Wednesday, June 29, 2011
With characteristic humor and a full cast of eccentric and wonderfully lovable characters, Dorothea Benton Frank brings us a refreshingly honest and funny novel about friendship, family, and finding happiness by becoming who you are meant to be.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
As Callie explores the natural world around her, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
What happens when two New Yorkers (one an ex–drag queen) do the unthinkable: start over, have a herd of kids, and get a little dirty?
Find out in this riotous and moving true tale of goats, mud, and a centuries-old mansion in rustic upstate New York—the new memoir by Josh Kilmer-Purcell, author of the New York Times bestseller I Am Not Myself These Days. A happy series of accidents and a doughnut-laden escape upstate take Josh and his partner, Brent, to the doorstep of the magnificent (and fabulously for sale) Beekman Mansion. One hour and one tour later, they have begun their transformation from uptight urbanites into the two-hundred-year-old-mansion-owning Beekman Boys.
I adored every word in this book! While reading it, I wanted to rush over to Sharon Springs, make friends with these guys, and become part of their world, kind of like Ariel in Disney's Little Mermaid. This memoir was light-hearted, funny, sincere, and real, and was reminiscent to me of The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy by Robert Leleux . The Bucolic Plague inspired me to dream my own dreams, evoked nostalgic feelings in me for eras I never lived in, and caused me to stay up until 3 AM because it was just so good I couldn't put it down.
This book had me from the beginning, goats, diarrhea, and all. The moment Josh stuck his head out the window because he couldn't breathe, I knew I was in for a good book. The zombie flies, the paralyzing panic in Martha Stewart's kitchen, all these things and more made me laugh right out loud. The part where Josh realizes that eventually Brent is going to have to find out about the 88 goats in the barn is so something that I would do and feel. I would do something like that, and then be like, uh-oh, now I have to tell my husband? Eek! I did have to skip the scene where he slaughtered his turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, especially once he related that the turkey went with ease and calm under his arm, trusting and secure. So for anyone who is squeamish about animal death scenes, be forewarned!
But this book was not just about good times- in fact, this book illustrates how you should never take anything at face value. On the surface, Josh and Brent lived a utopian, idyllic life. For a while, at least. Then in the pursuit of perfection, they lost the sense of authenticity, the simplicity of what they were doing, and worst of all who they were together. The very traits that they loved in each other became traits they despised. I found myself wanting them to know that this was happening, to calm down, appreciate what they have, realize that it does not all have to be impeccable, Martha standard perfection. Eventually, after Josh left for work without telling Brent he loved him, they realized that the most important thing they had was each other. They seem to have it together, and I hope they do.
And anytime they want to invite me to dinner and to play with their goats, I am available. Just saying.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother's death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls' academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions "for a bit of fun" and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the "others" and rebuild the Order. A Great and Terrible Beauty is an impressive first book in what should prove to be a fascinating trilogy.'
And what did I think?
I really liked it! It did remind me a lot of the movie The Craft, just set in a boarding school in Victorian England rather than wherever The Craft took place. I found myself thinking more about this thrown together group of friends than the central plot. While the girls occupied rather stereotypical roles at first, they began to evolve and grow. They started out as the pretty one (Pippa), the clever one (Ann), the charming one (Felicity), and the mysterious one, Gemma, the main character - or so Felicity describes them one emotionally wrought night. By the end of the book, through Gemma's eyes we see them as much more than these one dimensional characters. Pippa demonstrates a control over her own life, making her own choices; we see that while Felicity is power hungry she is filled with pain; Gemma begins to battle her own guilt over her mother's death; and Ann- ok I am not sure how Ann grew as a character. Although they are friends, they still can be awfully horrid and manipulative as well. (And as a small side note, I love the names Gemma and Pippa!)
The love story in this seems to be just getting off the ground- the question remains, will Gemma and Kartik become an item? We shall see.
The magic and mystery plot line, which was the main plot, was a little thin - I enjoyed it, I just wish it had had a little more force and oomph behind it. I did enjoy the mystery surrounding the diary however - which revealed a shocking secret!
I am looking forward to reading the second in the trilogy, Rebel Angels. I don't think I will begin it right away, I will wait for my friends to catch up, since I read this book as part of a "secret" online young adult book club. Just a few friends indulging in young adult fiction. Four of us actually. Hmmm.