Top Ten Words/Topics That Instantly Make Me Buy/Pick Up A Book

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

This week's Top Ten from The Broke and the Bookish asks for the Top Ten Words/Topics That Instantly Make Me Buy/Pick Up A Book.

1) Gothic Mystery

2) Libraries

3) Jazz Age

4) London

5) Dragons (they’re awesome)

6) Biographies of authors

7) Road Trip

8) Dystopia (I’m a bit burnt out on this one right now, but usually I love them)

9) World War II Historical Fiction

10) Indiana (It’s my state, if it’s set here I’ve got to read it)

Image from here.

Birdsong Readalong: Final Post

Monday, April 29, 2013

I want to discuss the novel, so there will be SPOILERS as I summarize the second half of the book.

by Sebastian Faulks

Where to begin? Let’s catch up on the rest of the book first.

Part Three: England 1978

We travel forward to the ‘70s where we meet Stephen’s granddaughter, Elizabeth Benson, a successful business woman embroiled in an affair with a married man. She begins to research her grandfather’s time in World War I after finding some of his journals.  

Part Four: France 1917:

Back in France we see Stephen return to the small town where he met Isabelle. While there he stumbles across her sister Jeanne and then eventually meets up with Isabelle. She is both physically and emotionally changed; scarred by the war and in love with another man. Stephen soon finds himself corresponding with Jeanne after saying his goodbyes with Isabelle.

Back at the front Weir is once again terrified of what the future will bring. In one scene he tries to say a preemptive goodbye to Stephen in case anything should happen to them and Stephen rebuffs him. Stephen is so cold and dismissive, but he obviously acts that way because he can’t stand the thought of losing someone else he loves. Weir is killed before Stephen can apologize.

Part Five: England 1978-79:

We’re back with Elizabeth as she learns about WW I. A few blind dates, attempts to break Stephen’s journaling code and then an unexpected pregnancy leave her life in turmoil.

Part Six: France 1918

Our finally section with Stephen is so painful to read I could hardly stand it. He and Jack Firebrace find themselves trapped underground after a regular inspection of the tunnels goes awry. The two men take solace in each other, talking about their lives and their loves as they try to dig their way out. Then Jack dies and once again my heart broke. Stephen is found by German soldiers who are grieving the loss of their own men and in that moment it doesn’t matter what color their uniforms are, they are brothers in grief.

Part Seven: England 1979

Elisabeth, pregnant with her child, learns the truth behind her mother’s parentage. She is the daughter of Stephen and Isabelle, but was raised by Stephen and Jeanne. When Elizabeth has her baby, naming him John after her Jack Firebrace’s son who died too young, she brings the story full circle, new life balancing death.

My Thoughts:
The final few chapters are so intense. The whole book feels like it lopes along at a steady pace, then in those final 100 pages there is just such an overwhelming feeling of both joy and sorrow. There’s a constant give and take: Stephen lives, but Jack dies, Elizabeth has a baby, but Jack looses his son. The balance of the destruction and devastation of war is pitted against the enduring nature of love, especially that between a parent and a child. I've never read something that pairs the two so beautifully.

It's not a light read, but it is enthralling. About 3/4 of the way in I wasn't sure how I felt about the book, I really wasn’t loving it, but that final section just moved me. I felt the loss of Weir and Firebrace deeply and my heart went out to Stephen who will always struggle with the guilt of surviving.

In my opinion this book will probably elicit a strong response from anyone who reads it. I think many people would hate it. It’s too slow-going in the beginning, it drastically changes format, from a love story to a war story, there are some unnecessary characters (like that guy Elizabeth was sort of dating in Part Five), there are descriptions of sex that are distasteful at best, etc. And while all of those things affected my reading experience, the thing that I walked away with in the end was an incredibly powerful picture of trench life in WWI and the lifelong impact of friendships born during wartime. The desperation and fear of the men being overwhelmed by their bravery in the crucial moment, the neglect of later generations to learn about and appreciate all that was done for them by soldiers who fought for their country; that is what I will remember.  

BOTTOM LINE: It is a flawed novel, but one that left me reeling with its realistic portrayal of war. It is one of very few war novels that I can say impacted me deeply on an emotional level. Don’t expect perfection, but try it if it sounds interesting to you.  

