The 19th Wife

Well, if you’re a fan of historical fiction, religious history, murder mysteries or just plain curious about what it’s like inside a polygamous family you’ll enjoy The 19th Wife.  A quick summary….two parallel stories about a current day FLDS “19th Wife” accused of murdering her husband and the “19th Wife” of Brigham Young, Ann Eliza Young.  (If you click on the picture, you can read a full description of the book.)  What I found most interesting about this book was an up close look at the dynamics of a FLDS polygamous family and how they live the lives the words of the Mormon founding fathers, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.  Fascinating. And warped.  Definitely worth reading. 

Our next book club selection….

Do you ever feel there just isn’t enough minutes in the day to skim the surface of life?  Well that’s pretty much how my life has been.  My work schedule has FINALLY settled this week & hopefully I’ll find much more time to have a book on my lap, and then of course, share my thoughts about them here – not to mention hopping onto other book blogs.  YEAH!

Enough about me and onto the books… I’ve finished this one:

This was our book club’s October selection and it definitely lead to interesting discussions, everything from parenting styles to tolerance to mainstreaming children in public schools. The main character, Christopher, has Asperger’s and comes upon a neighbor’s dog who has been murdered.  He enjoys Sherlock Holmes books and decides to play detective as he sets out to find the killer and along the way finds out much more.  This book is a quick read, and written with very little fluff, since Christopher is telling the story, that is the way he sees life, very factual.  Christopher’s perspective and voice can be very funny at times as his honesty, which he stakes much pride in, is humorous, almost todderlike.  He puts it out there, calls a spade a spade – makes you laugh out loud and also wonder why we just don’t all speak so frankly to each other, not judgemental or rude, just honest. 

What I liked about the book is that it really gives you an inside look and understanding of what a day in in the life of someone with Asperger’s or Autism is like (well, as close as one could imagine, I guess).  

I also finished:

(Click the picture to read a description)  Ebershoff wrote this love story loosely based on Danish painters Einar and Greta Wegener.  Einar struggled with gender identity and Greta loved him unconditionally, most often putting his happiness before her own – almost assuming a mothering role to Einar.  As she watched Einar transform into a woman (who they named Lily) Greta selflessly supported Einar and Lily, knowing that she was pushing them away.  Then, in 1931 Einar became the first man to undergo a permanent sex change, via many surgical procedures and painful lengthy recovery periods.   

The Danish Girl was absolutely different than anything else I’ve ever read, which is always good.  However, I did find that toward the end of the book I wanted to jump into the story and cut the cord between Einar(Lily) and Greta, but that’s not the way they were.  I guess I just don’t have that ‘unconditional’ thing with my hubby – the minute he would sport a dress and starting looking for a man, he’d be out the door (handbag and all). 

And I’m the middle of this one (another Ebershoff book):

So far, I can’t put it down (well, long enough to post this I suppose).

Are you registered?

Waiting on my nightstand…

Our book club’s pick for October’s get together: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon.  I was glad to see the selection because this book has been on my TBR list for quite a while.   Well, I won’t really be reading it, I’ll be listening to in on my long arse commute to work. 

What I will be reading is David Ebershoff’s book, The Danish Girl (I have his book, The 19th Wife on hold at the library to read next).  Both sound interesting.  The 19th Wife appealed to me immediately because I read Carolyn Jessop’s book, Escape, and found learning about the FLDS church fascinating (and disturbing).

My thoughts on these books to follow…

Water for Elephants

I just recently finished this book, or should I say book-on-tape (my one ever, BTW).  This books tells the story of Jacob Jankowski who is living in a nursing home and retelling/remembering his experience with the traveling circus.  He was a veterinary student who lost his parents in a car accident and wandered his way into the circus.  His veterinary skills were a much needed asset for the circus animals and he quickly moved up the crooked ladder of circus power, finding himself in tight with the ringmaster and his lovely wife and performer, Marlena.  Jacob fell in love with Marlena and quickly was introduced to the dangerous and disturbed gypsy life of the The Benzini Brother’s Most Spectacular Show on Earth, who’s employees and animals were abused and neglected. 

When the story wasn’t reflecting Jacob’s circus days it was detailing his life in the nursing home as he, and the other residents, watched as the circus was setting up outside their windows.  This, obviously, is was triggered Jacob’s memories of his time with the Benzini Brothers.

Sara Gruen did an amazing job of bringing the reader into her story and the details made you feel this story.  With that said, the graphic detail of the Jacob’s lonely existance in the nursing home as well as the inhumane treatment of the employees and animals in the circus was disturbing.  I found myself fast forwarding the CD at times to avoid the description of the abuse.  Gruen would describe the abuse right down to the look in the animals’ eyes & that was just a little more than I could handle. 

Overall, I was impressed with the author’s writing and the story was unique, but it was just sad.  Sad. Sad. Sad.  Yep, I was left feeling sad – not my favorite way to finish a story.

New Moon

I poured through book two of the Twilight serious like a ravenous lunatic – wanting to soak up more of Edward – but I was left feeling a little deflated.  Although I enjoyed the story, it didn’t quite leave me hungry for more.  I have access to book three, Eclipse, so I’ll be reading that soon and hope that it’s not a let down. 

What I liked about New Moon was Jacob (werewolf and enemy of ‘the cold ones’) – he played a larger part in this book and I liked how Stephenie Meyer made him so different from Edward.  Jacob was light-hearted, large, dark with skin that was feverishly warm and safe – whereas Edward was serious, chiseled, pale, cold and dangerous.  Both pretty irresistible. 

What I didn’t care for about the book was Bella’s wallowing in sadness, for what I thought, too much of the book. I won’t go in to too much detail about Bella’s grief, as not to spoil the story for anyone waiting to read it.  Maybe my being 40 years old a few years older than Bella, and the book targeting a younger audience, had something to do with it.  The sulking got a little old, IMO. 

That’s the thing about a book series, if you love the first book enough to read on, you run the risk of subsequent books falling flat.  Maybe flat is a little harsh – how about not quite as anxious to read book three.

What I’m hoping for in Eclipse and Breaking Dawn is a little more heat, suspense and history behind ‘the cold ones.’

Hey Edward – BITE ME!

Here’s another one of those book band wagons that has taken me forever to jump onto.  Twilight.  There probably isn’t a soul out there who hasn’t read it, so there’s no need for me to discuss it.  However, I felt the need to say Edward is HOT.  I feel like I have a school girl crush. 

I’ll be anxiously awaiting the movie in November. 

Just started New Moon yesterday and I had to peel it out of my fingers just to post.

The Time Traveler’s Wife

Yeah, this book has been on shelves for quite some time, but I’ve just gotten around to reading it – it was our book group’s monthly pick.  Hmmm, where to start?  For starters, I enjoyed the book – not sure if I enjoyed reading it because of it’s unusual style or because of the storyline.  Although I enjoyed it, it took me until about half way through the book get into it, or even just understand what was happening with the time line, for that matter.

Although this isn’t very important, I wanted to mention the book’s title.  I was expecting the book to be about ‘the Wife’, but it was written from the perspectives of Henry (the ‘Traveler’) and Clare (the ‘Wife’) equally.  I’m still trying to understand the title.  Any thoughts?  I like to link the title or understand the reason for the author’s choice when I read the book.  Not sure why it really matters to me, but it does.  Ok, I digress.

So, back to the meat and potatoes of the story, beginning with the main characters of the book, Henry and Clare.  Henry was a time traveler who popped in and out of his past (mostly) and met up with his wife Clare when he was an adult and she was a young child.  Henry visits her often and reveals to her that they would later be married.  Clare, the daughter of a wealthy lawyer and bipolar and distant mother, clung to the idea of knowing her future was with Henry.  

The author tells the stories of each ‘travel’ with a heading revealing the year and ages of Henry and Clare.  This, because it obviously couldn’t be in chronological order, made the book a little difficult to follow.  About halfway through the book, Clare meets up with Henry in real time, she was in her early twenties and Henry in his late twenties.  Clare knew Henry when they met in real time, because he visited her for over a decade, yet he didn’t know her, because he didn’t start visiting her until his 30’s.  Catch all that?  Yep, it wasn’t easy.  I found myself paging backwards often to make sense of the time line. 

Henry would travel without warning, dumping him into precarious situations, naked and struggling to gather clothes and food and waiting to be dumped back into real time.  Henry disappeard often when he was under stress and when Clare needed him most – when she miscarried, for instance.  Clare, an artist and a bit of a recluse, spent much of her life just waiting for Henry to return.  The couple was deeply in love and tried to keep Henry’s traveling secret from everyone, which consumed so much of their life.     

Overall, Clare and Henry’s story was sad, but they were deeply in love.  They were each other’s rock, Henry knew that Clare had always been supportive of him during his travels and later in life, and Clare found comfort knowing (because Henry told her of their future) that they would always be together.  

Book club recipes

Like any bookgroup, there are rules, and one of ours is that there is alcohol.  It doesn’t mean that everyone has to drink, but it does keep the conversation and laughs flowing.  The other big rule, you need to have read the book – that is the point of a book club, right?  If someone doesn’t finish the book, that’s OK, but don’t expect the group to avoid talking about the ending. 

If there are recipes (food or drink) that seem to be a great hit at our monthly bookgroup I’ll be sharing them here.  The first one…

Pineapple upside down cake MARTINI:


1 maraschino cherry

1 (1.5 oz) jigger of vanilla flavored vodka

3 ounces of pineapple juice

1 dash grenadine syrup


Pour ingredients into shaker with ice.  Shake well, pour into chilled martini glass and enjoy.



One worth reading

Gotta love historical fiction that involves power, greed, love, loyalty, and betrayal.  Here’s one that has it all:  Nefertiti, by Michelle Moran.  The book is about Nefertiti’s tumultuous marraige to Amunohotep, a radical young pharoah and their reign of power and religious upheaval.  Written through Mutnodjmet’s (Nefertiti’s younger sister), point of view, who wants nothing more than to live a simple life outside of royalty and the danger that surrounds her sister’s power  – however, Mutny abandons her dreams to help Nefertiti live out hers.  If you haven’t read it, run to your local library or bookstore & pick it up, you will thank me for it. 

Moran’s research on this fascinating time period is impressive and engrossing – making you hunger for more.  Thankfully, you won’t have to wait long since her next book (and sequel to Nefertiti),  The Heretic Queen, is due out September 16th.  I’ll be waiting…