Sunday, July 20, 2014

It's Monday What Are You Reading? #25

It’s Monday What are you Reading? Is a weekly bookish meme where we get together to share what books we’ve read in the past week, what books we’re currently reading and what new books we’re planning on reading in the coming week along with any reviews or interesting posts. It’s hosted by Sheila @One Person’s Journey through a World of Books

Paula Finished Reading:

Simay Finished Reading: 

Currently Reading:

Curiosity Thrilled The Cat by: Sophie Kelly
Death by Darjeeling by: Laura Childs
Gold-Diggers, Gamblers And Guns by: Ellen Mansoor Collier
Clam Wake by: Mary Daheim
A Deadly Grind by: Victoria Hamilton

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review - How Proust Can Change Your Life by: Alain de Botton

Title: How Proust Can Change Your Life
Author: Alain de Button
Publisher: Picador
Pages: 215
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal purchase


'What a marvellous book this is . . . de Botton dissects what [Proust] had to say about friendship, reading, looking carefully, paying attention taking your time, being alive and adds his own delicious commentary. The result is an intoxicating as it is wise, amusing as well as stimulating, and presented in so fresh a fashion as to be unique . . . I could not stop, and now much start all over again.' Brian Masters, " Mail on Sunday"

'De Botton not only has a complete understanding of Proust's life . . . but what is particularly charming about this small, readable book is its tongue-in-cheek benignity, its lightly held erudition and its generous way of lending itself to what is not only the greatest book of the century but also the darkest and the most eccentric' Edmund White, " Observer"

'It contains more human interest and play of fancy than most fiction . . . de Botton, in emphasizing Proust's healing, advisory aspects, does us the service of rereading him on our behalf, providing of that vast sacred lake a sweet and lucid distillation.' John Updike, "New Yorker "

'De Botton's little book is so charming, amusing and sensible that it may even itself change your life.' Allan Massie, "Daily Telegraph"

'This engaging book is one of the most entertaining pieces of literary criticism I have read in a long while.' "Sunday Telegraph"

'A very enjoyable book' Sebastian Faulks

My thoughts:

One of my bookworm friends and I have been saying for a long time that we really should read Swann's Way: In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. We're both after reading the books that are commonly referred to in modern literature and culture, classics that seem to have left a deep impact on everyone who read them. However, this time she read it, but I was defeated by fear-- I wasn't afraid of the book, but I was afraid of how big his sentences are. I must afraid the book still scared me. Yet I was lucky enough to get a copy of How Proust Can Change Your Life, which made me even more curious about Swann's Way: In Search of Lost Time. I will read it when/if I get supersick or if I break a leg or something one day. And if you're going "what the hell?" here's why...

Written  by the crafty Alain de Button, How Proust Can Change Your Life is about Proust's life, his character and thoughts as well as his writing. As I haven't yet read anything of his, know only that he's French and likes to form very long sentences, it was a very enlightening book for me. The whole thing about reading it when I break my leg is actually in reference to something his brother said. He said sickness and broken legs were appropriate situations for reading Proust'a work. Actually, Proust explained everything in such a long way that there are competitions in England titled, "Summarize Proust." Those who take part need to summarize Swann's Way: In Search of Lost Time in 15 seconds tops. The person who had the best score even though he needed more time was Harry Baggot. His summary goes like this:

Proust's novel ostensibly tells of the irrevocability of time lost, of innocence and experience, the reinstatement of extratemporal values and time regained. Ultimately the novel is both optimistic and set within the context of human religious experience. In the first volume, Swann visits--

Now, can you tell me you're not scared?

Proust is mostly portrayed as someone who doesn't go out much and spends most of his days in his bed. However, we see in How Proust Can Change Your Life, we see that he throws unbelievable parties and was known for the very big tips he used to leave at restaurants. I'm actually surprised that this born-wealthy man who figured out he's not the son his father dreamed of wasn't party hopping all the time. Instead, he chose to read, think and write.

In addition, when I learned that he was homosexual, all those things said about him about "not wanting to be among people" made sense. Unfortunately, homosexuals have a hard time in society even today, and I imagine it was even harder back then. What is love if you can't hold hands on the street with the person who means the world to you?

What I'm trying to say is that if you're afraid of reading Proust, aren't sure if he'll be worth the effort or if you need some reassuring like I did, this is the book for you.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review: Butterfly Cove by: Christina Skye

Title: Butterfly Cove
Author: Christina Skye
Publisher: Harlequin
Series: Summer Island #3
Pages: 336
Format: Nook e-book
Source: Purchase


Maybe opposites don't always attract. If they did, architect Olivia Sullivan would have run away with bad boy Rafe Russo when they were teenagers. Instead, Olivia has spent ten years dreaming up designs for a life that hasn't gone the way she planned. Still reeling from her career's implosion and her father's death, Olivia thanks her lucky stars for the support of her three lifelong friends. But this good girl is through sitting on the sidelines. When Rafe returns to the beautiful Oregon coast where they grew up, her former flame ignites a new desire. Now Olivia must take a walk on the wild side to show the new deputy that in matters of love, being bad can feel very good.