“A sense of interest was beginning to penetrate the blankness of his grief; it was like the first, painful sensations of blood returning to a numbed limb.”

Here are a few other reviews, both positive and negative, of the book:

When you post your final thoughts leave a link in the comments and I’ll add them to this list. 

p.s. I watched the Masterpiece mini-series of Birdsong and it was actually pretty good. They mixed everything together, so instead of getting the story in chunks, we saw much of it through flashbacks, but it worked. They also introduced Jeanne much sooner and tok the character of Elizabeth out entirely, but I think it worked pretty well.

Dewey Read-a-Thon!

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Pages Read: 1,332
Currently Reading: Swallows and Amazons, Bridget Jones's Diary
Books Finished: 5 (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams, Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein, Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins, Sandman Vol. III: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman, Coriolanus by William Shakespeare)
Breaks Taken: 1st break to help clean out my great aunt's house (she passed away last month). It ended up taking almost 5 hours, so most of my morning was not spent reading, but I'm back now! 2nd break to spend a few evening hours cheering! 
Snacks Eaten: Oatmeal, lunch at IHOP, 2 cups of coffee, Starbucks Doubleshot, KitKat, turkey quesadilla and cucumber slices
Music Listened To: Iron and Wine
Mini-Challenges Completed: 11 
Blogs Visited and Commented On: 78

End of Event Meme

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? The 21st hour, I feel asleep and that was the end of me. 
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein, Persepolis, Bridget Jones's Diary; anything that's fun and a bit different, like poetry, play, graphic novel, etc. works for me!
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Tell readers to turn off the word verification on their blogs! You guys already do it a million times, but maybe make it a million and one. 
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? The mini-challenges were fun and the hourly hosts did a wonderful job!
5. How many books did you read? 5 completed and more than halfway in 2 more
6. What were the names of the books you read? Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams, Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein, Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins, Sandman Vol. III: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman, Coriolanus by William Shakespeare, Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding, and Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome 
7. Which book did you enjoy most? Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
8. Which did you enjoy least? Gregor the Overlander, didn't hate it I just had high hopes because of The Hunger Games.
9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? This was my first year cheering. I made a text document of all the blogs I needed to cheer at, then I did about 10 an hour so I could getting some reading done too. That way I could mark them off when I was complete and not miss anyone.  
10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? I absolutely will! What role would you be likely to take next time? I've hosted a mini-challenge and I've been a cheerleader, my main goal is always reading, but I will do either or both of those again. 

Mid-Event Survey:

1) How are you doing? Sleepy? I feel like I've gotten a second wind, so I'm going strong! I uually hit a wall around 11 pm. 

2) What have you finished reading? Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams, Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein, Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins, and Sandman Vol. III: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman

3) What is your favorite read so far? I really loved Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. What a painful picture of loneliness! 

4) What about your favorite snacks?  Lays Potato Chips and Cottage Cheese, I know it sounds gross, but it's incredible. Lays chips are my favorite, but I only have them on special occasions, so read-a-thons and road trips! 

5) Have you found any new blogs through the readathon? I discover Sheila at Book Journey because of her fun mini-challenge Book Appetit! 

It's Dewey Read-a-Thon Day!!! Twice a year, once in April and once in October, I participate in the Dewey 24 hour read-a-thon. I've been in a reading slump this month, so I've really been looking forward to this. Unfortunately I have something I have to be at for a couple hours this morning, but other than that interruption I’m planning to read all day.

That's my pup Ollie with a stack of potential books to read today. We'll see what I end up getting to, I'm always a bit too ambitious. I'll be checking in every hour or so and updating this post. Good luck everybody!

Mini-Challenge: Picture It hosted by The Book Monster.
Where I'm reading right now, my library...

Mini-Challenge Introduction:
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Indianapolis, IN 
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Re-reading Bridget Jones's Diary. It's been about 10 years sine I read it and I think it will be a fun one. 
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? An Almond Joy and apple slices with almond butter. 
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I got to meet Ann Patchett last night! (author of Bel Canto and State of Wonder)
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? This is my 5th read-a-thon and my first as a cheerleader! I'm looking forward to encouraging others later today. 

Mini-Challenge hosted by The Estella Society: Self-Portrait 

(Ollie is not impressed)

Book Appetit Mini-Challenge hosted by Sheila: Make up a menu for a book you're reading.
1. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams

2.  Fried Chicken and grits and a birthday cake for Big Daddy! It's a southern birthday party! We'll hang some paper lanterns and a lace table cloth for the "no-neck" kids to ruin. 

3.  A cocktail of course, Brick drinks throughout the book! A whiskey with a splash of tonic water and ice for those hot southern nights. We'll call it "Maggie's Loneliness." 

Hour 4 Mini-Challange: Re-Title Your Current Read hosted by Geeky Blogger's Book Blog:
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams
New Title: Everyone is Lonely 

Mini-Challenge Book Sentence hosted by Midnight Book Girl: 

A Long Time Ago / Ordinary People / Sing Them Home.

Mini-Challenge: Yoga Break hosted by Elizabeth Michelle.

This might be my favorite mini-challenge so far. I did the yoga poses she listed in her post and it was such a perfect break. Cat pose and Bridge pose were the two best stretches for me. I did yoga for about 10 minutes and it was perfect. 

Photos by moi. 

Pairing Books with Movies: The Probable Future

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Probable Future
by Alice Hoffman

The Sparrow women all have unique gifts that reveal themselves on their 13th birthdays. One can feel no pain, another can spot a lie, another can see people’s dreams, etc. On Stella’s 13th birthday she discovers that she can see how people will die. Her mother Jenny has lived a life full of mistakes, the biggest of which was running away from home and marrying Stella’s useless father, Will. When Stella’s gift throws their family into chaos, Stella and her mother return to the small town where Jenny grew up.

The plot is incredibly predictable. That’s not always a bad thing, just don’t expect any major surprises. It reminded me a lot of Practical Magic and after awhile I remembered that Hoffman wrote that one too. I was a little frustrated with the women in the novel at first. It seems like, despite their intelligence, they always choose the wrong men and then put up with them for far too long. The story grew on me though, as I became more invested in the characters.

BOTTOM LINE: I liked it more than I thought I would, but it’s not anything that will stick with me. It’s a good filler book, nothing earth shattering, but a quick read.

Pair with a viewing of Early Edition and Minority Report; both cover the topic of predicting the future. The first is a TV show where the lead character gets the newspaper for the next day in advance and so he can prevent a lot of the tragedies reported before they happen. I loved this show when I was in junior high! 

Minority Report shows us a society where crimes are predicted and people are arrested before the crime is committed. Both movies and the book ask the question, is the predicted future set in stone or is it just a possible version of the future that can still be changed?

Happy Birthday, Wanda June

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, Wanda June
by Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut’s only play is about Harold Ryan, a hunter, soldier and all-around “man’s man.” He left his family a decade before the play begins to search for diamonds in the Amazon. He has since been declared dead and his wife and son have been trying to make a life for themselves without him. Penelope (aptly named because she waits 10 years for her husbands return) and her son Paul are shocked when Harold turns up on their doorstep.

No one is more surprised than the two men that Penelope has been dating: a vacuum salesman named Herb Shuttle and the peaceful doctor, Norbert Woodly. Penelope’s life is thrown into chaos with her husband’s return. His cruel and brash ways are ill suited for life outside the jungle.

The three-act play is soaked with Vonnegut’s trademark wit and sarcasm. It’s a harsh look at men who pride themselves as warriors vs. men who value peace. I had the opportunity to see it performed as a live reading at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library and then I read a hardcopy. It was interesting to note that the theatre company doing the reading chose to end the play in a different way than it ends in the book.

BOTTOM LINE: It’s not Vonnegut’s best work, but it’s hard to find and reading it back-to-back with a viewing of a live reading was such a treat. If you already love Vonnegut than read it if you have the chance!

Photo of play reading by moi.

Wordless Wednesday: Natural History Museum

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Natural History Museum in D.C.

More Wordless Wednesday here.

Photo by moi.

Top Ten Books I Thought I'd Like MORE Than I Did

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

This week's Top Ten from The Broke and the Bookish asks for the Top Ten Books I Thought I'd Like MORE Than I Did.

1) The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver: People rave about this author and while I did love The Poisonwood Bible, I haven’t felt that way about any of her other work.

