Books From My Closet

"I Love Books The Way Some Girls Love Shoes"

Archive for the category “Fiction”

City of Girls

Hello Dear Followers,

It’s be a while since I last wrote here. In all honesty, I haven’t been reading as much as I want to. I have so many books with bookmarks in them. Time to remedy that.

(For those of you have trouble getting on the reading train, I recommend reading at least 45 minutes a night)

Anyway, I wanted to write a blog post about “City of Girls” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Her book came out last month and it’s an awesome read.

The story is about a girl named Vivian Morris, who fails out of Vassar in 1940 and is shipped off to live with her Aunt Peg in New York City. It is there where her whole life as she has known it changes. Her aunt owns a theater in the heart of the city and the best way to describe it that it is filled with showgirls, sex and drinking and overall good crazy time.

I am not done with the book yet, I am about 100 pages until the end. I won’t give too much away, other than to talk about a very important theme in this book.

Sex. Vivian comes to the city a virgin and is de-virginized (is this even a word?) and ends up partying and sleeping with every Tom, Dick and Harry. This gets her in a bit of trouble. Anyway, I wanted to approach the thought about how times have changed in terms of how men viewed women in the 1940s that weren’t virgins at marriage and guys of today.

I believe back then guys wanted a good clean woman who hadn’t slept with anyone before marriage (while this thought is archaic even for me) I think today, if you haven’t slept with everyone you are considered damaged goods just as much as you were damaged goods back then when you did.

I have seen this theme in so many period pieces both in books and movies. I know today we have more liberties than we as women had back then. We’re more independent, we’re more self-sufficient.

I have to ask the question, what happened? I am not saying we have to wait until marriage to sleep with someone, certainly not. What I am asking do men have more respect for women today if they have slept with multiple men? Do people who haven’t had the life experiences that other girls might, damned to hell in meeting the right guy because she isn’t as loose as the girl next to her?

I have been told multiple times that men today, don’t want that responsibility of being the “first” one. While men in the time this book takes place would have been honored. What happened?

I think the more serious girls who respect their bodies and respect the act of sex are at more of a loss today than girls who don’t. It might sound skewed, but I have seen too much where men will pick a girl who has slept with everyone, respect her and treat her like a queen and toss away the ones who haven’t.

Does this say a lot about the men, maybe. I don’t know. Anyway, I wanted to approach this with all of you and sincerely hope you read “City of Girls” it is truly an excellent work of fiction from an author that captured the time period so well in her voice and in researching the time in which this book takes place.

Until next time!

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The Next Person You Meet in Heaven

Hello Dear Followers,

Have you ever found a book in your life that changed everything for you? Many years ago, I found “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom. When I discovered this book, I was about 22-years-old and working at a salon and spa here in Connecticut.

At the time I was in a terribly dark place in my life and this book changed everything for me and how I viewed the world at the time. It was definitely a book that became an instant favorite that I never forgot as I got older. It was recommended to me by someone I had worked with at the spa who knew of this dark place I was in.

It taught me that every place and everyone you meet you were meant to. At the time I didn’t know how much of that I believed or wanted to believe, but I was instantly glued to this book and finished it in a matter of 24 hours.

Flash forward 14 years, and the author came out with a sequel. “The Next Person You Meet in Heaven.” I was so excited, I honestly thought this was the universe’s way of providing a comfort again.

And I have to say, I loved this book, but it didn’t do the thing for me as the first one did. It wasn’t until the very last page, where the author says, “She would tell her that all endings are also beginnings, we just don’t know it at the time.”

This was probably the only line that resonates with me at this moment. In the last couple of years I’ve seen endings and while I am still working through those endings without any explanation or cause, I have seen a world of beginnings take shape in my life. I may never know why the endings happened, but maybe I am not supposed to, not yet.

I’d like to believe that I have been protected from what isn’t meant to be part of my life and that whatever comes next is much better than whatever was left behind.

