loregess - Reviews

1 to 20 of 176 - Page:
84, Charing Cross Road / The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street
84, Charing Cross Road / The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street
Author: Helene Hanff
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.6/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 2/2/2014


This is a beautiful account of a NYC writer and her correspondences with some staff from an antique bookshop based in London. The letter writing begins on October 5, 1949 and continues for over 20 years. The relationship that develops between the letter writers blossoms. As they begin to feel more comfortable with one another, the dialogue becomes quite witty and amusing. What I loved most was getting a glimpse into how the times gradually change through the eyes of the writers (from QE IIs coronation to Beatle-mania, etc.).

The story is quite moving without meaning to be a true testament to the fact that you do not have to live near someone or even know them to show him/her decency and kindness. It also made me feel a little guilty of how out of touch I am with people that I care for deeply, despite the luxury of such technical advancements such as email and video-conferencing! The work has everything I love in a story the only thing I would have liked is maybe a couple of snapshots of some of the friends Hanff made along the way.


About a Boy
About a Boy
Author: Nick Hornby
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 251
Review Date: 8/2/2013


I always enjoy books in which unlikely people enrich each other's lives and end up becoming good friends. About A Boy is such a story.


The Accidental Book Club
The Accidental Book Club
Author: Jennifer Scott
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 7/18/2014


Its been a year since Jeans husband has passed away, and she misses him something awful. Her best friend and neighbor, Loretta, suggests Jean host a book club at her house. The gals meet every Tuesday and through their book discussions, snippets of goings-on in their lives occur. Like with any book club, the personalities are vast, and each member ends up all the better for taking part. This includes Jeans granddaughter, who has not had the best year either.

A fast summer read about books, friendship, and great eats. Do not read this book on an empty stomach. The dishes the members bring to the meetings sound oh so scrumptious. Though I did not earmark a lot of titles mentioned in the book, I sure did earmark some of those dishes!


All My Sons: A Drama in 3 Acts (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)
Review Date: 9/17/2017


Holy smokes does this play pack a punch! I did not see all of the twists and turns coming. I found myself having to reread a couple of passages over just to make sure I read what I had read. This is a gut-wrenching tale about how one man's actions forces others to see him, and how it quietly and secretly takes a toll over his family with time. Arthur Miller seldom disappoints in capturing the emotional dynamics of family life.


All the Light We Cannot See
All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 52
Review Date: 4/1/2015
Helpful Score: 1


A beautifully detailed story set in occupied France and mostly told through the eyes of a blind girl and a boy with big hopes and dreams (and the brain and skills to achieve them) who is forced to become a Hitler youth. The plot was extremely original for the subject matter, and the characters jumped out of the pages.


American Gods
American Gods
Author: Neil Gaiman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 404
Review Date: 8/2/2013


The start of the story was somewhat vague to me. All of the names each god was known by- coupled with the intertwining story lines- was a bit overwhelming and hard to keep track of, but all does come together in the end. Like many reviews I've read here and on other sites, the author's intention of comparing Shadow to Jesus went over my head.


Anna in the Tropics
Anna in the Tropics
Author: Nilo Cruz
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 8/2/2013


** spoiler alert ** Nilo Cruz has an exceptional way of painting a picture with his words. Though Ive never worked as a cigar roller in 1929 Florida, Nilos writing took me to that time and place. I felt the gentle evening Floridian breezes and could smell the sweet smoke of the cigars that had been rolled by hand by guayabera-wearing men. The characters are relatable and very realistic.

There are various story lines played out in this short play. The central focus is that of some of the workers love affairs. Ofelia, the factory owners (Santiago) wife, keeps the tradition of having a lector read to the workers and hires Juan Julian for this purpose. Juan Julian chooses to read Anna Kareninas love story which later parallels his affair with Conchita, Ofelias married daughter. The story also parallels Anna Karenina in that Chester, Santiagos step-brother is in love with Marela, Santiagos unmarried daughter Like Kitty in Anna Karenina, Marela is not interested in Chester (Levin). She secretly pines for Juan Julian (Vronsky).

I had expected a conflict between the married couple and Juan Julian to ensue, however, the story ends in a way that I had not imagined. And it did not bring a sense of closure b/w Conchita and her husband; nor did it bring any closure to the strained relationship between Santiago, his wife, and his brother-in-law. I would have liked to see all of these dynamics drawn out a bit more. I hope to catch more than one live production in hopes to see the interpretations of this script answer some of my questions.


