May 30, 2008

winner!

Random.org has chosen....

Petunia from Educating Petunia
as the winner
of my Kaye Gibbons giveaway!

Congrats, Petunia! Send me your address, there's two books coming your way!

May 29, 2008

Infant Potty Training

A Gentle and Primeval Method Adapted to Modern Living
by Laurie Bouke

This was not the first book I read on the subject of infant potty training (also called elimination communication) but it is certainly the most in-depth resource I found. The idea is that instead of using diapers, you can learn what signals your baby gives when they need to eliminate, teach them a cue, and have them go in the toilet or a small pot. Infant Potty Training contains detailed explanations of the method, compares it with the more conventional toilet training (at toddler age), examines misconceptions about infant potty training, relates stories and testimonials from parents in the US and other countries who used this method, and includes a survey of toilet training methods (and attitudes) in different cultures, as well as an extensive reference guide for further information. By far the most useful part to me was the first section, which not only explains how to learn mutual communication with your infant about elimination needs, but also outlines how to teach an older infant, how to use the method in combination with diapers, how to involve other caregivers and handling the inevitable accidents and setbacks.

This method is certainly not for everyone. If you're uncomfortable with bodily functions, the myriad of photos illustrating infants urinating or defecating can be very unpleasant, and the idea of things like baby peeing in a sink or having repeated accidents on the floor seems downright unsanitary. We tried this method but began rather late; I switched my daughter to cloth diapers at eight months and began introducing the potty at nine months. The ideal age to begin using EC seems to be newborn to three months. I combined some conventional methods with the ones outlined in this book, since she was older. She ended up being pretty reliable about using the potty at just over a year. My husband pointed out several times that we might as well have just done conventional toilet training; she was "completely potty trained" about the same time as other kids who never used EC. Still, I feel that I had some success and who can tell if she would have easily gone through potty training at two or three years old? If I have another child, I would try this method from day one.

Rating: 4/5 ........ 492 pages, 2002

May 28, 2008

Ronia, the Robber's Daughter

by Astrid Lindgren

This charming story is of an outlaw family of thieves, living in a forest. Ronia, the key character doesn't realize at first that her family's means of living is morally wrong. She befriends a boy from an enemy group of robbers. Together they explore the forest, deliberately face their fears, and learn great lessons of love, trust and forgiveness. Full of strong emotions, very realistic characters, fantastic creatures and lots of adventure, Ronia, the Robber's Daughter was a really enjoyable read. In some ways it felt to me rather like a meeting of Peter Pan and Robin Hood. There's also a sense of the Romeo and Juliet story, because of the boy/girl friendship from rival, feuding families.

If I had come across this book as a kid, I'm sure I would have loved it. It's one I want to make sure to read to my own daughter someday. I think this book would especially appeal to young girls because it features a young girl who is admirably brave and resourceful, yet has her own human faults as well. Ronia is one of the best young female protagonists I've read of. Much bolder than Heidi and not nearly as silly as Pippi Longstocking.

Rating: 4/5 ........ 176 pages, 1985

May 27, 2008

book giveaway

Win a free book!
This week's giveaway includes two novels by Kaye Gibbons:


Sights Unseen and A Cure for Dreams. Both copies used to reside in a public library, but they're in excellent condition! To enter, leave a comment by fri 5/30. Mention this giveaway on your blog, let me know about it and you get two entries.

winner!

.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

CONGRATULATIONS

Steph
of The Kea

You've won a copy of The Children's Ward!
Email me your postal address & I'll send it along shortly.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

May 26, 2008

Animals of the North

by William O. Pruitt

This one was rather disappointing. I picked it up randomly from The Book Thing several months ago. I read it to compare to Icebound Summer, since it describes different animal life of the northern region: red squirrel, arctic hare, arctic wolf, caribou, moose, lynx, etc. At first I enjoyed the writing more; the descriptions of the foreign, ice-clad landscape were easier for me to picture in my mind. (Despite the constant use of several Eskimo terms for "snow" which kept confusing me). Animals of the North concerns itself a lot with ecology and the upset humans have caused in Alaskan wildlife. Its information feels a bit outdated, sometimes preachy, and perhaps intended for a juvenile audience. After about 100 pages my interest really began to flag, and I just skimmed the last 70.

