Read-A-Thon Mini Challenge #2; Hour 3 Update

It’s hour 3 of the Read-A-Thon!  Adam, Todd, and I are all still alive and continuing on with our reading.  We’re probably going to stop for lunch soon, as reading definitely works up an appetite!

For hour 3, One Librarian’s Book Reviews has posted a challenge that will test the creative abilities of those in the Read-A-Thon.  In it, you are tasked with creating a visual puzzle of a book title.  For example, if the book was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I could place a picture of Harry Potter, a wizard, such as Merlin, and a stone all next to each other.  So, without further ado, here is the humble attempt Adam, Todd, and I came up with!

Hopefully you were able to guess Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs! (That’s one of my favorite memoirs EVER.  If you’ve never read it I suggest adding it to your to-read piles for the next read-a-thon!

Alright, back to reading.  See you in hour 4!

#82 A Review of Look Me In the Eye by John Elder Robison

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger'sAs a fan of author Augusten Burroughs’ memoir Running with Scissors, I’ve always had a fascination with learning more about him and his odd upbringing.  In Running with Scissors he discusses his older brother who was a bit of an oddity as a child.  Later in life it’s discovered that his brother, John Elder, has a form of autism better known as Asperger’s.  Look Me In the Eye is John Elder’s memoir about his life with this disease and how he overcame its limitations to find success in life.

Growing up in a childhood that would barely be considered habitable by most standards, John Elder Robinson traveled through childhood with a feeling of detachment and awkwardness.  For all he knew, he just wanted to make the other kids like him.  Unfortunately for him, however, the things that thought were completely acceptable happened to make the other kids view him as strange and awkward.  Not letting this deter him, Robinson attempted to learn to change his behavior to suit his environment and view his social experiences objectively.  These same analytical skills served him well later on in his life, as Robinson developed an aptitude for all things mechanical and eventually went on to design famous flaming guitars for KISS.  After being diagnosed with Asperger’s at 40, Robinson looks back at his life with a new perspective and new insight into his life.

As someone who has grown up with a learning disability, I can relate to Robison’s depiction of society and their views on individuals that are different from the “mainstream”.  When I was a child, I found that at times I felt like I needed to respond to the social clues around me instead of instinctively being able to mesh with my peers.  Additionally, I was amazed by the fantastic amount of emotion that Robison was able to convey in his writing, all with a diagnosis that apparently prevents him from being able to do just that.  His descriptions of his despair, anger, and longing as a child, his pride and joy in succeeding in his professional life, and especially his amazement at finding love and beginning a family were all fantastic to read.  It’s not that people with Asperger’s are incapable of feeling; the lack of the ability to express these emotions doesn’t mean that they don’t feel each and every one of them.  Robison’s ability to tell us what he felt in all of these particular situations in amazing detail is testament to his awesome talents as a writer and the wonderful life he has lived thus far.

The book is fabulously written, giving readers an insight into what it’s like for someone with Asperger’s.  If you know someone who suffers from a form of autism I highly suggest giving this book a read; it might help you to understand what it’s like inside their mind, offering up a stronger relationship between you.

(Blogger Note: If Robison is ever doing a book signing or speaking engagement near you I HIGHLY recommend you go see him.  I had the opportunity of seeing him speak and meeting him afterward at R.J. Julia in Madison, CT.  He is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever heard speak before.  Not only is he fascinating to listen to, but he is so kind and genuine.)

5 out of 5 Stars

Look Me In The Eye by John Elder Robison
Crown Publishing Group (2008)
Paperback 320 pages
ISBN: 9780307396181

My Top Ten…Villains (Part II)

As promised yesterday, here are my top five villains!!!

5.) Aunt Reed from Jane Eyre

Aunt Reed makes the list for being cruel and cold-hearted to young Jane Eyre.  For those unfamiliar with Jane Eyre, Jane is orphaned at a young age and is adopted by her Aunt and Uncle Reed.  Uncle Reed dies shortly after and makes Aunt Reed promise him that she will take care of Jane and raise her as one of their own children.   Once he’s dead she does the exact opposite, allowing her son to physically beat Jane, locking her in “haunted” rooms in their home, and eventually sending her off to a school that has horrible conditions.  Aunt Reed also makes sure Jane will live a meager life by telling a rich uncle of hers that she’s dead.  She’s a horrible woman made worse by the fact that kind-hearted Jane forgives her before her death for all her misgivings.  (I don’t think she deserved to be forgiven after everything that happened, but it just goes to show you how kind a person Jane truly was).

(You can find my review here)

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4.) President Snow from The Hunger Games Series

President Snow is the leader of the Capitol and ruler of Panem in The Hunger Games series.  We get to see what a truly horrible man he is in Catching Fire and Mockingjay as his interaction with Katniss grows.  You come to learn that Snow is a truly evil person, poisoning those that got in his way during his rise to political glory.  He tricks Katniss and the rest of the districts into believing that District 13 was destroyed and that they need to continue the hunger games as punishment.  He is a master at deception and is always playing a game with the people around him, using them as pawns.  He gets what he deserves in the end, but it still doesn’t make up for all that he’s done during his ruling years.   

(You can find my reviews for here for Book One, Two, and Three)

3.) Silas – The DaVinci Code

Ah, religious fanaticism.  A member of the Catholic organization known as Opus Dei, Silas is an albino who practices corporal mortification (flogging one’s self) while repenting for one’s sins.  Depicted in Dan Brown’s The Davinci Code, Silas is driven by a desire to atone for his past and discover the secrets protected by the Priory of Scion.  Driven to live on the streets after murdering his father (who had murdered his mother out of shame for having an albino child), Silas is given a second chance at life after an earthquake frees him from prison.  Driven to devout religious belief, Silas is especially villanous because of the rhetoric he believes in.  He justifies his murders and attacks by believing that it is the will of Opus Dei for him to commit these atrocities.  His blind faith in this organization makes him especially dangerous in the novel, and he is a constant threat to Robert Langdon, the protagonist.  All in all, Silas has nothing to lose as he is fully indoctrinated to commit evil acts and will stop at nothing to please those who are superior to him in Opus Dei.

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2.) Mr. Burroughs – A Wolf at the Table

Augusten Burroughs is famous for writing heartbreakingly honest memoirs.  A Wolf at the Table mainly focused on his childhood and the relationship he had with his father.  Mr. Burroughs is the only actual “person” on my list, and for good reason.  The man was an alcoholic, beat his animals, and definitely partook in abusing his sons.  Augusten had a dog that would physically sleep on top of him to protect him from Mr. Burroughs while he slept at night.  His older brother John taught him how to shoot a gun just in case he needed it one day.  After reading this book it made me see how truly malicious some people can be in the world.  Mr. Burroughs shot straight to nearly the top of my list of villains because he preyed on his young sons and helpless wife.  To be that type of man you have to be truly evil.

(You can find my review here)

1.) Voldemort – The Harry Potter Series

While the rest of the characters on this list have aspirations to conquer those around them and bring evil into their lives, none have grander plans than Voldemort.  Not content to just conquer the magical world around him, Voldemort set his sights higher, aiming to control the human (aka Muggle) world as well.  In hiding for years after a failed attack on Harry Potter that left him on the cusp of death, he slowly rebuilds his strength until he makes a triumphant return and power grab to control the ruling body of the magical world.  As if this wasn’t enough, consider his name.  Anyone who is referred to as “He Who Must Not Be Named” because he/she is so evil that their name can’t be spoken must be #1 in my book.  All in all, Voldemort deserves the top spot in this top ten countdown because of the encompassing nature of his power and ambition.  He won’t let anything, including death, get in his way to kill Harry Potter and rule all.  Now that’s villanous!

Well my fellow readers, who makes your list?  Leave your comments below.

Until next time, happy reading!!

March/April Wrap-Up!

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a wrap-up (terribly sorry) but life has gotten very hectic the past two months! 

Todd and I had a pretty good March.  The Relay for Life fundraising season officially kicked off on the 2nd!  For those new to the blog I co-chair a 24 hour cancer event called Relay for Life for my town and the next town over from me.  The past two months have been busy with planning details and booking locations and entertainment for the event.  Our event last year raised over $118,000, so we’re striving for a high bar again this year.  If anyone is interested in learning more about the event, you can check out our website here.  Anyway – meetings, answering emails, and committee get-togethers have been happily eating up a bunch of my time.

Lots of birthday celebrations happened in March.  Todd and I had my entire family up to our apartment for a party for my parents birthdays.  It was fantastic.  I tried out a new recipe for a coconut cake (my mom’s favorite) and god it was so good but holy crap, making it was insane.  The cake and icing took 5 sticks of butter, a pound of cream cheese, pound of confectionary sugar, 6 eggs, etc.  It was nuts, but actually didn’t taste super sweet at all.

