Sunday, April 25, 2010

Scarlet Feather

Scarlet FeatherScarlet FeatherI used to be a book snob. Actually, first I was crazy little kid that read under the desk, at recess, in line walking down the halls... In those days I would read almost anything with words that I could get from the library (except Goosebumps, but that's a whole other issue involving my overactive imagination) . Then I became a book snob when I got back in to crazy reading mode in college. I would read only what I thought were "intelligent" books. Classics if you will. Although, those books rock in their own right, juggling school, work, life and 600 pages of Hemingway can get a little tedious. This is when I discovered what a great friend coined as "brain candy". Brain candy books are amazing. They are easy to read with engrossing story lines and provide the perfect escape from the every day monotony (think Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga).

Thus I arrived in Ireland with Maeve Binchy and Scarlet Feather. One of Maeve's fifteen novels, Scarlet Feather, is the story of Tom Feather and Cathy Scarlet attempting to start up a Dublin catering business. Simple and straightforward until you throw in a snooty mother-in-law, a wannabe model, a quirky set of nine year old twins, and the occasional horse bet. By the middle of the book I was ready to call SF and order some food for myself, until I realized it doesn't actually exist. Yes, I have a problem separating fiction from reality. So back to my advice. Read the book. Or listen to it since the audio version was pretty addicting as well.

An extra-awesome note on Maeve. Although she rarely revisits characters directly, all her stories are set in and around or originate from Dublin, allowing her people to make guest appearances in other novels.

If you like Alexander McCall Smith, Sophie Kinsella, or any story detailing the ups and downs of real-life then you might like Scarlet Feather.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Until I Find You

Until I Find You
Until I Find You

After listening to Until I Find You by John Irving a couple years ago, I fell in love with the story and with Arthur Morey's voice. I had to kick things off with this one since Arthur now reads me to sleep every night. I know that makes it sound like the book is boring, but truly it's not. Just after hearing the same book all the way through around 19 times it's soothing familiarity has replaced sleeping pills or booze. The bonus is I get to hear the story all the way through again every couple months. The twenty-eight disc set detailing the life of Jack Burns will become your best friend.

The story is basically divided into 3 parts: Jack and his mom searching for the lost daddy, Jack as a schoolboy, and Jack as an adult. Sex, tattoos, wrestling, music, and acting flow in and out of the book from beginning to end somehow tying everything together. I haven't read the book on my own (it is on my shelf though) so I can't say if that experience is as entertaining. There are several awesome one-liners and "mini-stories" throughout that lighten the mood, like the time Jack's errant stream of piss almost soils a knee high Picasso. Or when Jack takes his confused third grade teacher to the academy awards.

As long as you aren't weirded out too easily guys and girls should enjoy this book equally, but as Michelle Maher (Jack's accidental girlfriend) points out, "Jack Burns is just too weird."

If you like: Charles Dickens, Chuck Palahniuk, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle David Wroblewski, David Sedaris you might like Until I Find You

Please post comments and let me know if you want more story synopsis or what I can improve to help you decide whether or not to read.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Books on CD

For everyone who has never listened to a BOCD, I just want to let you know that you are missing out. Listening in the car improves driving (who cares how long it takes to get somewhere when Alice JUST fell in a giant hole), makes household chores infinitely more entertaining, and I know everyone wants to run to music, but it's easier to go just a little further (farther???) while you wait for the chapter to end. I will be honest and tell you some readers are better than others and no adult has perfected the voice of a child, or really come that close, but once you get into the story it's easy to forget about these minor annoyances. It's the perfect solution for getting through all those books you've been wanting/meaning/pretending to read for years. Now instead of smiling and nodding when someone references Hemingway or Tolstoy you'll not only FINALLY know what they are talking about, but you can toss out your own bit of wisdom.

The bad part. BOCD are expensive. More expensive than a brand new, just released hard cover and they don't look as nice poised on your shelf. The good part. They are FREE at the library. Most of you probably haven't been to the library since cramming for finals and have no idea the stuff you can get from those places. Some libraries even have art and sculptures you can check out. Bi-monthly home redecoration anyone? Libraries are also much more abundant that you probably realize. Sometimes libraries have BOCD that you can download from home with a library card. Then there is Hastings (and probably other stores) that have BOCD rentals. So, no  more excuses, try it just once and see if life doesn't become slightly more entertaining.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Illuminating Owl

thē used as a function word to indicate that a following noun or noun equivalent is a unique or a particular member of its class
ih-loo-muh-ney-ting to make clear; to decorate (as a manuscript) with gold or silver or brilliant colors or with often elaborate designs or miniature pictures
a(-ə)l any of an order (Strigiformes) of chiefly nocturnal birds of prey with a large head and eyes, short hooked bill, strong talons, and soft fluffy often brown-mottled plumage

Basically the illuminating owl reads and listens to a crap load (haha, pelletload if you know anything about owls) of books and has decided to impart its wise owl-y wisdom to others who desire to delve further into literature and basically don't know where the hell to start. Or those who have read so much they don't know what to pick up next. As I have the tendency to enjoy to the written word in most forms, the plan is more to inform on the content and, genre, and general likability. When it comes to books on cd (BOCD) I will also try to indicate the "listen-ability" of the reader. Leave a comment, suggest a book, or just read and then read a book.