Monthly Archives: November 2011

Another E-Reader In The Family?

Kindle TouchWe may be getting married soon, but sometimes it’s like I hardly know Andrew. He recently announced that he is in the market for an e-reader. Say what?

I had no idea he had any interest in the gadgets. But now that he does, I’m kind of excited.

While we are still far from being able to share books (something tells me Andrew isn’t interested in… well pretty much anything on my mom’s list), it’s nice to share a technology. We can bond over text size and percentage complete.

He’s looking into the Kindle, which is what I have, but the fancier version, the Touch. And if he buys it and ends up not liking it? New toy for me!

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Next Up: Dark at the Roots

Dark at the RootsAs the numbers on my mom’s list dwindle, the reasoning behind my choices also dwindles. After the fictionalized story of a true life story in My Sister, My Love, I decided to go for a real true life story in Dark at the Roots: A Memoir by Sarah Thyre. I picked it mostly because why not?

Also, I like the cover.

I judge books by their covers.

But in case you are actually curious as to what the book is about, here you go:

As a middle child raised middle class and stuck out in the middle of Louisiana, hilarious writer and actress Sarah Thyre often found her in-between existence far less than desirable. Even from a young age, Sarah found ways of shirking her own hated identity — whether by stealing someone else’s or lying about her own. She changed her name, claimed to be a great outdoorsman, and solicited donations for her favorite charity — which turned out to be, in fact, her. In addition, Sarah lived through the violent struggles between her parents and their often troubled finances, and the stories with which she emerged populate this charming memoir.

A Review of My Sister, My Love

My Sister, My LoveThere’s nothing like a family-centric holiday like Thanksgiving to read a book about the most dysfunctional of all families. My Sister, My Love by Joyce Carol Oates is a novel about a fictional family in which the six-year-old figure skating prodigy daughter is found murdered in her own house. If it sounds familiar it’s because it’s the fictionalized tale of JonBenet Ramsay.

The story is told from the perspective of the Rampike’s son Skyler. He is nine years old when his sister Bliss is killed and, while never formerly accused, there are those who believe Skyler had something to do with the murder. The book is written in the voice of a teenager and so can take some getting used to sort of like when I read Room. However, where I eventually found the narration of Room to be endearing, I never quite got passed the rambling, at times incoherent, narration of My Sister, My Love. One difficulty, which is not at all Oates’ fault, is that the book is full of footnotes. This just doesn’t work in an e-book. The footnotes came at the end of each chapter at which point I no longer remembered what they referred to and it wasn’t really possible to flip back and forth. Alas, a shortcoming in the e-book world.

Moving on… Now I didn’t expect this to be an uplifting read. The subject matter pretty much precludes any idea of warm fuzzy feelings. And yet, it was a bit hard to read at times. Not so much because of the murder, because that doesn’t come until well into the book, but just because life has always seemed to be tricky for the Rampike children despite growing up in an affluent family. I give Oates’ a lot of credit for making it so heartbreaking without being cheaply sentimental. Even as I knew what the outcome would be, I hoped it would somehow turn out differently.

And while I did read all of My Sister, My Love on the trip to Florida, it was long. And it felt long. While the way the book is written gives a lot of insight into the mind of the narrator, Skyler, I think it could have been streamlined and still pack the same emotional punch.  I wanted to know what would happen, but I wanted to know faster. I’m impatient.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Turkey readingBy the time you read this post, I’ll have (hopefully) already flown from New York to Florida, landed, gotten home, and started napping.

I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving. And if it involves a flight – happy reading! And if it involves a long drive – happy audiobooking! And no matter what it involves, happy eating and happy spending time with family!

During my travels, I’ll finally be starting Joyce Carol Oates’ My Sister, My Love. Nothing says heartwarming holiday like fictional family tragedy, am I right?

My Need To Read Tragic Stories

JonBenet on People magazineOn Friday I alluded to my need to read all about sad, missing children stories. It’s part of the reason I decided on My Sister, My Love as my next book from my mom’s list. It’s a fictionalized story about the JonBenet murder. I find these stories heartbreaking, but I can’t stop reading them.

I’ve read way too many articles about the JonBenet case already. The Casey Anthony trial? I read all about it. Even when that child went missing in Portugal, I found myself Googling all the articles. I don’t know why. The articles always leave me outraged.

Of course, most controversial news items capture my attention. I read about the Amanda Knox case for days. And the same with Natalee Holloway. I’m going to chalk up this odd characteristic as curiosity. Yes, let’s go with curiosity and the need to be up to date on current events.

At least it makes me really interested in reading My Sister, My Love.

P.S. Please don’t judge me.

Hunger Games Trailer Reassures Skeptics

I’m going to blame jet lag for not sharing the official Hunger Games trailer with you the day it came out. Especially since I posted the Hunger Games parody video. But it’s never to late too make up for past mistakes, so here it is.

I feel like when the cast was first released and information about the movie was leaking, fans of the series grew skeptical. The film didn’t sound like it could live up to the greatness of the books. While a trailer doesn’t necessarily prove anything, I’m guessing this one made a lot of people feel better. It looks great! It reminded me that I should probably get on that whole reading book #2 thing. Sounds like the perfect Christmas break read.

In the meantime, I’ll just watch the trailer a few more times.

 

Next Up: My Sister, My Love

My Sister, My LoveWhile I wade my way through work manuscripts, I’ve come up for air long enough to consider my next pick from my mom’s list. (The number sure is dwindling, eh?) And the winner is…

My Sister, My Love by Joyce Carol Oates.

I almost brushed it aside because it’s long… really long. And I’ve got a million other books to read. But when do I not?

Then I saw what it was about. It’s more or less a fictional retelling of the JonBenet Ramsay murder (featuring the Rampikes family) told from the perspective of the older brother. I hate to admit, but the true life version of these kinds of cases grab my attention. They’re so horribly sad and yet I can’t look away. More on that later… I have to stretch this into more than one blog post, okay?

Much like with other novels based on real life events (ahem, American Wife), I can’t wait to see what is accurate, what has been changed, and whether there might be some interesting new information revealed. Let’s get to it.