Bookish (& Not So Bookish) Thoughts

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Bookish & Not So Bookish Thoughts

is a weekly meme hosted by Christine over at Bookishly Boisterous, where we post things that are on our minds.  Head over there and check it out!

1.  I am heading to an author luncheon this afternoon and I am very excited.  My sister and Mom will be there too.  The author is Regina Calcaterra and her Book is Etched in Sand– about her difficult childhood in Long Island.

This is actually my first author event and I am very excited!

2.  I picked up the audiobook of The Illiad at my library yesterday because it is read by Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley from Downton Abbey) and everyone seems to think I am crazy.

3.  My husband continues his audiobook reading and I couldn’t be more excited.  After he finished The Stand, I had a problem finding a good one at the library for him to read next, so I grabbed The Paris Architect– a historical fiction I had read last year and enjoyed.  Next up is The Book Thief for him.  I will bring him over to our side!

4.  I am rereading The Handmaid’s Tale (again) because my daughter is reading it for her English class.  While at first I thought it might be a tough read for 15 year olds, I applaud the teacher for picking it.  I am excited to see how my daughter and her friends like it and what they think about it.  She just started and already had a cool insight- the handmaids are named after their commanders.

5.  I think spring might actually be here in Northern NJ!  My daffodils have finally bloomed and I sat outside and read yesterday afternoon.

6.  The hubby and I are celebrating our 20th anniversary this June and decided to celebrate by renting a house on the beach in OBX with the kids and the dogs.  While not terribly romantic, it makes sense- they are teenagers and this will probably be the last big anniversary with them living at home.

7.  We are toying with the idea of renewing our vows on the beach.  My daughter will be the maid of honor and my son the best man.  The yellow lab will be the flowergirl and the chocolate the ring bearer.  Sound cheesy, but I am actually getting a little excited by the idea.  Now I just need to make it happen. Ideas are much appreciated.

8.  And because of #7, I have to get in shape quickly!  When I told my daughter, she didn’t understand why.  She said this way there was more of me to love.  She should go into politics.

9.  Tomorrow I am off to Atlantic City.  This is probably one of my least favorite places to visit, but my Mom LOVES it and it is her birthday.  To celebrate, we are staying over and going to see Frankie Valli.  Yes, it seems he is still alive.  There had better be LOTS of wine involved.

10.  And the NHL playoffs have begun, which means I get a whole lot of reading time in the evenings- excerpt when the NY Rangers are on of course.  We actually scored tickets to Saturday nights game- so excited.  My daughter was invited to this big party by a very popular girl.  She was so excited to be invited and immediately said sorry, she can’t make it- wouldn’t want to miss the game!

Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova

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Inside the O’Briens

by Lisa Genova

published by Gallery Books

April 2015

I received an advanced review copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

My Review

I loved Still Alice and Left Neglected by Lisa Genova, so when I saw she had a new novel coming out, I was really excited to read it.  I was not disappointed! Inside the O’Briens is the story of an Irish Catholic family from Boston.  Joe is a Boston cop, patrolling his hometown of Charlestown and he is married to his high school sweetheart, Rosie.  Their four children, all in their 20s, live with them on separate floors of their triple decker home.  Joe begins to have some strange symptoms he cannot explain- muscle tics, explosive rages.  When he eventually screws up at work, unable to run through drills because his legs aren’t fully under his control, a good friend reached out to Rosie with his concern. Joe promises her he will see a doctor and is shocked to learn, after genetic testing, he has been diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease.  This is a degenerative neurological disorder that is 100% fatal.  As if that wasn’t hard enough for Joe and Rosie, they also learn that there is a 50% chance that their children have inherited the disease.  Now the kids have to decide if they want to find out if they have the gene, which they can then pass on to their own future children.

This book reminded slightly of Still Alice, where the main character is diagnosed with an untreatable degenerative disease that could be passed on to their children.  In that book, the main character in an intellectual shoe is suffering early inset Alzheimer’s Disease.  in O’Briens, the main character is a tough as nails Irish Boston cop, who is not only losing his own ability to control his body, but is also incapable of protecting his family from the same fate.  Both are moving stories, and so informative about the disease that centers them.  I loved the O’Brien family, with their foibles and quirks.  Genova avoids making the characters stereotypical, but manages to give a real glimpse into not only the life of a Boston police officer, but also a Huntington’s patient.  The author has certainly done her research and it shows.  This is a wonderfully well written book that I definitely recommend.

