Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Turn The Page ... Tuesday

Well Hello 2012.

I seemed to have blinked and missed 2011.

Either that or I was racing around at the speed of light.

That was it.


I did have some time to read ;-)

Welcome to Series and Sequels! Our challenge for this year.

As you will see by my reviews, my interpretation of what is a series and/or sequel is loose!

Also, I have read two books that 'coinside' but if you only get to one book that is in a series or a sequel that is ok! Share it and keep us posted on your progress throughout the year.

I actually had to do a search on my own blog because I could not remember if I had ever blogged about The Glass Castle before (I hadn't - one of the reasons I had to start TTPT - I kept forgetting to blog about some great books!). My book club read this book in December and I decided to reread it since it had been sometime since I had read it. It was just as good the second time around. I remember the first time I read TGC that I kept looking at the author's picture in the back of the book because I could not believe if she lived what she lived and survived. Not only did she survive but she thrived.

Here's the clip from Amazon:

"Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever. Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town -- and the family -- Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.
What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.
For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to MSNBC.com, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor."

If you haven't read this book you should definitely add it to your must read list. Her love for her parents, siblings, and value of an education is truly an example to us all. We can't choose our family and our circumstances can vary and be out of our control - what we can manage is our attitudes and reactions towards them. Thanks for the lesson in gratitude and perseverance Ms. Walls.

On to book two of my 'series' - Half Broke Horses was not intended to be a sequel to The Glass Castle but it certainly is an asset. Jeannette Walls delves into her mother's family focusing mainly on her own grandmother, Lily Casey Smith. Having read HBH after TGC it is so easy to see now why Rose Mary (Jeannette's mother) chose the life she did for her family. From Amazon:

""Those old cows knew trouble was coming before we did." So begins the story of Lily Casey Smith, in Jeannette Walls's magnificent, true-life novel based on her no-nonsense, resourceful, hard working, and spectacularly compelling grandmother. By age six, Lily was helping her father break horses. At fifteen, she left home to teach in a frontier town -- riding five hundred miles on her pony, all alone, to get to her job. She learned to drive a car ("I loved cars even more than I loved horses. They didn't need to be fed if they weren't working, and they didn't leave big piles of manure all over the place") and fly a plane, and, with her husband, ran a vast ranch in Arizona. She raised two children, one of whom is Jeannette's memorable mother, Rosemary Smith Walls, unforgettably portrayed in The Glass Castle.
Lily survived tornadoes, droughts, floods, the Great Depression, and the most heartbreaking personal tragedy. She bristled at prejudice of all kinds -- against women, Native Americans, and anyone else who didn't fit the mold. Half Broke Horses is Laura Ingalls Wilder for adults, as riveting and dramatic as Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa or Beryl Markham's West with the Night. It will transfix readers everywhere."

If you've read TGC but it's been a while - reread it. Then pick up Half Broke Horses. You will feel much better about your own upbringing I'm sure ;-)

And for a completely unrelated book (you will see these most likely each month - I read A LOT in 2011 and didn't get to post them all) ... The Kitchen House. Holy Guacamole Batman. This book was outstanding. You must add this book to your list. I've passed it around to every soul I know AND I had my book club read it. After taking a peek at the author's web site I saw they have sold the rites (or something like that) to make a movie! Whoo Hoo! If you liked The Help  this book is right up your alley. From Amazon:

"When a white servant girl violates the order of plantation society, she unleashes a tragedy that exposes the worst and best in the people she has come to call her family.
Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin.
Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. Lavinia finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk.
The Kitchen House is a tragic story of page-turning suspense, exploring the meaning of family, where love and loyalty prevail."

It's a good one. I pinky swear promise.

So don't be shy ~ what have you read?


~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

Well, I guess I didn't follow the rules because the book I read wasn't part of a series. But -- I can't miss another TTPT. I guess you did read a lot in 2011! That's quite the list (holy guacamole -- haha).

Ruth said...

I Just read The Glass Castle and have Half Broke Horses to read. I am currently reading The Paris Wife. I need to get myself together and remember to join in here.

Rachel said...

I can't believe you left me on your RSS feed! I always admired how consistent you are in your blogging. Unlike me. :c)
Thanks for your kind words!

Paula said...

I read The Glass Castle a year or so ago and have Half Broke Horses on my radar but have yet to get it. The Kitchen House sounds excellent and am adding it to my list as well!

Sara said...

I'm a week late, sorry! The Kitchen House looks very intriguing!

Ally Johnston said...

Some great choices there. I'm definitely going to see if I can get The Paris wife on my kindle.