Book Reports

What do you do when your knitting mojo takes a vacation without you?  I have TONS of things I want to finish, need to start, WANT to start – theoretically – but I can’t seem to actually put the sticks in my hands and knit.  So I’ve been reading, quite a bit actually.

Nope, no mojo in the Garden

Nope, no mojo in the Garden

A couple of weeks ago I finished the first JD Robb book, Naked in Death.   It was a little difficult to get into, which seems to be the norm for me these days, but particularly once I got confirmation that the character I suspected was behind the murders was, I couldn’t put it down.  I’d like to find the next couple of books in the series, so perhaps I’ll call the used bookstore in town and see if they’re open this afternoon.  (And yes, I do have several bags of books to exchange, thanks.)

I’m still feeling the need to apologize for reading what I call “beach reads”, because I’ve always been a bit of a literary snob.  No, no, I don’t care what you read (but do read… it prevents Alzheimer’s, or at least helps!), but I just don’t generally enjoy the light reading a lot of folks prefer.  I like history, biographies and the classics.  If it made most of the class groan in high school or was on a syllabus for English 101, I’ve read it and loved it.

However, something misfired in my book selector last fall, and suddenly, I want to read light stuff, especially if it has a happy ending.  So last night, I finally finished Something Borrowed, by Emily Giffin.  No links, because she’s our speaker for this year’s Literary Feast, the big fundraiser for the Junior League of Charlottesville.  I’ve carried it around in the car, reading in doctors’ offices, in parking lots, and anywhere else I’ve been waiting.  (Yeah, I know, a lot of you knit in those places, but see above.  My mojo and I are estranged right now.)  It’s VERY much a sappy, girlie, beach read, but Ms. Giffin makes the characters so real that I wanted to see what happened next.  She even twisted the plot a few times so I was a bit surprised at the end, and the sequel, Something Blue has a bookmark in chapter 5 already.  I don’t know that I’ll finish all four of her books before the event (Feb. 27th), but you never know.

In between, I raced through My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult.  I generally grind my teeth through books where the point of view changes, especially when a series of characters narrate, but it was perfect for this book.  This isn’t a beach read, and while I don’t think it’s destined for the English 101 reading lists of the future, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it is on an Ethics syllabus, especially in an advanced class.  In fact, if it showed up as such around here, I’d take Ethics again.  I’d love to have a book club to have some roaring debates with over the issues – and believe me, there are several! – ripped raw in this book.

It resonated with me on so many, personal levels.  The dad is a fire captain.  The son reminds me of a step-brother I once had.  I too had my own attorney at 13.  There was even a service dog in the book, not that I’ve had any real personal interaction with one, but I marvel at the connection between humans and canines and how it works.  I’d even wanted to be a lawyer until I learned that too many cases really are decided at the Country Club, not in the courtroom.

It has a messed up ending.  If you’ve read it, you know what I mean.  I like happy endings, even though I know life doesn’t work that way.  See, if I wanted realistic, I’d stick with my history and biographies.  I already know how they end.  When I do read fiction, I like the fairy tales outline.  Sure, mix it up in the middle, and if like Ms. Giffin, you trick me a bit and STILL get to a happy ending, all the better.  It doesn’t have to be all sugar and spice and everything nice, but when you make me care about a character, let me put the book on the shelf knowing she’s okay.  (No, I don’t care what you do to the villains.  I’m fickle like that.  It’s all about me, the reader, and the characters you make me pull for…)

That being said, I love choice as theme in a book.  I still think that was a big part of Harry Potter; our choices matter more than the hands we’re dealt.  My Sister’s Keeper smacks each and every character – even the service dog – with choices on just about every page.  I think that’s why the ending upset me; good old fashioned fate reared her ugly head and it was bitter pill to swallow.  (And what happened to the dog?)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, both dogs are trying to perch on my shoulders.  I have broad shoulders, but this is ridiculous, and uncomfortable.  My right fingers are tingling, so I think Sissy must move…

24 comments on “Book Reports

  1. Bubblesknits says:

    They’re just trying to help you post. Think of it as doggy spell-check. A lick in the ear means you got something wrong. lol

    I read a bunch of the J.D. Robb books, but I think I got burned out on them after about the 10th one. I love the more mystical trilogies that Nora Roberts writes, though. 🙂

  2. lauriec says:

    This was me last winter—no ability to knit. I’d find thinks on Ravelry, add them to my queue, but the ability to put needles in hand? Nope, didn’t happen. I hope your mojo comes back soon!

