Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sit! Ginger! Sit!

For all of you who have read my story 'Treat, Pray, Love' in Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Dog's Life, will know how much I love my cute, little Boykin Spaniel, Ginger.  And you will know how disobedient and strong willed she is.  I refer to her however, as my sweet little girl. 

Yesterday Richard took her for her morning walk.  They stopped to chit chat with another neighbor and his dog that were out roaming in a golf cart.  The dogs sniffed around in usual doggie fashion.  That means butt first. 

The other dog got a little rambunctious and its owner stepped in to discipline his charge.  Unbeknownst to Richard, the dog's name was also Ginger.

"Sit, Ginger. Sit," he commanded.  The dog ran off.

My sweet, little Ginger's butt plopped onto the ground.  She sat patiently while the other Ginger got a scolding.

Maybe I didn't waste my money on obedience school after all. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cookie and Me by Mary Jane Ryals

A few weeks ago in the mail, we got a magazine called Florida Forum.  I have no idea how we got on the mailing list but I'm not complaining.  It contains articles about award winning Florida authors.  I devoured the magazine and of course wanted to read all of the books.  I've lived in Florida for thirty years and love the wonder, beauty and history of this state. 

Now that I'm addicted to my Kindle, I searched for all the books listed in the Kindle store.  Cookie and Me was the only one I could find with Kindle version.  So I downloaded it.  Cookie and Me is the story of Rayann, a white girl who befriends, Cookie, a black girl in Tallahassee in the 1960's.  The two become best of friends doing all the things adolescent girls do, paint their nails, experiment with make up and talk about boys.  The racially charged south in the sixties dictates how the pair must act even though they choose to ignore it most of the time. 

Cookie and Me is full of rich and lovable characters.  It is also full of characters you can't help but hate.  If you've read some of my book reviews, you'll know that tapping into my emotions is what endears a book to my heart.  I thought the story dragged along in certain parts but overall worth reading.  Well written and emotionally charged.  It's a wonderful depiction of life of the times in the south, in Florida.  I'm rating it 4 out of 5.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

I happen to be a huge fan of Lisa See.  Her writing is powerful.  I love to read about China and Chinese culture.  Typically I'm not a serial reader, rarely reading more than one book by an author.  There are a couple like John Steinbeck and JK Rowling, (yes, I read all the Harry Potter novels) that I can't get enough of.  Lisa See is also on that list.

Shanghai Girls is the story of sisters, Pearl and May.  When the Japanese invade mainland China, their lives as beautiful girls change forever and in ways they never could have imagined.  They make choices in order to survive.  They struggle to be modern American women yet they can never give up their old fashioned Chinese ways.

Actually my favorite Lisa See novel is Peony in Love.  It is set in a very different time and place.  Shanghai Girls is a twentieth century story of Chinese people desperately trying to assimilate into an America that fears them.  This is a compelling story of sisters, family, love, and prejudice. I couldn't put it down.    I was a little disappointed in the ending.  It didn't give me enough closure even though  I knew there was a sequel called Dreams of Joy waiting for me.  Now that I've finished Shanghai Girls I downloaded Dreams of Joy to my Kindle.  I'm a Lisa See fan after all.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

There's a reason classic literary novels become classics.  They were written with great care and emotion when things like cell phones and the Internet and our desire for instant gratification didn't exist.  The novel was entertainment, submersing the reader into a different world.  The Jungle does all that and more. 

Jurgis and Ona came to America where the streets were paved with gold.  They worked and worked hard yet every time they took one step ahead the rug seemed to be pulled out from under them.  They were the victims of Packingtown, the meat packing plants of Chicago at the beginning of the 20th century.  I had no prior knowledge of this time and place, however Mr. Sinclair's descriptions made me feel the cold of Chicago in the winter, the smell of the cow blood coating the floor and the agonizing pain of each cut or blister that gave Jurgis's place to a more able bodied man. 

The one scene that struck me hard was when Jurgis was shipped off to jail.  He walked into his cell on Christmas Day, away from his family.  His pain and heartache gripped me at that moment. If you love a book that grabs your emotions never letting them go, give The Jungle a try.  Keep in mind it wasn't written for a modern reader.  Let the words show you the way through a brilliantly told story.

City of Thieves by David Benioff

City of Thieves by David Benioff It's World War II in Leningrad, Russia.  17 year old Lev elected to stay behind in the city when h...