Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I'm currently reading "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath, but I already have my eye out on the horizon for some potentially interesting reads which are due out soon. Here's a quick rundown:
"El Juego Del Angel" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. This is number one on my list (already pre-ordered at Amazon). I've been waiting for this book from the moment I read the last page of Zafon's last book "La Sombra Del Viento" (Shadow of the Wind). Most of you won't be able to read this as soon as it comes out because it's in Spanish, but if it's anywhere near as good as his last, then I'm sure it will be on your must read list too when the English edition comes out. (Available 5/13)
"Bright Shiny Morning" by James Frey. This will be the first novel by the controversial author of "A Million Little Pieces" after the whole Oprah memoir debacle. The publisher describes it as "a sweeping chronicle of contemporary Los Angeles that is bold, exhilirating and utterly original." Will it make the list of Oprah's Favorite Things? Hmmm. Nah. (Available 5/13)
"The Horsemaster's Daughter" by Susan Wiggs. A historical romance might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's a must on my summer reading list. A good romance can always cure what ails you. (Available 6/1; paperback)
"Me of Little Faith" by Lewis Black. A new book from the irreverant comic and Daily Show regular, "a ferociously funny exploration of religion and faith." (Available 6/3)
"The Lucky One" by Nicholas Sparks. I'm a sap for a love story, plus I've read most of his previous books, including "The Notebook", "A Walk to Remember", "Message in a Bottle", and "The Wedding". It's sure to include more than a few Kleenex moments. (Available 9/30)
Monday, April 28, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Here was this unassuming and shy cell phone salesman, bullied as a kid (I'm a sucker for a sob story) whom the judges automatically discounted just based on his appearance. He ends up wowing the judges and audience. After that first video, I tried finding others on the website for the TV station which airs the show, and was unable to view them because I was outside the UK (that's changed this year). Undeterred, I decided to follow his journey on the show, as long as it lasted, via the YouTube videos posted by British viewers. Long story short, Paul Potts went on to win Britain's Got Talent.
This year, I'm yet again following the show via YouTube videos. I already have a couple favorites - 13 year old Andrew Johnston, who totally reminds me of Paul Potts, and Scala, an all-girl electric string instrument group. Take a peek at the following videos of each of my favorites and let me know what you think. You can check out more videos at http://talent.itv.com/. Cheerio old chaps!
Friday, April 25, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
The Middle Place is a warm, poignant and funny memoir written by Kelly Corrigan. The title refers to being a parent and someone's child at the same time. With humor and candor Kelly Corrigan shares her memories of finding a cancerous lump in her breast, and the harrowing and brave journey through her treatment - chemo, surgery and radiation. Throughout the book, Kelly perfectly weaves stories from the past and present and introduces us to her wonderful family, especially her incredible dad, George, and the memories of her youth growing up in Philadelphia. Kelly's hope, strength and resiliency, lovingly instilled by her family, are put to the test when during her treatment she finds out her dad is suffering from bladder cancer. Despite the tragic circumstances, the book never becomes maudlin or depressing. The Middle Place is a must read for all those woman (and men) residing in that middle place. More than a memoir, I found The Middle Place to be a loving tribute to an incredible man, and the indelible bond between a father and daughter.
I started reading Remember Me after I'd finished The Gathering by Anne Enright, and it was such a welcome departure from the dark subject matter of my previous read. Remember Me is imbued with a wicked sense of humor and an irresistible charm. It's a wonderful, funny and romantic novel. The main character is Lexi Smart, who wakes up in a London hospital convinced that it's 2004 and she missed her dad's funeral. In fact, an accident has left her suffering from amnesia and it's three years later. Lexi wakes up to find she's no longer overweight, no longer "Snaggletooth" or "Snagglehair" for that matter, and no longer has "Loser Dave" for a boyfriend. Instead, she's a successful business woman, with a great body, perfect teeth, and an even more perfect rich and gorgeous husband, Eric. What more could a girl ask for, right? Well, it's all complicated by the fact that her old friends and now current employees hate her, the old Lexi Smart seems to have completely vanished, and though there's no chemistry between Lexi and Eric, there's plenty with Jon, her husband's colleague who shares a few secrets about the new Lexi which leave her reeling. The romance and humor keep the story fresh and light and make it a quick read, perfect for summer or when you're in the mood for a good laugh.
