Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Classic Look

Happy Halloween Everyone! Today I am reporting from sunny Seattle (and for now, at least, that is not an oxymoron!). I'm up here visiting family and then doing some work for a couple of days. I grew up in the Emerald City so it's always nice to come back.

I have a special treat for you today. Last year publishing house Penguin released their top classics in cloth-bound books and boy were they beautiful but you could only order them from the UK. Well, just in time for the holiday season, they are now available stateside from! Aren't they beautiful? Just how the classics should look, I think, and in fresh, modern colors to boot. I think they would look beautiful all displayed on a mantle with some posh bookends, but alas I have neither a mantle nor posh bookends so a bookshelf will have to do for now! Also, design*sponge has an interview here with their cover designer Coralie Bickford-Smith.

If anyone can find if they are selling the set somewhere in the US I'd love to know. Come on Costco, I know you want to?!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Booking Through Thursday

"Booking Through Thursday" is a weekly meme that gets book bloggers to come together and post their thoughts on different topics , mostly about books. This is my first time participating. Wish me luck!

Suggested by Jennysbooks:

Something I’ve been thinking about lately: “What words/phrases in a blurb make a book irresistible? What words/phrases will make you put the book back down immediately?”

Irresistible: love, mother-daughter, set in the south, set in the UK, escaping to find her true self

Walk-Away: horror, true crime, murder, bludgeoned to death, teen vampire love story

I'll be honest with you though, covers often draw me in much more then what is written on the back. I am guilty of judging a book by it's cover!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Patron Saint of Librarians

Who among us hasn't waisted time idly trolling through the wonderful website I don't know about you, but if I can't find a gift for someone, this is my go-to site. While on there today I noticed this print had been posted today! How cute is this? I think this framed print would look so cute on a bookcase or in your home library (especially if, like me, you are a blonde!). And at $18 it's quite the steal!

Stats: Image measures about 6.5"x10", on 8.5"x11" paper, with a white border for framing.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Perfect Accompaniment

'Astrid & Veronika'
Linda Olsson

A couple of posts ago I spoke about how sometimes we need to find a book that fits our mood. 'Astrid & Veronika' fit my current mood perfectly. Of course I didn't know it would at the time. The book is melancholy and dark and this past week, when I picked up the book, my week didn't start off so bad but holy crap did it take a turn for the worse (including overwhelming deadlines at work and phone calls about family members that you know someday will come but you hope you still have a few years yet to receive). Minor spoiler alert - much like the ending of the book where things come out OK, so too did my mood - deadlines were met, and much, much more importantly, said family members are now OK. But through it all, this book was the perfect accompaniment to my mood.

As the name suggests, this book centers on two main characters. The first, Astrid is 80 and lives in a small town in Sweden. Rarely having gone anywhere and having been dealt a pretty hard hand in life, Astrid comes to realize in the book that she did little to make it better for herself. Veronika is 30 and comes to live next door to Astrid to escape her past and work on a book she is writing. The past Veronika is escaping needs time to heal. I won't tell you what it is because part of the beauty of how Olsson tells us about these two women's pasts is through their developing friendship. They invite each other over to dinner or for a walk and slowly reveal to each other bits of their past and that is how, we too, learn how hard the things are that they have gone through. Together, though their friendship may seem an odd pairing, they are able to help each other heal from their pasts. It is a beautiful, if somewhat dark story. I think Sweden was the perfect setting for it.

Maybe, had I been in a wonderful mood last week this book would have been too slow for me but I do believe that certain books find us at certain times and that is somewhat the inherit truth of beauty being in the eye of the beholder. I loved it!

(This book was obtained through

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fuel for Reading

I thought I'd share one of my favorite recipes for a snack that is the perfect accompaniment for a good book, especially as the days start to get cooler and shorter! This recipe is for some yummy peanut butter chocolate chip banana bread. Um, what's not to love right? Basically when I buy some bananas and one gets a little too ripe (I prefer to eat mine on the green side) I throw them in the freezer and when I get two I make this recipe. It makes two yummy loaves. You could freeze one for later but my boyfriend eats them up before that's necessary! So without further ado...

