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Friday, March 30, 2012

#BookReview: Gossip - Beth Gutcheon

Ever feel like you live in an alternate universe? That would be me right now as I write this review.  The whole time I read the book I thought it was just okay, but apparently other readers on Goodreads thought it was fantabulous.  Well alrighty then.

Gossip is the story of three women that attended prep school together: Loviah, a wallflower turned high end dress shop owner; Dinah, an outgoing know it all that holds a grudge forever who makes a living as a gossip columnist and restaurant critic; and Ava, an overly formal teen that becomes an overly formal adult who happens to be an art buyer.

Feeling that she was slighted by Ava as a teen, Dinah holds a grudge against her well into adulthood. It really shouldn't matter since the women seem to move in different circles.  Their only common denominator is Lovie, though I still can't figure out why.  And I guess that was my real problem with the book.  The friendships seemed so unlikely and they lacked a common thread.

Had they not attended school together, it's unlikely that someone as brash and bold would be friends with someone as meek and mild as Lovie.  And Ava didn't strike me as the kind of woman that needed any friends.  She barely even knew Lovie or Dinah in high school.  Even more mind boggling is Dinah asking Lovie to be her son's godmother.  It just made no sense to me.

Then there's the fact that the jacket of the book tells us that the book is about one thing, but it really isn't.  You'll find yourself three-fourths through the book before what is supposed to be the real story line kicks in.  Then it ends so abruptly you have to wonder what was the point of any of it.  This book just didn't work for me.

Published: March 2012
Disclosure: Book received from publisher.  All opinions are my own.


Theme: Ladies Who Lunch from Company - Elaine Stritch

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

#BookReview: The Replacement Wife - Eileen Goudge

In a story that's somewhat reminiscent of the movie Stepmom, The Replacement Wife is the slow moving tale of a dying wife and mother on the search for the perfect woman to replace her.  The fact that she's a professional matchmaker should make this a simple task, but her husband is in no rush to replace the love of his life and the kids don't even realize what it is she's trying to do.

I was torn over whether or not Camille, the dying wife, was doing a noble thing or being selfish in trying to find her replacement.  I could certainly understand her point of view.  Her mother died while Camille was young and her father, a pilot, was often absent after that due to work.  So Camille and her sister essentially raised themselves.  Because her husband is a doctor, he works long hours.  In Camille's mind, she's doing the noble thing by making sure that there's someone to step into her place to help raise her children and be a shoulder for her husband to lean on.  But it's a little selfish on her part too, don't you think?

If we look at it from her husband's point of view, how dare she decide who he should love.  How dare she decide that he's not capable of raising the kids without her.  And who is she to decide to give up on herself and their family when there's a chance that she could recover.  In a true case of being careful about what you ask for, Camille finds that she has set things in motion that she'll come to regret.

At 484 pages, this book moved slowly.  How slow?  It took me three weeks to read it.  I kept putting it down and reading other books in the mean time.  There was just no reason for it to be as long and drawn out as it was.  For 484 pages, I expect a very compelling read or Dostoevsky. 

Published: March 2012
Disclosure: Galley received from publisher. Opinions are my own.
Interested in connecting with the author?  You can find Eileen on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/EileenGoudge) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/eileengoudge)

Theme: If You Love Somebody Set Them Free by Sting

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Monday, March 26, 2012

#BookReview: The Night Circus - Erin Morganstern

The first time I saw The Night Circus on the shelf at the library, I thought the cover was interesting enough, but didn't think it was the book for me.  I rarely read books based in fantasy, though I am a fan of movies and television based in fantasy.  Makes no sense, I know.  I think sometimes it's easier to suspend belief if I can actually see something rather than read about it.

At any rate, by the time I thought to read the book, all of the hard copies in the system were checked out, so I requested the audio version.  I don't know that I would have enjoyed the book as much if I had read it myself, but I can honestly say I was blown away by Jim Dale's narration.  As soon as I put the first CD in and heard his voice, I was drawn in.  For those unfamiliar with Jim Dale, he was the narrator of the short lived ABC show Pushing Daisies.  Listening to him was like sitting at the feet of a master storyteller.

