Monday, October 3, 2011

Turn The Page Tuesday

Welcome back to another edition of Turn the page ... Tuesday! (a day early b/c blogger would not let me save - grrr - Should I title this post 'turn the page ... monday evening'?)

First up - a book from the 'to be read' shelf:

Another one of those I-have-no-idea-how-long-this-was-on-my-shelf and why-did-it-take-me-so-long-to-read-this-it's-soooo-good book. I took the movie cover from Amazon because that was the copy of One True Thing that I had and I'm embarrassed to admit that I had no idea that this book was a movie with Meryl Streep and Renee Zellweger - I must have been living under a rock. I still haven't seen the movie but I'm sure the book was better (they always are - except for Big Fish - but that's another post). Anywho ... If you have been off the main frame as me and don't know what this book is about I'll tell ya. It's about heart. How we share our heart, how we close it off, and how after it's broken and bruised find a way to open our heart again.

Ellen, the Harvard grad. on the fast track over achiever daughter is called home by her much worshiped father to care for her dying mother whom she was never close to. The book begins with Ellen in jail having been recently arrested for killing her mother - or maybe not - you won't know until the book ends ;-) One of my favorite quotes came from a reviewer on Amazon:

"You" says Ellen Gulden's father, as he throws her stuff out on the porch after she suggests he "hire a nurse" to take care of her dying mother, "have a Harvard education, but you have no heart."
And so starts her journey back into her family (she quits her job in the big city), back to the mother she never really identified with. So starts her learning process--about human nature...not just about books, or concepts. So starts her learning process about what love is, and what communication between human beings is. It is not just analyzing some dry tract, or being the "Star Pupil". It is far more complicated than that. And this is a complicated, super book.

If you haven't read the book, I suggest you do. I can almost guarantee that the movie left out some good stuff.

I have read a lot of WWII books but never have I read a book from the perspective of Germans who were not Jews. Nor have a read a book with such an unusual narrator; death. I have to say that this was one of the most unusual books I have ever read; and one of my favorites. The Book Thief is definitely a must read. A quick summary from Amazon:

Death himself narrates the World War II-era story of Liesel Meminger from the time she is taken, at age nine, to live in Molching, Germany, with a foster family in a working-class neighborhood of tough kids, acid-tongued mothers, and loving fathers who earn their living by the work of their hands. The child arrives having just stolen her first book–although she has not yet learned how to read–and her foster father uses it, The Gravediggers Handbook, to lull her to sleep when shes roused by regular nightmares about her younger brothers death. Across the ensuing years of the late 1930s and into the 1940s, Liesel collects more stolen books as well as a peculiar set of friends: the boy Rudy, the Jewish refugee Max, the mayors reclusive wife (who has a whole library from which she allows Liesel to steal), and especially her foster parents.

I actually liked the perspective death (the narrator) gave to the book. It was not halloweenish or campy - comforting almost. Your heart will break while you read this touching book.

An Enchanted April began on my iPod and then wound up on my Kindle and then I had to watch the movie immediately upon finishing the book. I couldn't get the sweet characters out of my head and the beautiful scenery just made me want to hop a plane to Italy pronto .... so the movie was the next best thing ;-) I have to admit that I enjoyed listening to the book - the accents were divine! From Amazon:

It begins one cold, rainy February afternoon soon after the end of World War I when Mrs. Arbuthnot and Mrs. Wilkins come across an advertisement for a villa in Italy to rent for the month of April. Mrs. Arbuthnot, with the "face of a patient and disappointed Madonna," and Mrs. Wilkins, "her clothes infested by thrift," barely know each other, yet the fantasy of a wisteria-covered Italian villa sparks something in each and brings them together. They raid their meager nest eggs, find two more women - the formidable Mrs. Fisher and the unspeakably lovely but bored Lady Caroline Dester - to help defray costs, and set off for their dream of sunshine and beauty. At San Salvatore, remarkable changes occur. Mrs. Wilkins becomes Lotty - intuitive, sensual, self-confident; Mrs. Arbuthnot loses her religious self-righteousness. Lady Caroline finds herself with "that really rather disgusting suspicion that her life till now had not only been loud but empty," while Mrs. Fisher starts to feel a "very odd and exciting sensation of going to come out all over buds." Elizabeth von Armin portrays these transformations in wickedly dry British humor interwoven with descriptions of the lush, soul-stirring terrain of San Salvatore. The effect is refreshing, charming, and romantic
You cannot go wrong with this book. It is a must-feel-good-warm-and-fuzzy read ... and then watch the movie!

Tell me ladies ... what have you been reading?


~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

Wow Adrienne -- now I know why you haven't been blogging as much. Your nose has been in books. And you picked great ones! I don't know if I could handle "One True Thing." "Stepmom" did me in years ago -- I was literally a crying heap for days. "Enchanted April" sounds right up my alley though.

Paula said...

Oh gosh! They all sound good and you have added to my wish list once again! I have seen the movie "April" but have not read the book. The Book Thief sounds incredible. Like you, I have never read a WWII book written from a German perspective either. Interesting. Hopping over to Amazon now...

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

I'm not sure if my other comment got through -- blogger problems, you know. But, your nose has been buried in a stack of books. No wonder you don't have time to blog any more.

Jill said...

The Book Thief is one of my favorites... I LOVED the library at the mayor's house... I felt I could smell it. :)

I couldn't help myself, too... I went to Netflix immediately to see if Enchanted April was available streaming... it is! (I might need to watch it this week)

Thanks, as always, for helping add to my reading list.

Stubblejumpin' Gal said...

Just started David Niven's "Bring On The Empty Horses," about Hollywood personalities between 1935 and 1960. Having read his autobiographical memoir, The Moon's a Balloon, many years ago, I've no doubt Mr Niven will bring all these famous characters to life in a humorous and intelligent way.

Ruth said...

I have read the Book Thief. It is definitely a different perspective.

I am having a giveaway on my blog. Hope you can stop by.