Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Midwives - Chris Bohjalian

Title: Midwives
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Year: 1997
Country: USA
Pages: 372
Rating: 3 out of 5

First sentence: Throughout the long summer before my mother's trial began, and then during those crisp days in the fall when her life was paraded publicly before the county--her character lynched, her wisdom impugned--I overheard much more than my parents realized, and I understood more than they would have liked.

Midwives is the story of a homebirth gone terribly wrong. Midwife Sibyl Danforth does everything she can to save the life of one of her mothers during labor. When the mother passes away, she performs an emergency c-section to save the baby's life. When her actions are questioned, she faces the hostility of those who oppose homebirth, especially physicians and the state attorney's office. 

When I started reading Midwives, I was worried the subject matter would hit a bit too close to home. When I was pregnant, we seriously considered homebirth, however our apartment's small bathtub and thin walls did not promise a comfortable experience. Instead, I opted for the care of the Special Beginnings birth center midwives. By the time my labor rolled around, I completely trusted all four midwives. Which is why, 23 hours into my 24 hours of non-medicated labor (and 4+ hours of pushing!), when my midwife told me he (and yes, a midwife can be a he) thought I should transfer to the hospital for an emergency c-section, I didn't hesitate. He was confirming what my instinct was telling me--if not the fetalscope--that something was wrong. Maya came out 45 minutes later, with a shorter umbilical cord that was wrapped around her neck. She had also turned into the posterior position, which explained the almost two hours of almost unbearable back labor I had been dealing with.

If we would have been unable to go to a hospital, would Maya have eventually been in distress because of the umbilical cord? What about me? Thankfully, we'll never know. But with her birth still fresh in my mind, it was emotionally difficult to read the beginning of this book.

Other than that, it's a fairly enjoyable read. Right away, I could tell the author had read Ina May Gaskin, a well-known midwife, and her book Spiritual Midwifery is mentioned in the acknowledgments. I didn't particularly like the story written from the perspective of the midwife's daughter, and some of the character development fell flat. The style of writing - and topic choice - reminds me a lot of Jodi Picoult. Overall I enjoyed the story, but I'm not extremely motivated to pick up another one of his books.

Also reviewed by:

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Founding Mothers - Cokie Roberts

Author: Cokie Roberts
Year: 2004
Country: USA
Pages: 348 pgs.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

First sentence: When you hear of a family with two brothers who fought heroically in the Revolutionary War, served their state in high office, and emerged as key figures in the new American nation, don't you immediately think, "They must have had a remarkable mother"?

I remember very little about my schooling on the Revolutionary War, other than an awarness that my old history books were filled with dates of battles, and the heroics of soldiers, and not much else. Therefore, when I first picked up this book, I met quite a few people I should have heard of...but didn't.

I never knew that one of the most influential writers of the Revolutionary area was a woman, Mery Otis Warren. That a British writer and feminist--Catherine McCauley played a large part in influencing the minds of the American federalists. That a woman was the money (and a good part of the intellect) behind Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin--Eliza Lucas Pinckney. There are many more stories in Founding Mothers of women who helped to shape the newly created American nation.

You can tell that Roberts was meticulous in her research into the women who provided a vast amount of courage, patriotism, and dedication to a fledgling nation that afforded them hardly any rights. It is also very obvious that this is a book that she truly enjoyed writing, the author's passion for the topic shines through. One of the only downsides is that the reader is often bounced from topic to topic, which, for someone without a solid knowledge about the Revolutionary Era, can become a bit confusing. Especially when so many people shared similar names!

If you have reviewed this book and would like your review listed here, let me know!

Sunday Salon - July 27

The Sunday
My mind is a bit scattered this morning, and Maya is clamoring for my attention, so this will be a bit brief...and erratic. :)

I am still reading (but almost done!) Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts, about the mothers and wives of America's Founding Fathers. Many of the locations talked about are near my current home, a place that I lived in the past, or somewhere I have gone on vacation: Philadelphia, Baltimore, York, Princeton, Charleston, New York, etc. In addition to the places I have already visited, I have now added quite a few more to my list.

I can't be the only one that does this! Do you ever read a book, bookmarking things are places to visit on a vacation? Since I'm not a huge war-buff, my interest mainly lies in learning more about the people behind the Declaration of Independence, rather than battles fought. Often, I'll read a book and end up with a desire to travel there: Paris, Turkey, Egypt, Prince Edward Island, list is endless.