Freshly back from Afghanistan, rugged ex-Marine and new deputy Rafe is done breaking laws and hearts. He's always regretted leaving Olivia behind, but now she's after adventure and he'd better proceed with caution. Because wanting her again might be easy, but fighting for a future together will be his biggest risk yet.

My Thoughts: 

In this book Olivia Sullivan has headed home to Summer Island after loosing her job and dealing with the recent death of her father she has come home to go through his things and get the house ready to sell.  What she didn't count on was Rafe Russo being a cop in town and bumping into him so quickly.  What is Rafe doing back and how long is he around for?

Rafe has been the bad boy trying to win the love of a good girl Olivia. He has seen many things since he left Summer Island, but he found himself back in town unsure of his future what it will hold and whether he will ever find a way to fix things with Olivia.

This was a great love story including meeting characters from previous stories.  It was great to watching the chemistry between Rafe and Olivia and seeing what things Olivia will go to to win the bad boy in town.  This book was so quick I was able to read it in one sitting!  Can't wait to see what Christina Skye writes next!

Review: Rosemary and Crime by: Gail Oust

Title: Rosemary and Crime
Author: Gail Oust
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Series: A Spice Shop Mystery
Pages: 288
Format: Nook e-book
Source: Purchase


Murder comes well-seasoned in this charming mystery featuring a smart and spunky new amateur sleuth, small-town Georgia spice shop owner Piper Prescott.

Welcome to Brandywine, Georgia. Piper Prescott has decided to follow her dream and open Spice It Up! A shop that features the best spices from around the world. Her ex-husband predicts the idea will be huge failure but with a little help of her BBF, Reba Mae, and even her ex-mother in-law she is determined to make it a success.

But when she goes to meet with the chef she is featuring at her Grand Opening she finds he is not going to be cooking anything for her or anyone else. She finds him stabbed to death in his kitchen. The new police Chief Wyatt McBride quickly decides Piper makes a perfect prime suspect. Piper and Reba Mae will do anything to change his mind and go to great lengths to prove her innocence even putting their own lives in danger.

My Thoughts:

This was a great book featuring Georgia Spice Shop Owner Piper Prescott who is trying her hand at a spice shop called Spice It Up!  When on her opening day a  chef is found dead, and Piper finds herself in hot water as the main suspect.  She and her friend Reba Mae work to clear Piper's name.

Also Piper is dealing with her daughter who is having her own issues.  With her father having a new girlfriend and not her mother and father together.  Which leads to chaos in this book.

Then there is the new police Chief McBride who is everywhere Piper tries to investigate.  As the book goes on Piper wonders how McBride always knows to show up.  This book was full of so much mystery and intrigue it made you wonder who would figure out the killer's identity Piper or McBride?

Definitely a great book to read the author did a fabulous job with it can't wait to see what she comes up with next!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

It's Monday what are you reading #24

It’s Monday What are you Reading? Is a weekly bookish meme where we get together to share what books we’ve read in the past week, what books we’re currently reading and what new books we’re planning on reading in the coming week along with any reviews or interesting posts. It’s hosted by Sheila @One Person’s Journey through a World of Books.  This week has been super busy with lots of time out in the sun and kids and doggies swimming in the pool.

Paula's Read Books:
This is bad since I haven't done a meme in quite a while I have a ton of books I've read but I'm going to just list this past week so not to confuse anyone thinking I'm a super reader who can read tons in one week.  Here goes:

Simay Read This Week:

Currently Reading: 

Clam Wake by: Mary Daheim

My Favorite Books for July so far are:

What I Plan To Read Next:

There are so many great books that honestly you will have to check back next week to see what I have read.  I have been spending alot of this summer catching up on my tbr list so it doesn't get out of control which it is.  I am hoping to make a huge dent in it this summer.

Review - The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by: Catherynne M. Valente

Title: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Author: Catherynne M. Valente 
Series: Fairyland
Publisher: Corsair
Pages: 328
Format: Paperback 
Source: Personal purchase

Gather up your courage and your wishes; grab a little pinch of luck - and prepare to be swept away, in a ship of your own making, to a land unlike any other. September is a twelve-year-old girl, Somewhat Grown and Somewhat Heartless, and she longs for adventure. So when a Green Wind and a Leopard of Little Breezes invite her to Fairyland - well, of course, she accepts (mightn't you?).

When she gets there, she finds a land in crisis and confusion - crushed by the iron rule of a villainous Marquess - she soon discovers that she alone holds the key to restoring order. Having read enough books to know what a girl with a quest must do, September sets out to Fix Things.

