Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Between the Lines

I was browsing amazon's selection of young adult kindle books and found Between the Lines. It was 99 cents and had good reviews so I bought it.

Between the Lines is told in alternating narration between Reid, a teen heartthrob, and Emma, his costar in the movie they are both working on. At first observation, Between the Lines appears to be about Reid and Emma's growing relationship, but it has other plot lines (Emma's relationship with her father and her relationship with her bff) that added to the story.

I liked Webber's portrayal of the characters even though I personally didn't like all of them. I thought they seemed like real people.

Between the Lines is a bit racier than a lot of young adult fiction, but it wasn't graphic. One of the pearl-clutching reviews on goodreads comments how for a book about 17-18 year olds there was a lot of drinking and the book centered around sex. Let me repeat that: 17-18 year olds and sex and drinking. Shocking.

Between the Lines was definitely worth the 99 cents I paid for it. There's a sequel coming out this fall, which I will definitely pick up. It will be interesting to see where Webber takes the characters. I think Emma's on a great path so I hope that it continues in the next book. I can lend it if anyone wants to borrow it for their kindle.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bike Snob

Between the two of us, my husband and I own 11 bicycles. Three of them are mine. I might own one bike if I wasn't married to my husband.

My husband reads the Bike Snob's blog and picked up his book as soon as it was published. He wanted to me to read it. My husband is definitely a bike snob. However, Bike Snob's book is not snobby. It's very accessible to people who aren't that familiar with bikes.

It's a quick read if you are interested in bikes.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Very Old Choir Book

The local university has a research center with old documents and items. One of the collections is a library of old and rare books. A couple of weeks ago, I was visiting and was lucky to see two Spanish choir books from the 1500s.

I didn't have my camera with me so the pics are kinda lousy, but I hope you can see how amazing these books were. The one in the picture is a Catholic mass illuminated manuscript written in Latin from 1504.

This "S" was beautiful. The detail was so small and intricate.The pages are parchment, and the book was bound with hemp strings into a large leather cover.

The library is a hands-on kind of place, so I got to actually touch the book and turn its pages. There were many other books in the library. Hopefully soon I can stop in again and see some more.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Shadow Divers

My husband and I listened to Shadow Divers on a recent trip. We were in the car for hours so I planed ahead by getting several audiobooks.

Shadow Divers is the story of deep water scuba divers who find a German u-boat from WWII in the waters off New Jersey. There were no records of sinkings that matched the boat, so the divers set out to solve the mystery of what they found. The book is a cool mix of true adventure and history.

The divers found the boat in the early 90s, so their research was quite involved as it was before the internet. They met with old soldiers, poured over WWII era reports, and scoured the wreck for information. They spent a great deal of time figuring out who the men at the bottom of the sea were.

I have snorkeled, but never have been scuba diving. The scuba diving in this book is not that of your average diver. The divers were going to depths that many considered extremely dangerous and three people died during this project. These guys were the best of the best of wreck divers, but I had a hard time understanding the lengths that they went to.

Thankfully, since we were driving across southern Illinois (so. so. boring.), we really enjoyed Shadow Divers. Both of us were big fans.

Friday, June 17, 2011


If you didn't love Tina Fey as Sarah Palin during the 2008 elections, I'm sorry. You must not have a sense of humor. If you didn't enjoy those segments you won't enjoy her book. Otherwise, definitely pick it up!

Tina Fey is hilarious. Her book, Bossypants, is a memoir of growing up and her life in showbiz. My husband loves 30 Rock and I watch it as much as I watch any TV show, so when we were getting ready for a long car trip, I figured we'd both enjoy this.

And we both did! We went to Yellowstone for the weekend and the drive flew by. We laughed out loud and found segments that were really insightful. She had great stories to share. Her thoughts on women comedians were interesting. She asks why she was perceived as mean for her imitations of Palin, while the men who had performed skits of Ford, Clinton, Bush, etc were just funny. I don't know why I'd never thought of it that way, but duh.

Fey narrates the audio version, which I'm sure made it even more enjoyable. The audio version came with a pdf of pictures that she talks about in the book, so you aren't missing out of them. (This is one pet peeve I have of audio books, not being able to see the pictures that were published as a part of the paper book.) The audio book also has the actual SNL clips of her and Amy Poehler doing Palin and Hillary Clinton.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

My book club read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet last month. We all liked it. Set in Seattle, it is the story of a Chinese-American man, Henry, who became friends with a Japanese-American girl during World War II. Forty years later, an old hotel is being renovated and belongings from Japanese families that had been sent to internment camps are uncovered. I

The book is related to Japanese internment camps during WWII. One of the gals in our group has grandparents that met at Heart Mountain, where they were interred. She was really looking forward to reading the book because of her personal connection.

