty neat book, I was presently surprised. It was a very interesting take on time travel, would have never imagined that it could be genetic and out of our control.

I thought the main characters were both very likable, Henry and Clare. There romance was sweet and a good example of how a relationship is never perfect. You really have to love and respect your partner to make it work. In this case, Henry had this genetic time-travel gene that pulled him out of whatever present he was in. Imagine having a husband this unpredictable? You don't even know what day he's in, he could be stuck back in the 18th century fighting for his life while you're stuck waiting for him to pick you up. Now putting up with that is truly love and acceptance!

Life is messy, something always seems to come up. I guess that's what makes life interesting, the book seemed to reinforce that idea. It reminded me of something my Dad always said, that God doesn't like routines which is why everyday is different. Now matter how much of a routine you think your life has become, every day is different. Some are good, some are bad. Some blend into the background, others stay in your memory forever. You have to make the best out of what you are given, and try to never waist a second cause you'll never get it back.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Book 2008_04: It's March and my count is at 4!

I am so not going to make my 50+ mark goal. Life always seems to get in the way of my reading, that and a really bad book!

February started out fairly well, I had my 2 books ready to go: "Ulyssess" by James Joyce and "Tender is the night" by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Fast-forward to the interest rates falling and my hubby pressing ahead to put our house on the market!

I really did try to read Ulyssess, really I did. I couldn't do it. I got about a quarter into the book, despite the weekend warrior sessions at the house.

It was boring and long, and I just didn't enjoy it. Here is a condensed animated version:

Much more entertaining than the real thing.

So, now I've moved on. I'll probably return to it in the future, but for now I'm on to TistheN.
I have a feeling I'm really going to like this one, I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Book 2008_01: "As I Lay Dying" by William Faulkner

I tend to go the way of the Classics as my choice of literature. This particular one showed up on one of the Top 100 lists so I gave it a try.

I usually finish any book I attempt to read, even if I don't enjoy it. It becomes my Moby Dick (which took me 2 months to finish) and I keep going, it doesn't matter how many times I have to renew it at the library. However, I had forgotten Faulkner had previously beaten me. I could not finish "The Sound and the Fury" for the life of me. I will probably attempt re-reading it sometime in the future, but to this day, it is the only book I haven't finished reading.

I had forgotten this fact, when I started reading AILD in mid December '07. I had to renew the book once at the library, but I got through it. I found the same issues reading it as I had with TSATF, mainly, I had a hard time following it.

Each chapter was written in first person by a different character. Normally, this is atleast captivating (e.g. Catch-22), but this book was so slow and very sad, to say the least.

The scene that most intrigued me was when Addie (the mother of the Brunden family) was waiting for death to come to her. She had made her arrangements, wanted to be returned to her father's family land in a simple wooden box. She wanted her son Cash to build it for her, and so he did, while she was still alive. She could actually hear him build it from the barn, which was a little disturbing. Cash, however, felt it gave her a sense of ease knowing that he was building it for her.

So, the rest of the book was about the family's quest to honor their mother and bury her in the town of Jefferson, Mississippi. It definitely turned out to be an ordeal in the early 1900s. They were a poor family to begin with and a trip through Mississippi in the summer was not fun!

One of the rivers they had to cross was overflowing so they tried to wait it out a couple of days. It wasn't going down. They then tried to cross it, but lost the family mules because the river was too wild. Cash also broke his leg in the process, but didn't want to be left behind so they kept going. To ease his pain during the ride, they decided to build a makeshift cast and fill it with cement. Oh, the horror!

It must be noted that in order to keep going, his brother Jewel had to give up his horse and trade it for another team of mules. He had worked day and night to buy that horse, which had also caused the family a lot of grief since he was sleep-walking through the day as he tried to get his chores done. Although Addie didn't know what he was up to, she even tried to cover for her favorite son so his dad would lay off of him. It was therefore really tough for Jewel to give his baby up, but in the end, he did it for his mom and got a new team of mules.

As I mentioned, Jewel was Adie's favorite son and we later find out it was because he was her love child with Reverend Whitfield. The Rev. was planning on revealing this secret before her death, so that Adie would be released from her sin. He was too late. In my opinion, I'm glad he didn't get there in time. I thought the Rev. was a little selfish because this would have only helped make him feel better, but it would have cost the family so much grief and anguish.

In the end, after a longer-than-expected trip and some hungry vultures following their every move, they make it to Jefferson and lay their mom to rest.

However, when they get there, we also learn that the only daughter, Dewey Dell, is raped by a town clerk who was impersonating a pharmacist. He told her this "procedure," along with some pills, was actually the abortion she paid for with the $10 her boyfriend had given her to get it done. Need I say more.

It was a depressing book, and very hard to follow. In the end, poor Cash still had to deal with getting his leg out of the cast so that it could be amputated.

Is there anyone out there that actually likes this book? If so, tell me why so I can try to appreciate it in a new light.

Have I Joined the Blogging Ranks?

I do believe I have! However, my mind is drawing a blank now.

Now I remember (yes, I'm a geek)...

Since this is my first post, I thought I'd write about the purpose of the blog. Notice the date, January 23, 2008. A little late to start a New Year's resolution blog, but I'm doing it anyways.

I'm an ok reader, probably read around 20 books last year. Now that I'm out of school and have no real excuses, I'd love to take it up a notch and that's my goal. I thought this might be a fun way of keeping track of the books I've read because I tend to forget plots and characters. I hope it also motivates me to read a little each day so that I can write about it.

Along the way, I may also write about other non-book thoughts, so if anyone actually reads this stuff I hope you enjoy it!