Friday, August 17, 2012

Review: The Pact

I read The Pact as the first book for a new book club my best friend and I started. We're hoping this gets of the ground!

I chose this book. I wanted a light read that touched on difficult subject matter. I got what I wished for.

Here is the summary from Amazon:
Until the phone calls came at 3:00 a.m. on a November morning, the Golds and their neighbors, the Hartes, had been inseparable. It was no surprise to anyone when their teenage children, Chris and Emily, began showing signs that their relationship was moving beyond that of lifelong friends. But now seventeen-year-old Emily has been shot to death by her beloved and devoted Chris as part of an apparent suicide pact—leaving two devastated families stranded in the dark and dense predawn, desperate for answers about an unthinkable act and the children they never really knew.

I'm very picky about dialogue and, in that regard, the book was incredibly disappointing. On another negative note, I couldn't bring myself to like the adults in the book or empathize with them in any way. I would have liked the book a lot more if the main focus remained on Chris and Emily.

Other than those things, I loved it. The book made me think. Of course, teen suicide and depression aren't upbeat things so don't read this if you're looking to be cheerful.

While the story was about families and growing up, what I kept coming back to was how Emily and Chris didn't know a world in which they didn't share everything. When they could no longer do that, things came unglued.

This book is a reminder that life can fall apart quickly when one person is everything to us. Chris is Emily's boyfriend, best friend and, in some ways, like a sibling... and vice versa.

At one point, Emily says to Chris “I have this problem. I broke up with my boyfriend. And I'm pretty upset about it, so I wanted to talk to my best friend. The thing is, they're both you.”

Yep. That is a problem.

In the end, Chris is left with anger when he realizes, despite Emily being his whole world, he didn't know her inside and out like he thought he did. Some things can't be shared, even with our other half. In Chris and Emily's confusion, they made choices they wouldn't have made if all the facts were on the table.

And, we're left with questions to ponder.

How much should we risk for those we love? How close have we all been to coming undone? And, if someone we loved was, would we know it?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How to Be a Woman

Boozed & Booked had its third meeting last night. This time, Abby hosted. Aside from her delicious cheese dip and adorable apartment, we also enjoyed discussing her thought-provoking questions.

We read How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. A group of professional, strong-willed women definitely has a lot to say about a book on feminism. We discussed everything from marriage to sexual assault. I left with a renewed pride in my gender & a rejuvenated motivation to do a better job at being a confident woman.

Women (and men), read the book. But most importantly, speak honestly about the issues addressed.  I was blown away by how much I learned from three hours of conversation with brilliant women.

Get to know Caitlin Moran.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Unfinished Business

This week, I've been spending a lot of time getting to know people at my new job. Inevitably, when I meet someone, they ask me about myself. I always start out by saying, "I'm a pretty boring person. I read and I write."

Writing is now my job. And let me tell you, I'm thrilled about that! I loved working in publicity, but I didn't realize how much I truly missed copywriting until I started doing it again. I'm guessing the same would be true with my fiction writing - if I ever started doing it again.

I haven't written any fiction for over a year. Yes, a year. Can I even say "I write fiction" anymore? I don't think so.

When discussing writing with a superior today, I quoted James Michener and said, "I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter."

Editing is great. I don't want anyone to ever read a word I write until it's been edited.  I don't care how much experience you have or how well you think you know the English language, get your work edited! Writers, I can't stress this enough.

But, I don't just edit. I pick apart everything until there's nothing left. The result is that nothing I write is ever finished. Therefore, I don't feel as though I can tackle another project, become frustrated with the current one and stop. Just stop.

One year ago, I put away a manuscript I'd been working on for close to a year. I'd edited it, tweaked it and rewrote parts of it for months. Then, when I'd had enough, it went into a folder and hasn't been touched. I want to dust it off and look at it again, but the task seems so daunting. And scary!

So, when it's all said and done, maybe I'm an excellent writer but not a very good rewriter.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Last Minute Home Run: An Update

Man, I spoke too soon.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon was slow, but the end thrilled me! I finally felt plenty of emotion. Maybe too much. (I cried.)

The book didn't wrap up tied in a neat little bow. In fact, I think it left plenty to interpretation. I started to expect that would be the case in the last few chapters and I wasn't disappointed.

So, to my beloved King, I'm sorry I ever doubted you. You come through in the end.

Perhaps I should return to Insomnia. If I can make it through, the ending might blow me away and change my mind completely.

Of course, I know it is the journey (not the destination) that matters, but ending on a good note took this book from one I'd never recommend to one  that I encourage my fellow readers to check out.

If you're not there, join me on Goodreads. I always need new books to read & friends' recommendations mean the most.

Monday, August 6, 2012

King Strikes Out

"She had somehow gotten out of bounds, wandered off the playing field and into a place where the rules she was used to no longer applied." - Stephen King, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

Thanks for providing the words to describe how I feel when I don't enjoy your work, Stephen.

I have been so critical of King lately, but I feel as though I'm falling out of love. Yes, the pouty face is necessary.

For a while, I've wanted to read The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. Now, I am. While it's much better than Insomnia, it's slow and boring. I've read 200 pages about a little girl walking through the woods. I have yet to feel any sort of emotion for the main character (who is supposed to be only nine but sounds like a 25 year old).

As always, no matter how tedious the story, King always manages to captivate me with his writing style and narration. Although I feel bored with the story, I am compelled to keep reading in order to "see" the images King conveys.

You're still the best in my mind, King. But, like Trisha McFarland, I hope to see a home run soon.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Vacationing in Noblesville

I recently accepted a job as a copywriter at Gannett. Yay!

Between my two weeks wrapping up publicity campaigns and my start date on Monday, I have three days off (not including the weekend). Sadly, one and a half of them are already gone. I haven't had vacation days to relax in a year. That's right, a whole year. Normally when I take vacation days, it's to actually vacation or do something crappy like go to the doctor, move, etc. I didn't do so well with my day off on July 4th so I'm trying to make the most of these.

This feels a bit like summer vacations did when I was in school. I even made a lunch that I would have eaten back then. PB&J with shells and cheese. Yum. All of that was gone in just a couple of minutes.

This morning after a doctor appointment (Yes, I decided to stick one in there to get it out of the way), I went to Barnes & Noble to relax and read. I ended up getting two books and a Moleskine for the hubs. I can't go in there without buying at least two books. Today, I chose Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King (hardcover & on sale - SCORE) & How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran (our next book club book).

Now, please excuse me as I curl up on the couch to read while I try to ignore the fact that we have a messy apartment. (Don't spend your vacation cleaning, Jessie...)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Boozed & Booked - Round 2

Last night, we held our second book club meeting. This one at Sandy's house. We got a little more boozed and a little less booked.

We talked about Before I Go to Sleep. I reviewed the book last week & enjoyed it overall. 

The discussion included some deep questions, thanks to Sandy:

  • Is the ability to remember days gone by the only thing that separates humans from animals?
  • What does love look like after many years in a relationship?
  • Are emotions stronger than memory?
Some interesting answers resulted. We have a lot to say... especially after a few drinks.

Great quotes from the night:

"He put his own happiness after hers. That's love." - Abby
"It takes a lot of effort to love somebody so much for so long." - Jaymie

Lots of truth.

Next up: How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran