Thursday, April 29, 2010

Book review catch-up!

Slowly, but surely I am becoming more and more myself lately. Everyone says I am doing so well and handling this breakup great but, honestly, I don't think I handled it well at all. I was a mess. So much a mess that even my boss pulled me aside one day while she was visiting to ask me what was wrong.

Luckily, I am feeling much better and I truly believe now that when one door closes another will open.

In the past couple months I have been reading though! Here's what I have had my nose buried in!

The Day I Shot Cupid by Jennifer Love Hewitt
From Amazon:
For any woman who has ever bought a self-help book and wondered why she bothered. (P.S. Now that I know he's just not that into me, where do I go from there? Yeah, thanks for that advice.)

Jennifer Love Hewitt is a self-proclaimed "love-aholic" and hopeless romantic (her middle name is Love, after all!). She has been lucky and unlucky in love, and lived to tell--and she's done it all in the spotlight. Much has been written about her love life--some true, most made up to sell magazines. Now Hewitt shares the real story of what she's learned navigating the dangerous dating waters.

In The Day I Shot Cupid, Hewitt offers her hard-won wisdom and tells us how to embrace love with both feet on the ground. First, we have to shoot Cupid. We have to believe that happily-ever-after is hard work--it's not all flowers and symphonies and floating hearts.

Wise and wry and refreshingly honest, Hewitt talks about how to pick the right guy and how to know when to let the wrong ones go free, and she offers some surprising truths about the opposite sex.

From twenty things to do after a breakup, to ten things to do before a date, to the perils of text flirting (Note: You are waiting. By the phone. For his response.), Hewitt uses stories and dating secrets to illustrate the idiotic, romantic, crazy, depressing, hilarious, awkward, glorious moments we all experience in relationships. Funny, quirky, and empowering,The Day I Shot Cupid deserves a place on every woman's nightstand, bookshelf, or coffee table, or tucked inside her oversized designer handbag.

I bought this book right after the breakup and it really helped me. Jennifer and I are a lot alike in how easy we fall for guys. I would definitely recommend this book if you are going through a breakup or just need a confidence boost!

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
From the authors website:
On what might become one of the most significant days in her husband’s presidency, Alice Blackwell considers the strange and unlikely path that has led her to the White House–and the repercussions of a life lived, as she puts it, “almost in opposition to itself.”

A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice learned the virtues of politeness early on from her stolid parents and small Wisconsin hometown. But a tragic accident when she was seventeen shattered her identity and made her understand the fragility of life and the tenuousness of luck. So more than a decade later, when she met boisterous, charismatic Charlie Blackwell, she hardly gave him a second look: She was serious and thoughtful, and he would rather crack a joke than offer a real insight; he was the wealthy son of a bastion family of the Republican party, and she was a school librarian and registered Democrat. Comfortable in her quiet and unassuming life, she felt inured to his charms. And then, much to her surprise, Alice fell for Charlie.

As Alice learns to make her way amid the clannish energy and smug confidence of the Blackwell family, navigating the strange rituals of their country club and summer estate, she remains uneasy with her newfound good fortune. And when Charlie eventually becomes President, Alice is thrust into a position she did not seek–one of power and influence, privilege and responsibility. As Charlie’s tumultuous and controversial second term in the White House wears on, Alice must face contradictions years in the making: How can she both love and fundamentally disagree with her husband? How complicit has she been in the trajectory of her own life? What should she do when her private beliefs run against her public persona?

In Alice Blackwell, New York Times bestselling author Curtis Sittenfeld has created her most dynamic and complex heroine yet. American Wife is a gorgeously written novel that weaves class, wealth, race, and the exigencies of fate into a brilliant tapestry–a novel in which the unexpected becomes inevitable, and the pleasures and pain of intimacy and love are laid bare.

For those of you that know me well, you will know this is a re-read for me. I don't usually do that, but I just adore this book. I read it for the first time last year and I can already tell that I will probably read it every year for a long time. I simply adore Laura Bush and this is the book that really started my fascination with her.

The Perfect Wife: The Life and Choices of Laura Bush by Ann Gerhart

The intimate and critically acclaimed biography of the much-admired First Lady -- now in paperback with a new post-election Afterword by the author -- The Perfect Wife tells the complete story of Laura Welch Bush. From Mrs. Bush's upbringing in West Texas to her whirlwind romance with George W. Bush to the Governor's mansion to her roles as mother, Bush family member, First Lady, and savvy political campaigner, Gerhart reveals her as never before.

I picked this book up at Half Price Books and am so glad I did. I didn't really learn anything new about Laura Bush that I didn't already know but I just love reading about her. She's such a calm, soothing person (as far as I can tell!) and such a great person to aspire to be like. She is releasing a new memoir next week and I can't wait to pick it up! She's also going to be in Kansas City for a book signing later in May and I cannot wait to go!

Scandal by Kate Brian
This is the 11th and latest installment in the Private Series. It is a guilty pleasure of mine that I just can't stop! I think the series is losing it's sizzle that originally attracted me to it butare still enjoyable reads for me and make me feel like 16 year old again! :)

That's it for me! I have recently become obsessed with reading about the First Ladies of the United States. I have books on Eleanor Roosevelt, Jaqueline Kennedy, and Dolley Madison sitting on my nightstand ready to be read. I know I have Cy to thank for this new obsession but I am enjoying it quite a bit!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Southern appreciation...

The other day I had the sweetest conversation with a woman from Georgia. She was purchasing a few things in my store and I happened to be the one to ring her up. She had the thickest southern accent and I just couldn't resist asking her where she was from.

For those of you that don't know, I spent about a year living in South Carolina and really embraced the southern culture. It's so different from my Midwestern upbringing. Not different in a bad way, just different.

What makes the South so different is the people and the hospitality. Now, I know everyone says that and everyone has heard the term "Southern Hospitality" but it is soooo true. The people there are so sincere and thoughtful. In my opinion, Southerners have the best manners in the country and they're just so refreshing to be around.

It took me awhile to get used to children calling me ma'am and it even took me a long time to start using the terms sir and ma'am regularly but I did it. Sometimes I still do, but here I get funny looks. Here it's almost condescending to call someone ma'am. Sad, huh? I knew that if I didn't use those terms down there that I would be seen as rude. There I had to get used to making conversation with literally almost everyone. Southerners are talkers, take my word for it. They love to talk! So, it didn't surprise me when this woman stood and talked with me for quite awhile about the difference between her hometown and mine. It was sweet, and she totally made my day.

When she turned to leave she said thank you to me and said she really enjoyed talking with me. I could tell that not many people here had not struck up a conversation with her and I knew she was lonely. Luckily, she was with two little girls so I know she has a family and probably moved here with her husband.

I don't think either place is better than the other, they're just different. The Midwest is my home and always will be, but we are skeptical people. Most people aren't nice until the other is nice first. In the South it seemed that everyone is good until proven not and everyone is just so... friendly. That's what I miss the most. The friendliness.

I truly hope she comes back into my store because I could talk with her all day.