Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lest I forget my opinions...

Ya. Like that's really going to happen. I have a stellar memory and can tell you my thoughts on books I read ten years ago. (However, being anesthetized twice in six weeks time is hard on a girl's short term memory. It took a little while to get that back.)

But I do need to move along with the book reviews and not let them pile up. Since we're approaching the end of February I figured I needed to sum up what I read this month.

I didn't read nearly as much this month. That was intentional. I am still moving along in The Chronicles of Narnia, but for a large part of the month I put everything aside to read An Echo in the Bone; the most recent novel in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Since there isn't another book after this one (yet) I wanted to take my time and savor the story.

If you haven't read the series I highly recommend it.

What can I say about this most recent book though?

I enjoyed it very much. I always do like the books in the Outlander series. This one was a little slow going in the first half. I got a little impatient wanting her to move along in the story. The further she has taken us into this world the more characters we've been introduced to and several of them are central to the story. So I can see now how it was necessary to lay down some plot lines. It just took a little longer than I would have liked.

The ending of this book though. Holy crap! There is a huge cliffhanger at the end and several other small ones to go along with it. Each book leaves a little to the imagination at the end because it's an ongoing story. We'll never get all the answers until she writes the final book, but oh my goodness! After I finished earlier this week I kind of regretted reading it. Not because it was bad, but because it takes her several years to write these novels and now I have to wait to find out what happens. I was perfectly happy with the resolutions at the end of the book before this, A Breath of Snow and Ashes. I would have been fine waiting a few years after that one, but now the suspense is killing me. And there isn't a thing I can do about it.

Why Diana Gabaldon, why?

All that aside, if you like historical fiction this is the series for you. Go check it out and if you don't like to be kept waiting for answers don't read An Echo in the Bone until she publishes the next book.

If you're keeping track of my "to be read" list in the side bar you've notice that I removed several books from the list. More specifically, I removed all of the Janet Evanovich books. Because I just can't make myself read them.

Last year after the accident some of Andy's internet friends were very kind and sent me a gift to help get me through those longs days stuck on the sofa. They sent me two cookbooks and two compilation books containing the first six novels in the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich.

I adore the cookbooks. I love any cookbook, but they really chose well. I've used them both multiple times and have almost all the recipes on my "to cook" list.

The medication I was on at the time was so strong I wasn't really able to focus long enough to read much of anything, especially a novel. Reading just made me sleepy, so it was several weeks before I pulled out the Evanovich books and tried to dig in. I only made it to chapter two of the first book. I had rolled my eyes so much in the first chapter I thought they were going to get stuck in the back of my head. Basically these books are guilty pleasure books. They are easy reads and don't challenge your brain too much while you're reading. Now, don't get me wrong. I certainly have my fair share of guilty pleasures (hello Twilight series), but I just couldn't seem to get into these books. I didn't care what happened to the characters at all, and in my opinion you kind of need to in order to enjoy the story.

And even now, almost a year later, I found myself passing them up for anything else I could get my hands on. So they're on the back burner. I feel bad just giving them away, because it was such a sweet gesture from people that don't know me at all, but I'm not going to make myself read them. At least not right now. I might try again another time. We'll see.

Lastly, I've also been reading French Women Don't get Fat by Mireille Guilliano. No, I haven't finished it, but I wanted to include a partial review here now, and a full review later on.

This is a diet book, in the sense that it's about losing weight. But it is also a non-diet book because it isn't a fad. It doesn't offer any kind of  strict eating plan. I like that because each person is different and I just don't believe in fad diets and the idea that everyone will achieve lasting results with them. I don't really think anyone achieves lasting results with a fad diet.

Also, I am not a dieter. I never had been, because I haven't really needed to be. (Please don't throw tomatoes at your screen. That will only make a mess.)

I have been blessed with a petite frame and I've never been overweight, but I have a raging sweet tooth and my metabolism isn't what it used to be. I can't just eat a whole pie by myself anymore. Well, I can, but the pie stubbornly attaches itself to my midsection now and refuses to let go.

Another reason I don't diet is because I don't like denying myself the things I love. I've never understood people passing on dessert or a piece of bread if they want it. Have some! Life it too short! I know people say that all the time, but I learned that lesson the hard way a year ago and I'll be damned if I'm going to let fat content keep me from a slice of cake if I want it.

How does this all figure in with a diet book? It fits because this book epitomizes my food philosophy. The whole point of the book is to help you learn how to enjoy all food (not just dessert) and use it to your advantage. It talks about making meals an event from the way you prepare a meal to how you serve it to how you consume it. Food preparation and consumption are on my list of "top five things I most like to do" so this book is pretty much right up my alley.

But what is a review of a diet book unless you actually put the book's principles to practice? That is exactly what I am in the middle of doing. So in a few months I will revisit this book and let you know how it all works out for me.

What I'm reading next: I haven't decided yet.

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