The Night Circus magically appears without announcement.  For visitors to Le Cirque des Rêves, it is a magical place.  For Celia Bowen and Marco Alistair, it is the grounds for a competition they were entered into as children.  Bound to each other, and the circus, by Prospero the magician and Mr. A.H., Celia and Marco create elaborate tents, labyrinths, mazes, etc. to the delight of circus goers.  For them, it is a never ending game in which they try to one up each other.

Lest you think Marco and Celia are the most entertaining characters, rest assured that there are plenty of other characters that are just as, if not more, interesting.  Poppet and Widget, the Murray twins, born the night the circus first opened; Chandresh, the proprietor of the circus, who manages to assemble a fascinating group of advisers and architects of the circus; and Sukiku, the contortionist are an odd collective.  Even Bailey, a visitor to the circus, is drawn into their world in ways he could have never imagined.

Set initially in the late 1800s, The Night Circus, moves back and forth in time, so you have to pay attention to the beginning of each chapter to put things in perspective.  At first it was confusing, but once I realized that they were shifting through time, it was easy enough to follow.  Written in what has been described as 3-D form, readers and listeners will find it easy to visualize what the circus and its performers look like.  As I listened, I could see Sukiku and the others.  Part of that is due to the great narration of Jim Dale, but most of it is due to Morgenstern's great writing in this debut novel. Movie rights for the book have already been optioned and will be brought to the big screen by the producers of Harry Potter. I, for one, can't wait to see it.

Published: September 2011
Listening time: 13 hours and 39 minutes

Theme: Merci for the Speed of a Sad Clown in Summer by Sheila E.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

I'm so over you!

Have you ever had a series that you loved or a character that you adored?  When you first started reading about them, you couldn’t get enough, right? You anxiously anticipated the next book in the series.  You wondered what the characters were doing in their down time.  And then it happened.  One day the series sucked and you wouldn’t care if your character got mowed down by the cross town bus.  So what goes wrong? Has the author run out of new ideas or has the character just outlived their usefulness?  Sometimes it’s a combination of both.

Back in 2000 when Kimberla Lawson Roby’s “Reverend Curtis Black” series first started, it was mildly entertaining. It was Christian lit with less focus on the Christian part and more focus on drama. I like to say that it was as close to secular entertainment as good Christians could come without falling from God’s grace. Anyway, fast forward to 2012 and nine books later, Rev. Black is STILL around. Given that she’s still churning out books and people are still buying them, I guess Lawson Roby plans to ride this wagon until the wheels fall off, but I see far too many negative tweets and comments about them to believe that people are still interested in the misadventures of the Rev, his wife, kids and women.

As much as I used to love James Patterson’s Alex Cross series, let my people go! Remember when the series was really good? Before some movie executive thought Morgan Freeman’s old grizzled self made a decent Alex and way before some misguided movie exec thought Tyler Perry (rather than Idris Elba) personified Alex, there were just the books. And they were good. Patterson has been off his game for awhile as far as his other books and series were concerned, but the Alex Cross series seemed to be a sure thing for the longest. I don’t know if, like with his other books, he started bringing in fledgling writers to assist (read: write for) him, but the plots and developed characters are no longer there. The last Alex Cross book I truly enjoyed wasn’t even about Alex, it was about a distant relative of his.

Has Patterson lost the magic all the way around? Looking at the Women’s Murder Club series, I have to say yes. With the exception of the first book in the series, they’ve all been co-written. I think I lost interest about book five. Beginning in 2000, he published a book about them each year, stopping in 2009 with The 9th Judgement.  Let's pause to give him a collective thank you.

Another series that used to leave me breathless was Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series. Kay was funny, she was beautiful and she was absolutely brilliant. The series about a medical examiner with both a J.D. and an M.D. who canoodled with the FBI and hung out with a cop that reminded me of NYPD Blue’s Andy Sipowitz was so much fun to read. So what happened? About nine books into the series, Cornwell changed the voice of Scarpetta from first person to third person. Honestly, I felt like I was having a conversation with Bob Dole. After poor sales and complaints from readers, Cornwell admitted that she had been “going through some things,” some of which she blamed on George W. Bush (don’t ask how she came up with that), and returned to writing Scarpetta as the way she was meant to be written. Unfortunately, most of her readership, including me, had moved on to other authors and characters.

So what series are you over? Is there a character that you wouldn’t mind seeing take a long walk off a short pier?