This book has also been published under the title Wild Harmonies. The flyleaf says that it "will delight readers of Lois Crisler's Arctic Wild" and that the author's "original and gripping dramatizations of [the] animals will make the book a classic." I think it failed on those points. I love Crisler's books, which are much better written. It doesn't compare. And I hardly believe Animals of the North even approaches being a classic. I'd never heard of it before, and can only find one other opinion of it online, this brief review on Amazon (by someone who appreciated the book better than I).

Abandoned .....1/5.. 173 pages, 1960

May 25, 2008

The Burning Season

The Murder of Chico Mendes and the Fight for the Amazon Rain Forest
by Andrew Revkin

I like some of the music by Mana, and one of their songs "Cuando los Angeles Lloran" begins like this:

A chico Méndez lo mataron
Era un defensor y un ángel de toda la amazonia
él murío a sangre fría
Lo sabía Collor De Melo y también la policia

Roughly translated, that says:

They killed Chico Mendez
He was a defender and angel of all the Amazon
He died in cold blood
Collor de Mello knew it, and so did the police...

I had no idea what this song was really about, until I read The Burning Season, one of the books my husband brought into our home. In an easy-flowing, detailed narrative, Revkin relates the plight of the Amazon rainforest, and political turmoil in Brazil. Chico Mendes was a native Brazilian whose living came from extracting rubber and gathering brazil nuts from the trees, in a carefully planned manner which left little impact on the forest and kept the resource renewable. In 1988 he was murdered by a group with conflicting interests: cattle ranchers who were clearing the land for their own use. I felt astonished, dismayed and outraged at what I read in this book. It taught me a lot about an issue I've always heard of, but felt far removed from. Have any of you read this book?

Rating: 4/5 ........ 336 pages, 1994

May 24, 2008

Sign with Your Baby

How to Communicate with Infants Before They Can Speak
by Jospeh Garcia

In going backwards through my book log, I'm now coming across all the titles I read about babies and pregnancy when my daughter was small. I know they're not of interest to everybody, so I'm going to try and intersperse them evenly with the fiction and other topics. I'm kind of hitting them in reverse order: potty training, weaning, breastfeeding, pregnancy. There's a few on other child-related subjects, like this one.

Sign with Your Baby was a good resource for me. Basically, the idea is that you can teach your older baby / young toddler simple sign language to facilitate communication before they're able to talk. It cuts down on frustration from having a wailing toddler who just points or screams, and you have no idea what they want. This book briefly outlines why it's helpful to teach sign language to babies, and how to do it (in very specific steps). There are about 140 ASL signs described, but I didn't find them all useful with a toddler. It took a lot of patience for me to get started- I was using the sign "more" for about a month before I recognize my daughter's first attempt at it. But after that she learned about a dozen signs that she used regularly for a while. I was excited when we would recognize what other babies signed with their caregivers in public, and once or twice my daughter even used signs to communicate with another toddler during play. Now she's three and doesn't remember any of them. I didn't keep up with it long because she began speaking pretty soon, and it took time/effort for me to learn the signs myself. But for several months her little hands would gesture to indicate more, eat, milk, all done, go, please, thank you, story, potty, etc.

Rating: 3/5 ........ 112 pages, 2002

May 23, 2008

Icebound Summer

by Sally Carrighar

I was a little disappointed with this book, but I think that's just because for some reason I had the expectation that it would be like the previous Carrighar books I've read. Icebound Summer describes one season in the arctic, each chapter (which leads into the next one but doesn't necessarily overlap) focused on a particular animal. The vast, frozen landscape is a prominent feature against which seals, foxes, lemmings, whales, loons, terns, plover, walrus and men make their living. Other animals are secondary characters: gulls, orcas, caribou. Whereas in her previous books I felt like I was inside the mind of the animal, with this one I was more just an observer. My favorite chapter is one titled "The Brave Fawns" which features an illustration of a young caribou on the first page. I was expecting to read about the arctic deer, but instead it told of two Eskimo children who were left in camp while their parents went hunting. When the adults failed to return, the children were forced to attempt survival on their own.

I happen to really like the first cover featured here, but my old, rather worn copy actually looks like the one at left. I would give it a new face, except that the jacket flyleaf presents information I appreciated about the author, particularly that she spent several years in Alaska observing wildlife, accompanying Eskimos on seal and whale hunts, and traveling "more than four thousand miles in search of lemmings, for she felt that no book about arctic wildlife would be complete without authentic details concerning those legendary rodents." That helped stem my incredulity when I read her account of lemmings plunging into the sea, or a walrus that killed and ate seals. I looked it up: these things really do happen as she described. I never would have known.

