Saturday, March 31, 2012

Diana Her True Story By Andrew Morton

I finished Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words. This was a reread and it's been years since I picked it up. This book is the version that was published after Princess Diana's death and includes a new ending documenting her death and a section which includes material and biographical information of her life that she gave to Andrew Morton specifically for this book. This is the closest thing we'll ever have of an autobiography from Princess Diana.

While the book is a bit of a "tell all" and published with her consent and goal of getting "released" from the Royal family and given a divorce, it still is a fascinating story of Princess Diana's life and troubled marriage and divorce to HRH, The Prince of Wales.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Save The Library And Save Money!

I'm traveling in the states and here is the damage from a recent trip to a local library where they sell used books to help support the library. Total cost, $3.20. The books are all in excellent condition.


Save paper/recycling

Supporting the local library

SAVE MONEY! (Most of these books are on my "to read" list and now I own them!)

I also donated an extra $5.00 to the library. Why not? We need our libraries and they had a great influence on my love of reading!


Travel Reading Updates

I'm still traveling, so I have not had time to blog. Here's a quick update on the books I finished this past weekend:

She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb: A wonderful, yet depressing story about a girl growing up and dealing with rape, abandonment and an overeating disorder.

Another View by Rosamund Pilcher: If you can't hop on a plane to England, read one of Rosamund's books. They make you want to sit inside on a rainy day and have a cup of tea while you read. That's what I did as I read this one!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Catching Up

I've had a whirlwind week and I have not been able to post regularly. I have been able to read a lot so here's the highlights:

I finished The Poisonwood Bible. This is one of my favorite books. A disgruntled Baptist missionary takes his wife and daughters into the Congo. How could anything possibly go right?

I greatly enjoyed a second reading of The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown. I absolutely love this "non" self help book.

I ran through an airport and grabbed, The Girl King. by Meg Clothier. This book is a novel based on the famous Georgian Queen Tamara. If you're tired of Tudor novels and need something new and juicy, this book is for you. I really liked it.

This morning I cried as I finished Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. This novel is about a little boy who is coming to terms with his father's death. His father died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks and it is a brilliantly written book that should be read by every American.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Yes, yes, well I'm working my way through the ever popular The Hunger Games Trilogy Seeing that the books are still topping Amazon's best selling lists, everyone else in the world is reading them too.

Honestly, if they were not so popular, I'm not sure I would have picked up these books. I don't read a lot of Young Adult but occasionally dip my foot in the waters. Since these books were so popular, I decided to try them to see what the fuss was about.

I love the dystopian world Ms. Collins has created and it's fantastical qualities and the well told storyline is appealing. I did find myself so stressed out reading The Hunger Games
that I just wanted it to be over. It's really horrific when you think about it. Children killing children and this is in a world where it's okay and somehow I felt that as I was "enjoying" the book, I was taking part in it as well. It left me with an eerie, creepy feeling.

I was hoping that Catching Fire would be about Katniss mentoring someone and was enjoying the book, even hoping it might really turn into Katniss, Peeta and Gale leading their family and friends into the wilderness outside of District 12 and how they survived. That would have been very interesting to me so I was disappointed when everyone went back into the arena. I had to go with them and found the whole, "quell, back in the arena storyline" repetitious.

Of course, now I'm hooked into finding out what happened to District 12 and what kind of rebellion is going on! I have the third book but will take a little break from the intensity and pick it up later.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Books That Find You

I've been reading all my life and it's interesting to look back and realize that you don't choose some books, some books choose you.

Have you ever had that happen to you? A book that just speaks to your personal situation that you are going through, falls into your hands at just the right time.

This happened to me for the first time the summer when I was nine years old. I was already reading at a high school level and my grandmother found a box of books in her alley that someone had left when they had moved away. She drug the box into the garage and knowing how I inhaled books, told me to take whatever ones I wanted. They were adult books and I was enthralled by being able to go through the box and pick and choose the ones I wanted.

One of the books appealed to me more as it seemed to be a child's book. It was called, "The Diary of Anne Frank" and the cover showed a photo of a twelve year old girl. That was very interesting to me. I opened it up and began to read it.

I had already read, "When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit" so I was somewhat familiar with the story of a man named Hitler who wanted to kill Jews and made many people flee their country to save their lives. The story of Anne hiding in an attic and telling the story of her experience living with her family seemed romantic and exciting.

I eagerly read through it not realizing that I was reading a read diary of a real girl and not a work of fiction. I still didn't understand the difference.

The end of the book was abrupt and I turned the last page in confusion not understanding why it did not end with Anne and her family leaving the attic and getting on with real life again.

Then I found the back page which said that Anne and most of her family were captured and killed in a concentration camp. I was in total shock that this Anne I had been reading about who was so real to me was killed.

Suddenly, I understood the difference between a book of fiction and a biography and that real life did not always have happy endings.