Auggie Wren's Christmas Story
Auggie Wren's Christmas Story
Author: Paul Auster
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 11/4/2014


A tale of unexpected gifts told through beautiful visuals of NYC. Paul Auster has committed to writing a Christmas story for his paper but has no idea what to write about. He doesn't want to write about cliché overly sentimental holiday sap. He wants something original and true to his style of writing - true to his voice. Enter Auggie who shares with Paul a story that may just save Paul's hide.


August: Osage County
August: Osage County
Author: Tracy Letts
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 15
Review Date: 8/29/2015
Helpful Score: 1


Not since Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf have I come across such a dysfunctional family. This family mudslings and harbors deceit in pretty hefty doses. And true to life, once all of the toxic resentment surfaces, it leaves the readers with unsettling questions about how everything turns out. No one is able to, or attempts to take back what they've said. And no one leaves living happily ever after. For some, it may have been better to be kept in the dark. Mental note: book flight to Hawaii this Thanksgiving!


Balm in Gilead and Other Plays (Dramabook)
Balm in Gilead and Other Plays (Dramabook)
Author: Lanford Wilson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 7/25/2014


I need to reread again in the near future. I am not sure if it was the cacophony of overlapping conversations taking place all at once or the slang that made it difficult for me to get through the first play - I had to read some passages over to actually picture what was going on in a scene. The story about the 2 main characters finally does come together, and I am sure I'll enjoy more the second time around.


Barefoot in the Park
Barefoot in the Park
Author: Neil Simon
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 10/7/2014


I picked the perfect time of year to read this cozy, funny little play about a couple just beginning to carve out their new lives together as newlyweds. I love autumn in NY!


BirthCONTROL: A Husband's Honest Account of Pregnancy
BirthCONTROL: A Husband's Honest Account of Pregnancy
Author: James Vavasour
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 8/28/2013


I received an autographed copy. The envelope it came in had some crayon scribble in the back - Im not sure if this was just a recycled envelope, but I like to think that Little Abby autographed it for me as well. Thanks, Abby :-D

I fell in love with the Vavasour couple - they seem to compliment each other very well. Vavasours account of his and his wifes experiences during their 9 month journey into becoming first-time-parents was absolutely spot on. There were embarrassing moments, tender moments, overwhelming moments of choosing the right person to deliver the baby, what to avoid, frightening stories of women and their birthing experiences, awkward birthing class sessions (my favorite part of the book), etc.

Although this would make a great gift for dads-to-be, you dont have to be one to appreciate it. Moms will benefit from the read as well. With that said, in the effort to inform couples researching the pros and cons of natural child birth vs. epidurals and Pitocin, I offer some info that the author suggests every husband should know about Pitocin and epidurals. If natural delivery is not progressing as quickly as it should, an epidural can be used to help the mother relax. Pitocin can be used to stop the bleeding after the baby has been delivered and the placenta is passed. Both could be used in a last ditch effort to avoid a C-section after all other options have been exhausted; this was especially logical, considering an epidural would be in place once the decision to do a C-section was made anyway.

Happy birthing!


THE BIRTHDAY PARTY
THE BIRTHDAY PARTY
Author: Harold Pinter
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 3/6/2017


What did I take when I read this? I feel so high.

** spoiler alert **

The story takes places in a run down boardinghouse. Meg, the owner, calls out to her husband Petey to come get his breakfast - a bowl of cornflakes, and then asks, "are they nice?" as though she had slaved over making them all morning long. She's annoying throughout and doesn't let the poor man enjoy his measly breakfast in peace, but I guess that's her way of making small talk in a house/marriage where nothing much goes on. She then yells for the one and only lodger of the boarding house, Stanley, to come down. I mean this guy is lodger, and she treats him like her son by actually going up and waking him and threatening not to make him breakfast if he oversleeps. Because, you know, you must have your cornflakes now! Can't let those go cold.

Meg and Petey have a discussion before Stanley comes down - two men are stopping by to take lodging at the boarding house. Stanley comes down, and in so many words, we learn that he doesn't go out much, if at all. We know he played the piano until the venue he played at closed down and that's pretty much it.

Meg shares with Stanley the bit of news that two men will be staying over. When the men stop over, Meg runs her mouth at them and tells them that it's Stan's birthday. Although these lodgers do not know Stanley at all, Goldberg and McCann offer to throw a party for him. When Meg leaves the the room and they meet for the first time, the men start berating Stanley. At first it makes sense. It seems as though they do know him after all and came to save Stanley from his isolated and miserable existence. They tell him he's pretty much a waste of space, but then they start ranting and spitting out nonsensical things at Stan too, and this is where it starts to get trippy because nothing makes sense after this.

