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August 7, 2012

Books 16-25

One of my New Years Resolutions was to read 25 books this year, and its August and I already hit 25! I am pretty proud of myself because the last couple years I have struggled to meet my goal, but my long commute and audiobooks have helped my numbers.  

 My First Ladies: Thirty Years as the White House Chief Floral Designer My First Ladies: Thirty Years as the White House Chief Floral Designer by Nancy Clarke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was such a pleasant surprise. Nancy Clark was the chief floral designer at the White House and was there from Carter through Obama. All the first ladies wrote short introductions to her chapters (except for Hillary, shocking), and her insight was fascinating. What I was particularly impressed with was that even though Nancy had her favorites (Barbara Bush and possibly Michelle Obama), she never said a bad thing about any of the First Ladies who she perhaps had some trouble working with (Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton). Yet despite her respect for their authority, this book remained both honest and engaging. I was sad to see that Nancy recently passed away, but so glad that she wrote all her memories down for history to cherish.


The Art of War for Women: Sun Tzu's Ancient Strategies and Wisdom for Winning at WorkThe Art of War for Women: Sun Tzu's Ancient Strategies and Wisdom for Winning at Work by Chin-Ning Chu

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I really did not enjoy this book. First, it was braggy. And not in an "I am accomplished so you should respect my thoughts on this subject" way, but straight up just braggy. Second, I thought the author talked down to woman and made comparisons between men and woman that were completely outdated and inapporopriate. Third, I don't think the author did a very good good job using Sun Tzu's Art of War and translating it to a context that would work for woman. This book just did not work. There are so many better books out there on this subject, this book is not worth reading even if you get it for free.


Sarah's KeySarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I know that this review is going to be met with a chorus of "boos" but I loathed this book. First and most importantly, talk about no resolution. Who cares about Sarah's son! The whole purpose of the book was Sarah's struggle and the author just killed her off. Julia was not the character your reader cares about, its Sarah, and to make her story so meaningless that you literally drop her as a narrator halfway through is beyond disrespectful. Yes, I used the word disrespectful. I think its disrespectful to the story you are trying to tell.

Second, I hated the abortion sub-plot. So inappropriate as I do not think that subject mixed well with the underlying holocaust storyline. Not that it wasn't an engaging story, but it was not meant for this book.

How this book every got a movie deal is beyond me, but I am interested to watch it to see if it was able to make this horrible story any better.


London Is the Best City in America by Laura Dave

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The goodreads image for this book is not working, for whateve reason.

This was the second book I have read of Dave's, and I love her writing. I think she has a great talent in capturing the normal and making her readers connect to those moments. I was confused through a lot of this book regarding not only what I wanted to happen, but what I was a supposed to want to happen. The story was complex, the characters were great, but the plot seemed a little sporadic. The ending was abrupt and unfulfilling, but I didn't really mind because it seemed real. I heard Reese Witherspoon bought the rights for the movie and I actually think it would make a great movie, but they are going to have rewrite the ending to make it more final.


The Divorce PartyThe Divorce Party by Laura Dave

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was really good! I think it is my favorite of Laura Dave's three novels. I enjoyed the foil of the two woman and their relationship troubles, and as always, I thought Dave's writing was geat. I think this would make an excellent movie- Reese should have bought the rights to this one!


Knit the Season: A Friday Night Knitting Club NovelKnit the Season: A Friday Night Knitting Club Novel by Kate Jacobs

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I can't really describe this book other then to say the series just went on too long. The storylines weren't very good, the flashbacks were a bit overdone, nothing really progressed. While I really enjoyed this series and don't regret finishing the last book, I am glad Jacobs has decided to shelve these characters and write fresh storylines. I hope she keeps with that promise.


My Fair Lazy: One Reality Television Addict's Attempt to Discover If Not Being A Dumb Ass Is the New Black, or, a Culture-Up ManifestoMy Fair Lazy: One Reality Television Addict's Attempt to Discover If Not Being A Dumb Ass Is the New Black, or, a Culture-Up Manifesto by Jen Lancaster

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have read a bunch of Jen's books, and can I just say how much adore listening to them on audiobook? Jamie Heinlein reads them and her inflection is spot on. If you get the chance, you should listen to some of her stuff on tape.

This book was entertaining, as always, but sometimes I feel like Jen reaches a bit too far for a theme. I would say 1/3 of the book is about her search to "culture-up" and 2/3 was just random funny stories. Not that it matters, becuase her stories are hilarious, and I could really care less about the "theme" of the book anyways.


Divergent (Divergent, #1)
Divergent by Veronica Roth

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*FIRST READ: August 2011*
*SECOND READ: July 2012*

I was a bit skeptical because the book seemed a lot like the Hunger Games and I thought Roth might be trying to capitalize on HG's success and write a copycat story. I suppose it would be fair to say that the overarching theme is a lot like HG: the setting is this post apocalyptic world, separated into factions that serve different purposes, sixteen year olds must pick their factions and undergo an initiation process that resembles the same level of brutality we saw in the Hunger Games, etc. Plus its also a trilogy, with the other two books yet to be released. However, when I got to the final pages of the book I decided that this book has so much more potential then HG. I loved the first Hunger Games book, the second was still good but was a copycat of the first, and the last I hated. This series has the potential to just keep getting better, and I am really looking forward to the release of the next book.


Insurgent (Divergent, #2)Insurgent by Veronica Roth

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Hm. What to say about this book? On one hand, my expectations were so low due to everybody's criticisms of the book that it was more fast paced then I was prepared for. Also, while definitely full of lots of teenage angst, I liked the fact that Tris didn't do whatever Tobias told her to do (like in the book Matched, so annoying). Not sure if I like Tobias as a love interest, I was bracing for him to turn bad at some point. Also, REALLY didn't like that Caleb turned bad, and I thought it was a bit unrealistic that he would be on board with his faction torturing and killing his sister. I once again was impressed with Roth's willingness to kill characters off, but thought the overtaking of Jeanine in the end was pretty anti-climatic. The ending was wierd, and didn't really leave me hanging...I am just confused? Not sure what the next book is going to entail but I'll probably read it, I just wont be as excited for it as I was for this one.


GlaciersGlaciers by Alexis M. Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Delightful! A quick, easy read at around 180 pages- I loved this book so much. It is about a librarian in Portland who collects postcards.  Oh, and falls in love with a soldier.  This book is so beautifully written. The "feel" reminded a lot of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society. Add it to your beach read list, or a book to read on a rainy day.

2012 Books
-Books 1-5
-Books 5-10
-Books 11-15


missris said...

I didn't read the book, but the movie "Sarah's Key" is pretty terrible.

agalandherdog said...

You always find the best books to read. I could fill a library with the list of books I've seen on your blog that I keep meaning to pick up!


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