2 books in 4 days

I go through periods where I will read everything I can get my hands on and then others I’ll go months without picking up a book.  I’d been in one of those funks for the last few months (the last book I read was a reread of Hunger Games trilogy before the most recent movie…so November?).  After a book sale at a local library last week, I finally picked up a new books.  And then immediately followed that with another.

Beneath a Marble Sky: a Love Story by John Shors

The story follows Princess Jahanara, daughter of the Emperor of 17th century Hindustan.  After her mother tragically dies, her father commissions the building of the Taj Mahal.  She meets and falls in love with the architect while fighting between her brothers threatens to tear the empire apart.

7 stars out of 10.  Very enjoyable and easy to read.  Also, it is the first historical fiction story I’ve read to take place in this time period and area and it was very intriguing to read something a bit outside my usual.

The Anatomy of Deception: a Novel of Suspense by Lawrence Goldstone

I followed a book rather out of the norm from me with a book that’s a bit closer to home.  A thriller that takes place in Philadelphia, right across the bridge from my home in South Jersey.  At the end of the 19th century, Dr. Carroll studies under a leading professor in the field, Dr. Osler.  When the mysterious death of a young woman is followed by the murder of a coworker, Dr. Carroll uses logic and medicine to uncover a scandal.

6 stars out of 10.  It was fine, okay.  Kept me guessing and interested enough to finish reading in less than 48 hours.  I’m not sure I’d ready again though.

One note that includes minimal spoilers and is pretty much a tangent on an unrelated and often controversial topic.  When investigating Dr. Turk’s murder, Dr. Carroll suspects that he is dealing drugs and/or performing illegal operations on women.  While it is not until the end of the book that we begin to discover what Dr. Turk was involved in prior to his death, it is referenced several times how easily women died or simply disappeared following complications in illegal surgeries such as these, these abortions.  Fictional accounts like this, like Penny in Dirty Dancing, like the statistics of real living women which inspires fiction like this, is why I’m Pro Choice.  My own spiritual beliefs aside, I know I come from a place with a lot of privilege, both a stable income and support system that would help me should I find myself in that situation.  But many, many women were desperate enough to seek out an illegal surgery to fix it because they saw no other option, and many died for that decision.  I firmly believe that should never happen again, not while it can be performed relatively safely and in an appropriate manner.

Alright that’s my rant for the day.  I couldn’t stop thinking of this as I read through the book and just had to say it somewhere.

Book Sale 2.0

I talked before about this awesome book sale at this library near me.  4 day book sale and on the final day (Saturday), it’s $5 for a bag of books- $5 for whatever you can fit in a paper bag.  In less than an hour, I filled up my bag with a whole bunch of goodies.

Here’s what awesomeness I got: (in alphabetical order by author)

– Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

– The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

– Deception Point by Dan Brown

– I Can’t Believe My Dog Did That! by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen & Jennifer Quasha

– The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier

– Murder in the Senate by Senator William S. Cohen and Thomas B. Allen

– Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

– Waking Raphael by Leslie Forbes

– The Killing Hour by Lisa Gardner

– The Color of Law by Mark Gimenez

– The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano

– Sammy’s Hill by Kristin Gore

– The Brethren by John Grisham

– The Second Silence by Eileen Goudge

– Envy by Kathryn Harrison

– The Raising by Laura Kasischke

– Where Dreams Begin by Lisa Kleypas

– Caribbean by James A. Michener

– The Constantine Conspiracy by Gary E. Parker

– World Religions edited by Geoffrey Parrinder

– The Summer House Cookbook by Debra Ponzek and Geralyn Delaney Graham

– Private Scandals by Nora Roberts

– Summer Pleasures by Nora Roberts

– Turning the Tables by Rita Rudner

– The Seven Deadly Sins by Solomon Schimmel

– The ACLU vs America by Alan Sears and Craig Osten

– A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

– Restless in the Grave by Dana Stabenow

– The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

– Rose Cottage by Mary Stewart

– The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America by Ray Suarez

– Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville

– The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

At about $0.15 per book, I’m so excited!