Rating: 3/5 ........ 262 pages, 1953

May 22, 2008

found by...

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Since I started my stat counter in Aug 2007, I've been able to see actual keywords people plug into google to find my blog. It amuses me. Most readers come across my blog via book titles or authors (of course!) but I do get some strange ones. Here's some that really made me wonder: what were they looking for, or what did they find when they landed here?

oil painting of country doctor and dying child
recent shocking dog disasters boston
children's book lesbian chickens
snow white human nature
julie gregory hoax
housekeeping vs. a maid
fixing toddlers pronunciation
how to quit a nanny position
duck feet pictures
stepsister naked stories
petunia the monkey painting
the horses began to flag
students dont do reading homework
lion thing with three horns
opinion of a vet about zoos are good
viking grave drawings
movie on conformity/individualism

The craziest one I think is "children's book lesbian chickens" What?!! And the one that really made me laugh was "students dont do reading homework". Sometimes I'll see the same title got five, ten hits in a row and it makes me wonder if it's kids looking for something to copy for a homework assignment. Occasionally it's a little more blatant: "help me write a 5th grade book report on old yeller" and "what is the main lesson old yeller" were hits on the same day! I don't approve of plagarism, but I suppose I can't avoid this sort of thing.

link review policy

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I've been watching the Weekly Geeks lately. While I have (yet) no desire to officially join the group, I really like the idea of review link exchanges so I'm going to make it policy on my blog. Here's how it works:

If you and I have reviewed the same book on our blogs, send me the link to your review, and I'll add it to the bottom of my post about the same book. Readers can then easily access different opinions of the same book. I'll be doing this retroactively as well as on all future posts. Here's my list of books reviewed. Please email your links to (jeanenevarez AT gmail DOT com). I don't like having links in comments, but if that's easier for you, leave your link in the comment and I'll move it to the post.

I'm looking forward to hearing from all my fellow book bloggers!

May 21, 2008

Forever

by Pete Hamill

In 1740, an Irish boy arrives in America, fleeing famine in his home country and pursuing revenge of his father's death. He makes friends with a black slave, who saves his life with some voodoo magic that grants him the gift of eternal life, as long as he never steps off of Manhattan Island. Forever tells the story of New York, covering some three hundred years of change, growth, revolution, etc. through the eyes of this one character. It is quite in-depth and detailed, yet gets tedious at times. The amount of attention given to different periods of New York felt rather unbalanced: two-thirds of the book covers the 17-1800's, leaving the 1900's and more current events (like 9-11) feeling rather tacked on at the end. And those were the parts I might have related to more, and been more interested in! Actually, my favorite part of the book was the beginning, when it was set in Ireland with the mythical stories and Celtic lore.

I found this book to be better than Winter's Tale (a similar story), but still did not care much for it. My chief complaint is probably its length. The story began to drag, I lost interest in the main character, he seemed to loose his purpose, it all became rather boring. I'm actually rather surprised that I finished it. I don't think I'm going to try and read any more books about the history of a city. I've discovered it's just not my thing.

Rating: 2/5 ........ 613 pages, 2003

May 20, 2008

BOOK GIVEAWAY

Win a Free Book!
My next book giveaway is a hardbound copy of The Children's Ward, by Howard Weiner. Leave a comment to enter by tuesday 5/27 for a chance to win! This book is looking for an appreciative reader... could that be you?

Embraced by the Light

by Betty Eadie

I read this book out of pure curiosity after being told not to. Now I can't recall who warned me against reading it, or why they did so. In Embraced by the Light, Betty Eadie recounts a near-death experience she had when dying on a operating table, then being revived. Most of the book is about her experience visiting "heaven" and all the questions she had answered there, told in lots of details. I was rather surprised to find that a lot of concepts were very close to those taught in the LDS church, is she Mormon? The book is written in a very simplistic style, so it's a pretty quick read. There's a lot of internal contradictions, and although the main message seems to be one of acceptance and unconditional love, overall it came across as being rather cheesy and unbelievable. I rate it a "2" because at least I finished it, and at the time it made me think about some religious ideas. I remember discussing it some with A. But now I can't remember most of the details. It was pretty forgettable. I categorize it here under "Inspirational" books because well, that's the topic and I know lots of people have found it inspiring. But I didn't. Oh, and I really dislike the cover image. Something about it just makes me cringe.

Rating: 2/5 ........ 147 pages, 1992

May 19, 2008

Call It Sleep

by Henry Roth

This is one I picked up years ago purely on whim from a secondhand store, which has become one of the treasured books in my library. I've probably read it a dozen times, and enjoyed every one. Call It Sleep is a vividly painted experience of Jewish immigration in the early 1900's. It is told through the eyes of a child, David Schearl, who arrives from Austria-Hungary as a toddler with his parents. The book encompasses several years of David's childhood, as he navigates the streets and gangs of a poor New York neighborhood, the stifling cheder where he learns the Hebrew of his heritage, and the tumult of his family life (his father paranoid and violent, his mother meek and secretive). One of the great things about this novel is its use of language. Yiddish is the most fluid and pure language, (written as English in the book). David's awkwardness with English and the slang of the street kids are rendered phonetically. Then there are Hebrew and Polish phrases, languages David struggles to understand- Hebrew veiling the secrets of religion he yearns to own, Polish used by his parents to conceal information from his innocent ears. But David wants most of all to understand, to belong, to feel safe- and his quest soon brings him to a loss of innocence. I've never read another book that more eloquently depicts what it is like inside the mind of a child. Highly recommended.

Rating: 5/5 ........ 462 pages, 1934

May 18, 2008

Geek Love

by Katherine Dunn

Another book recommended by a family member- this time my husband. It's one I felt quite unsettled by, and at the end still unsure exactly what to make of it. It is well-written, interesting and hard to put down. Until you start to feel utterly disgusted. Geek Love is about a family of freaks, in a traveling circus. There is a boy with flippers instead of arms, an albino midget, a pair of siamese twins, etc. But their parents intentionally used drugs, chemicals and radiation during pregnancy in order to create a family of freaks. If that isn't horrifying enough, the manipulative, greedy and egoistic characters are pretty unpleasant, and there are lots of disturbing situations, including the building of cults, incest and intentional self-mutilation for attention. I really didn't understand most of this book and found most of the characters unlikeable. I only finished it because A. said what a great book it was, but I found I couldn't really agree with him. I'd like to know what others think of it, do let me know if you've read it as well.

Rating: 2/5 ........ 355 pages, 1989

More opinions at:
Hey, Lady! Whatcha Readin'?
Both Eyes Book Blog
Books for Breakfast
Fizzy Thoughts
books i done read

May 17, 2008

winner!

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My husband participated this time, drawing the name from a handheld fan of paper slips. Congratulations go to . . . . .

Heatherlo of Book Addiction.
You're a winner!


Sending a copy of The Awakening your way.
Just drop me an email with your address.

May 16, 2008

The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats

A Journey Into the Feline Heart
by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

When I began reading this book, I wasn't really enjoying it much. I disagreed with many of Masson's observations, was skeptical about his conclusions and a bit bored. But the more I read the more interesting it got, and by the end I'd decided it will definitely remain in my library. My husband picked the book up once, read a page at random, and began laughing. He really wants to read it himself now, too.

The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats is similar in many ways to Elizabeth Thomas Marshall's The Hidden Life of Dogs (which Masson himself refers to several times, being a personal friend of Marshall's- a fact that tickled me pink). Marshall's book is the result of an experiment in which she followed free-roaming dogs, to discover what they do when left to their own devices. Similarly, Masson - a psychoanalyst- went out and purposefully acquired five cats to live with him, then observed their behavior and interactions. Each chapter of the book examines in depth the character of cats via nine distinct emotions or mental states: narcissism, love, contentment, attachment, jealousy, fear, anger, curiosity and playfulness.

As the book- and Masson's relationship with his cats- progressed, I was surprised and intrigued to see how his cats' behavior changed. They became more bold, confident and affectionate. They accompanied him on daily walks along the beach- even in rain- and made friendly advances on the neighborhood dogs. I enjoyed speculating along with the author why cats do many eccentric things, and comparing his observations with my own experiences living with cats. If you've ever lived with a cat, or wondered at their alien nature- aloof, uninvolved, mysterious- you will certainly enjoy and learn from this book.

Rating: 4/5........ 259 pages, 2002

More opinions at: The Stay at Home Bookworm

May 14, 2008

Jackdaws

by Ken Follett

This fast-paced, suspenseful war novel was recommended to me by my father. It's one I probably wouldn't have picked up on my own. Based on true events, Jackdaws tells the story of a group of secret agents who went into France near the end of WWII. Their mission was to take out the main telephone exchange, in order to disrupt German communications. The team was made entirely of women. Warfare, code-breaking and secret spies are not usually among my reading subjects, but this book was one I could not put down. I was immediately caught up in the suspense and twists of plot, wanting to know what happened next, if the characters would achieve their aim, and survive to tell about it. I pass on the recommendation: this book is a darn good read.