To learn more about the author visit her website at –http://lisagenova.com

To learn more about Huntington’s Disease, you can visit- http://hdsa.org

Summary

Joe O’Brien is a forty-four-year-old police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, proud father of four children in their twenties, and respected officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to the stress of his job, but as these symptoms worsen, he agrees to see a neurologist and is handed a diagnosis that will change his and his family’s lives forever: Huntington’s Disease.

Huntington’s is a lethal neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure. Each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting their father’s disease, and a simple blood test can reveal their genetic fate. While watching her potential future in her father’s escalating symptoms, twenty-one-year-old daughter Katie struggles with the questions this test imposes on her young adult life. Does she want to know? What if she’s gene positive? Can she live with the constant anxiety of not knowing?

As Joe’s symptoms worsen and he’s eventually stripped of his badge and more, Joe struggles to maintain hope and a sense of purpose, while Katie and her siblings must find the courage to either live a life “at risk” or learn their fate.

 

 

Top Ten Quotes

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely ladies over there give us book bloggers wonderful and fun topics to create our lists! Check out what others have posted by going over there!

http://brokeandbookish.blogspot.com

This week’s topic is

Top Ten Inspiring Quotes

1.  “I celebrate myself, and sing myself.”- Leaves of Grass

2.  “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” – Atticus Finch- To Kill a Mockingbird

3.  “Get busy living or get busy dying.”- Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption

4.  “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” The Great Gatsby

5.  “It is a truth universally that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”- Pride & Prejudice

6.  “Tomorrow I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day.”

7.  “As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” – The Fault in Our Stars

8.  “Always.”-Severus Snape- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

9.  “Shadow is only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” – The Return of the King

10.  “But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”- Brave New World

Bookish (& Not So Bookish) Thoughts

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Bookish & Not So Bookish Thoughts

is a weekly meme hosted by Christine over at Bookishly Boisterous, where we post things that are on our minds.  Head over there and check it out!

1.  I have been totally absent from blogging for 2 weeks (actually for over a month now) and I am sorry.  I have been busy, but I mostly blame laziness.  I am hoping that the warmer weather will inspire me to clamp down and get motivated!

2.  I am starting to stress a little about the whole college thing with my 16 year old son.  Why?  Because he is totally disengaged!!  He is an extremely smart kid, but he really wants nothing to do with starting the whole process.  I can’t believe it.

3.  With all the stress, I decided I needed to get myself back to exercising.  I went for my first real run in almost 6 months, and finally went back to yoga today.  I was getting relaxed, until some woman decided to start making what I can only call sounds of “interns pleasure”.  At first, I laughed.  Then, I was a little jealous.

4.  I felt like I was in a reading drought, after it took me so long to reread The Stand, I am cruising now!  Among other books I have read these past two weeks, I finished The Little Paris Bookshop and The Magician’s Lie- both were so awesome!  Now if only I can make myself sit down and write reviews.  I blame Trivia Crack to be honest.

5.  I have to take my son to the ENT for chronic nosebleeds and clogged ears.  Maybe when he is fixed he will be excited about our upcoming trip to visit schools in Boston.  Or I can leave him there.  In Boston.

6.  I have a Book Club meeting at the high school next week.  The teacher picked a book I haven’t read and do not plan to- Alice Paul: Claiming Power.  My library doesn’t have it, and its over $15 for the kindle.  Not gonna do it.  Has anyone read it?  Share some key points?

 7.  I am in need of some good recommendations for audiobooks for my husband.  He finally finished The Stand, and I want to keep him going.  HELP!!

8.  Since he is reading audiobooks and I like to also, I was considering joining Audible.  $22 for two books a month sounded pretty good.  Any opinions?  I am not sure if it is worth it, but my library has an astoundingly bad selection of audiobooks, so I need to do something.

Hope to be posting much more next week!

Bookish & Not So Bookish Thoughts

3 Comments

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Bookish & Not So Bookish Thoughts

is a weekly meme hosted by Christine over at Bookishly Boisterous, where we post things that are on our minds.  Head over there and check it out!