My Sister’s Keeper

Jodi Picoult is pretty high up there on the list of my favorite authors.  Despite the popularity of this particular book and that there was a movie based on it, I just finished reading My Sister’s Keeper for the first time. Picoult, yet again, does not disappoint.

The Jodi Picoult books I’ve read all deal with a court case, an ethical dilemma that stretches beyond the lawyers and jury and into the characters. In My Sister’s Keeper, Kate has leukemia and her parents, like any parents in that situation, will do anything to keep their daughter alive. Including conceiving younger daughter, Anna, who at 13 is asked to donate a kidney, after already donating stem cells, blood, and bone marrow.  Anna makes a decision to petition for medical emancipation, to give herself the right to make her own decisions about her health when her parents are torn between their two daughters.  Throw in a delinquent older brother, a lawyer with a medical problem, and a guardian who used to date the lawyer for good measure and you’ve got quite the story.

There’s a “WSP reader’s club guide” at the back that I was planning on typing about.  After starting several times, I’ve decided against it.

The questions most ask about how I would act in the situations the family faces and if they made the right decisions.  I can’t imagine how I would handle any of this if I was in this situation because it is one of those awful circumstances you just hope will never happen to those you care about.  You don’t know how you’re respond until you get there.

One of the common themes throughout the book is that there is no right answer.  Do you let the younger sister make a decision for herself and her body even if her answer costs her older sister her life? Do you force the younger sister to donate something for the greater good of her family even if it psychologically harms her? There’s no right answer for this family, in this and numerous of the other problems they face.  They make the decisions they think is best and that’s really all you can do.

The Hunger Games

I first read The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins just before the first movie came out in 2012.  I started reading The Hunger Games Saturday evening and in less than 24 hours finished the three books.  Afterwards I felt exhausted, hyper, shaky; I felt like a powerful drug was working it’s way out of my system.

Last week, I reread the three before the Catching Fire movie came out, which started playing in United States theaters on Friday, November 22.

I could talk at length about these books and the movie adaptations but since it’s been a few days since I read them, I don’t have anything right in foreground to discuss.

But something about this reread has stuck with me.  Having gone directly from Fifty Shades of Grey to The Hunger Games, I was really struck by the differences between Ana Steele and Katniss Everdeen.  As I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before, one of the most annoying things about Ana is her complete dependence on Christian for well… everything.  Katniss though- Katniss is such a BAMF.  Yeah she’s got the two guys who love her but she says *repeatedly* that she can’t think about that now.  Katniss has got bigger fish to fry than daydreaming about who to marry and how to make him happy.   When Ana ends things with Christian, she gets severely depressed and stops eating.  Katniss endures through far more traumatic experiences and while she has moments of what I’d consider severe PTSD (and really, who could blame her?), she survives.

I loved Katniss as a character from my first read through but giving the timing of this, her strength was really that must clearer in comparison.

Fifty Shades of People who Murmur Too Much

I learned today that my nook can find certain words or phrases. Never had need to use that before so this was a recent discovery.  And with the recent Fifty Shades post, I just had to see:

In Fifty Shades of Grey, there are 199 times when someone murmurs.
Fifty Shades Darker has 278.
Fifty Shades Freed says it 293.

This gives us a three book total of 770 times where someone is murmuring.  Seven. hundred. and. seventy. times.

This is literally ridiculous.

E. L. James has a net worth of $60 million.  That’s nearly $78,000 for every instance of murmuring.

I might be sick.

Fifty Shades of Grey and then Some

(I’m not sure if I have to post this warning – but the Fifty Shades of Grey book series is not too appropriate for the workplace or young eyes. No guarantees I won’t talk about some iffy stuff in relations to that.  I’m trying to figure out how the “more” option works to keep any spoilers of questionable material beneath a warning but it’s not working out too well for me and I’ll get it fixed as soon as I can)

A Good Book Has No Ending.

