Saturday, August 2, 2014

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

Very much enjoyed this book from my best friend, Jim Gaffigan.  Ok so we just met once and only spoke for about 30 seconds, but why else would he sign that in my book??

We love his comedy specials and a good portion of this book is from his Mr. Universe show (which can be seen on Netflix). 

I love reading about parenting craziness. Especially from a comedian who has five young children living in New York.  I was either laughing out loud or profusely nodding in agreement (that's not awkward while reading a book). 

"Every night before I get my one hour of sleep, I have the same thought: "Well, that's a wrap on another day of acting like I know what I'm doing. "  I wish I were exaggerating,  but I'm not.  Most of the time,  I feel entirely unqualified to be a parent.  I call these times being awake."

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

When an unnamed,  middle-aged man returns home for a funeral, he suddenly finds himself drawn to a mysterious place from his childhood.

He knocks on the door of an old farmhouse unsure who will answer. When an old woman opens the door she seems familiar.  He realizes she's the mother of his friend, Lettie Hempstock.  He then goes to the pond at the end of the lane.  A pond Lettie referred to as the ocean.

And then he remembers.

He remembers everything...

What follows is a haunting, strange, and beautifully written tale of the man as a 7 year old boy, who experiences a terrifying and other-worldly encounter.
As the young boy's situation worsens, only three uncommon women, including his only friend Lettie Hempstock, can save him.
I found myself completely immersed in Gaiman's magical yet believable world.  It's a poetic and slightly frightening story of how childhood memories shape us, even if we do forget them for a time.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly

I don't usually read historical novels, but I'm glad I made the exception here. Killing Lincoln is well researched, fast paced, and quite emotional. Despite knowing how it ends, there is still an element of suspense that makes for a great read.  Highly reccomend. (I also read Killing Kennedy which is fascinating for all the same reasons).

The Giver by Lois Lowry

I feel like I'm the only one who didn't read this in middle school. But it's never too late to read a classic, right?  And a brilliant one at that.  I couldn't put it down.  And at only 179 pages it's a quick read.  The movie is coming out this summer.  Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges, you guys.  This gives me hope it'll be good.

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin

Oh, man. I could not put this book down.  So, so interesting.  Historical fiction at its finest.  A fascinating look into the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of famous aviator, Charles Lindbergh. Without a doubt one of the most famous, intriguing, and complicated couples in American history.  Highly recommend.
Side note: It pleased my husband to no end that I used P-38 in a sentence while talking about this book.  His love for all things aviation is my favorite.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

This is the story of Hadley Richardson, the first wife, The Paris Wife, of Ernest Hemingway.  Hoping to find adventure and inspiration, the young newlyweds set out for Paris.  Hemingway is there to write.  Hadley is there to love and support him. I found Hemingway's daily writing regimen fascinating.  His relationships with mentor's Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott Fitzgerald were quite intriguing.

Paris in the 1920's was truly a unique time for writers and artists.  But it wasn't an easy time for Hadley and she struggled to find her purpose beyond supporting Ernest. She seemed stronger to me as they traveled  through Europe, especially during their time in Spain where they experienced the running of the bulls and bullfighting.

Unfortunately their relationship begins to unravel.  The heartbreak,  humiliation, disappointment,  and betrayal left me unnerved.  In the end, thankfully, there is peace for both Hadley and the reader from an unexpected phone call.  And I cried.

As I read The Paris Wife I couldn't help but think of Anne Morrow Lindbergh and how similar their situations were.  And I'm glad to know both their stories.  I'm also very interested to read A Moveable Feast, Hemingway's memoir of his time in Paris with Hadley as well as The Sun Also Rises, which he wrote while they were married.