Tag Archives: Chick Lit

Reading Fifty Shades of Grey: My need for a dictionary and it’s similarity to another bestselling series

We got this book a few months ago, hoping to read it together at night after B went to bed.  *snort*  The hubs could not last more than a paragraph and a half before falling asleep!  So, last week I decided to start reading the book on my own and by Chapter 5 I had come to two conclusions:

  1. I must keep a dictionary with me while I read, and
  2. It’s quite similar to the Twilight books!
Here are just a few examples of words in Fifty Shades of Gray that cause me to have a dictionary handy:
  • Castigating
  • Taciturn
  • Fisting (The dictionary was no help with this one, so I had to consult Wikipedia.  Holy crap! How does it even get in there?!  And why would you want yourself that stretched out?!)
  • Mercurial
Here are the similarities I have found between Fifty Shades and Twilight:
  • Written in the 1st person, solely from the POV of the main female character
  • Both novels take place in the Pacific Northwest
  • Anastasia and Bella are young, innocent, inexperienced, clumsy and skinny brunettes
  • They both have two male friends that want to be more, one of whom is all-American (Paul and Mike), the other being a minority (Jose and Jacob)
  • They both have flighty moms with a long list of fervent and then abandoned passions, multiple marriages and a keen insight into men when their daughter’s wish they weren’t so on the mark
  • They both want these men but the men won’t touch them
  • They both like classic literature and compare their relationships to one story in particular (Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Romeo & Juliet)
  • Christian and Edward are older in spirit than their age, they’re worldly, rich, brooding, wish they could read Anastasia’s and Bella’s minds, warn these ladies to stay away from them but they themselves cannot stay away from these ladies and rescue the ladies from harm.
  • Both men have the same hair – style and color!
  • Both men like to sniff these ladies, are hiding a deep, dark secret and have a fun-loving, teasing brother
  • Both men demand any physical relationship must be on their terms.
But then, there are similarities in other forms of entertainment, as well.  Most romantic comedies follow the same plot.  Most “heaving bosom books” (what my aunt calls historical romances because of the pictures on the front covers) are the same – innocent girl, experienced man, one’s rich, one’s poor, he’s rude, she hates him, passion ignites, he takes, she gives, their pride keeps them apart, many tears ensue and then they get together in the end.
Oh, well.  I’m happy to not be reading curriculum, researching curriculum or reading non-fiction about how to assist my son with functioning in this world.

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

I find a lot of reading material at Costco.  I peruse the many titles, read the covers and when I see one I want to read, I make a note of it and check it out of the library.  The Postmistress by Sarah Blake was my most recent find.  I was intrigued to find out what secrets the postmistress and the doctor’s wife were hiding.  Unfortunately, there was a third female character, a reporter, and the plot was split evenly among the three women.  I did not care for the reporter’s story line.  It was not until halfway through the book that her story got remotely interesting to me because a link between the reporter and the doctor’s wife was established.  The last fifth of the book, when all three women were in the same town and interacting, was the most interesting part and I dragged my way through the first four fifths. The book gave me something to read while traveling this past week, but I would not recommend it.
I do want to share something from the book that stood out to me, though – how the reporter was told the job was done.  “Seek Truth.  Report It.  Minimize Harm.”  Reporters’ integrities were based on their unbiased observations.  They stayed out of the way, didn’t get involved, and reported the facts, as they saw or heard them, to the people.  That’s it.  I miss that integrity in news.  I remember when it still existed, when I was younger.  It is no more and we all suffer from it, in my opinion.


"I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections"

I’ve found another kindred spirit in a new book I started yesterday, “I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections” by Nora Ephron.  By page 7, she had me; she was talking about me.  Sad that I have the same memory affliction at 30 years her junior, but comforting to know I’m not the only one.  And it’s always good to be able to relate to someone and laugh about your common experiences.  Funny book so far!

I Just Finished "I Don’t Know How She Does It"!

W.O.W.  What a fantastic book!  I can’t wait to talk about it with my readers who have picked it up since I started reading it.  As you know, I checked it out of the library and posted here how affected I was by just the 1st two chapters.  I was about to start chapter 26 when my own copy arrived in the mail from my brother.  My highlighter has been by my side and put to good use from then on!  Now that I am finished with the book, I am going to read it again from the beginning, so I can highlight what I want from the 1st 25 chapters!

Such a powerful book for everyone, not just mothers.  Dads, men who employ mothers, men employed by mothers, any man with a mother in his life can benefit from this book.  This is an accurate picture of what it is like.  Even I, as a mom, one who has been a SAHM and a WOHM, did not fully comprehend nor acknowledge how unequal we still are to men!  Not only in the workplace but also at home!

I can’t recommend this book enough.

