March 16, 2007

Why do we thank God on Fridays? Shouldn't we be thanking Him on Sundays?

Let's Go Clubbing: So, as promised, I am doing the online book club thingiemabob. This came about because I noticed a trend when I'd mention that I am in several book clubs and I would receive wistful comments from folks wishing they were in a book club. Well, here's your chance. This how it will work. I am throwing out 3 book suggestions - the one the gets the most votes by Midnight, Central Time, Monday, March 19th is the selection. We will discuss the book via comments April 30th (I will throw out a post that day with some questions to get things going). I'd like this to be a No Holds Barred discussion - except for flaming or name calling, everyone should feel free to express themselves. And I do mean "everyone" - this is open to anyone who wants to join. I've seen other online book clubs before but, they've always seemed to be compromised of people who actually belonged to the blog itself. For this one, all you have to do is leave a comment. So, here are the selections:
  1. Tripping the Prom Queen by Susan Shapiro Barash
  2. The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf
  3. Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture by Ariel Levy
After the selection is made, I'll update my sidebar with details. I am a little nervous about this - Average Jane has posted before regarding her Limited Influence, which I completely relate to. I've never been one to throw a party and have hundreds of people show up. But I figure I'll try this once, if no one "shows up", then I just won't do it again. No harm, no foul - right? Well, except for my Priceless Pride, which is quite sensitive. .... sniff.....

Gooooooooooals: I've often been asked how I find time to read. Not to sound obnoxious or obvious, but I make time for books. Since Arun began his coup d' tat on our lives, several of my hobbies flew out the window. I don't make jewelry any longer. I don't do raku or pottery. I don't watch as much TV (which I don't miss because seriously? How many people can Jack Bauer torture before it becomes ho hum?) I don't knit nearly as much as I used to. I really don't read as much, either. But I still do read. I would feel stagnant, if I didn't and I don't know how else to explain that. I suspect once NewKid joins forces with Arun in obtaining complete World Domination, I will have even less time to read - at least for awhile until we work out some sort of Peace Treaty (aka Nap Schedule). So, to make myself feel better that I won't have as much time for books, I've compiled my list of books to read before the NewKid arriveth. They are:
The Guy Not Taken by Jennifer Weiner (started last night)
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Rules of the Wild: A Novel of Africa by Francesca Marciano
Bookends by Jane Green
Daughter of Destiny: An Autobiography, by Benazir Bhutto (I just realized this is an autobiography, so I am not counting on any impartiality from this. Very disappointed, actually)
Waiting by Ha Jin
The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult
Portrait in Sepia by Isabelle Allende
Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler
The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell
The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman

For me, this list is pretty ambitious because it doesn't include spontaneous reads I'll pick up along the way nor does it doesn't include any book club selections. I guess I am hoping by putting this in print, that will spur me to keep my nose to the grindstone and not get lazy. Also, I noticed that quite a few of these had "A Novel" in their titles. Why? What's the point? What's the difference between a book and a novel? And how did I come by these titles? I have a revolving door built just for me at the Dusty Bookshelf in Lawrence KS - I read books, sell them there, then buy some more. Most of these selections are ones I had lying around and most of them are authors that I have read before and particularly enjoyed.

A Fine Balance, A Fine Read: I just finished A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry last night. Wow. Let me rephrase that. WOW. Beautiful. Haunting. Sad. Compelling. Interesting. Educational. This book covers the stories of four characters living in India during the mid-70s during a time in which Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declares a State of Emergency and in its name, countless human rights violations were committed. I am not sure I can say much that would do this book proper justice. It certainly had what I refer to as The Linger Factor. After I finished it, I sat thinking about it for awhile. When I woke up at 5 am and couldn't get back to sleep, I thought about it some more. I thought about it AGAIN while in the shower. Then later, while I was doing my hair and makeup, I pondered even more points, turn of events and the title (which had so much meaning). This book was not an easy read. The author delves into deep detail on each of the main characters back stories. It was tough going because these people did not live happy lives. However, it was important to the overall theme of the book that you truly get inside each of the characters heads so that you fully understand the reasoning and the extent of their actions and choices. To not give the full history on each of them would have made some of the events appear to be melodramatic and it would have been all too easy to paint certain characters as selfish or even villainous in their choices. Instead, it was heartbreaking, because you understood and could feel the humanity of these characters. You knew them and your heart sank and soared with each various plot point. As in life, nothing was black and white with this book. Again with the "wow".


