Monday, June 15, 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

You know you've come across a great book when you're still thinking about it as you lay down to go to bed for the night. I was stunned by how real Alice was to me. It gave me an insight into this disease that I might not have otherwise had.

There was a scene in Still Alice, where Alice, a Harvard professor heads to one of her classes thinking she's going as a student, and doesn't even realize that this is a class she's supposed to be teaching. After 20 minutes go by, she gets up and checks her watch, glances over at another student and remarks, "Well I don't know about you, but I have better things to do with my time." I was awestruck after that. Wow. Alice mentions that she struggles with wishing she was diagnosed with cancer instead because at least she could have the option to fight. But with Alzheimer's, she was very aware that her memory was fading and she had to live through the humiliation of what episodes she would endure in front of her family, her colleagues and friends. I was brought to tears at times because it was so sad and others because it was so touching. It took me a while to process the entire story once I was finished. And I knew the author ended it the way she did, because she wanted the reader to really think through the entire situation. Powerful. And totally amazing that this is Lisa Genova's first novel.

I look forward to more from Lisa Genova and applaud her thoroughness and detail in describing for her readers in a very accurate, clinical and emotional way what Alzheimer's can do to an individual and a family.

Description: Still Alice is a compelling debut novel about a 50-year-old woman's sudden descent into early onset Alzheimer's disease, written by first-time author Lisa Genova, who holds a Ph. D in neuroscience from Harvard University.
Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer's disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. In turns heartbreaking, inspiring and terrifying, Still Alice captures in remarkable detail what's it's like to literally lose your mind...

Reminiscent of A Beautiful Mind, Ordinary People and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Still Alice packs a powerful emotional punch and marks the arrival of a strong new voice in fiction.

Recommend: In a heartbeat.

Rating: ****

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

Reading about food never sounded, tasted or smelled so good. I could swear the flavors were melting on my tongue and the aroma's were filling my senses all through the author's writing. Heavenly would be a perfectly suited word to describe the ambiance this book creates. It was incredible. I loved the food descriptions, the atmosphere, the characters, the relationships, it was all so balanced together like an incredible recipe itself. But here was my only regret - it was too short. There was so much more I wanted to know about these characters. I wanted to see more of their lives after the cooking school, what they did with their new found knowledge and passion. It just felt so unresolved at the end. I was left salivating for more!

I highly recommend this read; its light, delectable and will leave you wanting more! Thank you Erica for writing such a beautiful story! Oh and please, please, please write a sequel!

Description: The School of Essential Ingredients follows the lives of eight students who gather in Lillian’s Restaurant every Monday night for cooking class. It soon becomes clear, however, that each one seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. Students include Claire, a young mother struggling with the demands of her family; Antonia, an Italian kitchen designer learning to adapt to life in America; and Tom, a widower mourning the loss of his wife to breast cancer. Chef Lillian, a woman whose connection with food is both soulful and exacting, helps them to create dishes whose flavor and techniques expand beyond the restaurant and into the secret corners of her students’ lives. One by one the students are transformed by the aromas, flavors, and textures of Lillian’s food, including a white-on-white cake that prompts wistful reflections on the sweet fragility of love and a peppery heirloom tomato sauce that seems to spark one romance but end another. Brought together by the power of food and companionship, the lives of the characters mingle and intertwine, united by the revealing nature of what can be created in the kitchen.

Recommend: Absolutely!

Rating: ****

Friday, June 5, 2009

I got two new ARC's in the mail this week and I'M FREAKING OUT!!! Excited freak out, not bad freak out.

I can't wait to get started on them, cause they both look fabulous :-)

First, Bloomsbury sent me "The Actor and the Housewife" by Shannon Hale. For more info you can visit the author's website here.
Then the second book I recieved yesterday was through, "I Apologize" by Bradley Booth. And the cherry on top? The author autographed the inside with a sweet note :-) I have a strong feeling this one is going to rock my world. For more info, you can click here.

I can tell already, this is going to be an AWESOME summer! Ok gotta run, I have some serious reading to do!!