Tuesday, August 30, 2011

August Reads

1) The Art of Forgetting - Camille Noe Pagan
2) French Lessons - Ellen Sussman
3) Close Your Eyes - Amanda Eyre Ward
4) Girls in White Dresses - Jennifer Close
5) A Year and Six Seconds - Isabel Gillies
6) I Gave My Heart to Know This - Ellen Baker
7) Coming Up for Air - Patti Callahan Henry
8) This Beautiful Life - Helen Schulman
9) What Alice Forgot - Liane Moriarty

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

I tried to recommend this book to a friend going to the beach and she responded with: "I don't like Jodi Picoult. That book where the sisters and the organs." Her response made me chuckle. So many people struggled with that book. The thing is Picoult's books are always thought-provoking and intriguing. Who wouldn't sign on for a thought-provoking read? This book is no different.

Unlike most of Picoult's books, a reader doesn't know when she begins what the main issue is in the novel. I like that I truly didn't know what was coming. I also found the focus on embryos and legal rights fascinating as it is something I briefly studied in my 1L contracts class. Can two parents create a contract explaining what happens to their future embryos if they divorce? In some states yes. In others these are not binding. And what happens if there is no contract? In Sing You Home, a marriage falls apart after ten years of infertility, and the ex-wife and ex-husband dramatically change their lifestyles. Max, seeking for something to guide him, becomes deeply religious. Zoe, falls in love with her friend and embraces life as a lesbian. Zoe and her partner want to use Zoe and Max's remaining embryos. Max does not accept homosexuality and decides any baby of his would be better off raised by his brother and sister-in-law (who also struggle with infertility). And so the legal brouhaha begins.

This was a thought-provoking and engaging read. And while I found it hard to believe two people who spent nine year living together could wind up so far apart and unaccepting of the other's life styles, I was able to suspend belief enough to accept the tenor of the story. My mother also enjoyed this book although she wanted even more resolution at the end. What did other's think?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Short Reviews

Since I've been so delinquent at reviewing lately, I thought I'd try to make things easier on my self. Here are some short reviews of some of my recent reads.

Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner
I found the topic of this book incredibly interesting as I recently spent time learning about the legal issues involved with surrogacy and donor eggs. Before delving into the book I learned that Weiner was inspired by a recent NYT Magazine article penned by Alex Kuczynski about hiring a gestational surrogate to carry her baby. I remember that article and the evocative pictures quite well (I can still recall the mother with her baby nurse at her side juxtaposed with the barefoot pregnant surrogate) and thought a fictional take would be quite intriguing. I definitely enjoyed the book but at times I felt that the characters were too stereotypical or stock. I also missed Weiner's signature snark. Overall, I thought the book succeeded in showing that while the main four women belong to different socioeconomic classes they were shaped by similar experiences and could have wound up in the positions of one another. India could have easily been like Annie if she had made different choices. It was interesting to see Weiner's take on why a Princeton student would choose to be an egg-donor. In college our school newspaper had many ads for egg donors. And it's interesting to consider why someone at an Ivy League school would make such a choice. While I understand Jules's decision and was happy the book ended with her in a good position, she was in many ways a heartbreaking character in such a terrible position even if she was at an Ivy League school. It's hard to imagine their are many people of her position at Princeton (especially based on my recent conversation with a friend who attended Princeton). This was certainly an engaging and interesting read but it isn't my all time favorite Weiner novel.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
I know some other book bloggers have really enjoyed this book, but I had a lot of trouble accepting the premise. While I can suspend believe and accept that it is possible for someone to get amnesia that causes them to forget ten years of their life (well I actually can't, but I can for the purpose of reading fiction), I simply found it hard to believe that so much would change in a person's life and personality in ten years. I know that is the point of the novel. Ten years and three children changes a marriage and causes a person to change. Maybe when I am in this position myself I will suddenly look back and accept the premise of this novel. But in the meantime the premise just seemed farcical. The book was engaging enough but I just found myself not 100% invested.

