Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Turn The Page ... Tuesday

It's that time of month again that makes me happy!

 I'm going to start off with my "challenge book" (the 'to be read' that has been on my book shelf for years awhile - I hope you are having luck clearing off your shelves!).
I think I am the last person on the planet to have read Pillars of the Earth so feel free to disregard my review ;-) Now that I'm done I know why it sat on my shelf lingering for so long. Not because it wasn't a good book (because it was awesome if you ask me) but because it was 974 pages long. Uh hu. I never felt like I could invest in such a long book. I'm so glad I did. I loved the way the author carries us through time ... decades actually, weaving his tale of love, pride, deception, and dreams. There certainly were times I rolled my eyes (mostly when Ken Follett went on a tangent describing a woman) but for the majority of the book I was fascinated with the characters, the time period (the 12th century), and the engineering feats that were accomplished building the great cathedrals.

If you were fascinated by lords and ladies as a child (or still are like me), like a good love story with a bit of drama thrown in, and can handle the realities of life and lawlessness from the 12th century ... not to mention you have a good chunk of time - I say add this to your list - that is, if you haven't already read it. I can't wait to find some time to watch the mini series on Netflix. I know the book is better (because it always is) but I want to see what was done with the characters I so loved or despised. I'm sorry this review is so vague - there are so many characters and so much that happens over the span of many years that it's quite difficult to sum it up. I'll put it this way, I'm glad I took the time to read the book - I'm also glad that I was born in 1972 instead of 1272!

All you Kindlers out there might recognize this book. This was a book that was promoted on the Kindle blog for a ~limited time only~ reduced price. I don't know if they jacked the price back up or not but the sucker in me bought it. Thankfully I enjoyed the book.  Stalina was born and raised in what was the Soviet Union. She is smart enough (and lucky too) to have been trained as a chemist and during her career had the opportunity to mix a few interesting scents (who know that the KGB wanted their spies to smell like the city they were trying to infliltrate). She becomes disillusioned and decides to immigrate to the United States. Stalina's adventures get turned up a notch when she finds employment at a 'short stay' motel. This is a very quirky read. It actually made me sad in a way because I know that the odd things that happened in this story weren't necessarily a part of the authors imagination - that people really do live under a communist regime, visit short stay hotels, and have to deal with the mafia. I told ya it was an interesting read ... If you are looking for something that requires little of your brain but will make you chuckle at times and furrow your brow at others - this is a good book for you.

If you  have been reading this blog for a while, you might remember that BK (before kids), I was a geriatric social worker. When a friend in violin class (Henry's, not mine!) told me about a book she just read I knew I had to read it. Still Alice is the story of Alice Howland, a Harvard psychology professor. At first she just thinks she is misplacing things - becoming forgetfull. Then the unthinkable happens; Alice gets lost in her own town - going the same route she always goes. She makes an appointment with a physician only to be given devastating news; she has early onset Alzheimer's Disease. Alice is in her late 40's, married, has 3 children of which the youngest is in her early 20's. She can't get Alzheimer's - she has too much to live for. The family, along with Alice, struggle to make sense of this and what to do. There is conflict and much strife, as to be expected, but there is a little twist - this is a family of over achievers - they can't fix mom and that doesn't necessarily bring out the best in them. If any of you have been touched by this life changing disease you will certainly appreciate the struggles this family faces. In the 10 years I worked before I had Henry, I only knew one person who had early onset. Everyone else was truly a 'senior'. I couldn't help but think of my old friend who used to put his suit on everyday in the nursing home because he thought he had to go to work. If you pick this book up you won't regret it. It's a good one.

Lastly, a book I won from Nadia at A Bookish Way of Life. When I had read her review I had added Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough to my long list of must reads. A few weeks later she was clearing off her shelves and I luckily responded in time to receive this book. Nadia had an excellent review that you can read here. This book had me laughing and glad that I am the mother of two boys and not girls - ha ha! If you liked Nadia's review and would like to read this book too - let me know in the comments. I'll draw a random number and post the winner on Monday.

Now don't be shy ya'll - what have you been reading?


Paula said...

I absolutly LOVE Pillars of the Earth! One of my all-time favorites for sure. So glad you enjoyed it. All of your others sound good too and I've added them to my outrageously long list of want-to-reads.
I would love to be entered into your drawing for "breakdown"!

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

Guilty....I've never read "Pillars of the Earth." You certainly are cleaning your shelves. When did you find time to squeeze in all this reading?

Charlie said...

Adrienne, you can be glad to know that you are NOT the last person to read Pillars...I am, and I even have it sitting on my "to read" shelf!!
I, too, loved Still Alice - I've been resisting the urge to buy her new one. Don't know how long I'll last...:)

Sara said...

I will be back next month with books to share, but today I'm just stopping by to check out what you've been reading. All those books look interesting! Currently, I have an actual copy of War and Peace tempting me, and I'm also previewing a chapter book I got my daughter for her birthday. Happy reading!

Anonymous said...

I did it again~! I'll be back to read your review later. Now I gotta get to the GYM!!

Debi said...

Wow! I envy you all the reading! I haven't read Pillars of the Earth, in fact, this is the first I've heard of it! I'm going to find "Still Alice" for a friend whose mom has Alzimers and I would love to read breakthrough... please enter me in the drawing. Thank you again for hosting this... you are responsible for my extremely long to read list!

Stacey's Treasures said...

I have never read "Pillars of the Earth". It would probably take me forever & a day to read it.
I've got to read "Still Alice" I deal with this horrible disease all the time & just pray it doesn't happen to me.
Would love to be in the drawing for your Nervouse Breakthrough book.

Yolanda said...

I have had the Pillars of The earth for awhile but just can't seem to bring myself to read it.