I read the Joy Luck Club years ago, and I found The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan to be as compelling and moving a book as that first bestseller. The story details the strained relationship between Ruth Young, a ghostwriter or "book doctor" of self-help books, and her mother, LuLing. In the first part of the book we learn of the struggles Ruth faced in dealing with her mother throughout her life, and her current fears and concerns about her mother's forgetfulness. The second part deals with LuLing's past as detailed in the writings she saved for her daughter many years ago before her memory lapses. Ruth finds her mom's writings which are in Chinese, the first which starts "these are the things I know are true", and she decides to have them translated while she stays with her mother to take care of her after LuLing is finally diagnosed with Alzheimers. The portion of the book which consists of the memoirs, which includes the story of LuLing's life in China and that of Precious Auntie, her mute caretaker or nurse maid, are for me the best part of the book. The trials in LuLing's life are numerous, and as you read you're filled with a profound sense of respect and admiration for everything she overcame. Precious Auntie's character and story are pivotal in shaping LuLing's life, and the relationship detailed between these two women is poignant and heartbreaking. There were many a Kleenex moment during some of the passages in this part of the book. Ultimately, as Ruth discovers the truth behind her mother's life, the differences and bitter memories of her childhood fade away. The Bonesetter's Daughter is a great book, which deals with the relationship between mothers and daughters, murder, betrayal and ultimately survival and redemption.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that in recent years books have taken a back seat to my love affair with Mr. TV. Whereas the relationship with Mr. TV was hot and steamy, my relationship with books was relegated to that with a batty old aunt which you visit every blue moon and dutifully endure the visit because you have to, after all she's your aunt.
In February, as the big 40 rolled around, I watched the movie Away from Her (a love story of a woman coping with Alzheimer’s – highly recommend it), and I became paranoid (and slightly obsessed) with the need to use my brain a little more. I read somewhere that our brain is like a muscle which needs to be used to stay in shape. Using the exercise analogy, I admitted to myself that watching Dancing with the Stars is the equivalent of doing one sit-up and calling it a day. I started doing crossword puzzles at night, I even attempted Sudoku puzzles, without much success, so I guess the deterioriation has already started. Lastly, I decided to read more.
Since February, I’ve read: The Gathering by Anne Enright, The Bonesetter's Daugher by Amy Tan, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella, An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor, Night by Elie Wiesel, 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper, and Atonement by Ian McEwan to name a few.
I'm glad to say my relationship with books is back on sure-footing and in my next post you'll find a review of some of my favorites from the previous list.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
As all my friends and family know and as evident from my blog title, I'm a TV addict. I watch at least 2 to 3 hours of TV per day. I wish I could say I was only watching documentaries on the History Channel or political commentary on CNN, but alas the bulk of my time is taken up by what most TV snubs would deem "mindless dribble", those two dirty little words...reality TV. I love Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, Big Brother, Survivor, America's Next Top Model and So You Think You Can Dance. Luckily, they don't all run at the same time of the year. I round off my viewing schedule with House, Chuck, Heroes, The Office, Lost and an occassional episode of 60 Minutes, so that my brain doesn't completely turn to mush.
My hope for this blog is to share with you, the reader - more than likely family and friends, my insights and feelings on TV shows, movies, books (yes, I still remember how to read even with my busy TV viewing schedule) and life in general. I hope that you'll visit often and share your thoughts and opinions on my thoughts and opinions. Thanks for this first visit. Please come again!