Thursday, April 29, 2010

Book Eighteen - The Day I Shot Cupid

Alright, I don't know what I was thinking reading this book at all, I think it is the train wreck effect. I saw Jennifer Love Hewitt's The Day I Shot Cupid and I couldn't just leave it there at the library (I would not spend money on this kind of crap).

At first the book seemed kind of cute and harmless, and mostly that is what it is. It is kind of like a marshmallow, sweet and comforting at times, but essentially totally empty. I had some thoughts while reading this book and I wrote them down as I went along:
  • Some of the book is advice directed at dudes, no way they would be reading this.

  • Are women really this desperate that they look to JLH to help them?

  • Picking out rings and giving them as suggestions before he has asked, are you kidding me?

  • In the back and forth section between her and Jamie Kennedy, she is writing in italics but announces it is her EACH TIME! even though she is busting in almost each paragraph,

  • She talks about dressing up as Audrey Hepburn on her birthday, I remember seeing pics of that. she is so ridiculous, and seems mostly unaware of it.

  • Wear a tiara to work out and every night to take a bath, really???

  • Too many generalizations about people and men, who is she to know all of these things?

  • First thing on her list of the things that a man should know is how to pick a diamond, fuck you JLH!!!

Anyhow, I had to just had to leave those things out there just as they were as I was reading the book. There are a ton of ridiculous chapters in the book, and JLH spends little time on any one of them, she just flits from one topic to another with very little substance given to any of them. It is scary to think that there are women out there that think like she does, and also that there are women out there that will treat this book like gospel.

Now there are good ideas in there, self esteem, moving on after a breakup with exercise and positive thinking. It is just that there is more in the book about picking out rings and not scaring away a man. I think that just reading this book is enough to scare away a man. Luckily my boyfriend is not too easy to scare, but he also knows that I am not going to bring any of these tips home to bed.

Overall I found Hewitt's written voice to be just as annoying as I find her generally. I did try and give her the benefit of the doubt, even though it doesn't seem so at all here. I was hoping for more substance than I was given so I was left with nothing to talk about than my annoyance with her book. I did feel more empathy with her though, as there were parts where she discussed being ripped apart in the tabloids and the like. But she is just asking to be mocked with this book, and so what else could I do?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Book Seventeen - Always Looking Up

After watching and loving the documentary of the same name I was very excited to see this book at my local library and I snatched it up on a one week super loan. I found within it something different than I expected, but nonetheless I enjoyed it quite a lot.

The book is divided into four sections, work, politics, faith and family. Michael has a wonderful voice that translates very well onto the written page. Even in the parts of the book that I found a bit on the dry side, Michael could always be counted on for some sort of insight, quip or anecdote to keep my interest.

The book is basically a memoir of the past 10 years or so of his life, mainly since he quit acting full time and what he has done with his life since then. It is a peek into his family life, and a backstage pass into the ins and outs of starting and continuing a non profit foundation. It goes into his stem cell research ventures into politics, and his pride in being a part of the process.

There is just something undeniably likable about Michael J Fox. Perhaps being from the same place as him I always had a strong positive response to him and his films. Upon finding out about his Parkinson's Disease, it was quite upsetting. But now to see where he has taken his life and the optimism that he lives by and inspires in others, well that is something that I can add to my pile of reasons to have hope.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Book Sixteen - Ballads of Suburbia

Finally a book that I really loved! Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert really resonated with me. When we start out with this book, we find out that our central charachter, Kara, left town after overdosing on heroin in her junior year. She has now cleaned up and is returning to her home town after being away for four years. After the first chapter we head back to the past and we get to meet lots of intriguing people along the way.

Aside from Kara, the book also has little vignettes, or ballads as the book refers to them. One of the kids kept a notebook that people would write their personal stories in, and those are our windows into the other characters secrets.

The kids that we are following are in a suburban neighborhood called Oak Park, near Chicago. Kara and her family move there when she is in second grade. She is shy and has trouble making friends until she meets Stacey who becomes her best friend until 8th grade when she moves away and they mostly drift apart. After she reconnects with her younger brother, she ends up meeting a new girl in town, Maya and the two of them become good friends. Maya introduces Kara to a local park where all the misfit type of kids hang out and there we find the rest of the characters that fill out our story.

This book is heavily influenced by music, in fact the book is arranged like a ballad, with different sections being labelled verse, chorus, etc. There are many well chosen quotes at the start of different sections as well. I am a big music lover, and I grew up at the same time as Kara so it was great for me to be right back there in my own past through this book. Kara and her brother Liam even went to the same Lollapalooza that I did.

This book made me laugh, cry and smile. Knowing where the story was pretty much going to end from the get go was very effective here. There were still a lot to learn about these characters and the resolution of the stories was very satisfying. I am really wanting to read Kuehnert's other book now (I wanna be your Joey Ramone), but sadly my library does not carry it and the local Chapters stores are all sold out of it. Ah well, I will keep my eyes out for it

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Book Fifteen - Dearly Devoted Dexter

I am a pretty big fan of the Showtime series of Dexter and so I went out and read the first book after season 1. It was a satisfying read and when I happened upon part 2 browsing my local library I wondered why I hadn't read this sooner. Dearly Devoted Dexter was different from what I expected, but after the first couple of chapters I was sucked right in.

Jeff Lindsay transitions us very well into the second book, covering the old business for new readers without boring us veterans. I had forgotten details from the first book as well so it was helpful to have a summation at the beginning.

This novel finds Dexter unable to have his release as he is being trailed nonstop by Sgt Doakes, it is very interesting to see how a killer like Dexter handles not being able to do what he needs to do. Dexter once again gets caught up in a legitimate case to work on, but it is very apt how Dexter keeps asking "Why me?". Why should he be solving these crimes, he is a blood spatter specialist and is often asked to go above and beyond.

The book version of Dexter has much more of a sense of humor and he also wears garish patterned shirts. It makes me smile to think of the character that way. I was able to totally separate the two different versions of the character in my head after the first couple of chapters, so kudos to Lindsay for having such a strong voice. The Deb character is my least favorite so I was glad that she does not play too heavily in the book, although when she does, there is little there that changes my opinion of the character.

The book took a long while to get to where we want to see Dexter, murder and mayhem. I guess when writing a series, an author wants to leave you wanting more. I may pick up the next oeuvre, as reading about my favorite killer is a good way to spend an afternoon.