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Showing posts from June, 2009

Nora, Nora, Nora

If you've read this site, you know I have a special love for Nora Roberts . Is she a romance novelist? Yes. Are you books sometimes hokey/predictable/sigh worthy? Always. But they are delight to read when I need a mental break. Roberts got the New Yorker treatment in the June 22 issue. And Sarah Wendell, co-author of book 12 of 52 and all things romance novel got a nice shout out as well. Well done, ladies! I've been typing away at a romance novel myself. Why not? I like reading the genre. I used to write fiction. So I'm giving it a go. Whether it amounts to anything is another story. I dutifully put away 2,000 words a day for a bit, but I'm lagging because of work and boyfriend. Hopefully this article will inspire me to get back at it.

Book 51 of 52: Personal Assets

Wowza. I think my cheeks are still burning after this one. I picked up a way discounted copy of Personal Assets by Emma Holly, I don't know where. I do know that I recognized the name from Book 12 of 52 as one of the authors that one of the authors enjoyed. For $4? Why not. What I forgot, though, was that Holly writes a specific kind of romance novel. In fact, some wouldn't even call it a romance novel. It's erotic fiction. I imagined if someone filmed it, it would be classified as pornography hence why my cheeks are still burning. But it's not a bad book. It has very good plot structure, suspense, and strong characters. Otherwise, I wouldn't have kept on after realizing that "erotic fiction" was written on the cover. The story's about two best friends, both caught up in the fashion retail world, and how said best friends find the loves of their lives. The difference between erotic fiction and romance? In this case, the characters like to get it on

Book 50 of 52: Gossip of the Starlings

Before you think I'm a speed reader: I read both of these books over the last week, but hadn't had time to write up the last post until today. I finished that book on Thursday. I'd started reading Gossip of the Starlings by Nina de Gramont before that, but had to put it aside in favor of the work-related reading. I didn't like TK. I was curious enough about the plot to finish reading the book to see what happened, but I didn't like any of the characters. To really dig a novel, you have to at least identify with someone if not like parts of one of the characters, or so hate a character that you must see what happens. I wanted to smack everyone in this book about privileged prep school kids who drugged their way through the 1980s. Poor rich babies as they whine about coke and horses? Yawn. Not even worthy of a "beach book" label.

Book 49 of 52: Getting Past Your Breakup

Where was this book two years ago? Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You by Susan J. Elliott is about exactly what you think it would be about: getting over a break up. It's not one of those "your ex is evil and you are fabulous" books. It's written in a calm, soothing tone that makes no judgements against who dumped the reader. It focuses on how the dumpee can start putting the past relationship in the past and then move ahead. I like Elliott's way of comparing getting over a breakup to grieving (makes sense since Elliott is a grief counselor). I thought back to my bad break up two years ago while reading through the book, and my reactions then were a perfect match. Maybe I did roll my eyes when Elliott went on and on about daily affirmations, but there is a lot of good advice here, like "NC" -- no contact. Nothing, zip, zilch, zero. And no going back to said ex for "closure.&quo

Book 48 of 52: No Regrets

I was just lamenting to someone the other day about the poor quality of galleys I picked up at Book Expo America . Galleys, if you're not in the biz, are preview copies of books that are given to folks like me in the hopes that we will write about them. I usually pick up so many good books that I'm set reading wise for months. This year? I didn't like anything I grabbed. I also said that a lot of books coming out seem like longer versions of Glamour magazine articles, and I have little love for Glamour . It's one of those women's magazines you can rely on to tell you the same three things every issue: you're too fat, you don't please your significant other, and you're going to die young (probably of breast cancer). Sarah Ivens, author of No Regrets: 101 Fabulous Things to Do Before You're Too Old, Married, or Pregnant , has written for Glamour and another one I love to hate, Cosmo . She's was editor-at-large for OK! magazine, which is in a b

Book 48 of 52: Face to Face

Today's guest on Fresh Air, the Terry Gross NPR interview show, was Maria Siemionow, the doctor who performed the first face transplant. The interview was fascinating. I would expect her memoir to be the same. Except I finished Face to Face: My Quest to Perform the First Full Face Transplant this afternoon, and it was one of the more dull memoirs I've ever read. I hate to seven say it because Siemionow has a fascinating story. She grew up poor in Poland and came to the U.S. to study hand transplant surgery. In December 2008, she did a face transplant on a woman who had been horribly disfigured through domestic violence. But how dreary and dull and full of cliches. I think she'll best be served by a biography written by someone else. Her story is very flat and one dimensional. Those extra angles need to be added to pain a full picture of a woman who has done something amazing. Two cover notes: the image is misleading. While the face transplant Siemionow was a vast improv

Book 47 of 52: The Runner's Body

Two words: MUST READ. Well, Runner's World The Runner's Body: How the Latest Exercise Science Can Help You Run Stronger, Longer, and Faster by Ross Tucker, Jonathan Dugas and Matt Fitzgerald is a must read if you run. It might be a little overwhelming to novices, but if you're like me and have three, four, five or many more years of running tallied on your legs, understanding the science of running can be an eye opener. Perfect timing for me to read this, too (aside from being assigned a review for a newspaper): I'm hitting my summer wall, which is when it gets hot and humid in New Jersey and the last thing I want to do is run. I tell myself that I CAN'T run because it's hot. I chalk it up to being a "cold weather runner," but I'm starting to wonder if it's more of a mental block that comes from once being so dehydrated that I almost ended up in the hospital (not from running, though -- and not from drinking alcohol). That experience was petri

Book 46 of 52: A Brain Wider than the Sky: A Migraine Diary

Fair warning: my brain and writing ability have briefly left me. I'm not surprised -- I hit a major deadline last Thursday, and my brain typically shuts off after such an event. Here's a better explaination. I'm starting to come out of it, but rather than wait for 100 percent function to write the review, I'll share it with you now because I like to write the review the day I finish the book. I don't suffer migraines. My brother did, though. He'd throw up, lock himself into a room, and fall asleep. He still gets them sometimes, I believe, but not as bad as Andrew Levy, author of A Brain Wider Than the Sky: A Migraine Diary , a fascinating and painful-to-read book about living with migraines. I had no idea that migraines could affect your vision, or last for months at a time. I also didn't know how many artists either suffered migraines or are thought to have suffered migraines: Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Picasso, Elvis. The title comes from a line