2) The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides: Loved Middlesex, but this one kept me so distance from the characters. I was left wanting a lot more and though I know that was the author’s intention, I still wanted to like it more than I did.

3) Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella: I liked some of her other books, but I think I was just burnt out on her by the time I read this.

4) Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger: I loved The Time Traveler’s Wife, so I couldn’t wait for this one! Then I read it and was not impressed at all. It’s hard to follow up such a stellar debut.

5) One Day by David Nicholls: Dexter just killed me in this one. I wanted to smack Emma and tell her to get over him because she could do better.

6) Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay: World War II historical fiction, sounds right up my alley! While I did love the historical aspect, it flipped back and forth to a modern day setting and the main female drama didn’t work for me.

7) Sandman: Volume 1 by Neil Gaiman: I’m a huge Gaiman fan, so I assumed that I would love this. Unfortunately, the illustrations in the graphic novel were a bit too dark for me. I’ve always wondered if I should have tried another volume, but I never did.

8) The Passage by Justin Cronin: The hype surrounding this one made me think it would be incredible, always dangerous. I really loved the first half, but right around the middle we left every single character we knew and basically started a brand new book. It was frustrating enough that I didn’t pick up the sequel.

9) The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne: Holocaust from a child’s point of view, again it sounds like one I would like, but I could never buy the young boy’s completely naïveté. It was too unrealistic to me.

10) The City & The City by China Mieville: I wanted to love this one, but man, I was just left feeling like the author’s goal was to leave the reader feeling completely lost.

State of Wonder

Monday, April 22, 2013

State of Wonder
by Ann Patchett

There is something hypnotic about this book. Normally the premise wouldn’t appeal to me; a pharmacy company sends one of its doctors into the Brazilian Amazon to check on the research progress of a miracle drug. Nothing in that sounds like something I’d love, but since it was written by Ann Patchett it was an absolute must for me. I haven’t loved all of her books, but I have enjoyed most of them a loved a few. That being said, I dove into this one with some reservations that I soon discovered were completely unfounded.

Dr. Marina Singh finds out that her colleague Anders Eckman has died in Brazil after being sent by their company to find the illusive Dr. Annick Swenson. Singh finds herself in the strange position of being sent to confirm Eckman’s death and finish the job he started. The novel is slow going, its pages sometimes feeling as heavy as the humidity in that tropical culture. Nothing is rushed and yet Patchett draws you in with a heady mixture of curiosity and dread. The writing in so enthralling that it’s almost easy to forget the plot in favor of discovering each new paragraph as its own entity.

The book has aptly been compared to Heart of Darkness, but unlike that novel I cared much more deeply about the characters in this one. The cold and practical Dr. Swenson was one of the most fascinating characters I’ve come across in a long time. In fact it was my love for some of those relationships that made me struggle with the ending. I didn’t dislike it; it was just hard to process.

I also want to note that everyone was right and the audio version. It’s read by Hope Davis and it was incredible. I’m not sure I would have loved it as much if I’d just read a hardcopy the first time around.

BOTTOM LINE: It’s a beautiful book and I have a feeling I’ll be thinking about these characters for a long time. It’s hard to explain exactly why it’s so powerful, but I will be trusting in Patchett’s storytelling ability as long as she is writing.

p.s. When I was reading this I found out that Patchett will be the speaker for this year’s Marian McFadden Memorial Lecture! I’m so excited I’ll get to hear her speak this month!

Pairing Books with Movies: The Blue Castle

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Blue Castle
by L. M. Montgomery

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” – Oscar Wilde

That is one of my favorite quotes and it explains this story perfectly. Valancy Jane Stirling is only 29, but she’s been relegated to the role of old spinster in her family. She has, as Wilde said, been existing, but not living. It’s not until she receives some startling news that she decides to change her lot in life.

It’s so satisfying when she finally starts standing up for herself, but it’s so sad that it takes such a dramatic twist to get her to break out of her shell. The book is really about having the courage to live the life you want. Valancy and Barney Snaith are both good characters. They both have to learn to trust someone else with their happiness, a difficult thing for anyone to do.

This is the first Montgomery book I’ve read outside of the Anne of Green Gables series. While I will say I love those books more, I still loved her writing style in this one. I had longer to get attached to the characters on Prince Edward Island than I did to those in this book.

