Sunday, April 20, 2014

Two Sisters by Mary Hogan

I just finished reading Two Sisters by Mary Hogan. This was her first adult novel, but this author has written several young adult novels. 

I liked this book, but didn't love it and here's why. The writing was good, the story was good, but a few of the characters, hell, most of the characters, were mean and selfish, which makes it a hard book to love. 

I could relate to the main character, Muriel, who was one of the titled two sisters. She is a large girl born into a family of dysfunctional parents and siblings. She's basically an outsider who never felt like she fit in. This carried over to her adult life.

I'd say pick up this book. Who cares that in places it was so difficult to read? The end was not sappy but satisfying. 

Let me know what you think. 

Book Read:  Two Sisters

Author:  Mary Hogan

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Writing Circle by Corinne Demas

The Writing Circle by Corinne Demas is a perfect book for writers to read. It covers most of the prickly topics that writers who belong to a writing group deal with: fear of sharing their work, critique of their writing, praise, rejection, and in this case, plagiarism.

The small writing circle has the following members: Nancy, the newest member who is writing a novel; Chris, a successful thriller author; Gillian, a world-famous poet; Bernard, a biographer who was married to fellow member Virginia, a historian; and Adam, a young novelist who may never finish his novel.

Members of this writing group's personal lives are intertwined and tangled. The actions of one member cause a division in the group that will never be repaired. But as horrible as the ending is, it's satisfying in just the right way.

Book Read: The Writing Circle
Author: Corinne Demas

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer

The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer is a surprising book. It's very well written; that's not the surprising part. I had read The Ten-Year Nap a few years ago and loved it, so I was fully expecting to like this book, too.

What was surprising was the premise. A high school drama teacher has her students put on the Greek comedy Lysistrata for the yearly school play. This adult-themed play had to be toned down since it deals with women standing against war by refusing to "lie with a man" as long as there was a war being fought. 

The funny thing is, as soon as rehearsals start for Lysistrata, a spell is cast on the women of the community. Tensions rise and women want nothing to do with men. The ending is fun and unexpected. A really great read!

Book Read: The Uncoupling
Author:  Meg Wolitzer

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Fabulous Book! The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls

I finished reading The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls last night and was so disappointed that it was all done. I loved this book so much! 

Told from the point of view of a young girl, 12-year-old Bean Holladay, this story set in 1970 was sweet yet had plenty of conflict and excitement. I love Jeannette Walls's writing style. 

She wrote the wonderful memoir The Glass Castle and the novel Half Broke Horses, also super duper books! Have you read her books? So, so good.

Book Read: The Silver Star
Author:  Jeannette Walls

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Once Upon a Secret by Mimi Alford

Well, at least this was a quick read. I enjoyed the book Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath by Mimi Alford but she was a totally unsympathetic person to try to relate to, in my opinion.

Like other young girls (she was 19 and 20) who have affairs with old men in positions of power (like Presidents), she was young and naive and I guess it's sort of understandable. Why she continued the affair for a year and a half is what baffles me, especially after she met a man she supposedly loved and was engaged to.

And she came across to me like an entitled rich girl who never really had to be accountable. Granted, she was young but many of her decisions made her less than endearing.

Anyhoo, it was interesting in a sick, gossipy kind of way to read about her affair with JFK. Who wouldn't want to read that?

Book Read: Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath
Author: Mimi Alford

Monday, March 24, 2014

Dirty Love by Andre Dubus III

I love this writer! I've read The House of Sand and Fog and Townie, and Dirty Love was nearly as good as both of them (but not quite). This book contains three short stories and a novella that are all slightly connected (very slightly).

Being the copy editor that I am, I was disappointed to see a big fat typo on page 202:  Do you know hHow much Exxon paid in taxes last year?

Isn't that sad?

If you love great writing, great storytelling, and honesty that doesn't quit, you might like Dirty Love too.

Book Read:  Dirty Love
Author:  Andre Dubus III

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner

I have been slowly reading the nonfiction book The Forest for the Trees:  An Editor's Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner for about a month. I would read it while outside with my cat or just a page or two here and there. This seemed to work really well because it allowed me to digest the book rather than reading an entire chapter or two at once.

Lerner was an editor who is now also an agent so she knows of what she writes giving great advice to novelists and nonfiction writers on the business of publishing. 

I'm in the process of writing a novel and really loved the practical advice, realistic outlook, and encouragement.

Book Read:  The Forest for the Trees:  An Editor's Advice to Writers
Author:  Betsy Lerner


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