Most Delicious Banana Bread
-2 1/2 cups flour
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1 T. baking powder
-1 t. salt
-1/2 t. cinnamon
- 2 ripe bananas
-1 cup milk (I use skim)
-2/3 cups + 2 T. peanut or almond butter
-2 T. canola oil
-2 t. vanilla
-2 eggs
-1 cup chocolate chips (this would be delicious with different flavors of chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Add and mix flour, sugars, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in large bowl.
3. Mix mashed banana, milk, peanut butter, oil, vanilla, and egg in medium bowl.
4. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and stir till all mixed together.
5. Mix in chocolate chips.
6. Grease 2 regular size loaf pans and add batter evenly to the two pans.
7. Bake for 35-45 minutes

Eat and enjoy with your favorite books and friends!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Books to Match Your Mood

I'm sure we've all been there. It's the end of a long hard week and the last thing you want is some super duper peppy happy book. It's the book equivalent of needing a sad song on the radio and a whiskey in your hand, or is that just me? Just like when you've had an awesome, spectacular week, the last think you'd want to read is some downer of a book. Well I have the solution for you! Funded by Opening the Book Ltd and populated by UK librarians there is this brilliant site called which matches books to your mood. Seriously. Fill out as many, or as few, of the sliding scales you want and they will give you many options of both current and older titles (yes American authors are included!) to match your mood. So what are you waiting for!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Top 5 Spooktacular Books

I'll just come out and say it, I am not someone who reads a lot of 'scary' books but since it is getting close to Halloween (and San Francisco is the one city I've lived in where adults celebrate it more than kids!) it's gotten me thinking, what are my favorite spooky books of all time? Note: I have a low tolerance for the spook! Here are my top 5.

5. 'Lullaby' by Chuck Palahniuk - an investigator of SIDS realizes that all of these children have been sung the same ancient lullaby (or culling song) before their death. Is there an other-worldly connection? Those armed with this knowledge can now go on a killing spree. I read this for book club a couple of years ago and found the story line fascinating and far beyond anything I would have normally picked up for myself.

4. 'In The Lake of the Woods' by Tim O' Brien - This story centers on husband and wife John and Kathy. Kathy mysteriously disappears when they take a trip to a lake house. Did she just leave John? Did he murder her? - It was one of the few murder mysteries that I've read, thanks again to my book club! I found it fascinating (and it wasn't bloody which helped me!).

3. 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil' by John Berendt - Set in Savannah, Georgia, this book centers around a murder trial but it has lots of spooky qualities thanks to this city's vast history and many scenes in cemeteries. I first read this book when it came out and it is a perennial favorite of mine since I like to read any and all books set in the South!

2. 'Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers' by Mary Roach - this is a non-fiction book that will tell you anything and everything about what happens to your body after it dies. This was another book club book that I had absolutely no desire to read and I ended up finding it fascinating. I highly recommend it!

1. 'The Historian' by Elizabeth Kostova - A woman in the 1970s discovers a book about Dracula that has a letter addressed to 'my dear and unfortunate successor.' She goes through manuscripts to discover what this means to her and her family and all those that have been connected to Dracula. I love a good historical fiction novel and this one was no expectation, despite its darker setting, or maybe because of it! I highly recommend it!

Three of my top 5 were book club recommendations and maybe that shows me that I do like 'spooky' books after all - I just have to step out of my comfort zone sometimes! What are your favorite spooky books? Happy Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Eh, You Can Stop Her

'Stop That Girl'
Elizabeth McKenzie

I think most people, once they become an adult, reaches the realization that families are crazy. While as a child it may be incredibly annoying, as an adult you realize that almost everyone's family is crazy so it's cool. It bonds people together in a shared experience. This is what I think McKenzie was trying to achieve. She didn't ... quite. I think it would be fine if it was non-fiction because then you'd have to believe it a la Augusten Burroughs' memoirs but since it's fiction it's almost SO crazy that it's unbelievable if that makes any sense.

'Stop That Girl' a coming of age story about a girl growing up in California in the 1970s and 80s. Her family is CRAZY. The story starts out when the heroine of the story Ann, is 8 years old, living with her single mom and she's happy. Then Ann's mom gets married and has another daughter and Ann starts to act out but her family just kind of rolls with it which is hard to understand. It almost seems, since it's being told then from the point of view of a child, as if Ann is imagining it. Her grandmother then kidnaps her for awhile. Awful things happen to Ann, beyond just getting kidnapped (don't worry, she quickly gets returned). She gets a recurring tick borne disease, her boyfriend sucks her ear so hard he makes her ear bleed and almost makes her deaf, and she almost gets blown up by a bomb at her high school pizza job. See, ridiculous?

