Friday, August 26, 2011

Emily Giffin

I invested a lot of my free time this summer into one woman: Emily Giffin.  And honestly I'm not quite sure how I feel about it.  Emily Giffin is the author who penned Something Borrowed (that inspired this movie) and Something Blue.  These two books found their way into my beach bag this summer and I saw the movie with a friend of mine.

Honestly?  I did not like either the book or movie version of Something Borrowed.  I did, however, LOVE Something Blue.  Let me explain.

Both of these books are about long-time best friends Rachel and Darcy.  Rachel is bookish and smart, but she is not assertive and lets people walk all over her.  Darcy is vivacious and selfish and takes advantage of Rachel's insecurity.  Rachel is a lawyer (actually so is Ms. Giffin, the law school bits were super realistic).  In law school Rachel meets Dex, develops a crush on him, and then introduces him to Darcy.  Darcy then falls in love with Dex and they get engaged (this is all explained very, very early on in the book, so no spoilers here!).  

At Rachel's thirtieth birthday party, Darcy gets crazy drunk and steals the show (again).  So Rachel sleeps with Dex.  

My biggest problem with this book was this: yes, Darcy was terrible.  She was an awful, self-centered friend.  But she didn't do anything that would justify her fiance cheating on her with her best friend.  I didn't find it to be quite the moral dilemma that I think Ms. Giffin was hoping for.

Now the movie.  Ok, so the story line carried over which I already didn't care for.  My other big problem with the movie was casting.  The guy that played Dex was crazy hot.  But my problem was that John Krasinski (also known as Jim Halpert) played Rachel's other close friend, Ethan.  There are few men that I love more than Jim Halpert so I had a really hard time rooting for Rachel and Dex to get together as I was really rooting for Rachel and Ethan to live happily ever after.  

I was glad to be done with Emily Giffin, but then THREE of my friends told me that I had to read Something Blue.  I'm glad I listened.  As awful as I thought Something Borrowed was, I loved Something Blue.  Where Something Borrowed is written from Rachel's perspective, this book is told by Darcy.  Which I liked a lot more than I expected.

At the end of Something Borrowed some sh!t gets real.  The sequel picks up where it left off.  Its really about Darcy growing up and becoming a good, honest human being.  While there's some sort of endearing quality about Darcy, this book is also missing the moral dilemma that misses the mark.  

So basically, read Something Borrowed because you need to read Something Blue and quite frankly the sequel won't make as much sense without reading the first book.  Happy reading!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Summer Reading 2011

Now that I'm back at school, I'm sorry to report that my summer is OFFICIALLY over.  Which means I can officially do my end of summer reading wrap-up.  So that's almost a win-win scenario right?  (It also means that I can do an official end-of-summer-movie guide.  Unfortunately, I can't even begin to remember all of the summer movies I saw over the past few months, which I think is a sad commentary on modern American cinema.)

Anyway, I read a lot this summer.  It was definitely one thing I made time for.  So I don't bore you to tears with annoying book details, I'm just going to provide a basic summary (title, author, my rating, and brief summary).  You can find all of these books on Amazon which you can access here (this is just going to have to suffice because I am far too lazy to look up each book and post a link to it).

So, without further ado, here is my summer reading list 2011:

The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
3/5 Stars
This book was an easy read and on an interesting topic (the uber-wealthy Manhattanite), but not the best book ever.  This was a quick, quick read.  However, I couldn't identify with any of the characters and found most of them reprehensible.

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
Talk about morally reprehensible characters!  I actually am currently writing an entire Emily Giffin post, so I'll spare you the deets here; but I will say this: this book was about terrible, terrible people and the terrible things they do to one another.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
This book was EXCELLENT.  Its about a southern Baptist minister who moves his family to Africa to "convert the heathens."  Told from the perspective of his wife and four daughters, no one is quite ready for the way that Africa changes them.  I thought this book was insightful and beautiful.

The Black Dhalia by James Ellroy
I don't typically read murder/mystery books, but this was a selection for a book club back home.  This book was very dark, and it took me a long, long time to read (I'd put it down when I got scared).  I'd say it was well-written and had a few twists and turns but it did not turn me onto the murder/mystery genre.

Something Blue by Emily Giffin
As much as I hated Something Borrowed, I loved Giffin's sequel.  Instead of being about terrible people who do terrible things, this was about one person's metamorphosis from terrible to pretty good.  But again, more on this one later.

Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner
Oh how I love Jennifer Weiner!  There is just something about the way she writes that absolutely does not let me stop reading!  This one is about a senator's wife and daughters who are living in the aftermath of his infidelity.  His wife's life is turned upside-down; but his daughters are struggling with their own issues: one is a recovering addict and the other is dealing with her loveless marriage.  Weiner's characters are always relatable and real.

Sisterhood Everlasting by Anne Brashares
This is the 5th book in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series.  I'd like to write a longer post on this one, but who knows if that will ever happen.  I loved this book.  I've loved all of the Pants books.  This one picks up when the girls are about to turn 30, almost 10 years after the 4th Pants book ends.  This book made me laugh and it made me cry.  In fact, this book made me cry at the drop of a hat for about 4 days.  So read with some tissues!

One Day by David Nicholls
I decided to read this after I saw the preview for the new movie coming out with Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess.  This book is about Emma and Dexter who meet in college and are friends forever.  It checks in on Em and Dex every year on the anniversary of the day they met.  Amazing idea.  Nicholls did a great job in making the characters real, but also in keeping certain threads going on throughout the book, so you weren't completely lost after not having seen these characters for a year.

and finally:

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
This was the first David Sedaris book I'd ever read, but it will not be the last.  A collection of essays, this book would be perfect on vacation as its easy to pick up and put down.  Sedaris is almost sinfully funny and had me laughing out loud in my cubicle.  I love books that make me laugh out loud, and this one did.  

And that's it!  As you can see I was a busy, busy reading bee this summer!  I'm still trying to finish a few books I started over the summer, so hopefully I'll be able to update you on those soon!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It was like I Blinked...

...and summer was over!  Seriously...WHERE DID IT GO?!?!?!?

Before anyone who's a teacher bemoans me for shortening their summer break by 2 or 3 weeks, let me was my last day of work for the summer.  Monday I head back to Charleston.  I move into my apartment on Tuesday.  The following Monday?  Why, on the following Monday, school starts up again.

Seriously where did my summer go?

It was only yesterday when I had gotten home and had three weeks off before I started working.  I was bored.  Then I started working at the law firm.  And life was good.  Then I started working at Raytheon.  And life was good.  Then working 2 jobs caught up with me and life got hectic.  And then I blinked and now its August and am sitting in my room looking at a pile of clothes and books and shoes and bags and all of the materialistic things that I own trying to figure out how how I'm going to get it all back to Charleston (and also, how is it that my things seem to magically multiply when I store them?).

So what HAVE I done with my summer?  Well not that much.  I'm not saying that it wasn't a good summer, it was, but it wasn't the most eventful summer of my life.  But I'm alright with that.  I read a lot.  I saw a LOT of movies.  I spent a TON of time with friends.  All in all, not so bad, even if all of it took place in Chesapeake, VA.  

Now I know I've been super crappy at updating this thing.  And honestly, I don't really have a good reason.  Life kind of just got in the way, what can I say?  I've been thinking about any of you who still read this, and I've even been planning posts, but I've been having a hard time putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).  But anyways, I'm back.  And, hopefully, here to stay.  Be on the lookout for some good stuff!