Other than this, I honestly don’t have any other reaction to this book, which I think it also great, because often times we cling to things we think we need not realizing we’re our own savior that no book, person or event can help us with.

I was much too young during my first darkness and today there is so much light in my life that the darkness I once felt so many years ago cannot and will not rear its head again.

Until next time!

Books That Give You Food for Thought

Hello Dear Followers, 
The following blog post is from guest blogger, Pam Sahota of Radiate Daily!  She provided reviews on some books that made a difference in her life.  Hope you enjoy! 
I went through a phase where I read a lot of books to help me understand what more I could do in my life for happiness, motivation, and inspiration to live a healthier and better life each day. Some may call these “self help” books but I call them inspiration and words of wisdom. There are authors who I fell for over perusing these and I dare you to give them a try as well.

“Girl Boss” by Sophia Amoruso 

The Why?

There are more and more folks becoming entrepreneurs and wanting to be their own boss. However starting off on your own has its pitfalls and obstacles, and Sophia definitely fell a few times in her career before she got where she is today. This book (like the Netflix series) is comedic, raw, emotional, and encouraging that even if we fail and fail, we can keep hope and make it. GirlBoss_
“Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes 

The Why?

Yes, she’s the lady who started Grey”s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder and more. She’s the woman who made TGIT what it is today. But, she didn’t just land there, she had to really go with her gut, and determine what road to take. And when she decided to say Yes to more – more doors opened, and more opportunities beckoned.

“The Universe Has Your Back” by Gabrielle Bernstein 

The Why?

Ever feel like you have a need to control each piece of your life? That the lack of control could make you spiral into no man’s land? I know I do at times. Gabrielle guides her community of readers to let go a bit and trust in themselves even more. It’s not easy, but it’s definitely worth it. Big Magic

“Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert 

The Why?
The book has six sections: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust and Divinity. Similar to Eat, Pray, Love it takes you through different parts of your self and areas of encouragement to do more and believe more in yourself. Even if it means breaking yourself first, to find the better you.
What’s your favorite?

Dark Matter

Hello Dear Followers,
This post is by my blogger and friend Pam Sahota of Radiate Daily (follow her site here www.radiatedaily.com)!  Pam offered a bit of her insight on on the book, “Dark Matter”  Hope you enjoy!  
27833670Dark Matter written by Blake Crouch is a novel that leaves you thinking from chapter to chapter. In summary it’s about a gentleman who is taken away from the life he knew and realizes that there is another version of “him” out there living an alternate version of it. He has to escape to get back to his family and convince them it’s the real him, while ensuring the other versions of him don’t get in the way of his reuniting with his family and true life.

The book makes you think at every chapter. Will he decide to return to his original version of his life or will this new version be something he finds more appealing? Why did the other version of him trade places? Is the grass really always greener?

It makes you think inward and wonder about your own life in comparison – or at least it did for me.

Can you imagine the potential of alternate realities and having multiple versions of yourself living them? The outcome of your current existence can change in an instant (as we know) but the life of another one of your existences could be on a path you never imagined For example if one of you went right, but the other went left.

I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say the book is not just suspenseful and thrilling (a true page turner as critics would say), but it’s major food for thought. It makes you wonder what the main character should do, but what you would do if you were given a chance to live a different version of your life. Ever missed a chance at a relationship or job or a chance to live somewhere else? What if you had a chance to go back and live that life. Would you?
Photo by Goodreads

Finally Finished American Wife

 

Image courtesy of http://www.ew.com

It’s late and I just finished “American Wife”  by Curtis Sittenfeld. I have been reading this book for almost three years now.  I am not sure if it was my lack of focus, my disinterest in the story past page 62 or what, but I finally finished it.

Ok, that’s a lie, I didn’t truly authentically finish it.  I skimmed the last 30 to 40 pages and said, “That’s it I’m done, I can’t take it anymore.”  No offense to Ms. Sittenfeld, I think the story was great, but honestly it was just too long for a story that had so many dull moments.

I think the premise of the story was great, I really do,  a fictional/non-fictional story about the life of Laura Bush,  excellent story.  You got a good look at life as a First Lady, the fictional life of Laura Bush, but the author talked way too much, to a point where I forgot what she was talking about when she would recapture a memory from 200 pages ago.

A lot of my friends (those who read anyway) believe that if you are this dissatisfied with a book, you should just quit reading it.  The idea of that bothers me, because I feel that every book we open should be completed entirely.

However, I just couldn’t anymore.  It kept me from reading other books or at the very least enjoying them because I felt guilty for not having finished this one.  So at this ungodly hour of 1:33 a.m. I have decided I am finished.

I don’t think she is a bad author, I just think she could cut her stories down a bit, a lot less talking.

 

Until next time!

A Cat for Cathy

Hello Dear Followers,

It’s been a while since my last post, but I wanted to share with you a new author that has recently published her first children’s book titled “A Cat for Cathy” by Theresa Miller with illustrations by Christina Sanchez.

It is simply a delightful book for children and adults alike will definitely enjoy.

It tells the story of eight-year-old Cathy who wanted nothing more than a pet cat.  She didn’t think her parents would get her one, so she hatches a plan to get one. Cathy finds a stray cat and took her home in hopes her parents would let her keep it.  But little does she know, her Dad has a bigger surprise for her.

I enjoyed the book so much, and I think any parent who has experienced their child wanting a pet will enjoy this too.  Who doesn’t remember being a kid and wanting a pet and trying everything you can to get one?  I certainly do!

What I also loved about this book were the illustrations by Christina Sanchez.  It is vibrant and alive and really catches the true essence of the story.

Theresa Miller isn’t just a book author, she is also a wonderful co-worker of mine, and I just found out she was an author a few weeks ago and thought I would give her a little shout out here on my book blog.  I thought the best way for me to do that was to interview her myself, so here you go and enjoy!

A Cat for Cathy

 

DF: What made you start writing?

TM: At a young age I enjoyed reading. I remember in middle school, I picked out a book by Langston Hughes and I loved it. I can’t recall the name, but his poetry made me want to write. I started then. Whenever the teacher gave us an assignment to write an essay or story on a topic, my stories were always considered way to long. I remember one time the teacher said, great story but too long. Try cutting it down, I always thought if I cut it down, then there’s no story. That was the hard part. But at home I kept a notebook and just wrote, whenever something popped in my head, no matter what time it was I had to write it down. I have folders and folders of my poetry and other stories.

DF: Where did your inspiration come with “A Cat for Cathy?”

TM: I was visiting my mentee one day and she didn’t want to read. She was having a bad day. I said alright, how about I tell you a story. She said ok. I starting making up a story about a little girl that wanted a cat. My mentee said, hey you’re not reading out of a book. I said I know, it’s coming from my brain. She said I like it. At that very moment, I said to myself, hmm…if she likes it then what other child would. That’s how A Cat for Cathy was started.

DF: What have you enjoyed most about writing this book?  And Why?

TM: Thinking of different ideas, how to organize the book. Thinking of how Cathy should look as well as the cats. I rewrote the middle part several times. I wanted something that I knew I did as a child, and what my nieces and nephews did when they really wanted something. My older son wanted a toy so bad when he was young and I remember stick figure pictures on my dresser and he placed one in my purse one time. Those memories made me rewrite the middle. How Cathy came up with her game plan.

DF: What message do you hope to convey with this book and books going forward?

TM: I want children to be able to read about different experiences that children may go through. But enjoy the story as well. Every child has a story to tell. This story may relate to a child who actually thought of doing this or actually did.

DF: What do you think children and parents alike will enjoy about this book?

TM: How Cathy was determined to get a cat. How you don’t give up on what you want in life. How Cathy and her mother hung flyers about the cat she found in the park.

DF: When you aren’t writing, what are you doing?

TM: Reading. I love to read. Barnes & Noble and I are the best of friends.

DF: What was your favorite children’s book?  And Why?

TM: I can’t just give one answer. I will say this; my author when I was a child is Judy Blume. I loved her books. From Freckle Juice, Blubber, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Superfudge and many more. Her books were exciting and I remember waiting for the book order form that was handed out in class and I always ordered her books.

DF: What are your plans going forward?

TM: Going forward I plan to continue writing more children books. “Andy’s Ant Farm,”  my second book, is with my editor now. That should be available in March or April. While that is being edited, I am currently writing my third.

DF: Is there a part of this book you want to highlight?

TM: Yes, when Cathy finds the stray cat. I wanted children to know how important it is to find the owner. The fact that flyers were hung and a number was given, it showed that she tried, but more importantly they gave Forrest a home.

DF: What advice would you give other aspiring writers?

TM: Keep writing. Don’t give up. There is always a way to get your stories out. If you tried to get published, but received letters or an email saying no, not interested. Don’t give up. Keep going and keep writing. I did self publishing. I read up on it, I watched videos on you-tube. My support system, my family, encouraged me. Once A Cat for Cathy was completed, they were amazed, shocked and I was told it’s about time. Never give up and let a no discourage you.

Theresa’s book is available as an e-book on Amazon.com.  I also strongly encourage you  to visit her Facebook page  “Reesee Books”  too!

My Elizabeth Gilbert Experience

Hello Dear Followers,

Liz1

Me, Elizabeth Gilbert and my friend Jaimie

It has been a while, and sadly I have not gotten any farther than I was when I last wrote to all of you.  Still trying to get through “American Wife” by Curtis Sittenfeld and “Quiet” by Susan Cain.  I am itching to finish both!

I couldn’t resist sharing with all of you about my Elizabeth Gilbert experience this weekend.  In case you have been living under a rock and don’t know who she is, she is the author of “Eat, Pray, Love.”  It was a memoir she wrote in 2006 about her spiritual year-long journey to Italy, India and Indonesia.

When I read that book and the book that followed – “Committed,”  I continued to be inspired by her spirituality, her strength and bravery.

I was so lucky this past weekend to meet her at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield,  Conn.,  where  she spoke about her newest book “The Signature of All Things”  which tells the story Alma Whittaker, a botanist born in 1800 and of the Whittakers, a family of botanical explorers, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

I will admit I have not read the book yet, just got it a few weeks ago, but I am excited to begin once I finish my other books.

I found Liz  to be just fabulous.  She was funny and witty, during her talk she made some of the best of analogies that explained life perfectly – both hers and others.  My friend Jaimie and I jokingly decided we had girl crushes on this author.  Liz spoke to everyone who asked her a question like she knew them forever, they weren’t just audience members, but friends.

What I loved about that was it made asking my question about wanting to write a book so much easier and she is the second author that has seriously made me think about beginning writing for myself again regularly – (I may even carry a journal with me wherever I go.)

She told the mainly-women filled audience a lot of things about herself and life that I found very helpful.  She said anything that you fight will fight you back.  There isn’t anything more attractive than someone whose feet doesn’t fully touch the ground.  She said women have a tremendous capacity to be resilient in the face of a ruin.

I really just simply enjoyed hearing this woman who has traveled the world and found herself in the most spiritual of places is truly something to strive for.  When I asked her about what it took to begin writing a book, she first asked me which direction I wanted to go towards fiction or non-fiction. I knew immediately I want to write a non-fiction novel, about what part of my life, I am not sure.

She further answered mine and my friend’s question the next day on her Facebook page by asking the question “What are you willing to give up, in order to have what you really want?”

