Saturday, May 28, 2011

When You Were Mine

Synopsis:  IS A SECOND CHANCE AT HAPPINESS WORTH RISKING EVERYTHING? EVEN A BEST FRIEND? Susannah has been living with Doug for eight years, acting as stepmother to his three unappreciative children and wondering why she doesn’t mind much when he sometimes sleeps in his study. She’s known her best friend Amelia since they were teenagers. Amelia never minces words, and Susannah doesn’t like hearing what Amelia has to say about her noncommittal relationship. At her brother’s wedding, Susannah runs into Rob—her first love, the love of her life. There’s no band on his ring finger, and Susannah begins to fantasize. Her fantasies turn to reality when Rob gives her a call. Susannah’s world is rocked by her rekindled feelings for Rob, then totally turned upside down by a revelation from Amelia. Just when Susannah and Amelia need each other the most, they are facing a crisis that threatens to tear their friendship apart. Without her familiar guiding star, Susannah must finally make some hard choices in order to grow up for good, no matter who or what she has to leave behind. Heartwarming, wise, and sophisticated, When You Were Mine is a story about first loves, best friends, and choices that will resonate with readers everywhere.

My Review:  This book was good, but I like some other Noble's other books better.  I think I feel this way since I didn't connect to the main character, Susannah.  I felt she was too old to be so unhappy and in a dead end relationship (not married, but committed).  I don't care for books where the main character engages in an affair.  I like that she and Rob become involved again, but she should have left Doug and Rob should have separated from his wife first....just my opinion.  I know real life isn't that black and white.  Also, why she wasn't working was beyond me.  She had been a lawyer and for the life of me, I can't figure out why she gave up her career.   I was also upset at her and how (I feel) she let her best friend down during a horrible time in her life.   I just found Susannah to be immature and not very "smart." 

However, given all my above comments, I did enjoy the book, it just wasn't a favorite of mine. I would have to rate this book as Okay.

Thanks to Crazy Book Tours for letting be part of the tour!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Unfinished Business

One Man's Extraordinary Year of Trying to Do the Right Things.....unfinished business....

Synopsis:  After losing his job, Lee Kravitz, a workaholic in his midfifties, took stock of his life and realized just how disconnected he had become from the people who mattered most to him. He committed an entire year to reconnecting with them and making amends.

Kravitz takes readers on ten transformational journeys, among them repaying a thirty-year-old debt, making a long-overdue condolence call, finding an abandoned relative, and fulfilling a forgotten promise. Along the way, we meet a cast of wonderful characters and travel the globe—to a refugee camp in Kenya, a monastery in California, the desert of southern Iran, a Little League game in upstate New York, and a bar in Kravitz's native Cleveland. In each instance, the act of reaching out opens new paths for both personal and spiritual growth.

All of us have unfinished business—the things we should have done but just let slip. Kravitz's story reveals that the things we've avoided are exactly those that have the power to transform, enrich, enlarge, and even complete us. The lesson of the book is one applicable to us all: Be mindful of what is most important, and act on it. The rewards will be immediate and lasting.
My Review:  This book called to me for several reasons as many other memiors have lately.  I love how the book is broken down into ten different "unfinished businesses" and that Kravitz takes us through his journey of each.  My favorite is....Searching for Sorrow's Daughter, Finding a Long-Lost Relative.  It makes me smile and cry just thinking about it. It is so amazing on so many different levels. It broke my heart that Fern was sent away to a special-care facility and pretty much forgotten about by her family.  Kravitz seeks his Aunt Fern out and re-kindles a relationship with her.  I can't belive that Aunt Fern had not received mail in 14 years and had only one vistor (the daughter of another resident).  Unbelievable. I am so happy Kravitz found Aunt Fern and shared his visits with us.  I think is so cool that he tape records his Aunt singing a favorite song and reciting a poem (I am getting tears in my eyes all over again-why didn't I think of that with some of my relatives?).  Oh how good my heart feels that Kavitz "finished" this business and many more.

I enjoyed all of the experiences Kavitz writes about in the book.  I am so happy that Kavitz allowed us to experience his extraordinary year....he truly did do the right things.  I would recommend this book and give it a GREAT READ rating!

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for having me to be part of this book tour and for being allowed to read and review such a wonderful book. 

Connect with Lee on his website, his blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Lee Kravitz’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, May 23rd: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, May 24th: Silver and Grace
Thursday, May 26th: Seaside Book Nook
Monday, May 30th: Life in Review
Tuesday, May 31st: Colloquium
Wednesday, June 1st: Constantly Evolving
Monday, June 6th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Wednesday, June 8th: Sophisticated Dorkiness
Monday, June 13th: Joyfully Retired
Wednesday, June 15th: Arriving at Your Own Door
Thursday, June 16th: Suko’s Notebook

Monday, May 23, 2011

Crazy-For-Books Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop (hosted by crazy-for-books) is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word!  This is from May 6 - May 9th....but I had to answer it. 
 "Which book blogger would you most like to meet in real life?"

My Answer: My BFF Book Blogger and "who I LOVE to meet in real life," without a doubt, is Mari at Bookworm With A View.  I have never met Mari in person, but I have gotten to know her through the Manic Mommies Book Club.  She is the backbone of the book club, schedules author phone calls, coordinates with the publisher mailing out to us lucky winners the monthly book selection, moderators the monthly call, and hosts the podcast Manic Mommies Book Club (check it out at itunes). 

