Month: March 2013

Book 16 of 52: How to Sleep Alone in a King-Sized Bed by Theo Pauline Nestor

I picked up Theo Pauline Nestor’s How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Overat the Wild Mountain Memoir Retreat in Leavenworth, Wa., this weekend. The conference was about – you guessed it – memoir writing, and it was organized by Nestor herself.

I’d read some of the presenter’s books alreading, including Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trailby keynote speaker Cheryl Strayed, but I’d never heard of her before (sorry Theo!) I enjoyed the classes she taught this weekend, so this is the one I bought.

It starts with Nestor putting a chicken into the oven, and by the time she takes it out, her husband’s gone. The book chronicles the year (or so) after that moment, with flash backs giving insight into Nestor’s own feelings about divorce, which include being split up from her sister because dad got Kathy and mom got Theo after their owner separation. As a child of divorce myself, I could relate to some of the anger, hurt and guilt. I think I got lucky, […]

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Book 15 of 52: Ladies’ Night by Mary Kay Andrews

I did not pick Mary Kay Andrews’ Ladies’ Nightbecause of the author. I’d never heard of her before the galley of her book, which comes out in June, showed up at my house. I certainly didn’t pick it because of the cover – pink with drink umbrellas (I’ll add a cover picture when I’m not writing on my iPad). And I absolutely did not pick it because of its title which, after reading the book on my flight to Seattle, seems to dumb down the book.

No, I picked it for this description from the back of the book: “Rising lifestyle blogger Grace Stanton’s life gets torpedoed…”

Well hello there.

As some of you may know, I write for Runner’s World magazine. I got so fed up with terrible/unethical/bad advice dealing running bloggers, and their posts with 15,000 pictures each – even one where the runner went through the finish line multiple times to get *just* the right post-race photo – that I pitched a story on how to not be a bad running blogger.

The end story was a flip of that, about how blogging […]

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Book 14 of 52: Sweet Valley Saga: The Wakefield Legacy: The Untold Story

On January 3, Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches sent out the following tweet: “Okay, I may regret asking this, but what’s the weirdest sex location you remember from a romance novel?”

Her followers had some interesting answers, including on the back of a galloping horse and a camel. My answer, though, brought me around to re-reading Sweet Valley Saga: The Wakefield Legacy: The Untold Storythis week. That answer was a building that collapsed during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake (apparently, Sweet Valley is not the only book to, uh, tackle this situation).

This book was published in 1992, what I’d consider the tail end of Sweet Valley’s dominance over teens and tweens at the time. I was 12. I read this and the first Saga, Sweet Valley Saga: The Wakefields of Sweet Valley, after I’d read just about all the “Sweet Valley Twins” and “Sweet Valley High” books available. The Sagas tell the history of Jessica and Elizabeth’s ancestors, making stops in history along the way. Here, we have the great flu epidemic of 1918, the crashing of the Hindenburg, WW II, Southern California hippies, and the 1906 […]

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Book 13 of 52: Pound Foolish by Helaine Olen

This is one of those reviews where work gets in the way. I’ve written a Q&A with Helaine Olen about her new book, Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry, for a financial website, and don’t want to give away too much here before that interview runs.

So what I’ll say is this: Olen has put together a remarkably researched and scathing view of the personal finance industry. If you feel like you’re getting squeeze money wise, and that advice dispensed by talking heads on TV doesn’t add up, this book explains why. Whatever most personal finance experts say won’t make up for growing income inequality, rising healthcare and education costs, and the disappearing safety net. This idea that it’s up to us to save more to make up for these things is ridiculous, says Olen. We need to work as a group to change these major problems, and no skipping on the Starbucks coffee is going to make up for the difference. Throw onto that life’s unexpected events, like a major medical bill, divorce, etc., and it’s easy […]

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Book 12 of 52: A Good American by Alex George

What do you say about the book of someone who’s come to Thanksgiving dinner? Well good things, since Alex George’s A Good Americanis a good read (and I’m glad I can say that because otherwise, this would be an awkward blog post).

George is the friend of a friend who came to a Thanksgiving dinner hosted by me and my now ex-boyfriend two years ago. A Good American was about to be published, and George was already earning excellent advance reviews. I was going to buy a copy, though he said don’t do that as he wanted to thank us for our hospitality by sending a signed copy of the book.

That never happened (for which he has apologized PROFUSELY! and I’ve made the same oops as an author, too). I was in Tampa last week and stopped at Inkwood Books before heading to St. Pete Beach and there, filed as a staff recommendation, was A Good American.

After DNFing two books while on vacation already, I was relieved to find a good fit with this one, which is about three generations of the Meisenheimer family, starting with Frederick and […]

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Book 11 of 52: The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont

I’m writing this post from a Florida poolside, but don’t get too excited: it’s not quite 70 degrees, and the only person who has been here as I’ve worked was an 80 year old man.

I’m on the last part of my Florida swing. After stops in St. Pete Beach, Tampa and Gainesville, I’ve come across state to spend a few days with my grandparents in Sebastian, a quiet town, made even quieter in their over 55 community. These trips are a tradition that involve me reading and napping quite a bit. In anticipation, I brought five books down with me, two that I bought from Target.

The first book, The Night Circusby Erin Morgenstern, was a bust that’s already been donated to their senior community library. The second, The Starboard Seaby Amber Dermont, is the second, and I stuck with it, even though I found it to be a disappointing novel.

The Starboard Sea is about Jason Prosper, who left his tony boarding school after his roommate and sailing partner, Cal, hung himself. He’s ended up at Bellingham Academy, which […]

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