Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September 17: Book Reviews for The Gunslinger, Night Circus, Sparkly Green Earrings, and Dinner: A Love Story

I read the Gunslinger like a thousand years ago.  Actually, it was ninth grade.  I started my SK obsession when my best other best friend at the time started reading them too, and my first was Tommyknockers.  Sigh. So good. Then I read Insomnia and the Stand, then I decided to tackle The Dark Tower, and I figured I'd start at the beginning.  Which sort of sucked because Jeff, the best friend, was already on number four, Wizard and Glass.

Anyway, ninth grade was obviously a while ago, so I gave it a quick reread. This time I read the one that he rewrote or like added back the stuff his editor had made him get rid of or something like that- but the point is that I can't remember which version I read back in the day. This one? The original, which wasn't really the original since they made him edit it? Who knows.

Regardless, it was fantastic.  So great. Nice reminder of why Stephen King is the Greatest Writer Who Ever Lived.

And when he lets Jake die? MAN. I forgot how brutal that was. I think I remembered it more as oh Jake sort of died and the Gunslinger didn't save him but that's not quite what happens. He does it on purpose, he KNOWS he's damning himself and he doesn't even care.


I'm still working on my rating system, but I'd give this four out of five stars standing alone, but the Dark Tower as a whole, of course, would get five out of five. Yes, the ending was LAMESAUCE, but what of it?

If you haven't read this before, I'd move it to the top of your list. If it's been a while, I'd add it to the pile for a quick reread. It's like twelve pages, you could read it in one afternoon.


The Night Circus is on the short list of Best Books of 2013 and the less short but still amazing list of Best Books I've Ever Read.

As with most of my Best Books of 2013 (and 2012) I first heard of this book over at Meredith's place. As with most book reviews, she actually makes sense and doesn't stumble around like an imbecile as I'm about to do.


This is on the back of the book.

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. The black sign, painted in white letters that hangs upon the gates, reads:
Opens at Nightfall
Closes at Dawn
As the sun disappears beyond the horizon, all over the tents small lights begin to flicker, as though the entirety of the circus is covered in particularly bright fireflies. When the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears.
Le Cirque des Rêves
The Circus of Dreams.
Now the circus is open.
Now you may enter.

And if you don't know anything else about it, I recommend NOT using google to figure out the plot. I mean, there's not many big spoilers or twists or anything like that, but it's just one of those books that you sort of want to go into not knowing anything other than IT'S REALLY REALLY REALLY GOOD.  You know? Maybe that's why they write the back so weird, you know?

This book is MAGIC. The writing is top notch, and the story...ohhhhh, the story. It's just perfection. It sucked me in. That's not ENTIRELY true. I started this about two weeks before we headed to Bruges, and it took me FOREVER to get past the first two or three chapters. But then, with all the downtime in Bruges and all, I finally got through those few chapters and then BAM. I didn't put it down other than to...nothing. I didn't put it down until I was done, period. I stayed up till all hours of the night, I read in the car, I read while we were walking around Brussels, I read NONSTOP.

It was THAT good.

I loved all the characters, especially the Clock Dude. I can't remember his name, but he was EASILY my favorite.

Vague enough? I really just don't want to give you any more info because it's just so magical. But if you NEED to know more before you commit to the ten bucks for it, drop me a line and I'll dish, swear.

Rating: five out of five stars.  Whatever you're doing right this second, stop it, go download this book, and read it. Then get back to me so we can talk about how awesome it is.

And if you DON'T think it's awesome, you're dead to me.


I don't typically read non fiction. I don't like it, it's usually written weird, and, at least with the Mommy Memoirs, it seems to be basically all the same. I fell in love, got married, had babies, it was hard, but then I realized how much I love them and now my life is awesome. It's just not my cup of tea.

I love Melanie's blog, so I had to order the book. I've read most of it. Okay, I've read half of it. I wasn't even going to review it, but I wanted to link you to her blog. I like her blog more than the book, but not because the book is lame or anything. The blog is just easier to read, it comes right into feedly on my phone, you know? Right now it's a little obnoxious with all the college football talk, but that's nice for a lot of people, no? And her TV reviews are always to die for.

So, I won't rate it using stars. I'd say that while this wasn't exactly my cup of tea, if this is your sort of thing, it's quite good.  Funny and sweet, isn't that the whole point of a memoir? Maybe if I ever get to the point in my life where my kids aren't the bane of my existence, these Mommy Memoirs might resinate a little more?

Onward. Last one.

Now this, even though also non fiction, is also one of my fave books of the year. It's not JUST a cookbook, it's a...mommy memoir. Ugh, I know!! Flake much, Jennifer?

There's a lot of recipes peppered throughout, and I've tried a lot and only ONE has been a miss and most have been not just good but GREAT, but it's also her story. Living the dream in NYC, working for magazines and editors and cool shit like that, having babies back to back, and wanting to have dinner, together, at the table each night.

I dunno.  It's just good.  And she's a FANTASTIC writer, which of course, matters a lot to me. It's easy to read, it's well written, it's interesting...and it's got great recipes.  What more do you want?

Four out of five stars, and the only reason I don't give it five is because I think it's just a smidge too long.

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