For those who might be wondering, some of the Revolutionary-related places I have gone are:
  • Morven House, Princeton - Home of Richard Stockton (signer of the Declaration of Independence) and Annis Boudinot Stockton, poet.
  • Valley Forge, outside Philadelphia, PA
  • Monticello - Thomas Jefferson's home, Virginia
  • Montpelier - James Madison's home, Virginia
  • Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Gates House, York, PA (General Gates lived here when the Continental Congress was evacuated to York during the war)
And those I would like to visit include:
  • Monmouth Battlefield State Park
  • Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, South Carolina
  • Mount Vernon, Virginia
  • Liberty Hall, New Jersey
Happy Reading!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Booking through Thursday & Friday Fill-In - July 26

Here’s another idea about memorable first lines from books.

What are your favourite first sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its first sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn’t like but still remember simply because of the first line?

My favorite first sentence (and it's a long one!) is both the first sentence and paragraph from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. It was one of the only things that I had to memorize in high school that I still remember:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."

In this way Dickens sets the scene for the novel as a metaphor of the rich and the poor, and links 1850's England to the atmosphere in France before and during the French Revolution. It is the perfect opening passage for a novel that explores duality through characterization, setting, and narrative. In's perfect. :)

1. I believe whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

2. If you're good at something, don't stress out trying to be perfect at it.

3. Why so serious.

4. Something is out there, it's going to get found.

5. If my life were a sitcom, it would be titled lollipops.

6. Sitting on my back porch [if you don't have one, use your imagination] I see my neighbor's fence and my poor, dead lavender.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to going to a Shabbat dinner, tomorrow my plans include a picnic at the park and Sunday, I want to relax!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wordles, wordles everywhere

These little guys have been popping up all over the place. So I thought I'd try it out. Here is a quote from a book that I read recently...can you guess what the book is? There's one word in their that is a really big hint. :)

Update: The quote is from Cheri, by Colette. :)

Book Awards II Challenge

I finally have a chance to think about which books I would like to read for Michelle's follow-up to the first Book Awards Challenge. The rules are slightly different this time around: 10 books over 10 months, and five different awards must be represented. Some of my choices this time were the books I did not get to on last year's preliminary list.

A tentative selection:
  • Walk Two Moons - Sharon Creech (Newbery)
  • Parable of the Talents - Octavia Butler (Nebula)
  • Bel Canto - Ann Patchett (PEN/Faulkner; Orange; NBCC)
  • Hotel Du Lac  - Anita Brookner (Booker)
  • The Cairo Trilogy - Naguib Mahfouz (Nobel)
  • Flotsam - David Weisner (Caldecott)
  • Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha - Roddy Doyle (Booker)
  • The English Patient - Michael Ondaatje (Booker)
  • Sophie's Choice - William Styron (NBA)
  • Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides (Pulitzer)
To see what I read for the first challenge, go here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Positive Discipline - Jane Nelsen

Title: Positive Discipline: The First Three Years

Author: Jane Nelsen
Year: 2007
Country: US
Pages: 304
Rating: 5 out of 5

This is by far one of the best parenting books I have read so far. Jane Nelsen presents a non-corporal punishment approach to child-rearing that crosses virtually all parenting philosophies. This book helps the reader understand what behaviours are age-appropriate, and how to respond to these behaviours in a way that is kind but firm, and encourages children to explore the world and their newly found independence ( legs can now carry me away from mom and towards that shiny vase!).

The author presents a balance between the parent who is always scolding and reprimanding their child, and the parent who lets their child get away with everything. Positive discipline is not about being permissive, it is using discipline that is age-appropriate. A toddler's brain is not yet equipped to fully understand concepts adults take for granted, and the techniques in this book are geared towards the developmental level of the littlest kids.

For the 0-3 category, this is largely distraction and re-direction. One of the things I really loved about this book was the abundance of practical advice, and specific examples and anecdotes about how other parent's respond to certain behaviours--pulling a cat's tail, or throwing a tantrum in a grocery store--using positive discipline techniques.