Petey is out working or something and it's just the three lodgers, Meg, and her neighbor friend, Lulu, who was kind enough to pick up the gift that Meg presented Stanley earlier (a small child's drum) at Stan's party. Everyone is talking to each other except to Stan. Stan is completely ignored. When it is suggested that they play a party game, the lodgers blindfold Stanley and pretty much torture the guy and make him step on his gift. To add insult to injury, McCann breaks Stan's glasses for no reason at all. In the morning, Meg doesn't remember much of what took place, and Lulu, who hooked up with Goldberg the night before, feels used and disgusted at the things Goldberg did to her. Whatever those things may have been, Lulu sees that there is a dark side to the man and she splits on the double. Meanwhile, Stanley is upstairs under McCann's watch, and when he comes down, Stan is a total mute. The two men try to take Stan away and Petey tries to stop them as he senses that they are the reason why Stan seems so ill. They continue to walk off with Stan when Meg comes down, wonders what happened to Stan, and then continues to make Petey his sad breakfast. And that's it - no one talks about who the two men were or where Stanley is off to against his will. Nothing. It's hard to rate this one. I kind of liked it, and I kind of didn't, and I can't explain why. If you enjoyed The Trial by Franz Kafka, you'll like this play. It has the same type of fragmented dream like quality to it.


The Birthday Party (Pinter plays)
The Birthday Party (Pinter plays)
Author: Harold Pinter
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 0.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 3/22/2017


** spoiler alert **

What did I take when I read this? I feel so high.

The story takes places in a run down boardinghouse. Meg, the owner, calls out to her husband Petey to come get his breakfast - a bowl of cornflakes, and then asks, "are they nice?" as though she had slaved over making them all morning long. She's annoying throughout and doesn't let the poor man enjoy his measly breakfast in peace, but I guess that's her way of making small talk in a house/marriage where nothing much goes on. She then yells for the one and only lodger of the boarding house, Stanley, to come down. I mean this guy is lodger, and she treats him like her son by actually going up and waking him and threatening not to make him breakfast if he oversleeps. Because, you know, you must have your cornflakes now! Can't let those go cold.

Meg and Petey have a discussion before Stanley comes down - two men are stopping by to take lodging at the boarding house. Stanley comes down, and in so many words, we learn that he doesn't go out much, if at all. We know he played the piano until the venue he played at closed down and that's pretty much it.

Meg shares with Stanley the bit of news that two men will be staying over. When the men stop over, Meg runs her mouth at them and tells them that it's Stan's birthday. Although these lodgers do not know Stanley at all, Goldberg and McCann offer to throw a party for him. When Meg leaves the the room and they meet for the first time, the men start berating Stanley. At first it makes sense. It seems as though they do know him after all and came to save Stanley from his isolated and miserable existence. They tell him he's pretty much a waste of space, but then they start ranting and spitting out nonsensical things at Stan too, and this is where it starts to get trippy because nothing makes sense after this.

Petey is out working or something and it's just the three lodgers, Meg, and her neighbor friend, Lulu, who was kind enough to pick up the gift that Meg presented Stanley earlier (a small child's drum) at Stan's party. Everyone is talking to each other except to Stan. Stan is completely ignored. When it is suggested that they play a party game, the lodgers blindfold Stanley and pretty much torture the guy and make him step on his gift. To add insult to injury, McCann breaks Stan's glasses for no reason at all.

Meg doesn't remember much of what took place the night before and Lulu, who hooked up with Goldberg the night before, feels used and disgusted at the things Goldberg did to her. Whatever those things may have been, Lulu sees that there is a dark side to the man and she splits on the double. Meanwhile, Stanley is upstairs under McCann's watch, and when he comes down, Stan is a total mute. The two men try to take Stan away and Petey tries to stop them as he senses that they are the reason why Stan seems so ill. They continue to walk off with Stan when Meg comes down, wonders what happened to Stan, and then continues to make Petey his sad breakfast. And that's it - no one talks about who the two men were or where Stanley is off to against his will. Nothing. It's hard to rate this one. I kind of liked it, and I kind of didn't, and I can't explain why. If you enjoyed The Trial, you'll like this play. It has the same type of fragmented dream like quality to it.