Like most people, I bought a case for my Nook when I got the ereader. The above quote is imprinted on my particular case. It was the first time I’d seen the quote and loved it immediately. Well with my current book – I’ve come to the realization that while a good book has no ending, sometimes a bad book doesn’t either.

This is the third time I’ve read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. When there was all the hype about the series and it first became popular, I read through all three books twice – I typically do that with a series because I typically enjoy rereading the earlier books and seeing how that connects with the ending. I could not get into them and didn’t particular enjoy the reading but all those books sales can’t be wrong, can they?

I decided to reread them when I saw the announcement of who will be playing one of the main characters – Christian Grey – in the movie version. It’s Jamie Dornan, who I pretty much fell in love with as the Huntsman/Sheriff Graham in Season 1 of ABC’s Once Upon a Time. So I thought ‘let’s reread it. Maybe I’ll like it better when mashing Jamie Dornan with Christian Grey’. Google it. Because seriously – who could not love a cutie patutie like him?

Yeah. It didn’t help.

I could probably rant for pages and pages on end about every issue I have with this trilogy. I started to bookmark every page that had something that I took issue with and very quickly nearly every page was marked. Let me try and summarize it as best as possible.

Continue reading

Book Sale

Today there was a book sale at a library a few towns over.  The sale started Wednesday and since today’s the last day, there’s a special.  $5 for a full paper bag full of however many books you can fit.  I am so freakin ecstatic about this that I wanted to show off all I got for just $5!!!

1) The Original Illustrated Arthur Conan Doyle – picked up because I think my dad would really like that as part of his Christmas gift.
2) Patterns in Comparative Religion by Mircea Eliade – It’s recently come to my attention that I know very very little about world religions and want to be a more informed person about what beliefs are in the world.
3) The Founders and the Classics by Carl J. Richard – tagline: “Greece, Rome, and the American Enlightenment”.  My favorite college class was Western Political Thought which talked at length about Grecian and Roman political theories and since the class took place in America – obviously made the connections between those theories and the Americans founders. Figured a book on that subject couldn’t hurt.
4) Andersen’s Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen – I really want to read the Grimm versions of fairy tales because I hear they’re far darker than the Disney-fied versions.  I didn’t see any Grimm books in the sale so might as well start with Andersen to see if his are similarly vastly different than the tales I recognize from my youth.
5) My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult – I LOVE Jodi Picoult’s books.  I’ve got quite a few of them on my bookshelf/nook currently but I realized I haven’t yet read this one when I saw the movie on sale at a Walmart or whatever.  Definitely been on my must read list.  It was just sitting on top of the pile too – such a win.
6) Portraits of Guilt: The Woman who Profiles the Faces of America’s Deadliest Criminals by Jeanne Boylan – I really enjoy fictional mysteries and crime novels. Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction and an autobiography from a forensic artist could remind me of that.
7) The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and other Terrifying Tales by Robert Louis Stevenson – I’ve never read Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde but have wanted to. A collection with “nine of Stevenson’s best known tales of horror and dark fantasy” seems like a win to me.
8) Women as Candidates in American Politics by Susan J. Carroll – I was a political science major in college who was the secretary of the feminist club, making this a must read.
9) Freakeconomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner – I’ve heard good things about Freakenomics and for 42 cents – why not
10) Take 5: 150 five ingredient recipes by WeightWatchers – my favorite recipes on interest are the ones with limited ingredients because they’re usually cheaper.  I’m a fan of cheaper.
11) Hollywood v America by Michael Medved – caught my eye. no real reason why.
12) Deadly Little Secrets by Kathryn Casey – A ministers wife commits suicide and reveal “shocking history of lies, infidelity, cruelty, and sexual obsession that may have led to a serial predator cloaked in God’s word to commit a murder”.  Totally necessary to read.
Gah I’m so happy about all this 🙂 Can’t wait to start reading ^-^