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

#BookReview: Running from Solace - Nakia Laushaul

In this sometimes predictable and, at other times, jawdropping novel, Nakia Laushaul takes readers on an emotional rollercoaster with Running from Solace.  This is one of those books I stumbled upon on Amazon one day.  It's biggest selling factors were the price ($ 2.99) and the recommendation based on another book I'd purchased, which I can't remember now.  For $ 2.99, I certainly got my money's worth.

As a social worker, Naomi has seen her fair share of endangered children.  Growing up in less than desirable circumstances, Naomi understands what it's like to have a drug addicted mother and watch numerous men parade in and out of your house.  And while others may have grown a thick skin and blocked out the past, Naomi is still haunted by her childhood.  It's her past that allows her to connect with the kids she sees daily.  That past also keeps her from connecting to her husband.

When Naomi is called to remove a trio of children from their mother, she makes a connection with one of them, Xavier, and promises to be there for him and his siblings.  Her personal life proves to be a distraction, as she watches her churchgoing husband being seduced by the words and actions of a new female preacher, and she lets Xavier, his siblings and everyone around her down.  But Naomi is a survivor and eventually, with the help of a therapist and the love of her husband, she becomes the person she was always meant to be.

Laushaul does a good job of keeping readers in suspense.  Normally I can figure out the ending of a book before I get to it, but I was pleasantly surprised this time around.  It's easy to tell that the subjects approached in Running from Solace are near to the author's heart and she's determined to make you care just as much about her characters and their stories as she does.

Published: April 2011


Theme: No More Drama by Mary J. Blige

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Q & A and Giveaway with Samuel Park, author of This Burns My Heart

This Burns My Heart was one of my favorite reads last year.  I was so excited when I found the author, Samuel Park, on Twitter.  He's witty, charming and down to earth.  I've not run across many authors on Twitter that live tweet reality TV in one breath and discuss Jane Austen in the next, but he does it well.  To celebrate the release of This Burns My Heart in paperback, he's doing a tour around the blogosphere.  Luckily, he's landed with us today.  Check out the interview, book trailer and a giveaway below.

1. This Burns My Heart was one of my favorite reads last year. You did an excellent job of telling the story from a woman’s point of view. What inspired you to tell what is loosely your mother’s story and how did you manage to capture the female voice so well?
Thank you for your kind words--I’m thrilled that you liked the book! I was inspired to tell my mother’s story by two things that happened around the same time: one, my sister gave birth to a daughter, which led me to wonder about mother-daughter relationships; two, I moved for my job, and for the first time in years, I was living in a different state than my mother. Being apart from her helped me think of her as her own person, rather than just as my mother, and it helped me realize what an incredible life she’d led, and what an amazing story it would make. In terms of capturing a female voice, I think it comes from growing up around older sisters. From an early age, I cared about what they cared about, and essentially would adopt their point of view in most matters, especially matters of the heart.

2. What was the hardest part of writing This Burns My Heart?
Writing the central love relationship between Yul and Soo-Ja. I had to rewrite that many times, because it was very tricky to get it right. Weirdly enough, it’s the part that’s at the heart of the book, and what keeps the readers connected to the story. I have a suspicion that whatever you happen to have the most trouble with—the stumbling block—always ends up being the thing that readers like most.

3. Would you consider This Burns My Heart to be historical fiction or contemporary
literature and why?

I think the book is actually very difficult to classify. I could see it as being contemporary in the sense that the ‘60s were not so long ago, but it feels historical in the sense that the customs and the culture I describe at the beginning of the book are not all that different from how they might have been a century earlier. That’s partly the tension in the story: a nation moving from its past history onto the modern world. I guess I would call it historical fiction. I’d be curious to hear what you think!

4. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The book is about a woman who makes a wrong choice and has to live with the consequences of that choice. And I think the message is that there’s no point in dwelling on what could’ve been, or what might’ve been, because whatever life you led—no matter how hard it was—was the life you were meant to have. And if you eschew bitterness and approach your days with virtue, strength, and kindness, eventually that life you lost—the good life—will find its way back to you. And this time you’ll have really earned it and will doubly appreciate it, because of what came before.

