Archive for May, 2009

This one is on my to do list.  It is a 100% online novel by Alexander McCall Smith.  McCall Smith is an interesting person.  He is a Zimbabwean born British writer and former Medical Law Professor at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.  You can subscribe via iTunes or read the chapters online.  If you like Alexander McCall Smith’s work, this one is worth checking out.



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Random House is giving away a free Elizabeth Berg novel if you provide your thoughts on her book Year of Pleasures.  Go to this link for more information:


Thanks to the Freebie Blogger for the tip!

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Vacation Time!

I am on vacation and won’t be posting (unless I can find an internet cafe somewhere!) while I am gone.  I will be back June 1st.  Happy Reading!

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I had some great finds last week that I didn’t post so am doing double duty on this post.  Here is the list:

Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

Payment in Blood by Elizabeth George

I love Elizabeth George’s books.  At this point it has been so long since I started reading her books that I don’t know which ones I have read and which I haven’t.  So I have decided to just re-read them as I find them.  I know I will enjoy them just as much the second time around!  The Umberto Eco book is one I have been wanting to read for a long time.  I am so excited to have found a nice beat up paperback that will be great for a book that I think may take me a while to read.  The other two are part of a long list of travel related books that I am always on the look out  for.

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I am going on vacation on Friday.  I can’t wait and am so excited.  We are going to my parent’s lake house in southern Virginia.  My fiance will spend his time fishing and, you guessed it, yours truly will be reading.  I have so many books to choose from, I am really not sure where to start.  I generally wind up taking way more books than I could feasibly read.  Any recommendations on good reads before I should pick up before I leave town?

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I finished it!  Yeah!  Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres is one of those great books that you can really sink your teeth into, so to speak.  It took me a little bit of time to get into it in the beginning.  Then around page 100 it all started to come together.  At this point the author brings the characters, who are spread around Europe, together – to the island of Cephallonia in Greece.  From that point on, the story is centered solely in Cephallonia.  The story is essentially the story of one couple and the effect the Second World War had on that couple both during the war and after.  Pelagia is a local woman who falls in love with an Italian musician Captain, Captain Corelli.  Corelli is part of the Italian forces that are occupying the island during the first years of the war.  He has been “given” a bed in the home of Pelagia and her father, Dr. Iannis.  It is a story of what it means to be a family, of love between men and women and of love between friends, of romance, culture, tragedy, heart break and absolute horror. 

My favorite quote from the book is part of chapter 47, “Dr Iannis Counsels his Daughter”.  In this chapter Dr Iannis is counseling his daughter, Pelagia about falling in love and what that means.  He talks briefly about his love for his wife, who passed away when Pelagia was young.  Here is the quote:

Love is a temporary madness, it erupts volcanoes and then subsides.  And when it subsides you have to make a decision.  You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.  Because that is what love is.  Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion…  That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do.  Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.  Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew toward each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree not two.

Isn’t that wonderful?  Now this book was made into a movie called, “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” in 2001.  The movie stared Penelope Cruz and Nicolas Cage.  I have not actually seen the movie BUT I did watch the trailer earlier today after I finished the book.  Ironically, the trailer I saw included some of the above line…I guess I am not the only one who it touched! 

I can definitely see why this book was/is one of the UK’s best loved novels.

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This post is about an article I found online, rather than a book.  What caught my attention was the title.  My family went through some rough times a few years back.  The realization that everyone has a story to tell is what helped me move on.  It is such a true statement and one I have made to many people over the past few years.  This article happens to be about writing a memoir.  How many times have I wished my grandmother had written her memoir!  She had so many stories in her head, not to mention the entire history and genealogy of her side of the family.  While a lot of those stories we do know, there is also a lot we don’t.  I wish we did know everything she knew. 

Reading this article has me thinking maybe I should write my memoir.  Or do it in today’s style and create a blog based on my life – I could do that now and use it as material down the road!  This would fit perfectly into the author’s recommendation that individuals start by writing exercises.  These exercises could be on just about any topic but she gives some suggestions.  Here are my favorites from her list of suggestions:  write 2 pages in which you do something wrong you do not regret, write two pages on being too cold, write 2 pages about an unwelcome surprise, and write 2 pages of apologies.

To read the full article, go here:  http://www.aarpmagazine.org/people/everyone_has_a_story_to_tell.html

Hmm…ideas, ideas.

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