Hello!

1.  I have been away from my blog for a while now, though I did manage to schedule a handful of posts while I was away.

2.  My kids had two weeks of spring break- and it was awesome.  I think I might be suffering what my daughter called PDSD-Post Disney Sadness Disorder.  If I am totally honest, I wasn’t looking forward to our 5 day Disney trip, especially since we were skiing before it, which doesn’t put you in the 90 degree frame of mind.  I had to dig through all of my clothes to find summer things.

But we had such an amazing time!

3.  My favorite ride was the Rock n Roller Coaster.  Least favorite- It’s a Small World.  My daughter wanted to go on since she had never been.  Now she knows why she has never been.  I though the boat wasn’t going to stop, and I seriously considered jumping in the water.

4.  Favorite non park activity- reading The Stand by the pool while drinking a pina colada.  Don’t be jealous- I am home again and I have to live in New Jersey.  Spring here sucks.

5. Best meal- at Monsieur Paul in France/Epcot.  And Vincent the waiter was awesome (and very handsome).

6.  We usually like to go during Food and Wine fest in October-can you guess why?, but the kids can’t get out of school, so we went in March.  They have the Flower Show in March, and we were like- meh.  WRONG!  There are all these amazing topiaries throughout Epcot, AND they have these great outdoor kitchen stands that sell all food, beer, and wine from different places.  The Florida stand had an amazing ceviche.

And now onto Non Disney things-

7.   I was rereading The Stand the entire spring break.  It’s a long book, but I wasn’t that motivated.  But I LOVE being able to talk to my husband about a book!

8.  Since I finished that, I have been whipping though new books!  I read The Bookseller and Inside the O’Briens in a day each.  They were both amazing!

9.  I have been enjoying being away from the blog, and am dragging my feet on writing any reviews- I have about 4 that I still need to crank out, but I might wait till next week.  There is enough in life to stress about, I won’t stress about this.

10.  We have two dogs- Katie is a 12 year old yellow Lab and Jack is a 6 year old chocolate Lab.  We have been going back and forth for about a month whether we want to add another puppy.  My cousin just informed me that she will be fostering a 7 week old black lab next week.  Is this Karma?  Or am I entirely crazy??

The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg

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The Dream Lover

by Elizabeth Berg

published by

2015

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

My Review

I honestly knew next to nothing about French novelist George Sand, though I had heard of her.  Therefore, I was looking forward to reading Dream Lover, especially since I have enjoyed Berg’s previous works very much.  This novel is a departure for Berg, and I am not sure it was totally successful.  The beginning is interesting, where we learned about Sand’s parents, how they met and fell in love, and the early years of their family.  As we move on to where Sand leaves her husband and children to live with her lover in Paris and write, I lost interest.  The story seemed forced and a little boring, which surprised me.  George Sand was supposedly a very scandalous person, but here she was really just selfish and annoying.  I kept waiting for it to improve and was sorry it did not.  This was unusual for me, because I truly enjoy Berg as an author.

Summary

George Sand was a 19th century French novelist known not only for her novels but even more for her scandalous behavior. After leaving her estranged husband, Sand moved to Paris where she wrote, wore men’s clothing, smoked cigars, and had love affairs with famous men and an actress named Marie. In an era of incredible artistic talent, Sand was the most famous female writer of her time. Her lovers and friends included Frederic Chopin, Gustave Flaubert, Franz Liszt, Eugene Delacroix, Victor Hugo, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and more. In a major departure, Elizabeth Berg has created a gorgeous novel about the life of George Sand, written in luminous prose, with exquisite insight into the heart and mind of a woman who was considered the most passionate and gifted genius of her time.

Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR List

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely ladies over there give us book bloggers wonderful and fun topics to create our lists! Check out what others have posted by going over there!

http://brokeandbookish.blogspot.com

This week’s topic is

Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR List

Looking it over, it seems a little eclectic-or bipolar.  There’s a little of everything!

1.  Dead Wake by Erik Larson

2.  Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

3.  Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum

4.  World Gone By by Dennis Lehane

5.  Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova

6.  The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand

7.  The Sound of Glass by Karen White

8.  The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

9.  A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

10.  It by Stephen King

Not too sure on this last one- might be too scary for me.  I hate clowns.

What books are you looking forward to this spring?