She is the sole reason why I started blogging.  I love to read her posts...she not only blogs about the books she is reading, but she also blogs about the many things going on in her life.  She is such a caring person and I am always is such shock when I get an email from her when I need it most (you know the ones.... thinking of you, you can do it, good luck... type of emails).  I don't know how she does it.  She always put a smile on my face.  We are planning a get together this fall and I can't wait.  She is such an wonderful women and I am in total awe of her.

Thank you Mari for truly amazing!

Helping the Women of Haiti - Virtual Run!

My good friend Mari at Bookworm with a View is a wonderful blogger and an amazing runner.  She has organized several virtual runs and this one is for such a great reason - the goal of raising money to improve women lives. If just 20 people sign up, we can provide 40 families hygiene kits but I hope we have many more people participate!
Below is a summary of her post:
Mahila Partnership directly impacts the lives of women and their families in the communities they serve. 100% of EVERY dollar we raise will go towards an upcoming trip to Haiti.

What is a virtual run? Virtual runs create a sense of community without being present at an actual race location.

DATE: June 8 – 14, 2011
LOCATION: Pick your favorite path, trail or treadmill

RESULTS: This is a fun run, reporting finish time is not required

PRIZES: Everyone who enters the run is eligible for the drawing. Watch for prizes to be announced over the next few weeks (we have some great donations)

Feel free to make a donation, even if you can't run. Let's see how much money we can raise!
A note from Angela (President): I'm planning another trip to Haiti in the fall to implement our Hygiene Project with the women we work with there so 100% of what is raised will be earmarked for that effort. We'll be able to provide specific statistics on exactly what the money went towards, numbers of women/families that benefited, etc late fall.

Our money can buy:
$10 will provide a hygiene kit for a woman and her family in Haiti
$100 will provide training for 20 women in reproductive health and hygiene
$200 will provide a woman with the investment needed to purchase supplies to rebuild her business

Thank you so much for making a donation, we can make the world a better place. I just signed up!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Interview with Meghan O'Rourke - The Long Goodbye and Winner!

I am so happy to share with you questions that I was able to ask of Meghan regarding her latest book, The Long Goodye. Before I get to the interview, how many of you saw the write up in More magazine on The Long Goodbye? I was thrilled to they chose it as one of their monthly featured books. Way to go More magazine and Meghan! Also, the winner of a copy of The Long Goodbye is....Betty who said, "One of my favorite books was the Friday Night Knitting Club and it's sequels. Although fiction, it follows the lives of a family where continuing after unexpected loss is hard."

Interview with Meghan O'Rourke:

1.  How long did it take you to write this memoir?
It took about two years total, but there were times when I took a break from writing it. I wrote it in “real time” – which is to say I tried to capture grief from the inside out, as I was experiencing it. As I wrote, and as time passed, I began to shape that writing, to add more reflection and perspective as I gained it, after two years of grieving.

2.  I know just from reading the book (which I have underlined and made margin notes) so many of my own feelings felt so raw once again, how did you manage your emtions when writing, or was this part of your healing/grieving process?
 Yes, such a complicated question, one I asked myself a lot. I do think that the writing of the book became for me a kind of mourning ritual – a way of sifting through my experiences with my mother, of memorializing her, of trying to both hold on to her and begin to adjust to having to live in a world without her. It’s so strange, right: one day the person you love is here, and the next they’re not. It’s really hard to wrap your mind around that. How can someone be here all your life and suddenly not be? That to me seemed like a great mystery; I had to wrestle with it day after day. So, it wasn’t as if I wasn’t thinking about this, and then writing made me; I was already thinking about it all the time. And because I love language so much – I am a poet, too – I found it comforting to make beautiful sentences or passages out of the childhood memories that were floating around in my head.

But I also had to write about some very difficult times, when my mother was in the hospital, or suffering. That was painful. But again the true pain was the emotions, rather than the writing – and it was my sense that the writing allowed me to face those emotions squarely somehow, and to make space for them. It allowed me to see that I was sad but also gave me the illusion that I could put boundaries around that suffering. This mind-trick was helpful. I’m sure it’s a huge part of why so many have the impulse to memorialize the dead. It is a way of remembering them and containing the loss (even if in an illusory way).

3.  How are you doing today?  I know I am still struggling after four and half years.
Some days are good, some days are hard. I still dream about my mother many, many nights, and I miss her a lot. I also know she’d want me to thrive, so I try to honor that by thinking about what really brings my pleasure, what doesn’t.

4. For myself most days are better than others, but I miss my mother so much.  How do you deal with those moments (especially when in public) when you feel the lump building up in your throat?
I know what you’re talking about. I’m so sorry – of course you miss her; a mother is such a fundamental part of a life. I kept thinking of her as the shell I’d woken up in – how could I live without that shell, without that protection? In those moments, I try to connect to her, to the mother I knew, who would want to comfort me. And just remembering the things she’d say to me (“Lighten up, Meg!”) is soothing.

5.  What are you currently working on?
Sleeping through the night! No, right now, I’m trying to just learn to let go of this project; it took everything I had, so I’m trying to fill the well back up. We’ll see what happens.

6.   What are some of your favorite books?
I really loved “A Grief Observed,” by C.S. Lewis, about the death of his wife. It’s sad, and strange – it really is just the notes he made to himself in private after her death, to try to understand it – but quite articulate.

But I love all sorts of novels – right now I’m reading Christina Stead’s The Man Who Loved Children. I recommend Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book and William Maxwell’s They Came Like Swallows. They’re both about loss, but they’re so beautiful, they make loss feel coming in contact with humanity, and it reminds you of the joy and love that are the flip side of loss.

Meghan, thank you so much for your time and your wonderful book.