5. What books have most influenced your life most?
I learned to write from reading Michael Cunningham’s The Hours. That was like my M.F.A. in Creative Writing: just reading that book line by line, sentence by sentence, and seeing how he would craft beautiful language. I’m also a big, big fan of Prep, by Curtis Sittenfeld. That book really taught me that you could create great drama from everyday life, and you could just focus on the domestic routines of the characters. Finally, I adore Pride and Prejudice, especially Austen’s unerring sense of character and plot.

6. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I had an actual mentor in Don Roos, the screenwriter. I was something like 22 at the time I met him, and I was a terrible, terrible writer. But Don did something amazing to me: he said, “You’re very talented, and I really enjoyed what you wrote.” At that age, that can be a transformative moment. I guess it was a self-fulfilling prophecy, and I try to do the same to young writers who come my way. I have this saying that goes, “You cannot overestimate people enough.”

7. What book are you reading now?
Right now I’ve been researching a lot for my next book, so I’ve been reading old annual agricultural reports. I’ve also been reading books about history and architecture.

8. What’s next for you?
I’m working on a new book, and because I’m superstitious I try to say as little as possible about it until I’m completely finished. But I can share that it’s again about a mother-daughter relationship, and again it’s set in a foreign country. And, like This Burns My Heart, it’ll deal with a lot of strong emotions.

9. I know from your tweets that you’re a fan of reality TV. What’s your favorite show and
which reality TV character do you love to hate and why?

My favorite show is Survivor, which I watch obsessively. My friends know better than to call me on Wednesdays when it’s on! She’s not on anymore, but I used to love to hate Kelly Bensimon of Real Housewives of New York City. As a writer, you’re also an amateur therapist. I would have a field day with Ms. Bensimon if she were my patient. We could really go to town.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I want to say that I’m super, super grateful to readers for supporting the book. I’m always amazed when I go online and see people quoting lines from the book, or having discussions about the characters. It’s incredible to me that the world of the book feels as real to my readers as it does to me. They talk about the characters as if they were real people, and for a writer, I can’t imagine anything more gratifying than that!

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Friday, March 16, 2012

#BookReview: Bond Girl - Erin Duffy

Before we get into this Devil Wears Prada meets Sophie Kinsella meets Wall Street Bond Girl, can we get into this book cover?  How fabulous is that shoe? And how lovely are the fonts?  Anywho, that's not what you're here for.

Overly ambitious Alex Garrett has dreamed of working on Wall Street ever since she was a little girl going to work with her father.  When she scores a job at Cromwell Pierce, she's determined to be successful. Ahhh, the naivete of youth.  Sure, Alex can be successful, but it won't happen overnight.

In a trial by fire existence, she'll need to learn how to navigate her way through male privilege, standoffish female coworkers and a boss that refuses to take no for an answer.  And while she's doing that, she still needs to pass the exams that will qualify her to trade on Wall Street, figure out what to call her "relationship" with a coworker and fend off an overly aggressive potential client.

Though not as funny as a Kinsella book, Bond Girl still has a lot of good moments and funny parts.  As I read, I could imagine Alex scooting her folding chair up and down the row, the noise on the floor and the intensity of the every day pressure.  It was also easy to imagine what the characters looked like.  Duffy did a good job of bringing the scenes and the characters to life in her debut novel.  I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from her.

Published: January 2012
Disclosure: Copy received from the publisher.  Opinions are my own.


Theme: Theme from Mary Tyler Moore

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

#BookReview: Lost Boundaries - William White

Watching old movies is a guilty pleasure of mine.  A few years ago I caught the end of a movie on TCM that fascinated me, but I didn't catch the name of it.  After doing some research, I learned that it was Lost Boundaries.

I was excited to find that TCM was showing it earlier this year so I set my DVR for it.  After watching, the host mentioned that it was based on a book by William White.  Of course, you know I had to read it.  At only 91 pages, it's a brief but fascinating read.  For reference, the family name in the book is Johnston; in the movie, it's Carter.

The book and the movie are both about a black family that passes out of necessity.  For those unfamiliar with what passing is, it's when a person from one racial group assumes the identity of another racial group, generally because they have a skin tone or features that allow them to do so.  In Lost Boundaries, a young couple comes from families that have been passing for years.  While the couple is proud to be black, it becomes difficult to find work as a doctor when internships for blacks are so limited.  To make a living and provide for his family, the doctor accepts a position in a small New England town as the local doctor.

The family continues on for years in their small town, even moving to another small town at one point, and their racial identity is never questioned, at least not to their faces.  But when the father wants to join the navy, a background inquiry reveals that he's a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, a historically black fraternity.  In both the book and the movie, the parents decide to reveal to their children that they are black, which sets the oldest son off on a journey to find himself and explore his new identity.

Written in 1948, Lost Boundaries is based in fact. It's interesting to note that the movie, made in 1949, didn't cast a single black person to play the roles of the Carter/Johnston family.  Mel Ferrer, who played the lead, was Cuban-Irish.  The others cast as the family members were white.

91 pp
Published: March 1948

Scene from Lost Boundaries

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Monday, March 12, 2012

#BookReview: The Litigators - John Grisham

It seems that some writers develop a formula that works for them and they stick with it.  While John Grisham steps outside of the legal realm occasionally, and does it well, he doesn't very often.  So it's no surprise that his latest book is set in the legal arena.

Oscar Finley and Wally Figg are a modern day odd couple.  If ever there was a mismatched team, it's them.  A hen-pecked sixty something, Oscar is perfectly content to take on small cases that are guaranteed wins, even if they're not very exciting.  His partner, Wally, is a 40something who's always plotting his next "get rich quick" scheme.  The only thing keeping them from tearing each other apart and dissolving their partnership is their secretary.  And then, David Zinc enters their lives.

The stressed out David quits his job with one of the countries top firms in spectacular fashion.  A day long bender ends when he stumbles into Finley & Figg and promptly becomes their new associate.  David finds himself stuck between the practicality of Oscar and Wally's latest scheme, taking on a big pharmaceutical company.

The little guy taking on the big is a common theme in Grisham books and even though you're almost sure that you know how it'll all turn out, you read anyway.  Why? Because he's that good.

Published: October 2011

Theme: Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks

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Friday, March 9, 2012

#BookReview: Spin - Catherine McKenzie

Own your shit.  That, fellow readers, could easily serve as my synopsis for Spin, because really, that's what this book is about.  It doesn't come out and say that, but that's the message that I took away from it.  Let's talk about why.

Katie Sanford is a screw up though she doesn't seem to really know it or care.  But if you're a 30something freelance journalist pretending to be a 25 year old grad student, you have to have some clue that you don't really have yourself together.  And if that's not enough of a clue, bombing an interview at one of the most prestigious music magazines because you were on a bender the night before, woke up still drunk and threw up mid-interview, should be.

Given a second chance at a writing career, Katie hops on the opportunity. The only catch is it requires her to do 30 days in rehab, which she could certainly use, and write a scathing report on the latest it girl, who happens to be in the same facility Katie is headed to.  So no big deal, right? Right.  As long as Katie doesn't catch a case of morals.

I picked this out of my to be read pile thinking it would be a fluffy, no thinking required kind of read.  I was wrong.  To be fair, it was entertaining, but Katie couldn't entirely fake her way through rehab.  She seriously needed to be there.  And as you watch her interact with her counselor and begin to break things down, you come to realize what's at the root of her problem and you start to cheer her on.  How invested was I in her story? I read it in a day...in the middle of the work week.  That's how good it was.

I gave this four purple armchairs and would have given it five except that the author had a story line she never wrapped up.  Maybe it wasn't that important to the author or anyone else, but I really wanted to see Katie and her sister discuss what went wrong in their relationship and why her sister was so resentful.  I was also hoping for a few more chapters to give more detail of Katie's life post-rehab.  Yes, there were chapters that touched on life after rehab, but I wanted to know about her job, friendships, etc.  Instead, I was left to guess how things turned out.

Published: February 2012


Theme: Ironic by Alanis Morrissette

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

#BookReview: Camilla's Roses - Bernice McFadden

From the outside looking in, Camilla Rose has everything - a good looking husband, a beautiful daughter, a successful career and a nice home.  If you googled 'living the American dream,' there would probably be a picture of her front and center.  But it's all a facade that's slowly, but surely crumbling.

Before you're able to dive too deep into Camilla's issues, Bernice McFadden takes us back a few generations.  All of the women in Camilla's family have the middle name Rose, and Velma and Maggie are no exception.  Raised in the South, the beautiful, but dimwitted Maggie, and the homely Velma move north for better lives.  When tragedy leaves the beautiful Maggie disfigured, she moves in with Velma and her husband and becomes a constant presence in the lives of their children.  And while it's true that Maggie doesn't see as well as she used to, she misses absolutely nothing.

Audrey Rose is Velma's baby girl and she has such a promising future.  Then she meets Lloyd and suddenly the future is not so bright.  Succumbing to pressure, Audrey throws everything away and leaves her own baby girl, Camilla to be raised by Velma and Maggie.  In a house that's already running over with countless cousins, all left behind by their own parents, Camilla is just another mouth to feed.  She's determined to be different though.

As we watch Camilla grow up, it becomes obvious that she's working to distance herself from this family and this life that she didn't ask for.  So it's no surprise that she sheds her skin and her loved ones the moment she leaves for college and she's perfectly content to keep living in a world without them until she realizes that they're what she's been missing and they're what she needs the most.

I read this a number of years ago and remembered it being good, but I went back and listened to it and was blown away.  The narrator breathed life into the story and made it absolutely unforgettable, so much so that I'm tempted to go back and listen to everything McFadden has written.

224 pp
Listening time: 6 hours, 9 minutes
Published: April 2004


Theme: Lean On Me by Melba Moore

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Monday, March 5, 2012

#BookReview: Summer Rental - Mary Kay Andrews

Childhood friends Ellis, Dorie and Julia decide to reconnect during a month long stay on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Their hectic daily lives prevent them from spending as much time together as they'd like, so a month without spouses or significant others is a perfect way to reacquaint themselves.  As each arrives, she brings secrets that she's kept from the others.

Ellis was downsized right before the trip.  The planner of the group, Ellis can't believe she didn't see this coming.  Thanks to her money management skills, she's not hurting for income just yet, but she will eventually and, for once, she doesn't have a plan B on which to rely.

As one who has always gotten by on her looks, model Julia is starting to come to the realization that her days of good modeling gigs are over.  More and more she's being asked to do print work.  It's not that print is so much worse than walking a runway, but they're asking her to take on mom roles.  She could always change careers and finally give in to her longtime boyfriend's marriage proposal, but she's not sure if she's ready to settle down.

Dorie comes to the Outer Banks without her husband.  The girls weren't excited to hear he was coming, but are surprised when he doesn't show up and Dorie offers no explanation.

While the girls use the time to catch up on what's going on in each of their lives, they also make room in their circle for Maryn, a quiet stranger who is obviously on the run from something or someone.

I'm used to Mary Kay Andrews' books being light-hearted and fluffy, Summer Rental, not so much.  It almost reminded me of the leap Judy Blume made from books like Deenie to Summer Sisters.  While I recognize that Deenie was YA, my point is her books grew up.  There is still humor to be found in Summer Rental, but it's much more difficult to find than her other books like The Fixer Upper or Savannah Breeze.

Published: June 2011
Listening time: 14 hours, 46 minutes


Theme: Summer Madness by Kool & the Gang

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Free for All Friday, March 2 - Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Before we go into the weekend, I thought I'd share some fun and interesting facts about the birthday boy, Dr. Seuss.

Dr. Seuss created the word "nerd" in his 1950 book, If I Ran the Zoo.  The adjective "nerdy" popped up in the late 70s.

Dr. Seuss also created the word "grinch" in 1958.  Converse has a line of Chuck Taylor shoes based on characters from Dr. Seuss books.  I bought my daughter the Green Eggs & Ham high tops for Christmas and she squealed like a toddler.

 The Cat in the Hat was written because Dr. Seuss found the Dick and Jane primers boring and didn't think kids would learn to read if they used them.

Green Eggs & Ham was written on a bet with his editor that Dr. Seuss could not write a book using 50 words or less.  Dr. Seuss used exactly 50 words and won $ 50 in the process.  The words are: a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.

"Geisel's cartoons also called attention to the early stages of the Holocaust and denounced discrimination in the USA against African Americans and Jews. Geisel himself experienced anti-Semitism: in his college days, he was mistaken for a Jew and denied entry into conservative social circles, although he was actually of German ancestry and a practicing Christian.

Seuss has stated that the titular character Yertle represented Adolf Hitler, with Yertle's despotic rule of the pond and takeover of the surrounding area parallel to Hitler's regime in Germany and invasion of various parts of Europe."

Dr. Seuss' real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel
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