Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Last night's book discussion

Good Morning my fellow book lovers!

So last night was my book club's (Aventura Book Club - a.k.a ABC) May meet-up where we discussed "Look Again" by Lisa Scottoline.
Has anyone of you read a book by her?
Well, this was my very first one by Scottoline, and when I started reading it, I didn't know what to expect. The main character of this book is a journalist, so I thought it might get boring and loose my interest but then at the same time the story involves a little boy whom she adopted and yet who might actually be someone else's KIDNAPPED child ... so I gave it a chance. 

I finished the book in 2 days! Wow, loved it. Really enjoyed it a lot and my book club members liked it as well.

Scottoline jumped right in to the story and kept things moving page after page. She grabs your attention right from the beginning! Chapter 1 starts like this: "Ellen Gleeson was unlocking her front door when something in the mail caught her attention. It was a white card with photos of missing children, and one of the little boys looked oddly like her son. She eyed the photo as she twisted her key in the lock, but the mechanism was jammed, probably because of the cold...Ellen couldn’t stop looking at the white card, which read HAVE YOU SEEN THIS CHILD? The resemblance between the boy in the photo and her son was uncanny. They had the same wide set eyes, smallish nose, and lopsided grin. Maybe it was the lighting on the porch... She held the photo closer ... The boys could have been twins.Weird, Ellen thought. Her son didn’t have a twin. She had ad­opted him as an only child."

Tell me that doesn't grab your attention?
Well it grabbed mine... and yes, most people, as discussed with my ABC members don't even look at these missing child photos anymore. I'm not saying that this is a good thing, but you don't really even see them anywhere. They used to be printed on milk cartons, but now, I don't think I have seen one in years!
Anyway, as I was saying, most people would dismiss such as thing and go on with their life, not thinking about it. But that's not what the book is about... the book is about a woman who does NOT dismiss that little white card. A woman who goes through great extent to find out the truth about her adopted child and her suspicions.
After all, she is a journalist, so it's in her nature to want to research this and get to the bottom of it.

So as I was reading the book, one exciting thing after another kept on happening and because her chapters are so short it made reading the book super easy. Of course, right after I finished it, well no, not true, a couple of chapters before I finished it, I went online to research her other books and already bought one!

And then there is also the love interest which always appeals to me of course! I love, love, love anything that has to do with romance, so the extra added hunk and sexy boss kept my interest as well :-)

Though some of my ABC members (pictured below) predicted the ending of the book, I did not think it was very predictable. I would give you examples, but I don't want to ruin the story for you, it's best you go and pick up a copy yourself and let me know if you predicted some of the happenings. And there is always something new happening!

I must mention one negative thing though about this book and that is about the characters. They were interesting and each one had a different personality, but I felt like I wanted to know more about them. So in that regard it was lacking depth, but other than that, I will give this book an A for the story line and the way it was written.

Here are some questions we discussed last night (please feel free to answer them if you have read the book!):
1. As a journalist, Ellen has a heightened need to find the truth. In this circumstance, was this a good thing, or a bad thing?
2. What would you have done in Ellen’s place?
3. Would you have looked for the truth, even if it meant losing your son?
4.What do you think were Ellen’s motivations?

Aventura Book Worm

P.S. The other Scottoline book I purchased and intend to read very soon, is "Think Twice"

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I prefer the old fashioned way...

I'm sure you guys have heard of the Kindle, and I am wondering what your thoughts are about it?
I see people reading on it everywhere now! At Starbucks with their coffee, at the airport waiting for their flight, on the plane, on lunch breaks, and believe it or not, IN THEIR CARS while driving! Yes, I actually saw a woman in the car next to me, pulling it out of her purse and reading, up until the light turned green ... I hope she put it back in her purse after that. But really, I see people reading on it EVERYWHERE!
If you are sensing a little negativity in my tone, then it's probably because, well, I am not the biggest fan of it. I'm sorry, but I see and hear that "it's the future" everywhere and quite frankly it saddens me because there is just something so special and so original of being able to hold a book and turn the pages and having your fingerprints all over it, and, oh gosh... I can go on and on. And with how this society is growing, I just hope that books one day won't also go extinct just like so many other things have.

Yes, I agree, this little machine has a couple of very nice features on it and it's a great gadget to own for people who read a lot and don't have space to keep all of their books, and it's convenient for people who travel a lot. It uploads books in just about 60 seconds and can store hundreds of them in your library, it is super thin and very lightweight (even lighter than the average soft cover book), is has a built in PDF reader, a "read to me" application (like an audio book), it's wireless, you can look up words you don't know and it gives you the description right away, it lights up in the dark, there are no extra fees or anything like that, and oh so many more things. But I don't know... I prefer the old fashioned, holding a book, smelling the printed paper way.

Anyway... I want to hear your thoughts about it... do you own one? How do you like it?

Aventura Book Worm

Friday, April 23, 2010

Three Cups of Tea

Good Morning fellow Book Worms!

As I have mentioned before, I created a Book Club a couple of years ago and today I want to share with you some of my thoughts about the very first book my book club (Aventura Book Club - “ABC”) read.

