I’ll be honest – I don’t usually cry when reading books or watching movies. But the true life story Mistaken Identity had me in tears in the first 30 pages. After a horrific accident involving a van of college students and a truck kills five people and left one girl in a coma, one family has to bury their beloved daughter Whitney, while the other family spends day after day in their daughter’s hospital room waiting for her to wake up. But in a strange turn of events five weeks after the accident, the girl does wake up — and identifies herself as Whitney Cerak, the young woman who had been assumed dead. Whose funeral had over a thousand mourners. Whose dorm room had been cleaned up and packed away. Whose clothes had been given away to friends and loved ones.
I went from getting goose bumps when I read about the Cerak family finding out their daughter was actually alive, to wiping tears away when I read about the Van Ryn family realizing that the daughter they loved, cherished, and hoped for had died in the accident five weeks earlier. However, amidst all the grief in the book was undeniable faith that kept each family together. The strength that each family garnered from their beliefs was amazing and inspiring in light of this extraordinary story.
I think yesterday was the first time in history that I was actually glad that my train took an extra ten minutes to arrive to the station, as it granted me even more time to read Change of Heart. I don’t know how she does it, but with every novel Jodi Picoult creates a page-turner that always threatens to make me cry after weaving each character’s life intricately through my own. The story involves a death row inmate whose last wish is to donate his heart to the ailing daughter of the man he murdered, and the lawyer and priest who want to help him.
The death penalty, religion, forgiveness, and justice blend with the real and raw emotion of each and every character in this beautifully-written tale. I wish you all delayed trains while you’re reading it!
My sleep deprivation of late has not been due to stress, caffeine, my neighbor who screams, or television. (Though I will admit that in the past I haven’t slept well because of creepy Dr. Who episodes I can’t get out of my head and thoughts of my neighbor who might actually be a banshee.) I’m not sleeping well because I’m busy reading Philippa Gregory’s historical fiction on the Tudors: The Other Boleyn Girl (soon to be a movie!), Boleyn Inheritance, and Constant Princess.
But really, have you seen the movie trailer for The Other Boleyn Girl? Scarlett Johanson and Natalie Portman intrigue me, and Eric Bana – Eric Bana who was Hector in Troy – Eric Bana, the voice of one of the sharks in Finding Nemo – Eric Bana, Eric Bana, Eric Bana – who is King Henry VIII, typical playboy, irresponsible and adored second son who wasn’t exactly raised to be King. Oh, but we’re not here to talk about Eric Bana. (Sigh.)
After I got a taste of the trailer, I started reading the books and tired though I was – I read every night until I could read no more. How unfair is it that Catalina, in Constant Princess, finally gets to “know” and like her husband before he dies three months after they are married? How about wife number four, Anne de Cleves who makes the nearly deadly mistake of not recognizing Henry (she thought he’d be young and handsome)? And wife number five, Kitty Howard, who practices putting her head on the chopping block before she’s executed?
On a tangent: I just got notification from Amazon that my Kindle (!) will be arriving tomorrow. And I will promptly load all of Philippa Gregory onto it. Happy Valentine’s Day to me.
For everyone out there who has their freshly unwrapped Amazon Kindle but is overwhelmed with the choices on what to purchase first, allow me to point you over to the hauntingly poignant memoir, Her Last Death by Susanna Sonnenberg. The book starts out with a phone call from Susanna’s aunt to let her know that Susanna’s mother is in a coma and it isn’t expected to survive. Susanna struggles with the decision of whether she should go to her mother’s bedside, or stay. In her home. With her family. In her life.
She decides to stay, and after learning about her mother’s drug abuse, constant manipulation, and obsessive lying, it’s hard for anyone to argue that Susanna should go be with her. Throughout this incredible story, Susanna shows us how hard it is to be a daughter to a mother who behaves like a child. Susanna’s writing is incredibly beautiful and touching, and her story is one that might make your jaw drop - a few times.
It’s really easy to make a New Year’s resolution – I do it all the time. So far, this year I will:
- Mind my health. Cook and eat more healthfully. Exercise more well-roundedly
- Keep a clean apartment without getting a cleaning chemical induced high
- Live drama-lessly. Gossip less. Mind my own business. Live and let live
- Learn to say “No” when I mean to instead of saying “Yes” and hating myself
(Excuse me while I take a chocolate break. A co-worker has brought chocolates from Croatia. One must be polite and sample.)
