Sunday, March 21, 2010

Twenties Girl

My Rating: 4/5
Pages: 435 ; Speed: Fast
Subject: Women's Fiction, Mystery

Author of the popular Confessions of a Shopaholic series, Sophie Kinsella writes a delightfully heartwarming read for the chick-lit lover. Twenty-something-year-old Laura Lington is facing a crumbling headhunting business, a heartbreak from the-one-that-got-away, and discouragement from her parents. Even her famous uncle, founder of Lington Coffee (Starbucks equivalent) won't give her a chance. At the funeral of her unknown great aunt Sadie, the deceased's ghost demands help from Laura with unfinished business (and unmended heartbreak). Sadie-in her feisty twenties flapper form-can't rest without her dear missing necklace. Laura doesn't believe in ghosts, but after being pestered in the most professionally embarrassing ways, gives in. They ensue on jewelry-hunting mayhem as Laura sees her family through knew light and learns the difference between infatuation and love. Taking place in modern-day London, this quick read leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy as generational differences blend and confidence is discovered. With plenty of fashion, dancing, and a splash of art history, Laura's already spazzed life gets turned upside down as Sadie tries to teach her the real way to live-twenties style.

Available here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Eat Pray Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

My Rating: 5/5
Pages 331 • Speed: Slow but captivating
Subject: Biography & Travel

After an overwhelming bout with depression and divorce, eloquent writer Elizabeth Gilbert leaves her New York life behind to take a year-long journey to find herself.  In some of the most intriguing parts of the world-Italy, India and Indonesia-Gilbert spends four months in each place and the reader gets to piggy-back for the ride.  This real-life travel memoir gives a step-by step eccentric yet hilarious account of her search; destination-a balance between worldly pleasure and spiritual harmony.  In Italy she learns that, to speak Italian, you "say it like you eat it," since there all of life revolves around food.  In India (where they say, "Congratulations to meet you") she finds her initially grueling Yogic path to inner peace.  In Bali, Indonesia she claims the joys of contentment and love and makes a roadmap of overcoming obstacles and regret.  The people and events are described so vividly, you feel you're experiencing the moments along with her, or at least watching the movie (which comes out this August starring Julia Roberts).  Told through witty vocabulary and captivating descriptions, each site's history and culture is an intellectual bonus.  Her journey's spiritual depth is filled with humorous honesty and self-deprecation.  By the time you put this book down, you feel like you and Elizabeth Gilbert are personal friends, knowing all her deepest fears and greatest triumphs.  I can't wait to read her sequel Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage.

Get it here.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Getting the Girl

My Rating: 2/5

Pages 250 • Speed: Very Fast
Subject: Self-Actualization and Social Situations

On the other side of the tracks in Sydney, Australia, Marcus Zusak tells the seemingly real (& often profane) story of a sweet, confused adolescent who narrates with "an earthly working-class dialect" (phrase quoted from  Cameron Wolfe is used to being the quiet one in his aggressive family.  Living in the shadows of his older brothers, (Steve, the local soccer star, and Rube, who has never lost a fight--or struck out with a girl) he's longing for companionship. "My brother never really had to say or do anything. He just had to stand somewhere... or even trip up a gutter and a girl would like him."  Rube's latest weekly fling-Octavia-was thrown to the curb, but she was different from all the rest.  She wasn't embarrassed by Cameron-and he becomes obsessed with her, even sharing his closet poetry. They potentially have a connection unlike anything she had with his brother. For her, he even stops waiting outside the window of a 'missed opportunity' he'd previously walk across town to pretend to visit.  Octavia is mezmorizing!  When Rube finds out his little brother's trying to pick up his "scraps," there's a face-off between family loyalty and self-actualization.  And how does Octavia feel about this?  I absolutely love the way Zusak plays with words and incarnates his characters; but the storyline is bland, so the low score pains me despite the writing technique.  Does Cameron get the girl?  And will his brothers ever give him the respect (or at least acknowledgement) his ego yearns for?  Very masculinely told, with not a few profanities in blunt teenage street talk, I feel like I've just read the real-life journal of a struggling teenager.

Get it here.
(I still can't figure out if the cover is of a guy or a girl. Weird.)