BOTTOM LINE: The story is predictable but sweet. It’s the equivalent of a really good romantic comedy movie. So save it for when you’re in the mood for a charming tale.

"You made me believe again in the reality of friendship and love."

"Fear is the original sin. Almost all the evil in the world has its origin in the fact that some one is afraid of something."

“She, who had been afraid of almost everything in life, was not afraid of death.”

“People who don’t like cats always seem to think that there is some peculiar virtue in not liking them.”

Pair with a viewing of Now, Voyager. The 1942 Bette Davis movie is about an old maid who gets a second chance at life. Her visual transformation in the movie is particularly fun!

Jennifer Egan Reading

Thursday, April 18, 2013

When I first read A Visit from the Goon Squad two years ago I loved it. So when I had the opportunity to hear Jennifer Egan speak last month I was thrilled! During the evening she read the whole first chapter of that book and then answered audience member’s questions.

One of my favorite aspects of her talk was hearing about the process of creating Goon Squad. It started as a single short story about a woman finding a wallet. This story was inspired by Egan herself being robbed on the day she had to fly from New York City to California. Shortly after that experience she saw a wallet sitting out in a public restroom and the story was born.

After writing it she was curious about the other characters mentioned in the chapter and she quickly realized that she had something more than a single short story. As it grew into a book she set three rules for herself:

1) Each chapter had to be about a new character.

2) Each chapter had to feel different and unique (1st person, interview, PowerPoint, etc.)

3) Each chapter had to stand alone; readers deserved closure with each chapter because they’re being tossed into a completely new situation each time.

She said the book is a bit like a concept album. In the same way that musical artists will occasionally create albums (especially in the 1970s) where each track had a different style, this book is set up in a similar way.

Egan was incredibly kind and engaging. She was also bright and very honest about her work and inspiration. I loved her comments on trying something new. She recently published an entire short story “Black Box” on Twitter via The New Yorker. She talked about trying the new form of media as a sort of modern day serialization like the way Charles Dickens used to publish his books. She was so open to finding new ways to experiment with creative flow.

As soon as I got home I started re-reading the book and I enjoyed it even more the second time around. I remembered bits and pieces from each characters’ life and so seeing the complete picture once more was wonderful! I will definitely be reading more of her work as soon as I can.

Photos by moi.

Wordless Wednesday: Nice

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Nice, France

More Wordless Wednesday here.

Photo by moi.

Top Ten TV Shows That Are Off the Air

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

This week's Top Ten from The Broke and the Bookish is a rewind freebie, so I'm listing my favorite top ten TV shows that have been cancelled. Not very bookish, but that's ok. 

I'm always renting entire series of TV shows through netflix. If you're anything like me you're always trying to figure out what great TV shows you might have missed. So here's a list of a few of my favorites. Depending on your taste they're worth checking out!

1) Firefly – I’m a total Browncoat

2) Arrested Development – Can’t wait for the new episodes and then the movie!

3) Gilmore Girls – Pop culture, bookworm bliss in TV format

4) The Office (British version) – Before there Jim and Pam, there was Tim and Dawn, bonus points for knowing when to end the show.

5) LOST – There aren’t many shows that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout every episode, this was one of the few.

6) Pushing Daisies – Lee Pace is just adorable, I loved this quirky show  

7) Alias – Butt-kicking heroine and J.J. Abrams twists, yes please

8) Party Down – Before he was beloved as Ben on Parks and Rec, Adam Scott starred in this gem.

9) Veronica Mars – Smart and snarky female PI … in high school (and now they're making a movie!)

10) Freaks and Geeks/My So Called Life – These two are both teen angst at their best

Runners up (other shows I really enjoyed): Better Off Ted, Wonderfalls, Sex and the City, Friends

Image from here

Birdsong Readalong: Mid-Way Point

Monday, April 15, 2013

Part One: France 1910 
Stephen, a young English man, travels to France for business. He stays with Azaire and his family while he complete his work. He soon finds himself falling for Azaire's young second wife Isabelle. She is a few years older than Stephen and the two soon embark on an affair.