The End of Everything by Megan Abbott
This book was so incredibly unique and in many ways off-putting. I loved the language and I thought the perspective of thirteen year old Lizzie was authentic and vibrant. Lizzie and Evie are next door neighbors and best friends and when Evie disappears Lizzie gets actively involved in figuring out what happened to her friend. She believes she would know if Evie was dead and she sets out to help bring her friend back. The book is quite surprising as it isn't a story of a "typical" abduction (or at least the way the stories of abductions are portrayed in the news). The book also raises a great deal of questions about what is an appropriate relationship between a father and daughter and a male figure and a daughter figure. Is it acceptable for Mr. Verver (Evie's father) to talk about love with Lizzie. Is it acceptable that in many ways Lizzie has a crush or infatuation with her friend's father? Lizzie's own father doesn't live with her and e she hungers for fatherly attention. Does this make Lizzie's behavior more acceptable? I saw that a reviewer on Goodreads (who is a therapist) stated that she saw a lot of pathology in the book. I would agree. There is a lot going on in this novel that isn't kosher in the eyes of society. There is a lot going on in the book that is understated and in the shadows. Abbott has a real gift with the way she hints at things. She never overtly hits the reader over the head with details. This is a powerful story about friendship and coming of age but also about family complexities and realizing we cannot truly know someone if they don't allow us to.

French Lessons by Ellen Sussman
This was a really fun read and an interesting character study. I appreciated the structure of the novel which focuses on three French tutors and their tutees. In the end the stories interconnect in such an artful way. I was very intrigued by the lives of the French tutors. They were teaching French but all wanted to be doing something else. They are young people unsure how to chart their futures but they are French and they seem so different than their American counterparts. They struggle and yet seem so much less weighted down by their problems. The American characters' problems seem so much larger. Josie is recovering from a forbidden and now lost love and runs away to Paris. Riley is a young mother living abroad finding Parisian life anything but enjoyable. Jeremy is trying to figure out how to deal with his wife's large and loud lifestyle. I loved the characters Sussman created and am in awe of how well she develops each of them in their short novella like chapters. A truly wonderful and novel read. Plus, it's like one big tour of Paris!

A Year and Six Seconds by Isabel Gillies
I loved Gilles' It Happens Every Day and was excited to read about her new marriage. I found the book engaging but not as interesting as her first memoir. The chapter in which she details her meeting and courtship with her husband were incredibly engaging (and he seems wonderful) but I think the beginning of the book was less engaging. The story of a mother with two young children who must return home to her parent's apartment in NYC is of intriguing but I found myself somewhat detached. That being said Gilles tone is the same: intimate and conversational. We feel her depression over her failed marriage and her insecurity over needed her parents while a thirty-something young mother. We sit with her as she tries to cobble together a future for herself and her sons. In the end, I was so overjoyed that Gilles found new love and a pathway to happiness.

Mothers and Daughters by Rae Meadows
I loved this book. I could really feel for Samantha, a young mother trying to balance her artistic impulses, motherhood and grief over the loss of her mother. I really appreciated the elements of undiscovered family history and the three different voices.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson

I just received an email from the library that they have assumed I have lost this book as it was due back in late June. I've been holding on to it with the intention of writing a review. Book Blogging Fail. Now that I've acquired an immense amount of fines I need to actually write a review.

I absolutely loved this book. It had my favorite recipe: interesting family, unique settings and change over time. Even a month and a half later certain key scenes stick out in my mind. It is a story that will stay with you and keep you thinking about the characters long after you close the book (if you aren't using an e-reader of course).

The book is dedicated "to everybody who left home." And in that simple dedication, as in the evocative title, a bigger message is sent. This is a story about growing up, leaving a provincial world for a bigger one. It's about the dreams we give up on and the new ones chartered in the midst of the heavy sting of reality. It's about looking back and finally understanding that people weren't lying when they said: "when you are older you'll understand." It's about four siblings in Iowa with disparate dreams and ricocheting life paths. But the stories of these four siblings allow Thompson to ruminate on a plethora of topics: the drudgery of stay-at-home motherhood, the realities of marriage, the Vietnam War, the naivete of youth, Alcoholism and its effect on family members, post-partum depression, brain injuries, divorce, the move away from an agrarian society.

When I started reading about a wedding in Iowa in January 1973, I didn't envision that the book would span out to so many diverse locales and time periods. Like many family stories, the one at the center of this book is hard to predict and filled with ups and downs. There is a moment early on where I was truly devastated for one of the characters. She doesn't get the opportunity to leave home, at least not in the way she imagined (and she only leaves home much later). I found that the characters were incredibly flawed and human. I didn't always care for each one of them as a person, and yet I cared deeply about what would happen to them.

At the end of the book one the characters (a Vietnam vet who has never truly been alright since his service) says: "Why not, It's my goddamned country too." And then: "It's like family. No matter how fucked up it is, it's the only one you got." It's not a new sentiment. And yet the whole idea of savoring what you have (even if it is flawed) is such a central message of the novel. This is a human family with individuals who hurt each other, and disappoint one another, and find each other in places they never envisioned. And yet they carry on. And sometimes they even return home.

