Monthly Archives: June 2012

Kangoo Shoes and Me

I’m still listening to the Born to Run audiobook, and while it hasn’t really inspired my running regime, I have enjoyed it. Yesterday I got to a part where there is a big discussion about barefoot running.

The talk centers around one guy, Barefoot Ted, and what led him to his barefoot ways. It involves back pain while running and a long search for the solution. Along the way he tried various fancy shoes, from top of the line sneakers to Kangoo shoes from Sweden.

Wait, what?

What are Kangoo shoes, you ask? Well, it turns out, I know firsthand just what the deal is with Kangoo shoes. That’s because my friends and I bought a Groupon for a Kangoo Hip Hop Dance class a few months ago. If you’re still not sure what that means (and why should you be since I haven’t explained it at all), perhaps you should just watch this video:

That’s basically what we did for an hour. Only a lot less graceful. Think less coordination, but more laughter. Needless to say, I can understand why Kangoo shoes were not the answer Barefoot Ted was looking for.

However, that in no way means I’m ready to run sans shoes out in the wilds of New York or anywhere for that matter. It’s simply to demonstrate a connection to my audiobook and a certain level of cheapness that will convince me to take almost any fitness class if the price is right.

Preparing to Cry

The Deep End of the OceanAfter reading yesterday’s post, Carley gchatted me (nothing new there). She informed me that, while she hadn’t read Jacquelyn Mitchard’s The Deep End of the Ocean, she had seen the movie. And she had cried. A lot.

Now this isn’t that unusual for Carley. I was roommates with her the summer she read My Sister’s Keeper so I know what an emotional story can do to her.

Still, I’m taking her warning seriously. Before I dive into The Deep End of the Ocean (pun only partially intended), I will prepare for a sobfest. I’ll make sure I’m mascara-free and close to a box of tissues.

The best I can hope for is that they will be satisfying tears and not frustrating tears. That is in Mitchard’s hands.

What Must Come Before The “Next Up”

The Deep End of the OceanAs I just finished a book from my mom’s list, this would be the time I would pick what to read next from those left. But as I researched the remaining options (only 7!), I came upon Jacquelyn Mitchard’s No Time To Wave Goodbye.

I bought this e-book way back in 2010. I didn’t read it then because I discovered that it is actually a sequel to a book called The Deep End of the Ocean. Since then I have skipped over it. However, there’s not that many other books so I can’t keep skipping over it forever. Thus I had a decision to make. Jump right in or step back and read The Deep End of the Ocean first. I’m guessing I could understand No Time To Wave Goodbye on its own, but would it be the full experience? That’s questionable. So I’m going for it. I’m going to read The Deep End of the Ocean. It was apparently the first book chosen for Oprah’s Book Club and it was made into a movie starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Treat Williams in 1999. Plus, I feel like perhaps my mom read The Deep End of the Ocean and liked it if she put the sequel on her to-read list.

I will admit, though , that The Deep End of the Ocean isn’t exactly “next.” First, I will treat myself to Jonathan Tropper’s new book One Last Thing Before I Go. Then I might throw in a work book. Still, The Deep End of the Ocean is next in terms of my mom’s books and it will get its due soon enough.

A Review of Her Last Death

Susanna SonnenbergBack to back posts about Susanna Sonnenberg’s Her Last Death. The proximity suggests that I read the book with superhuman speed but the dates tell the truth. It took a little less than a week, it just fell on a not-so-bloggy week.

Sometimes you’re surprised by a book and sometimes you get exactly what you expected. With Her Last Death it was definitely closer to the latter than the former. I predicted that I might find the memoir about a daughter dealing with her charismatic yet out of control mother a bit over the top, repetitive, and too crazy to be believed. Well there was quite a lot that was over the top, repetitive and too crazy to be believed. So so many drugs, lies, and sexcapades! Much of these instances frustrated me. Yet, some brought the entertainment factor, keeping me reading, hungry for the next outrageous incidence.

Also worth noting is that the memoir is written in a type of stream of consciousness. I too like the stream of consciousness style – it’s how I wrote letters passed in the hallways of high school and I how I frequently talk. However, I do not have a book. In Her Last Death, the stream of consciousness brings the reader from anecdote to anecdote with little to no transition. It can be a bit disorienting.

