Monday, December 27, 2010

Book Forty Seven - P.S. I Love You

This was a really long book, over 500 pages and I read it all today, I feel a bit drunk from reading.

 P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern was a title that I recognized since I have seen the movie that was made from it. The movie took large liberties with the source material, and the book is vastly superior.

This book is about the struggles of a young widow to grieve and move on with her life. Her husband has left her notes for each month following his death, as a way to help her move on. It is difficult to imagine being in her shoes, but  writes quite well, and the characters that she creates are extremely relatable. Holly's friends and family are painted in such a way that they are both there for Holly and also are fallible in not knowing just what to do for someone who is hurting so much.

Overall I really enjoyed P.S. I Love You, even if it veered strongly towards the sappy side. Sometimes that is just what you need.

Book Forty Five and Forty Six - Dead to the World - Dead as a Doornail

I am really enjoying the Sookie Stackhouse novels, I read Dead to the World and Dead as a Doornail in the past couple of days and I am anxiously awaiting the next book in the series to arrive on my hold list at the library. I am lumping the two reviews in together just because I can. There is really not a lot more I can say about these books without giving away too much of the plot.

The Sookie Stackhouse novels are set in a world where supernatural creatures live among us. So far Vampires have announced themselves to society, and the rest of the Supes are waiting to see how it all plays out before making themselves known.

In Dead to the World, one of the more powerful (and attractive) vampires, Eric, has an amnesia spell put on him by witches and Sookie must come to his aid. In Dead as a Doornail, she is still dealing with repercussions from events that occurred in the previous book, as well as increased threats to her personal safety.

These books are straight up addictive, and I can't wait to see what happens next!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Book Forty Four - Star Island

I am kind of loving these 7 day superloans from the library, it gives me the motivation to get the books read really fast. I was able to bang this one off in 3 days, and I had a very busy weekend, so it was quite the accomplishment.

Star Island by Carl Hiaasen was quite an enjoyable read. It centers around a train wreck of a celebrity aptly named Cherry Pye. It takes the notion of a Mylie Cryrus type starlet and takes it a bit further. In the first chapter we meet Cherry vicariously through a paparazzo who is waiting to see her loaded into an ambulance. However he is foiled as Cherry is famous for her green eyes, and the gal on the stretcher has brown eyes.

We are then introduced to Ann, Cherry's double, employed by Cherry's parents and PR team to fill in for Cherry when she is having an episode of "gastritis". It is an interesting look into what may very well occur by certain celebrity publicity teams.

There are several more colorful characters introduced through the course of the story, and they all tie in nicely together at the ens. Hiaasen is very adept at creating characters and scenarios to keep the reader entertained. I plan on reading more of his works.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Book Forty Three - Full Dark No Stars

I hadn't even heard of this one until I saw it in the 7 day superloan rack at the library. I still have "Under the Dome" sitting next to my bed and I will get to it one of these days, but I had to read something shorter right now as I am hoping to finish my 52 books by the end of the year. I only have 9 to go!!

Full Dark No Stars was a collection of long stories. I rather enjoyed them all. King describes them in the afterword as ordinary people in extraordinary situations. Extraordinary situations indeed. I didn't read the blurb on this one so that I could remain surprised as to what the stories were about. For me all I need to see is Mr King's name on the cover and I am guaranteed to read it eventually. I actually didn't realize that it was a collection of stories until I had almost finished the first story and I knew that he couldn't have enough to say about that tale to fill the rest of the book.

There are four stories within the book, three of them I really loved, the shortest one I found cute but a bit pointless. I was expecting it to have a twist ending but it just kind of ended. I don't want to spoil the collection for anyone by summarizing, but I will recommend reading it for fans of good tales.

Book Forty Two - Eating Animals

I heard about "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer on George Stroumboulopoulos tonight, which I find to be a good source to find out about good books and movies etc. It was good timing for me to read this book since I have been transitioning into a vegetarian diet since the spring. Vegetarian or not, everyone should read this book since we all need to be aware of where our food comes from, and the toll that it takes on our planet.

There are sections of this book that are quite upsetting to read. It goes into detail about the ways that different types of animals are slaughtered and also discusses their living conditions. It also discusses the factory farming that has become so prevalent these days.

The book also presents some farmers that are trying hard to do better for the animals, and for the planet, but they are fighting a losing battle it seems. Even those farmers that are able to raise their animals humanely are struggling to find slaughterhouses that will not cause undue suffering to the animals at the end.

If you eat, then you should read this book. One must know all the facts in order to make the most responsible choices. We can no longer turn a blind eye to things that we find unpleasant. Even if a person chooses to eat meat, they can make better choices as to the source of that meat, or the quantity of meat consumed. Cheap meat should not be the ultimate goal, as we will all pay an enormous price for that in the end.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

11 Shy

Well I tried my best. Well I slacked in the first part of the year and tried to catch up, and I came so close but there is just no reading 11 books by the end of the night. I have to get ready to go out and get candy soon so I thought I would wrap it up for now. I am still going to finish, but I am not sure how long it will take me.

Still, 41 books in a year is not too bad.

Book Forty One - Fight Club

I had bought this book for my boyfriend last christmas and I finally got around to reading it. I didn't realize that it was a book before a movie and I really wish that I had the chance to read it before seeing the movie. It was also interesting to read it when already knowing the secret within.

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk is about. . oy what is it about. It is meant to be viewed as a romance, this comes from the afterword by the author in the end. He also indicates that it was a short story that he stretched out by adding in every crazy and rebellious thing that he and his friends had ever done. He mentions that some of his friends were worried that the book would give people bad ideas, but Palahniuk said that there was nothing that they could think of that people are not already doing, and since the book has been written, people have written to him and confirmed that this is true.

I don't know what else to say about it, I guess that is apt since the first rule about fight club, is. . .

Book Forty - Heart of the Matter

One of the first books I read for this challenge was Love the One You're With and I have also read a few other books by Emily Giffin. I am getting a bit tired of her repeating the same themes and characters over and over again, which is a shame since I very much like her writing style. I suppose there are a lot of women out there with unhappy marriages since people eat her books up like candy and don't demand anything different.

Heart of the Matter is about a married couple, one of whom is a pediatric plastic surgeon who develops an unhealthy relationship with one of his patient's mothers. There is really not much more to it than that. There is also issues of bored housewives and how easily trust can be destroyed in a marriage.

I think that this will be the last book of Giffin's that I read, unless she decides to change themes, since I am bored with her current path.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Book Thirty Nine - Living Dead in Dallas

Okay, so this one was really fun to read! I read Dead Until Dark last year. It is the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series that has since been made into the HBO series, True Blood. Now that I have read the second book I think that I am finding that the books are a bit better than the show.

It is pretty cheesy entertainment, but it is a big step up from Twilight, so I think it is ok that I am going to be reading the rest of the series toute suite. If you are unfamiliar, the series is about a young woman in Louisiana who reads minds and is dating a vampire. They exist in a world where vampires have come out of the coffin, to use their terminology. There is always, trouble and adventure to be found. In this outing, Sookie and her boyfriend Bill travel to Dallas as Sookie's mind reading ability is out on loan from her local vampires. Trouble ensues and they have to figure out how to get themselves out of it.

Also there has been a murder, Layfayette has been murdered (thank goodness they didn't do that on HBO, that actor is amazing!) and they have to find out the answer to that mystery as well. I am not normally a huge mystery fan, but these books just work for me and I am going to keep on readin' 'em.

Book Thirty Eight - Wasted Beauty

Alright, 2 down 2 to go. Wasted Beauty was really a waste of my time. It took me forever to read this one, with all the stress I had at the time, with having to learn a new job and wake up extra early to take the skytrain too. But I think that I would have probably had the same opinion of this book no matter the circumstances.

There is no way to vent my frustrations without giving away the plot, so if you are not interested stop reading here.

Wasted Beauty by Eric Bogosian is about a girl who gets stranded in the city, instantly becomes a successful model, her brother instantly becomes a lunatic and gets locked up, and a Doctor just happens to treat the brother and starts a love affair with the model then we are forced to read all about whether or not he should stay in his boring marriage. It was unrealistic, tedious and didn't go anywhere. There was little plot or anything to keep my interest. I am quite happy I am done with reading it.

Book Thirty Seven - Kiss Me Like a Stranger

I am a bit of a creature of habit, if I like something an author has written, then I seek them out for more. I guess that is not such a surprise, but I have never read this many books in a year before so this is all fairly new. I think the last time I even came this close was when I was a teenager, reading really is something that I really enjoy and I am going to keep up with the reading after this is over, we will see how many I can get done next year.

So earlier I reported back on The Woman Who Wouldn't  by Gene Wilder so I decided to read his autobiographical oeuvre, Kiss Me Like a Stranger. This takes us through the life of Wilder, and it really highlights  the golden era that he come of age in and highlights the differences that exist in the craft of acting today.

Wilder is a talented writer and the book flowed very well through its pages. This one was twice the length of the previous novel that I read of his, but it flew by as if it was a good conversation with a new friend. We see how he made his way in the entertainment business and the women he loved and lived with along the way. He has always appealed to me, having grown up watching him in Willy Wonka, and knowing more about him has only confirmed my instincts that he is overall a very good man.

Book Thirty Six - The Wentworths

This past Monday I started a new job so I have been quite busy, but I am taking public transit so I have time to read, but not so much time to come to blogger and post reviews. I have 4 books to write up today so I will do my best, but

Since I enjoyed Point Dume so much I made a point to seek out The Wentworths by Kate Arnoldi. It didn't affect me as deeply as Point Dume but The Wentworths was still an enjoyable read. The book offers us up a quirky wealthy family and lets us have a glimpse into what their lives are like. It begins with the black sheep being arrested while cross dressing and finishes with a bang.

Although there is not a whole lot of lot involved, the Wentworths are an interesting bunch and it was nice to be a fly on the wall of their world. Arnoldi is a talented writer and I would read other works of hers if I come across them.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Book Thirty Five - Escape From Amsterdam

When I picked this book up I thought it referred to the actual city of Amsterdam (I often try not to read too much about the book so as not to ruin it for me) but what the title actually refers to is a theme park in Japan. Our protagonist, Aozora is deeply in debt and needs to find his sister to claim an inheritance. This takes him on an adventure involving many colorful characters and Japanese settings.

What I found intriguing is that the author of this book, Barrie Sherwood is (obviously) not Japanese. He is the son of missionaries and grew up in many places, including Japan and even my city, Vancouver and my parents' hometown, Penticton. He captures the Japanese style and the culture very well.

From beginning to end, Escape From Amsterdam is a fairly fast paced, intriguing tale of a brother trying to rescue his sister from a life that is challenging and dangerous. Even though his initial motives are selfish, in the process he does redeem himself to a certain extent. The journey itself is worth the price of admission.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Book Thirty Four - Lucky Man

Book 17 was Always Looking Up and if you double 17 you get 34 and book 34 for me was Lucky Man, also by Michael J Fox. I didn't even plan that one. Silly little coincidences like that please me.

Lucky Man was an enjoyable read, I wish that I had read it prior to reading "Always Looking Up" since one seems to precede the other, but nonetheless it was a pleasurable read.

Lucky Man is an autobiography of sorts, it begins as Fox sees the first signs of Parkinson's disease and flashes back into his past, family history and rise to fame. There are many interesting anecdotes inside and Fox as in "Up" is an amicable narrator. Lucky Man is somewhat more personal, it details the lengths that Fox and Pollan went to in order to have a private wedding, so we feel lucky ourselves to be given a view into the live of the beloved actor.

As I stated in my previous review of Fox's work, he is just a very lovable person, and I would read anything that he writes. Canadian loyalty only goes so far, after that a person needs to have genuine charm to keep the pages turning, and Fox has that for sure.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Disneyworld Here I Come!

Vacation time is finally here! I fly out tonight overnight and my Dad is always super early for flights so I will have lots of time to read at the airport and some time to read on the flight before I catch some zzzzs. I have packed 4 or 5 books and I hope to get most of them read before the week is out. 

I will probably buy myself something new to read during my travels as well if I run short. I am planning to have lots of fun but I really want to finish Cannonball so I am really going to dedicate time to reading too.

See you all in just over a week and hopefully I will have at least 4 new reviews to share!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Book Thirty Three - Push

So we all know what the novel Push by Sapphire is about. I survived seeing the movie so I decided to give the book a try. The subject matter is quite hard to get through, but it is handled a bit more delicately than in the movie. It is quite well written, although it is written in a style that suggests that it is Precious that is writing the book herself.

I am sure that a lot of people go through hard times like Precious has, but from my research it seems that Sapphire herself has not. It makes you wonder why she would write a book like this, since it is such a horrible thing to imagine happening to someone, it must have been very hard to write as well.

Basically I wouldn't really recommend reading the book since there is so much sadness contained within it. There is not a lot of hope offered at the end. It is a realistic tale about what some people will go through in their life, but there is so much suffering in the world, why subject yourself to a book about it. But if you must, you must.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Book Thirty Two - 32 Candles

Well I have made it to book number 32, and I had coincidentally picked up this book at the library, plus I am 32 so I thought it was meant to be.

"32 Candles" by Ernessa T. Carter was an amazingly fun read. It follows the life of Davidia Jones from Mississipi. She has things quite rough, her mother is the town hussy and people will come up to her on the street and insult her as a way of hurting her mother, who doesn't care anyways. She stops speaking in kindergarten and is called "Monkey Night" by her classmates because they think she is as ugly as a monkey and as dark as night.

The one ray of happiness in her life is Molly Ringwald movies, her favorite being "16 Candles". She longs to find her very own Jake Ryan and the perfect Molly Ringwald ending to her life. She finds her potential Jake as James Farrell, new in town and heir to the local Farrell Fine Hair company. Unfortunately he has two sisters and one of them becomes especially mean to her and makes things so unbearable for her that she decides to run away.

Through extreme good fortune she makes a decent life for herself in Los Angeles. She ends up running into James and the Farrells again and I don't want to really say more than that for fear of giving away too much of the plot.

All I will say is that I loved this book a lot, it was well written, offered a fresh perspective on an old favorite story. Davidia is a sympathetic character, and although she suffers a lot, the tone is upbeat and we are given hope for her. Also I have already popped "Sixteen Candles" into my DVD player, yeah!

32 down and 20 more to go, I can do this!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Book Thirty One - The Five People You Meet in Heaven

A few years back I read "Tuesdays with Morrie" by Mitch Albom and rather enjoyed it, and after reading it I you tubed a lot of the related footage. I was going through a difficult time in my life and it helped me put things in perspective. So I picked up "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" hopeful yet still expecting it to be a ball of cheese. Albom seems to be sort of a "feel good" author and since I am a tad cynical I didn't expect to like the book all that much.

I had low expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy the read. It was a tad bit cheesy, but overall I am glad that I read it. The book follows the death of the protagonist, an 82 year old Eddie who is the long time maintenance man at an amusement park. He dies trying to save a young girl from being crushed by a falling ride and, you guessed it, meets five people and learns five lessons before moving on into his afterlife.

I am not a religious person, so I don't know why stories like this appeal to me. I very much appreciated that there was no heavy handed religious overtones. The main lessons of the book are that we are all connected, that no life is meaningless and to appreciate what you have. I am now at a place in my life where I feel like I try to appreciate each day and the happiness I have found for myself. I have also long believed that no matter what the circumstance you find yourself in, that there is always hope.

No one knows what greets us upon our passing, but we could do a lot worse than what is imagined in "The Five People You Meet in Heaven". I laughed, I cried, I finished reading it in an evening and an afternoon, so all in all it was a positive experience.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Book Thirty - The Mist

I am still shaking off the heebie jeebie spiders after reading this one, but it was a lot of fun. The Mist by Stephen King was originally published as a novella in "The Skeleton Crew", but it works well as a stand alone novel and at 230 pages is long enough to stand alone as well.

Although I enjoyed reading The Mist, I have already seen the movie so the plot left few surprises. It is very well written, and I did find the book to be better than the movie. The ending was changed for the movie, and I would be hard pressed to pick which ending I preferred, although I can see why they went with the more shocking movie ending.