We're just now entering the time when Maya is beginning to understand language. I have been finding myself saying "No!" quite a lot...especially when the cat is around...accompanied by distraction. My kind words, "touch nicely" seem to have gotten lost with the move. It is hard to repeat the same thing over and over again ("touch nicely", along with physically showing her how to do it) knowing she doesn't understand what I mean yet. Although this book doesn't present an easy answer--in fact, it reminds the reader that raising confident, capable, children is HARD work--it does provide the encouragement for me to continue with the repetitive demonstrations and encouraging, explanatory phrases, followed by re-direction. Someday, she will understand. There are also lots of great examples of ways to prevent and/or avoid power struggles.

Positive discipline helps parents create an environment for their children to learn through play, exploration and discovery, while setting the foundations of morals and values. I will definitely be reading more of the author's books in the future.

If you have reviewed this book and would like your review listed here, just let me know!

Monday, July 21, 2008

On The Day You Were Born - Debra Frasier

Title: On the Day You Were Born
Author: Debra Frasier
Year: 1991
Country: USA
Rating: 5 out of 5

First sentence: On the eve of your birth word of your coming passed from animal to animal.

I love this book. Love, love, love it. It is currently one of my favorite picture books. It comes in a few different versions, including a board book, but we bought the picture book that comes with a CD. It is a story of celebration of the birth of your child, and is told in a wonderful, lyrical way. Reading this book to a child tells them they are a blessing--without any religous undertones--incorporating their birth into the natural world in a way that would make any child feel special.
"On the day you were born the Moon pulled on the ocean below, and, wave by wave, a rising tide washed the beaches clean for your footprints..."
The illustrations, also done by the author, are simple and breathtaking, a perfect fit for the nature-oriented tone of the story. The CD is a must have. I thought it would only contain an audio version of the story. In addition to that--which is wonderfully narrated and set to music. In addition, there are a few more tracks of songs which are a delight to listen to. This would make a wonderful gift for any new mother.
"On the day you were born the Earth turned, the Moon pulled, the Sun flared, and, then, with a push, you slipped out of the dark quiet where suddenly you could hear...a circle of people singing with voices familiar and clear."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A quick Meme

So, instead of doing the Positive Discipline review, I've decided to do the meme that Seachanges tagged me for.

What were you doing five years ago?

Let's see. That would be July 2003. Aahh! I would have been celebrating the completion of my master's thesis, skipping the graduation ceremony, and laughing at how fake the University of Queensland, Australia diploma looks in comparison to my undergrad one from the University of Pittsburgh. My degree was a Master's in International Relations and Asian Politics. Quite a mouthful. In recent years, I've dropped the "Asian Politics" when telling people what degree I hold.

Five snacks I enjoy in a perfect, non-weight-gaining world:
1. Chocolate brownies.
2. Tiramisu
3. Tim Tams
4. Chewy chocolate-chip cookies
5. Iced mocha's

Can you tell I like chocolate?

Five snacks I enjoy in the real world:
1. Fruit smoothies
2. Chocolate brownies
3. Trail mix of my own design (dried cranberries, roasted unsalted almonds, cashews, peanuts, seeds of some sort, and ginger pieces)
4. Pita chips
5. Trader Joe's fruit leather

Five things I would do if I were a billionnaire:
1. Pay off my husband's school loans
2. Start a foundation to help women and kids suffering from severe burns to come to the United States to receive treatment. The foundation would also fund programs that help doctors and hospitals in developing countries receive training and equipment needed to treat severe burns.
3. Buy a house.
4. Travel the world. Over and over again!
5. Donate large sums of money to Habitat for Humanity, as well as various micro-enterprise programs.

Five (non-academic) jobs that I have had:
Well, the only academic job I have ever had is a student. So...
1. Joint Director of an asylum seeker support centre.
2. Sales Associate for Sheridan, Australia.
3. Hostess at Red Lobster.
4. Salesperson at Sally Beauty Supply. (It was horrible. I rarely wear makeup, never style my hair...I knew nothing)
5. Freelance grant-writer.

Five habits:
1. Chewing on my shirt collar when I am thinking.
2. Losing my keys.
3. Reading.
4. Prone to over-reacting.
5. Drink different types of tea in certain ways (green tea with a touch of honey, herbal teas plain, ceylon tea with milk and sugar)

Five places I have lived:
1. Seattle, Washington
2. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
3. Brisbane, Queensland (Australia)
4. Baltimore, Maryland
5. North Brunswick, New Jersey

Five people I want to get to know better (and should consider themselves tagged!)