Christy said...

I am voting for The Beauty Myth. It sounds like an interesting read.

dorothy said...

I want to do this but currently have eight books that I have agreed to read for one reason or another balanced in a pile on my nightstand. GAH! I'll catch you next time around.

HOWEVER, I think this is a great idea. I don't like to do book clubs because I don't like things to encroach on my little angel time, and she's still young enough to want me around when I'm not working. I'm sure I'll have plenty of time for book clubs when she's out at raves every night in high school.

And to your point, I've found myself reading more than I did before the little angel was born, because of the evolution of reality television. :)

Ezza said...

Tripping the Prom Queen, please!

Marilyn aka callistawolf said...

Looking at your "To be read" before NewKid shows up list makes my knees weak. It'd take me at least a year to read all those, and that was if I really buckled down and read and tried to finish one book a month.

I swear, I used to be such a big reader. I would read a book a day at my peak. For shame.

Cagey said...

Whoa. My list isn't meant to shame anyone. I read your blog and you are busy. HELLA busy. :-) I'm LAZY. Seriously!

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

Holy SHIT. You are my twin in telepathy. I JUST came home from Borders (am only now reading this post) and guess what I have in my bag?? Tripping the Prom I change my vote to that, hahaha.

Sometimes you and Macaca creep me out, no kidding.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

But it's creepy in a good way, :).

Bethany said...

All of them sound interesting. I am going to vote for "Tripping the Prom Queen".

This is a great idea.

Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

Casting my vote for The Beauty Myth.

md.macaca said...

I hope you do this book club thing again,because i can't participate this time.. too much schoolwork. However, in 2 months I'll either be unemployed/ employed at some mind-numbing 40-hour job, so this will work perfectly then!

I really want to get back into the reading habit myself.

margalit said...

I vote for Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture by Ariel Levy.

Your list of books to read contains several of my current favorites, but your reading of A Fine Balance tells me we're going to have similar opinions on books. I LOVED that book. LOVE IT. I say it's my favorite book written in the past 20 years. It is truely stunning. Sad, but uplifting and so spiritual without really being about religion at all. Read it again in about a year and you'll find you gain even more from it. I've read it several times now, and every time I get more.

Modern Day Hermit said...

What a nice selection! I've added all to my list of books to read but my end choice will have to be "Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture".

I've had "A Fine Balance" on my book list for some time now. Your review prompts me to pick it up for the plane ride that will be coming up soon, thanks!

Goofy Girl said...

I think Tripping the Prom Queen sounds interesting, so that one gets my vote.

I've already read The Beauty Myth, and quite frankly, I found it insulting. That the author thinks the The Media has that much influence over women (and not men too?) just pissed me off.

Cagey said...

I wasn't casting my vote because I thought I'd be diplomatic, then I realized "HUH? Why?". I'm casting my vote for Tripping the Prom Queen. :-)

Christy said...

I have a surprise for you. Come over and check it out!

Leah said...

World is Flat. Back to the sick baby now.

Diana said...

One for Female Chauvinist Pigs, here. I think that's the one I heard an interview with the author on NPR and though it sounded good.

Rozanne said...

Excellent review of A Fine Balance. It def. has the Linger Factor. I still remember lots about it and I read it more than 5 years ago. That's unusual for (bad memory) me.

I love the book club idea. However, I have such a hard time even getting the books read for my real-life book club, that I don't think I can participate. Still...I'm looking forward to reading the comments discussion, though, esp. if you read Female Chauvinist Pigs (the book I'd vote for if I were going to participate).

FFF said...

I read a lot of South Asian fiction and I've got to pick up A Fine Balance now that you've reviewed it. The Bhutto autobiography isn't bad, although it is one sided. Have you read My Feudal Lord by Tehmina Durrani? Its a true story too, and not really about the history of Pakistan but I thought it gave a really good background.

I'll read whatever your readers pick, but The Beauty Myth is excellent. Thanks for the linky love below too. If you get a chance, will you drop me an email at