Category Archives: Book Stuff

Heartburn by Nora Ephron

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Seven months pregnant and author of several cook books, Rachel Samstat finds herself in a pickle she never thought she would experience.  She has just discovered that her husband Mark had fallen in love with someone else.  Oh, and not just “any” someone, no, it would have to be a wife of someone both Rachel and Mark knew quite well.

As Rachel tells a friend, “The most unfair thing about this whole business, is that I can’t even date.”

As Rachel’s marriage breaks down, she turns to what she knows, cooking, and her therapy group, and even that proves to be a bit dangerous at times.  As Rachel and Mark try to still act as a couple at functions and friends homes, the layout turns into quite a humorous tale.

 

 

Heartburn is the first book I have read by Nora Ephron and I felt that it was about time I gave this author a try. Ephron, the creator of When Harry Met Sally, SIlkwood, and Sleepless in Seatle.  ANother strange draw for me to Heartburn was the fact that this book was actually based off the true happenings in the break up of Ephron’s real marriage to Carl Bernstein.  The book was close enough to hitting home that Carl threatened to sue Ephron.  Later, the book was made into a movie staring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson.

Heartburn is a quick funny read, or in my case listen as I tried this one on audio.  The way Rachel gets back at Mark is pretty funny yet there are also moments that I wish she would quit giving him control.  I will definitely try something else by this author, and if you haven’t done so yourself, I recommend you try her as well.  Nora Ephron was definitely a part of the media culture we live in and should not be missed.

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Heartburn takes place in Washington DC

 

Morning Meanderings… Librarian For A Day Experience

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Good morning!  Happy Wednesday :D

Yesterday afternoon I was able to go into the Library and learn about working the Reference Desk.  This is part of a program called “Librarian For A Day” where Library Board members and Friends Board Members are invited to come in and see what it is like to work the library.  It’s an amazing idea and really gives you a feel for what is really happening at the library.

My designated area yesterday was the Reference Desk.  I was able to work with Laurel (who is awesome!) as she explained to me all the Reference Desk does.  First off, we were surrounded by people with questions.  I found this interesting as we have the computers set up for people to look up book titles and availability – they can find book locations from there and reserve them if they are not available at this time – However people really seem to like to talk to a person with their requests, which was pretty great.  We assisted with checking on book availability, book titles, books by topic…  From the Reference Desk we could see if perhaps we did not have the book but another library in our system did and we could reserve it for the person to be sent to our library.

The Reference desk is also the area where the new books that are to be shelved come in.  This is interesting because our branch does not bar code the books, they go to a larger division of us that bar codes our purchases before they come to us.  We then need to check them into the system. ( notice how I am saying we  :razz:  )

Laurel was able to show me how to check in a couple new books.  We (there it is again)  put wide clear shipping tape on the spines of paperbacks when they come to help reinforce them from wear.  That is interesting!  They also receive a red removable tape that says New! to let people know that this is a new book at the library.  If a new book comes in and has holds on it, it then goes to the shelf for the hold if it is our Library, or into a bin to be sent to another library if the hold is there.  Pick up and delivery to the other libraries in our group happens 4 times a week.  In this case, the book that was just checked in was 12 Years A Slave, and that book had a hold on it for the Wadena Library so off we ( ahhh the “we” again!) went to drop it in the tote going to Wadena.  As pick up was in the morning, Laurel said that this book would be in Wadena tomorrow for the person who requested it.

The lady who works at the reference desk does all the book ordering for the library by looking through magazines of what is popular and what is coming.  What a fun job that would be!

I was only there a short time but it was worth it and I can not wait to do it again! 

When Paper Hits The Road ( a moment of heartbreak)

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My heart lays heavy.

Recently I was asked if I would be interested in being a part of a new group of readers in the area that would preview books to see that they are appropriate for middle grade and teenage children.  I liked the thought of that, I have done some of this proofing for friends in the past.  As the information unfolded I discovered that this group would work at having books that they decided were deemed unsatisfactory for young eyes to be removed from the schools.