The Mist begins following a terrible storm in a small town in Maine. Our main characters notice a strange mist across the lake then father and son head off to the store to get groceries. Then all hell breaks loose, the mist covers the town, the doomsday whistle blows and people start dying. All kinds of creatures start coming out of the mist and the cast of the book have to figure out how to survive, or at least how to not go crazy.

There are a lot of characters in the book, and if it had been fleshed out into a longer novel it might have been easier to know one from the other. There are a few that stand apart, but some I couldn't keep track of. Also it would have been interesting to hear some more stories of survival from other points of view.

I am going to read the rest of the Skeleton Crew soon, but I was glad to be able to find "The Mist" packaged on its own, it was a nice quick, pleasant yet terrifying read.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Book Twenty Nine - The Woman Who Wouldn't

I am going to be straight up, with so many books to read and so little time, I have been cruising my local library for shorter books. A girl has to do what a girl has to do. So "The Woman Who Wouldn't" caught my eye since it falls around 160 pages, but also it retained my attention when I saw that the author was Gene Wilder. I have a soft spot for the man since I was a huge Wonka fan as a child. I know that there is more to Wilder than that, and now I can now think of him as an excellent story teller as well.

This novel is a very cute story of a man who ends up in a "spa" in the black forest at the turn of the 20th century. He has a cute madness to him and has been sent to the spa to recover. He is a concert violinist and had a public breakdown that sealed his fate. Upon arriving at the spa he meets a young woman and what follows is a tale of flirting, courtship and love and how love can conquer all. I can't help but think that he rewrote history since he couldn't save his own wife from her fate in his real life, this must have helped him with the never ending grieving process.

It is a simple tale, but a rather beautiful one. It was a pleasure to read and I look forward to reading more of Wilder's work in the future.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Book Twenty Eight - Grace

Grace by Lin Ullman is a novel about death and coming to terms with that transition. It is translated from Norwegian, but it is very easy to read. In the book we follow Johan as he receives his diagnosis of an unspecified disease, most likely cancer, and how he reacts to this and how he plans to finish out his life.

He describes different parts of his life, his first marriage, his childhood and his current wife. It is written very well and it made me picture someday ending up there with my partner. We would all be so lucky to have someone love us enough to take care of us at such a difficult and inevitable time.

The book touches on euthanasia and the attempt to die with dignity. I was interested to learn that it is actually legal in a few European countries. The book takes small moments, just the two of them reading together at their cabin in the woods, it is very relatable and understated but pleasingly so.

Today I witnessed a car accident, I didn't see the actual crash but we turned the corner right after it had happened. The driver was having a seizure and we had no choice but to keep moving (many others were already assisting) it affected me profoundly, put a lot of my little problems in perspective. Then to read this book today, really made me cherish the things that I have and made me realize that I have to appreciate all the good that I have and try to make the best of my life.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Book Twenty Seven - Point Dume

What an amazing book! I just dove right into this one and barely came up for air. It just flowed from point to point, nice concise chapters with varying narrators, an intriguing story concept and a very satisfying ending too.

Point Dume by Katie Arnoldi is about a California beach town where local surfers are resentful of the influx of rich wine growers with their wives and army of nannies. As well it is about the marijuana being grown in public lands by Mexican drug cartels.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Book Twenty Six - A Waist is a Terrible Thing to Mind

Halfway there!!! I might just make it if I read like a madwoman for the next two months!

The tag line for "A Waist is a Terrible Thing to Mind" by Karen Scalf Linamen is "Loving your body, accepting yourself and living without regret". This appealed to me quite a bit as I have struggled with my weight since I was quite young. After I had my son I was well over 200 lbs, when he was around 2 years old I lost 50 lbs, most of it due to the fact that my ex husband didn't have a job and I had no money for food. We would watch the Food Network just so we could remember what food looked like, food porn indeed. After my divorce I lost those same lbs again and I have managed to stick to that weight, give or take a few ever since. This spring I decided to get back on the health wagon to lose the rest of the pounds I have been lugging around. I have had success so far and I feel that I have the right attitude.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Book Twenty Five - How I Became a Famous Novelist

I picked up "How I Became a Famous Novelist" by Steve Hely in the new fiction section of my library and I found it to be quite an humorous and entertaining read. Who among us has not imagined showing up an ex, and at their own wedding nonetheless. That is the basic premise of this novel, written by a Letterman staffer (and though I won't hold it against him, he also writes for American Dad).

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tackling Under the Dome Again

So a while back I took Under the Dome out on a 7 day Superloan from the library. I tried to take it on but I think the deadline intimidated me and I only read a pitiful 200 pages in that time. I returned the book, gave up for a while and mostly forgot about it. Then today while out at the grocery store a beautiful sight came upon me. It was a smooth soft new copy of Under the Dome. I snatched one into my arms and gave it an embrace, now you are mine. Budget, what budget, this is important!

Now that I can take my time I am going to enjoy reading it when I have time to read it. I am also working on a couple more books and I am hoping to at least get close to my quota by Halloween. I have a 7 day holiday in Disneyworld coming up so I am sure I will be able to get some quality reading done while I am there. I am also having surgery mid september (nothing serious, and no it is not a boob job) so when recovering for a few days I will also be sure I have a lot of books beside my bed.

I have been working real hard in other areas of my life, I have lost 17 lbs since May 31 and I have been getting lots of exercise in the summer sun. We have had excellent weather here. Today it is raining a lot but it is a nice break after all the sun. It has given me the time to clean the house since I have been outside so much it was neglected.

Check out my other blog if you are interested

Book Twenty Four - Clown Girl

I decided to read Clowngirl by Monica Drake since I read that it was being made into a movie and the concept seemed interesting so I thought I would check it out. Overall I was underwhelmed. I think that it was built up too high, there is an introduction by Chuck Palahniuk that hypes the book up to the point where it may have been difficult for anything to deserve such praise. The book was a decent read, but I spent most of the book waiting for something interesting to happen.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Book Twenty Three - Worst Laid Plans

I am on a roll! Worst Laid Plans is a compilation of stories of sexual misadventures. Most of them are written by people in the entertainment industry as it is based on a comedy show performance. I found it quite entertaining and I enjoyed the fact that all of the stories were concise and to the point. I was very much glad that most of these scenarios did not happen to me, and I was laughing out loud at many points and reading sections aloud to my boyfriend.

All of the tales are separated into sections such as: virginity nightmares, rebound tales and trying to play for the wrong team, just to name a few. There is also a cute little glossary at the end, complete with a crossword to test your knowledge of new words.

I have a feeling that Worst Laid Plans will be a book I recommend to a lot of friends, I may even lend out my copy to a few of them myself. It was a fun quick read and if you want a smile and some cautionary tales, check it out.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book Twenty Two - I Wanna be Your Joey Ramone

Since I haven't finished a book in over a month (BAD!) I decided to read another book by Stephanie Kuehnert. I really loved her second novel, "Ballads of Suburbia" and so I ordered hew debut outing, "I Wanna be Your Joey Ramone" a while back from Chapters.

I dove right into this book, it is a tale about a small town girl haunted by the memory of the mother who left her as an infant. Emily Black was raised on music, and was even told that her mother left to follow the music around the country. Eventually Emily forms a band and achieves success, all the while hoping to attract the attention of her long lost mother.

Along the way we learn a lot about these characters, as well as about the father that was the only family that Emily had left. Through the descriptive voice we are transported to rock shows in an abandoned warehouse in the Midwest. As Emily uses performing to cope with her difficult life, we can imagine what it would feel like to be up there with her.

I very much enjoyed reading this book, and I will now be watching Kuehnert's website for news of a third novel that I will probably read as fast as I did the first two.

Now let's hope that I can finish a few more books off my shelf before too much time passes. I am starting to lose hope that I will finish all 52, but I will do my best dangit!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I Suck

Well I have fallen off the reading wagon. I went to the library and took out "Under the Dome" on a 7 day superloan. Sometimes when I take on an ambitious task I feel defeated too fast and give up entirely. Anyhow, I failed at reading that book in 7 days (I only got a couple hundred pages in) but I will try to read it again when it is available on a 3 week loan.

Right now I am reading a book called "Twinkie, Deconstructed" which is about food additives. It is a humorous take on it and I am looking forward to getting more into it. I am working hard on my health so it should be enlightening to read more about additives and give me the strength to continue to avoid them.

I am also almost halfway through a book called "His Illegal Self" which is also quite good. I was reading it before I picked up "Under the Dome" and I got sucked into the Twinkie book so I want to try and read that one first. I should have some quality reading time tomorrow.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Book Twenty One - Snuff

Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk is about an attempt to set a world gang bang record. It is told from the point of view of 3 of the dicks and the wrangler. As we get to know these characters, secrets are revealed and it was an entertaining read, if only for the references to fake (I assume) porn flicks. Palahniuk had a fun time coming up with porn titles and stories.

Palahniuk is an excellent descriptor, although some of the things described in this book may turn the stomach. I felt like I was right there in that green room with 600 dudes, smells and all. I wasn't fooled by the plot twists in the book, but I was amused just the same to see how they unfolded.

All in all Snuff was a pleasurable read (no pun intended). There are a lot of interesting facts presented in the book, some of which I am very curious about their authenticity. One is that babies are not kicking in the womb but are actually masturbating. True or not, that is some funny shit!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Book Twenty - Delores Claiborne

Stephen King just has a written voice that I can sink into like my favorite pair of jammy pants. I have been reading his books since I was a teenager. So while at the library recently I thought I would treat myself to one of the older books that I hadn't gotten around to reading yet. I picked Delores Claiborne. I am not sure why I hadn't read it before, but I may have seen part of the movie, but I am notorious for falling asleep during movies, so I was able to read the book mainly unaware of what I would find within, although I had no choice but to picture Kathy Bates as Delores.

In this book, the entire narrative is being read by the titular Delores while giving a report to the police. She is accused of murdering her longtime employer and companion, Vera Donovan, and further to that, she has long been the subject of gossip on the small island she inhabits, for the murder of her husband that she passed off as an accident.

She narrates the entire story in this manner, under the guise of telling the police "everything", but it did work for me as a storytelling device. Although she does talk to the people in the room, we are required to understand their replies by what Delores says, which makes things interesting. The confession that she gives covers many aspects of both her life and her family as well as how that tied into her relationship with the wealthy Vera who is a notorious bitch and difficult to work for. It tells how their relationship changed over the years as Vera became more elderly and dependent, but always she remained the bitch. It is understandable why she is being accused of her murder.