St. Patrick's Day Crowds

March was also a time for firsts for us.  We hit up the New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade which is supposedly one of the top 5 biggest in the US.  Who knew!! The police shut down whole streets and you just bar hop from place to place while a parade of every fire truck in the state goes down the street.  Fab times were had by all.

Some of Hooker Brewery's Awards!

Our friends Greg and Ashley took us up to Bloomfield Massachusetts to go to a free beer tasting at the Hooker Brewery.  For $10 you get a small glass and can sample all of the beers they currently brew as much as you want.  At the end of the tasting, you turn in your glass and get a pint glass to take home.  Needless to say Todd was all smiles while we were there.  He loved checking out all their equipment and getting to talk to some of the brewmasters.  (I think Todd is seriously considering a career change, but that’s just between you and me)

Bonfires at friends houses, a trip to New Jersey for a funeral, and countless happy hours brought us to the end of March.  I completed 11 books in March, which got me back on track from the books I didn’t finish in January and February.  That was the huge highlight of March for me.  I still have no idea where I found the time to read 11 books, but I can tell you that I slept less in March than I did in January or February.

April slowed down slightly, but not enough to really make a difference.  Our cat Belle turned 4 so of course a celebration of wet food was in order for her.  (It was thoroughly enjoyed in case you were wondering)

Belle

Another trip to New Jersey followed at the beginning of the month, one to my cousin’s new house which was FAB.  My cousin runs his own catering business and so he loves food/cooking.  His kitchen was redone to include a brick pizza oven.  It was fantastic.  The pizzas he made as appetizers were to die for.  (My favorite was the mushroom and truffle oil combo – delicious!)

 
We also took a trip to this awesome art house theater near us to see the new Jane Eyre film.  Shortly after I finished the book I made Todd promise he would take me as soon as it got released near us.  It was AMAZING.  Loved loved loved the adaptation of it.  My only complaint was  wishing the end could have been a bit longer and more drawn out.  The sudden cut to black left me wanting. Le sigh…
 
Highlight of April for me was probably my weekend trip to Cape Cod with my friends Jen and Kate.  Kate is headed off to Vietnam next month to teach English, so we wanted to make sure the three of us could get together and chill before she left.  We stayed at the BEAUTIFUL Chatham Bars Inn and had an amazing view of the ocean.  The weekend, minus a bit of bad news I received, was awesome and so enjoyable.  Good friends, good food, and good wine were all I needed for a stellar weekend.

Our Hotel Room View

Me, Kate, and Jen

 Closing up the month was yet one more visit to New Jersey, this time for Easter at Todd’s parents house.  We got to see our adorable little flower girl, Sarah, and spend time with Todd’s family.  I absolutely love when we go visit Todd’s parents, because his mom Karen and I always have awesome discussions about books.  She takes part in a book club offered by their church and always clues me in to awesome books that her club is reading.  I always find myself signing on to Goodreads just to make sure I mark all the books we discuss as “to-read’s”.   

I almost forgot about one of my favorite things that we did this month!  On Tuesday, April 26th, Todd, Adam, and I went to my new favorite bookstore, R.J. Julia, and got to see John Elder Robison speak about his newest book Be Different.  For those unfamiliar with Robison and his work, he is the older brother of Augusten Burroughs and writes about his battle with Asperger’s syndrome.  I was able to buy a copy of Be Different which he signed for me as well.  It was an awesome event, and I’m eagerly looking forward to my next event there.

I promise I’m almost done with my post.  My last piece of info is that I bought a car yesterday!! YAY!  My car was seriously costing Todd and I SO much money in repairs that I finally said that’s it, I’m done!  We purchased a 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan with about 18,000 miles on it.  I took it for a test drive and damn it was such a smooth ride.  I pick it up tomorrow after work and I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am about the whole thing! (Todd was impressed with my haggling skills.  I knew my job would come in handy someday!)

Anyway – now that I’ve bored you all to tears with the crazy thing that is my life I will sign off.  I’m off to hopefully finish one of the three books I’m currently reading.  Make sure you check the blog tomorrow as I’ll be posting the link for a podcast I’m going to be a guest speaker on at 10pm eastern time tomorrow night! 

Until next time, happy reading!

#5 A Review of You Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs

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Augusten Burroughs has easily become one of my favorite authors, coming in at number 2 on my top ten favorite authors list. (Sorry Mr. Burroughs, you would be number one had I never read the works of Jane Austen)  His self-depreciating writing style makes you laugh and cringe at the same time; laugh with the stories of his odd childhood and cringe at how horrible some parts of his alcoholic and childhood days were.  He is unafraid of telling stories about his abusive/alcoholic father, his crazy (literally!) mother, his brother who was diagnosed with Aspergers, and his own life as a former alcoholic.  His writing is honest, witty, and courageous as he pours his heart and soul into his words.

You Better Not Cryis filled with stories that range from Augusten’s Christmases from childhood to adulthood and include everything from him eating the face off a styrofoam santa, a drunken Christmas as a bum, losing the love of his life, and many more.  In reading the novel you realize that each Christmas is worse than the last one,  yet true to the Christmas spirit there is a small glimmer of hope and happiness in each story. 

My favorite of the stories has to be the Christmas when Augusten was alone in NYC and got so drunk that he woke up sleeping outside of a theater with a bum on each side of him.  He apparently decided that he wanted to know what it was like to be a bum: buying the local bums sandwiches, giving them money, and just “living” with them across the street from his apartment.  Upon waking from his drunken stupor he comes to find out that one of the bums, Shirley, used to be a singer but lost it all to alcohol addiction.  After a long conversation, Augusten realizes what his addiction is doing to him and is scared of where his life is headed. Shirley tells him that he the night before, he told her his life story and how he had some much he wanted to write about.  She implores him to begin writing to get his life back in order.  

She continued, ‘And if I could, I would ask that you write.  You kept saying last night that you had ‘whole worlds’ inside of you that you needed to get out.  Well, get them out, my dear.  Focus on this.  On something positive for yourself.  And for others.  I would ask you to set those worlds free.'”

I guess we can all thank Shirley for telling Augusten this.  The literary world truly is a better place for having him in it.  But I digress; as I stated earlier the stories each have a small glimmer of hope in them, and in this one it’s the fact that he is scared straight.  He is convinced that he does not want to end up on the street as a bum and is finally scared that he could.  (If you want to read more about his alcoholic days and his struggle with rehabilitating his life check out Dry)

This book embodies what the Christmas spirit is about.  No matter what is going on around you or how bad your actual holiday is, there is always hope.  This is Augusten’s mantra and it rings true for all his books. 

If you are an Augusten fan then this is an absolute must read for you. For those who haven’t read him, it’s a great place to start.  Of all his books, besides Dry, this has the best message.  I heartily encourage all to read this book.

5 out of 5 Stars

You Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs
Picador Publishers (2010)
Paperback 224 pages
ISBN: 9780312430061
 
To follow Augusten on Twitter click here
To check out Augusten’s blog click here

New Year; New Challenges

January 1, 2011.  It’s the official beginning of my new challenge!!  I have 365 days to read 100 books.  I’m partaking in two reading challenges this year (that I’ve signed up for so far) so 11 of those books are the Jane Austen mystery series and 20 of them will be historical fiction novels. I’m excited that I’m mixing it up this year and doing some reading challenges as well.  I think it will help keep me motivated throughout the year. 

I’m really looking forward to some of the titles that I’ve decided to read this year.  I have a very eclectic group to read so far.  Some of the titles include:

  1. The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory
  2. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (It’s the 200 year anniversary of the book this year!)
  3. Little Children by Tom Perrotta
  4. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding
  5. V For Vendetta by Alan Moore
  6. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
  7. You Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs
  8. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  9. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  10. The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo by Stieg Larsson
  11. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  12. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  13. The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
  14. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris

I have a much bigger list than this, but I’m really looking forward to the specific books above!

So now that my new challenge has begun I would like to encourage you guys to do your own challenges.  You don’t have to read 100 books like I do, but you can do something similar to Todd and try for between 25 and 50.  You are always welcome to post on the blog thoughts about your own reading challenges or about specific books.

If you decide to do a challenge: Good Luck and Happy Reading!

My Favorite Ten Books of the Year (Part II)

Here is the second half of my favorite books for the year! (Part I here)

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6.) North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell – Todd and I were bored one night and decided to see what movies/mini-series’ we could watch on instant Netflix.  We watched a BBC version of Gaskell’s North and South and I was enthralled by it!  North and South is the story of John Thornton and Margaret Hale, and the goings-on of the working class people of the small urban city they live in.  Thornton, a mill owner, is trying to keep his mill running amidst strike and union talks.  Margaret Hale, the daughter of a curate in the South of England, is forced to move to Thornton’s home town when her father decides to leave his job as a country curate and become a tutor. Thornton becomes a fixture in Margaret’s daily life, as her father becomes his intellectual tutor.  The two are filled with misconceived notions about the other due to their upbringing and constantly argue and throw slurs at each other.  Somehow through it all they come to realize their true feelings for each other and fall in love.  I have often heard Gaskell compared to Jane Austen; while they do share some similarities, it’s their differences that I find interesting.  Austen satirized the life of the upper-class while Gaskell wrote about the plights of the middle and lower classes.  I truly loved this book because of the realism that engulfed it.  Gaskell was a truly superb writer and I cannot recommend this book enough!!

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7.) A Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs – I was already a huge fan of Augusten by the time this book was published, making this book a must buy for me.  I finally got around to reading it recently and was blown away by it.  Augusten writes memoirs that just grip you.  His life is truly fascinating and with the way he writes, you can’t help but become engrossed in his story.  A Wolf at the Table focuses on his early life living with his mother, father, and sometimes present older brother.  (His older brother is John Elder Robison, author Look Me In The Eye)  His early days were strife with an alcoholic father, one who tried to murder him, possibly on more than one occasion.  This memoir is filled with deeply sad and troubling situations, situations I’m sure have scarred Augusten in his later years.  While this memoir is darker than his other ones, it’s one of his best.  It’s a no holds barred account of a childhood most people would wish to forget. For my full review click here.

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8.) Darcy’s Voyage by Kara Louise – So yet another Pride and Prejudice sequel makes my top ten list.  Shocking. HA.  Anyway, this was one of the most original retellings that I’ve had the pleasure of reading.  Darcy and Elizabeth are thrust into each other company aboard Pemberley’s Promise, a ship headed towards America. Elizabeth is off to see her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner and Darcy is picking up Georgiana.  Elizabeth gets sick aboard ship and is struggling to get better below decks with all the other sick passengers.  Darcy realizes that the only way she can get better is to be taken away from the rest of the sick passengers, and that the only spare bed is in his room.  For propriety’s sake he suggests to Elizabeth that the two marry and that once back in England he will file the necessary paperwork for the two to have an annulment, with none the wiser of their fake marriage.  As you can guess the two fall in love with each other but have no idea how the other feels, since most of their marriage is a show for the other passengers.  Upon the ship’s arrival they are separated not sure if they will ever see each other again.  It is on their return to America that Austen’s original plot begins to come into play.  As I stated earlier this retelling was so unique and I truly enjoyed the change of pace that it offered me.  For my full review click here.

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9.) The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory – I re-read this book every single year.  I absolutely LOVE it.  (I’ve even convinced Todd to begin reading it! See here)  When most people hear the name Boleyn thy think of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII.  Most don’t know she had a sister who supposedly bedded the king before her.  The Other Boleyn Girl follows Mary’s story as she finds love, loses love, becomes a mother, is used by her family, and is betrayed by her own sister.  Philippa Gregory is truly a master at writing historical fiction.  Her novels are fascinating fusions of true history, embellished dialogues, and rich characters.  You love to hate her antagonists!  I truly cannot speak highly enough of this novel.  Even if you are not a fan of history you have to give this novel a try.  Gregory writes history but adds the dramatic flare to it to make it fascinating to read.  Definitely check it out and add this to your to-read list.

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10.) Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin – This was a great, quick, fast-paced book that I really enjoyed reading!  Something Borrowed tells the story about Rachel, her best friend Darcy, and Darcy’s fiancée Dex. Rachel and Darcy have been best friends their entire lives, doing almost everything together.  Growing up next-door to each other in Indiana, they have been in a constant competitive friendship all of their twenty-five years together.  Rachel has learned to put Darcy’s needs and wants before her own to curb the competition.  Darcy on the other hand still feels the need to one-up not only Rachel but everyone she knows.  On Rachel’s thirtieth birthday she drinks too much and winds up in bed with Dex.  Rachel begins to feel guilty knowing what she did to her best friend was wrong. The more and more she thinks about it she starts feeling less and less guilty as she realizes that in fact it’s her who is right for Dex and not Darcy.  Rachel begins thinking back to her history with Dex.  The two went to law school together and became good friends.  They never dated because Rachel never thought she was good enough for him.  She introduced him to Darcy and the rest was history.  Rachel receives a phone call from Dex the day after they slept together and begins to get weird vibes from him.  He is not sorry that they slept together, nor does he feel guilty about it.  The two begin secretly seeing each other and realize that they are absolutely perfect for each other.  Rachel must decide if she is willing to risk her friendship with Darcy to be with the one she loves, or give him up and go back to being the friend in Darcy’s shadow.  Truly enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it as a great beach read!  You can check out my full review here

Well there you have it my readers!  My favorite ten books for the year.  Leave me some comments below and let me know what your favorite books of the year were!

Happy Reading!

The Weekly Roundup – Week 4

So it’s been busy lately, hence the delay in posting my weekly roundup!!

Last week started the planning meetings for Relay for Life.  We had our committee meeting on Monday with our new ACS representative.  It was the first meeting getting the entire committee old and new members together.  We discussed lots of publicity and networking ideas and I feel confident in the direction we’re moving!

Tuesday and Wednesday I accomplished lots of reading.  Todd was at a conference until late night Wednesday night so I had the apartment to myself.  I read three books last week (1 short of my goal) and have already posted up the reviews.  (I finished Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister, A Wolf At the Table, and Pemberley Ranch)

Thursday I started writing a rough draft of the review that was published on Sunday for Austenprose. (Follow here for review)

Friday my co-worker Erin and I dropped off all the food our office collected at a local event called Stuff-A-Bus.  A local radio station collects for local shelters for the holidays and tries to fill buses.  The event has grown to be so large that they now fill tractor trailers and refrigerated trucks! Afterwards I went out for drinks and appetizers with Adam and Todd.  It had been a long week at work and we needed to start the weekend right!  After drinks we headed to where else but Barnes and Noble.  I picked up Sense and Sensibility the graphic novel, Walking Dead volume 1, and Shanghai Girls. (A co-worker of mine also gave me three books to borrow, so once I read those I’ll throw reviews up as well)

Janette came over the following morning after her hair appointment and we proceeded to run errands all day.  We dropped Todd’s car off for new tires and then ran to Target to pick up some odds and ends that we needed.  I got some Christmas shopping done which made me very happy.  Todd and I spent most of the afternoon at Sprint getting new phones and setting up our family plan.  It was exciting. Not.

Sunday was a lazy day.  Woke up late, cleaned up the house a bit, caught up on stuff on the DVR, all that kind of junk.  We went to our friend Jess’s for dinner and had a freaking blast just hanging out and laughing about old stories from our childhoods.  (Jess thanks for dinner again – it was delicious!)

Monday and today I just went to work came home blogged and read.  I’m completing the graphic novel version of Sense and Sensibility tonight and hopefully will finish Walking Dead tomorrow.  Thanksgiving is on Thursday so I’m nervous that this week is the week that will do in my 100 book challenge.  I’m behind 1 book from last week already and am hoping to make up for it this week.

With that I’ll sign off and go back to reading!! 77 down, 23 to go.

Happy Reading, and may I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.

#76 A Review of A Wolf At The Table by Augusten Burroughs

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A Wolf at the Table, written by Augusten Burroughs is his fifth memoir.  His previous memoirs include Running with Scissors, Dry, Magical Thinking, and Possible Side Effects. Each book tells of different periods of his life with A Wolf at the Table focusing on his early childhood living with his depressed mother and homicidal father. 
 
A Wolf at the Table is a memoir solely dedicated to informing the reader of what Augusten’s father was like through the eyes of a 7-8 year old Augusten.  Augusten’s father was a university professor by day and brutal drunk by night.  His mother’s therapist often said that he was homicidal and the stories in the book shed light on the possibility that he really was.  

Augusten is seriously the most fascinating author I’ve ever read about.  If you’ve never read any of his memoirs I highly suggest you do.  A Wolf at the Table tells a deeply sad and hurtful part of his childhood and unlike his other books there is no humor in it.  The book is told with brutal honesty and is one of the reasons I liked it so much.  He’s unafraid to speak about the events most families would keep hidden in the closet.

I do not recommend this book for the faint of heart.  The book tells of emotional abuse, attempted murder, and animal cruelty.  Those who can look beyond that (which believe me it’s hard to do) can read an amazing memoir that tells of strength, perseverance, and above all hope.

If you would rather not read this due to the heavy subject matter, then I highly recommend you read his other memoirs.  He uses a satirical tone in discussing his adolescence, as he knows that he grew up under extremely strange circumstances. Running with Scissors focuses on his teen years, Dry focuses on his 20’s when he became an alcoholic, and Magical Thinking and Possible Side Effects are short story compilations that discuss various periods of his life.

5 out of 5 Stars