It wouldn’t surprise me if you guys have seen this book everywhere because when it came out in 2006, for three years it remained a # 1 New York Times bestseller. And how ironic! For 3 years it was a bestseller and the title of the book is “Three cups of tea” :-) …just thought I would share that with you.

Anyway, “Three Cups of Tea” was written from David Oliver Relin’s perspective as an admiring journalist interviewing and observing Greg Mortenson. Relin did a good job compiling the book and mentioning a lot of specific details of Mortenson’s journeys, but it did tend to get a little boring. Some of the stories kind of steered away from the main plot and a few chapters were a little too long, so it lost my attention at times.
The book got a lot of praise, but one specific review is exactly how I would put it, and that was by Bookmarks magazine, and they wrote that, "Despite the important message, critics quibbled over the awkward prose and some melodrama. After all, a story as dramatic and satisfying as this should tell itself.”
But I must say that the overall story which describes Mortenson's transition from being a mountain-climber to a humanitarian, committed to reducing poverty and raising education to girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan was extremely inspiring!

You know, Mortenson was a very courageous man. He faced many daunting challenges in his quest and it takes a very dedicated and certain type of person to be able to do the things he has done. And still continues to do. He sacrificed almost everything in his life in order to fulfill his dream, but in the end it all paid off.

Over 131 schools in the most remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan were built, and over 58,000 women and children are now being educated. And you have to remember, that in these countries, the roles of men and women are very different from the way we American’s, in this society see it! The men are the “smarter” ones and “stronger” ones and “better” ones, whereas the women do the cleaning, take care of the kids and their husbands… less important so to speak (even though without the women, the men would be nothing). So imagine how these men of these small villages must have felt when they saw this big American guy coming in with his entourage, wanting to build bridges and schools, etc…

“Three Cups of Tea” is a pretty heavy book, but I would recommend you read it, simply because some of the issues such as educating children and women and the importance of building schools, are topics we normally are not aware of, or think about.

Are you wondering about the title of the book? You know, the title of a book can tell you a lot about the center point of any story. Well in this particular one, the book's title comes from a Balti proverb:
"The FIRST time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger.
The SECOND time you take tea, you are an honored guest.
The THIRD time you share a cup of tea, you become family…”
Pretty neat, no?

Anyway, the really cool thing about reading “Three Cups of Tea” with ABC, was that the very next week, Greg Mortenson came to Miami to speak about it. So we all went to his book signing and we had a great time! Here are some pictures:

I hope you enjoyed my review about this book and I would love to hear your thoughts about it.
Have you read “Three Cups of Tea”?
Did you like it?
Did it challenge you to make more of a positive difference in the world?

Aventura Book Worm

P.S. If you liked this book and want to read more about Mortenson and his journey, pick up the sequel titled “Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace With Books, Not Bombs, In Afghanistan and Pakistan”.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My first time...

Hello everyone!
Well this is my very first blog and I am very excited to write and share all of my feelings and thoughts about books, books, and more books!

Before I go into my official book blog though, I want to share a little "secret" with you guys which most people don't know about me, and that is, that just a little over 3 years ago I HATED to read. In fact, I couldn't understand people who would sit for hours and hours, and read books. I found it to be the biggest waste of time and extremely boring! Does that make sense??

Well, anyway, one day, I went to lunch with my good friends Danielle and Linsdey and all of a sudden they started talking about this book they both read and how great it was and how so very mysterious it is and blah, blah, blah. And I'm sitting there, thinking to myself "Just shoot me. Really?? You're talking about a book? Why can't you just watch the movie where you can actually see the people and their emotions, and best of all, it only takes you about 2 HOURS as opposed to days!" Well after sitting through a few more of these boring book discussion sessions with them, I decided to just go try it out and see what all of this greatness is all about. I wasn't very otimistic though, so I challenged myself to at least try and get past the first page without dying of boredom.
Danielle suggested I start with a romance novel since I am the biggest sap in the world.
Ok, good idea.
I go with one of the biggest romance authors in the world, Danielle Steel.

Well people, after that, history was made! My whole view on books and reading changed.
Not only did I finish that Danielle Steel novel, which, by the way, was "A Perfect Stranger" in just about 3 hours but I think my whole year's salary went into Barnes and Noble.

Since that day, I can not stop reading. Of course Romance novels are always going to be my favorites (Danielle Steel is amazing - and no DS haters please!) ;-), but I also love to read medical thrillers, Mysteries, Crimes, Biographies, and on and on.

One day I decided that I wanted to share my love for reading with other people.
I would read books and have questions about them but no one really to ask or discuss it with.
So a little over 2 years ago I created a Book Club in my area and have accumulated over 100 book worms. It is a group for anyone who loves to read and of course loves to socialize! We meet at various local coffee shops and discuss a variety of books. Whether it's fiction, non-fiction, paperback or hardcover, we always read and experience a new story every month.
I really love my book club and all of my books worms. Our discussions tend to get heated at times and some opinions are more agressive than others, but this is what a good book club is all about! We laugh, share stories, and make new friends and in the end, that is all that counts.

So to conclude my very first, or shall I say, introductory book blog, I am very excited to share my thoughts about the variety of books I read, and I am looking forward to all of your comments!

Aventura Book Worm