Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Reading and Listening

Summer vacation is winding down for me, it's back to school next week!  It is always exciting to start a new school year.  I know my reading time will be limited again.  It is such a luxury for me to spend time reading because unless I listen to an audio CD, I can't multi task.  I know I should get over it and just take time to read each day.  Maybe I will!

Anyway, here are some highly recommended books.

Vaclav and Lena 

Okay, I really LOVED this book.  It is wonderful and heart wrenching at the same time.  Vaclav and Lena meet in Brighton Beach at age six, children of immigrants that are in the same English as a Second Language class.  Vaclav dreams of becoming a magician with Lena as his lovely assistant.  But Lena doesn't really have much of a home with her aunt who works nights at a "nightclub".  Vaclav's mom comes to her rescue which leads to a separation for the two friends.  They do reunite years later.  There is much sorrow but more wonder with a sweet ending.  I loved every page.

Emily Griffin Where we belong
This was another lovely story, bittersweet and I'm not sure the ending was happy but more unsettled.  It's about a woman who gives a baby up for adoption at 18.  Of course, you can guess, the daughter shows up at her Manhattan penthouse door late one night.  There are many bumps for each of them as they try to fit into each other's lives.  And there is a lot of self reflection, drama, and tears.  But overall I loved it.  My daughter has it now.  It's a quick, easy read and worth the time.

Deep Dish

Mary Kay Andrews is a writer I enjoy.  She's funny, plots are easy to follow, and there's usually a happy ending!  Sometimes that's just what you need when you sit down to read a book.  This doesn't disappoint.  Gina Foxten is the host of a TV cooking show, Fresh Start.  Her life is falling apart -- her boyfriend is sleeping with a married woman (and the show's sponsor's wife), her show is about to be cancelled, and her younger sister is living with her in the condo she will soon be unable to afford.  Tate Moody is the host of a rival TV show and they are thrown together in a reality show cook-off with the winner getting a new show.  It's predictable at times but always enjoyable.  I listened to this book.

The Paris Wife

This quote is from Paula McLain's website and is a great teaser for the book (which I listened to): 
The New York Times Bestseller
Set during a remarkable time, the same period as Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast and The Sun Also Rises, Paula McLain's The Paris Wife brilliantly captures the voice and heart of Hadley Hemingway as she struggles with her roles as a woman—wife, lover, muse, friend, and mother—and tries to find her place in the intoxicating and tumultuous world of Paris in the twenties.

I have several friends that read this and recommended it.  One thought it was too sad and depressing.  Another loved every page and was inspired to re-read Hemingway's novels.  I'm with the second friend.  I just loved this too.  Hadley is very strong and really does triumph eventually and finds happiness, which we all know Ernest never did.  She was his first wife, married her at 21 and they went to Paris where Ernest wrote the Sun Also Rises, met Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and his second wife.  I may find time to read some of Hemingway's novels again -- it's been since college and that was a long time ago!

Anyhoo, these were all winners in my humble opinion.

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