Monday, September 28, 2009

Back to Basics

Okay, enough serious topics, let's go back to books. This post will be a three 'fer - the two you guys picked and a bonus.

Loving Frank - Nancy Horan - the winner of the book poll. My biggest question about this book was, "Is it true?" And the answer to that is yes, mostly. Obviously, Frank Lloyd Wright really existed. So did Mamah (pronounced "Maymah") Borthwick Cheney. They really did have an affair. They really did leave their spouses and children and live together in Wisconsin. (Romantic, right?! Just kidding, Wisconsin friends!) Mamah really did divorce her husband. Frank really did not divorce his wife. The why's and thoughts and feelings are conjecture, though based on personal letters. The book is well-written and at first, fairly suspenseful and engaging. It lags in the middle as the main conflict is the newspaper smear campaign that Frank and Mamah face. In fact, I got really bored and almost quit reading it. It picks up again with conflict between Mamah and Frank over finances and then springs a truly shocking ending out of nowhere. Overall - engaging and a piece of history that you would probably never hear about unless you lived in Oak Park, Illinois.

Best Friends Forever - Jennifer Weiner - So many things in just one book. Such a great story of a friendship, gone wrong, and coming back together. I would like to send a copy to my ex-bff with a note telling her how much I still think about her. It makes so many of the same points I've made on here, how the two girls grew up across the street from each other, in each other's lives and house all day, all the time, yet how much they didn't know, didn't see, didn't realize about the other one. There were so many quotes I would like to highlight and send along to Heather. This is what I wish would happen in my situation. Also a story of personal growth, of a woman growing, changing, realizing that she isn't waiting on her life to improve, on a man to rescue her, that she can do it herself. As I'm sure you can tell, I liked it. A lot.

Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris - The first in the Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood series. Call me prejudiced, but I will probably never call a vampire series high literature. The True Blood series, however, is good fun. And I already like them approximately 750, 000 times better than the Twilight series (sorry to my Twilight-loving friends!) Reasons why:
  • The 100 year old vampire isn't a virgin who insists on being married before losing his virginity. Really, a 100-yr-old vampire placing any stock in any human institution is just stupid. I have no problem with religious values, but the last place they belong is in a vampire novel. I would have been less offended if Bella had been the one insisting on being married, but Edward? Please.
  • Sookie. Dumb name aside, she's a great character. She's independent and can take care of herself, even in a fight. One of the first scenes is her saving Bill from some vampire drainers! But she's not an indestructible kickass and she has no problem calling in Bill when she needs him. *coughunlikeBellacough* She feels no need to go out and make herself roadkill to avoid inconveniencing her precious vampires. (I swear, I was neither Team Edward nor Team Jacob, I was Team Victoria!) Sookie's a virgin, but not for religious reasons. She can read minds and every time she's gotten close to sleeping with a guy, she's heard what he thought about her. Or her body. After hearing what one of my high school boyfriends said about me after we broke up, I was plenty glad I didn't sleep with him. So I can totally see how that would get in the way of gettin it on. (Speaking of gettin it on, Sookie can't read Bill's mind, so they get it on. And on. And on. It's practically a romance novel.)

Anyway, it's a quick read with a good mystery at the heart and fun, quirky characters. Will definitely be reading more of this series.


Liz said...

Glad to hear you liked "Best Friends Forever." I don't know why, but I have shied away from that author; it's good to read a positive review. I'll be sure to check this out, as I have a similar situation. But then, don't we all. (Sigh)

Dead Until Dark v Twilight: My husband asked me if we could start watching "True Blood" because "If we're going to have to watch stories about vampires, I at least want to see boobs." Heh. Fair enough. That being said, I have yet to get into the series -- it'll be fun to start with the book!

Shelly said...

Liz - I really like Jennifer Weiner. She writes a little too much from her personal life sometimes, but she writes really smart female characters that are pretty easy to relate to. Yeah, I'm sure we all have a story or two to tell.

Heh. I like the way your hubby thinks!

Leah Rubin said...

I loved the first two, also! And I don't know whether I'd call it prejudice, but the whole vampire thing isn't for me, either. So, in a nutshell-- great post!

Have you read "The Help"? Awesome story, wonderfully told, and it's a first novel for Kathryn Stockett.

Shelly said...

Leah - I haven't read "The Help"! I'll add it to my list! Thanks!

Lisa said...

I'm a big fan of Sookie. I think the fourth one in the series is my favorite, but don't ask me the name of it because the names don't mean anything (to me, anyway.)

These three books are so completely different from each other, makes for a great post.

Shelly said...

Hey Lisa and welcome! Glad to hear the Sookie series continues well.

HAHA!! I'm nothing if not eclectic. Thank you!

Alice said...

i'm so glad i'm not the only twilight-hater :-) we're few and far between, but OH MY GOD i think we're right!!

Shelly said...

Alice - HAVE YOU READ IT?! God, it sucks. (HEH.) I cannot think of a female character I hate more than Bella. (WILL NOT call her a heroine, BECAUSE SHE'S NOT.)

Hyphen Mama said...

Good LORD woman, when do you find time to read this much? I've read a couple of books in the past month and I realized I had to give up parenting to do so.

Shelly said...

Hyphen - Heeeheee! Yeah, I really do read a lot. I read some in the evenings and a lot on weekends. What's really funny is that this is probably the least I've read in my whole life. I've always read a lot. My dad used to joke that when people asked what I looked like, he replied that it depended on the cover of the book I was reading at the time.