I know this is a book I will read again. Hopefully next time I won't accrue as many library fines!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

More Beach Reads

I have to say I found Heat Wave by Nancy Thayer subpar in comparison to her previous books. It was a breezy, engaging read but I found the plot line totally obvious and I felt somewhat disconnected to the story. I guess the main problem for me was that characters didn't seem rich and realistic. I think the first problem is I found Carley and Gus's "love affair" totally unbelievable. Sure nineteen year olds fall in love, get pregnant and get married but the idea that a nineteen year old with bad grades in college who doesn't know what she wants to be would simply embrace Nantucket instead of figuring out a life path just seemed off. Carley's relationship with her in-laws also seemed as a plot-device and not overly realistic. That being said, I did enjoy the love story that develops in this novel and reading about Carely discovering a passion. I enjoyed the female friendships at the center of the novel although I had other problems with how those relationships reformulated. I won't give too much away but what ultimately happened to Vanessa seemed like another unnecessary plot device.

I've never read anything by Mary Kay Andrews before. I enjoyed her latest, Summer Rental, much more than Thayer's latest. I enjoyed the diverse personalities Andrews populated the story with. And I was incredibly intrigued by the fact that the story takes place in the Outer Banks. While this was a breezy and enjoyable read, I didn't find it all that thought-provoking. I suppose that makes it perfect beach fare!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

I've been a Hilderbrand fan since first reading A Love Season. But I haven't as thoroughly enjoyed some of her recent works. I read a sample of this book on my Kindle and didn't feel entirely pulled in. I thought to myself: am I really going to be drawn in to a story about a wife of a Madoff figure? But my mother called and highly recommended this novel, so I happily delved into the copy I got from the library.

I finished the novel in one day, and closed it feeling sated and happy. My mother was not wrong.

At the heart of this story isn't the relationship between Meredith Delinn and her Madoff-like husband, Freddy. Instead the novel focuses on Meredith's life long friendship with Connie. The two are recently estranged when Meredith turns to Connie because has no one else to turn to. Connie rescues Meredith, whisking her away from the prying eyes of the press to her beautiful beach house in Nantucket. Both women arrive in Nantucket, middle-aged and broken. Both are cut off from their former spouses and their beloved children. Both are starting anew, and trying to make sense of past mistakes. As a twenty-something, on the cusp of my life truly developing, it was fascinating to read about a woman looking back at her past and trying to pinpoint exactly where things lost control. Meredith was a golden, or should I say "silver" girl, raised to believe she would be successful and happy. Her father led her to believe that since she was brilliant and talented, she could do no wrong. It's hard to say what is Meredith's biggest misstep -- choosing Freddy, not leaving him when she had the chance, ceding control over their financial life, ignoring the life developing around her. Fascinatingly, Hilderbrand succeeds in making Meredith a deeply human character. She may have been rich and she may have been married to a psychopath, but she is a happy-go-lucky, resilient woman who seeks love and understanding.

For me this book made me think about how one decision can set a life on a totally different trajectory. Meredith, in trying to overcome her high school love, runs straight into the arms of Freddy Delinn. In the book she tells Toby the high school love): "You got me at my best. Sixteen, seventeen, eighteen. That was the best Meredith." It's tragic to think of someone truly believing they were the best at sixteen, seventeen, eighteen. And yet it's so easy to understand the lens through which Meredith fews her past and present.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. It was thought-provoking, well-written and engaging. Can't wait to hear what others thought about the characters motivations. I still am trying to figure out some of the decisions Meredith's husband (the Madoff-figure) made.

Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan

I read this book during a three and a half hour plane flight and it was the perfect flight companion. I love reading stories about unique family dynamics and the family at the center of this novel is certainly unique in it’s brand of dysfunction. I also enjoyed the fact that a historical event is at the center of the family’s backstory – the fire at the Cocoanut Club in Boston in 1942.

I was fascinated by the closed-up nature of the matron of the story. Alice makes her opinions known and rarely bites her tongue when criticizing her daughters or granddaughters and yet she keeps so much of her personal story to herself. I can’t imagine my own deceased grandmothers doing so. And yet I realize there is so much that is unknown to me about my own grandmothers' lives. In a world with internet and genealogy websites, and a constant news cycle, its hard to imagine a deeply traumatic event being locked up inside one individual. The Cocoanut Club fire and the death of her sister, transforms Alice's life path. And it is her inability to forgive herself that dictates her flawed relationship with her children and grandchildren.