Sunday Salon - July 20

The Sunday

Last week, I said I planned on starting Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts. I ended up a bit derailed from that plan, finishing Positive Discipline: The First Three Years by Jane Nelsen instead (I'm hoping to write my review later today, this is one of the best parenting books I have read so far!). I then picked up and finished M is for Malice by Sue Grafton. It was only this morning that my frequently changing reading tastes led me back to Founding Mothers

With most of our unpacking done, and hubby with a whole weekend off of work, he has promised a few undisturbed hours this afternoon so I can catch up on blogs, read the NY Times Sunday Book Review, and delve into Founding Mothers to my heart's content. I am really looking forward to the experience. Growing up near Gettysburg, PA, I believe my high school American history classes were a bit skewed towards the Civil War. Philadelphia was only two hours away, but for some reason, not once during my schooling did we go on a field trip there. Gettyburg, on the other hand, I have been to dozens of times.

As a result, my knowledge of the Revolutionary War and early American history is sketchy at best. Beyond George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson, I am at a loss. I know next to nothing about the colonial women that supported the men that signed the Declaration of Independence, and wrote our Constitution. With the exception of Betsy Ross--and what I learned about her in school has controversially been debunked by historians--I could not name a single other woman of that time except for Martha Washington. Therefore, I am really looking forward to delving into this book! 

On another note, Maggie's recent question to her readers "What is your definition of young adult literature?" had this topic fresh in my mind. Therefore, my eye was quickly drawn to an essay in today's NY Times Sunday Book Review about books that were written for adults...only to get marketed as YA, usually against the author's wishes. There are novels such as The Book Thief, which is marketed for adults in Australia, and young adults in the United States. Personally, the demarcation seems very random, subject to the whims of a publisher's marketing department. What's a shame is that many "YA" authors are shunned by other writers, and not taken as seriously. Quality literature can be found in any format, whether it's a board book, Young adult, or targeted at adults!

Friday, July 18, 2008

BTT and Friday Fill-In - July 18

Do you buy books while on vacation/holiday?

Do you have favorite bookstores that you only get to visit while away on a trip?

What/Where are they?

I have been known to drop into fun-looking used book stores if I pass one while on vacation. I found a real gem when we went to Charlottesville, Virginia two years ago. There was another great one in Banff, Canada that I found on our honeymoon. Since we typically always go to new places on vacations, I don't have favorite bookstores I visit while away.


1. If I could be a fly on the wall I would be at Woodstock. Except it was outside and there were no walls. So, maybe I would be a fly on the wall of an Egyptian pyramid when they were being built.

2. Jealousy is different from envy.

3. When I see a shooting star my wish would be that a brand new Prius would show up in our driveway in the morning.

4. I'd rather be short than tall any day!

5. Certain songs when I hear them make me wanna dance like there's no tomorrow.

6. If time were in a bottle I would pop the cork.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to hopefully sleeping, but it looks like Maya is teething which means no one is sleeping lately, tomorrow my plans include going to an Italian Festival and Sunday, I want to organize Maya's new toy shelves from Ikea!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chunkster Challenge Wrap-Up

I'm trying to clean house a bit, and I realized I finished this challenge without even realizing it.

Books Read:
Favorite: They were all great, but The Time Traveler's Wife would squeak by with the gold.

Least Favorite: None. I liked them all. Unless I would count The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans. This was one of my original selections, and I don't think I made it past page 30.

New-to-me authors: All of them!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Snakes and Earrings - Hiromi Kanehara

Title: Snakes and Earrings (Hebi ni piasu in Japanese)
Author: Hiromi Kanehara (translated by David James Karashima)
Year: 2004
Country: Japan
Pages: 120
Rating: 3 out of 5

 First sentence: "Know what a forked tongue is?"

Snakes and Earrings is as much a story about disillusioned youth as it is about the young Japanese counter-culture. Lui is a 19 year old girl who travels away from her "Barbie-girl" image once she meets Ama. She is mesmerized by his forked tongue, an extreme form of body modification, and she spontaneously sets out to split her own tongue, moving in with Ama as well. The short novella is filled with S&M, anorexia, alcoholism, and drugs.

The tattoos, forked tongues, and piercing', and other physical transformations hint at the underlying mental transformations that Lui is faced with by the end of the novel. It is one of those stories in which the end is only the beginning, and I am left wondering where her life will ultimately lead her.

