Tag Archives: reading

Book Club for Winos — Room

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about a book. Now that the holidays are over and we’ve all had more time to relax in general, we had nearly 100% of the club actually read a book again. And we even talked about it!

Room by Emma Donoghue is unlike any book I’ve read before. It is written through the eyes of a 5-year-old boy who has lived his entire life in a room with his mom. They’re kept there by a creepy old man who brings them food and an occasional “Sunday Treat.” It’s pretty amazing to experience how the mom has worked to give her son the most normal life possible with little more than a tv, a few books  and a skylight.

Unfortunately, the book climaxes pretty early. The first half is great, and you absolutely can’t put it down. But once something big happens, it starts to slow down. I still enjoyed the second half, and the psychological learnings in it, but it does lose the thrill that made it a real page-turner in the first half.

It’s a book you’ll want to talk about with your friends. In fact, it might break the record for the longest our club has ever talked about one book.

I say, “definitely read it, just be ready for a change of pace in the second half.” Book club says, “Starts off feeling like the greatest book ever…overall it’s still worth reading.”

Up next...Water for Elephants.

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Book Club for Winos — The Hunger Games

Somewhere in between the chilling love story of Twilight and the suck-you-in world of Harry Potter, lies The Hunger Games. It is, like the other preteen sensations, a series of books good enough to staisfy a group of very busy 30-somethings.

The story takes place in the future. But not syfy future, political future. When I try to describe it, it sounds, well, dorky. But it’s such a great read. Do you remember the old story we had to read in 6th grade Literature class, “The Perfect Game?”  Well, it’s like that but with a 21st century plot. It’s about a yearly game created in the “New World” of North America after what was once the U.S. was destroyed in war. As a reminder to what happens when citizens revolt, the country holds the yearly Hunger Games where two teens from each of 13 districts are sent out to a reality tv type of world and fight till there’s only one man standing…

I feel like the review isn’t making sense or doing the book justice, so basically…read it. All the girls in book club loved it, and have or have already made plans to read the next two books.

I say, “It’s the perfect book to get lost in.” The rest of book club says, “Wow. Gotta read them all!.”

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Book Club for Winos (and Pregos) — Little Bee

Yep, 50% of last night’s book club representation was pregnant. So, the wino aspect isn’t quite so merlot right now. We still had a good time catching up, and though much of the conversation was centered around neausa, heartburn and baby bumpers, we still managed a teensy, tiny bit of talk around the book, Little Bee.

What surprised me most about this book is that it wasn’t nearly as surprising as I had expected. After reading multiple reviews exclaiming, “we’d tell you what it’s about, but then this shocking story would be given away before you even opened the book,” I had this crazy idea in my head that the inside held this ungodly secret that would be slowly revealed until reaching the final page, 288.

That said, I feel like I can give you a little glimpse without giving it all away.

It’s a political book told through two different points of view – that of a Nigerian refugee, and that of the British woman whose life she enters. The book is inspired by the immigration struggles of those with nothing, alongside the personal struggles of those who seem to have it all. I must also add that there was another ongoing storyline – oil is a demon, and the sooner our world can live without it, the closer we will be to living in peace (while not a new theory, this book brought it down to a personal, human level as opposed to a far-away, war-driven place).

If you enjoy reading about politics and social injustice, this is a great book. If you like things that are a little more lighthearted, don’t feel like you missed out on the big “secret.”

I say, it’s an intriguing book that’s worth reading for something different. My wine-drinking/child-bearing friends say, “good book, not a fan of the ending.”

:::::A BOOK ON THE SIDE:::::

I somehow managed to fit two books into my life this past month. Based on  recommendations by many of my dog-crazy friends, I also read The Art of Racing In The Rain.

So, here’s another book for anyone who’s ever loved a dog. It was sweet, sincere, unique and readable. The narrator is actually the dog, which puts a clever spin on the storyline. (I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in wondering what my dogs would say if one day they opened their mouths and real words started coming out)…

Tito: Hello, Mom. Good morning. Can we please stop by your parent’s home today so I could show our nieces and nephews how truly spectacular I am at catching tennis balls with my mouth? Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt to leave Frankie there for a day or two now would it?

Frankie: Yipeeee! Did you say “Grammy?!?” I wanna go! I wanna go! And then I can lick her, and jump on her lap, and maybe even sneak into the kitty room and grab a few bites of cat food before she sees me. Yaaaayyy! I loooove you Titooooo!!

Anyway…back to the book:

It doesn’t provoke the stream of tears that Marley and Me did. And though it does have a few National Geographic references here and there, it doesn’t have nearly the thought-out, breathtaking, wolf-to-dog depth that Merle’s Door had. But, still, if it’s been a while since you’ve done your dog the duty of devoting your reading time to everything canine, sit beside your pup and open up the book.

And if you’re only going to read one, read Merle’s Door. It’s awesome.
And it made me cry. And love my dogs. Even more.

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Puppy Power

Last week, for the first time in my life, I got teary-eyed while getting in a workout at the gym. No, it wasn’t the intense burn of 35 enduring minutes on the elliptical (I only wish I was that moved by a workout). It was actually something that caught my eye on the TV screen ahead.

ABC was featuring a news story on therapy dogs, and the ability they have to help improve a child’s reading skill. The sound wasn’t even turned on, but the images of this boy and a dog, combined with the little snippets of hope appearing in the captions, just got to me.

If you didn’t catch it, the video says that a recent study done over a 10-week program showed that children who were struggling to read increased their skill level by 12% when working with a dog. The kids in the study who didn’t read to a dog did not increase their skill level at all. In short, it’s the non-discriminating nature of a dog that builds a child’s confidence, which in turn improves their reading.

Reading with kids is a part of therapy that I have yet to do with Frankie, but one I keep saying I want to try. She adores kids, and I can just imagine her looking up at them with her big, brown puppy-dog eyes, giving them an encouraging kiss on the cheek, and then offering her paw —  so she can hold their hands while they work their way through each page.

 

P.S.  Just in case you’re wondering…that sweet black dog with the big-ole ears wasn’t Tito, but now I can’t help but want to get him registered, too…

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