This was by far my favorite King book, but it was an enjoyable fast read and I will keep on ticking those last missing King books off of my "to read" list.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Book Nineteen - Tongue, a Novel

Kyung Ran Jo's novel Tongue is a poetic tale about a woman moving on with her life after her long term boyfriend leaves her for another woman. It is different from other similar stories that I have read. The protagonist is not outwardly angry at her former partner for the betrayal. It is almost as if she has something like Asperger's as she cannot seem to understand some social cues and seems only to be able to relate everything to food and doesn't understand that other people do not necessarily feel the same way as she.

After the relationship ends, Ji-won closes down the cooking school that she was running and goes back to work at the Italian restaurant in Korea that she left to open the school. It is understandable that by going back to work she could continue to live her life in a situation that has her feeling lost.

The descriptions of the food and the cooking practices in the restaurant transported me into the world of gourmet cooking in Korea. I felt something a bit magical in Ran Jo's writing and I wonder who did the translation and how they manage to translate books at all without losing the author's original voice. In this case I feel it was accomplished well, although I guess I can't say what it would have been like to read it in Korean.

The character of Ji-won is an unusual one and in the end everything all ties together in a very satisfying manner. There are some odd choices in the book as far as punctuations and random capitalization, but perhaps this is something to do with translation. Overall I would recommend reading this book, although it did make me hungry.

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.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Book Fourteen - Shopgirl

Shopgirl by Steve Martin is about a bored 20 something woman, Mirabelle, who suffers from depression and works at a mind numbing counter job. It centers around her relationships with two men, one is an older wealthy man and one is a younger man who is still trying to find his way in the world. I was not sure what to expect from Martin, but the buzz was all favorable going in so I was pretty sure that I would enjoy the read. However, I found myself distracted wondering about the film version throughout the book.

I waited to watch the movie unitl after I had read the book, I am still on the fence about which order is best in these circumstances. I think that no matter what you do, it can ruin both the movie and the book. I watched the movie right after finishing the book and I was irritated by minor changes (why change that, it makes no difference) and major changes that I think could have been handled fine within the movie with a bit of effort.

However, this is a review of the book. I really enjoyed Martin's writing tone throughout and I liked the way he addressed communication gaps in relationships. It is very apt that one party can make their needs an limitations very clear, and the other party hears what they want to hear.

Martin has very good insights into realtionships and how things work. At one point he mentions that the Ray, the older boyfriend, is just passing time with Mirabelle and is waiting for the right one to come along. I have seen this happen first hand to friends of mine.

Overall I really loved this book, and I would enjoy reading more of Martin's writing in the future.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Book Thirteen - Last Seen Leaving

Last Seen Leaving by Kelly Braffet was quite an enjoyable read. It is a story of a mother searching for her "missing" daughter. In reality the daughter is just a bit of a vagabond, always searching for something different. This is revealed to us right from the start, and the novel is told from both of their perspectives, interspersed with flashbacks to their past.

The past story deals with the father in their family. He was a pilot working for some kind of dodgy government company. He was reported to be dead when the daughter was 8 years old and the mother never recovered from it. She moved across the country and became a new age type. She tried to get answers about her husband's death from the company but they were not forthcoming and so she dealt with things the best way that she could, but the daughter was not really considered properly in her grief.

The two became more and more distant over the years, and after the daughter moves out of the house she often does not return the mother's calls. However, when the daughter moves, she always sends her mother a postcard to let her know of her whereabouts. When we meet them in the beginning of the novel, the daughter has taken off with a stranger that she meets after a car accident, and the mother is trying to reach her daughter and fails to do so.

The mother then goes back across the country to the city that they lived in when the father was still alive. She searches for her daughter, thinking that she has been killed, talking to her friends, coworkers and police. Most of them think that it is not that unusual for her to be missing as she seems to move on quite a lot.

I thought that having the novel being read from both perspectives was a good way of making the story interesting and the author executed it well. You are left wondering if something bad is in fact going to befall the daughter at some point. There is lots revealed within the book and I was only mildly unsatisfied with the ending. But I am difficult to please with endings. This book really sucked me in, I didn't want to put it down and I even would read as I walked around cooking dinner. I would definitely recommend it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Book Twelve - Lost Girls and Love Hotels

I don't know exactly what I was expecting with this novel, but I was pleasantly surprised with what I found within this book. Lost Girls and Love Hotels by Catherine Hanraham was a great book for me and the pages just flew by. I had a great time reading it today. It rekindled my younger self's Japanophilia. Growing up, my mother taught English to Japanese exchange students and I was always fascinated by all things Japanese.

Lost Girls and Love Hotels gives us a glimpse into the life of Margaret, a young woman living in Japan, interspersed with vignettes of various times in her young adulthood back in Canada. Margaret is an English coach at a flight attendant school, and in her spare time she is a bit of a lush and so forth. At one point she meets a Japanese gangster type and they begin a relationship, meeting mostly in love hotels. I had never heard of these before, but the book's description of them is quite interesting. All the theme rooms that you could want, charged by the hour or for the night, or for rest or for stay.

I very much enjoyed the window into the life of a young Canadian woman living in Japan. How tempting it is for us all to think of just leaving it all behind to be anonymous in another part of the world. When asked, Margaret said that she came to Japan to be alone, her counterpart was surprised to hear that such a populated place would be somewhere that she felt alone.

The vignettes into the past are mainly her dealing with various traumatic events, and the descent of her brother into an unnamed mental illness. They were an appropriate length, so as not to take away from the main story, and yet were detailed enough to let us get to know the protagonist better.

It was a great diversion for the day, and the book rekindled my desire to visit Japan. And now that I am older, I have yet another place I want to visit when I go there. Now all I have to worry about is which room to choose (and about the cleaning procedures).