Want some more? She thinks its a good idea to jump on her grandma piggyback style when she is 10 breaking her grandma's wrist. What 10 year old doesn't know that's not a stupid idea? Her mom forces them to move neighborhoods all the time because she finds different reasons to hate any and everyone. The grandma is 'eccentric'. What grandma isn't? But in this story, it is a hated thing.

At any rate, I can't really explain it, but something about Ann kept me reading anyway. She was quirky and it came through. She was funny and you thought she's gotta grow out of this right?

The other problem of course is there are so many wonderful books in the coming-of-age drama that it's hard to not pale in comparison. Some of my favorites are: The Center of Everything, As Hot as It Was You Ought to Thank Me, and Circle of Friends. What are some of your favorites?

(This book was purchased at a used book sale)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Who Do You Love?

My First Love

This article was recently posted on which had reported the results of a survey which asked, "Who do you think is the most romantic character in literature?" I thought this was such a great question! Here are their top ten results (starting with most romantic):

1. Mr Rochester of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre

2. Richard Sharpe of Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series

3. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

4. Heathcliff of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights

5. Rhett Butler of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind

6. Mark Darcy, of Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones’ Diary

7. Captain Corelli of Louis de Berniere’s Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

8. Henry DeTamble of Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveller’s Wife

9. Gabriel Oak of Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd

10. Rupert Campbell Black, of Jilly Cooper’s The Rutshire Chronicles

For me, I first stepped out of the 'young adult' genre in 7th grade and became the voracious reader that I am today. This was the year that I read 'Gone with the Wind' and Rhett Butler therefore would be my original literary love. Who can resist a good cad and we all now our first loves always stay with us. I would also have to say that the Darcy's - both of 'Pride and Prejudice' and 'Bridget Jones's Diary' - are current and probably perennial literary loves. For many of you, although I have never read them, I am guessing you are sad the love interest from 'Twilight' isn't on here! So who are your literary loves? Do you agree with the above list?

Friday, October 16, 2009

So Retro!

British publishing house Faber and Faber is turning 80 this year. For their anniversary they are re-releasing many of their past titles in beautiful new forms. One of my favorites that they are doing is the series called 'Faber Firsts.' Faber Firsts is a series of ten republished paperbacks of some of the publishing houses greatest debut novels, like Sylvia Plath's 'The Bell Jar', which they have had contemporary designers create a cover for to match the era in which they were first published. I think the set is just beautiful and would make a great addition to any home library! You can buy them directly from the publishers website. Also, the British bookstore Waterstone's has the designer's inspiration for their cover art here which is also really interesting to read through. Happy shopping!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

All You Need Is Love

'Love in the Present Tense'
Catherine Ryan Hyde

You know how if you're a reader, a consistent reader, it's because you've read books in the past that have moved you in certain ways? Therefore you are constantly on the search for the next great book; the next book that will make you want to tell everyone, "You have to read this book!"? Basically, the reason I started a blog was because I often come across great books and I wanted to share them. They aren't always on the New York Times Best Seller List but they often move me in ways that are indescribable, that keep me up at night, that stay with me for days, weeks, years. You know? Well this is what I have found, magically, in my most recent read, 'Love in the Present Tense'! Completely unexpectedly too. I haven't read any of Catherine Ryan Hyde's previous novels and I just found this book on a good books of last year list and added it to my "to read" list. I am so glad I did! Now I must try to convey to you how wonderful it is in such a way that will not reveal the entire storyline!

