Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

The Fountain, by Emily Grayson

Fountain: A NovelFinished 6-9-11, rating 4/5, fiction, 292 pages, pub. 2001

Long before Will Combray came along, Michael was there.  Always, there had been Michael.  And if Casey felt as though she’d known him forever, it was only because she had.

Chapter 2 

Casey had known Michael all of her life.  They were next door neighbors and best friends.  When they started a romantic relationship, she felt like it was the thing to do to make everyone happy, but she still felt like there was more out there for her.  She was looking beyond the life she’d lived so far into a future that held more excitement.  And that excitement came in the form of Will.  Older, worldly Will charmed Casey into loving him.  It does not end well.  Now it’s 20 years later and Will has come back, days before her anniversary party, celebrating the life she’s made with Michael.

This story felt familiar, in a good way.  Who hasn’t thought of the road not taken?  It felt more like that than a cheesy romance novel which also uses this plot line often.  Casey wasn’t necessarily a sympathetic character, but there was a genuineness to her that made the story work.  If she’d been nicer this story would have been boring.  As it was I read through this one fast because I wanted to know what she would choose-her comfortable life with Michael or the great unknown with Will.

It was a quick read and one that drew me in and surprised me along the way.  Grayson’s writing felt like I was listening to a friend and I look forward to checking out more of her work.

This was from my personal library.

June 15, 2011 Posted by | 4 Star Books | | 11 Comments

Isn’t that what I said? Quiz

 These praise earners are not quite right, but they’re close.  Give the correct title of the novel for 9 points and the author for 1.  You have until Friday at noon.  This is the last quiz to participate in this round!!

No cheating.  No googling or looking at other commenter answers.  Yes, we’re going by the honor system :)    Your first answers will be the only ones accepted.  Play every week or just one time, you are always welcome   It only takes once to be eligible for a prize.

Last week’s First & Last quiz here.  Leaderboard here.

1. Bold Novel Sphere Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

2. Violation & Discipline  Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

3. Carnal Estate  Animal Farm by George Orwell

4. Cherished  Beloved by Toni Morrison

5. The Big Shot, the Conjurer & the Dresser  The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe by CS Lewis

6. Endless Play  Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

7. Bare Repast  Naked Lunch by William Burroughs

8. Sightless Killer  Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

9. The Luminary Likewise Climbs  The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

10. Auspicious Scratch Pad  The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

June 14, 2011 Posted by | Quizzes | | 25 Comments

Monday Movie Meme – Confusion

Feature Presentation…MONDAY MOVIE MEME
This week’s movie topic is all about Confusing Plots…all about confusing movie plots. Now, I don’t mind a plot that makes you pay
attention and think. But what I do mind are plots that leave you more confused at the end than when you started.  Share on your blog movies that make you go hmmmmmmm, and link back The Bumbles Blog
Well, I tend to forget  confusing movies fairly quickly.  Jason and I discuss it after we’ve watched it and if we can’t reach some sort of conclusion I usually just write it off as a bad movie 🙂  But here are a few I remember being confused by.
1. Donnie Darko (2001) was a movie that just made me feel stupid.  At least until after I’d watched it and then looked online for some answers and realized that the writers were confused themselves.  If you enjoyed it, great, but don’t think that you ‘got it’.  I actually liked the movie, but I do not pretend to completely understand it.
2. 2001:A Space Odyssey (1968) I wanted to like it, but ended up being confused as to how such a strange film in considered a classic.  Maybe it was all of the ‘special effects’ that did it in for me.  Or the last scenes.  Well, okay, maybe all of it.
3. The Matrix Revolutions (2003).  I really liked the first one.  Thought the second one was okay.  But this wrap up of the trilogy lost me.  Jason tried to explain it to me but it hurt my head.
4. Muholland Drive (2001) I remember I really liked this one, except by the end I had no idea what had just happened.  Frustrating, but the movie experience was still good.  Now that I’ve read some theories on the movie I want to go back and watch!
5. Planet of the Apes (2001).  It had been years since I saw the original, so maybe it’s not surprising that I felt confused by then end of this one.  And then cheated.  Jason rewatched it on tv, but I really didn’t want to waste any more of my time. 
Looks like 2001 was a confusing year for me.  Is there a movie that has always confused you?  Am I alone in my choices?

June 13, 2011 Posted by | Monday Movie Meme | | 18 Comments

Sundays with Gage – Road Trip

My aunt Betty retired this week after serving as an elementary school librarian for over 23 years.  The family threw her a surprise retirement party on Monday night and Gage and I decided to take our first solo road trip so we could be there.

My aunt Betty was a huge influence on me when I was growing up.  Before I could stay at home by myself I spent my summer days with her.  She is fun and energetic and I know from experience that the kids in her school were lucky to have her.  She was always there to throw slumber parties for the 8 of us grandchildren and it because of these parties and other outings that I am as close to my cousins as I am.  Thank you, Betty!

