Monday, February 28, 2011

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Water for Elephants: A Novel
As I am a sucker for books who have been or are being adapted into movies, I couldn't help but pick up this book after hearing about the movie. I actually listened to most of the book on tape as my husband and I were out delivering newspapers and I was immediately sucked into the story.It may have helped that there was even creepy music that played between certain chapters that added to the overall ambiance of the book.

I actally worked for a few months in an assisted living facility and old Jacob reminded me of so many of my favorite residents when I worked there. Don't ask me why but I have a soft spot in my heart for crotchety old men. They're a lot of fun. Even when you have to argue with them for trying to have a smoke with an oxygen tank strapped to their wheelchair. What's not to love? Most old men are just good times, both in real life and in print. 

Funny thing, in the audio book version I listened to old Jacob sounded perfect but young Jacob sounded a little dorky so I was a bit surprised to hear Robert Pattinson was playing him. It didn't seem to fit with the Jacob I had built up in my head but maybe I would have built a different picture of him had I read the book myself and not been influenced by the audio.

Because of the back and forth between young Jacob and old Jacob, the ending was not terribly surprising, though maybe it wasn't supposed to be. I still found it enjoyable to listen to it all unfold and I felt as though I truly got a nice feel for circus life in the twenties. I was especially touched by old Jacob going back home to join the circus at 90 (or 93). It was a great book, one I'm likely to pick up again for a re-read in the future.

I am totally looking forward to seeing the movie adaptation in April. As with any adaptation, I just hope they do it justice. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Book Blog Hop 2/25

Book Blogger Hop 
Thanks to all of you visiting from the Blog Hop and BIG thanks to Crazy-For-Books for hosting  it. 

This weeks question is: 

 "Do you ever wish you would have named your blog something different?"

Sometimes. I have always sucked at thinking of names be it usernames for social media sites or blog titles. I see a bunch of fun witty titles and think "I wish I could think of something cute like that." But, I am who I am, uncreative and all and that's ok. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler's WifeThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is one of those epic love stories that make you feel a little underwhelmed by your own relationships. I mean, my husband and I met at a party, dated, fell in love and ta-da, here we are. However, Henry and Clare are practically consumed by each other. Clare waits for Henry most of her life, either to meet up with him in the present or wait for him to come back when he's gone traveling. Henry is so consumed by Clare that he is repeatedly pulled back to visit her throughout her life. I loved that despite their great magical love, there is a sense of normalcy there. They fight, get mad and make mistakes. It's not all hearts and flowers and romance. I think it makes the characters more realistic, other than that little time traveling aspect of course.

One issue I had with the story is the fate vs free will theme. In the book, everything has basically already happened. Therefore anything you choose to do is not really a choice because you've already chosen. Make sense? Yeah, not really. Henry can't change anything in the past because it's already happened. When Henry comes back and visits Clare as a child, he's already married to her in his present. So, she can't not marry Henry in her future because she already did it. It seems as though in this particular story, one is not able to change their mind. Who is to say that if Henry never visited her as a child that she would have wanted to marry or even date him when they met as adults. Her entire life was influenced by his visits and that takes quite a bit of her free will away from her. I mean, it works out for them and it makes for a good book bt the idea of it bothers me. I like to feel as though I am in control of my own destiny, not that my future is mapped out in advance for me. That irked me a little but not enough to ruin my enjoyment of the story. It is just fiction after all.

The Time Traveler's WifeI've seen the movie adaptation and I think it was fairly well done. The movie is basically a sanitized version of the book. They changed a few things to make it more big screen friendly but they also eliminated several of the less savory aspects of the book. It's like the screenwriter went through with a red pen and just crossed out anything unpleasant that wouldn't severely impact the storyline. I'm glad that I finally read the book and got the whole story and not just the glossed over Hollywood version.

I would recommend the book to anyone looking for a nice, romantic story. Even at 500+ pages it was an easy, quick, and fun read.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I'm Not Dead (Groveling Included!) and A Couple of Changes

I am officially the world's worst blogger. I apologize from the depths of my soul for dropping off the face of the planet for the last several months. Please feel free to virtually flog me if it makes you feel better.

Not to make excuses, but my life has been in almost constant upheaval since September, which caused my absence. First, my sister-in-law was a bit down on her luck and ended up coming to live with us for a little bit in late September. Around Thanksgiving her 13 year old daughter joined us as well. Just to recap, I have 3 children of my own ages 9,7, and 5. So there are now 7 of us living in a 3 bedroom, not that big home. Add in the fact that it is winter in Utah and too cold to go outside and you'll understand that just finding a quiet place to read for more than 2 minutes has been difficult to say the least. It's been a bit of an adjustment but we're making it work.

Then in January, my husband bent over to pick up something and ended up on the floor in massive amounts of pain. A trip to the emergency room later, we found out he had a major herniated disc in his back. Big fun! He was working landscaping at the time so that pretty much forced him into unemployment. In the end, it ended up being a bit of a blessing (not so much the back, that still hurts, but the job situation). A guy in our church let him know of a job opening and now he has a great job making more money and the best's not physical labor. Yay!

Now things are starting to calm down a bit. Life is feeling a bit less hectic and crazy and I found I really missed blogging and I'm hoping to get back on the horse. I did read a little but nothing from the list, just all the fun reads I didn't have time for before. I discovered that my list goal was severely limiting as far as being able to walk into the book store or library and just pick up something that caught my eye. I don't want to keep passing up all these great books because they haven't been deemed 'list-worthy'.

So, I've decided to change things up a bit. I will still take several cues from the list, there are still a ton of fantastic books on there that I'm looking forward to but I won't be limiting my choices to the list. I plan on doing a combination of list books and non-list books from here on out. I started this to read more and to have fun and I think this is the best solution to keep things light and fun. I hope you all understand.

Big thanks to all of you who stuck with me through my extended absence and even just through this very long post.

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