Monday, January 23, 2012

What I read in October (2011)

Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me by Chelsea Handler

I'm a big Chelsea Handler fan. It seems as though people either love her or hate her, and I'm absolutely one of the former. She can be terrible to those closest to her, and to be honest - she kind of scares the crap out of me (I'm not sure that I would ever want to be in her circle of friends, especially after reading this book!). However - from a safe distance, I love being a witness to her antics. All of her books have had me laughing, as well as her nightly talk show, Chelsea Lately. I didn't realize this book was composed by the victims of her lies and pranks, but it is, and it's just as funny, engaging, and entertaining as the books she's authored herself. I love the pictures and responsive commentary she added to each person's story, as well as the light her friends and family were able to shine on the inner workings of her crazy-interesting mind. Don't expect great literature, or anything, but for a quick, fun read - I loved this!

Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close

I'll be honest - I didn't have this book on my to-be-read list, and it probably wouldn't have jumped out at me from a shelf, either. But as I'm finding with my nook, there aren't a whole lot of available ebooks just yet! A lot of the things I wish to read are in paperback or hardcover format only, still - and I'm often left with gaps in material. This is when I just pick whatever new ebook my library's website has added, and this was one such book. It wasn't the best thing I've ever read - in fact, I had a hard time keeping track of all of the characters -wondering if I should be looking for the ways they were all connected (seriously, it was impossible to remember without taking notes!), or if the random assortment of stories were meant to be scattered around - varying in their time-lines (there was very little chronological sequence involved) and switching between main characters with each chapter. Yet, many of the stories and dialogue within them had me laughing and kept me reading - so it was worth it, in the end. It was interesting to see the majority of the women in this book staring down "old maid" status and some of them even being opposed to marriage (though having it shoved in their faces quite often), because I'm a very "barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen" type and couldn't relate to many of the girls. To each their own, of course!

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

I recently convinced my husband to start reading again by arguing that it would be a good stress reliever for him. He started out by reading something from my shelf, and updating his GoodReads account to get some recommendations. He thought he'd enjoy something from the sci-fy genre, and this was, apparently, rated as #1. He checked it out from the library, and declared he was in love after 20 pages. He urged me to read the first chapter or two (knowing I'd probably shoot anything so nerdy down, haha) - and 216 pages later, I returned to him so he could read it himself. I didn't think I'd love this book (what, with the interesting word choices and geeky nature of the story), but I did! It spoke to me with a sort of Matrix-esc alternate reality, only with a whole lot more humor. The book had me cracking up over its ironic situations, but also had me thinking. There were a lot of smart (albeit outrageous) situations in this story, and I may even venture to read more in this series at some point!

Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult

Always a Jodi Picoult fan, I was excited to find this book available for download on my Nook. I eventually want to make it through all of her books! I liked that, for once, there was no court case in the plot (I don't know why, I guess I'm annoyed by reading through the technical legal terms and just want to get to the heart of the story). However, this was one of my least favorite of her books - simply because it was so hard for me to get through. Don't get me wrong - the writing was great, the characters were well developed, and the plot was easy to follow - it's just that, there were so many mom-sensitive moments and situations that I wanted to beg the main characters to do differently, I'd sometimes find myself setting the book down and walking away with a sick feeling. They were things that I'd start out identifying with, and find myself wholeheartedly disagreeing with the choices made because of them - it was very unsettling! I think it's a good read, and definitely a work that will move you as a woman, but I don't recommend reading this if you are a new mom, soon to be new mom, or struggling with any form of PPD. It's very difficult to swallow.

Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert

Since this is my first month of reviewing my current reads, you're missing out on my thoughts on Eat, Pray, Love. Long story short, I never wanted to read it after having the plot spoiled for me on an episode of Oprah, thinking it was cheesy and predictable. I ended up reading it because, again, it was an available ebook - and you know how I love those! I was thoroughly inspired, in the end, and thus - had to know how her love story ended through this book. It wasn't as enthralling as Eat, Pray, Love - it didn't have me as entertained or addicted, but it was chock-full of wonderful information and ideas on marriage. I, personally, don't agree with her stance on it - she is very hesitant about it and seems to think that anyone who marries before 30 is doomed, but nonetheless - she dished out some great thoughts to chew on, and since reading it - I've done just that. I took some hand-written notes, but I also highlighted and book-marked things with my nook. The beauty of nooks & ebooks (and, I think, all e-readers in general), is that even when you don't own the book - when you download from your library, for example, your highlights and notes remain. So if you ever find yourself in possession of the book again, everything is still there for you. I will probably download this again at some point to access those important points. Really, there's some good stuff in here!

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

Yet another ebook for rental! It also popped up on my GoodReads recommendations and sounded pretty interesting. Call me gullible or what have you, but I've read other "trips to heaven" stories before, and I always end up feeling inspired, thankful, enlightened, and happy - and what a great way to experience that again: through the eyes of a child! The book was everything I hoped it would be. I had chills more times than I can count! It was an extremely fast, easy, and entertaining read - one that I sincerely hope is as accurate as it sounds. Within this book, you'll find a very innocent and honest take on heaven, Jesus, God - and anything related, as well as reassurance, hope, and information that may be comforting to any mother that's lost a child they never got to know. Whether you believe or not, it's a heartwarming story that I think any parent can benefit from reading!

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