:shock:

Visions of book burning swam before my eyes.  This is when I realized there is a difference between book lovers, lovers of the written word – and readers.

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There was a particular book that was already being sought out for removal I was told.  A book filled with inappropriate language. I started to think what YA book could have caused such a stir… was it Hunger Games, Twilight, certainly we have moved beyond Harry Potter by now….

and then I was told the book’s title,

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

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At this point my heart fell.  Steinbeck.  A Classic. Banned Books. Censorship.

I called a friend, a fellow book lover and someone I know who takes great care with what she has her children read (ages 7 – 14) to ask her thoughts on this and she was shocked.  She said what I needed to hear at that moment, that it is up to us as parents of our younger children to help them choose books and to help them understand when a book may not be a fit for them due to language, sexual content…  or EVEN why a book was written that way – perhaps it was the time period…. The answer is not to take the books away…

the answer is not censorship.

Of course, Of Mice and Men is not new to this battle.  Published in 1937, this book is one of the most challenged books of the 21st century due to the vulgarity,offensive, and racist language  within its pages.   And while I am not a fan of the language – the story does cover such topics as friendship and bullying – BULLYING. A topic that is huge today.

Please chime in on this one.  I would love to know your thoughts. 

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What Makes a Good Book – Book Discussion Worthy?

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Books.  There are great books out there.  As readers, we are quite familiar with these books.  Perhaps they are beautifully written and each word creates a full picture in your mind of the scene, the scents, the heat (or lack there of) in a room.  They can create great emotions – from joy to pain; laughter to anger.  (Come on, admit it – haven’t you ever thrown a book down on a table or across a room because of the emotion it evoked?  No?  Just me?  Well… this is awkward…. :razz: )

My question I present today is what types of books lead to great book discussions?  Not all great reads make for great discussion.  I know personally from my own book club experiences, some are really hard to group review other than just opening the room up to discussion.  No hot topic questions come to mind… no great emotion.  The book may be perfectly fine, there’s just really not much to say.  :shock:

I love books that stretch us.  That make us think differently.  They cause a difference in opinions within the group – love or hate the protagonist; lets talk about it.  Hot topics of today and/or in the past… lets discuss. 

SO I toss this question out to you.  Many of us are in book clubs or book discussion groups. 

When choosing a book that you think would be great to bring to the group to read, what do you look for within that book? 

Do you look for something in the synopsis that you think will work great for a group discussion, or is that not a part of it? 

When you select a book for a reading discussion have you already read it? 

 

I am excited to hear what your group does. :)

Labor Day Book Party with Movie Anticipation!

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When our book club was first chosen to be one of the groups that received ten copies of Joyce Maynard’s Labor Day to read and discuss our anticipation for the movie I was thrilled!  I put out info on our Bookies Facebook page and sent it out by email… the first ten to commit to reading this book and discussing it at the end of our next book club meeting would get the books. 

The Bookies went wild.  :D

Within a couple of hours I had the ten spots filled and more.  Being the kind of awesome gals we are, we shared the books.  A couple of us downloaded it on to our readers, in the end – 14 of the 18 Bookies read Labor Day.  We had a few that could not make the discussion, one is in Florida (lucky gal) and one is preparing for a trip to Mexico (also lucky gal!) and one was out sick (poor gal!).

We tried our hand at creating a recipe to go with the book. I gave them the option of making the item, or creating the recipe.  We had a mix of both.   Amy P in our group came up with a Labor Day Lemonade (mmmmmmm), Angie created a recipe for Frozen Peach Lemonade for Labor Day, and Lori N created a Peach crisp that sounded heavenly.

Brenda brought a Cheesecake with a peach topping.  Laura brought a homemade pie.  I made a Labor Day Peach Slush that I called “Shake My Peach Tree” with frozen Mikes Hard Lemonade, a dry champagne, and (as I could not find fresh ones this time of year), canned peaches all blended and then put in an ice cream bucket to keep in the freezer until serving time (or… Labor Day!).

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We drank and sampled the yummy desserts and discussed what we were excited about for the movie. 

