Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Extremely loud and a little hard to get into?

Yes, it is 4:24 am and I have completely given up on getting any sleep at night until my little monkey arrives. What would make the night pass much faster is if I couldn't put down our latest book club selection "Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud." But alas...I can put it down and I'm bored!

Sure, at first I thought, this is a funny read - I love how the boys mind wanders and the thoughts he has are hilarious. Come on, who doesn't love a quote like "Succotash my Balzac dipshiitake." But now, as I'm already over 30% invested, I find myself scanning over pages filed with ultra-long descriptions that don't really interest me anymore. I am a little lost at times as to who we are following and their relationship, and I'm not sure I care all that much either.

Just wondering what everyone is thinking about this one? I hope someone can get me excited again, or at least tell me to go on and that it will get better?

Sweet dreams,

xoxo RFab

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Just for Kobo-ites!

P.S. If you're buying the first selection on your Kobo online, you can use promo code: Kobodollaroff in order to get a dollar off the purchase. "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" came to around $6.00 :) Coupons make me HAPPY!

And our 2012 selections are...

Thanks for another great gathering last night ladies...I can't believe that almost everyone was in attendance! It's a new record I think. Although, the best BFAB is yet to come where everyone attends AND everyone has also read and finished the book - LOL!

Regardless, we have some great discussions last night and discovered just whom is passionate about what? Obviously, we all lost respect for the great "Hem," however, many of us are intrigued to read his final novel/memoir (a tribute to Hadley we assume) called "A Moveable Feast." Some of us felt sorry for poor Hadley, and others completely lost respect for her as well. It is so difficult, as women living in 2012, to put ourselves into the time and place in which the novel occurs and to sympathize or wonder what we might have done in 1920's Paris. It's so much easier to sit back and judge based on our freedoms and rights because they're all we know. I was personally surprised, however, that with how traditional her character came off, she seemed to have no trouble spending so much time away from her child. Perhaps this was due to the fact that they were almost the only couple with a child? The overall consensus, however, was that "The Paris Wife" was a good read, no matter what kind of emotions it evoked.

I did also learn a few other important lessons last night: I have learned never to sneak into a bed where Amy and Brad may be having an afternoon nap AND not to let Erinn babysit my pet ape...among other things!

So as I sit here enjoying the leftover tarts that you all refused to take home last night, I thought I better put in writing what was decided as our next three selections and who will be hosting:

Wednesday, February 15th
Hostess with the mostest: Amy
Selection: "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer
(This one is coming to the big screen with Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock very soon as well - anyone planning to go let me know and I will try to read this one asap to join you!)

Wednesday, March 14th
Hostess: Jamie
Selection: "Sold" by Patricia McCormick

Wednesday, April 18th
Hostess: Rebecca
Selection: "The House at Riverton" by Kate Morton

Happy Reading my friends!

xoxo RFab

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Paris Wife: Questions to consider...

I am so looking forward to talking about this one ladies...I better make sure Rob has plans to go out tonight because it may be dangerous for him!!!
Start by clicking on this link (right click and open it in a new window though)in order to play Nora Bayes "Make Believe" while reading through the questions. This is the song that was playing when Ernest and Hadley first danced together at Kenley's apartment. It should set the mood for you!

Questions to consider for Paula McLain's "The Paris Wife:" (There are so many good ones, so forgive me for the length of this post!)
1.In many ways, Hadley's girlhood in St. Louis was a difficult and repressive experience. How do her early years prepare her to meet and fall in love with Ernest? What does life with Ernest offer her that she hasn't encountered before? What are the risks?

2.Hadley and Ernest don't get a lot of encouragement from their friends and family when they decided to marry. What seems to draw the two together? What are some of the strengths of their initial attraction and partnership? The challenges?

3.Most of THE PARIS WIFE is written in Hadley's voice, but a few select passages come to us from Ernest's point of view. What impact does getting Ernest's perspective have on our understanding of their marriage? How does it affect your ability to understand him and his motivations in general?

4.Throughout THE PARIS WIFE, Hadley refers to herself as "Victorian" as opposed to "modern." What are some of the ways she doesn't feel like she fits into life in bohemian Paris? How does this impact her relationship with Ernest? Her self-esteem? What are some of the ways Hadley's "old-fashioned" quality can be seen as a strength and not a weakness?

5.One of the most wrenching scenes in the book is when Hadley loses a valise containing all of Ernest's work to date. What kind of turning point does this mark for the Hemingway's marriage? Do you think Ernest ever forgives her?

6.In THE PARIS WIFE, when Ernest receives his contract for In Our Time, Hadley says, "He would never again be unknown. We would never again be this happy." How did fame affect Ernest and his relationship with Hadley?

7.What was the nature of the relationship between Hadley and Pauline Pfeiffer? Were they legitimately friends? How do you see Pauline taking advantage of her intimate position in the Hemingway's life? Do you think Hadley is naïve for not suspecting Pauline of having designs on Ernest earlier? Why or why not?

8.It seems as if Ernest tries to make his marriage work even after Pauline arrives on the scene. What would Hadley it have cost Hadley to stick it out with Ernest no matter what? Is there a way she could have fought harder for her marriage?

9.Ernest Hemingway spent the last months of his life tenderly reliving his first marriage in the pages his memoir, A Moveable Feast. In fact, it was the last thing he wrote before his death. Do you think he realized what he'd truly lost with Hadley?

10. Finally - which character did you like the most and why? What emotions did this story evoke in you as a reader.

See you all tonight after 7:30 and come hungry...I've planned a French feast!

xoxo RFab

Friday, January 6, 2012

Elle s'appelait Sarah

Last night, Erinn and I rented the movie to one of our summer reads "Sarah's Key." I don't even know where to start with this one...wow, it was as powerful as the book. There's something to be said for letting it play out in the language for which it was intended (which I had not been expecting). I would say that more than half of the film is spoken in French (beautiful, Parisian French), with English subtitles for the unilinguals out there! Thank God Erinn and I both understood what was being said because when we did read the English subtitles, they were absolutely hysterical (Erinn, thought maybe they had been run through Google translate...sorry Google!) They often either made what was said in French come off as very harsh and abrupt, or didn't even make sense at all...as in missing words or jumbled sentences!

Anyway, back to the film, the characters were perfectly cast, with that of young Sarah Starzinski really stealing the show. Mélusine Mayance, the French actress who played this role, was incredibly passionate and believeable in every word she spoke or face she made. At such a young age, it was amazing to watch. Kristin Scott Thomas portrayed Julia exactly as I had imagined her when reading the book - somewhat annoying, moody, smug...and Bertrand played by Frédéric Pierrot was just as unlikeable as he was in the novel as well (however; Erinn and I were trying to remember whether or not he had an affair in the novel? It wasn't portrayed in the film).

It was as difficult to watch the history of the Vel d'Hiv roundup as it was to read, but we both commented on how it was done without going the gorry/gruesome route. We didn't always see what the characters saw, but their expressions and words were enough to draw tears and evoke sympathy. When Sarah finally returns to the appartment for her brother, it is a gut-wrenching scene without the need to show the corpse or what she discovered there.

Finally, a movie that did not disappoint (so long as your French is somewhat up-to-date!) BFab ladies, find some time to rent this one soon.

xoxo RFab

Another quick read and page turner...

I almost forgot that I also recently read another great page turner that I highly recommend for those who enjoy suspense and the legal dramas! This summer, I had purchased a whole bunch of books on my Kobo before going on holidays so I would never run out, and then I recently discovered some that I had forgotten about, such as John Grisham's "The Confession."

The story here is that a young man is on death row set to be executed in a matter of days, but who has claimed innocence for the last decade. (He had been forced into a false murder confession, which had then been used as the main reason for his guilty verdict and death sentence). Then, a decade later, another man comes forward to a priest in a nearby state and confesses to this same crime...So, will they be able to save the innocent man in time? Will the actual murderer want to confess when the time comes? Will the courts allow a last minute plea?...haha...Is your interest peaked yet? Add major racial tension in the small town (the young man is black and was accused of raping and murdering a white cheerleader from his high school, the jury was all white, the judges are biased...) and you've got one hell of a story!

It's been a while since I've read this kind of drama and I have to say, I really enjoyed it! I wonder how long before this one becomes a movie?!!!

xoxo RFab

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Not again...

Sorry for the delay in writing any posts on our blog ladies...the new pregnant me is definitely someone I don't recognize - birthday presents are late, cards are late, Christmas gifts were purchased on the 24th...ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! Who is this strange creature?!!!

I have been reading; however, my usual mix of heavy and light and finally got around to watching two movies I had talked about earlier. I absolutely loved the novel "Water for Elephants" and am pleased to say that the movie was equally amazing. Despite it's starring "Edward" and "Elle", the characters were completely believable and the story line stayed true. I was totally impressed and recommend it to anyone who has read the book.

I also rented "One Day" - a novel by David Nicholls, which I had heard good things about. My girlfriend lent me the book, however, I never got around to reading it and thought I'd go straight to video for this one...BIG MISTAKE! What a depressingly boring movie; I actually started doing something else while watching it. I didn't care for the characters or their relationship and really felt no connection there whatsoever. The idea was to show where the two "friends" were at in their lives around the same date each year...so sometimes they were together and other times not, having their struggles and successes. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but what was the point in ending it the way it did? I've been trying to read into it and solve this mystery, but I don't see the point? Let me know your thoughts whether you have read the book or watched the film.

Needless to say, I needed some fluff after that, so I went to my always faithful standby "Madeleine Wickham" for the novel "Sleeping Arrangements." Set in Spain, a couple and their children have been graciously offered a holiday at a friend's villa, only to discover that the same friend has rented it to another couple and their children...with the wife in the first couple having dated the husband in the second a while back. Dum da dum dum!.....What could possibly go wrong here? Ok, so the plot isn't an original one and the characters are not so deep, but this is just the type of book you need on a lazy day, am I right?!

I am so looking forward to seeing what we come up with as selections for the next three months and to see if we can actually all read them for once (we're not doing to well this Fall are we ladies?!!!)

xoxo RFab

Reminder: BFAB next Tuesday!

I know it's been that busy time of year ladies, but I'm soooo looking forward to seeing you all and hosting our next book club at my place on Tuesday, January 10th. We will be discussing our final Fall choice: "The Paris Wife" and enjoying some French treats!

I am only half-way through, so I will post some questions over the weekend (in case they ruin something for us!)

So mark your calendars for next Tuesday after 7:30 and come equipped with some more book choices as well!

See you then!

RFab xoxo