I really loved Hotel on the Corner and Bitter Sweet. I've read several books set during WWII, but never one that dealt with the Japanese internment.

There was lots to this story: love, race, family, war. I really enjoyed reading about Henry's relationships with his father and with his son. It was interesting to see how the relationships developed. I also loved a couple of the minor characters: Sheldon, Henry's jazz playing friend and the lunch lady at Henry's elementary school.

I cried at the ending. It was a beautiful story and is well worth reading.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

What Happened to Goodbye

Big surprise: I loved Sarah Dessen's new book, What Happened to Goodbye.

What Happened to Goodbye is the story of Mclean who lives with her divorced father. Her dad's job leads to them moving often and Mclean reinvents herself at each new place.

I didn't love Dave, the male main character, as much as I've enjoyed some of Dessen's previous ones, such as Eli from Along for the Ride and Nate from Lock and Key. I felt like this book focused a little bit more on Mclean and her struggles than on romance. Dave didn't stick out as an interesting character.

However, the book had some great other secondary characters: Opal, the gal from the restaurant, and Deb, Mclean's welcoming party. They added a lot to the story.

Overall, it's another great one from Sarah Dessen. It's not my favorite, but it's still really good. You can't go wrong with any of her books.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cheaper by the Dozen

No, not the Steve Martin/Hillary Duff movie. I'm talking about the book. (Which, incidentally, sounds nothing like the movie.)

I first read Cheaper by the Dozen in 6th grade. I reread it recently for our quarterly book challenge for the category of book you loved as a kid or teen. Cheaper by the Dozen is the story of a family in the 19teens and 1920s with 12 children. Two of the children wrote the book in the 1940s.

The family was lead by the father, Frank Gilbreth, an efficiency and motion study expert. Some parts of the story were funny because there were so many kids and some were funny because of the father's thoughts on efficiency. The one scene I remembered from all those years ago dealt with Frank showing the kids the fastest way to lather up in the tub. He had to demonstrate for the girls full clothed while sitting on the living room floor.

I think Cheaper By the Dozen has held up well over time, even though some things may need to be explained to modern kids. It also was still a good read for me as an adult.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wicked Appetite

Wicked Appetite is Janet Evanovich's first book in a new series, The Unmentionables. The main characters are hunting for stones that, when in the wrong hands, could send the whole world into hell. Diesel, who you might remember from Between the Numbers books in her main series, and Lizzy, a cupcake baker, are the main characters along with a monkey, a one eyed cat, and a couple of Lizzy's interesting co-workers.

I really love Stephanie Plum, so I definitely wanted to see what I thought about this new series. It's fluffy like the Stephanie Plum series, so it seems similar to those books. This series has paranormal theme though: the main characters are searching for the stones using their supernatural abilities. Even though this book has paranormal aspect, it's not just another vampire book. Not even close. And, I have to admit, I'm thrilled I'm not reading another Joe/Ranger/Stephanie love triangle. (I know I'm not the only one getting a bit fatigues of that plot line.)

Wicked Appetite was worth the read, but I won't be running out for the newest book as soon as it's published like I do for Stephanie Plum. If you are a bit tired of Stephanie's love triangle, but still enjoy Evanovich's wacky stories, you should give Wicked Appetite a try. It's a funny quick read.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dammit Molls.

Molly, our girl basset, likes to eat books. I don't know why.

I ordered a hardback copy of The Poisonwood Bible for my collection. It's one of my favorite books. It came one day and I noticed it as I was leaving the house. I brought the box inside, put it on my kitchen table, and left.

I came home to this. She had pulled the box off the table, ripped it open, and tore the covers off the book. Awesome.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Frozen Thames

I just adored this book.

The Frozen Thames is a collection of short stories set during each freezing of the Thames from 1142 until 1895. (The Thames probably won't freeze again because of the structure of the current bridge.)

I'd been waiting for this book for ages on paperback swap. When you wait for a book for a long time, it can be a disappointment if it doesn't live up to what you'd hoped. Luckily, The Frozen Thames was even better than I was expecting.

I'm not a big fan of short stories, but thought this sounded interesting as it was historical fiction related to an event that occurred 44 times.

The book itself is gorgeous. It's small. The pages are glossy and have full color illustrations. The pictures are works of art of the Thames from times when it froze. My picture below is terrible, but hopefully you can get the idea.

A review on the back of the book calls it "sparse but satisfying." I'd say it's sparse, but oh so satisfying. Everything about this book is beautiful.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

30 Days of Books: Favorite Book I Own

How in the world could you pick just one? This is my bookshelf with all my favorites.