Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Help You've Been Looking For

ver on the SITS Community Blog Frog Page a group of us recently began a small virtual book club. Whether or not that is even a term, I do not know. Tiffany made the choice of the first novel and thus we began reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. For those of you who are not familiar with SITS or Tiffany & Heather, go check them out. You won't be sorry. Note: I took special care not to place any spoilers in this review, so that there will still be a desire to enter the giveaway at the end. ;)

I began reading the book without knowing anything about it or its subject matter, so I was delighted to discover that it was set in the South and was set in an area relatively local to me. A after reading a couple of chapters, I became curious about the author and Googled her, of course. Her website is loaded with information from her and about her. Within the site you will read the rave reviews, plus the true experiences and inspiration from Ms. Stockett's life that came together to form the story. Want to hear the best part? She's a Bama girl! Roll Tide! Haha.

Here's a quick summary of the novel:
Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.  
Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. 
Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own. Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.  
In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women--mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends--view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.  {from}
The narrator revolves throughout the story giving the reader a completely fulfilling and personal experience by telling the story from a total of four perspectives. I felt as though I was seated on a screened porch atop a wicker settee, taking my turn visiting with each of these passionate, endearing and sometimes fiery ladies. Each of them will surely win your heart at different points in the novel and in different ways. It is inevitable that you will find yourself tearing-up, giggling, and gasping at the accounts of these women on a mission. Although, I typically steer away from racial tension-driven novels; however, I found this one definitely broke the mold of the southern historical fiction. I suppose the fact that Ms. Stockett is from the city where her novel is set doesn't hurt her achieved accuracy either. Do not think this book is a slow, gentile, borderline sleepy read. It is not!
I alternated reading the hard copy and listening to the audiobook because I had already become immersed in the story when I ended up having to make two road trips in a week. Also, it's great for when you do not want to get too far behind while having to attend to housework and a ten-month-old explorer. ;) I am not sure the process by which the readers/performers of an audiobook are selected, but whoever cast this one was right on the mark! There are four different performers for the four different perspectives, and they are each, in a word, perfection. It is usually a 50/50 shot that you will find the audiobook as engrossing as the hardback because many audiobook performers sound just plain irritated by the fact that they are reading this novel aloud, even novels read by their own author. This piece of audio was superb. I do not want to share any more than I already have for fear of sharing too much or continuing to gush so much that you actually change your mind as a result of my potential annoyance. 
Now for the giveaway of the hardback copy* AND the audio version of the novel*. That's how badly I would like to share this story! Here's how to enter, easy-peasy:
1. Follow my blog via email by going over to the right sidebar and entering your email address in the form labeled "Signed, Sealed, Delivered."
2. Follow me on Twitter and re-tweet this giveaway. If you are already a follower, you're one step ahead!
3. Head over to my Blog Frog community and post a response to my new discussion by clicking here or via the gadget in my sidebar.

You get one entry for completing all three. 
Remember there are two chances to win!
TWO winners will be chosen: one for the hardback and one for the audio.
*These are not free copies that have been provided to me by the author, publisher, or a bookseller. 

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I just thought these were really neat photos to share.

...and obviously the book club pick wasn't a bad one either.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's an Up-date!

There has been a little change in plans/now reading list. Since Tiffany has started a book club over on the SITS Blog Frog community, I have decided to join in and read The Help. I am still finishing up 1st to Die and Twenties Girl, but the help is priority one since there is a Twitter party involved. I love a good Twitter party. I am going to have to hurry because my copy of The Carrie Diaries arrives next week!

Click the book to go to and read a summary.


Friday, April 9, 2010

About my little book nook...

I have completely dived into reading as a hobby. I never did much, if any, outside reading when I was teaching due to all the reading I did for class. All that I ever read was essays, short stories, more essays, etc.

Now that I am a SAHM I have time to read. So, this page will devoted to my bookshelf.

What I am reading:
   Currently I am reading two books, and I have one audiobook going in my car:

1.   1st to Die by James Patterson
2.   Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
3.   Daddy's Girl by Lisa Scottoline (pronounced Scott - o - leeny)

As I finish them I will post my response. Feel free to chime in if you have read it. I will be sure to post up front if there is a spoiler in my post.

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On My Bookstore Wish List:
  1. Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert
  2. The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Writings by Elizabeth Perkins Gilman
  3. Evangeline by Ben Farmer
  4. Jury of Her Peers by Elaine Showalter
  5. Just Don't Call Me Ma'am byAnna Mitchael
  6. The Sisters by Mary S. Lovell
  7. Heart in the Studio by Jake Brown 
  8. Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
  9. The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
  10. How Perfect is That by Sarah Bird
  11. The Missing by Tim Gautreaux
If you've read one of these, let me know what you thought.

Photo credit: The Black Spot Books