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January 13th, 2013

Books 1 & 2 - 2012

Book 1: The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve – 293 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Who can guess what a woman will do when the unthinkable becomes her reality? From the bestselling author of The Weight of Water, this enormously gripping and powerfully wrought novel asks the questions we all have about ourselves and definitively places Anita Shreve among the ranks of the best novelists writing today. Being married to a pilot has taught Kathryn Lyons to be ready for emergencies, but nothing has prepared her for the late-night knock on her door and the news of her husband's fatal crash. As Kathryn struggles through her grief, she is forced to confront disturbing rumours about the man she loved and the life that she took for granted. Torn between her impulse to protect her husband's memory and her desire to know the truth, Kathryn sets off to find out if she ever really knew the man who was her husband. In her determination to test the truth of her marriage, she faces shocking revelations about the secrets a man can keep and the actions a woman is willing to take.

Thoughts:
I had no expectations going into reading this book, and to be perfectly honest, for the first 100 pages it didn’t do much for me. I bought it for $10 on a throw out table at a now-defunct book chain here in Brisbane, using a gift voucher an uncle had given me, that wouldn’t buy me much more than this without me having to spend actual money. It sat on my shelf for years and finally I decided I needed to pick it up in October 2011 because it had been gathering dust for far too long. It’s appropriate that I should start in October and then finally finish it on New Year’s Day 2012 (reading over half of it on a flight from Brisbane to Launceston, Tasmania), as in a way it reflected my life a little, and I found that this story came to mean much more to me than I’d have ever thought. The book tells the story of Kathryn Lyons, a pilot’s wife, who’s life is turned upside down when an early morning knock at the door makes her a widow. A terrible enough situation only made much worse when reports come in that the crash was as a result of her husband’s suicide. By the end of the story I ached for Kathryn, watching her work through and discover her husband’s deceptions, one after the other. It made me wonder about the grief and the sorrow felt by one upon losing someone loved and then hated, versus someone solely loved, versus someone solely hated. These thoughts came to me after losing my grandmother in November 2011, a woman I adored, who died while I was on the other side of the planet. I don’t grieve with other people, its not in my nature, and while the rest of my family grieved her loss, I remained stoic and almost detached, and its only now, some months later, as little things hit me, that I feel as if I am grieving, and it is something I do in private, unable to verbalise how I feel to others. This experience gave me something to compare to Kathryn, as did the idea of her husband’s deceptions, having come from a family with a grandfather (other side of the family!) who was an adulterer intent on keeping both a mistress and wife (he in fact fought my grandmother’s divorce proceedings in court (this was back in the 70s) in order to keep their marriage, while being unwilling to sacrifice his mistress). This sincerely reflected Kathryn’s situation, and I felt I could bring both these experiences to my reading of the story and in having that, I got to experience the story much more richly. It was a good read for me, needed during the time, and finishing it on New Year’s Day, closing the book as Kathryn rebuilt her life, seemed appropriate. An absent choice made several years ago come to touch me when I needed it most – the beauty of the written word…


1 / 50 books. 2% done!


293 / 15000 pages. 2% done!

Book 2: Great Big Beautiful Doll: The Anna Nicole Smith Story by Eric & D’eva Redding – 239 pages

Description from amazon.com:
Anna Nicole Smith went from being a small town country girl to being Playboy's Playmate of the Year, exploited by national tabloids for her controversial marriage to one of the richest men in America. In this indulgent biography, authors reveal all of the salacious details of her meteoric rise to fame, now with a new introduction, concluding chapter, and even more never-before-seen photos. The authors reveal all of the salacious details of her meteoric rise to fame from her childhood in tiny Mexia, Texas to her very public struggle with her weight. It includes the details of her Supreme Court battle to hold onto the fabulous fortune left to her in her husband's will.

Thoughts:
I think I picked this book up for like three dollars, hence why I was reading it at all. For some reason, when I decided to read it, I was on an ‘I should read more biographies’ phase (which lasted all but one book!). I have no real great interest in Anna Nicole’s life, but I actually didn’t mind this biography that covered from Anna’s childhood up until just after DNA tests confirmed the father of her daughter Dannilynn after her death. Her life was a bizarre one and she a bizarre person, but it is impossible to not feel at least a little sorry for her, and even more so her children. The writers worked with Anne Nicole early on in her career so whilst there’s a bit of self-promotion within the book, I think its reasonable to say that it’s a fairly decent interpretation of her personality. As for whether or not she truly loved her much older and rich husband (and some of her actions suggest very strongly that she didn’t) I don’t think that something’s any one but her will ever know.


2 / 50 books. 4% done!


532 / 15000 pages. 4% done!

As promised, I am posting my 2012 reviews in 2013. I was planning to post at least one 2012 review whenever I post a 2013 review but I'm a bit slow on my reading this year at this stage - seeing as I'm working through my 500+ page books, so figured I'd get the ball rolling nonetheless!


Currently reading:
- The Iliad
by Homer – 408 pages
- The Other Queen
by Philippa Gregory – 437 pages
- Steve Jobs
by Walter Issacson – 598 pages

And coming up:
- The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder
by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
- The Odyssey
by Homer – 324 pages
- One for the Money
by Janet Evanovich – 290 pages

The Stolen Child

5. The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue

I happened across this book by accident, when searching for Room by Emma Donoghue. And was glad I did. The first book by this author, who happens to be a speech writer.
The Stolen Child tells the story of two individuals, one, Henry Day, is a human child, and the other, a changeling, kidnaps Henry Day and replaces him in his family. Thuss the changeling becomes a human child and Henry Day becomes the newest of the changeling children. The book follows them both as they each try to make sense of their new places in the world.
The book was really interesting, and I liked how each chapter alternated narrations between the two boys. It's the same story from two separate perspectives. In order to help the reader follow, each of the former Henry Day's chapters are distinguished by a picture of a tree.
Very interesting read!! I think it's the most PG rating of my book list thuss far, but there are some sexual references and situations, but language overall is mild.

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