Alice’s deep faith was also intriguing to me since I know so very little about Catholicism. Alice's faith sustains her and explains many of her life choices. At first glance it's hard to understand this (living in an era with so much overt agnosticism) and yet it rings completely true to the character and the tenor of the story.

One of the most interesting aspect was examining the intergenerational changes and interactions. Alice wanted to become an artist but she squashed that dream and tried to devote herself to her husband and providing grandchildren for her parents. Alice struggled to be motherly and battled alcoholism until her husband gave her an ultimatum. Alice’s oldest daughter, Kathryn, battles alcoholism just like her mother and looks back at motherhood as something that restricts a woman’s freedom and life choices. She is not overjoyed when her old daughter considers single motherhood. A grandmother who wished she had rejected the traditional path, a daughter who battles many of her mother's demons, and a granddaughter who has made it as a writer and yet yearns to be a mother. So much changes over time. I loved seeing how much changes inside three generations. Also it was interesting how Alice's faith and churchgoing was juxtaposed with Kathryn's new aged dogmatism regarding AA, meditation and yoga. This all rang so true to me. Each generation sought deeper meaning but their time period dictated what they clutched onto.

There are so many fascinating aspects of this story. The fact that Alice was closer to her daughter-in-law than her daughters. The daughter-in-law's own story growing up poor in Southie. The gay granddaughter who is off-stage in the Peace Corps (I wished we had learned more of her story). The novel raises the question: are parents responsible for their own children's stumbles? If your children are your life's work and they stumble are you a failure? There is so much to discuss about this novel. I can't wait to hear what resonated the most for other readers.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

My selection (which I just discovered existed today!) is:

A Year and Six Seconds by Isabel Gillies

Due out: August 2, 2011

I really enjoyed Gilles first memoir It Happens Everyday and am excited to see how her personal story develops.

From Amazon:

When our story opens, it's a dark and slushy winter in New York City, where Isabel is arriving by airplane from Ohio, two toddlers in tow, to move in with her parents; her husband has left her for another woman. In subsequent scene after hilarious scene, Isabel shares her valiant, misguided, and bumbling attempts to understand her own part in the disintegration of her marriage and to feel strong and loveable. And, one by one, she begins to cross items off a staggering single mom to-do list that includes: change last name, get bank account, get work, have breakdowns only in front of best friend and not in front of children, find rare preschool slot for son midyear in Manhattan, get along with three generations of family in tight quarters, find a man who can plant one great and romantic kiss, accept self, accept love, be happy.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister

I liked the premise of this novel: six grown women with different problems are forced to do something difficult or scary. I liked that the six women were so different and faced such disparate life challenges yet they came together at first to hold twins and then to support one of their members in her fight with breast cancer. While I found the story engaging and intriguing, the narrative style left me feeling detached from the characters. Each "chapter" is devoted to one of the women.

The novel starts with a Prologue which focuses on Kate, a cancer survivor who finds it strange to be alone with her body. Kate's views on cancer, life and risk were overwhelmingly realistic and deeply intriguing. While reading her story I felt incredibly connected to the emotional tenor of the story. In this Prologue, the six women gather together to celebrate Kate's recovery from Cancer. One of the women notices a brochure for a White Water Rafting trip down the Grand Canyon on Kate's bulletin board. It is Kate's daughter's idea and Kate is terrified. Upon the urging of her friends, she decides to do it, as long as her friends each take a risk too - a risk she chooses.

Each chapter narrates the risk each of the other women takes. Some of these "risks" would seem simple if I listed them here. But each is deeply symbolic of the stage in life the unique woman is trapped in. I liked some of the women and their chapters more than others. The love story between Daria and Henry is very captivating (and I wanted it to play out over even more pages). I also was particularly taken in by Hadley's story. The story eventually comes full circle and brings us back to Kate and her own risk and her physical embrace of life and its challenges. While I enjoyed the story I felt the individual chapters could have meshed better if told in a different way. I also wanted more in the end. I wanted to feel even more connected to the journey of these six interesting women, but the structure and writing left me at arm's distance. I would love to hear what other's thought of this novel and it's narrative structure.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Weekly Update 6/17/11

I am once again behind in reviewing so I want to take the time to at least capture what I have been reading during my first few weeks of summer. I'm still behind on reviewing No Bikes in the House Without A Helmet by Melissa Fay Greene, Exposure by Therese Fowler, This Life in Your Hands by Melissa Coleman, and Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt. I think I read them all last week (this is why I need to update weekly!). I think Greene is an excellent writer and a wonderful mother and her memoir about her family (four biological children and five adopted children) was incredibly engaging, very humorous and very heart-warming. I have more to say about it later. Fowler's book is about teenage sexting and was inspired by her own son's problems in this domain. The book made me feel old (my teenage years were so much less complicated!) and while I was engaged by the story, I found myself more interested in the story behind the story. My latest reads have been The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted by Bridget Asher and The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson (which I will certainly review).