We discussed that we are excited about Josh Brolin playing Frank.  In fact many said that is who they pictured as they read the book.

The opening scene when Frank finds Henry and Adele at the store is one that we are excited about.  We are curious as to what that will look like when Frank first observes them, and feels that this will be a good choice for him to go with them.

The pie scene both in the book, and on the screen was a good discussion.  First of all personally, I want to try my hand at making that pie… it was described so well that I think me (a non pie maker) may actually be able to do it. :D  There is also something a little sexy about a man making a pie in the first place. 

How they portray both Henry and Frank at different ages is also something we are looking forward to.  We are thinking that we will get together for appetizers either before or after the movie when we go to do a little group bonding and either anticipating or recapping, depending on when we go.

A few of us pointed out having seen the movie trailer that Frank appears scary in the movie and Henry and Adele appear scared but fear is not the feeling you get from the book.  It will be interesting how we interpret those feelings after we see the movie.

I have the recipes that we created to go with the book just not the time to post them this morning but they will be coming. :)  It was a fun discussion and we are looking forward to the movie! Thank you to Harper Collins for giving us this opportunity to chat about Labor Day.

What Book Are You Afraid Of?

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There are different ways to be afraid of a book.  The most common way to think of it is obviously, the scary ones… the ones that you feel may just be too dark, too frightening, or perhaps on a topic that kind of freaks you out… like lets say…. CLOWNS.

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GAH!

But there are also other ways to be afraid of a book and this is the type I am talking about today.  It could be that final book in a series that you want to read, but at the same time you don’t want to end… don’t want to set free that character, or perhaps really… even know what will happen. 

It could also be, as in my case…. a book you are afraid to read because you have put said author up so high on the pedestal from previous books they have written that you LOVE and you are afraid that this new book may just show you they are human after all.

My book that I am afraid to read is:

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If you know me as the BIG HARRY POTTER fan dork that I am… then you may understand why.  I thinking JK Rowling is brilliant.  Every time I re-read a Potter book or an article on the books – I catch something new and then I love her writing even more.  It’s kind of like people who do not want to go to a funeral of a friend because they want to remember them as they were….  and no I am not comparing Casual Vacancy to a funeral.  :razz:

I am not saying I will NEVER read Casual Vacancy.  It is JK Rowling after all.  I do own the book, I pre ordered it before release and it has sat on my shelf in the “R’s” ever since.  I will get there…. someday.  I just need time. 

Is there a book that you are afraid to read?  Please share your thoughts here! 

Readers! I Need Your Help With A Blind Date! ;) w/ giveaway!

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Hi everyone!  For February at our local library we are putting up a Blind Date Display.  I am pretty excited about the concept, which is to take people out of their comfort reading zone and try a new genre or a new author.  We will have a whole display up of books wrapped in brown paper with only the scan code uncovered for check out.  Other than that you have no idea what you are checking out to read.  We will put a little “singles ad” on the outside of each book so they have a little idea about who they will be dating…. for instance:

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If this book were wrapped up and on the shelf the singles ad may read… “I am overly sweet and predictable, but people tend to love those qualities about me.”

I am VERY excited about this!

This afternoon I will be going in and setting up the window at the library to let people know about this and encourage them from February 1st – 15th to come in and check out a blind date.  :)  Once they return the “date” they will have an opportunity to the end of February to fill out a little “Rate Your Date” survey with fun questions like, “Would you date this author again?”  “How was your date as a whole, did you find you had things in common? ”  Stuff like that.

Here is where YOU come in. :)

I am working on compiling a list of books for the library staff that would make for great dates.  As we will be pulling these books off the shelf we do not want to use the uber popular books that are hot right now, but instead books that may expand the reader.  You know, the favorites of your past.  A book that might make the reader, “Go wow! I have truly been missing out!”

