Browsing Archives for Books & Letters

The Mother Daughter Show

December 21st, 2011

It happened again. In spite of not posting on this site for months at a time, I got sent another book to review for the blog. I can’t really comprehend this, but who am I to turn down a free book? The only problem is that once the book arrives, I have to actually sit down and read it and that was not as easy as it may sound. I took a few classes at a local university this Fall and was kept very busy reading material for my assignments. In my downtime, I found that instead of reading books, I desperately needed to watch back to back episodes of Inspector Lewis… primarily so I could look at this guy for long periods of time…

Laurence Fox who plays the world’s most laconic detective sidekick – James Hathaway.

An actor that is so long and lanky, I think I could fold him up like a road map and place him in my glove box.

But none of this helps me to tell you about the book I was sent to review on my blog does it?

The Mother Daughter Show by Natalie Wexler.

Similar to the last book I was sent to review, this book is not something that I would have ever chosen to read on my own. It’s way too regular.  Reading it reminded me of all those eighties evening soap operas like Knott’s Landing and Thirty Something. The story revolves around three women who have daughters who are seniors and about to graduate from a prep school in D.C. remarkably like Sidwell, the private Quaker school that Obama’s daughters attend. I kind of wish the book had been more about the school and less about the moms who all seem to be struggling with their own version of a midlife crisis in the form of either re-entering the workforce or marriage infidelity or overbearingitis. Their aim? To produce an end of the year graduation show for their daughters starring themselves and all the other senior moms. The show has to be written, choreographed and directed and all while the three organizers grapple with daughter drama  and their own fading dreams (or something like that).

There were parts of the book I enjoyed and at one point I really did want to know what was going to happen to one of the characters, but ultimately this book reads like a script for The Real Housewives of Washington D.C. Wealthy white women vying for power in an insulated environment that very few people even know exists much less care about.

It wasn’t a bad book – just not really my cup o’ tea.

They can’t all be you know.

Speaking of tea…

It goes quite nicely with back to back episodes of Inspector Lewis.

The Trip

October 14th, 2011

This movie has been entertaining me for the past few days. I watched it on Netflix and now I keep watching my favorite scenes over again on You Tube. I have no idea who these two guys are, but they crack me up.

Leaping, vaulting over dry stone walls with a scabbard… dead look in my eyes cause I’ve seen so many horrors….

Centuries of June

August 17th, 2011

Several months ago I received a letter in the mail asking me to review a book on my blog in exchange for a free copy of the same book.  How could I possibly refuse this offer?  I have ALWAYS thought that the people who read and review books for various publications have the BEST job in the world!  Excited to give this job a try albeit without any payment other than the book, I eagerly looked forward to receiving the tome.

But then the book arrived.

And suddenly I had a book that I HAD to read.  It was like having homework.  It made me feel like it was my DUTY to read this book.  MY RESPONSIBILITY.  The book became a chalky medicine tasting of turnips and sour gratin that I had to take.  I began to loathe the task.  It was a weight – an anvil anklet.  Those people who have to read books for a living have one of the WORST jobs in the world!

The book sat upon my nightstand staring at me day after day after day…

Oh JEEZUS!  I still have to read that DAMN BOOK!

SHIT!  I can’t read the latest Frank Schaeffer book, because I STILL HAVE TO READ THE STUPID BOOK FROM THE DUMB PUBLISHER!

FUUUUUUUCK!  MUST READ GOD DAMNED BOOK FROM PUBLISHER!!!

This went on for weeks and weeks.

And then one day I capitulated.  I surrendered to my duty and started to read the book and guess what!  It wasn’t half bad for an anvil anklet.

I would never have read this book on my own.  For there is not a single garden, nor a genuine murder mystery nor a proper gloomy estate leering over collection of quirky characters with dark secrets to hide.  Where were the simple country folk growing tateys and sitting around a spry cottage making lashings of tea and sponge cake while decimating each other with a jaunty Scottish accent?  There was an absolute dearth of angry atheists muttering curses under their breaths towards the goon like behavior of the religious right and there were zero gay men re-doing a country inn on Cape Cod.

This was a book about the history of women in America.

As told to a man as he lay (possibly) dying on his bathroom floor.

And it was quite good reading.

I liked the stories of the women.  Each woman in the book represents a different time period in American history.  There are slave women and pirate women disguised as pirate men and women accused of witch craft and nouveau riche women in gold rush San Francisco.  Each woman’s story was very entertaining and I found myself utterly captivated by their various tales.  I didn’t so much like the regular flashbacks to what was happening to the guy on his bathroom floor.  It got to be confusing and I really just wanted to stay in New Orleans with the slave lady who figured out a fabulous way to rid herself of her irritating master, but overall -  it was a good book.

I couldn’t help but recommend it.

Even if it is my duty.

Centuries of June by Keith Donohue.

Sit down with some tateys and tea and read you it.