I just got The Astral by Kate Christensen and Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister from the library and I have the latter with me in New York. (It was hard to pick which one to bring with me on my weekend away as I LOVED Christensen's Trouble but her books are incredibly thought-provoking and I figured I'd save it for when I got back home). I may get antsy and buy Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan on my Kindle (I'm sixth in the library queue) as I will probably finish my one library book in one day. I also have ten other library books on my bedside table in DC. (I figured bringing my Kindle and not several hardcovers was a better move for my back but I am slightly regretting this decision). Expect a lot of updates soon!

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

I was delighted to find out there was a new installment of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. The series is near to my heart as it was one of the many quality YA series I had in my former classroom. I specifically bought the first three for my students because I loved them so deeply myself even though I was not a young adult when I read them. I can remember during my teaching tenure happily reading the fourth one (which had just come out) on the floor of my local Barnes and Nobles (the 86th between 2nd and 3rd location RIP) feeling completely satiated. Earlier this evening as I sat on a Boltbus from Washington DC to NYC, I turned on my Kindle happy to find it had power (I mostly read library books and rarely have my Kindle charged but it seemed easier to pack a Kindle than many clunky hardcovers...I always need extra books to read). Looking the book up, I was surprised to see a number of mixed reviews on Amazon. These reviews made me apprehensive to purchase the book (I have problems committing via my Kindle since I get most of my books from the library for free) but I was so deeply looking forward to being reunited with Bee, Carmen, Tibby and Lena and learning what their lives looked like as they approached 30. One of the Customer Reviewers on Amazon stated: "I feel the author did not stay true to the characters and their younger selves. While we certainly change as time goes by, I have to think that the teenage sisters would certainly be disappointed with their adult versions."

While I understand this comment and why this reviewer was disappointed by what she perceived as the "melancholy tone" of the book, I did not have trouble relating to the characters or being drawn in to the story. I found myself incredibly invested in the lives of the characters. I disagreed with many of their individual choices and often felt anguish as the story progressed and yet I still devoured the story, seeking closure. And in the end, I only wanted more words, more pages, more story.

As an almost28 year old I can relate to the "grown-up" sisters so much more than I could the teenage ones. And I am not at all surprised that they have changed in ways that may potentially disappoint their former selves. That's what we call adultolescence. What makes these young women unique is that three of the four of them are still anchored to their own adolescence as they are in some way connected to their teenage lovers. While I suppose that is interesting, I didn't find it particularly unrealistic. It is actually a lot more believable than the entire premise of how these four girls came together in the first place (their mothers met in a pregnancy aerobics class).

I don't want to give too much away about the events of the novel. Something surprising happens very early in the book. I found myself shocked and unsure how the story would unfold. There is something magical in that. I didn't truly understand many of the events until I got very far into the novel. While I was upset with the unalterable outcome and some of the author's choices, I can accept that this is the way it had to happen. My mom still gets outraged over a particular event in the Friday Night Knitting Club. She always exclaims: "That did not need to happen." And while I get her point. I am much more forgiving of most authors. I get that the story sometimes controls its own outcome.

I really treasured this book. It was wonderful to be reunited with characters I know (I rarely read series excluding the Jessica Darling books although I have been waiting not patiently for the next installment about Wynter from Bread Alone and the Baker's Apprentice by Jean Hendricks Ryan). While I understand why fans trifle with the plot lines and the character development, I truly can't complain. My mother (who has only seen the movies) asked: "So is it over?" I replied: "What is she going to do write about the characters when they are forty, fifty?" If Brashares chooses to do so, I will surely tune in.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Arrivals by Meg Mitchell Moore

I immediately handed this book off to my mother as I knew she would enjoy it. It was interesting to read about grown children moving in with their parents as I am infinitely interested by family dynamics. While reading the novel I kept thinking about how the story would develop differently if the family was Jewish instead of Catholic. My mother actually called me while she was reading to exclaim: "You didn't read this closely." She was remarking on the fact that the mother felt more attached to her son than her daughters whereas my Jewish mother always recites: "A sons is a son until he takes a wife, a daughter is a daughter for life." So as I mentioned there are some clear cultural differences.

