Review: I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg

If you know me, you know I love Fannie Flagg’s books. I came across her latest novel while at Target, on sale, so I bought it as a present to myself. “I Still Dream About You” tells the story of Birmingham native, realtor, and former Miss Alabama, Maggie Fortenberry, as she seeks to end her life since she can’t seem to find any meaning in it. However, so many things keep happening to stop Maggie in her suicidal quest, including finding a skeleton in the attic of the home she is selling and having her best friend taken to the hospital (from a Kate Spade super sale) with a suspected heart attack. The mysteries of the present, such as the skeleton (who is it and where did it come from?) mirror the mysteries of the past (why did Maggie leave her beloved Charles and why didn’t she win the pageant?) as Maggie learns that life is a gift and very much worth living.

I have loved all of Fannie’s previous books. I love her writing style, embedded with her signature humor. I really liked the “mysteries” in this story: who was the skeleton and what was the story of the family who first owned the house in which it was found, and exactly why did Maggie leave her boyfriend years ago and not recover from the loss, and mostly, why exactly does she feel like life isn’t worth living any more?

One thing that bothered me in this story is how Maggie’s suicide attempt was depicted in a comical fashion. It was a list of to-do items and plans, which kept going awry. I kept thinking I should find it funny, and maybe it was just me, but suicide just is never something I can find humorous.

If I had another issue with this story, it was that there were many plot lines all going at once: Birmingham’s past struggle with civil rights, Maggie’s past loves, Maggie’s pageant experience years before, her former boss- the deceased midget Hazel, Maggie’s best friend Brenda and her struggles with overeating, the skeleton in the attic and the whole story of that family from whence it came. In truth, I practically needed a flow chart to keep it all straight.

And I kept wondering: this title ties in how??

All in all, a fun Fannie read, particularly if you like her style, but not my favorite.

If you’d like to see Fannie talking about her books and their settings, here is a You Tube clip of her:

What Santa brought….

Santa brought me a Kindle this year! I have to say, I was never overly excited about Kindles or other e-readers. But then I used my friend’s this fall and was hooked! I love how it bookmarks. I love how I can adjust the print size. I love how you can read a selection or chapter from a book before buying it. I love how the books (at least the ones I’ve seen) are cheaper than their paper counterparts. I love how some books are free. I love how you can get games as well. I just love, love, love it! And mine has a nifty cover with light so I can read in the middle of the night and not bother my husband!

But — I will never stop going to my favorite haven of books: the public library. Perhaps, though, my house will now – thanks to my Kindle – not continue to be filled to overflowing with stacks of books: to be reads, to be read agains, favorite friends, etc. 🙂

I’m penning a cozy mystery!

Funny how we still use the verb “penning” when computers are used!

I have been working on a cozy mystery this fall (though I’m waaaay behind in my writing) and am looking for a few good readers to give me feedback on the first 30 pages. It is about a murder at a community theater. I have a list of questions I could send along (such as “can you guess who did it?” and “does this make sense if you don’t do theater?”)

If you’re willing to volunteer for this helpful-to-me project, please leave a comment! I will pick two or three to help me out.

Many Thanks and Eternal Gratitude!!

 Beth  😉

Planning for 2011…

Today’s post is to ask for feedback and suggestions for next year for my blog. This year I wanted to focus on adding more “oomph!” to things – more pictures and user-friendly tools. I’ve tried, but I’m certainly not too savvy re: all this and I worry about copyright infringement to the point where I won’t post excerpts or pictures unless they are on something that says I can share (am I paranoid? perhaps).

I do hope to post more frequently next year. I also hope to comment on others’ blogs more (I follow about 30 through google reader).

Please send thoughts and suggestions!
Should I host a challenge??
Should I do a giveaway??
Should I highlight something new and different??

Let me know!

Review: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

What an interesting and odd book this was! I found this gem while perusing the new releases at the library. It looked interesting and I had heard of it so I took it home.
“The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake” tells the story of Rose Edelstein, a young girl who suddenly develops the ability to tell what people are feeling based on the food they prepare. Rose becomes subjected to her mother’s unhappiness, her father’s vagueness, and her brother’s alienation. As Rose seeks to find her way in the world, and seeks to hold on to her dysfunctional family, she learns how being so in touch with others can be more than a burden; it can be a gift.
I really liked this book and loved loved loved Aimee Bender’s writing style. What a gifted way with words she has!
I recommend this book to those who want to read something interesting and different. I was intrigued!
I’d give it 4 Stars!