I guess the best place to start would be at the beginning, and the beginning is with Pearl. Pearl is the mother, an unexpected one. At 13, she has had a hard life, when she falls pregnant and accidentally shoots the father. However, she has her son Leonard and manages to get him to the ripe age of 5 pretty well, all things considered. While she is off cleaning houses Leonard meets the neighbor guy Mitch. Mitch is just a 25 year old dude who works from home on his Internet start up business. Since he and his 3 employees are home all day he suggests to Pearl that maybe it would be a good idea for Leonard to stay at his house during the day since there would be plenty of people around to make sure Leonard is well cared for. All is good until one day Pearl doesn't come home. What's Mitch, a 25 year old guy, having an affair with a senator's wife, running a start up business, supposed to do with a 5 year old? Well Leonard teaches Mitch all about love. An unlikely pair maybe, but sometimes those are the best kind. Mitch has to learn how to parent Leonard and Leonard has to learn how to deal with the hardships of childhood. They grow up together and the writing and storyline is beautiful and heart wrenching. You just wanted to root for everyone in it. I usually don't cry when I am reading a book but something about Catherine's writing and sweet Leonard moved me so much that I actually cried. Seriously, if I had a rating beyond 'Grade A' I'd give it!

Has anyone read any of Catherine Ryan Hyde's other books? I see that she wrote 'Pay It Forward' which was made into a movie because now I want to read all of her other books!

(This book was obtained through

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Good Cover Story

Book City Jackets, a company based in New York, makes these adorable and artsy book covers. They remind me of a much chicer version of the paper bag kind we were forced to cover our textbooks with in school! Book City Jackets are made from recycled paper and are designed to "fold to fit" almost any book. What a great way to hide your favorite books that you are most embarrassed for those to see you love to read! (For me that would be the 'Outlander' series... ) Now you can cover those novels that were once considered questionable and display them on your coffee table, bookshelf, etc. and everyone will ooh and ahh over them and think you are just so fancy! Recently they've also been offering beautiful artist editions. Check 'em out! What a beautiful way to spruce up your home library. And yes, they deliver!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Love, Loss, and What I Blog

'Love, Loss, and What I Wore'
Ilene Beckerman

I am a huge fan of Oprah (no this isn't an Oprah book) and I particularly love O, The Oprah Magazine. Since I work during the day and am never home when the Oprah Show is on, that is how I get my Oprah fix. A few months back, one of my favorite O Mag contributors, Lisa Kogen, wrote this article about how she loves the memoir 'Love, Loss, and What I Wore' and so I had to read it!

Let me start by saying that 'Love, Loss, and What I Wore' is not a full length memoir. I thought it would be so I wanted to point that out up front. It is more a collection of short stories with illustrations. Ilene Beckerman wrote about her life by telling us the story of her clothes on one side and illustrating them on the other. I think for most women, if clothes maybe don't define many moments of their life, they can at least relate to Ilene in her reflections on clothes and how they defined her own. For example, she remembers her childhood and being embarrassed about homemade clothes and then in high school wanting to be more like her friends. She reflects on the dresses she wore for her weddings and the suit she bought for her first interview. For me, as someone who went to a Catholic private school for eight years and therefore had to wear a uniform for most of her childhood my memories of my childhood are one big picture of plaid. BUT the second I was let out of there I suddenly became addicted to the freedom of choosing what I could wear every day and have never looked back!

Ilene's stories are short and to the point. There is no big reminiscence or major 'what might have been' in this memoir so if you are looking for something deep this isn't it. You could seriously flip through this in a half hour. It is, however, a cute little look through the changing fashions and how they related to one women's life.

One other thing to note. While trying to find the article for you to read that inspired me to pick up this book in the first place, I discovered that they have turned this book into a Broadway play. I actually think this would be even better in that format. I hope it comes to SF!

(This book was obtained through

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Why Does Friendship Have to be so Complicated?

'Snow Flower and the Secret Fan'
Lisa See

This book was incredibly popular a few years ago and I hadn't read it yet. Sometimes I resist when there is a book everyone is reading but after I read a bad book (see last review) sometimes I have to read something I know will be good! 'Snow Flower and the Secret Fan' fit that need. Phew! It was an historical fiction novel which for me, can be the best kind of novel, because you can learn about a whole new place and time that you know nothing about, and I knew nothing about female Chinese culture from the 19th Century so I found it fascinating. Now to the story!