Rating: 3/5........ 451 pages, 2001

May 13, 2008

BOOK GIVEAWAY

Win a Free Book!
I've decided to make giving away books on my blog a regular thing. At least once a week, is the plan. Most of my giveaway books are ones that somehow came into my collection but I never liked them, so I'm glad to find them new homes with readers who will appreciate them. Others are multiple copies of books I've loved. I used to pass these up with a sigh at secondhand shops and library sales, because I wanted them but couldn't justify spending money on books I already own. Now I have a reason to gather extra volumes of my favorite books- I can put them in the hands of fellow readers!


So here's the next one up for grabs- an ex-library paperback (in good shape) of Kate Chopin's The Awakening. Anyone want it? Leave a comment here to be entered to win by Sat 5/17. Spread the word (don't foret to let me know about it) and you get entered twice. Sorry, only open to US and Canada residents.

May 12, 2008

winner!

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My three year old wanted to participate, so she and I made a game out of choosing the winner for my giveaway of The Country Life. I wrote the names out on a piece of paper (nine, my lucky number!) and then she

snipped them apart,

helped fold,

found a cup from her picnic set,

and picked out the winner!


Hil'Lesha, congratualtions!

I'll be sending you an email for your postal address presently. Thanks for visiting my blog and participating. Look for more giveaways coming up soon!

May 10, 2008

Meme: Six Random Things

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Eva from A Striped Armchair tagged me for this meme a while ago; sorry I'm so tardy! Well, here's some random tidbits about myself:

1. I can wiggle my ears. Separately.

2. I can't stand driving with the window down and having my hair blow all over (and no, it's not styled.) It just annoys me to have wind in my hair! I've never ridden in a convertible, but the idea of it makes me shudder.

3. I prefer to wash dishes by hand. The dishwasher is storage space.

4. I don't like avocados. I lived in San Francisco for several years and people were always astonished that I couldn't stand the slimy green mushy things. Avocados are apparently a favorite of native Californians.

5. I have a habit (annoying to others, soothing to me) of fanning or thumbing the pages of a book continually while I read. I'm sure it looks really weird, and it bugs some people. I don't know why I do it. Nervous habit, I suppose.

6. I know how to drive a forklift. Despite the fact that I keep getting urged to seek an office job (which pays better) my warehouse job (summers as a college student) remains my favorite- probably because it was active work that didn't involve pleasing customers!

I don't know who to tag; probably everyone who wanted to has already done this meme. But if you haven't, consider yourself included and play along!

May 9, 2008

Nop's Hope

by Donald McCaig

Whenever I start skimming a book instead of reading it, I know it's time to quit and find something better to read. This book just wasn't doing it for me after about eighty pages. I probably should have known better than to even try it, after reading several reviews that indicated people who really liked Nop's Trials didn't care for Nop's Hope. I felt kinda marginal about Nop's Trials to begin with. In Nop's Hope, the focus seems to be more on Penny's struggles than on the dogs. And it was the dogs' perspectives and descriptions of their work that I really enjoyed in the first novel. The story is told in the same dry, rather choppy fashion, which worked okay when I was half-distracted waiting at the motor vehicle office to get my new lisence, but failed to engage me in the quiet of my home. Time to move on again.

Abandoned ..0/5.... 230 pages, 1994

May 8, 2008

Witness to War

An American Doctor in El Salvador
by Charles Clements

Dr. Charles Clements is a physician who in 1982 went to El Salvador to provide basic medical care for civilians in several rural communities. In his book Witness to War, Clements gives an insider's look of US oppression in El Salvador and other Central American countries, and what the lives and sufferings of the guerillas were like. I found it interesting to read about the rural lifestyles in El Salvador, and how severely affected the people were by lack of adequate health care, supplies or basic education. Dr. Clements worked hard to improve their situation, and the more involved he became with the local people, the more he questioned what American forces were doing in El Salvador, even though he tried to remain neutral to both sides. A very fascinating and inspiring book. What I like most about it is its portrait of the central american peoples, how they lived and survived in a time of warfare.

