Sunday, September 27, 2009

Another Sign of the Times?

Every year around my birthday the San Francisco Public Library has their annual Big Book Sale for 5 days. The best part about this sale is that on the Sunday of this sale every book is $1! I like to think of it as San Francisco's birthday present to me! This is my 3rd year in a row going. The first year I scored 20 books, the second 40 ... this year 6. What the hell happened SF? There were hardly any fiction books on display this time. Last year you could only see the bindings and there were boxes of books underneath the tables waiting to be set out. This year they were laid flat on the table and all spread out! Is this another sign of the times?

We know that libraries are more popular than ever now and people are utilizing websites like (me!) and, hitting garage sales, and throwing book swapping parties because lets face it, reading can become an expensive habit. Which is exactly why I loved this book sale. I could stock up on most of my books for the year and support my local library while doing it. I know the Big Book Sale is based on people's annual donations so maybe people aren't as apt to donate books this year? Maybe they didn't buy as many books in general this year so we're loathe to donate their leftovers? Or maybe everyone hit up the sale really early and was willing to spend $3 and $4 per book instead of waiting for the $1 sale? Sad times for me. Oh well! Where there's a will, there's a way, and this lady's a bargain hunter.

Here's what I did get:
- 'Stop that Girl' by Elizabeth McKenzie
- 'The First Desire' by Nancy Reisman
- 'Spilling Clarence' by Anne Ursu
- 'A Change of Climate' by Hilary Mantel
- 'The Meaning of Flowers' by Scobel & Field
- 'Babyface' by Fiona Gibson

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I'll Take A Shot of Vodka With That

'The Road Home'
Rose Tremain

It was with some trepidation that I started this book but it wasn't the first time I was wrong (hope the boyfriend isn't reading today!). I had previously had mixed reactions to Ms. Tremain's work. I had read 'The Colour' about 4 years ago and loved it. The scenery, the desire to make it rich during the Gold Rush captured my American spirit, only the book was set in New Zealand so I loved learning about the history of a new place (who doesn't? I could just imagine those accents!). So that book made me think that I had wonderfully stumbled upon a new author that I would love. I quickly went out and picked up a copy of 'Music & Silence'. This book however totally let me down. I did not root for the characters struggles like I did in 'The Colour'. I can't love a book if I don't love a main character. Lots of people can, I am sure this is some sort of character flaw, but that's a post for another day! Another trepidation? I tend to not like books wherein the main the character is male. This isn't always true, I just find I can't always relate. If the author is great then the book works for both sexes, but sometimes I find that a male character can be alienating. Much like say, a man, wouldn't necessarily run out and pick up 'Shopaholic' so like I said...trepidation.

Fear not! Lev, the heart and soul of 'The Road Home', is a character you most definitely want to root for! He is kind and wants the best for his family. He is forced to leave Russia after the sawmill he has worked in his whole life closes. His wife has passed away and he has a 5 year old daughter and a mother to care for, as well as a best friend who is almost like a mystical hero.

Lev gets on a bus and moves to London. We learn about his trials and tribulations in getting to know how to live in a vastly different city from that which he is used to, learn the language, work in a restaurant, find love again. The pace is slow, but Lev is a dreamer so it fits. The book is moving and it is a must read!

One more thing I must point out, and maybe Amazon will fix the link but the book description on Amazon says the main characters name is "Olev". Throughout the entire book Lev is frustrated with all the Brits who call him that...hehe. I love you Amazon but cut Lev a break!

Oh and if you are into these sorts of things, it won the UK's Orange Prize for fiction in 2008!

(I obtained my copy of 'The Road Home' from 'The Colour' and 'Music & Silence' I obtained from the library.)

Who You Callin' Bookish?

From an early age I loved books. For me, as I am sure it is for most who love to read, it is a wonderful way to escape reality and to learn about other people (both those in the books, and by talking to real people about the types of books they do read!). My 28th birthday is coming up and with that I felt the need for a fresh, creative outlet. I read a lot. A book a week. It can be hard to find great reviews and then I discovered the joy of the book blog, people aren't being paid to write these reviews - they are being honest. Love it! I want in on some of this! So with that and the start of a new year (birthday-wise) I felt that this would be a great time to start my musings on books. Hopefully this blog will inspire someone to pick up a great new book or avoid picking up a potentially bad one. Wish me luck!
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