The Book of Joe
The Book of Joe
Author: Jonathan Tropper
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 116
Review Date: 7/2/2014


Joe Goffmans existence as a teen living in the small town of Bush Falls isnt exactly ideal but he has one good friend to see him through. Unlike Joe, Wayne is a first rate athlete at their high school, and this offers Joe some safety and slack. At home, however, Joe and dad dont have a good relationship. Dad used to be an athlete at the same high some years back and it seems like he only lives to relieve the glory days with his other son, the athletic one, Brad. Its a bit of a cliché, but Tropper makes it work. Things turn up for Joe as he makes one more friend that summer. Together, he, Wayne and Sammy begin having a great and care-free summer -- until something unjust happens to his friends.

Disgusted by those around him for not doing anything to right the wrongs incurred on his friends, Joe leaves town and doesnt come back until 17 years after (when he is obligated to return due to his dads illness). During his time away from home, Joe has written a scathing fiction based on his hometown and those who live in it. The book becomes a best-seller and is made into a blockbuster film. Having to return to Bush Falls means that Joe will have to confront his demons head on, but so do those who have gotten away with turning their backs on those kids all those years ago. Tropper once again seamlessly eases the reader into the human condition with humor, honesty, and a touch of cheesy 80s John Hughes-like movie backdrops. C'mon, who doesn't like a good 80s John Hughes film?!


The Boy in the Suitcase (Nina Borg, Bk 1)
The Boy in the Suitcase (Nina Borg, Bk 1)
Author: Lene Kaaberbol, Agnete Friis
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 19
Review Date: 8/2/2013
Helpful Score: 1


The Boy in the Suitcase is my first try at a Scandinavian thriller (well The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was my first, but the beginning dragged so that I could never get through it). The Boy in the Suitcase was fast-paced and the author took great care in developing the characters. If you've put The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo aside for the same reason, and are interested in Scandinavian thrillers, this book could be a good start for you. And the price is just right! ($1.99 for Kindle & Nook e-readers).


The Brooklyn Follies
The Brooklyn Follies
Author: Paul Auster
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 47
Review Date: 8/2/2013


A nice story about an uncle and nephew who live quiet and boring lives until one day fate brings them together


The Casual Vacancy
The Casual Vacancy
Author: J. K. Rowling
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.
 171
Review Date: 8/2/2013


The book is chock full of well drawn out and complex characters. You may have to take notes at first to recall who is who, but then the story really picks up and all of the characters and their stories are finely woven into the tapestry that is the small town of Pagford.

On the outside Pagford is a beautiful tight knit English community. The reader soon discovers the town is founded on deceit and betrayal. None of the characters are what they seem to be. It takes one tragedy to bring all of their most inner secrets and lies to the surface. But will another tragedy help the people of Pagford finally come together as the tight knit community it claims to be without any hidden agendas?

The issues presented are so raw and real. I know this book got a lot of lukewarm reviews and I am glad I did not bother reading any of them as I found The Casual Vacancy to be, as one reviewer put it, a surprisingly powerful piece of storytelling, which forces us, by stealth, to care.


A Charlie Brown Christmas : The Making of a Tradition
A Charlie Brown Christmas : The Making of a Tradition
Author: Lee Mendelson, Bill Melendez
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.6/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 2/12/2014


I received this book as a Christmas gift (thanks, Emily!) and know I will treasure it always. It chronicles the history of the making of the first animated Peanuts film. Its a great behind-the-scenes of an American classic that almost didnt happen at all!

Excerpts from Charles Schulz interviews and the rest of the collaborators piece together the story of how they all came together to work one of my favorite Christmas specials. According to those who worked with him, Schulz seemed like such a nice guy. And the rest of the team got along as well. It was just one of those things that was just meant to be and came together.

What makes this such a great gift is that not only do you get a better sense of the people who created the animated film, you also get to see the process. Loads of sketches and storyboard pics are included as well as the music and lyrics to Christmas Time is Here and Linus & Lucy. But my absolute favorites are the original ads and commercials used to promote the cartoon and the Vince Guaraldi Trio albums. And each corner of the lower right-hand pages contains a single still from the special which forms a flip book of the opening scenes from the cartoon special. And I cant forget to mention that the illustrated cells and script to the entire show are also included!


The Children's Hour
The Children's Hour
Author: Lillian Hellman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 8/2/2013


Abigail Williams (The Crucible) is one of the most hateful literary characters I've ever come across - she's high up on my top 5. Mary Tilford, the little demon, may just have kicked Abigail down a notch on my Characters I Hate the Most list. Although this is a work of fiction, it is scary to think how very possible it is for a bully to intimidate others into spinning a web of lies that can ruin people's personal and professional lives. How someone who has always done right by everyone and worked their fingers to the bone for a patch of happiness can end up with nothing. If she were real, I think I would track Mary down and choke her with my bare hands!


1 to 20 of 176 - Page: