I didn't get much reading done during the craziness of the holidays, but I more than made up for it when I was bed- and couch-ridden after my surgery. I've enjoyed all the recommendations I've gotten from my previous "Recent Reads" posts - keep 'em coming!
Rating: 3 stars
I found this book through Kat's blog, and picked it up as something a little different than what I would normally read. Jamie is a struggling artist and single mother to her five-year-old son, Arley. In somewhat strange circumstances, they live with Arley's best friend, Christopher, and his grandfather, Harris. Harris had a less-than-stellar reputation with women, which led to several rumors about his living situation with Jamie once he passed away. His death also brings his estranged son, Nate, back into Christopher's life to take on a fatherly role. There are a lot of mixed emotions for everyone, as Christopher is more family to Jamie and Arley than to his own father. Through a lot of heartbreak, pain, and confusion, it turns into a very sweet love story.
The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain
Rating: 4 stars
The Paris Wife was another recommendation by my friend, Kim. I had heard from several people that it was not a happy book - depressing, in fact. However knowing Hemingway's history, and knowing how it would end, I thought it was an interesting perspective from his first wife on their marriage. I could tell almost from the very beginning that it was not a happy marriage and that it would be doomed no matter how hard she tried, which was sad. Ernest Hemingway is Bo's favorite author, and I've added A Moveable Feast to my "to-read" list, which is his memoir of his time in Paris, so I am interested to see how similar or different their two stories will be.
Rating: 5 stars
Several people recommended this book to me, and I borrowed my mom's copy when I was home for Christmas. I loved it. Cover-to-cover, I read it in about 5 hours the day after my foot surgery. I thought it was a very sweet (and at many times, bittersweet) story of two girls, their friendship, and their fates. The story is told by Lily, a 7-year-old girl in 19th century China, who is paired with Snow Flower as laotongs, or "old sames" - meaning that they will be lifelong friends. They suffer many pains together - footbindings, arranged marriages, family deaths, the constant feeling of worthlessness, and a falling out due to a misunderstanding. Their laotong pairing results in the greatest love either of them will ever meet in this world.
Rating: 4 stars
Yet another recommendation from Kim (and a few other friends). The story is told by Enzo, Denny's dog, who is about to die and recounts his life. His owner, Denny, is an aspiring race car driver who faces far too many struggles through their time together. Though it is very much a sad story, in the end I found it very uplifting and hopeful. As a dog lover (and now owner) I thought Enzo's point of view was funny and to-the-point. Sure makes me wonder what Molly is thinking :)
Rating: 5 stars
A few years ago, Bo bought me a few "women's classic" novels that he thought I should read instead of the "terrible" (his word, not mine) chick-lit books that I so loved. I didn't read for fun all too much back then, so needless to say this was not the best way to get me back into reading. Jane Eyre and a few others have sat on our book shelf for years, slowly collecting dust ever since. It was also somewhat intimidating at 524 pages, but I finally picked it up. The writing is just so different from what I am now used to, that it took a while for me to get into, but once I did I was hooked (though it still took me about two weeks to finish). It was such a great book. I'll admit this one time, Bo was right. It was way better than typical chick-lit (that I do still love). And I'll be adding the other classics into my every-growing "to-read" list.