Tuesday, September 29, 2009

True Compass

True Compass by Edward Kennedy

This is a MUST-READ for anyone with even a passing interest in politics. Although it's obvious that Kennedy has experienced much in his record-setting congressional career, reading this still had me shaking my head several times in awe about how he has been a part of so much of our country's recent history. Although I was looking for more insight into his personal life (namely, his first marriage which he doesn't even touch besides to say that they didn't know one another well enough when they jumped in), this is really a book about Washington and universal health care. I'm not sure how anyone could read this and not want to champion universal health care themselves. His memories of his parents and siblings are tender and I was left crying at the end of the book. I can't recall crying after reading a book for a very long time. That's the mark of a winner!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I'm So Happy For You

I'm So Happy For You by Lucinda Rosenfeld
This was a quick and enjoyable read with a fairly complicated and surprising ending. The book looks into the complexities of female friendships and all the jealousy and backstabbing that can also be a part of even the best friendships. I was afraid it was going to be a typical chicklit novel with a predictable ending, but Rosenfeld is a good writer and she had me until the very end!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Jackie, Ethel, Joan: Women of Camelot

Jackie, Ethel, Joan: Women of Camelot by Randy J. Taraborelli

Here's the thing I've learned about Randy J. Taraborelli after reading this title as well as his recent biography of Marilyn Monroe (see below to find out why I just had to read another biography written by this author)--he tells a good story. His biographies read like novels. This was another long biography--justifiably so considering it covers the lives of three women and their large, news-making families--that reads very quickly and keeps an exciting pace. The way Taraborelli is able to do this is a little suspect, though. I realized that a large portion of the biography includes dialogue and exact quotes, not only from news articles (understandable), but from so-called private conversations. I know the exact wording doesn't matter so much so the poetic license he took is probably ok since it makes the story more interesting. At any rate, all journalism fact-checking aside, this was another wonderful biography about three incredibly interesting women.

What I found most interesting about this book was the content on Joan. Much has been written about Jackie and, to a lesser degree, Ethel because theirs are the most outright tragic stories with the assassinations of their husbands. Joan, however, suffered quietly with an unfaithful husband and a constant fear that she might lose him or someone else close any day. Her emotional struggles are painful to read about, because she comes across as the most likeable Kennedy wife. I'm eager to read Ted Kennedy's biography now to see what he writes about his first wife. Also interesting in this book is the counter-assertion to Taraborreli's more recent Monroe biography that JFK and Marilyn had an affair that was much more serious and lasted for much longer than just one night. Also, Taraborelli casually brushes off the rumors about Jackie and Bobby's alleged affair. What really happened in the lives of the Kennedys in the 60s? At this point, no one will ever really know. But it's interesting to read about what we do know, just the same.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Beautiful, heartbreaking, soaring, intense--these are the words that come to mind when I think of the triumph that is The Time Traveler's Wife. I wish I'd read the book before the movie, but the premise never really appealed to me--in theory. So, I went and saw the movie and HATED it--it was literally one of the Top 10 Worst Movies I've Seen In a Theatre. However, I wanted to believe all my friends who claimed the story was unbeatable and that I would truly love it. So, I picked up the book.

The pieces that made no sense in the book--the time traveling jumping that really made no sense, even if time travel was possible--seem irrelevant in the movie. The story flows and we're able to see a real love between Claire and Henry. (In the movie, I just kept wondering why on earth she was waiting around on such a boring, unreliable man.) The tragedy of the story pained me, and drew me in like a true love story should. It's one of those rare books that looks at what love can be--what love should be. And it's a love I was sad to stop being a part of when it was all over.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Prairie Tale

Praire Tale by Melissa Gilbert

Wow, where do I start. Perhaps my biggest question is: Where was the ghostwriter? Gilbert has lived an interesting life and had her share of personal drama, but it honestly didn't come across as very interesting. For a real fan of Gilbert, it might be worth the read, but otherwise--don't bother.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Along for the Ride

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen is the queen of YA novels right now, and with good reason. If I was in middle school, I'd be jumping up and down waiting for her next book. As it's been 15 years since I was in middle school, I just enjoy the step back to a simpler time. I read this book more because I like Sarah Dessen's blog than anything (we'd be bffs for sure if she lived in Indiana, but perhaps it'd be more fun if I lived in North Carolina). Not as good as others I've read, but it followed the same formula that worked for her before which is why it has been such a hit. Anyway, I got annoyed knowing full well what was going to happen, but that's why I think it's time I leave the YA behind for a while... It's not you, Sarah. It's me.