  3. Great post. I, too, love histories, biographies and books that make some people groan. Mostly I love long books. I usually reach for the fattest book on the shelf. I hate to get involved with the characters and or plot and have it end. In between I read light novels.

    With my current bout of depression I want happy endings although during past bouts I’ve read a number of books on serial killers.

    Try reading ‘A Suitable Boy’ with your arm in a cast. I couldn’t lift it.

  4. Dawn says:

    Fuji does the same shoulder thing! They have to get as close to you as they can! Love the post…I’ll have to check these out! I read about everything…I even read Jimmy’s Hardy Boys books! Hope you knittin’ mojo comes back…maybe a trip to a yarn store to sniff the yarn will trigger something! I wish I had a lys, cuz its hard to sniff online yarns! They need to make scratch and sniff computer screens…mmmm can just smell the scones on Grace’s blog! Made some oatmeal raisin and peanut butter cookies yesterday..maybe pumpkin chocolate chip today. Having overcast/rainy weather here in CA and it always makes me want to bake…with a nice pot of pumkin cream pie tea..knit a bit…what a great day! Have a wonderul day Chan!

  5. Dianne says:

    Even though I generally prefer happy endings, I loved “My Sister’s Keeper”, too. Since you’re going to the used book store, have you read Picoult’s “Plain Truth”? That’s another good one. Or “Me and Emma” by Elizabeth Flock? Or “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter” by Kim Edwards?

    Love the picture of the boys in the garden. I hope they sniff out your knitting mojo very soon.

  6. hollyshooksorneedles says:

    I have knitting mojo and no time to knit or leisurely read. The only book in my hand is Fundamentals of Nursing (Boring) and Anat. & Physiology 2, this is interesting but I would much rather have knitting in my hands or finishing twilight series. Maybe spring break or summer. Oh and the beach sounds so nice right now. I would love to watch some wave crashing right now.

  7. gaylen says:

    Have you read the book I sent with the basset on the cover? “Anyone But You?” I think it was called. Anyway – I picked it up last week and started reading it, was almost sad to see I’d sent you a book staring a basset named Fred, read it in two days and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    I never read real stuff. I like the fluff. I have loved, oh who is the Irish woman who writes the huge books. She wrote Circle of Friends, I think. Anyway, I get so involved with the characters and the story I forget to live my own life. Good and bad. g

  8. Darcy says:

    I reread The Friday Night Knitting Club and Iam reading The sequel Knit Two.I love reading it was my first love before I learned to knit:)Hugs Darcy

  9. Sue J. says:

    I know J.D. Robb is an alternate pen name of a very famous author. But, do you think I can remember it? She writes other novels under her own name, I think. Oh, this is driving me crazy. I’m just the opposite of you. My reading mojo left when my knitting mojo kicked into high gear. Can’t seem to get back to it. The last really good book I read was The Lovely Bones. That was in 2003 when I was laid up with a broken leg. Read like a son of a gun for 4 months. You are so right that reading is good for us.

  10. monnibo says:

    Maybe we’ve switched mojos. I seem to be knitting more (not necessarily fast…) and reading less.

  11. monnibo says:

    P.S. I really want to read My Sister’s Keeper… even more after reading your thoughts.