Book Eleven - Joyland

Joyland By Emily Schultz, with illustrations by Nate Powell is a coming of age type novel, set in the end of the arcade days of the 80s. The titular "Joyland" is an arcade in a small Ontario town, the type where teens spend many a day trying to beat high scores, or just to flirt and waste away some time in a town with not a lot else going on.

At the beginning of the novel, Joyland closes down and we follow the aftermath throughout the summer for our two protagonists, identified within the chapters as player one and player two. Player one is the older brother 14 year old Chris, with player two being the younger sister 11 year old Tammy. Having two narrators can be confusing, but the separation into two "players" is both helpful to the reader and clever within the framework of the novel. The chapters are also named after different video games, which is also a nice touch.

There is not a lot in major plot until quite near the end, and I almost wish that the author had left it that way. Schultz is an excellent descriptor, she has a real way with words, and I would have been happy just to have a look into this world, where nothing of note really happens. I think that this novel could just be about growing up and not have to have some kind of big third act tragedy. Said tragedy seemed tacked on towards the end, maybe Schultz was not confident enough to just leave it as it was.

Overall, Joyland was a good novel. I would recommend it for just the descriptive writing alone. It is a good take on a coming of age tale and I enjoyed reading it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Book Ten - Impossible Motherhood

I found this book at the library and had to pick it up, it fascinated me that someone would publicly admit to having 15 abortions in 17 years and I wondered how they could possibly sway me to empathize with them.

Impossible Motherhood by Irene Vilar is a biography of sorts, but mainly deals with her "addiction" to abortions. Personally I have not been through that experience myself, but at a certain age I often found myself often being worried about being pregnant and what I would do should that happen. I am pro-choice and I consider myself to be fairly open minded so I tried to understand why someone would undergo this again and again.

It is rather disturbing to think that someone could continually become pregnant as a means of exercising control over their life and body. More disturbing is that she did view the fetuses as possible children, even going as far as putting clothing on layaway for them. She has reasons aplenty for her behavior, but in my opinion they are really not good enough.

Having said all of this, Vilar is a very talented writer and the book was a smooth read. The other parts of her life are easier for me to empathize with, her mother committed suicide when Vilar was 8 years old, she left home at a young age as well and again left for college at 15 years old only to be preyed upon by an older professor that she later married and whom she allowed to control many aspects of her life.

It is easy to sit from afar and judge someone as we have not lived their life. However, it is difficult not to be appalled at her experiences. She is now a mother and admits in the book that she considered a late term abortion for her first daughter, even going as far as describing photos that she has hanging up and that the ultrasound was taken at a point where she could have aborted her daughter. Imagine the grown up daughter someday reading this.

I think that this book is a form of therapy for Vilar, and a cautionary tale for women finding themselves in a similar situation. I came out of it with respect for Vilar as a writer, but an extreme contempt for her as a person. She seems to be to be selfish to the extreme. She describes, late in the book, caring for her dying dog. She seems to think that caring for this animal at the end of her life, is some kind of redemption. But seeing as I have worked as a veterinary assistant, I know that all she did was cause extreme suffering and pain to her animal, and has again been extremely selfish and cannot see past her own needs. Even after her daughter is born, she is more concerned with the separation anxiety than being pleased with the growth and development of her child.

Like it or hate it, this book did inspire a lot of emotion in me. Vilar is a powerful writer and I would enjoy reading more of her writing. I didn't expect to be on her side and that is how I felt after reading it. I have never read a book where I hated the protagonist as much as I did here, biography or not. I would recommend reading it, but only if you can handle feeling quite a bit of emotion, as it will be sure to provoke a lot.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Book Nine - I, Lucifer

I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan started off as a very humorous and well written novel but lost its way somewhat towards the end in my opinion. The premise is that the devil is offered a deal wherein he is to spend 30 days in the body of a human, at the end of the month he is given a choice; to live out the human life and if he doesn't sin too badly, then he can be admitted to heaven, the alternative is to return to hell.

I very much enjoyed the description of what a fallen angel would think of the human experience. The sights, the textures, the temptation to just let one's trousers hang to expose the flesh to the cool breeze and so forth. It is also amusing to hear how he spends his time, all the pleasures that one could dream up, drugs, sex, food, booze. Lucifer, in his human form is even writing a movie about his side of the story of how it all went down with the big guy upstairs. Also he is writing the book that is being read.

It is very clever and tongue in cheek, and there are parts of this that I greatly enjoyed. However, towards the end it got to be a bit nonsensical. Perhaps this was intentional, and meant to represent Lucifer's declining hold on reality, but I found it tedious. There were minor errors in grammar and loose parentheses as well, but it was not glaring enough to be intentional necessarily and to me just felt awkward and distracting.