'Snow Flower and the Secret Fan' is told by Lily looking back on her life. We first meet her as a girl when she is 5 and wants her mother's love desperately. We learn that women are not valued in Chinese society and are a burden on families and Lily's family is poor. Then Lily's family is introduced to a matchmaker who thinks that Lily can have a laotong which is an honor and for women can be more important than a good marriage. It is a lifelong friendship with a woman. Laotong translates to "old same" and it means that the two women who are matched will have many things in common, like being born on the same day, having their feet bound on the same day, being from similar families, etc. Lily's laotong is Snow Flower and they write to each other through a secret female-only script known as nu shu. They do all of this writing on their fan and pass it back and forth. Lily and Snow Flower do their foot binding together. I think I found it easier to read about foot binding then to watch a PBS special about it because as painful as it sounded they could tell you what an honor it was to have perfect feet and it put it into a cultural perspective for me. I guess it felt less voyeuristic than watching a special about it on TV somehow if that makes sense. When Lily's feet come out perfectly she is able to marry to a higher position and elevate her role in the county.

As time marches on, we learn of a lie Snow Flower has told to Lily that entangles Lily's entire family and how Lily deals with this. We learn how Lily and Snow Flower take two different paths to dealing with the hard lives women had to lead in 19th Century China. I found all of this fascinating and the narrator did a great job making me feel the story and understand traditions that were foreign to me. If I was to find any fault in the book, it was that Lily often would foreshadow the happenings a little too heavy handedly. As in, "I shouldn't have gone there that day, for it would prove to be a mistake." She did this ALOT. Just let the story unfold. We can know that something bad is going to happen without you slapping our face with it. But seriously, I found the story fascinating, and clearly since it was national bestseller, so did a lot of other people!

(I purchased 'Snow Flower and the Secret Fan' at a garage sale.)


Maybe you've heard, but the FTC has come out with some crazy new rules for bloggers who recommend things, and so that means me. Here's what they mean for those who recommend books. So from now on at the bottom of any post in which I recommend a book I will tell you where I got it. Basically, since this blog is really new I've never gotten an Advanced Reader Copy, or as they call it in the biz, an ARC, but if I had, with the new rules, as of Dec. 1st I'd have to send it back after I'd read it which seems a little ridiculous if I hadn't asked for it in the first place, but whatever. I'll comply. So that's what the small font will be at the bottom of each book review now and I'll go back and change my previous posts as well.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Shakin' Up the Literary World SF Style

San Francisco's 10th annual literary festival, Litquake, starts this Friday so if you live in the Bay Area get excited! It's the West Coast's largest literary festival and it runs from Oct. 9th -17th. There are lots of cool and unique events (80 events total!) on tap boasting hundreds of authors over nine days. Looking at the schedule, some of the events that I think look exciting include:

FRIDAY, October 9

Black, White, and Read: Litquake’s Book Ball, 8 pm. Music! Dancing! Authors and more authors! Green Room, War Memorial Building. $19.99 including one drink and nibbles.

SUNDAY, October 11

Literary North Beach Walking Tour, 5 pm. A ramble through North Beach. Starts at: The Beat Museum, 540 Broadway. Free.

MONDAY, October 12

Getting Your First Book Published: A Publishing Industry Roundtable 3 pm. Foundation Center, 312 Sutter St. Free, but advance reservations required.

TUESDAY, October 13

Mary Roach, author of Stiff, Spook, and Bonk, at noon and 7 pm. Center for Literary Arts, Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, San Jose. Free. - If you haven't read any of her books yet you should, they are fascinating!

Christian Siriano, author of Fierce Style: How to Be Your Most Fabulous Self, 7 pm., Book Passage Corte Madera. Free. - Who didn't love him on Project Runway? Fierce!

WEDNESDAY, October 14

Amy Tan receives Litquake’s annual Barbary Coast Award at 8 pm. Tributes by her famous friends, music and mayhem. Herbst Theater.$25 general admission; $75 with post-event reception. - One of San Francisco's most famous authors!

With 80 events, there are plenty of other events and I hope you get out there and take advantage. If you do, I'd love to hear what you thought of it!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

For Your Christmas List!