  12. Wendy says:

    I knew you’d really get into My Sister’s Keeper. It’s an emotional roller coaster! Jodi will keep you guessing each time. And it’s always a surprise in the end. She develops her characters so well that you can’t help but find yourself devoted to them. That’s what I love about her books. I’m glad that you gave her a go. Even if it means that your knit mojo is hiding for the moment.

  13. Amanda says:

    I read My Sister’s Keeper, as the author is from NH and her work in a big to-do around here. I was blown away at what a great read it was, and loved the twist at the end.

    Hope you had a great weekend!

  14. I finished a book yesterday, too. I’ve got a whole stack waiting for me to have time to read them. Some “beach” reads, some classics, some….”other” stuff. Thing is, I keep knitting instead!

  15. alison says:

    MAybe it’s just that time of teh year. My desire to knit seems to have taken a slide just lately with me just sitting and watching TV no knitting in hand. Even the kids have asked if all is well. It is. I just don’t want to be busy right now. Loved the book discussion.

  16. MrPuffy says:

    I say relax and don’t force knitting. The desire to finish will hit you and then consume you! For now enjoy the reads. I too feel a tad guilty with throw away books but still read and enjoy them. Just picked up my copy of Beach Road in fact. Couldn’t resist as that’s the street name in San Clemente.

  17. Barbara says:

    So it sounds like you are still talking to me…… I am glad you enjoyed My Sister’s Keeper (I wondered about the dog too). I would recommend some of Jodie’s other books as well, since you enjoyed that one.
    How about fantasy? Any other besides HP? Ever read any of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders series?

  18. Nothin’ wrong with a good beach read sometimes, to give our brain a little candy! Have you read Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson? I read it years ago, and it is amazing. I was recently reminded about it when The Harlot wrote about it a few weeks back. Being that you are a literary snob, i am guessing you have read it. It does not disappoint!
    DO you ever read Michener? Caravans and The Source are pretty amazing…Caravans is one of my all-time faves. Oh boy..i could go on and on.

  19. insanknitty says:

    My Sister’s Keeper is on my nightstand, in a pile of books I’ve been wanting to read… and I think I’m moving it to the top of the pile now.

    I’m big on the disturbing reads I think… I loved the Alice Sebold books (Lucky and The Lovely Bones).. her more recent book, The Almost Moon, I started and had trouble getting into… but I will definitely try it again.. I think I was too involved in the Twilight series at the time and was still waiting for a book at the library when I tried The Almost Moon.

    I wouldn’t call myself a literary snob, and I’ve never belonged to a book club… but I truly loved the Brit lit books and just about EVERY book I HAD to read in high school and college. I always wondered who else was like me in that regard 🙂

    I just finished the 4th book in another Vampire Series by PC Cast and Kristin Cast. The fifth doesn’t come out until March this year, so I think I”ll pull some of those Picolt books to the top of my pile 😉

  20. Kathy says:

    They want you to read to them:)
    I love biographies and history. I can’t seem to find a good book right now but I’ll check out the ones you have mentioned.
    mmmm…….I bet Sissy or maybe even Gretchen could find your knitting mojo:) Hope you find it soon.

  21. nichole says:

    Great garden shot!

  22. Anita says:

    Hope the girls help you find that mojo soon! 🙂

    I loved My Sister’s Keeper!!! I read it several years ago. I have a huge pile of books to read, now I just need some time!

  23. anniebananie says:

    I just finished my copy of Something Borrowed too, and I must say, I really enjoyed it! I too liked the little plot twists – right when I thought I had figured it out, things completely changed. I also loved all of the references to being kids in the 80s. It was scary to know exactly what the author was talking about.

    How are Gretchen’s ears? Have you found your knitting mojo yet? Today is a good day to knit, you know. 🙂

  24. Miss Me says:

    a few more things for my “to read” list… oh – and perhaps your mojo is hanging out with mine somewhere? i’ve resorted to seaming a sweater simply because it doesn’t require any real mojo. i have yarn. i have needles. i have patterns i LOVE, but none of them are whispering sweet nothings in my ears these days.

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