Jan G. (sunnysouth) - , - Reviews

1 to 15 of 15
American Wife
American Wife
Author: Curtis Sittenfeld
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 107
Review Date: 10/17/2011


This is a book VERY loosely based on a character similar to Laura Bush. Her man is a spoiled son of a priviledged, overbearing family that push him to his level of incompetence. Sound famililar? All in all the "wife," whose back story has a lot to do with her choices, falls for the guy. The story line follows her being subsummed by his neediness, lack of self-worth and eventually his rise to a position neither he or she were suited for: The President of the US. The writing is easy to follow. Along the way I found myself being angry at this woman who has so much more going for her and at the same time being enraged by the sheer lack of empathy (read "love") the guy has for his wife.(less)
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Anguished English
Anguished English
Author: Richard Lederer
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 24
Review Date: 10/5/2008


If you love language, and like to laugh, this book of bloopers from a former high school teacher is for you. A good companion to "Fumble Rules" by Willima Safire.


Review Date: 12/27/2008


One of the early twentieth century's modernist interested in art education expresses his point of view on "making art."


Backlash
Backlash
Author: Martin Russell
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 10/5/2008
Helpful Score: 1


Martin Russell was a very prolific British writer and published a number of books dealing with Cold War topics. This title however is a very British mystery from the Walker British Mystery series that is cleverly plotted, humorous and satisfying.


Blue Shoes and Happiness (No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Bk 7) (Audio CD) (Unabridged)
Review Date: 1/7/2014


I especially like listening to this series on CD. The narrator adds so much to the story because of her charming accent used in the telling. It creates a better sense of who the characters are and the setting the story takes place in.


Consequences of Sin (Ursula Marlowe, Bk 1)
Consequences of Sin (Ursula Marlowe, Bk 1)
Author: Clare Langley-Hawthorne
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 16
Review Date: 7/6/2012


Sorry folks but this book is so poorly written and thought out that I couldn't get past about page three. The author's purple prose: "Ursula rose quickly from the four-poster bed, slid her feet into a pair of ivory satin slippers and grabbed a tawny cashmere shawl..." all it needed to be was a dark and stormy night. In the next sentence to show us how fiesty the heroine is she thinks as the butler announces "Miss Stanford-Jones" was on the phone the author writes "Really Biggs could be so formal..." what was he supposed to say to the young lady...There's a darn nuisance on the phone? This gets even worse further down the page when hurriedly getting dressed (not wishing to bother her maid) we get another elaborate description of her struggle to dress herself but no mention of what she was doing to her hair...a young woman of her class would have seen to her hair before leaving the house,especially since she had just got our of bed. This book needed a good editor with an ear for the written word and an author with more talent. Please spare me any comparison to Masie Dobbs/Jacqueline Winspear because even on a bad day Winspear writes circles around this unpromising start.


Death At La Fenice (Guido Brunetti, Bk 1)
Death At La Fenice (Guido Brunetti, Bk 1)
Author: Donna Leon
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 154
Review Date: 10/5/2008
Helpful Score: 2


First in series of Guido Brunetti mysteries. I liked the relationship of Guido and wife. Slow but enjoyable read.


Dining with Dickens
Dining with Dickens
Author: Cedric Dickens
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 12/27/2008


Written by Charles Dickens' great-grandson, Cedric, the pleasures of the Victorian era are recounted in this light-hearted "ramble" through the dining rooms, kitchens , coaching inns and eating houses of the times. A must for lovers of Dickens or Victorian England.


DRINKING WITH DICKENS: A LIGHT-HEARTED SKETCH.
DRINKING WITH DICKENS: A LIGHT-HEARTED SKETCH.
Author: Cedric. Dickens
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 12/27/2008
Helpful Score: 1


Drinking with Dickens is the first of the books by Dickens' great-grandson, Cedric. It includes recipes, many based on drinks of the Dickensian era in England and the US, that were tested with great satisfaction by the author. This light-hearted sketch includes Victorain sources,starting off with ginger beer, a drink for teetoltalers, that includes a quart of brandy! A must read for lovers of Dickens and the Victorian era.


