Book #69: This is Where I Leave You

Jonathan Tropper, This is Where I Leave You, (2009), 339p

My partner is a fan of Tropper. This book and One Last Thing Before I Go have been sitting on our bookshelves taunting me for some time. Granted, I typically don’t take kindly to his reading suggestions (ahem, Christopher Moore…)

But, somehow this book wiggled it’s way into my brain (likely because the movie came out and I pretty much refuse to watch movies of books I haven’t read) so I dove in.

Judd Foxman can’t win. His wife is sleeping with his boss. Oh wait, she is also pregnant with Judd’s baby. Another kick to his gut – his dad passes away and for dying wish wants his dysfunctional family to sit shiva for seven days. Together. Forced to hash out old sibling feuds and rivalries, the Foxman family tumble into old family roles while trying to rebuild, relearn, and re”love”.

Was this my favourite book? Nope. It was pretty misogynistic. But there were some laughs and groans. There was quite a bit of heart and hurt behind these characters. Quasi entertaining but not something to five-star rate.

I haven’t seen the movie, but honestly all I could picture throughout reading this book was Adam Driver’s sweet little face. Because, film casting.



Book #57: Northanger Abbey

Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, (1818), 251p

Quite a few years ago, I went on a classic novel reading kick. I plowed through the three most popular Austen novels, along with others by Hardy, Hawthorne,  and Bronte. In my younger years, I think I just wanted to feel snobby and educated. Now I just want to catch up on all the goodies I’ve missed. 

I like Austen. Her novels, particularly Pride and Predjudice, were my favourite of the bunch. Yes, I’m a typical woman. I’m totally okay with that. I have wanted to revisit Austen for quite a while and this reading challenge gave me an excuse.

Catherine Morland is your average turn of the (19th) century country lass from a large family. While spending some time in Bath with some family friends, she meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney. Catherine is invited to Tilney’s family estate, Northanger Abbey. An avid Gothic novel reader, Catherine lets her curiosity get the best of her and starts suspecting the head of the family of wrong-doings in the death of his wife. 

I REALLY liked this novel. I found Catherine to be a far more relatable heroine than Elizabeth or Emma. I liked the gothic feel and themes. I don’t really understand how this is considered to be one of Austen’s weaker novels. 

2015 Reading Challenge: A book more than 100 years old (this one is almost 200 years old!)

Book #54: Paper Towns

John Green, Paper Towns, (2008), 305p

I am going to start of this bitch fest by saying that John Green is the author that made me fall in love with teen fiction. Please remember this love and respect for him as I disembowel Paper Towns.

A month before he is set to graduate high school, Quentin, a nerd boy extraordinaire, is awoken by Margo Roth Spiegelman, his beautiful next door neighbor he has been in love with since childhood. Margo takes Q on a late night adventure, then disappears the next day. Quentin is left to pick up the pieces and figure out the real Margo.

So I think I made an epic mistake.

The first JG book I read and fell in love with was The Fault in our Stars. Seriously, that book is amazingly, beautifully, all of the tears crying-ly written. I adore that book. I adore Hazel and Gus. I adore the story. I adore the movie.

Then I moved onto Looking for Alaska, which I thought was okay, and then Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which I love [primarily for Levithan’s side of the story, as I have recently discovered.] I have even read Let it Snow, which I found sweet.

But now, finishing Paper Towns, I’m bummed. I feel like Green is basically following the same format as Looking for Alaska and clearly his part of WG, WG. Insert nerdy, quirky, boy with his group of strange, nerdy, quirky friends. Insert the beautiful, damaged object of his affection. Chaos and damage ensues. Everyone lives not-so-happily ever after.

Like seriously? Again? I mean, I expect a certain level of predictability in teen fiction, but this is too much. I hate Margo. She is a spoiled, entitled, self absorbed little bitch who needs to get over herself. Yes, those are strong words. But I HATE her. I enjoyed the first part of the story – the whole “revenge” tale – but after that I found the story falling into the same old pattern as mentioned above. And I became angry. Fed up. Fuck this.

I am not reading An Abundance of Katherine’s because I have heard that it follows the same pattern. And I don’t want to be angry at John Green anymore.

I want to love him for The Fault in our Stars, so that’s what I am going to do.

No more of this.

And end rant.

2015 Reading Challenge: A book that I own but haven’t read yet

Book #47: Yes Please

Amy Poehler, Yes Please, (2014), 329p

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I really, really, really like funny ladies. I love that there are so many wonderfully beautiful, hilarious, ballsy women out there for me to aspire to be. Amy Poehler is definitely on this list.

I will also be honest and say that I have never seen Parks and Rec. Yes, I’m horrible, and yes, I need to get on it. But that being said, I didn’t love this book any less BECAUSE I’m a failure at watching really funny television shows.

Poehler recounts her childhood, her first attempts at comedy, her love affair with Tina Fey, her marriage (and in turn, her divorce), and her life with kids. All this with hilarious pictures, guest cameos by the likes of Seth Meyers, and random colourful (in more ways than one!) quotes. It was cute and funny and exactly what I needed.

Wow. That was a short review. But seriously, don’t let the lack of words dissuade you. Read this book. But beware, it’s seriously heavier (physically) than you would think. That’s some high quality paper, Poehler.

2015 Reading Challenge: a memoir 🙂

Book #32: Charlotte’s Web

E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web, (1952), 184p

Sometimes I get very sentimental. Sometimes I long for the sweet innocence and completely unjaded days of my childhood. On days like that, or simply when I need a pallet cleanser from attempting to read one of the most disturbing books of my life, I pick up one of my childhood favourites and revisit it.

Seriously, is there a more perfect or beautiful book out there than Charlotte’s Web? I highly doubt it. I am likely incredibly biased because I would rank it as my all-time favourite children’s book, but I am sure many others will agree.

Even rereading it, I cried. This has to be the most heartbreaking paragraph ever written.

She never moved again. Next day, as the Ferris wheel was being taken apart and the race horses were being loaded into vans and the entertainers were packing up their belongings and driving away in their trailers, Charlotte died. The Fair Grounds were soon deserted. The sheds and the buildings were empty and forlorn. The infield was littered with bottles and trash. Nobody, of the hundreds of people that had visited the Fair, knew that a grey spider had played the most important part of all. No one was with her when she dies. p. 171

I love this tale of unexpected friendship and loyalty. I love Fern and Wilbur and Charlotte. I even learn to appreciate Templeton.

What are your childhood faves? Have you reread them as an adult? Please dish!

Happy reading –
Laurie 🙂

Book #24: Gone Girl

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl, (2012), 415p

I’m really, really horrible for pushing books that I really want to read down to the bottom of my TBR pile. Because let’s be honest, there are SO many books that I really, really want to read, that I a) don’t have time to read them all and b) the ones that are currently sitting on my shelves that I don’t have a time limit to read (ie. from the library) slip to the bottom.

That is UNTIL a movie is coming out based on said book that I really, really want to read. Then that book magically hops, skips, and jumps its way from 150th on my TBR list right up to #1 and I put off reading all of these really exciting, wonderful, angsty teen fiction books to read it.

Enter Gone Girl. It’s seriously been sitting on our bookshelves for two years. I bought it for my partner for Christmas 2012. He read it then and has been talking about it ever since. As I typically do with books he likes, I roll my eyes and say sure I will read it. Then I really don’t and start reading books with adorable cute teen boys in them. But now that he has threatened to see said movie without me, I had to step up my game.

I really don’t feel like I need to give a summary of this book, because I’m guessing most people fall into one of three categories: 1) already read the book way before I did; 2) are going to see the movie instead (not my kind of people – hmmph) or 3) don’t care/currently has it sitting halfway down their TBR pile and will get to it eventually. I’m also worried that I’ll give something away. I had some of the plot given away to me accidentally by people and I would hate to do that.

I’m just going to start off by saying, Gone Girl is one of the few books that I absolutely cannot stand ANY of the characters, but I could not put it down. I hated all of them -Nick, Amy, Go, the cops, the neighbors, Amy’s parents, Nick’s dad. All of them. But, maybe that was Flynn’s plan all along. Cause seriously, NONE of them are likable. They are all damaged, desperate, flawed in their own ways. But this book though – damn!

I will say that typically I like my books wrapped up in a neat little package at the end, complete with a floofy bow and a card. This one doesn’t really do that. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. I was completely enthralled by most of it. I did speed read through a lot of it, but only because I needed to know what happened. Because it is all consuming, even with the horrible characters. I’d be interested to check out some of Flynn’s other books and see how I make out with them.

Now I can see the movie with my partner. Alas, this will likely not force me to pick up his book picks any faster, cause well, ya know, stubbornness.

Happy reading –
Laurie 🙂

Book #9: Lamb

Christopher Moore, Lamb, (2002), 444p

The reading of this book has been a slow process for a few reasons. One: life has gotten in the way the last week or so. Work, running a race, general frolicking with friends, sleep, starting in a direct sales business. All of those things have been a priority for me instead of reading. Two: I did not pick out this book for me to read. My partner did. Typically, I have really not enjoyed books he has picked out for me, particularly by Christopher Moore. We are batting 1-1; one absolutely hated (Fluke), and one “I guess I can tolerate this” (A Dirty Job). But I thought “hey, what the heck?!? I’ll give it another shot.”

I wish I hadn’t

Another reason this book took me so long to read is because I really wasn’t into it. It’s just not my idea of a good time. Maybe I don’t like satire? Maybe I really don’t like Christopher Moore? Maybe I just really don’t get religion or anything related to the bible? Who knows. I just really didn’t like this book.

Quick synopsis: the angels bring back Biff, aka Levi, aka Joshua’s bestest childhood bud to write his side of the story. It fills in some gaps from the bible. Everyone’s favourite and least favourite apostles make an appearance. Maggie (Mary Magdelene) is prominently featured as well, the love of both Joshua and Biff’s lives.

I’ll admit, some parts actually had me laughing out loud: Biff creating sarcasm and having it used against him; random kung fu; Mary and her devil. But for the most part, it wasn’t my cup of tea.

I think I’ve learned my lesson. Third time was not the charm for Chris Moore. I think I’m done trying to force myself to read his stuff. I feel like I’ll make some enemies here, but he’s just not for me.

Also, I don’t know if I’ll be letting my partner pick out any more books for me in the not so distant future. I tend to hold grudges 😐

Happy reading –
Laurie 🙂