Friday, December 23, 2011

Book Review: Stories I Only Tell My Friends

Stories I Only Tell My FriendsStories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn't encounter Rob Lowe's work until I saw him in Tommy Boy. Lately I've loved him in Parks and Recreation and thought his autobiography would be an interesting read. Imagine my delight when I saw that his book was available in audio form and that he was the one reading it. Score!

Now, Rob Lowe isn't a literary genius by any means, but he's entertaining. I could not believe all the encounters he's had with Hollywood's finest, starting from a very young age. I mean how cool is it to have grown up with close friends like Emilio Estevez & Charlie Sheen, Tom Cruise, & Patrick Swayze? I really admired Rob's drive. He worked hard to get the career he has. He didn't have the doting stage parents and extra help all the other child actors had and he did what he needed to in order to succeed.

This book also made me want to watch all of Rob's movies. I've never seen any of his earlier work like The Outsiders or St. Elmo's Fire. And apparently The West Wing was a huger show than I thought. I don't remember ever watching it, but looks like I'm going to have to work my way through it now.

After listening to this book I find myself liking Rob Lowe even more than I did before. Not only is he a good-looking famous guy, he has a ton of character, talent, and charm not present in many actors today. And I imagine he'd be just as amazing in person.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Book Review: World Without End (Pillars of the Earth Part 2)

World Without End (The Pillars of the Earth, #2)World Without End by Ken Follett

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was the sequel to Follett's 'Pillars of the Earth'. It follows a very similar premise to the first book... it takes place in the same towns and follows the ancestors of the Pillars characters a couple hundred years later.

I have to say I wasn't nearly as enthralled by this book as I was by the first. I listened to the audiobook version of this and it took me about 5 cds to really start getting into it. Had it not been the sequel to something I'd already read, I would have given up after cd #2.

While the storyline did improve, I thought Follett fell quite short in the creativity department. Most of his characters sounded like exact replicas of those in Pillars... most having the same problems and trials as well. This book was over 1000 pages and I thought it could have been at least half that. How many times can the plague start up again? How many times can we have the same quarrels between peasants and clergy? How many times will the bully be unfairly rewarded by royalty and continue to rape the defenseless female villagers?

If you've read Pillars of the Earth and loved it, I recommend just stopping there. There isn't anything to be gained by reading World Without End and those 1000 pages could be better spent on reading more original, new ideas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book Review: The Book Thief

The Book ThiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book about a young German girl during the Holocaust told from the point of view of Death. It follows her from the death of her little brother (where Death first encounters her) to her life with her foster parents. All through her tumultuous life, her love of books and reading is one of her few comforts.

This was a fabulous book. One of my favorites, especially for an audiobook. Amazing characters who draw you in and make you really care about them. I highly recommend it.

Book Review: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Midnight in the Garden of Good and EvilMidnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a true story about the town of Savannah, GA and a murder (and subsequent trial) that took place there back in the '80s.

I really tried to like this book but it was just so-so. I don't know what it was, but it kept me just interested enough to keep me listening. I think if I'd have had something else more appealing I would've stopped listening altogether. It did make me want to visit Savannah to see all the great old houses, but that's about it.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas is Coming

So I've been feeling the Christmas spirit this year a lot more than I usually do.  I don't think we even so much as got a tree last year. I know. I'm a horrible person. And I generally don't like Christmas music. It makes me instantly irritated. Maybe it's the fact that they redo the same 10 songs over and over. But I digress.

My point is, this year I'm doing much better already. We went and picked out a tree this weekend and actually decorated it! Gracie loves it. She always does love the tree though. And surprisingly she doesn't ever attack the ornaments. And I played Christmas music! I still have a very limited amount of music that I'll listen to, specifically music I remember hearing growing up, but hey, it's the first time I've listened to Christmas music by choice in a really long time!

She looks so introspective...

We also had my company Christmas party this past weekend. It was nice to get dressed up with my super hot husband and hang out with my work buddies. Didn't win another Wii this year, but the trip into the photobooth was a nice consolation prize. I don't think I've ever even been in one!

Now to see if the festive feelings continue!