Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Home Safe

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Home Safe
By Elizabeth Berg
Publication Date: April 28

From Amazon:

"Beloved author Elizabeth Berg tells the story of the recently widowed Helen Ames and of her twenty-seven-year-old daughter Tessa. Helen is shocked to discover that her mild-mannered and loyal husband had been leading a double life. The Ames’s had saved money for a happy retirement, planned in minute detail, but that money has disappeared in several big withdrawals—spent by Helen’s husband before he died. What could he possibly have been doing? And what is Helen to do now? Why does Helen’s daughter object to her mother’s applying for a job—and why doesn’t Tessa meet a nice man and get married? What Helen’s husband did with all their money turns out to be provocative, revelatory—and leads Helen and her daughter to embark on new adventures, and change."

What's your "waiting on" pick this week?

Leave a comment with either the link to your own "Waiting On" Wednesday post or just your answer (if you don't have a blog).

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hardcovers vs. Paperbacks

I saw this item on USA Today's Web site, and it struck me as interesting:
"Alice times two: Most new books are published first in hardcover, and then about a year later are reissued in paperback. But Pocket Books made the unusual decision to publish Still Alice by Lisa Genova in hardcover ($26) and paperback ($15) at the same time. Why? To bring the debut novel "to the widest possible audience," including book clubs, says Pocket publisher Louise Burke. It seems to be working: The story of a Harvard professor diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's rises to No. 79 on the extended list, up from No. 95."

This is an unusual decision...and I get the rationale. If this proves to be a success, wonder if it will start a new trend among publishers?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

Inspired by Bibliophile by the Sea, I decided to share my Facebook 25 Random Things tag in the interest of "getting to know you and me." If you make your own list, please leave a link!

1. I don't go barefoot. Ever. I hate the feeling of floor/carpet directly on my feet. I need a buffer.

2. I am addicted to my library on-hold list online. I check it and add things to it constantly.

3. I am NEVER without a tube of cherry Chapstick.

4. I am always 10 minutes early to anything. I can't help it.

5. I love, love, love magazines, almost as much as I love books. At last count, I have 27 subscriptions.

6. I wish I had studied abroad in college. No one ever tells you that you won't ever have that block of time again.

7. I wore black at my wedding. God bless my mother. She so gets me.

8. I have an aversion to getting my hair cut. I will do it; I just don't like it.

9. I really enjoy washing dishes (with the big exception of pots and pans) and folding laundry.

10. I love reading cookbooks even more than I love to cook.

11. I can clog.

12. I don't ever wear any jewelry except my wedding ring.

13. I love to move. I have no house attachments.

14. I could make a meal out of appetizers…and go the rest of my life without sweets.

15. I have strong feelings about y’all vs. ya’ll. (It’s y’all. Don’t get me started.)

16. If I could pick the perfect job, it would be grocery shopping for other people. Seriously.

17. I am a hugger.

18. I am moved to tears by old hymns.

19. I have an obsession with award shows. If you call me on Emmy, Golden Globe, or Oscar Sunday, you don’t know me at all.

20. I can type very fast.

21. I could eat Mexican twice a day, every day.

22. I miss living in NYC.

23. I love to drive. Give me an errand, and I’m on it.

24. I am a huge Georgia football fan...even though I graduated from Alabama.

25. I never dreamed the enormous impact my three nieces would have on me. Being an aunt is a role I have unknowingly waited my whole life for.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Review: Never Tell a Lie

I'm not really a huge mystery/suspense novel fan, although I make exceptions for Janet Evanovich and Diane Mott Davidson. However, this one caught my attention when I saw a blurb about it in a trade journal.

I started reading it this morning...when I looked up, two hours had passed, and I was finished. It's a fast-paced read to say the very least.

In Never Tell a Lie, author Hallie Ephron examines the issue of how much you know about your spouse, and to what lengths you would go to defend them.

When David and Ivy, in preparation for the imminent birth of their first child, hold a yard sale at their Massachusetts Victorian home, they are surprised by the arrival of Melinda, an old high school classmate. When Melinda mentions that her mother used to work for the home's previous owner, and she used to play there as a child, David invites her in for a tour.

However, Melinda goes missing, and the police arrive at David and Ivy's door to ask questions, since it was the last place she was seen alive. And the question comes up...did anyone actually see her leave the house?

David comes under investigation, and Ivy learns of secrets in their marriage that rattle her faith in his innocence. Did he, in fact, have anything to do with Melinda's disappearance? All the while, Ivy's due date is getting closer and closer, and the stress of the situation is taking its physical toll.

Sometimes mysteries can be a little "too pat," and I can say that this book suffered from that a little bit. That said, it was an engaging and quick read, and Ephron is a skilled storyteller.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday: The Family Man

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

The Family Man
By Elinor Lipman
Publication Date: May 5

From Amazon:

"A hysterical phone call from his ex-wife and a familiar face in a photograph upend Henry Archer’s well-ordered life. They bring him back into contact with the child he adored, a short-term stepdaughter from a misbegotten marriage long ago. Henry is a lawyer, an old-fashioned man, gay, successful, lonely. Thalia is now twenty-nine, an actresshopeful, estranged from her newly widowed crackpot mother— Denise, Henry’s ex. Hoping it will lead to better things for her career, Thalia agrees to pose as the girlfriend of a former sitcom star and current horror-movie luminary who is down on his romantic luck. When Thalia and her complicated social life move into the basement of Henry’s Upper West Side townhouse, she finds a champion in her long-lost father, and he finds new life—and maybe even new love—in the commotion."

