Saturday, January 24, 2015

And the Winner Is . . . .


It's been a great week!  Full of work -- I don't talk about it often, but I love my job.  I love the people and the puzzles, and helping people dream big.  Of course, when not at work, I love to dream big myself, mostly in ways related to my degree -- that being An English Degree, and also related to my upbringing in a very musical family, who exposed me to theatre early, when my sister played Amaryllis in The Music Man.  

So, this week, I got to go with two lovely friends to Dallas Theater Center's production of The Book Club.  It was so wonderful!  Great appeal to modern audience of readers and -dare I say it - nonreaders of all levels, it explored what we read and why, and who gets to talk about that with us (or drink and eat with us, if they haven't read the book, and do they belong or not??).  I'd read almost all the books discussed and I think had every single one of the conversations -- except the twist of the unhidden camera for a documentary that caught some rather funny things.  Humans are so surprising.  I loved it!!


Of course, I read. I enjoyed my family.  I worked more.  I watched one TV show (yes, Downton Abbey).  One night, I worked with the actresses who have been cast in 5 Women Wearing the Same Dress, and that was so wonderful.  They really took me places.  
On another very wonderful night this week,  I went  with my girlfriends for a girl's night out treat of seeing these charming puppets at Paris Community Theatre's side splitting production of Avenue Q.  (If you aren't easily offended and love to laugh at our humanness, don't miss this!!)


I worked more, enjoyed my husband and father, son and daughter.  It's been a busy and wonderful week.  I even got to write during the holiday.

And now today, I get to participate in National Readathon Day. Hubby asked me last night -- so what are you doing tomorrow?  HAHA!  I'm reading!  I'm reading! 




I decided not to fundraise because I've so vocally fundraised for PCT's building fund
-- (We have raised aprox. $68,000.00 of $70,000.00 dollars to date!!!!  Thank you Paris!!).  So I donated through Books on a Nightstand -- a blog and much more about books and bookish thoughts.  Then, I raised awareness in Paris by starting the fun #parisreads hashtag -- all names and books of thosewho participated were put in a vase that was full this morning.





Just in time for me to draw the lucky winner of this great book -- "Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel.  Even better, the book is signed.



 Congrats Jeannie Plummer -- enjoy your book!  (Hey, if you ever get rid of it, I get first dibs).  Thank you to all who participated, we'll do it again soon.  I'll put a list here of the books you were  reading, in case you need a suggestion for what to read.  Here they are:

The Husband's Secret
The Invention of Wings (multiple times)
To Kill a Mockingbird
Big Little Lies (multiple)
Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity
Divergent
Voyager
One Word That Will Change Your Life
The Rosie Effect
Fifty Shades of Grey
Talking from 9 to 5
Astronaut Wives' Club
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Well Played Life
Seige and Storm
Goldfinch
The Tuesday Morning Club
E. Aster Bunymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth's Core
Killing Patton
Brown Girl Dreaming
My Farm Animals
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Above the East China Sea
Invisible Thread
X vs. Y
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

Pretty Decent List, I'd say!  Can't wait to do it again, I'll announce the next prize soon.  Remember, you can put it on any social media that I'm on -- Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+ or even respond here (you have to be a Google+ member for security purposes). - I'm not sure if it works on Goodreads, but I'd be willing to try and figure that one out, such as by me starting a #ParisReads listmania that we can all access.   And because this is a small enough place, and many of you tell me, if you tell me I'll put yours down for you.  But I've decided that if you put it down yourself it will be worth two entries.  Better yet, if you share a picture of your book (any picture will do if you are listening or using an ebook) with the #parisreads hashtag,  that will be worth three entries.

Anyone can take advantage of this list - which I have already found helpful as I have recently been in a real dreadful lull.  Just search with #parisreads, and you might find something you enjoy.

Also, yes, I did include those of you who are connected in some way, have lived here or are a part of the bookish social media presence spurring on the knowledge that yes, even without a book store, even in the middle of one of the famed No Man's Land, even by the edge of one of the borders of Texas, even two hours away from anywhere, Paris does indeed Read.





Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Great Torture 2014 -- *Spoiler Alert* The Paying Guests

The Paying GuestsThe Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

[BTW already a number of people have entries in #parisreads, and are going to participate in National Readathon Day.  Yay!!  Click Here to Learn More]

Via Audio  -  This may be worthy of my 2014 Best Book I Hated, because that is how I felt 75% of the way through, but in the end I didn't hate it, I was just tortured by it. So I guess it gets the Great 2014 Pure Chinese Torture Award.
It's very well written, and just about gave me a heart attack.  It typically doesn't take me but about 3 or 4 days to read a book like this,  but this one,  about a quarter in,  I didn't want to read but couldn't stop. I almost quit reading about 30 times I'm sure, but in the end I kept having to return.  Curiosity Killed the Cat indeed!  I know it would have been less torture to read by book than by audio, because the narrator did a far superior job of telling the story that I every could have in my mind.  

I can't tell you anymore without spoilers so stop here if you don't want anything revealed.

**** SPOLIER ALERT ****

I picked this up because it made it through several rounds of Goodreads Best Book awards, which is always a great indication for a common reading fanatic. It was in the general lit category, otherwise I wouldn't have read it.   In a way, I feel betrayed by that and place the blame on the publisher label.  Yes it is well written,  so deserving of the lit title, but isn't it also a thriller? Close to an erotic thriller?  Shouldn't the general public have been fairly warned?  I thought I was getting a Downton Abbeyish, Atonement, Brideshead Revisited type book. Instead, I got a torrid love affair -not quite 50 Shades but still- and Crime and Punishment.

The set up is easy: Frances and her mother have fallen on hard times after the War, so they take on lodgers they call "Paying Guests" in order to soften the blow of their slide from the middle class.  The lodgers, both of them, are clearly going to shake up Frances' life by some love interest or other.  You know it could go any old way.

Here is the spoiler - Frances and Lilian fall into each other's arms with a passion that rivals the pain of Helen and Paris, and I say that because it ends up being devastating to all who surround them - and as with those two, you never know if they are truly in love, or just in blinding, selfish lust.  There are several references to Anna Karrinina, and -this being a literary book- you know that no word is wasted so you keep that in the back of your mind the entire length of the book.

An earthquake of an event happens and that is where the book becomes Crime and Punishment.  I won't tell you what happens, that is enough of a spoiler.   It is an incredible rendition of a C&P twist - with its mental gymnastics and mind boggling questions and doubts.  It was devastating and exhausting to me,  I just hate that torment. I'm probably more sensitive to it than most. I know it is because of the life I have.  I choose to not watch it on TV, I'm not numbed to it, I can never be.  So it was torment.  But such well written torment!  So if you can stand all that, it's a real page turner.  And if you haven't read C&P, this will be an excellent mod primer for you.

What is the moral of the story?   Know what you are getting, because if you get vested in this you need to just prepare everyone in your life that you are reading this book that you are going to have to talk about and put down and pick up, ad nauseum, until you either finish it or get therapy over it.


View all my reviews

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Putting Jan 24 on the Calendar - #parisreads



The January Paris Life is out, it just keeps getting better and better!  I loved so much of it, (including the closet confidential and the beard grooming tips).   


Here is my book column from December's Paris Life, which sparked a conversation with many of you that January's column answered.  (Go buy your copy or internet access to see that and find out about #parisreads , style, and how to groom that beard).  

I'm wondering if any of you gave or got books for Christmas, and what you are reading?  In the January column, I asked you to let me know what you are reading, with the hashtag #parisreads.  You can do that here (you  have to be on googleplus to be able to comment, to protect us from spam), or on twitter @sydsavvy, or on my Facebook page.  Anything works!  



To thank you for your answers, I'm going to give away a SIGNED copy of this book I love.   



(This is painful, I want to keep it, but I specifically bought it at BookPeople in Austin just for you, so I'm going to stick to my resolve.)  



You can comment through January 24.

Why that day?  

Because that is National Readathon Day, and I am participating!  It is a day when I vow to take time to read from noon to four. 


Permission to READ!!  From noon to four! Yay!

I've already made my donation to the National Book Foundation, but I would like to make a donation to a local book or reading oriented cause or organization.  Does anyone want to sponsor me to read? Anyone want to suggest who I (or we) should donate our funds to?   

Anyone want to join me?  Will you please take #taketimetoread ? And till then, let me know what #parisreads .  I know you do because you tell me you do.  Let's show the world we do.  Give me lots of people to draw from for the very fun, award winning Station Eleven.