Monthly Archives: May 2012

Overseas Is Over

OverseasApparently all it takes is a strict deadline to kick my reading into gear. I finished Beatriz Williams’ Overseas a whopping two days before it is due back to the library.

My feelings on the book are mixed. For one thing, time travel makes my head hurt. Just trying to figure out the logistics causes the room to start spinning for me. And it doesn’t seem like Beatriz herself spent all that much time trying to figure out the logistics either. But fine, I can suspend disbelief.

My next opinion might be an unpopular one, but I saw some similarities between Overseas and Fifty Shades of Grey. Stay with me here. Overseas isn’t kinky or dirty. And the writing is much better… like worlds better. However, a similar rich guy, average girl dynamic exists. And both share a love of old-fashioned endearments. Of course, they make a lot more sense in Overseas than Fifty Shades of Grey considering the main character is actually from the early 1900s.

Anyway, in the end these are all just minor quibbles. I found Overseas a fast, enjoyable read. I love a good whirlwind love story. It’s fun to lose yourself in the romance. You just can’t think too hard about it.

And now that the pressure is off, I have time to move on to So You Think You Can Dance episodes Anita Diamant’s Day After Night. Well, after this one more So You Think You Can Dance episode.

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Deadlines Deadlines Deadlines

New York Public LibraryI’ve mentioned many times on this blog how I need to start going to the library. I applied for a library card which I received three years ago (oops!), but have never activated. But I’m starting to remember one of the drawbacks to libraries… There’s so much pressure!

Let me go rewind to say that I had a very busy weekend. It was a very fun but very busy weekend. There was a trip to Long Island complete with a pool, a BBQ, and a crashed party to watch fireworks. There was a full day of fun festivities for Andrew’s birthday. And there was a friend from out of town and lots of walking to show off my city. What all that means is very little time for reading. I didn’t miss it because I was having such a great time.

Then came the realization that the book I’m reading, Overseas, comes with a deadline. I borrowed it from a friend who had borrowed it from the library. The book is due back at the library this Friday. This means I need to read it, like, now. I haven’t felt this much pressure to finish a book since I was in college and cramming for class. It’s a good thing I’m liking the book!

I’ve already wasted too much reading time writing this post. I’ll be back when I’m done!

Overseas Jumps The Queue

OverseasI had a plan. As soon as I finished the current book for work I was reading, I would pick up Anita Diamant’s Day After Night and then go for the book club book. Then I went and ruined the plan.

In the last few weeks, I’ve seen this new book Overseas by Beatriz Williams mentioned everywhere. It’s popped up on tons of book blogs and all over the Twitterverse.

Williams’ website describes the book like this:

Amiens, France, 1916: Captain Julian Ashford, a British officer in the trenches of the Western Front, is waylaid in the town square by Kate, a beautiful young American. Julian’s never seen her before, but she has information about the reconnaissance mission he’s about to embark on. Who is she, and why did she track him down in Amiens?

New York, 2007: A young Wall Street analyst, Kate Wilson learned to rely on logic and cynicism. So why does she fall so desperately in love with Julian Laurence, a handsome British billionaire with a mysterious past?

What she doesn’t know is that he has been waiting for her… the enchanting woman who emerged from the shadows of the Great War to save his life.

Not exactly my thing (a little too implausible for my tastes), but the reviews were mostly raves. I made a note that it seemed interesting, added it to my TBR list, and moved on with my life.

Then yesterday, my coworker finished the book and we started to discuss it. I asked if I could borrow it some time. It turns out she had taken it out of the library. (Yes, I still plan on getting myself to the library one of these days.) However, the book isn’t due back for another week so she lent it to me on the condition that I read it… and fast.

So, sorry about that Anita. Beatriz beat you to it. “It” being my eyeballs and my reading attention. You’ll have your time too.

The Birth of a Book

In the grand tradition of me posting things that have already been all over the internet weeks ago, I present to you this awesome graphic of How a Book is Born from the blog of Weldon Owen. It is funny, it is sort of true, and it is so easy to blog about that I can go spend the rest of the time I would spend on this post reading instead. Everyone wins!

How a Book Is Born

Next Up: Day After Night

Day After NightNow that I’ve finished The Next Thing On My List, it’s time to pick the next thing on my list. Okay, okay, I promise that’s the last time I will make that joke.

