Sunday, July 17, 2011


I failed.

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

That's right, I didn't make it through the reading challenge earlier last week. I had the best of intentions. One day, I even got off work early to come home and read. Another day, I cut back on my workout by 30 minutes so I could get some more reading time in. I swear I tried. But with two jobs and a time span of 3 weekdays, I just wasn't able to do it. I've still completed my goals of reading the two books, but just a little later. I finished reading them yesterday afternoon, so I was three days over the deadline. It'll just have to do. But now I've learned my lesson for read-a-thons: no more weekdays!

Here were my goals for the read-a-thon:
  1. Finish reading What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage (204 pages remaining)
  2. Start and Finish Seven Year Switch by Claire Cook (237 pages total)
I was able to complete both books and love them! The detailed information is below:

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day is one of the many books Matt bought me in the B&N online sale. The title was so intriguing, as was the summary. Here is the back cover summary:

"After a decade of elegant pleasures and luxe living among the Atlanta brothers and sisters with the best clothes and biggest dreams, Ava Johnson has temporarily returned home to Idlewild--her fabulous career and power plans smashed to bits by cold reality. But what she imagines is the end is, instead, a beginning. Because, in the ten-plus years since Ava left, all the problems of the big city have come to root in the sleepy North Michigan community whose ordinariness once drove her awa; and she cannot turn her back on friends and family who sorely need her in the face of impending trouble and tragedy. Besides which, that one unthinkable, unmistakable thing is now happening to her: Ava Johnson is falling in love."

 Ava Johnson is almost the exact opposite of me. Seriously, we have nothing in common--but I was drawn to her character in just the first page of the novel, when she discloses her big secret. It's also nothing I can relate to, but intriguing nonetheless. She has undergone change since escaping the tiny Idlewild community, but comes back to discover that maybe change isn't always good. Her growth and progress through the novel were captivating, and Cleage really sucks you in to feeling as though you know Ava and all the other characters. Cleage's descriptions, although minimal, are enough to clarify specifics, but leave the rest up to the imagination. My favorite quote from the book, and the only one that explains the interesting title, is this:

"...because by now we were old enough to know that what looks like crazy on an ordinary day looks a lot like love if you catch it in the moonlight"

Oprah did a great job in picking this novel for her book club. I highly recommend it to anyone--no matter how opposite you are from Ava.
What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage
Rating: 4/5
Pages: 244
2011 Reading Goal: 6,097/12,500

The other novel I read, also from the big B&N online sale, was Seven Year Switch by Claire Cook. I was lead to believe, through reviews, that this would be the perfect beach read. Obviously, in North Dakota, there are no beaches. I thought about bringing the book to The Lake, but instead just stayed at home to read it. I see now why everyone said it was the perfect beach read. Here's the Goodreads summary:

"Just when she's finally figured out how to manage on her own, Jill Murray's ex-husband, Seth, is back crashing into the man-free existence Jill and her ten-year-old daughter, Anastasia, have built so carefully. Jill's life just hasn't turned out quite the way she'd planned. By now, she'd hoped to be jetting around the world as a high-end cultural coach. Instead, she's answering phones for a local travel agency and teaching cooking classes at the community center. Enter free-spirited entrepreneur Billy who hires Jill as a consultant for an upcoming business trip. Suddenly, her no-boys-allowed life is anything but.
They say that every seven years you become a completely new person, but Jill isn't sure she's ready to make the leap. It takes a Costa Rican getaway to help her make a choice not so much between the two men in her life, but between the woman she is and the woman she wants to be."

 The novel itself is a super quick read. I don't have kids, but I was engrossed in the relationship Jill has with her daughter, Anastasia, and her ex-husband, Seth, who abandoned her seven years ago. It's interesting to see Anastasia's desperation for a father, at a time in her life where she's starting to push her mother away. The character development is somewhat lacking, and I think more detail and background would be enjoyable, but it's not too bad overall. I recommend this novel to any woman looking for a beach read or wanting to gather the courage to find themselves.
Seven Year Switch by Claire Cook
Rating: 3/5
Pages: 237
2011 Reading Goal: 6,334/12,500

I'm also still working on a little "spring cleaning" of my bookshelves. I have many gently used books from a non-smoker, non-pet home. I was thinking of donating them to the library, but then it occurred to me that I could do giveaways to my readers. Would you vote to let me know what you think? There's an anonymous poll at the bottom of the page that closes at the end of the month. I look forward to my readers insight! :)

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