Liz3

Me and Elizabeth Gilbert

What I loved most even days before is that this prolific author will answer you on her Facebook page, I mean I don’t know any author/celebrity person who takes the time to answer their followers.  It just made her reachable and real and I just loved that.

This blog post definitely doesn’t do the talk full justice, but I personally just want to thank Liz for a delightful evening filled with so many enlightened teachings.

The Circus Is Over

Hello Dear Followers,

I finished “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern a few days ago. Sadly, “American Wife” by Curtis Settinfield is still not finished.

What I wanted to share about “The Night Circus” is when you finish it, start over and re-read because I found the author wasn’t clear about a lot of parts in the book leaving me confused and having to go back.  Or trying to remember why certain parts were being said again, if they were said before.

The author would do short chapters to give clues and  leave you guessing more, but you never found out what the significance was, and by the time you did, if you did, you didn’t remember it anyway.

I can see why The New York Times didn’t rate this book a best seller, you are often confused by what is happening most of the time, at least I was.  I was trying to figure out what the connections were of the people involved and why certain events happened.  I was very confused most of the time.

The good points of the book  was that it kept you wanting to read more, it had excellent life lessons throughout and like the circus itself, it reminded me of a dream.

The love story in the book was intense towards the end and lovely, but the author didn’t clarify I don’t think at least, what happened to the couple or how they got to be where they were.

I have always wanted to go to a circus and I love hearing about the circus during the turn of the 20th century, and the 1920-30s.  There is something magical about that a time period in history, I can’t quite put my finger on what it is.

I think that is why I loved “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen so much, I love the time period it was in.

So basically, re-read again if you have read it already to get a good handle on the story she is trying to tell and you may find you will enjoy it even more.

Until next time…

A Book of Substance

Hello Dear Followers,

As you know I am reading “American Wife” by Curtis Sittenfeld and its an excellent book. It is a real work of fiction, it’s not crappy, its real. It has substance and definitely worth the read.

This book is also fictionally and loosely based on former First Lady Laura Bush, now I am not sure which parts are or aren’t real, but all I picture as I am reading is her and former President George W. Bush.  I see him as he is in this book, it’s so weird to visualize him young like this and reading the experiences they have had together.

I think the author has painted an excellent fictional account of Alice Lindgren and the twists and turns that bring her to the inevitable title of First Lady.

I won’t be done with this book by October, but I can most definitely recommend this book. It’s not everyday you find a book of substance and I think I’ve found a new author I’d love to explore in the future.

Until next time…

American Wife

Image courtesy of http://www.ew.com.

Hello Dear Followers,

For September, I’ve decided I will be reading “American Wife” by Curtis Sittenfeld. The book, some say is loosely based on former First Lady Laura Bush.  

According to Amazon.com, on what might become one of the most significant days in her husband’s presidency, Alice Blackwell considers the strange and unlikely path that has led her to the White House–and the repercussions of a life lived, as she puts it, “almost in opposition to itself.”

A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice learned the virtues of politeness early on from her stolid parents and small Wisconsin hometown. But a tragic accident when she was seventeen shattered her identity and made her understand the fragility of life and the tenuousness of luck. So more than a decade later, when she met boisterous, charismatic Charlie Blackwell, she hardly gave him a second look: She was serious and thoughtful, and he would rather crack a joke than offer a real insight; he was the wealthy son of a bastion family of the Republican party, and she was a school librarian and registered Democrat. Comfortable in her quiet and unassuming life, she felt inured to his charms. And then, much to her surprise, Alice fell for Charlie.

I have to say, I had a difficult time choosing a book for September.  I had no idea what I wanted to read this month or what I was even in the mood for.  I had toyed with the idea of taking two months to read “A. Lincoln: A Biography” by Ronald C. White Jr.

I found in searching for a new book that I have a lot of books based on real people’s lives.  I am so fascinated by people and what their lives were about, who they are or were.

I hope that you will enjoy reading this along with me, if you are.  I think its a good read.

Until next time…

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