My family lives 2-2 1/2 hours away and on the way down I waited til Gage was ready for a nap and we were off.  He woke up with about 25 minutes to go and didn’t get angry until the last 10 minutes, so I think it was a success.  On the way back, we had the flip side. He napped for the first 25 minutes and then was NOT HAPPY.  We stopped and walked around a hunting store (having never been in one before I was just as interested in all the new stuff as Gage :)) and then got back in the car.  He lasted about 5 minutes before he was NOT HAPPY.  We tried walking around again at the next rest stop.  He seemed happy again…until we actually got back on the highway.  The next 20 minutes were spent with me trying to go to my happy place and still drive safely.  Blessedly, Gage wore himself out and finally fell asleep.

The moral of the story?  None.  I’m sure I’ll make the trip again and I’m sure that it will have mixed success.  Do any of you moms have any good advice for our next trip?

And a bonus picture just to show that he recovered from our trip.

June 12, 2011 Posted by | Gage | | 31 Comments

Les Roberts Giveaway Winner

So, I just got home from stopping by the Les Roberts book signing and thought I should not keep you in suspense any longer.  I wrote down everyone who was interested in winning on a list and handed it to Les, telling him he could sign it to any one of these ladies.  He chose his favorite name…who also happens to be a new mama…

Amanda from A Library of My Own

Les, signed his newest book (it was the only one left by the time I got there!)Congratulations, Amanda- on your win and new baby boy 🙂

June 11, 2011 Posted by | FREE | | 6 Comments

A Room with a View, by EM Forster

A Room with a View and Howards EndFinished 6-7-11, rating 4.5/5, classic, 246 pages, pub. 1908

This she might not attempt.  It was unladylike. Why?  Why were most big things unladylike?  Charlotte had once explained to her why.  It was not that ladies were inferior to men; it was that they were different.  Their mission was to inspire others to achievement rather than to achieve themselves.  Indirectly, by means of tact and a spotless name, a lady could accomplish much.  But if she rushed into the fray herself she would be first censured, then despised, and finally ignored.

Chapter 4

Lucy is a young Englishwoman who is blessed with a loving mother and brother, a comfortable home and the ability to travel.  When she and her cousin, Charlotte, visit Florence, Italy, they enjoy their time spent with others of their ilk.  When Mr. Emerson and his son, George, are thrown in to the mix, people respond to their unconventional and brutish ways by cutting them off or trying to ignore them.  Lucy, in her youth, was confused and intrigued by the two who paid no attention to social norms.  She is looking for something big, something more and the Emerson’s offer her a way of viewing the world that is fresh and new.

I loved this short gem of a romance.  It addresses a young woman’s coming of age during the early 1900’s, a time that demanded little from her.  Lucy knew she wanted more, but she didn’t know what more meant.  Because she was scared of her feelings for a man who did not follow society’s rules she fled home to the security of a place that told her what her place was in the world.

I loved Lucy’s transformation and the humor Forster used to make this book fun and still important.  I loved the whole thing and was especially charmed by the end.  I’m looking forward to finding this on film.

This book is from my personal library and was chosen for me by Candice and Jenny.  Here’s what they had to say…

“Short, sweet, and enjoyable.”  Jenny

“A personal favorite.”  Candice

This book counts toward Molly’s

A Classic Bribe

at Quirky Girls Read.  Why not join in the fun?

June 10, 2011 Posted by | 4 1/2 Star Books | | 19 Comments

Les Roberts Giveaway

In my most recent Sundays with Gage post I mentioned that I had been able to go to a meet & greet with mystery writer Les Roberts.  Here’s the post I wrote about a book signing I attending in 2008 (Les Roberts Books Signing)

I have since read the first 5 in the series and love them.  I am hoping that you will fall in love with Milan (and Cleveland) too, so I’m giving away one signed Les Roberts book – you choose.  If you are new to the series I say start with the first one, Pepper Pike (a suburb 10 minutes from my house).

A few fun facts about Les…he’s from Chicago, lived and wrote in Los Angeles before coming to Cleveland for a 4 month job and deciding this was the place he felt at home, so he packed up and moved here!  For all the flack Cleveland gets it’s nice to see some love 🙂  Also, when a local group askes him for a donation he sells a character name for charity.  The next silent auction I attend you can be sure I’ll be looking for that!  In his most recent book four people bought their way in.  He makes very clear that all of his characters are corrupt and there’s no way to know what will happen to your character.

I’ll be drawing a winner at noon on Friday.  You can leave your name andd email on this post OR my Sundays with Gage post to enter.  Good luck~

Les Roberts wesite here.

June 9, 2011 Posted by | FREE | , | 4 Comments

The Last Time I Saw You, by Elizabeth Berg

The Last Time I Saw You: A NovelFinished audio 5-26-11, rating 3.5/5, fiction, pub. 2010

Unabridged audio 8+ hours.  Read by the author.