The Winner of the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction was announced today, with Hilary Mantel's 'Wolf Hall' (to be released stateside on Oct. 13th) as this year's pick. Coming in at 560 pages it's a biggie but you might find it's worth it. I don't know about you but anytime I feel I am in a literary rut the Man Booker shortlist is one of the places I turn to find some great new reads as there is always something a little different. 'Wolf Hall' is a historical fiction book set during the time of Henry VIII. I'll review it soon ... when I have some serious time set aside! Look here for a good synopsis on all the shortlisted books to add to your wish lists!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Working With Color

My Inspiration (Photo courtesy of Flickr member Chotda)

My Results

I recently took on an auspicious redecorating project with my bookshelves. Living in San Francisco, space is a premium. Some day I dream of having a grand room dedicated just to books but that day is far off. At this point in my life, I just have a really big book case! But hey, its fancy. I recently upgraded from a $20 Ikea bookcase to a $200 dark wood bookcase so I treat it with care.

When I saw the above picture on multiple design blogs I had to see if I could emulate it. It was so beautiful to me! I was never the type to decorate my shelves like that. I always put them by color, but then by size and kept them separate on each shelf. Not flowing beautifully like that. So I took down all of mine, downloaded a color wheel and got started. What do you think? It's not as dramatic but I think it turned out pretty good! The only tricky party is when you get a new book, everything has to slide both directions but for now it is totally worth it!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Calling All Bay Area Nick Hornby Fans!

I am a HUGE fan of author Nick Hornby ('High Fidelity', 'About a Boy', 'How to be Good', etc.!) and he will be in-person for a Q&A and advance screening of his new film this Wednesday 10/7 in San Francisco at the Embarcadero Center Cinemas! He is there for a special advance screening of AN EDUCATION (a feature film starring Alfred Molina, Emma Thompson, and Peter Sarsgaard), written by Nick Hornby. Click here for more details and to buy tickets! Sorry to those of you not in the Bay Area but his author website shows some book signings for his new book 'Juliet, Naked' which I hope to be reviewing here soon!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pull Yourself Up By The Book Straps!

design*sponge book strap side table

I've been a huge fan of the design blog Design*Sponge for about a year now and every once in awhile they come out with some really cool design ideas for some of those old books you have lyin' around. I thought you all might be interested in this one. It's pretty cool and it doesn't look too hard! Click here for the full project directions and everything you'll need to complete this look!

I Had Such High Hopes...

'The Lost Dog'
Michelle de Kretser

Oh fair readers, I did NOT see this coming! I had such high hopes for my second book posting on this blog. The Lost Dog was one of THE books of 2008, nominated for a TON of awards and I was going to go on and on about "yes the judges were so correct!" "I have been moved!" Wrong! This may be a case of something too highly hyped that it has no hope but to let me down but who knows. In 2008 this book won Australia's "Book of the Year" Award - The Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, the Gold Medal from the Australian Literary Society, was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and was longlisted for the Orange Broadband Prize so I thought, I gotta read this!

'The Lost Dog' is a story about a man, Tom Loxley, who loses his dog Gus (hence the title). Its supposed to be a story full of great mysteries, so the first one is, does the dog live or die? Well really, can you sustain this plot line over 300 pages? There are only 2 options here. Of course we all want the dog to live but the story must of course verge off of this plot line in order to keep the reader interested and that's where it got confusing to me.

The book is divided into days, not chapters. Throughout these days we learn of Tom's past, how he came to Australia from Asia at the age of 12, and we meet his family. I found a lot of this part interesting but there was so much jumping back and forth in time I feel as though if any book should have been in chapters, and not days, it would be this one. We learn about his mother, who is still alive but not for long and his relationship with her. We learn about Tom's ex-wife. But maybe that's the problem with this book for me. I felt like we "learned" about all of these people but never really connected with them and therefore it was not a great book, one deserving of so many accolades. At least for me.

Another great "mystery" of the book is Nelly Zhang. Tom's has a "romance" with Nelly Zhang. I put romance in quotes because while they love each other she won't even hold his hand, and no they aren't 12, they are both divorcees. Apparently Nelly has been in some trouble with the law before due to her first marriage. The problem is, while this may have been a fascinating story, the author kept jumping to the many other characters she wanted to keep us up on so it got incredibly confusing. Present, past. What's happening? I don't care! I tried, I really did, but at 200 pages I said "Oh forget it."

Has anyone else read this book and had a differing opinion? If so, I'd love to hear it!

(I got my copy of 'The Lost Dog' from
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