Sarah + Tim

a canadian, american and calico living in perfect harmony

Book Club January 10, 2010

In all actuality, I do not in fact belong to a book club — though I would, if given the chance — but here are some of the books that I have read recently.  Now a resident of Orem, I have been taking full advantage of its phenomenal library.

(Side bar: I’ve had a fascinating discovery — Google Books!  You can actually find books online which you can read — mostly… they eliminate pages — from the comfort of your computer.  I have linked to some of these books’ location online so you can get a taste of them.)

The Cat Who Came for Christmas by Cleveland Armory

A delightful tale of a cat rescued from a New York alley on Christmas Eve.  It not only tells the story of the cat and owner — or rather cat and pet — but includes a lot of history of cats as well.  One of my favorite stories was of a kitten who belonged to Charles Dickens who would snuff out his candle late at night repeatedly until he would leave his work and come to play.  I love cats.

The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan

As a Chinese-Canadian, it was fascinating to read the story of a Chinese-American with a half-sister from China who comes to live with their family.  This half sister, Kwan, can see Chinese ghosts, shares their stories (also her stories because she was reincarnated).  At any rate, this half sister is the most delightful part of the story with her fabulous broken English which is absolutely spot on!  I quite literally found myself laughing out loud several times.  She’s classic.  Love Amy Tan.

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

By far my favorite Shannon Hale novel!  It’s a quick and easy read set in medieval Mongolia, hundreds of years ago and based loosely off the Grimms’ tale, Maid Maleen.  The main character is a servant girl who, within the first few pages, agrees to accompany her lady to be locked in a tower for seven years.  Heartwarming, humorous and delightful.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

This is a very romantic story of lifelong love that follows a couple’s encounters over the span of decades.  I found to be a little rough around the edges with language though I appreciated the lack of detail it went into regarding their sex life (for the most part).  It definitely made me cry though.  I want to wait a while until I see the movie.

Rebel Angels by Libba Bray | The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

When searching for a teen fiction series that would rival my love of Twilight, I found Libba Bray’s book, A Great and Terrible Beauty.  Based in England in the late 1800s, it is about a teenage girl who loses her mother is sent to an academy for girls and discovers she has magic powers and can visit an alternate reality called the Realms.  Rebel Angles is book two in the series; The Tweet Far Thing is book three.  There is lots of mystery, intrigue and romance.

Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan

I just started this book and so far it is an intriguing tale of a Chinese woman in San Francisco who was murdered and is channeling her story from beyond the grave.  This is based on a true story and is a fascinating concept to consider!  The book gets its title from a clever anonymous poem that I simply must share with you:

A pious man explained to his followers: “It is evil to take lives and noble to save them.  Each day I pledge to save a hundred lives.  I drop my net in the lake and scoop out a hundred fishes.  I plce the fishes on the bank, where they flop and twirl.  “Don’t be scared,” I tell thoses fishes.  “I am saving you from drowning.”  Soon enough the fishes grow calm and lie still.  Yet, sad to say, I am always too late.  The fishes expire.  And because it is evil to waste anything, I take those dead fishes to market and I sell them for a good price.  With the money I receive, I buy more nets so I can save more fishes.

Bahahahahahahha!  Simply fabulous.

What are you favorite reads as of late?  Do you have any book suggestions?

Do you know of any book clubs in Orem?

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Women Who Run With the Wolves September 16, 2008

One of my favorite books of all time is Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.  It is filled with myths, stories and fairy tales collected from all over the world that are then dissected and mined for lessons of life.  Anciently, it is said that women were taught about life’s rites of passage – love, marriage, sex, child-bearing, death – through stories, which is exactly what she does in this book.  My copy, purchased for $5 from a used book store, is dogeared, underlined and well loved.

This weekend, I had a terrible dream about a man who was following me and couldn’t be defeated.  Recalling Estes’ discourse on Dark Man Dreams, I looked it up and here’s what she had to say about dreams like these:

“There is one specific instance in which women are highly likely to experience dark man dreams and that is when one’s internal creative fire is smoking and banking all by itself, when there is little fuel left in the corner…

“In these cases, the dark man dream, even though accompanied by heart-jumping fear, is not an ominous dream.  It is a very positive one about a proper and timely need to awaken to a distruction movement within one’s own psyche, to that which is stealing one’s fire, intruding on one’s vim, robbing one of the place, the space, the time, the territory to create.  … The dark man dream is often enough to scare women into creating again.”

If I were stranded on a desert island, Women Who Run is the one I just might bring along.

What are some of your favorite books that you’d never be without?