I have been meaning to read a book about the youth counter-culture in Japan, but I think that craving would be better served with non-fiction. Ultimately, this was a quick read (I read it in one sitting at the beach), but not particularly satisfying. Snakes and Earrings did win the Akutagawa literature prize in 2003.

Also reviewed by:

If you have reviewed this book and would like your review listed here, just let me know!

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Blessing of A Skinned Knee - Wendy Mogel

Author: Wendy Mogel
Year: 2001
Country: USA
Pages: 304
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

I read this book a few weeks ago, so many of the details have already slipped my mind. Therefore, I'm writing this review in a slightly different format.

What it's about: Wendy Mogel discusses practical tools and Jewish spiritual values to address many of the issues that confront today's parents: overindulgence, over-scheduling, overprotection and rebellion, to name a few. Her strategies aim to teach kids to be respectful and gracious while staying true to their individual personalities.

What I liked: This is not just a book for Jewish parents, as her philosophy easily crosses religious boundaries. Her suggestion to treat children as "unique, but ordinary", by putting a child on a pedestal can cause self-esteem problems down the road. She tells readers that you should not expect children to be anyone other than who they are, rather than pushing them towards extraordinary achievements in areas that they just aren't interested in.

The book is organized in an easy to read format, great for busy parents, and covers topics such as "The Blessing of Work: Finding the holy sparks in ordinary chores", "The Blessing of Time: Teaching your child the value of the present moment" and "The Blessing of Food: Bringing moderation, celebration, and sanctification to your table". Overall, she has some very valuable advice that relates well to our parenting style, and I will definitely be coming back to the book in the future.

What I didn't like: There were a few things that really stand out, causing my to give it a lower rating. Her diatribe on the negative affects of gender equality really struck my feminist nerve. I also found some of her comments on disabled children abhorrent coming from the voice of a psychologist. I also felt that some of the "problems" she addressed were really only specific to families in the same socioeconomic class of her previous clientele (her practice was in Beverly Hills, California). The spoiling and indulgence she talks about just can't occur in lower economic class families, so it was a bit hard for me to relate to that (that's not saying that kids whose families aren't rich can't be spoiled, they can...but her writing doesn't address the issue in a way that easily applies to all socio-economic levels).

Recommended to: Parents with kids aged 5 and up. 

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday Salon - July 12

The Sunday
Earlier this week, we took a trip to Morven House in Princeton, the home of Richard Stockton, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and his wife Annis Boudinot Stockton. During the tour, I learned that Annis, a feminist and patriot, was one of America's first female published poets, and wrote more than 12o works. Wanting to learn more, I asked if any of her works were still in publication. The tour guide did not know (I since looked it up; they were collected and published in 1995 in a book called Only for the Eye of a Friend: The Poems of Annis Boudinot Stockton) but another visitor on the tour reminded me of a book that has been languishing on my TBR pile: Founding Mothers: The Women who Raised our Nation by Cokie Roberts. Annis is covered in the book, along with Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, Mercy Otis Warren, Deborah Reed Franklin, and Eliza Pinckney. I ran out this afternoon on the way back from the beach and picked up a copy of the book from the library, and that will be my reading material for this not-so-leisurely Sunday!

Cokie Roberts has a new book out that also sounds good which seems to pick up where Founding Mothers leaves off. It is titled Ladies of Liberty: The Women who Shaped our Nation.

Yesterday I breezed through a small book by young Japanese author Hitomi Kanehara, Snakes and Earrings, an explicit look into the counter-culture of Japanese youth. It's...interesting. 

Happy Sunday!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Fill-In - July 11

1. Oh, I can't wait until I have a baby-sitter.

2. Watermelon is the first thing I see when I open my refrigerator.

3. I never leave home without my keys.

4. If I were a condiment, I would be BBQ sauce because it's sweet and tangy.

5. People cutting into a line is really high up on my list of pet peeves.

6. The last thing I thought of before I went to bed was how tired I am.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to sleeping, tomorrow my plans include going to the beach and reading a good book and Sunday, I want to buy new dressers!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Booking Through Thursday - July 10

One of my favorite bookstores burned down last weekend, and while I only got to visit there while I was on vacation, it made me stop and think.

What would you do if, all of a sudden, your favorite source of books was unavailable?