My challenge to you that I hope you will accept is to leave in the comments titles of books that you think would fit this “blind date” event.   I will enter each person who responds with a book title between now and January 17th into a drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card.  IF you can also give me a fun singles ad to go with the book you suggest you will receive two entries. :D  We want to have enough books to keep filling the shelf we set up as they are checked out.  I will be encouraging my book club to go in and give it a try as well.  :)

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So there it is. I was working on ideas at home and then thought, who better than to ask the readers what books would make for great blind dates? 

Thanks in advance!  I so look forward to what books you will come up with!

Morning Meanderings…. Devils Spawn

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Good morning and happy Tuesday!  Today is my first day back to work for the week and I am ready.  It was fun having an extra day off but really…. I need to get moving :D

Two things this morning – one is that Gautami Tripathi from India and from the blog Everything Distils Into Reading, sent in her picture of her book of the year yesterday and here it is: 

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If you have never checked out her blog, you should.  I enjoy reading her posts. :D

Secondly… and reason for the CREEPY title of this post, did you see I posted my review last night of Flowers In The Attic?  A re-read for me probably from 25+ years ago.  It was a fun adventure back into the attic. 

I was sharing this read synopsis with a friend I had lunch with over the weekend.  She had not ever read the book and I was sharing a few details that included the Grandmother calling the children something close to Devils Spawn but not quite.  This led to me saying it in a very creepy voice over and over…. “Devils Spawn”.  Then…. I thought it must be part of the post…

Well, it didn’t make the post, but I thought maybe it could make the morning meandering recap because if you have read the book (and even if you have not) – the grandparents are a few sandwiches short of a picnic….. awful people.

Where Were You When Dumbledore Died?

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It was book 6, The Half Blood Prince; so much was going on… Sirius had died,the Order of The Phoenix was a mess, and Dumbledore had taken Harry under his protective wing, sharing secrets of Tom Riddle.  This is the book where we learn of the Horcrux’s.  And this is the book… when Dumbledore dies and my heart breaks a little….forever.

It would take me 8 years before I realized this was my favorite book of the series.

~Sheila

I dont know why but this question has been in my head for a few weeks now and finally has made it to the blog.  It is one of those pivotal fiction moments that is embedded in me forever.  

I was at the YMCA on the treadmill.  I had just read through the whole chapter of Harry and Dumbledore searching for a horcrux and they had just made it back to Hogwarts, Dumbledore being in a weakened state.  It is Malfoy who approaches Dumbledore first and Harry is hiding below the staircase where he can see it all as it plays out.  Soon Belatrix arrives with her sister and they are shouting at Malfoy to do it, just kill him… but here is where you see that Malfoy is not as evil and dark as he wished he was.  It is then that Snape comes up the stairs quietly past Harry and you think that Snape will save the day….  but he doesn’t.  He instead kills Dumbledore and the pages become a massive blur of smear as I try to keep reading and understanding believing it must be a joke… it has to be really great magic …. it can’t be….

but it is.

That July day in 2005 I was at the YMCA on a treadmill with tears rolling down my face reading a big hard cover book that was hard to hold on the treadmill but it didn’t matter.

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It is amazing that even as I write this I have to pause and take a deep breath because it all comes rushing back.

I write this post because much like the loss of a beloved relative or friend or famous actor, we tend to remember forever where we were when we first heard… first knew… it amazes me that in a really incredible read, that can happen as well.

For you maybe it wasn’t the death of Dumbledore… maybe there was another beloved character out there that even when you think of them today tears can come forward or your heart takes that little extra beat of sorrow. 

I would love to know who that character was for you and from what book.  Sure, for me there have been others, but Dumbledore was the one that really taught us all lessons (not only the students) through the years of the books leading up to book 6.  I still hold his wisdom true today and occasionally quote him the way some would quote Yoda. ;)

Please add in the comments either the answer to the BIG question, where were you when Dumbledore died, or where you were when that character you loved and cherished ceased to be.

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*Oh and just in case anyone calls “Spoiler alert” to my description of the death scene…. I am sorry but…. REALLY?  I think the statute of limitations on spoilers in a book like this ran out a long time ago.  If you have not read this or any of the Harry Potter books you are truly missing out on the books that changed fantasy writing forever. 

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