Archive for March, 2010

March 23rd, 2010

The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris

by Gwen


The Unnamed

I knew nothing about this book. The cover has just been floating around in my brain for a while for some reason, so when I saw it at the library, I grabbed it. I didn’t read the blurb until I got home.

Tim Farnsworth is a handsome, healthy man, aging with the grace of a matinee idol. His wife, Jane, still loves him, and for all its quiet trials, their marriage is still stronger than most. Despite long hours at the office, he remains passionate about his work, and his partnership at a prestigious Manhattan law firm means that the work he does is important. And even as his daughter, Becka, retreats behind her guitar, her dreadlocks, and her puppy fat, he offers her every one of a father’s honest lies about her being the most beautiful girl in the world.

He loves his wife, his family, his work, his home. He loves his kitchen. And then one day he stands up and walks out. And keeps walking.

Hmm. Looked promising and now that I have finished, I am still looking for the promising somewhat.

Tim Farnsworth does indeed walk out on his family, but not to some fabulous wife with a young secretary or anything. He literally walks and walks and walks. He can’t stop walking, no matter that it is the dead of winter or that his toes are falling off from frostbite. He has been to countless specialists, tried every cleanse known to man and at times has his wife and daughter handcuff him to the bed. Nothing works, he just takes off.

This may sound a bit comedic, but it isn’t. I hated him for it. I can always find a tiny bit of sympathy for the most evil character in a book, not this guy. He absolutely refuses to accept that it might be a mental disorder and won’t listen to anyone that doesn’t concur with him that it is a physical malady. He can’t be nuts, so he isn’t. Never mind the fact that he worries his family to death and often calls them to pick him up miles away in the middle of god knows where wearing nothing but his boxers. He is destroying his wife and daughter’s lives, but he just keeps walking.

In the end, The Unnamed is a bit of a love story. His family learns to let go and get on with their own lives. They love him, but realize that they can’t expect anything from him. It reminded me of the tough love mantra I learned in college psychology courses for dealing with alcoholics and the like. “Let go with love.” (I never liked that phrase then and still can’t pull it off now)

Am I glad that I read the book? Sure, I am grateful for every book that I get to read.

Would I suggest that you read it? Not really. Some will enjoy it, but I am having a hard time deciding what group I would suggest it to.

The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris

Hardcover: 320 pages

Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books (January 18, 2010)

ISBN-10: 0316034010

ISBN-13: 978-0316034012


March 21st, 2010

What Are You Reading? (March 21, 2010)

by Gwen

Books completed last week:

The following books were read and reviewed for a publication. I may do mini reviews here, but the for the whole shebang you will have to check out the San Francisco or Sacramento Book Review when they are published.

Books on tap for this week:

Posts/Reviews last week:

Books I Still Need to Write Reviews On:

too many to count.

My Good News:

This week was a challenge. The San Francisco Book Review sent me a box full of books on Tuesday. Great right? Not really, they needed them read and reviewed by Saturday at midnight.

I cried, whined, made a lot of meals that involved nothing other than the microwave and got most of them done. You might wonder what I did when I finally pushed send on the last one. No, I didn’t run screaming for the hills. I grabbed another book that I had gotten from the library and went for it. It is indeed a sickness.


March 19th, 2010

Show Your Love of Books #5

by Gwen

I would love to say that you can’t read all of the time, but other than sleep what else do you need? I may be a reading machine, but I can still go shopping.
(4 books/reviews done if you are keeping track.)

Nevermore - Italian ceramic tile coaster set
Nevermore Coasters, $24, by The Painted Lily
Reading Helps Us Grow Set of 3 Bookmarks
Reading Helps Us Grow Bookmarks, $2.95, by Hesed Books and GiftsJolie Book Earrings
Jolie Book Earrings, $17, by The Small Book Company

Books On Page - Original Mixed Media Illustration
Books on Page Mixed Media Illustration, $26, by Nefarious Cupcake
Book Page Wreath
Book Page Wreath,  by Living With Lindsay, $ 50

You know that you want to go shopping with me, it can be anything bookish or book related,

March 18th, 2010

I am in Reading/Reviewing Machine Mode- AKA Crisis Mode

by Gwen

On Tuesday morning, I went to the library and picked up these three books

All three are 7 day, no renewal loans. No problem….until I got these in the mail later that day.

I would be excited, but these books need to be read and reviewed for a publication that I work with by Saturday at midnight.  Yes, just a day or two away.

I am not a quitter. I am setting the bar high and if you need me, I will be reading.

March 17th, 2010

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

by Gwen

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher: Book Cover

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
My first YA book! (YA stands for Young Adult, in case you don’t know)

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list. Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

The book is heartbreaking and really enlightening. Every seemingly small gesture or action by another person in Hannah’s life led to her suicide. While the ultimate subject, suicide, is depressing, there is a lot to learn from this book. The offhanded jokes, comments and labels that we throw out so thoughtlessly can snowball into a huge mess and we need to realize the power we have in each other’s lives. What is that phrase? “All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” We need to stand up when we see wrongs and we need to take the risk & reach out when we see people in pain.
I loved the book because of its message and am really glad that it was geared toward teens. They need to get that message more than any other age group that I can think of.
Strange story on how this book ended up in my hands: I heard about this book months ago because of my other job. I work for an SMS answer service called ChaCha. People, mostly teens, text in their questions and I text back the answers that I find online. Don’t even remember what the question was, but the book stuck out in my mind.
Then I started seeing reviews and mentions on some of the book blogs that I read. Still, I don’t read YA, so I didn’t actively put it on my list.
Last week, I finally paid off my 2 year old, $4 library fine and went in to look around. Thirteen Reasons Why stood out like a beacon on the 7 day checkout shelf. Turns out, the author, Jay Asher, is a local and we both went to Cuesta College and Cal Poly. Dude! It is like we are related!
I read the book and now my goal is to legally stalk the poor guy until I get him to do an interview for Chew & Digest. Jay Asher, if you are reading this….how about coffee at Linnaea’s? I will buy.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Razorbill; 1st edition (October 18, 2007)
ISBN-10: 1595141715
ISBN-13: 978-1595141712

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We are wearing the green, eating corned beef  & cabbage, and dreaming of wee people.