As September forges her way through Fairyland, with a book-loving dragon and a partly human boy named Saturday by her side, she makes many friends and mistakes; loses her shadow, her shoes and her way. But she finds adventure, courage, a rather special Spoon, and a lot more besides . . .

My thoughts:

While reading The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, what I often found myself thinking was "I wish I were September!" I don't even know how to explain to you what a wonderful Fairyland this is without spoiling too much. Add in some Alice in Wonderland, and then some fairy dust from Tinkerbell, then stir that with ink from Neil Gaiman's LAMY fountain pen, boil it with Grimm's Fairytales and once it hits the boiling point, you probably will get Catherynn M. Valente's dream world.

September is a 12-year-old girl from Nebraska. She is very bored of washing the same pink and yellow cups. When he sees her like that, The Green Wind feels sorry for her and takes her away with him. (WARNING: That's when you'll start having jealousy fits). September takes off with him without saying goodbye to her mother and fathers. But then again, we shouldn't judge her because:

all children are Heartless. They have not grown a heart yet, which is why they can climb high trees and say shocking things and leap so very high grown-up hearts flutter in terror. Hearts weigh quite a lot. That is why it takes so long to grow one. But, as in their reading and arithmetic and drawing, different children proceed at different speeds. (It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else.) Some small ones are terrible and fey, Utterly Heartless. Some are dear and sweet and Hardly Heartless At All. September stood very generally in the middle on the day the Green Wind took her, Somewhat Heartless, and Somewhat Grown.”

In Fairyland, September meets witches, befriends a dragon, has to do as the evil hearted Marquees says. She meets a boy named Saturday, who's the son of water. And the narrator, on the other hand, is someone we do not see, someone who fills in certain information for us. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is really one of those books that you need to read and live through yourself since it cannot be put into words other than than the author's own.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Review - Lean In by: Sheryl Sandberg

Title: Lean In: Women, Work and The Will to Lead
Author: Sheryl Sandberg
Publisher: WH Allen
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback 
Source: Personal purchase

Ask most women whether they have the right to equality at work and the answer will be a resounding yes, but ask the same women whether they'd feel confident asking for a raise, a promotion, or equal pay, and some reticence creeps in.

The statistics, although an improvement on previous decades, are certainly not in women's favour - of 197 heads of state, only twenty-two are women. Women hold just 20 percent of seats in parliaments globally, and in the world of big business, a meagre eighteen of the Fortune 500 CEOs are women.

In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg - Facebook COO and one of Fortunemagazine's Most Powerful Women in Business - looks at what women can do to help themselves, and make the small changes in their life that can effect change on a more universal scale. She draws on her own experiences working in some of the world's most successful businesses, as well as academic research, to find practical answers to the problems facing women in the workplace.

Learning to 'lean in' is about tackling the anxieties and preconceptions that stop women reaching the top - taking a place at the table, and making yourself a part of the debate.

My thoughts:

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is one of the most successful and effective women in the world. I've always loved people who use their positions in business and society for the good of the general population, and Sandberg is kind of one of those people. Right from the beginning of her book, she confesses that even being born in the US, having a supportive and well off family has put her ahead of the game. I quite liked the fact that she admitted right off the bat that she started life lucky.

Lean In deals with how women are disadvantageous in the work place and how they MIGHT be able to change that. Drawing from personal experience, Sandberg touches upon how women aren't taken seriously in the work place, how men can have an attitude toward them, how they can be seen useless, how they get paid less than men and how a woman has to live with the fear of leaving her job if she gets pregnant and takes a step toward starting a family. While talking about these situations, she includes data from different research, mostly conducted by people at Harvard. But in the end, her book is both an academic and a social piece of writing.

I do like some of what Sandberg is preaching in the book, like the "think globally, act locally" attitude. But most of what she says women should do (and she does speak globally most of the time) made me cringe because considering where I am and what I do, there's just NO WAY. These were also the parts where you realize just how lucky Sandberg was in her life. I'm sure there are only a handful of women who have enough resources which allow them to take big risks, and I unfortunately am not one of them. 

For example, she grew up with a nanny. She's a Harvard graduate. She's worked in good places throughout her career. While she was taking a risk with Google, which was a startup at the time, she was already safe because her husband had a good job and she didn't have to worry about ending up on the street if she failed. I'm afraid a majority of us women, especially on my side of the world, aren't in a position to take that kind of risk.

I honestly consider myself lucky to have a job and a salary in today's Turkey. My friends and I all work long hours, we work hard, we get a lot done but none of us receive a deserving salary. We know we should ask for a raise, but we also know that we won't get one, so we just keep going, thankful that at least we do have a job. While reading Lean In, there were times when I went "I'm so doing this tomorrow," but then I realized how unrealistic most of it is. For me, at least. 

Respect The Arc