"I Don’t Know How She Does It"

I am reading the book “I Don’t Know How She Does It” by Allison Pearson.  When I saw the movie trailer it looked interesting, but not enough to see it.  I am very discriminating with my movie theater dollars.  I can be with how fast movies come out on DVD.  However, there are certain types of movies you should see on the big screen to fully appreciate: Star Wars, Harry Potter, The Avengers, Transformers and the like.  There are other, infrequent occasions to see something in a theater, too.  For example, making an evening of cocktails or dinner and Sex in the City or Bridesmaids with my girlfriends; my brother offers to sit for free and there happens to be a movie playing that both the hubs and I want to see but is inappropriate for B.

But in this case, it is a book turned into a movie.  I have a love/hate relationship with this scenario.  Hate: books are always better then their movie counterparts and most are better left alone on paper instead of put on the screen.  Love: Books I’ve never heard of are put on my radar and, subsequently, my reading list, when I see the trailer and I have enjoyed many of them.  Anywho, I heard over and over that “I Don’t Know How She Does It” was much better as a book and the movie was a disappointment.

I was surprised to discover as I started reading, that Allison Pearson is from the UK.  I don’t care for British authors on the whole.  Their tone, vocabulary and sense of humor (if there is one at all) is not to my liking.  In fact, JK Rowling is the only British author I like b/c she doesn’t write like a “typical” British author.  I wonder if that is b/c her target audience was children or if she “Americanized” her writing style, knowing that if the book was a hit, more copies would be sold in the US than the UK b/c, well, we have more people?  However, Ms. Pearson is quite successful in getting me to relate to her on the primal level of being a “mum”.  Maybe that’s b/c she isn’t British; she’s Welsh.  ;o)  I find her dead on with her descriptions of the main character’s feelings, predicaments, guilt, responsibilities, in-laws and the shameful, ever-present battle line drawn between WOHMs (work outside of the home moms) and SAHMs (stay at home moms).

I checked the book out of the library and am wishing I owned it; it is the kind of book I want to read with a highlighter in hand.  I am having Steel Magnolias stirrings inside me from this book and I have only read the 1st two chapters!  (In case you don’t understand the Steel Magnolias reference, IMO that movie is to women what The Godfather is to men.  As Tom Hanks said in You’ve Got Mail, “All of life’s questions can be answered in The Godfather.”)  Steel Magnolias is the movie I quote the most in my life and I quote a lot of movies!  Here is a highlighter-worthy excerpt from “I Don’t Know How She Does It” between the main character, Kate, and her father-in-law, Donald:

“Emily, Grandpa asked you to put that down.”
“No, I didn’t,” says Donald mildly. “I told her to put it down. That’s the difference between my generation and yours, Kate: we told, you ask.”

Zing!  There are paragraphs titled, MUST REMEMBER, that are simply the constant stream of thoughts going through Kate’s head.  And in the middle of each one this is thrown in:

“Pelvic floor squeeeze.

LOL!  I am looking forward to reading the rest of this book.  I’ll let you know what I think on the other side.

Look What I Found at the Target Dollar Spot?

I have been struggling to find a good book to read lately.  Maybe my expectations have been set too high after reading the Harry Potter series for the last 2 years (once to myself and then to Ben).  I tried some Nora Roberts novels but have been unhappy with the way she writes and with the similar plots.  She tends to write inside the head of every character and I don’t care for that.  I also don’t care for the antagonism she puts between the main male and female characters.  Most men are mean and rude and act like they despise the women, yet they grab the women and take kisses and cop feels against the women’s wills.  Not for me.

I checked Dannielle Steele’s lates book, 44 Charles Street, out of the library earlier this month.  I’d read plenty of her books in my 20s and I thought a novel of hers would be some easy, light reading.  Wrong.  I could not get past the 1st few chapters.  She kept repeating the same character descriptions over and over again.  I understand the need to establish who is whom and how they tick in the beginning, but it was insulting to the reader to continue to repeat it and the story wasn’t moving along because of it.  *sigh*  I really wanted something good to read besides homeschooling non-fiction!

Then yesterday, B and I popped into Target quickly to pick up 1 thing – a bottle of carpet cleaner to remove a stain.  We were there for at least 45 minutes.  Their “Dollar Spot” was at the entrance where we went in and I let B browse for a little sumpin-sumpin.  I was looking, too, and low and behold, on the bottom shelf, I found unabridged and annotated novels!

  1. Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
  2. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
  3. The Scarlet Letter, A Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  4. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin
The Phantom of the Opera was there, too, but I did not buy that one, just the 4 listed, above.  Each book was $2.50 – awesome!  Although Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet and Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightly are two of my favorite movies, I’ve never read a Jane Austin novel.  Shocking, I know, for a bookie like me.  Sense and Sensibility and The Scarlet Letter (also a book I’ve never read) are for me.  Around The World In Eighty Days and Black Beauty are for me to read to B.  I’m so excited!  I already started reading Sense and Sensibility this morning; perfect activity for this cozy, rainy day.
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