Sunday, February 28, 2010

February Wrap-Up

This month was not a very reading productive month for me. I guess too many distractions, and by distractions I mean....Magazines! My husband always tells me that I should read less magazines and more books but sometimes, I just can't seem to find a balance between both. I only finished Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet but started reading different Lisa See books. I am looking forward to seeing, once again, author Lisa See at Books and Books. This time she will be at Bal Harbour, on Tuesday, March 2 at 7:30pm. I know March will be a lot better, sort of like ""beware the Ides of March."...The reading winds of Cristina are coming like a Tropical Hurricane and more reading will be done!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday's Finest from A Bookful of Thoughts

Friday's Finest is a new meme hosted by Steff & Justine from A Bookful of Thoughts have asked that we share a favourite quote and this one is from Lisa See's Snow Flower and The Secret Fan: "But this diviner saw something in me, and it changed the course of my life". I liked it because how many times you meet someone that teaches you something about yourself that you did not see before in you. Many! Also, many times some ones opinion about another person can really build that person up or the contrary, bring them down. When the protagonist met this diviner, her whole family's opinion of her changed. I am not saying more!

Chris Bohjalian at Books and Books-Secrets of Eden

On Wednesday night I went with my friend Ana to see author Chris Bohjalian at Books and Books, Coral Gables and the release of his new book, Secrets of Eden. The only book I have read by this author is Before You Know Kindness. I read it for my book club but it's not one of my favorites. Regardless of this I wanted to go. By reading my blog, you may already have realized that I trust my friend Ana so I went. One of the great things he shared with us was that the National Endowment of the Arts had a recent published study where it states that reading went up 2 % in 2009; from 48% to 50%. He shared funny stories about his book tour. Also, he talked about his research process. It was fascinating. He says that about every two years he is fascinated about certain subjects he later does research on. Several participants could not stop talking about another one of his books Skeletons of the Feast, a historical fiction book. That book, he told us came from a friend's family diary friend. They raved about it. Also, the participants asked about Midwives. That book was an Oprah Book Club and again, my friend Ana and another person were amazed of how he was able to get into the mind and soul of a woman. It really has me intrigued and well, now I have another two books on my TBR list! I got the book and he was gracious to sign it for me (as you can see in the picture). I am planning to read it ASAP. I don't when...My shelves are over flooding and I always have too many things to read...Sometimes, I feel so overwhelmed about what to read, I don't know where to start. Does this happen to you?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I confess I have read...

Rachel from Home Girl's Book Blog has just taken over J.Kay's blog( let me tell you she's already doing a great job. She has asked bloggers to write about a book that makes you feel ashamed or embarassed to admit to others that you have read. First of all I can say I enjoyed very much Debbie Macomber's first book in the Blossom Street series...But after that, at least to me, the books have been quite disappointing. The last one I read was Twenty Wishes over the summer and I vowed to myself I was not reading one more...As a matter of fact, as soon as I read them I gave them away...I didn't even want them on my bookshelf! Well, now I am out of the "closet" or maybe the "bookshelf"...I think that is the most or most recent "embarassment" I have had.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My thoughts on The Help by Kathryn Stockett

My friend Ana was the first person to talk to me about this book. Yes, I had read awesome reviews in my most trusted website, but I had forgotten about it by the time the book was released. As a matter of fact, this book was not even part of our book club pick, but most of us -book club members- had picked it up in one way or the other. What a book! It really blew us away. The characters still linger in my mind, even though I read it a few months back. I am writing this specially for the Amy Einhorn Books Perpetual Challenge at Beth Fish Reads. Thanks to Beth Fish reads, I am more aware of this publisher and want to read the rest of the books. I believe in my heart that this book will become an American classic. There are three main characters: Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. Each one is defined, each one of them grows as the book progesses. And although it talks about serious matters, it's full of humour as well. I don't want to give much away because I want you to discover it. This book should have DANGER written all over it. Danger in that, when you start, you soon get to a point where you can't put it down...This book will want you to cancel appointments, not answer the phone, not go to work, feed macarroni and cheese out of the box to your children. Their story will change you and the only problem is that once you are done, you have to say goodbye to those incredible characters. Great selection for a book club as well.

Book Club Thoughts on Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

This is our second book for the book club. We have started the year with new members and hopefully we will not lose the momentum of the beginning of the year. Some book club members met Jamie Ford in November 2009 at the Miami Book Fair. The presentation was great but meeting him was like icing on the cake! This book is a love story with the setting of Seattle during World War II. You can say that at times it is a predictable story. Nevertheless you fall in love with the protagonists, Henry and Keiko. Few of us had heard about the internment camps during the war and this book opened for us a world that we had heard very little of. I strongly recommend this book for book clubs. As a member of a club I know how hard it is to pick a book that everyone wants to read and then have interesting themes to discuss. There are many themes this book talks about. Themes that can be used for rich and interesting discussions: National identity, immigration and father-son relationships are just a few. The author does a superb job in presenting the camps without judgment. He allows you, the reader, to analyze, get this sad chapter in American history. One of the most beautiful relationships was between Henry and a jazz musician, Sheldon. You can't help but to feel a kinship for both of them. You learn that a "family" is not where a family physically lives. A family, who you call your family can not be taken away even if they (the government) take you away from your home. Your family is something that no one can take away from you. As the daughter of Cuban immigrant parents, who left Communist Cuba in the early 60's this stroke a chord. My family was separated then to be reunited in Florida. Most members liked the book and all of them said they would recommend it. On the other hand, some where not happy with the ending because they felt it ended abruptly. Overall, this is a book that I will pass on to other friends and colleagues as well. In other words, read it!

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt (read in 1-24-2010)

When you meet the author it just makes it so much sweeter. Doesn't it? I don't know if having met Beth Hoffman made me like the book even before I actually read it. But the truth is I did. When you meet CeeCee her life is in turmoil but as the book progresses you see how the "Book of her Life" unfolds. And I say this in quotation marks because that is one of the many lessons she will learn (and is part of the book). The book is like a garden full of blossoming flower-friends that offer petals of wisdom to CeeCee. At the end, ; you think about your "purple-velvet-sofa kind of girlfriends" (P.112); you want to have friends like the characters in the book and you know you have friends like the eccentric and fabulous women in the book. The most important of the flowers is the blossoming of CeeCee herself who changes from a wallflower, like the flowers her mother sees on the wallpaper -when she has one of her episodes- (p.19) into a blossoming flower ready for anything that comes her way. CeeCee Honeycutt is a beautiful Southern garden where the flowers of her life open CeeCee to what nature and the world holds for her. CeeCee is a book about possibilities, about love, about friendships. I think Beth said cpoined it better than anyone else when she said at the Books and Books presentation that her family was gold but that her girlfriends were the diamonds in her life. I couldn't agree more.