I think the reason I am slightly skeptical of the veracity of Her Last Death is because of the disclaimer in the beginning. Sonnenberg says that the events are true to the best of her memory, though some things have been changed, and some people are composites. On top of that, it is demonstrated over and over in the book that both Susanna and her mother are adept liars.

Then again, if the events all are true, I’m pretty impressed that Sonnenberg has survived as well as she has. She’s lived a crazy life and lived to tell about it.

Next Up: Her Last Death

Her Last DeathAs I head back to my mom’s list, I’m also getting back on her memoir kick. This time it’s Her Last Death by Susanna Sonnenberg.

Sonnenberg’s website describes the book like this:

Her Last Death begins as the phone rings early one morning in the Montana house where Susanna Sonnenberg lives with her husband and two young sons. Her aunt is calling to tell Susanna her mother is in a coma after a car accident. She might not live. Any daughter would rush the thousands of miles to her mother’s bedside. But Susanna cannot bring herself to go. Her courageous memoir explains why.

Glamorous, charismatic and a compulsive liar, Susanna’s mother seduced everyone who entered her orbit. With outrageous behavior and judgment tinged by drug use, she taught her child the art of sex and the benefits of lying. Susanna struggled to break out of this compelling world, determined, as many daughters are, not to become her mother.

I will say I’m skeptical. I’ve read quite a few memoirs (I blame my mom for many of them) and it now takes a really good one to impress me. Some are over the top, some are repetitive, and some are too crazy to be believed. Her Last Death has the potential to be all three. However, it has been compared in some places to Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle, which I did really appreciate. So there is hope.

In addition, when googling Her Last Death, I noticed that a book blog I read, The Book Lady’s Blog, had reviewed and, seemingly, liked it. I didn’t read her whole post about it because I didn’t want to spoil anything, but I feel a little better knowing she approves.

Now let’s get to it.

The Lover’s Dictionary Complete

The Lover's DictionaryThis weekend, in addition to completing Anita Diamant’s Day After Night, I managed to start and finish The Lover’s Dictionary. I make this out to be a big feat when in fact it took a few hours at most.

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan is this month’s book club selection. It is a love story told entirely through “dictionary” entries. Of course, these definitions are far from Webster approved. Instead, they reveal the tale of a relationship.

I’ve heard gripes from friends that the book is too disjointed and lacking a major plot. This is probably true. However, I don’t mind because I find the story structure great. I love the idea of a book told in a completely different format. It is so clever, and it’s amazing how much you can still learn about this couple even told in this way. Of course, I may be biased because the book contains one of my favorite words ever, “kerfuffle.” Levithan’s definition:

“kerfuffle, n.

From now on, you are only allowed one drink at any of my office parties. One. Preferably beer.”

Such a good word and such a great way to illustrate it.

Still, I’m not exactly sure what we will discuss at book club aside from the book’s format. There isn’t a ton to dissect, but I’m okay with it. We don’t do that much dissecting anyway. It’s just nice to do something a little different.

A Review of Day After Night

Day After NightIf there’s a benefit to getting your wisdom tooth out (besides mashed potatoes and ice cream galore), it’s having the perfect excuse to spend a Friday night watching Downton Abbey and finishing a book.

I think the theme of the last few books on my mom’s list is “better than I thought.” That’s mostly because I have low expectations for them, thus why they’ve been saved until the end.

The only reason I was nervous about reading Anita Diamant’s Day After Night was because I’d heard it didn’t live up to the author’s previous novel The Red Tent. And I believe that to be true. But you know what? I don’t remember that much about The Red Tent so it’s hard for me to really say.

Day After Night is the story of a few women in a British-run displaced persons camp in Israel after WWII. The women have all survived the Holocaust in one way or another only to be detained after trying to enter Israel illegally.

It certainly has its flaws. For much of the book, I found it hard to keep the women straight. Perhaps I didn’t pay enough attention but whenever the perspective changed I had to spend a few pages just trying to remember this girl’s background. Also for much of the book, not a whole lot happens. The women eat and sleep and hide the horrors they endured. In some ways it painted a picture of the atrocities of the Holocaust but it didn’t really move the story forward. At the end, though, things pick up speed and you see that there is a point to what’s happening. Not surprisingly, the girls each become more distinct during this time.

I’ve always appreciated Holocaust novels. As horrifying as they are, I think it’s important to keep the stories alive whether in non-fiction or fiction. Day After Night does this and goes one step further. It shows that surviving alone wasn’t enough. The question then became, now what?