A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Gamache, Bk 2)
A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Gamache, Bk 2)
Author: Louise Penny
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 43
Review Date: 1/1/2015


Louise Penny's "Three Pines" series never fails to be a good read. I have not read the books in order but her ability to thoroughly invest in her characters in each book does not make this a problem. This is the second in the series and I now have the background on some of the individual story lines.This only adds to my enjoyment.
I only gave this 3.5 stars because I thought the resolution to the mystery not entirely believeable; getting there by her develpoment of the characters kept me involved to the end.


Fumblerules (Intrepid Linguist)
Fumblerules (Intrepid Linguist)
Author: William Safire
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 10/5/2008


"A light hearted guide to grammar and good usage" describes this collection of "fumberules": mistakes that call attention to the rules. New York Times columnist, William Safire, known as a witty but opinionated stickler for correctness,gives us 140 pages of compelling instruction. Good companion to "Anguished English" by Richard Lederer.


Letter to a Christian Nation
Letter to a Christian Nation
Author: Sam Harris
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 54
Review Date: 10/26/2008
Helpful Score: 6


This book is not for everyone. You need to come to it with an open mind. Harris' book is part of a group of writings that voice opinions of not just non-believers but also anti- believers. These authors are articulate in their cool reasoning - read and be informed.
Jan G.


The Paris Wife (Audio CD) (Unabridged)
The Paris Wife (Audio CD) (Unabridged)
Author: Paula McLain, Carrington MacDuffie (Narrator)
Book Type: Audio CD
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 21
Review Date: 10/17/2011


I listened to "The Paris Wife" on Audio CDs. The narrator had an irritating tone to her voice that I found distracting. She sounded like she should be reading a Stephanie Plum novel rather than this. I will give the narrator good marks for pronouncing to this untrained ear some multi-syllable French words.

I had just listened to "American Wife" by Curtis Sittenfeld which is a loosely realized story following a charachter similar to Laura Bush. Her husband is a lout and blustering person who becomes governor and later president because he has nothing better to do. What he really loves is baseball and being the owner of a baseball team. He and his overbearing family are concerned about his "legacy" and the wife, totally subsummed by her infactuation with him, allows herself to be bullied and undercut and fianlly betrayed by him...although through her own sense of loyalty to her man.

"The Paris Wife", although from a different era, follows a strikingly similar vein. Hadley falls for Hemingway in the same love-struck way that the American Wife does. Hadley and Hemingway are caught up in a group dynamic similar to the overbearing family of American Wife. Hadley and American Wife are bullied, undercut and betrayed all the while denying what is happening to them by men who have no empahty and are driven by their own sense of destiny.

All in all I found the characters in American Wife better written than Paris Wife; I had little sympathy for Hadley and the writing seemed to present her not as a character of her time but as a dupe to Hemingmway's longings. Paris Wife also failed as an historical set piece for which it had good potential. I came away wishing the writer had created a better environment for her characters to work out there post-war sense of loss and renewal.


Sullivan's Island (Lowcountry Tales, Bk 1)
Sullivan's Island (Lowcountry Tales, Bk 1)
Author: Dorothea Benton Frank
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 224
Review Date: 12/11/2008


Because I am from the area that this book takes place, I have a special attachment to its content and its author. Ms. Frank was brought up in the South Carolina Lowcountry and has a keen perception of its life and lore which added to my enjoyment of the story. She has spoken to our library group several times and has entertained us with her revelations of being on a book tour, and coming home to face sometimes thinly veiled story lines. Personally enjoyable and recommened to those interested in regional fiction.


The Year of Magical Thinking
The Year of Magical Thinking
Author: Joan Didion
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 264
Review Date: 10/26/2008
Helpful Score: 1


Some reviewers criticized this book as being the whining of a pampered upper middle class woman. But I disagree in that Ms. Didion's book is very typical of her intelligent writing style - here her experience of her husband's death and the near death of her daughter at the same time are presented in thoughtful, meditative paragraphs that move back in forth in time. It is really meaningful for those who have had life-changing deaths in their lives. Long after I read it, I would remember her words and linger on them.
Jan G.


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