Heaping Spoonful

Once upon a time I went to San Francisco and met a spit-fire of an author. She asked if I would review her book on my site. I maintained my composure and said, “sure – send me a copy.” Right after that I called all my friends everyone in the entire universe my husband and told him how I had just gotten FREE stuff and AN AUTHOR wants me to review her book.

But then I sucked.

I read the amazing, awesome book and I did not tell any of you. See previous paragraph re: suckage.

I think the book deserves better than I can do. I’ll give it the ol’ college try though.

Shauna Glenn’s debut novel Heaping Spoonful is a wonderful, heart-felt read. I couldn’t put it down. I think I missed dinner and the children tucked themselves in. I can’t be sure, I was curled up on the couch reading.

The writing is smooth and easy. Easy like Sunday morning, a friend would say. Claire’s internal dialogue sounds like that of me and my friends:

My mom had been right – I needed to get my shit together – if for no other reason than so my kids wouldn’t grow up to be serial killers.

How many of us have thought something similar?

Protagonist Claire is an every-woman. She’s a single mom (not by choice, her husband died), a boss (owns her own bakery), a sister and a daughter. She’s pulled in every direction imaginable. It’s easy to relate with her. And Shauna makes her so likable. Even when she’s making poor choices, she’s likable. You feel her struggle, that really she’s confused and doing the best she can with the hand she’s been dealt. You can’t begrudge her one bit.

I think Claire speaks to a generation of woman that are trying to do it all. She runs a successful business. She begins dating. She loses her mother a little each day to Alzheimer’s. Her kids are in school. And somehow, in the midst of all this external activity – she’s still mourning her husband. She’s not leading a gilded life. She’s leading an ordinary life, with extraordinary pressures. Just like you and me. Well, except she owns a bakery so she could console herself with an entire chocolate cake pretty easily. That’s a good point that I’ll have to take up with Shauna. Maybe Claire’s on the points?

Claire’s story is about moving forward. She’s not starting fresh, it’s not like she’s hiding the kids in the cupboard while dating. She redefines her relationship with her sister, giving Lucy the space she needs to be Lucy and not mini-Claire. She reconnects with her mother through the Alzheimer’s fog. Claire most definitely pulls her self up by her bootstraps. She struggles. Again. And again. But eventually she finds her rhythm and in that her new life.

There are fantastic reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Except for one where the poster basically called Claire a hussy, disregard that one – I don’t think she read the same book I did.

If you live in the DFW area, I highly recommend going to the launch party for this fantastic debut novel (Shauna will correct me on this matter, this is her third novel – just the first that someone had the good sense to publish, therefore the first that we’re able to read). Meeting Shauna is definitely worth your time. Saturday, Sept 27 at 7pm; 1020 Magnolia in Ft Worth. Send your RSVP here or check Shauna’s site for more information.

The Great Gatsby Haiku

F. Scott Fitzgerald
named after Francis Scott Key
a great novelist

wrote a famous book
maybe you have heard of it?
it’s The Great Gatsby

writing book review
in form of a good haiku
proves harder than thought

Nick moves to West Egg
a neighbor of Jay Gatsby
no one knows him well

Jay has grand parties
Nick dutifully attends
Jay befriends Nick fast

Daisy is Nick’s kin
lives in East Egg with husband
husband has girlfriend

Tom, Daisy’s husband
visits girlfriend, brings Nick with
Nick does not like Tom

Jay loves Daisy much
always has but he was poor
left for war – good bye

Daisy was lonely
Tom was convenient to date
then they were married

Jay returns from war
Daisy is on honeymoon
sad Gatsby leaves town

fast forward five years
Gatsby wants to see Daisy
Nick is middle man

Tom diddles Myrtle
Gatsby wants to screw Daisy
Nick and Jordan fight

Daisy kills Myrtle
Tom is distraught, blames Gatsby
Daisy does not tell

Wilson has a gun
avenge wife’s murder by car
Gatsby is shot dead

no one comes to house
will not attend funeral
he’s buried alone

Tom and Daisy move
no forwarding address left
they are bad people

Jordan gets engaged
Nick Carraway turns thirty
not in that order

so often called the
great American novel
it was fine, the end

Book Shmook

Remember when I was all hyped up about the book challenge? Well, I’ve been reading. And now I’m depressed. I just finished Of Mice & Men. A few days back I finished The Great Gatsby. Not terribly happy, go-lightly stories; human condition, blah blah blah. Depressing. I am not a better person for reading them. I am a sad person.

I’m starting Sin in the Second City. If anyone dies I might become a statistic.

Book Queue, Help Me Choose

I realized I’ve already finished a book for the 20-30-50 book challenge! I read Things I Learned About My Dad in Therapy. While great, not sure it should count – it was like reading blogs in book format. Regardless, I read a book with many large words.

After Great Gatsby, I have many books to choose from that I already own. I realize my list looks a little AP English though. Last summer I started down the road of reading the “101 Books to Read Before College”. I didn’t finish. Eh, college let me in anyway. A very long time ago.

What should I read after Great Gatsby?

50 Book Challenge

When asked about the new Amazon Kindle product, Steve Jobs CEO of Apple computer had this to say:

“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”

Welcome to the the 50 Book Challenge, where we fly in the face of Steve Jobs.

Basically …. the challenge is to read 50 books in one year. OR … establish a goal for yourself more or less, it’s up to you, just because we say 50 books doesn’t mean that has to be your goal too.

I don’t think I can do 50 books in a year, maybe I can do 20? Should we all join Shelfari’s group or make one of our own? I’m already on Shelfari, so if you are too, friend me. Or link me. Or … I don’t know the Shelfari lingo (crap this is becoming a common theme with me and Web 2.0)

I’m not currently reading anything so I’ll start Great Gatsby this weekend. What will you commit to? I’ll tag my posts “Book Challenge”. How can I follow your progress?

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