I’ve chosen to read Anita Diamant’s Day After Night. I had been putting off reading this one because word on the street is that it doesn’t live up to the author’s other novel, The Red Tent.

Fortunately, although I read The Red Tent on my mom’s recommendation, that was years ago and I have book amnesia. I hardly remember it at all. Normally this would be upsetting, but in this case I think it’s a plus. Now I can go into Day After Night with a clean slate. It is described as such:

Day After Night is based on the extraordinary true story of the October 1945 rescue of more than two hundred prisoners from the Atlit internment camp, a prison for “illegal” immigrants run by the British military near the Mediterranean coast south of Haifa. The story is told through the eyes of four young women at the camp who survived the Holocaust: Shayndel, a Polish Zionist; Leonie, a Parisian beauty; Tedi, a hidden Dutch Jew; and Zorah, a concentration camp survivor. Haunted by unspeakable memories and losses, afraid to hope, the four of them find salvation in the bonds of friendship and shared experience even as they confront the challenge of re-creating themselves in a strange new country.

Now let’s see how this goes…

The Giver’s Still Got It

The GiverAs I mentioned, I am not a re-reader so I was a little nervous about reading Lois Lowry’s The Giver again. I had this memory of loving it, and I was afraid I’d ruin that.

From the title of this post you can see that that fear was unfounded. Fifteen years after I first read it and The Giver still delivers the literary goods.

The one thing that did suprise me was how short the book really is. In my mind, The Giver was long and complicated. So much happened and so much had to be explained. But in reality, all that complex events are much less drawn out then I remember. It moves quickly and the secrets unfold swiftly. There’s hardly any time to feel anxious about the outcome because it’s there before you know it! I guess these perceptions really do change with age.

What hasn’t changed is how impressed I am with the story. As a coworker explained, Lois Lowry was doing dystopia well before dystopia was the cool thing to do. You hear that Hunger Games? As simplified as the concepts are, I still love the plot. And the ending leaves you wanting more.

Of course, now I know there is more. At least two sequels I believe. However, I prefer to retain my childlike wonder at the end, and the book in general, which I won’t change with a sequel.

[Update: Upon Wikipedia-ing, I have learned that the next novel in the trilogy doesn’t continue the story of the main character from The Giver, Jonas. On one hand, this is for the best since the way The Giver ends is so right. On the other hand, damn I wanted to know what would happen next!]

Okay, maybe I will search Wikipedia for a clue as to what happens. But other than that, I’m sticking with the original.

The Giver Gives Again

The GiverI don’t re-read books… well, not on purpose anyway. There was that one time where I re-read Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle, but that was totally an accident. I didn’t remember that I’d already read it.

Despite my anti-re-read policy, I find myself reading a book for the second time. And it’s completely on purpose!

Book Expo America, or BEA as it is called, is a huge book conference in June. It takes place in the far corners of the universe called the Javits Center and features tons of publisher booths, author events, book signings, and more. One of my favorite parts is the author breakfasts. Even though this requires me being up and at the Javits Center before the crack of dawn (okay, 8am is hardly the crack of dawn but humor me), last year I found it to be very worth it. I got to hear my favorite, Mindy Kaling, speak as well as Diane Keaton, Charlaine Harris, and Jeffrey Eugenides. This year I’m doubling my fun by going to two breakfasts. I will hear everyone from Michael Chabon (love me some Kavalier and Clay!), JR Moehringer (hello, a book from my mom’s list), John Green, and Lois Lowry present.

Lois Lowry is a pretty big deal. She’s won two Newberry Medals – one for Number The Stars and one for The Giver. While I’ve read and liked both, it is The Giver that’s stuck with me. At least 15 years after reading it, I don’t remember much about the plot except the feeling that I loved it.

It turns out that since I read The Giver in elementary school there has been a sequel or two. I don’t know how I feel about that but I don’t think I like it. However, it still can’t quite taint my adoration for the original. In order to prepare for the big event of seeing Lowry in the flesh, I’ve decided to break my re-read rule.

Yesterday I started reading The Giver all over again. I’m already 25% through with the novel and it’s not hard to remember why I love it. Maybe this re-reading thing isn’t so bad. As long as it’s only done once every 15 years.