Lipman has long been a favorite of mine, so I'm excited that she has a new one coming out. She is quirky and funny, with a great writing style.

What's your "waiting on" pick this week?

Leave a comment with either the link to your own "Waiting On" Wednesday post or just your answer (if you don't have a blog).

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Marcia at The Printed Page hosts Mailbox Monday, where you list the books that came into your house over the past week. I have never participated in this meme before, but I had such a good week of new books that I wanted to share. I've been in such a slump, so I was glad to have some titles on my library waiting list make their way to me.

Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos

Never Tell a Lie by Hallie Ephron

Eat, Drink, and Be From Mississippi by Nanci Kincaid

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker

I know these are some popular ones out there right now, so I welcome your thoughts if you've read any of these.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday: A Fortunate Age

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

A Fortunate Age
By Joanna Smith Rakoff
Publication Date: April 7

From Barnes & Noble:

"Like Mary McCarthy's classic tale of coming-of-age in New York, The Group, Joanna Smith Rakoff's richly drawn and immensely satisfying first novel details the lives of a group of Oberlin graduates whose ambitions and friendships threaten to unravel as they chase their dreams, shed their youth, and build their lives in Brooklyn during the late 1990s and the turn of the twenty-first century. Set against the backdrop of the vast economic and political changes of the era--from the decadent age of dot-com millionaires to the sobering post-September 11th landscape--Smith Rakoff's deeply affecting characters and incisive social commentary are reminiscent of the great Victorian novels."

What's your "waiting on" pick this week?

Leave a comment with either the link to your own "Waiting On" Wednesday post or just your answer (if you don't have a blog).

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Salon 1-11

Happy Sunday!

Well, Thursday night saw the end of college football season, the most wonderful time of the year, and while I'm sad, I'm also looking forward to having more reading time on Saturdays again.

After discovering author Lisa Tucker and reading (and loving) Once Upon a Day (review here), I started her latest, The Cure for Modern Life, but I couldn't finish it for some reason. It just didn't appeal to me as much.

I also named my top five books of the year in this week's Booking Through Thursday post (here).

I feel like I'm in a reading holding pattern of sorts. There are tons of great books scheduled for release in the next few months, and my library hold list is huge, but nothing is out right now, and it's killing me. I'm ready for stacks of books in my house again!

In the meantime, I've picked up We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. I read and enjoyed The Post-Birthday World, so I figured I'd give this one a shot. If you've read it, let me know what you thought.

Hope everyone is having a great reading weekend!

Update: I am LOVING this book!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: The Best?

This week's Booking Through Thursday question:
It’s a week or two later than you’d expect, and it may be almost a trite question, but … what were your favorite books from 2008?

I thought this would be tough to narrow down, but my list came quite naturally. Here were my five favorites:

What were your top five?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday: It Will Come to Me

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

It Will Come to Me
By Emily Fox Gordon
Publication Date: March 10

From Amazon:

"Ben Blau is the reluctant chair of the philosophy department of The Lola Dees Institute, surrounded by a bestiary of academic innocents and opportunists. His wife Ruth—a writer whose early literary success never quite blossomed into a career—nurtures sometimes noisy and sometimes private rebellions against the conventions of academic life. Their lives have settled, if not always comfortably, into a dull ceremonial round of convocations, committee meetings, and pot-luck dinners. To Ruth it seems that nothing will ever change. Except that this year a new couple has arrived on campus: an ethereal, celebrated young memoirist and her husband, an intellectual jack-of-all-trades and perpetual misfit. Something about these two throws the staid academic world of the Lola Dees Institute into comic chaos and revives Ruth's hopes that she might become once again the writer she used to be."

(I have to admit, this cover freaks me out just a little bit.)

What's your "waiting on" pick this week?

Leave a comment with either the link to your own "Waiting On" Wednesday post or just your answer (if you don't have a blog).

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Review: Once Upon a Day

I typically only read newly released books, but I've been in such a reading dry spell lately that I decided to go back and revisit an older book that I had on hand at one time and had to return to the library when my reading list got too full: Once Upon a Day by Lisa Tucker.

When Dorothea O'Brien was four years old, her father, a wealthy and famous Hollywood movie director, moved her and her six-year-old brother Jimmy away from L.A. to a secluded estate in New Mexico. Dubbed "The Sanctuary," the two children grew up with no contact with the outside world. Food was delivered in, they were homeschooled, and the house had neither a television nor a telephone. Their intensely protective father, so worried about harm to them, allowed only timed visits outside the house.

Convinced that nothing good happened in this country past the 1950s, Dorothea's father stopped there with his teaching of the history of the world. Thus, the two children are stuck in a time warp, with their only knowledge of anything beyond their home coming from encyclopedias.

While it's the only life Dorothea has ever known, and she accepts it, it's not enough for her brother, and he runs away at 25 to search for his mother, who they had been told had died. When their father becomes ill, Dorothea leaves to find Jimmy and bring him home, after several years away, stepping outside into a world completely unfamiliar to her.

Her journey brings a realization of what she's been protected from, good and bad, and as her world opens up, so do her eyes. She will ultimately learn what led her family to New Mexico and the reasons behind her father's odd decisions and actions. But while it is Dorothea's story on the outset, the bulk of the book is actually her mother's story, as we find out exactly what happened to her.

This book was immediately and consistently engaging, with a compelling story that had me reading it straight through. Tucker's writing style and character development skills are to be admired. Dorothea's disbelief and lack of knowledge about the world was carried through very well, reminding me a lot of Darryl Hannah's character in Splash.

I'm so excited about this author that I'm off to read her latest, The Cure for Modern Life...