Rating: 3/5........ 320 pages, 1984

May 7, 2008

One Day At Teton Marsh

by Sally Carrighar

Like One Day on Beetle Rock, this charming nature novel tells of a day's events through the experiences of fourteen different animals. It is set in a marsh at Jackson Hole, Wyoming and based on hours the author spent watching the native wildlife. One Day at Teton Marsh features otters, trout, osprey, mosquitoes, scud, mink, a hare, merganser, moose, leech, frog, snail, trumpeter swan and beaver. I enjoyed this book more than Beetle Rock, because it features a storm, which introduces more drama than just the everyday survival habits of the animals, and because the intertwining of storylines At Teton Marsh is really well done. Not only do you see how each animal experiences the same event (the storm) but also how closely they relate to and influence each other, even without meaning to. It's fascinating. If you like reading about nature, I highly recommend this book. Now I really need to get my hands on Icebound Summer, which is a similar Carrighar book I haven't read yet.

Rating: 4/5 ........ 253 pages, 1955

May 6, 2008

Wyoming Summer

by Mary O'Hara

I can't remember how I came across this book, but I'm certainly glad I did. Mary O'Hara's books about a Wyoming horse ranch- My Friend Flicka, Thunderhead and Green Grass of Wyoming have long been favorites of mine. So I was thrilled to find this fourth volume. I thought it was a continuation of the Goose Bar Ranch story, but I was wrong. It's a semi-autobiographical novel based on O'Hara's diary. I was surprised to learn that long before writing novels, Mary O'Hara worked on screenplays for Hollywood, and composed music for the piano. Her descriptions of the Wyoming land and ranch life are pleasant, and the way she writes about music is simply wonderful. It's usually difficult for me to imagine hearing music by reading about it, but O'Hara's words bring the music vividly to my ears. Wyoming Summer traces the path she took from composer of music to writer of beloved novels. This book is a real jewel and one I hope I can add to my personal library someday.

Rating: 4/5 ........ 286 pages, 1963

BOOK GIVEAWAY

Win a Free book!
I'm giving away my (slightly used) copy of The Country Life, by Rachel Cusk. If you'd like to win this book, just leave a comment here! You have until sunday 5/11/08, I'll announce the winner sometime monday, and somebody will have a book in the mail! Sorry, but at the present moment my giveaways are only open to US or Canadian residents. I just can't afford to send books overseas right now.

For a second entry, mention my givewaway on your blog (with a link back to this post) and leave another comment here so I know about it!

May 5, 2008

The Country Life

by Rachel Cusk

I actually finished reading this book a day or two ago, but my house is still in such chaos from moving I didn't have a moment to sit down until now.

What a curious book. Part of me felt compelled by it, so that I was really immersed while in the moment of reading. The other half of me felt frustrated by it, over and over again. The Country Life is about a city girl, Stella, who suddenly drops everything in her life, gets rid of her apartment, destroys years' worth of memorabilia, evades her family and disappears into the country where she takes a job as an au pair. The family is rich and eccentric. They own a farm, but not much is described of farm life, or about the country at all except the excruciating heat and a few incidents where she gets severe allergies from walking through a grain field. The teenager she's there to take care of is disabled and in a wheelchair, but except for one awkward afternoon at an activity center for disabled kids, the issue is never really treated seriously.

Instead, what we get are endless pages of Stella's internal dilemmas over the smallest things. She worries herself over every little incident like whether her employer will notice she's worn the same clothes twice, what the checker will think of her purchase at the grocery store, or which path she should take to the front door. Every little personal interaction is analyzed too, especially what everyone thinks of her and how she fits into conversations. It is an interesting look at human nature, but sadly this is the main strength of the novel. There were so many tantalizing pieces of the story left incomplete and unanswered that ultimately I found the ending unsatisfying. It felt unfinished. But as a redeeming factor, there are some completely hilarious parts, like where her inability to drive (a requirement of the job) is suddenly discovered and she attempts to learn on the spot, or when she accidentally breaks a bottle of champagne, drinks herself silly and then knocks the family dog senseless with a lawn umbrella.

Rating: 3/5........ 342 pages, 1997

May 1, 2008

winner!

Announcing the winner of my
Book Mooch points giveaway....

Swapna!

Congratulations! Let us all know what you mooch (for curiosity's sake). Sorry for the delay everyone; I just barely got online again today and have been far too busy with the new house to even attempt a library visit. Swapna, I'll gift you the points momentarily before I go offline.