We learn that Azaire is cruel to his wife and Stephen had a horrible childhood and was left with no guardian or caretaker for much of his youth. Also, he's got a serious fear of birds, which judging by the title I think might be a bit of foreshadowing. 

So Isabelle and Stephen decide to run away together. Leaving her husband and step-children, the two lovers begin a life together in France. Stephen works during the day and, though still in love, they grow a bit distant as the adjust to their new circumstances. 

Isabelle, struggling with her guilt over their affair and he fear that she will have a miscarriage, leaves Stephen to go live with her sister Jeanne. That's where we leave the tragic couple. 

Part Two: France 1916
Six year later and we are in the midst of World War I now. My first thoughts, where is Stephen, where's Isabelle? Did she have the baby? But I think we'll have to wait awhile for those answers.

We meet Jack Firebrace, a tunneler working for the English. We do soon meet Stephen again, but he's a cold officer in the army. We see Stephen get injured and then dumped with the corpses. Oh my gosh that was a chilling scene! Stephen is terrified of abandonment and so these moments, when he thinks he is about to die, bring that fear into a sharp focus.

“He would die without ever having been loved, not once, not by anyone who had known him. He would die alone and unmourned. He could not forgive them – his mother or Isabelle or the man who had promised to be a father.”

He slowly recovers and we get a horrifying glimpse of other injured soldiers in the hospital. He and his friend Michael Weir are reunited behind the lines when Stephen reuses to take the leave offered to him. We also learn more about Firebrace and tragically about the death of his young son. I was surprised by how heartbroken I was for him. He is surrounded by death and yet it’s miles away, safe in England, where tragedy strikes his family.

The scenes on the battlefield were simply terrifying. I haven’t read another book that showed World War I in such a vivid and frightening way. I’d never thought before of how scary it must have been for the soldiers to come up against tanks and machine guns. These were often quiet farmers and machine warfare was a completely new concept.

“He watched the men harden to the mechanical slaughter. There seemed to him a great breach of nature which no one had the power to stop.”

Now that I’ve finally made it through the first half I’m loving it! I think it’s interesting that each new section introduces us to a new cast of characters and a very different setting. I can’t wait to see where the story takes us next! We’ll wrap up on April 30th.

Do you like our main two characters? Do you think they made the right decision to run away together?

Pairing Books with Movies: The Aviator’s Wife

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Aviator’s Wife
by Melanie Benjamin

In the same vein of Loving Frank, Clara and Mr. Tiffany, and The Paris Wife comes this novel; a fictionalized account of the actual life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh; wife of the famous aviator Charles Lindbergh and author of Gift of the Sea. All of these books tell the story of women who are paired in one way or another with incredibly strong and difficult men. These brave women spend their lives trying to appease or compensate for their brilliant but deeply flawed partners and this book paints a painful picture of that lonely life.

“He didn’t respond; we glared at each other for what seemed like the entire length of our marriage, right there – spreading, like a noxious stain, between us, pushing farther and farther apart.”

One of the things that really stood out to me is how horrifying it is to lead a life in the spotlight. There is no anonymity. Every time a celebrity goes to a movie or the grocery store they take the chance that they will be mobbed by the paparazzi. It was the same for the Lindberghs, America’s first couple of the air. They were surrounded by fans whenever they were and that attention is both exhausting.

(Photos of Lindbergh exhibits at the Newseum in D.C.)

I loved learning more about Anne’s life. Her book Gift of the Sea meant a lot to me, but I didn’t realize that she also got a pilot’s license and took solo flights. She withstood so much pressure and grief throughout her life, but somehow she found pieces of happiness and peace to hang on to.

BOTTOM LINE: Heartbreaking, but hard to put down. It was difficult to watch Anne sit back and let her husband run her life, but I also admired her quiet strength.

“What need was there for words, when we had just shared the sky?”

"I had been a passenger in our life together for far too long."

“I’d thought marriage would mean I’d never be lonely. Now I knew: Marriage breeds its own special brand of loneliness, and it’s far more cruel.”

“Unlike men, women got less sentimental as we aged, I was discovering. We cried enough, when we were young; vessels overflowing with the tears of everyone we loved.”

Pair with a viewing of The Spirit of St. Louis and Murder on the Orient Express. Both have ties to the Lindberghs, but in very different ways.