Whether it’s a local book shop, your town library, or an internet shop … what would you do if, suddenly, they were out of business? Devastatingly, and with no warning? Where would you go for books instead? What would you do? If it was a local business you would try to help out the owners? Would you just calmly start buying from some other store? Visit the library in the next town instead? Would it be devastating? Or just a blip in your reading habit?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your 
actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

I don't even want to think about it! My favorite source for books is the library, and I would be devastated if our local one burned down. Not only would it be a loss of thousands of books, but it would be the destruction of a meeting place for the community. Our (new) public library has children's storytimes, arts and crafts programs, a meeting rooms for all types of community organizations, a location to hold ESL classes, computer classes...the list goes on and on.

What would I do? I would chip in to help rebuild. I would donate time and energy, and money; I would help organize fundraisers, and share my grantwriting skills to help the library bounce back.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Sunday Salon: The Time-Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The Sunday

Title: The Time-Traveler's Wife
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Year: 2003
Country: USA
Pages: 546
Rating: 5 out of 5

First sentence: CLARE: It's hard being left behind.

Back in 2007, Chris at Book-a-rama thought that she was the last person on Earth to read The Time Traveler's Wife

You're not, Chris. I just finished it last night. :)

When a book is as popular as this one was , I often wait a very long time to delve into it (unless I read it before it become the "in" book. I don't like reading books at the height of their popularity. So I patiently avoid all of the gushing reviews, and let it sit there for months, sometimes longer. This one has been sitting on my bookshelf since December 2006.

It finally caught my attention last week. Once I picked it up, it was very hard to put it down, much to the consternation of my husband and, yes, even Baby Maya!

Henry is a reluctant time-traveller, possessor of some screwed up DNA. He can't help it, he involuntarily travels back in time without any forewarning. He can be gone for minutes, or days. His wife Clare, who first meets Henry when she is 6 (while he is time-travelling - although they are eight years apart in age, Henry does not meet Clare until he is 28), is not so linearly challenged, and always stays rooted to the present. The story is largely the story of their relationship, so don't be fooled by the title. It is not a science-fiction novel in any form.

Henry time travels; he does not change the past. When he learns too much about his future, he is left with the burden of living that reality without being able to do a thing to change it. Once married, Clare is burdened by the reality of waiting. Waiting for Henry to meet her childhood self, to experience all the memories she already has. Waiting for Henry to come back from an unknown time and place, sometimes okay, but often bruised, tired, or injured.

It's a book that really drew me in emotionally. I was vested in these characters, I ached when they were going through very painful circumstances. I wanted Henry's doctor to discover a cure, I wanted them to be happy. It's not that often that a book can make my heart pound with sympathy and anguish, and this one did.

For that, I'm giving it five stars. There were one or two small things that were left dangling that I really want to know more about. On a certain night in question, I really wanted to hear the perspective from Mark and Philip, Clare's brother and father. And, at one point, Henry states that he now understands what Clare's childhood friend Helen said to him at his wedding. But we never get to hear what she said (unless I missed it somehow). Small things, really, in an otherwise outstanding debut novel. I will definitely be reading more by Audrey Niffenegger in the future!

Other reviews of the Time Traveler's Wife can be found at:

If you have reviewed this book, and would like to have it listed here, just let me know!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Friday Fill-In - July 4

I'm a day late on this one. Oops!

1. Holidays in the summer are fun to celebrate with BBQ chicken, watermelon, and berries and cream.

2. Pineapple slices and sweet potatoes are my favorite things to grill.

3. My thoughts are always whirling around in my head.

4. Fourth of July picnics is what I'm most looking forward to this weekend!

5. My favorite book so far this summer is The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (still reading).

6. A shower is the best way to begin a day.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to going to a BBQ, tomorrow my plans include meeting up with a new friend in my new town at a really fun coffee shop and Sunday, I want to get some of our artwork up on the wall in our new townhouse!

To all the Americans, Happy 4th of July weekend!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

It’s a holiday weekend here in the U.S., so let’s keep today’s question simple–What are you reading? Anything special? Any particularly juicy summer reading?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your 
actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

I am about halfway through The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I absolutely love it. It is one of those books that, if I didn't have a baby daughter, I would stay up all night or day reading until I finish it. My parents bought it for me for Christmas 1 1/2 ago; I'm not sure why I waited so long to pick it up!