Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Right Ho, Jeeves


Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

This book is my first foray into the world of PG Wodehouse, and it won't be my last. Right Ho, Jeeves, written in 1934, is the first sequel to Thank You, Jeeves. In total, 11 Jeeves & Wooster novels were written from 1934 to 1974 as well as numerous short stories.

Jeeves is the personal valet of Bertram Wooster, a rich London socialite. Wooster is good-hearted, but can be clueless and somewhat exasperating at times. Wooster has a knack for making a mess of everything around him. But Jeeves is revered by all, and always manages to make everything turn out alright in the end.

PG Wodehouse accomplishes it all with a comic wit and flair that can't be matched. Just to give you a taster: On the cover of this book you see Gussie Fink-Nottle and his newts (an integral part of this story). Don't you want to know more?

Highly recommended.

They also reviewed it: Melissa and Corinne

Friday, July 18, 2008

Harris and Me

Harris and Me Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen

rating: 3 of 5 stars

I loved How Angel Peterson Got His Name by Gary Paulsen last year. I actually laughed out loud when I read it, so I was happy to mooch another Paulsen book.

I read most of this today at the pool. The story follows an 11-year old boy who is sent to live with distant relatives for the summer to escape his alcoholic parents. He becomes fast friends with his 9-year old cousin, Harris, and the two spend the summer on the farm concocting amazing adventures for themselves (usually with hilariously disastrous results).

I could see where teenage boys would really get a kick out of this book, and I would mostly recommend it for them. Having said that, there is a fair amount of mild swearing and an issue of some "dourty peectures" that the narrator brings to the farm.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Widow of the South

The Widow of the South The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks

rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Widow of the South is a historical fiction novel set around the Battle of Franklin near the end of the Civil War. Much of the novel is grounded in historical fact--the house, the "widow" Carrie McGavock, the slave Mariah, the battle. As such, Robert Hicks spares no detail in taking the reader to the battle, in all of its grotesque and sobering glory.

The book is a good reminder about what happened here, on U.S. soil, and how cruelly we can treat one another. But it is also a reminder of how good can rise above and humanity can lift burdens.

There were moments when I was reading when I felt like the emotional side of the story wasn't fleshed out very well. As a woman reader, I found that unsatisfying. I also felt like while some of the side plots were interesting, they didn't add to the overall flow of the novel and served as a distraction.

From an educational standpoint, I'm glad that I read it. It was unsettling and quite violent for my taste. I would recommend it if you love Civil War stories or happen to be heading to Franklin, Tennessee to visit Carnton where 1,500 Confederate soldiers are buried.

She also reviewed it: Sarah

Monday, July 14, 2008

6 Quirks Meme

Here are the rules:

1. Link the person(s) who tagged you
2. Mention the rules on your blog
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours
4. Tag 6 fellow bloggers by linking them
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged

I've done something kind of similar to this one before, so I'll try and think of some new random quirks about me.

1. I really need my house to be clean in order to feel like everything is right in the world. But, I rarely make my bed. I just don't see the point.
2. I have really long toes, and for years I wouldn't wear flip flops or any kind of sandals where my toes were exposed. I'm getting over it, but I still feel a little self-conscious about it.
3. I hate the taste of toothpaste. I will use the smallest amount of toothpaste possible in order to get my teeth clean. It makes me want to gag.
4. As a Mormon, I don't drink coffee or tea to get me going in the morning. Instead, I build in time to veg out in front of the computer. I can't function until I've had my digital fix.
5. I love to sleep but I am a total night owl. This is a serious problem when you have four kids under the age of 8.
6. My husband and I are very rule-oriented. We even have rules on how to fight.

Thank you Melissa for the tag.

Please feel free to play along!

The English American

The English American: A Novel The English American: A Novel by Alison Larkin

rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pippa Dunn was adopted at birth by British parents. The catch is that her biological parents are American, and at the age of 28 Pippa decides she needs to know more about her genetic roots. Of course, while she's finding out about herself, Pippa is also making some decisions about love.

I love that Larkin's personal life parallels Pippa's life. She was also raised by British parents who adopted her from America at birth. You can tell in her writing that Larkin knows what she is talking about, and the emotions are real. Having said that, there is a healthy dose of comedy thrown in on both American life and life over The Pond.

I have really been wanting some fun summer reading, and this definitely fit the bill. Alison Larkin is super funny, and I found this to be an engaging quick read.

She also reviewed it: Lesley from A Life in Books

What's This? An Award??!

Thank you Corinne for the lovely award. (It's my first award too!) I'm coming up on one year since I decided to really dive into the book blogging world. It has been such a fun journey for me, and the people I've met and the things I have read have brought me such joy.

I'd like to pass along the award to:

Maggie from Maggie Reads. She's the host of the Southern Reading Challenge, librarian extraordinaire on a mission to make Mississippi read, and she writes awesome reviews.

Sarah from No Title Necessary. She's funny, sickeningly talented and creative, and loves to read.

The Rabbit and The Snowman

The Rabbit and The Snowman The Rabbit and The Snowman by Sally O. Lee

rating: 4 of 5 stars

This recently released book is book #20 for author and illustrator Sally O. Lee,. The beautifully vivid watercolor illustrations make this book a real treat to read. Both my 4-year old and 7-year old enjoyed this book as a read-aloud, and we had a good discussion about the themes in the book afterward.

The Rabbit and The Snowman is a cute story about the ebb and flow of friendships. It highlights that true friendships will last, regardless of circumstances. I think it is a good message, especially during the summer time when they don't see their school friends very much! I even liked how the snowman and the rabbit question if they did something that made their friends leave. As an adult, I still worry about that!

The story begins as the snowman is built by children during the winter time. The children leave and the snowman feels lonely until he becomes friends with the rabbit. In the springtime when the snowman melts, the rabbit feels lonely and wonders if he did something that made the snowman go away. When the winter comes again, the snowman and the rabbit reunite, picking up their friendship where they left off.

Thank you Sally O. Lee for sending me a copy of your stunning book!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Othello

Othello (Folger Shakespeare Library) Othello by William Shakespeare

rating: 3 of 5 stars

I haven't read Shakespeare since high school--sad but true. I'm glad that Corinne's book group decided to read Shakespeare though, because I think it is good for me to get out of my comfort zone every once in awhile, especially reading a tragedy!

Iago is Othello's right hand man, and is jealous that he was passed up for promotion by Cassio. Iago decides to get back at Othello by making him believe that Othello's new wife, Desdemona, is having an affair with Cassio. I seriously wanted to strangle Emilia, Iago's wife, for her part in unwittingly helping Iago to pull everything off.

Reading Shakespeare, for me, is like reading Old Testament scripture. I was actually pleased that I knew what was going on, but I know I definitely missed a lot of nuance.

They also reviewed it: Corinne and Melissa

Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man

Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man: A Novel Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man: A Novel by Fannie Flagg

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man is a coming-of-age story set in Mississippi in the 1950s. The story is told in diary entries (which I love) and follows Daisy from age 11 until after she finishes high school. Daisy is a spunky character who has to put up with a completely dysfunctional family, including an alcoholic father. There are all kinds of interesting characters involved including a crippled girl, a man with elphantiasis, an albino woman, Daisy's best friend Pickle, and Daisy's arch-nemesis, Kay Bob Benson.

Fannie Flagg manages to incorporate so many of life's complex issues into the story that it really adds depth and meaning to the experiences of the characters. The author weaves in issues such as race, abuse, and homosexuality applicable to the time period and location.

The book is very funny, often poignant, and at times heart-breaking. But, I was rooting for Daisy the whole way and I enjoyed the journey.