Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Weird Sisters

By: Eleanor Brown
Rating: 4 stars

Who Should Read this Book: Anyone who has found they feeling slightly loss in this crazy world will appreciate what the main characters are going through in this book. It’s a heartfelt story and can provide good insight into life’s lessons.

Rose, Bean, and Cordy Andreas are three sisters who “love each other, but just don’t like each other very much.” They are vastly different, while incredibly similar. All three venture back to the house they grew up in Barnwell when they become unlucky in life. While living at home again with their Shakespearean talking father and kind, loving mother who is battling breast cancer, the three Andreas sisters must learn to like each other while also learning to love themselves. 

This was a heartwarming book, and I definitely saw myself relating to each sister’s insecurity in one way or another. All three of the girls are struggling with accepting themselves and each one has a secret that is hard for them to come clean to. Rose is struggling with her fiancĂ© and the fact that they may want different things, Bean is coming back from New York with mounds of debt and a low self-esteem, and Cordy struggles with being pregnant and how her drifting from place to place isn’t getting her anywhere anymore. 

There were times when I wanted the storyline to move a bit faster, but the drama that took place among the characters was catching and I found myself wanting to read faster to find out what was going to happen. I didn’t have any sisters growing up, but I can just imagine the ups and downs, the jealousy, and the connections that this family had. I related to the fact that the Andreas family escaped into reading whenever life became too hard and thought it was hilarious how the father always spoke through quoting a Shakespearean play when trying to give his daughters advice. The family dynamic is very rich and brilliant. I ended up borrowing the book from the library, but I wish I had bought it because I think that it would be a good book to have for friends that might need a good feeling read that they can relate to when life gets rough.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like...


It’s that time of year again! Dad climbs up on the roof to hang twinkle lights, Mom pulls out boxes upon boxes of decorations, and the malls seem to have never-ending lines at the checkout. The holidays are a time for cocktail parties, Santa Claus, the scent of pine, and those finals that determine the letter that will appear on a student’s transcript. It’s a time of family, of wrapping packages in bright, colorful wrapping paper, of giving to others in need, and of sitting by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa watching the snow fall outside….

I usually get through at least one good book each year when I go home to visit the family. My goal is usually to get two books in over the holiday, but I find more often than not that only one new book is completed since I re-read one particular book each year without hesitation. That book is…drum roll please…Pride and Prejudice. Yes, some of you may think that this is clichĂ©, but I have come to symbolize it with my Christmas, and as I am one for tradition, this is one I don’t intend to break anytime soon. For those out there who don’t have that one book that they just can’t stand to go a year without reading, I have come up with a small list of books for whatever mood you happen to be in this season. Enjoy!

The Great Gatsby            By: F. Scott Fitzgerald
This book has it all, love, betrayal, suspense, and money set in the Jazz Age. I find each time I read it I go through all of the same emotions even though I know what is going to happen. 

Bossypants         By: Tina Fey
I mean, come on, the woman is hysterical. Any woman who can write a bunch of embarrassing moments of herself down, to address the haters who write her mean emails, and throw her daughter a Peter Pan themed birthday while also doing “30 Rock” and SNL on the same weekend, has my vote!

These Things Hidden       By: Heather Gudenkauf
I still have yet to fully come out of the shock I got from reading this book. Allison gets out of prison after 5 years to try and come back to her old life to make amends. Her sister, Brynn, wants nothing to do with her, her parents won’t talk to her, and Allison is just trying to figure out how to pick of the pieces of her life. There is more at stake than anyone realizes though. And secrets kept have the potential to change the lives of everyone forever.

The Weird Sisters              By: Eleanor Brown
Rose, Bean, and Cordy Andreas are three sisters who “love each other, but just don’t like each other very much.”All three venture back to the house they grew up in Barnwell when they become unlucky in life. This is a heartwarming story, full of struggles, lessons, and love. The three Andreas sisters find they must learn to like each other, while also learning to love themselves. 

One for the Money (Stephanie Plum series)         By: Janet Evanovich
This is a quick read, but will leave you wanting to go out and buy the next in the series. Don’t worry, you will definitely have plenty of reading material if you choose this series; the author has already written 19 books! The books follow a bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum, in New Jersey who seems to always find herself in trouble. Along with her nosy, hilarious family, a cop that she can’t seem to say “no” to, and friends in all corners of life, Stephanie never seems to have a dull moment!

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Know it All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World

By: A.J. Jacobs

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Who Should Read This Book: If you have a thirst for knowledge of random facts and also need a good laugh, this book is for you. Jacobs’ attitude towards life and outlook on all things Britannica is quite hilarious and well written.

A.J. Jacobs decides to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. He literally reads word for word, A to Z, start to finish. Jacobs gets the idea for his quest to become the smartest man from his dad who had tried once and gave up before even getting half way through. This book follows Jacobs journey step by step, from having his friends tell him he is insane, to his interview with Alex Trebek from Jeopardy, his stint on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and his awkwardness with other people when stating facts that no one else would have dreamed of knowing.

My Thoughts:
I found myself laughing out loud quite a few times while reading this book. One gentleman on the metro I was riding wanted to know what was so funny, and I constantly kept interrupting my roommate in whatever she was doing so I could read a passage I thought she might find interesting or funny. Reading this book is best described as a miniature encyclopedia. Jacobs dedicates each chapter to the letter of the alphabet he is reading, which provides him the ability to include various random facts or incorporate stories of what was going on in his life at that time. 

One of the aspects of the book that I liked the most was how much I learned. I found myself marking pages with sticky tabs so that I could go back later on and read them again. I enjoyed the way that Jacobs broke down each topic by stating the term he was reading in the Britannica and then giving the synopsis of whatever it was while including his own opinion and how it was incorporated into his life. For example, did you know that the phrase “going berserk” came from the Middle Ages when Savage Norse soldiers went into battled naked? Or how about this fact: the reason that a marathon is 26 miles is because back in 1908 the Brits Olympic committee wanted the run to go from Windsor Castle to the Royal Box in London Stadium. 

Near the end of the book I was a little overwhelmed with all of the information. I found myself wanting it to end because I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to hold any more knowledge, which made me 100 times more impressed with Jacobs who actually read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. A reader has to be ready and want to try and shove hundreds of facts in their head, but it is definitely worth it. This book was filled with random facts that the reader won’t remember in 20 minutes to ones that they will find themselves quoting or stating matter-of-factly at dinner parties years from now.