I think this novel also raises some interesting questions about gender dynamics in a modern world. The mother at the heart of the novel is upset to find out her son will be staying home with his daughter and not his wife. She thinks her daughter-in-law will be missing out and doesn't seem to understand that this makes the most sense financially. Her eldest daughter (who stays home with her children) raises the point that it didn't bother her that she paid for her expensive schooling and now she is staying home with her children. It was interesting to consider how some gender expectations persist. My father was a "house dad" so it I suppose staying home with children isn't something I naturally assume I will do. And yet I can imagine wanting to.

I most empathized with the youngest daughter who was jealous of what others had in their relationships although I think we have very different personalities. At times it was hard to accept Rachel's destructive choices and yet they came across as deeply human. Sometimes its easier to run away from our problems than to tackle them head on.

I think this may be one of my favorite reads of the summer.

Friday, May 27, 2011

First Husband by Laura Dave

I loved both of Laura Dave's first two novels. I think I have a special kinship for Dave, Julie Buxbaum and Alison Scott Winn, three Jewish woman authors who attended my Alma Mater - the University of Pennsylvania (I suppose I hope to one day fall into the same category as these three engaging authors).

I wasn't aware Dave had a new book out, but as soon as I exited my finals haze and discovered this fact I download the First Husband on my Kindle (even though I've owned a Kindle since September I still mostly read library books). I finished the book in one evening, and felt completely taken in by the story. I actually immediately started rereading the book once I finished it (something I've honestly never done before).

While I'd say there are details of this novel that seemed unrealistic to me, it was exactly what I needed after a grueling finals period. I fell in love with the characters in the novel and even freezing Willamsburg, Massachusetts. I was particularly taken by the character of Griffin, Annie's "first husband," and his genius Phd brother Jessie. I love how Annie and Griffin met and how their love spiraled so fast. And I love that the real world suddenly crept in. I love the rapport that developed between Annie and Jessie and found the description of the small town life in Massachusetts particularly charming.

This book made me think about how couples meet in the modern world. Annie and Griffin met randomly at 2 am in a hotel bar. Annie and her previous boyfriend met because Annie went to college with the previous boyfriend's sister. Most of my friends met their significant others in college or through friends. Most people I know who are dating use online dating. I wish more people met through a fun twist of fate.

Some of What I've Been Reading During My Hiatus (from Book-Blogging)

I have been reading, even if I haven't been book blogging. Here is a list of some of the books I read over the past few months (those that I can recall):

Secret Daughter -Shilpi Somaya Gowda
The Weird Sisters - Eleanor Brown
Skinny - Diana Spechler
The Four Mrs. Bradwells - Meg Waite Clayton
Half Jew - Susan Jacoby
You Know When The Men Are Gone - Siobhan Fallon
Bent Road - Lori Roy
The Silver Boat - Luanne Rice
Swim Back to Me - Ann Hood
The Other Life - Ellen Meister
Three Stages of Amazement - Carol Edgarian
Soloman's Oak - Jo-Ann Mapson
The False Friend - Myla Goldberg
These Things Hidden - Heather Gudenkauf
Look Again - Lisa Scottoline
Left Neglected - Lisa Genova
Georgia's Kitchen - Jenny Nelson (on Kindle)
If You Lived Here - Dana Sachs (on Kindle)
Jump at the Sun - Kim Mclarin (on Kindle)
A Scattered Life - Karen McQuestion (on Kindle)
Stay With Me: A Novel - Sandra Rodriguez Barron (on Kindle)
One Day - David Nicholls (on Kindle)
Simply From Scratch - Alicia Bessette (on Kindle)
Prospect Park West - Amy Sohn (sister-in-law-to-be's library book)
The Girl Who Fell From The Sky - Heidi Durrow (re-read)
What I Thought I Knew - Alice Eve Cohen (re-read)
Outcasts United - Warren St. John
Wherever You Go - Joan Leegant
The Tenth Song - Naomi Ragen
My Before and After Life - Risa Miller
My Hollywood - Mona Simpson
The Neighbors Are Watching - Deborah Ginsburg

I highly recommend: (fiction) Soloman's Oak, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, Wherever You Go, My Hollywood; (short stories): You Know When The Men Are Gone, Swim Back to Me; (non-fiction) Half Jew, What I Thought I Knew and Outcasts United.