Anyway, for these resolutions and others there is an eBook to read – and one device to hold all these reads in case I do decide to stick to my resolution(s). But why should these books only help to keep one’s New Year’s resolutions? It’s never too late in the year to make a resolution – and to help you all year round:
Amazon released their long-awaited eBook reader device this week and well, it’s pretty darn cool! It uses eInk technology (like the Sony Reader) so that your eyes won’t get tired from staring at a screen page after page. But perhaps the coolest feature of the Kindle is that it is always connected to the internet…so that if you’re out with a friend who starts telling you about an amazing book that he/she read, you can get on your Kindle, go to the Amazon Kindle online store, and download the book right away. Since there’s a keyboard on the Kindle, you can also search for keywords through all of your titles in the library, on Wikipedia, or on the web. You can also make notes on any passages you find important. All-in-all, it’s a pretty impressive device. And with about 4,000 Simon & Schuster titles to choose from, you’re certain to find something you’ll enjoy!
Here are some of the latest and greatest new releases that are all available from all of our eBook retailers, including Amazon!
I own three copies of the movie (2 videocassettes, 1 DVD), three copies of the book (2 hardcover, 1 paperback), and now, one copy of the eBook - so I may be a little biased when I say that Gone With the Wind is amazing and if you haven’t read it you need to (and if you have read it, then it’s probably time to read it again).
I saw the movie first when I was twelve, and fell in love with Scarlett’s dresses and the story that surrounded her. When I was thirteen, I checked the hefty tome out of the library and was entranced by it as I read through the 900+ beautiful pages. And when I was 18 and headed off to college in the South, I took with me Margaret Mitchell’s elegant descriptions of the landscape. Of course I quickly came to realize that 21st century North Carolina can’t compare with 19th century Georgia…especially when I discovered that my roommate, though born and bred in Atlanta, had never ever seen or read Gone With the Wind (we fixed that pretty quickly though). It truly and completely is an amazing story of the tragedy of war and love, and above all, the survival of both.
To celebrate the long-awaited release of this amazing novel to eBook, click
here to enter the Gone With the Wind Sweepstakes, with an opportunity to win a $75 coupon to use at SimonSays.com!
I’m finally going on a honeymoon with New Husband. We’re going to Tuscany for a week and I’ve been busy – dreading the long plane ride, possible airport delays, planes waiting hours just to take off, etc. Thoughts of gelato and Chianti meeting me at the end of the road (plane ride) couldn’t cheer me up – until I loaded Fair Game and Heroin Diaries to my Sony Reader. Layovers be damned, I am ready to go! A book the CIA doesn’t want me to read? Brilliant. Reading anything having to do with Motley Crue? IN.
The other e-related thing helping me on this trip is eAudio. I’m notoriously fussy if I don’t know a) where my next snack is coming from, b) contents of said snack, c) where a bathroom is located, and d) how to ask for my shoe size. When I went to Paris, the only thing I ate was Burger King (un Whopper avec fromage, petit frites, un Coke Light). However, Pimsleur 30 minutes a day has taken care of half my worries (c & d) for me in one short month! I love that I am actually learning a new language. I think I missed the day (or three years) that they taught Spanish in High School, but this no-book, audio only method is absolutely sinking in.
Become a Better You is available starting today in eBook! Pastor Joel Osteen’s latest book is about bettering yourself through seven simple but profound steps. Throughout the book, Osteen incorporates key principles from the Bible, personal stories, and devotions to illustrate how each of these steps can be used to help you discover your full and true potential in life.
Joel Osteen is a pastor of Lakewood Church - one of America’s largest and fastest growing churches. 42,000+ people travel to hear Osteen speak each week, and millions more watch him on TV. He inspires people all over the world to live a better life and be a better person.
Also be sure to check out Choosing Life: One Day at a Time by Dodie Osteen, Joel’s Osteen’s mother, with a foreword by her son.
“This is me welcoming you to a genuine living nightmare that I endured nearly twenty years ago; a nightmare that was so bad that it ended up killing me”
–Introduction, The Heroin Diaries
I’ll be honest - I can’t name a single Mötley Crüe song, and the only music I listened to in the 80s was New Kids on the Block (Joey still holds a place in my heart). But when I saw The Heroin Diaries pass by my desk, I was instantly intrigued. There are blood splatters and startling images throughout that are fascinating and haunting at the same time.
So I downloaded the book to my phone and starting reading it on my way to work. Let me tell you, that’s an interesting way to start the day. Who needs coffee after reading about Sixx’s downward spiral into heroin hell? Scattered throughout the book are present-day asides by Sixx, as well as other people from his past: Tommy Lee, Bob Timmons (a drug counselor), Bryn Bridenthal (Mötley Crüe’s publicist), and Slash, among others. It’s a great way to see what people (including Sixx) thought of his drug-addicted self as compared to the sober man he is today.
While I still don’t know any Mötley Crüe lyrics, it was definitely eye-opening to read about the inner details of the life of a shattered rock star.