I was very sad and the story of Anne in the attic has stayed with me all my life. I am so glad that I met Anne when I was a child and could read her diary with the innocence that she wrote it and did not read the book for the first time as an adult already understanding the reality of what had happened to her.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Diana's Nightmare - The Family

Does the world need another book about the dysfunctional British Royal Family? Apparently it does. Do I need to read another book about the dysfunctional British Royal Family? No, but I did and I truly don't regret it even though a lot of what is in this book has been tossed around and is basically regurgitated into a coherent thesis for why Princess Diana had such a hard time of it.

I can break it down for you:

1. She married a man who was in love with another woman and too old for her.

2. The woman her husband was in love with was in a marriage of convenience and fed information about her lover's wife to the newspapers

3. Her mother in law seems to not be very highly relational with anyone other than her late mother and sister.

4. Her father in law is.....well......lives to the beat of his own drum.

5. Her father has such a stiff upper lip that he could no way mother his children after his wife left him and denied his ex wife custody/a relationship with her own children.

6. Her mother committed adultery and left her children and never seemed to emotionally bond with them ever again.

7. Her older sister married the Queen's private secretary so of course could never side with Diana or show her support.

8. Her other sister never seemed to be in the picture at all.

9. Her brother left his wife when she was pregnant for a woman he loved before he married his wife and eventually left his wife for her.

That's just the main family, the book also discusses, friends, Prince Charles brothers and the infamous "Fergie."

I honestly don't think that Princess Diana was in the least bit mentally ill if you take a look at what she had to deal with in her life. Her parent's divorce was traumatic for her. She married too young and barely knew her husband. She then had to deal with the stress of being wife to the heir of the throne. If you look at the odd personalities of those close to her and the lack of emotional support she received from her family, anyone would have a difficult time. The fact that her two children have turned out as well as they have is to me a testimony that she was probably the most stable of anyone in her family.

This book is chock full of Royal information so if you haven't read a book on the Royal family and are interested in their personal quirks, I highly recommend it. It's very well written.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Hunger Games Trailer

I found The Hunger Games trailer on youtube. Are you ready for this movie? It does look like it will be good!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Oprah - Kitty Kelley

If someone told you that Kitty Kelley was writing your biography would you be happy? Probably not, because even though Kitty's biographies make fun beach reads that we all secretly gobble down, they are always "unauthorized" and fearless when it comes to setting the record straight. While Kitty's books are usually a gossipy romp through a celebrities life, Oprah: A Biography
is more like a jet fuel induced rocket rushing to space.

Kitty focuses on interviews with Oprah's father and relatives all who have little to do with her current life and while they may be able to talk about her past life, they seem to lack the understanding of the woman she's become. Kitty races through Oprah quotes so fast that they are more like reading a list than having any context to the complicated and intelligent Oprah Winfrey. Oprah is funny. Sometimes her humorous quotes are taken out of context.

No matter what you think about Oprah, (and lets face it, she has sort of gone off the New Age, "I'm so rich, I don't know what to do with all this money" heebie jeebie cliff.) the book cannot truly tear her down off her pedestal. For those of us who grew up watching her, there is a sense of understanding that Oprah has always been a "work in progress" and the fact she loves to continue to learn and grow is one of her greatest assets. No one can deny that Oprah has earned her wealth, worked hard to improve her skills and dreamed and set goals for her life that most of us average people cannot or do not know how to do. The woman is extremely generous and her humanitarian works alone could probably be the subject of a book in itself. In the end, Oprah is always inspiring, always transcending stereotypes of race, gender and looks. She is always brilliant. She is always Oprah.

I hope that one day Oprah writes her own autobiography or someone writes a fair and balanced definitive tome on her life. She deserves it.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Quotable Book Quotes

"What I've learned from my philanthropic giving is that unless you can create sustainability, then it's a waste." - Oprah Winfrey, "Oprah" by Kitty Kelly

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

I first read The Handmaid's Tale cough, cough, years ago and it was the book that made me fall in love with the dystopian genre and that in itself was interesting to me because I don't read a lot of science fiction or fantasy and these books do border on those genres.

The Handmaid's Tale is set in a future theocratic/communistic society, (That's technically an oxymoron but it's the best way to describe the setting of the book.) and focuses on the life experiences of a handmaid adjusting to the new theocratic society. A Handmaid is a woman whose only role in society is to procreate for a sterile couple. It also documents the different roles that other women have been compartmentalized into and their frustrations living as nothing more than a symbol.

Oh the many ways we could tear this book apart in light of women's roles in society today.

I found this read through to be very depressing and it seemed more dark than I remember. Or maybe I'm just finding dystopian books more depressing than I used to find them. I loved The Hunger Games but I did find it rather depressing and tense as well. I have intentionally put off reading the 2nd and 3rd books even though I have them on my kindle.