User Reviews

Reviews by dnapravn
The Rosie Project
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I can't remember the last time a debut novel made me smile as much as this one did. With characters that are appealing and quirky, The Rosie Project made me laugh out loud at times and wish that it was way longer than 295 pages.

 

Don Tillman is a socially awkward and brilliant professor of genetics. He freely admits that he only has two friends in the world and decides that it is high time to find himself a wife. So of course he goes about the task in the way he does everything: in an extremely logical and orderly manner. He develops a sixteen-page scientifically based survey and refers to it as The Wife Project. While he has never even had a second date before, he is convinced that his survey will find him the perfect partner, filtering out all of the smokers, drinkers, vegans, and women who habitually show up late to things.

 

When he meets Rosie, an unconventional and outgoing bartender, he doesn't even have to administer the survey to realize that she does not qualify as a candidate for his wife. Yet as he helps her try to identify her biological father and finds his very ordered life being turned upside-down, he can't deny that there is something very appealing about her. And truthfully, is the person who is perfect on paper always the right person for you?



Longbourn
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If you are anything like me you are having a difficult time waiting for the new season of Downton Abbey to begin. I can't wait to discover what's in store for the Crawley's and their servants this season. To make the time pass a little more quickly, you may want to get your fix of domestics by reading Jo Baker's latest novel, Longbourn. In it she imagines the belowstairs life of the Bennet household, the beloved family of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

While Pride and Prejudice follows the comings and goings of the Bennet family, Longbourn focuses on their small, often overworked domestic staff. Mrs. Hill, the housekeeper, does her best to keep everything running smoothly with the help of her aging husband, two young housemaids, Sarah and Polly, and the new footman, James. The novel focuses primarily on Sarah, who is bound and determined to decipher the mysterious appearance of the new footman in addition to completing all of her household duties. 

This was a fun, quick read that, in my opinion, stayed respectful to Austen's beloved classic. Enjoy! The Crawley family and their servants will be back in no time.
Sister, Mother, Husband, Dog, (etc.)
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In Sister, Mother, Husband, Dog, (etc.), Delia Ephron writes a series of autobiographical essays about love, life, and family. I had never read anything by her before, although I will confess to having seen the movie You've Got Mail more than once. Okay...way more than once.

The essays range from funny to serious and introspective. They all feel very honest. In the emotional "Losing Nora", Ephron writes about the loss of her older sister, Nora Ephron. You can feel the pain of her loss as she writes about their complicated and loving relationship. In "If My Dad Could Tweet" she writes about how much her dad would have loved Twitter had he been alive to see it. Other essays have her confessing her love of bakeries and addressing the concept of "having it all", how overwhelming it can be to keep up with the updates on all of your devices, and a hilarious essay in which she vows to never order Christmas presents online again.

I found this book to be a quick read; mostly funny and often touching. I am glad I picked it up. Now excuse me while I go find my DVD copy of You've Got Mail.

Reading and traveling are two of my favorite things, so I was thrilled when I stumbled upon the book Off the Beaten Page: The Best Trips for Lit Lovers, Book Clubs, and Girls on Getaways by Terri Peterson Smith, which encourages combining the two.

Like pairing wine with food, traveling to the places you read about or reading a book set in your next vacation spot only enhances your experience. Whether you travel alone, with family, or with book club friends, this book is packed with creative reading and travel ideas.

Within the pages of her book Terri Peterson Smith describes fifteen of her favorite literary destinations. Each section provides an extensive reading list, made up of fiction and non-fiction titles, as well as excursion ideas. The excursions range from very simple to the more elaborate. She bases her itineraries on a three day trip but offers extension ideas. She even suggests hotels and restaurants. And if a getaway isn't in your plans, you can still enjoy her "field trip" ideas; local excursions that only require a couple of hours in or near your hometown.

All I have to do now is grab my book club, choose a book and begin planning our trip. I hope you do too!
Whistling Past the Graveyard
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If you are a fan of the book The Help by Kathryn Stockett, you may want to check out Susan Crandall's Whistling Past the Graveyard.
Set in 1963 Mississippi, nine-year-old Starla has not seen her mother, who abandoned her to become a famous singer, since she was three. Her father works on an offshore oil rig and is not around much, so Starla lives with her cantankerous grandmother who never misses an opportunity to let Starla know what a trial she is. When Starla is grounded yet again, she runs away headed to Nashville and her mother. She is eventually picked up by a black woman named Eula who is traveling alone with a white baby.
What follows is a life-changing road trip during which Starla is exposed to the prejudice of the 1960s South. During their sometimes dangerous adventure together Eula, Starla, and Baby James face the harsh realities of life as well as learn the true meaning of love and family.