Four classmates are about to attend their 40th high school reunion.  One is going to land the jock who got away, one is going because he wants his soon-to-be ex-wife to see that they can recapture the good years, one is going because his secretary is making him, the invisible girl is returning for a chance at redemption, and the beautiful one is showing up to live before she dies.  None of them gets exactly what they expected, but they all go home changed.

I liked high school.  I was not the most popular, but I was involved in a lot of activities and I had a few friends I really loved (and still do). I am class secretary so it’s my job to find everyone when reunion time comes around and this past year Facebook made it a while lot easier.  Last October, on the night of our 20th reunion, I checked into the hospital to have a baby.  Seriously, when I think of it, I laugh.  I never thought I’d be having my first baby 20 years later.  I always thought I wanted five kids.  Not only does this sound insane, but a little like overkill now that I have one 🙂

So, this book came at a good time for me.  It is easy to take the time of your reunion (whether you attend or not) to reflect on your high school self and how, if at all, you’ve changed.  And, when you walk into the reunion is everyone seeing you as the 18-year-old you were or the person you’ve become?

I liked the book, but wish it would have focused on less that five people.  The book was too short to get really involved, but I did enjoy the time I spent with them and the people they represented in my own school days.  I thought it was a fun way to take another look at the roles we all played in high school.

As always, I love listening to Elizabeth Berg read her own novels.

I checked this audio out of the library.

June 9, 2011 Posted by | 3 1/2 Star Books | | 21 Comments

Audiobook Mid-Week Meme

AudiobookWeek pictureI wanted to participate in Audiobook Week 2011 and this is the first chance I’ve had to do so.  I love audiobooks and hope you do too 🙂

Here’s something quick and easy for the middle of the week, just a short meme.

Current/most recent audiobook: I finished listening to The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg last week.  Review coming tomorrow.  I’m currently listening to The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.

Impressions: I thought The Last Time I Saw you was okay, although not my favorite Berg book.  I am undecided about The Elegance of the Hedgehog so far.

Current favorite audiobook: I loved listening to Sherman Alexie reading his book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.  I also like listening to Elizabeth Berg read her novels.
One narrator who always makes you choose audio over
: I’m not great at keeping track of favorite narrators.  That being said I’m loving to two narrators of The Elegance of the Hedgehog . They are what’s saving the book for me right now (Barbara Rosenblat & Cassandra Morris)

Genre you most often choose to listen to: Anything on my wish list.
If given the choice, you will always choose audio
: We’re going on a road trip which means I have to find something that both Jason and I will enjoy.  I don’t take the time to read James Patterson anymore but I do listen to his Women’s Murder Club in thecar.
If given the choice, you will always choose print
: I really want to savor the book.  Sometimes if a book is complicated or I really don’t like listening to the narrator I will abandon the audio for print.

Hosted by Jenn of Devourer of Books.

June 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 21 Comments

First & Last Quiz – guessing closed

We did this in January with classics, so I thought I’d see how you all do with books that have been popular in the blogoshere and book clubs over the past several years.

See if you can match up the first lines and last lines from 10 famous novels.  At least you can guess!!  Each correct match is worth 9 points and you ‘ll get an extra point if you can tell me what novel each correct match comes from.

No cheating.  No googling or looking at other commenter answers.  Yes, we’re going by the honor system :)    Your first answers will be the only ones accepted.  Play every week or just one time, you are always welcome   It only takes once to be eligible for a prize.

Last week’s Soldier quiz here.  Leaderboard here.

First & Last Lines

1. My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie.

  E. I wish you all a long and happy life.

  The Lovely Bones

2. Today I’m five.

  B. Then we go out the door.


3. Momma left her red satin shoes in the middle of the road.

  F. As much as I missed her and wished I could hear her laughter one more time, I believed she was out there in the big bright somewhere, watching me, cheering for me. Loving me.

  Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt

4. Clare: It’s hard being left behind.

  I. He is coming, and I am here.

  The Time Traveler’s Wife

5. Before she became the Girl from Nowhere-the One Who Walked In, the First and Last and Only, who lived a thousand years-she was just a little girl in Iowa, named Amy.

  A. Shots outside. I am going to look.

  The Passage

6. Lillian loved best the moment before she turned on the lights.

  C. Then she turned off the light, and left the kitchen.

  The School of Essential Ingredients

7. Louis and I see you nearly at the same time.

  H. “Of course it was. You had it with you the entire time.”

  The Weight of Silence

8. Dear Sidney, Susan Scott is a wonder.

  D. By way of congratulation, she said “I hear you and that pig farmer are going to regularize your connection.  Praise the Lord!”

  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

9. Here is the truth, this is what I know: we were walking on Ocean Beach, hand in hand.

  J. Water gushes around me, the board shakes, I cannot see, but somehow I know I am moving forward.

  The Year of Fog

10. They found Mary’s body in Round Pond.

  G. Out of our movement, a crow lifted off a high pine and the glint of the sun, for an instant, resembled a flash of diamond in its beak.

  The Eternal on the Water

June 7, 2011 Posted by | Quizzes | | 31 Comments