Tag Archive | friendship

Double book review: The Halo Effect; Crimes Against A Book Club

The Halo EffectThe Halo Effect by Anne D. LeClaire

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An airplane read.

Predictable but enjoyable story, with no real surprises. Nicely written and well-drawn characters. I especially liked Will’s struggle to reconcile his lack of faith with his acceptance of the commission to paint saints for the church.

 

Crimes Against a Book ClubCrimes Against a Book Club by Kathy Cooperman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What do you do when you have bills you can’t possibly pay, a degree in chemistry, and a fabulous best friend with an entree into a high-society book club? You make an “ultra-exclusive” anti-aging face cream out of over-the-counter drug store lotions and, um, cocaine, and convince these women they can’t live without it.

An absolutely darling confection of a novel that I read on an airplane, smiling the whole time. Recommended for women, best friends, book club members, and anyone else who enjoys a good laugh and poking a stick at social pretensions.

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Look, actual knitting content!

Recent blog entries have been so focused on my participation in reading challenges that you may be forgiven if you forgot this was also a yarn crafting blog. Yes, I have been knitting as well as reading over the last couple of months.  I finished a cowl of my own design a few weeks ago, but (as usual) have yet to write up the pattern and photograph the finished item.  Someday soon.  Pinky swear.

After finishing the cowl, I started working on a Christmas stocking for a friend’s baby.  Here’s the progress so far.

davi-christmas-stocking-1

Yes, you’re right. That is indeed a crappy cell phone photo. I texted my friend with it to show her the progress, and then decided a blog entry was in order as well. And there you have it. Actual knitting content.

Book review: After Alice by Gregory Maguire

After AliceAfter Alice by Gregory Maguire
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Normally, I’m enthusiastic and giddy over Gregory Maguire’s take on familiar stories. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West just knocked me out. So I especially looked forward to reading Maguire’s version of one of my favorites, “Alice In Wonderland”.

Note the three lonely stars above. So, this one? Not so much.

The title is clever. Ada, whose purpose in life seems to be to run after her neighbor and friend, Alice, somehow manages to fall into Wonderland after Alice tumbled through. Everywhere Ada goes, Alice has already been. It’s as if Alice drained all the color and wonder from Wonderland by her mere presence; and Ada sees only the minutest bit of the whimsy and magic. A tragedy for Ada, if she only knew. And a tragedy for the reader, as well. The Cheshire Cat is merely an annoyance rather than a menace; the Caterpillar is stoned out of his mind; and the Tea Party is breaking up by the time Ada arrives.

Perhaps Maguire was making some metaphorical point. If so, I missed it. His writing is a treat, as always, but this story was a slog.

I think I’ll go read the original again, to clear my palate.

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Book review: Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld

SisterlandSisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Sisterland, population 2” was the sign Violet and Daisy posted on the door to their room when they were children. As twins, and specifically as twins within a dysfunctional family unit, it was often the two of them pitted against the world, at least until they were grown and left the family home to forge their separate ways.

In college, Daisy shed her childhood identity and became Kate (her middle name); she avoided mention of her twin with whom she shared a psychic talent; she deliberately suffocated that talent itself; and when she married and changed her name, she put behind her virtually all easily recognizable association with her family of origin. In the suburbs of a city the size of St. Louis, it was relatively easy to avoid anyone who may have known her when she was young.

Violet, on the other hand, failed at everything — college, relationships, jobs — and eventually embraced her psychic talent and turned it into her livelihood. When she predicts a major earthquake will hit soon, Violet attracts national attention, and Kate’s quiet suburban life is thrown into an uproar.

Sittenfeld has written a thoughtful examination of sisterhood and marriage, friendship and family, and how the choices we make affect not only ourselves but the people around us. Lovely work.

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