Overall it was entertaining but towards the end I just wanted it over and done with, had I not been doing this challenge, I may not have finished reading it at all.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Book Eight - The Anger Solution

I have never really thought of myself as an angry person, but after reading "The Anger Solution: The Proven Method for Achieving Calm and Developing Healthy, Long-Lasting Relationships" by John Lee, I am starting to recognize patterns of behaviour in myself that I have missed in the past.
I have not read any self help books before, but I do consider personal growth to be very important and I am continuously looking to further my understanding of myself. I think that some may look too much into books like these and look at them as the only way to maintain relationships.
The anger solution has some good suggestions, and it helps point out behaviours in yourself and those around you and gives you communication tools to improve your angry feelings before they turn into rage and get out of hand. This book also addresses setting healthy boundaries and limits, which is something that I need to work on.
I was married to someone who would rage at least once a week, I did everything I could to try and help him, but now I have learned that helping can sometimes be just as bad, especially if in helping someone else, you are failing to look inward and work on your own issues.
A lot of the book is about regression, and how when someone is "raging" they are most often not even raging directly at you, they are stuck in the past, stuck as their former self. This is helpful for me, and it also makes you think of times where that has happened in my personal experience. The book also gives methods to get out of these regressions and in doing so, helps to prevent them from occurring as often.
I will take some of what I have read in this book and apply it to my current life and hopefully it will help me on my everlasting journey to myself.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book Seven - Heavier Than Heaven

As a music lover of a certain age, I was indelibly affected by the suicide of Kurt Cobain in 1994. I was 16 at the time and I remember being very distraught and wounded. The years have gave me some perspective on the situation, but it is still a time that I vividly remember and even listening to recordings of radio coverage and tributes that were played at the time can take me right back there. Reading certain passages of the book moved me to tears, reading that Courtney Love was pregnant and how excited they both were and knowing how it all turned out. Reading about the public memorial and remembering watching the coverage on TV back when it all happened, and how it made us all feel united in our mourning for this rock idol.

At the time, we all put Cobain on a pedestal, I was and still am so moved by his music, that it is difficult to imagine Kurt as just a man. After reading Cross' book, it is easier to picture this man, and he was a very flawed individual indeed. He chose to hide behind drugs, even after Love became pregnant, even though it lead her into temptaion during that critical time in her life. He did nothing but complain about the fame that he worked so hard to achieve, almost instantly after he attained it. Yet he was very conflicted and wanted even more fame, and made choices to make this happen.

Now that I am older, and also a mother, it breaks my heart that someone would take their life and leave their child to someone as unstable as Love. As a teenager, I also felt personally betrayed, as I am sure many did. Who among us has not suffered as a child, having read what Cobain went through, I could personally claim that my childhood trauma was even worse than his. Suicide is such a desperate act, it is very sad that he felt that his daughter would be better off without him, that the world would be better without him.

The most surprising thing about this book for me was that it made me support Courtney Love more than I have previously. I have not seen the documentary "Kurt and Courtney" yet, but I have plans to do so after writing this review. I have, in the past, read some of the conspiracy theories and I must admit that at the time of Kurt's death I thought that it seemed that she was using her position as rock widow to further her career. Love is certainly a very troubled individual to put it mildly, but this book did paint her in a very flattering light. That may have been necessary to obtain certain inside information. It has prompted me to want to do more research into the subject before fully forming my opinion on the situation.

All in all, Heavier than Heaven is a book that I recommend to music lovers and children of the 90s. I now see that Kurt was just a man, just another screwed up individual that made some amazing music, art and also made a lot of bad choices. He has an amazing daughter and hopefully she will prevail and lead a better existence than both her parents.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Getting Back in the Groove of It

Well I haven't been reading very much as of late, but that is about to change. I finished my math course and I got my A, and then I took a much deserved break from it all. But now my lazy time is over and I am ready to get back on track. I almost finished reading I, Lucifer and it is a good read, but I had to take it back to the library so I will have to check it out again once I get a few others off my list completed.

Heavier Than Heaven is coming along, I had planned to finish reading it today as I should have a little bit of free time, however I could not find it anywhere this morning. I looked all over, and I was just reading it last night, so it must have grown legs and wandered off.

But I have a good one to read and I think that I should be able to read the whole thing today, it is my challenge, let's see how I make out shall we?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Book Six - The Big Love

The Big Love by Sarah Dunn was another filler book, just a girl loses boy blah blah blah. I read it in a day, and now I am trying to remember enough about it to write an effective review and I am mostly drawing a blank. Dunn is a pleasant writer, and has a good sense of humor, but this book added little to my overfilled brain.

So I will keep it short: this book would be a good beach read (I know that it is January!) or something for a boredom filled rainy day.

The book I am reading now (I, Ludifer)is really good, I will write a better review for that one, and then after that I will finish reading Heavier than Heaven, and I am sure to have some interesting stuff to say about that one. Stay tuned!

Book Five - The Hour I First Believed

Ok, so I did a fair amount of reading over my holiday break (most of it was this book as it was quite long) but I have been putting off doing the reviews. Mainly because my laptop cord is broken so I have been using a tiny netbook, but now I am back at work and I am stealing some time to get the 2 reviews done that I owe.

The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb was overall a good read. I read the book in about 3 days (I got a book blister because the thing was so darn heavy!) and the story hooked me in. I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did. I have read Lamb's previous works and when I find a writer that has a good voice and speaks well to me, I tend to look forward to their next ouevre. One of the reasons I wasn't 100% keen on this book was the subject matter, Columbine. I think that it is challening to take real life events and place them into a fictional story and be effective. Lamb accomplished this well in my opinion, adding well rounded characters to give the events a real impact.

Lamb takes these events, and adds in a few more events of the past few years into the mix. Also there is the backstory of the main character that is a large part of the novel. In Lamb's novel "I Know This Much is True" he applied a similar technique, with a novel within the novel. In both cases I found that this technique distracted from the strengths of the story and when a novel is considerably long, this takes away from the enjoyment of the read.

So overall I would reccomend it, but I wish that someone had edited it down about 75 pages and it would have made it a much more effective novel.